I have been a member of ChristianBlog.Com for 10 years, 1 month and 20 days.

  I have published 2,311 blogs and 6,842 comments.

 My most recent blog was published: Sep 14 2017 06:47:42pm

 I currently live in: United States.
  Blog Archive
And immediately they followed
published . 1 min read
Today I began reading the Book of Mark. While reading the first two chapters, I was struck by something. Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, John and Levi (Matthew) were busy at their jobs when Jesus said, "Follow me." The normal and perhaps even reasonable-sounding response would have been to say something like, "I get off at 5:00. Come back then and I will follow you." These men did not do the normal, reasonable-sounding thing. They did the right thing. They immediately dropped what they were doing and followed Jesus and they continued to follow Him for the rest of their lives. There was a cost to follow Jesus. There always is. Tradition holds that all of these men except the Apostle John died a martyr's death and even he suffered persecution and exile. They didn't......
Standing outside the gate
published . 3 min read
The son stalked out of his father's house angrily, clutching his inheritance! Slamming the door as loudly as he could, he paused for a moment. Then he reminded himself that he was a man. He was no longer a "little boy". He could make his own decisions. He would do as he saw fit and answer to no one. He could fend for himself and he didn't his father anymore. He closed his eyes as he fought against the uneasy feeling in his heart. He told himself he was exactly rejecting his father like some of his brothers had done. He wasn't that bad! After all, deep in his heart, even though he was angry, even though he craved what he called "independence", he knew he loved his father. It was just that he was tired of listening to him. He was tired of being asked to do......
But on the inside
published . 1 min read
I stared down in disbelief. All afternoon, my mother and I had been preparing apples for freezing. Last week, when I was visiting an aunt in Iowa, she had told me she had an abundance of apples and I could take as many as I wished. I filled two bags of apples before I headed home. They are nice apples. They are very nice apples though I discovered there were a few bad ones in the bunch. Take the one in the picture for example. It had looked like a beautiful apple when I plucked it from the tree. There was no visible blemish and it appeared to be perfectly formed actually. Better in fact, than some of the apples that surrounded it in the bag. I even said something about it's beauty when I mounted it on my apple-peeling gizmo and my mother turned, looked at it and agreed. That was a......
Set a guard over my ears
published . 3 min read
A blog I read today by @watchmanjohn entitled The Choice Of Our Speech caused me to recall the importance of not merely guarding our lips but guarding our ears. Why? Because one of the ploys of the enemy is to take the words we hear and manipulate them so that they cause us to be offended, particularly when no offense was intended. A few years ago an elderly woman I know, came up to me in tears apologizing for a grudge she had harbored against me for many years. All I can say is that she hid her feelings well. I never knew until she told me that I had deeply offended her and it was eating away at her to the point that she could not hide it any longer. She confessed to me that at the time of the offense, the Holy Spirit had immediately checked her and told her that she had misunderstood......
But it's pretty on the outside
published . 2 min read
It was a mess when my mother's brother-in-law found it. The baby grand piano was an absolute mess but my uncle, a master craftsman when it came to working with wood, only saw what he believed to be it's potential. He decided to salvage it and restore it for his wife. He didn't have much time to work on it but that didn't deter him and eventually the piano proudly sat in an alcove in their living room. I am not much of a musician and can only plunk out a melody and a few basic chords. I have no problem singing intricate parts by ear but reproducing those same parts on an instrument is a different story. Like I said, I am not a musician. I only pick at it a little when no one is around and no one was around when I sat down at that piano a few years ago. Immediately I knew......
The pages of your life
published . 2 min read
It has been a rather difficult couple of weeks in my family. Two of my mother's cousins passed away within one week of each other. One of the cousins I had not seen in many years. He and his family moved to the west coast when I was a girl and I had not seen them much over the years. I was extremely close to his mother, my great-aunt. I also know his oldest brother quite well as they lived about 10 miles from us for many years. I also have talked to his oldest daughter from time to time as we are quite close in age. The other cousin, though she lived 200 miles away from me, I knew much better as I would see her at various family gatherings over the years. She was a short, determined- looking worman with sparkling eyes full of fun. At first glance she might seem like a stern,......
Enlarging your territory
published . 3 min read
Today I read a blog by @watchmanjohn entitled Kings And Priests and it got me to thinking about what God does when we are faithful, obedient servants, who simply do what God puts into our hand to do. He enlarges our territory. @watchmanjohn's blog caused me to reflect on what my husband has been doing for the past four years. He unexpectedly lost his job in December 2012 after more than 27 years. He was underemployed for 13 months which means he had no full time permanent employment. He only had subcontract work which he picked up here and there. It was during that time, God made it very clear to him that he was supposed to start graduate school and he was to do so without incurring any additional debt. Crazy? Yes, but that is what God told us to do. We were to trust God to provide......
Just a simple prayer
published . 2 min read
As I read a blog by @paulphil entitled Sic Transit Gloria (Thus Passes Glory) I found myself reflecting about the impact we make when we simply faithfully follow Christ in our every day life. The thing is, though we seldom realize it, our action or inaction today can make an impact on future generations. As someone who loves to read biographies and testimonies, over the years I have learned from and been blessed by experiences others have shared. Almost 20 years ago, I was doing genealogical research on my paternal grandfather who had been an Orphan Train Rider. My research revealed that unlike many of the children, he was not the child of first generation immigrants. He had been brought from Upstate New York to New York City by his parents who had fallen on difficult times and in fact,......
The waterproof jacket
published . 2 min read
I remember the first time I saw him. It was late summer in 1978. I was 17 years old and had just started my freshman year at a college that was located a thousand miles away from home. I wasn't impressed and in all fairness, neither was he. My first impression was that he was a geek and he thought I was some sort of wild militant feminist. We decided to stay out of each other's way. Now that may have been possible had we gone to some large university instead of a small college of about 300 students. Then there was this other problem. We seemed to like to hang out with the same people. Sigh... my attempts to avoid him seemed futile as we kept getting more and more mutual friends. A few weeks later, I unexpectedly found myself sitting next to that "geeky guy" pouring my......
You go girl!
published . 2 min read
I find myself strangely reluctant to write this blog. I was reminded yesterday that when I publish this blog, I will be running neck and neck with my friend @blessings2you who passed away in May of 2016. At the time of his death, he had published 2,286 blogs on CB making him by far the most prolific blogger on CB and probably the blogger most mentioned here. In addition to that, he was a faithful supporter of this website and personally, at his own expense, traveled to meet some fellow CB members, myself included. I wish I could say he had a headstart on me but he started his race here on CB about 2 1/2 months after me. What can I say? I'm a bit slow! His username, "Blessings2you" was very fitting for that was his desire. He had a big heart, the heart of a servant and he met......
Just because it looks good doesn't mean it is good
published . 1 min read
The peope of Jericho had a problem. The town was in a good location or situation. It seemed like it should be prospering but it was not. You see, there was a problem. The water was bad. The words used to describe it mean bad, evil, malignant, unpleasant, giving pain and barren. That leads some commentators to believe the consumption of this water led to miscarriages and premature births as well as illness and even death. That would have no doubt caused a lot of people to pack up and leave despite the good "situation" and probably many did but there were some that either couldn't or wouldn't. Perhaps they hoped that things would get better. Perhaps they thought they would be the lucky ones who escaped but still, Jericho remained a town of sorrow, disease and death. Given......
Receiving god's discipline
published . 2 min read
King Ahab was terrified. King Beh-hadad of Aram had united with thirty-two kings and their combined armies had launched an attack against the Kingdom of Israel. Ben-hadad sent a message to the king demanding his silver, gold, wives and the best of his children (1 Kings 20:3). Do you know what King Ahab's response was? "Okay". Needless to say, Ben-hadad was not satisfied. People like Ben-hadad never are. You give in to their demands hoping to pacify them only to have them come back for more. Sure enough, soon afterwards, another message is received. This time Ahab is informed that the next day Ben-hadad would send "officials" to search his palace and the homes of his officials for anything else of value and seize it. I find it interesting that King Ahab let his......
A curse or a blessing
published . 3 min read
As I pondered @watchmanjohn's blog entitled Sweep Out Our Negative Emotions I thought about the challenges I have had over the years in regards to controlling my emotions. The area in which I was raised was heavily-dominated bym people who either emigrated from or were the descendants of people from Scandinavia or Germany. Though like millions of Americans, my ancestors came from across Western Europe and my birth surname is Irish, four of my great-great grandparents (two maternal and two paternal) emigrated to the US from Denmark in the mid-19th century so I suppose my heritage is predominately Danish-American. I never realized that culturally I am a "Scandinavian-American" until I went to college in another region of the US. Hmm... not only was the food different but I......
Caring for those who serve
published . 2 min read
The other night, I sat in my mom's dining room table as a dear family friend who is the pastor of a small church on an Indian reservation, opened up her heart and shared some of her struggles. This friend, a single woman, has labored tirelessly for over 35 years in a place no one wants to go because it is "too hard". Occasionally she will receive some much needed help. A church will send a mission team, a couple will come to help out over the summer, funds will be sent to do some much needed repairs and so forth. The thing is, no one cares for the pastor... Now, many of the people live in poverty so one could argue that is the problem. I thought that too until something slipped out that startled me. The pastor was sharing with me how God was seemed to be blessing people when......
But i don't want too!
published . 2 min read
Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Matthew 19:21-22 (NLT) I shifted uncomfortably when I read these words this morning. It is not because I am rich. I am not, at least according to US standards. I was uncomfortable because last night I bucked and kicked against the idea of doing something I did not want to do. Have you ever done that? Well, I have and I have done it more times than what I care to admit. It is very easy to do the things we want to do. In fact, we set about doing it eagerly and with great joy. If someone would dare to suggest that we do not have to......
But i don't understand!
published . 3 min read
This morning, I read an excellent blog entitled I Had A God-Given Dream by @watchmanjohn. My comment became so long that I realized I needed to cut it short and write my on blog on the subject of our response when we do not understand what we perceive to be God's lack of response or the answer is not what we hoped it would be. First of all, I am not going to pretend it is an easy thing to deal with. We are, after all, children so our knee-jerk reaction is to become demanding, impatient, puzzled, hurt and even angry and resentful when we do not get our own way. This is partly because not only are we short-sighted; we do not understand. However, I believe it is mostly due to the fact that when we allow ourselves to be ruled by the flesh instead of by the Spirit, we are not only......
Where has the time gone
published . 2 min read
It doesn't seem like it was that long ago but as I sit here at my computer reflecting upon all the events that have taken place over the past ten years I realize that I have consciously learned and grown more during that period than at any other period of my life. To say that it has been an adventure is an understatement though I suppose it would not fit most people's definition of "adventure". Typically people consider an adventure to involve great physical feats and I fall a little short in that area. Okay, I fall a lot short in that area but that's beside the point. To me an adventure involves moving beyond where you were at whether it be physical or situational. In short, every day of our lives involves some sort of "adventure". Some are merely more......
It's such a small thing
published . 2 min read
They were not quite sure how it happened. They only knew that twice two of their three cats had managed to slipped out of their apartment unnoticed though their escapes were eventually discovered and they were located, one or both of them had picked up some tiny stowaways who laid quiet for awhile. It wasn't long though before their presence was revealed. Scratch, scratch scratch! When they became aware of their presence, the cats' owners went into action. They raced out to get products to treat their cats. They started to vacuum, wash and clean everything in sight but the problem only seemed to intensify. After valiantly fighting for a few weeks, they finally realized more drastic measures needed to be taken. They needed to call in some professionals in order to make sure their......
The pathway through the wilderness
published . 2 min read
Sometimes a situation doesn't merely seem hopeless, it is hopeless. For awhile, there was a glimmer of hope. Perhaps you could come up with a solution if you just had a moment to calm down and think about it. Perhaps your spouse, a family member, a friend or even a compassionate stranger would get an idea or had the resources to rescue you. Maybe the problem would resolve itself over time. Perhaps the unexpected would happen. You would get an unexpected inheritance, you would get a promotion, you would have a miraculous recovery, a debt would be forgiven, a mistake had been made and the test results were wrong, your wandering child returns, your marriage is restored but though you wait with eager anticipation, it doesn't happen. In fact, sometimes things become even worse. There......
The secret mess
published . 4 min read
It was easy to convince myself it was not a problem. "After all," I told myself proudly, "unlike many of my neighbors I can easily park not one but two cars in my garage." Surely that was worth a gold star because I knew for a fact that most of my neighbors had a reason for always parking in their driveway. Whenever their garage doors stood open, it was glaringly evident there was no room to spare. Long ago, we rented a house in the city that had a "Model T" garage. These garages were built prior to 1935 and therefore they were too small the larger vehicles that came later. Nowadays these garages are only useful as storage sheds. When the owner of the house announced she was going to replace the garage that was more than 60 years old, we were thrilled.......
The gracious act of giving
published . 1 min read
Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7 (NLT) In his letter to the Church at Corinth, Paul commends the Macedonian churches for not just their generosity but their rich generosity despite facing severe trial and extreme poverty (2 Corinthians 8:1-3). Paul then reveals to us that on their own, the Macedonian churches had urgently pleaded with Paul for the privilege of giving (v. 4) and then exceeded Paul's expectations by giving generously first to God and then to those in need other than themselves. It pains me when Christians look for reasons to avoid giving. The most common reasons offered are, "I can't......
Fix your eyes on the light
published . 1 min read
Yesterday I stumbled across a blog I wrote seven years ago entitled The Lord God Is Our Provider. At the time I wrote it, I did not know that 13 months later I would be placed on an administrative leave with pay pending examinations to determine if there were residual effects from my subarachnoid hemorrhage that were affecting my performance. I did not know at the time that a year later I would be granted long-term disability and eventually it would be determined that I was permanently disabled. I did not know we would soon lose 60% of our income though we would eventually recover some of what was lost. I did not know that less than three years after I wrote this, my husband would lose his job, a job he'd had for over 27 years. I did not know he would not get a permanent job for 13......
A letter of christ
published . 1 min read
Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives. 2 Corinthians 3:3 (MSG) These very powerful words caused me to stop and consider this question. Is my life a genuine letter of Christ or is it merely a letter that claims to be? It is easy to say the right words and even go through the right motions though our true nature will burst forth eventually. It is also very easy to make excuses for our wrong thoughts, attitude and behavior. We protest that we are only human. We say, "No one is perfect!" and we are right however, we forget or conveniently overlook one very important thing. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus (2......
Avoid foolish arguments
published . 1 min read
Today's Daily Bible Verse, 2 Timothy 2:23 caused me to stop and think about all the times that I've been drawn into foolish arguments. What makes me wince even more is the knowledge that I have even sometimes been guilty of instigating foolish arguments in the first place. What is it that drives our need to be right to the point that we become angry and even hateful toward others? The answer is simple. It stems from pride. In the New Living Translation, this verse is translated as: Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 2 Timothy 2:23 (NLT) yet how many times do we ignore that advice? Sometimes we are very vocal about it but just because we say nothing doesn't mean we are not still doing it in our heart. We are just more......
But i know i'm right!
published . 3 min read
I shook my head in disbelief. Except for a change in the placement of the staircase, the two structures looked almost identical right down to the unusual-looking decorative pillars and windows. Maybe my eyes were deceiving me so I asked my husband to come in and take a look at the pictures. Wordlessly I handed him the two pictures. He looked at them carefully and said, "Except for the stairs being different, this looks like the same place." He took a closer look at both pictures. He pointed to the earlier picture and then the more recent photograph. "See, you can tell where the stairs used to go up the side and it looks like they removed this section of the balcony and made one big flight of stairs down the middle instead of having two flights on either side." "So......
It didn't have to be
published . 4 min read
After I hung up the phone this morning, all I could think was, "It didn't have to be." Recently, my husband was working for a friend covering the audio at a four-day softball tournament. He decided that rather than come home late Saturday night, he would get a motel room. It wasn't anything special or expensive. It was just a simple motel room at a national budget chain. Everything was fine until he attempted to take a shower that night after a long hot day. When he tried to turn it on, the fixture fell out of the wall... Stuff happens. He understood that and so do I. He did what anyone should do. He reported the problem to the front desk and was met with indifference. They would put him in another room but it just so happened they were full. He understood that but... He......
The fingerprints of god
published . 3 min read
It seemed like they would have every reason to be angry at God. Late last summer their youngest child had been born with Down's Syndrome late last summer. Like a lot of children with Down's Syndrome, he has heart trouble. There are two holes in his heart as well as an unclosed pulmonary artery and a mitral valve that is too tight.He spent many weeks in intensive care. He is home now but is still must be fed by a feeding tube. I met this precious little boy, his mom, dad and his three siblings for the first time last week. I had learned his story a few weeks ago when the pastor who heads the prayer teams, sent out a prayer request to all the prayer team members. Yes, we could pray but my husband wondered if there was something more we could do for this family. We decided to find......
The wrong point of view
published . 3 min read
I couldn't understand it. I simply could not understand it. Of course I knew that younger drivers were neither as experienced or as good of drivers as myself (each generation seems to think that about the younger generation the older they get), but I just could not understand why anyone would back out of a parking spot staring straight ahead. What was wrong with these people? Were they that distracted or careless? Why didn't they pay attention to where they were going? If I hadn't been paying attention, they might have hit me! Hmm... they were probably sending a text and trying to back up at the same time. Silly people! This sort of thing seemed to be happening more and more, much to my chagrin. Then a few weeks ago I became one of "those" people. Yes, I must......
Who is listening
published . 2 min read
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Acts 16:25 (NLT) Paul and Silas hadn't done anything wrong. They had gone to the place God had sent them. They had faithfully preached the message God had given them. They had even set a slave girl free from an evil spirit. Where did it get them? Prison. That's right. They obeyed God and ended up in prison. That's not the way it is supposed to be, or is it? Jesus said those who are his followers will be hated, persecuted, arrested and even killed so it should not surprise us when we face adversity in some way. It should surprise us when we don't. I first heard this story about Paul and Silas when I was a young girl and then as now, their response to their......
When we don't understand
published . 1 min read
An old blog of mine popped up today called " The Prayer Shawl. Re-reading caused me to remember those dark and painful days of excruciating bone marrow pain combined with pain receptors misfiring. There is no relief, there is nothing that can be done except pray that it will end. That was when I learned it is a lie that childbirth is the worst pain a woman can experience. That simply is not true! Oh, but it was in those moments that I felt myself being gently wrapped up in "God's Blanket". As I cried due to pain and even fear, I wanted God to make the pain stop. I wanted Him to rescue me. I wanted this to just be a bad nightmare from which I would wake up but that didn't happen. Instead, God let me know that I had to go through this but despite that, He was with me......
What is true prosperity
published . 2 min read
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) The above scripture has often been used to suggest that it is God's will for Christians to have financial wealth but is that what this verse really means? Unless you know Hebrew, this verse has been translated into your native language and anyone who has ever learned a foreign language knows that often things really do get lost in translation. When doing an in-depth study of a particular portion of scripture, in addition to looking at the context, I like to also read various versions. When I find differences, I ask myself the question, "Why did the translators of Version A translate it like this while the......
But without love
published . 2 min read
They came from all over. Some people drove for several hours in order to gather together to help people they had never met and in all probability, never will. The people who came were the rich, the poor, the educated and those who had received little if any formal education. They came from diverse cultures and in some cases there was even a language barrier. If you were to have a theological discussion with them, some lively if not hostile hostile debates would probably erupt but for they did not gather today to debate. They came together for one purpose and that was to let people who were suffering know that someone cared that they were hungry, sick and dying and they wanted to help. As of this writing, nearly three million meals have been packed this past weekend and more will be packed......
At the end of your days
published . 2 min read
In 1 Chronicles 28, a public prayer David uttered at the end of his life is recorded. “Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:10-13 (NIV) At the end of his life, King David still gives God all the glory. This is in direct contrast to King Saul who early on in his reign developed a proud heart which not only destroyed him but......
He hears our cry
published . 2 min read
I remember my first encounter with God. I was four or five years old and my friend Denise and I were about to die of suffocation. In fact, Denise had already blacked out and though of course, I did not know what was happening, my lungs refused to take in the hot, oxygen depleted air, my chest hurt terribly, my head was pounding and my ears were roaring. We were dying and no one knew where we were... except God. I had a rather vivid imagination as a child and to me, the tiny closet that had been added to the bedroom after the house had been built looked like a little house. I thought it would make a perfect playhouse and my little friend agreed. We crammed our little bodies into the closet, shoving aside the hanging clothes and standing in the box that held the dirty clothes. Now all we......
The faithfulness god
published . 5 min read
The dream was impressed upon his heart more than 35 years ago but after completing his Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Education in May of 1982, all doors remained closed to pursuing his Master of Divinity. A short time earlier, a call had come through to come to Minnesota, his wife's native state and though it was an unpaid position, he decided to accept it. He and his wife of less than nine months, packed up all their worldly goods into a small trailer and headed to the northland, more than 1,100 miles away. 1982. It was a bad year to try to make a new beginning. His wife had hoped to teach but since they were closing and even tearing down schools in the area, she was unable to even get her name on the list to be a substitute teacher. The two of them managed to obtain some summer......
Quick to take offense
published . 2 min read
"But they didn't even ask me to join them! They must not have wanted me! They knew I was by myself!" In the wee hours of the morning, these were the thoughts the enemy hurled at me as I awakened yesterday morning. I had not only been overlooked, I had been slighted and it hurt. That suggestion, the replaying of that moment in slow-motion is something the enemy loves to do when we have been "hurt" by the words and/or actions (or lack of) by others. In response to our hurt we lash out in anger. Oh, our anger may not be visible. We may not scream, throw ourselves down on the ground and behave like a two year old who has been told no or seek revenge but angry thoughts fill our mind about the believed perpetrator(s). We may tell ourselves we do not care but if the truth......
Its okay, i did it because
published . 2 min read
The commandment God had given King Saul was very clear: This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.” 1 Samuel 15:2-3 (NLT) In fact, I do not believe it could have been any clearer. God had had enough of the Amalekites and now their account would be settled. It was over, done with and they would have no more descendants... nor would their livestock. Wow! Saul did not obey God. He not only spared the life of the king but David later encounters Amalekites (1 Samuel 30) which would have been rather difficult if Saul had done what......
Brother against brother
published . 2 min read
Last Thursday, as I was on my way to attend a National Day of Prayer event that was being held outside of the football stadium in downtown Minneapolis, I wondered if there might actually be protesters present. There were but they were not the people I would have expected to see. It was a small group of ten or 15 people who identified themselves as Christians. They had gathered across the street around a small sound system and some of them also carried signs. What were they protesting? Well, being near the back of the plaza, I caught snatches of what they were saying now and then. First of all, they did not like it that we began with a time of worship. Apparently they believed that if Christians were worshipping God they had a watered-down, feel-good, fluffy relationship with God.......
Just keep walking
published . 3 min read
I read a blog today by @paulphil which is entitled Still Leaning Forward. As I read the blog, I found my mind drifting back to the winter and spring of 2008 when I was undergoing chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. It was a rough course of treatment. Since I had triple negative breast cancer, I had dose-dense chemo treatments every two weeks instead of the standard three weeks usually done for breast cancer. Triple breast cancer, though very aggressive, can respond well to chemotherapy. If it doesn't, the prognosis is very poor. It was a rough course of treatment. Though I had not intended to work during chemo and had arranged for a medical leave of absence prior to treatment, within a month all the other "triple negatives" in my cancer support group ended up taking......
The strength you have
published . 2 min read
Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you! Judges 6:14 (NLT) He wasn't strong and he wasn't brave. In fact when we first read about him, he is threshing wheat, not openly but at a bottom of a winepress in order to hide what he is doing from the Midianites. These were not the actions of a "brave" man, a hero and yet that is exactly how the angel of the Lord addresses him. The word used is "gibbor" (Strong's Hebrew 1368) and it means strong mighty, a champion, chief, excel, giant, man, mighty man, one, strong man. The angel also tells Gideon something else. He tells Gideon that the Lord is with him. I wonder if Gideon's initial response was took look around to see......
Above all else, guard your heart
published . 2 min read
The beautiful house was filled with priceless treasures given to the occupant by the Father. These gifts were so valuable that no one except the Father could afford a single one and yet the Father lavishly bestowed all of them on not just one but every single one of his children. This angered the enemy. How he hated to see the children enjoying the gifts the Father had given them. The enemy wanted to rob the children of their gifts and destroy them! Why, they not enjoyed their gifts in the sunshine but they did so in the moonlight as well. In fact, they even had the audacity to dance about with them on the wildest and darkest of nights when they should be huddled up quivering in a corner somewhere! What was wrong with them? The enemy waited quietly in the lengthening shadows. The door of......
A piece of coal
published . 2 min read
For as long as I could remember, my grandmother favored one of her legs. The limp was very slight but over time, the favored leg became noticeably thinner than the other one and as a result became more and more troublesome. She eventually succumbed to using a cane. That in itself is not unusual for someone in their 70's but the sad thing is, it didn't have to have come to that. My grandmother, like so many of her generation, resisted seeing a doctor. She preferred to simply trust in the Lord. That in itself is not a bad thing. We certainly should trust in God to help and heal us, however, we also need to recognize that God has blessed us with a wealth of knowledge about how to care for the human body when it is sick. When she was in her 80's, my aunt, who was caring for my......
Let there be light!
published . 1 min read
Today's Daily Bible Verse here on CB is Psalm 18:28. In the NIV it reads: You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. I read that passage one morning shortly before I started chemotherapy nine years ago. After reading them, I began to cry for at the moment, everything seemed so incredibly dark. These words however, reminded me that in the beginning when God said "Let there be light.", there was light. There was no sun, there were no stars and there was no moon to reflect that light, yet the impossible had happened. There was light. Why? Because God had power over the darkness and darkness was formed into light at His command. God did not banish the darkness forever, though one day He will. For reasons only God fully knows, God permitted it to......
Taking mercy for granted
published . 1 min read
In the Gospel of Luke, we find the story of Jesus' encounter with ten men who had leprosy. According to the Law, these men would have been considered unclean. They were banned from entering cities and towns and as they moved about, they were supposed to cry out "Unclean! Unclean!" lest anyone come into contact with them by mistake. The Law did however permit a "cured" leper to rejoin society. They were to present themselves to a priest for examination and if he could not find any evidence of the disease, the leper was pronounced clean and was restored. Jesus did not avoid lepers. He loved them. Luke 17:11-19 tells what happened when ten men stricken with leprosy cried out to Jesus for mercy. He told them to go show themselves to the priests. All ten men were......
Everywhere you go
published . 2 min read
A week ago, I heard a testimony given by a man which I would like to share. Sometime ago, he had been transferred into the area. Far from family and friends, he was eager to make new acquaintances. One day, instead of taking public transportation to where he needed to go, he decided to use Uber. Little did he know that decision would lead to events that would forever change his life. On the way to his destination, the man happened to ask the driver where he went for fun. He was a bit surprised by the driver's answer because it wasn't the answer he expected. The driver told him he went to a great church where there were a lot of people in their age group. He invited the man to come and check it out. When the man said he didn't have a car, the driver volunteered to pick him up.......
In the boat
published . 2 min read
I've been reading @watchmanjohn's series on prayer and while all the blogs have been excellent, his most recently published one, Prayer Has To Be From A Position Of Strength really spoke to me this morning. It is well-worth reading for prayer does require us to get into a position, not a physical position but a spiritual position. Our heart must be in the right position. As I read his blog, my thoughts turned immediately to that night when I was literally screaming at God while driving down the freeway late one night. The week had begun with my learning I might have cancer and that night the strain of trying to hold it together, the uncertainty, etc, reached a head and I screamed and screamed and screamed. I did not ask God to take away my tumor. I demanded, yes, demanded that He......
A true representative of christ
published . 2 min read
In the book, Of Whom The World Was Not Worthy, by Marie Chapian , an evangelist named Jakob Kovac regularly travels miles on foot to meet with a man named Cimmerman who seems to have little interest in God. In fact, this man points out the terrible atrocities committed by individuals in the name of God. The evangelist did not argue with him. Instead he presents him with this scenario. What if someone stole Cimmerman's coat, pretended he was Cimmerman and committed criminal acts? Was he, the real Cimmerman, guilty? Of course not! The criminal was someone else, not him! But, what if there were witnesses who came before the judge and said, "But it was Cimmerman. We recognized his coat." The man fell silent as he realized that just because someone "looks" or......
The healing power in a hug
published . 2 min read
This past weekend my husband and I attended an event at our church called "Freedom Encounter". On Saturday, after listening to a teaching on forgiving the wounds of inflicted by parents, we made our way up to the front along with other members of the prayer team to stand in as proxy for those who needed to give their parents a hug. I have to tell you, it was a very emotional experience as a number of people came forward to lay down their hurts so that they could truly forgive. At one point, a man, probably not much older than our own son, approached us. The moment he touched us, he began to sob uncontrollably clinging to the two of us and we in turn, held him tightly as well. We had been told to allow the hugger to release the hug, rather than break it ourselves and that is......
Take to the streets
published . 2 min read
Hundreds of homes are going up just three miles south of me. Of course businesses are following as well. The traffic south of my church went from being almost non-existent to constantly busy over the course of a year. I was down that way just the other day buying groceries at the grocery store that opened last fall and could not help but notice the marked change in traffic that occurs at the intersection near my church. Truthfully, I was glad I had thought about urban sprawl when we were looking to buy a home in the area ten years ago. At the time I had commented that with a lake, a large hilly and wooded county regional park with a few lakes scattered through it and a huge tract of land owned by the state which contains not only a zoo but an environmental learning center, there was......
The people in the trees
published . 2 min read
On Saturday evening, as I listened to a message by Eric Samuel Timm, a story I had known since my childhood suddenly took on a whole new perspective. The story he told was the story of Zacchaeus which is recorded in the nineteenth chapter of Luke. In the past I had always looked at this story from Zacchaeus' point of view. He had heard about Jesus. He wanted to see Jesus. He was unable to see Jesus due to the crowd and the fact that he was shorter than those around him. Being a resourceful as well as a determined man, he climbed a nearby tree. As Jesus passes by, he looks up into the tree, sees Zacchaeus and tells him to come down because he must be a guest in his home that day. Zacchaeus climbs down and takes Jesus home with him much to the disapproval of the crowd. While they were......
The limitless god
published . 1 min read
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!" Numbers 11:23 (NLT) The Children of Israel were murmuring and complaining yet again. They had witnessed the power of God in Egypt. They had crossed the Red Sea on dry land and watched God destroy their enemies. God had provided shade for them by day and light, warmth and protection by night. Now they were complaining about the food God had provided for them. They were sick and tired of it. They wanted meat and like spoiled children, they began to throw a tantrum. Many a parent can relate to God's response. He told them that not only would He give them meat, He would give them so much meat that they would would get sick. Now it was Moses' turn to doubt. The man......
In a desert land
published . 1 min read
The CB Daily Bible Verse today is Deuteronomy 32:10-11. I really love the imagery of this passage for I believe it aptly describes not only our own lostness before we came to Christ but also various situations or seasons we may experience as well. Who has not, at one time another felt like they were alone in a harsh and barren desert? That is why I am so thankful that God is not only the God of the fruitful plain. He is also the God of the desert. Though we may find ourselves in a desert land, an "empty, howling wasteland", from which there seems to be no escape, God is there and He does not passively stand by. Deuteronomy 32:10-11 tells us that God surrounds us, he guards us, like his most precious possession because that is exactly what we are. He hovers over us, protectively......
No is also an answer
published . 1 min read
This evening, as I was watching a video on the life of Amy Carmichael, the narrator shared a story about Amy which I first heard when I was a young girl. I didn't know it at the time but this story would have a profound effect on my life and how I view what many people referred to as "unanswered prayer". From her infancy, Amy had been taught that God answered prayers. As a young child, Amy wanted to have beautiful blue eyes like her mother instead of what she believed to be plain, ugly brown eyes. She knew that nothing was too hard for God. He created her and so she decided one night to ask God to give her blue eyes. The next morning, she jumped out of bed and ran to the mirror to gaze into her new blue eyes. To her shock, the only thing she saw was a pair of brown eyes,......
Out with the old
published . 4 min read
My new washing machine arrived today. I was ready and armed with two baskets of dirty laundry when it arrived. That's what happens when your old washer decides to give up the ghost on "Laundry Day". Fortunately, in my case it stopped in the middle of the final spin cycle so it only meant my clothes were a bit wetter than usual. Okay, a lot wetter than usual but not so dripping wet that the dryer was not able to adequately handle it. I was glad it was just a small (and light) load of my husband's dress shirts and a couple of my blouses. If it would have been a load of oversized bath towels, well... I don't even want to think about it! I acquired my old washer when we purchased our house nearly 11 years ago. The washer was the one installed when the house was built in......
The heart of a leader
published . 1 min read
Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to save others and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:43b-45 (NLT) The other disciples were furious. How dare James and John have the audacity to ask Jesus to let them be seated at his right hand and his left hand. Exactly who did they think they were? Did they think they were better than the rest of them? Of course, though they didn't say it, there is little doubt that the other disciples were secretly thinking, "That's where I belong!" We do that you know. We might not say it but no one genuinely likes to have someone honored over them. In our heart of hearts, I believe......
The great iphone incident
published . 2 min read
I didn't notice it until later this afternoon when I was talking to my mom on my landline. When she mentioned a recent picture of my grandson, I pulled out my phone, pulled up the picture, gazed at it admiringly (I happen to have a very handsome 4 month old grandson) and set my phone face down on the desk. A couple of moments later, I happened to look at it and gasped. There was a suspicious-looking line near the upper left-hand corner. Was that... was that a crack? Further inspection revealed the truth. There was a crack in my phone case. It was then that I recalled an incident that happened earlier that morning. It was an incident so trivial that I had forgotten it until I noticed the small crack on the back of my phone case. I had dropped my phone onto the concrete floor in the......
Save a life or destroy it
published . 2 min read
Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him. Mark 3:4 (NLT) Jesus asked this question of his his enemies in the synagogue when he saw a man there who had a deformed hand. "Is this a day to save life or destroy it?" They refused to answer the question. Perhaps this may surprise us a bit as they generally seemed to be very vocal about their opinion but when you think about it, what could they say? In their heart of hearts they knew the right answer. The Sabbath, as well as any other day, was a day to save life, not destroy it. The Sabbath was more than a day of rest. It was a blessed day, a holy day, from the very......
Chosen and equipped
published . 2 min read
Have you ever felt inadequate to do something God has called you to do? Sometimes like Moses, our reaction is, "You want me to do what?" Then we begin to tell God all about our shortcomings, like He didn't know them already, and suggest that He rethink things and find someone else to do the job. How easy it is for us to forget that God not only gives us life; He designed us according to His purpose. When it was time to build the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant, God told Moses that he had specifically chosen a man named Bezalel to be in charge of making it as well as all of the furnishings. Exodus 31:3-5 tells us that God had filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, wisdom, knowledge and the skill to work with precious metals, wood and all kinds of crafts. He was, in......
Standing at the foot of the mountain
published . 2 min read
But the LORD said, “Go down and bring Aaron back up with you. In the meantime, do not let the priests or the people break through to approach the lord, or he will break out and destroy them. Exodus 19:24 (NLT) All the preparations had been made. The people had consecrated themselves as God had instructed in order that they could come into His presence but it just wasn't good enough. They had to remain standing at the foot of the mountain unable to climb the mountain and stand in God's presence. In fact, God told Moses that if any of the people dared to attempt to approach Him, He would break out and destroy them. This is a sober reminder that God is holy and that means His attributes are holy as well. God's love is not merely love. It is "holy love". His......
But i can't!
published . 1 min read
Moses had an amazing story. He was supposed to be killed the moment he was born but he wasn't. His mother was able to hide him for three months but when he became to old to hide any longer, she placed him in a basket and set him afloat in the Nile River. He was found by Pharaoh's daughter and raised in the palace. He would have been educated by the finest educators, trained to take on a leadership role in the most powerful kingdom in the but he ended up as a nomadic shepherd out in the desert. In retrospect, we can see that this was all a part of God's plan. God had primed him not to lead the people of Egypt but to lead the his own people, the Israelites through the very desert land where he had been a shepherd for forty years. Moses had spent eighty years training for the......
In the place of god
published . 2 min read
Joseph's ten older brothers found themselves in an interesting position after their father died. Had Joseph merely spared their lives in regard for their father's feelings? Now that he was gone, would they at last have Joseph's wrath fall upon them? He certainly had good reason to take all their positions, sell them into slavery, lock them up or even execute them for what they had done to him. They deserved neither mercy or grace let alone forgiveness. In fear, they sent a message to Joseph reminding them that their father had asked that he forgive them. The Bible tells us that Joseph wept when he received the message. Years had passed since they had arrived in Egypt and yet they did not seem to understand that they were forgiven. He wished them no ill-will and in fact, wanted......
The god who has been my shepherd
published . 1 min read
Near the end of Jacob's life, he became ill. When Joseph heard the news, he brought his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim to Jacob's bedside. The knowledge that his beloved son was by his side strengthened Jacob to the point that he sat up in his bed in order to bless not only Joseph but his children. If you have ever wondered why there is a Tribe of Manasseh and a Tribe of Ephraim but not a Tribe of Joseph, you will find the answer in Genesis 48. The descendents of Joseph were to be given a "double-portion" of the Promised Land. Joseph presents his sons so that Manassah, the oldest, would be on Jacob's right and Ephraim would be on his left but Jacob crosses his arms, deliberately giving the greater blessing to the younger son. He than says: May the God before whom my......
It was god!
published . 2 min read
I started as I read these words this morning: So it was God who sent me here, not you! Genesis 45:8a These words were spoken by Joseph after he revealed his identity to his brothers. He told them not to be angry at themselves for brutally attacking him and then selling him as a slave. Huh? Joseph had come to the realization that it was God who had sent him to Egypt in order to preserve the lives of both himself and his family. This is contrary to a common message in pulpits across America which often blatantly declares that if you follow Jesus Christ you will never face trouble in this world. If you have trouble, if you are sick, if you do not have a fat financial portfolio God is either displeased with you or you do not have enough faith. It is a common enough message but is it......
Fruitful in the land of suffering
published . 1 min read
In a previous blog entitled But The Lord Is With You, I wrote about how Joseph's dreams had turned into a nightmare. Betrayed and sold into slavery by his own brothers and carried off into a foreign country, he did his best to live a godly life. He rose to the highest position of authority in his master's house only to be falsely charged by a woman whose advances he had rejected and as a result, he was thrown into prison. At this point the one might be tempted to think, "So much for doing the right thing!" In an instant, however, Joseph's circumstances changed once again. At the right moment "the rains" came. He had faithfully served God where he was and now the time had come for the promise to be fulfilled. Whever Joseph, the former slave and prisoner......
But the lord is with you
published . 1 min read
Joseph had dreams, big dreams. They were dreams that came from God Himself but on the day that he met up with his brothers at Shechem, he found himself plunged into a nightmare. Only this wasn't a dream, it was reality. Betrayed by his own brothers, he was stripped of his princely robe and thrown into a pit. He was "rescued" from that pit by his brothers only to be sold into slavery in a foreign country. He went from being the most favored son of the richest and most powerful man of the region to a lowly slave. The Bible is silent as to what Joseph's thoughts and feelings were when he found himself in bondage. We can only speculate what they might have been based on what our reaction would have been had it been us. What we do know is what he did. He faithfully served his......
I can do all things
published . 2 min read
Over the past nine years, I have become acutely aware of exactly how fragile I am both physically and mentally. In 2008, chemotherapy and radiation beat me up physically but just as I was beginning to sort of feel like myself once again, a subarachnoid hemorrhage due to a ruptured brain aneurysm changed my life forever. It could have been worse. I could have died that night or I could have been left completely helpless. Obviously neither happened and I am very thankful for that. I have been left with some challenges however. I am easily overwhelmed and am much more prone to sensory overload. This means I have to take "breaks" in order to regroup and move on. It is much harder for me to concentrate and remember things. Yes, everyone forgets things but this is a different sort of......
The things we say
published . 2 min read
On Wednesday mornings, I attend a women's group at my church called Sisterhood. We are assigned to a table each semester so it is sort of a small group within a larger group. After a time of fellowship we listen to a teaching and then have a discussion/sharing at our tables which concludes with prayer. This morning, after we had finished our prayer and were about to leave, one of the women turned to me and said, "Do you remember what you shared during the table discussion last week?" I must have given her a blank look because she smiled and said, "Remember the dream about the boat in the storm?" Oh yeah. Now I remembered! Last week we had been talking about the faithfulness of God. During the discussion, I had shared a dream I had about two years or so before I got......
We have a benefactor
published . 2 min read
In late August 2013, my husband received direction from God that at long last he was supposed to enroll in graduate school in order to obtain his Master of Divinity. I say at long last because this was something my husband had wanted to do even before he had obtained his BA in Biblical Studies in May of 1982. That's right. For 31 years he had thought about it, prayed about it, done the research and even taken some free classes to stay current but the door to do more than that remained firmly shut. When God said, "Now it is time to enroll." and made it very clear we were not to borrow any money in order to do so, I have to tell you, it looked like there was some sort of mix-up. You see, our only source of income at the moment came from long term disability and unemployment......
The mind of christ
published . 2 min read
I tend to steer away from politics and indeed, here at CB there are limits in place in regards to what percentage of our blogs can be politically related as well as a policy banning hate speech which includes attacking those of opposing political views. While some may view that as "censorship"I view it as wisdom and I would like to thank @abelajohnb for being a wise "undershepherd" in placing and enforcing these guidelines lest the sheep tear themselves apart!Over the past few months, CB has truly been a peaceful refuge from all the fighting in cyberspace for myself and perhaps for other members as well. I don't believe I have ever been more heartbroken over the behavior of too many of my Christian friends who are lined up on both sides of the fence. I have family......
The ironing board
published . 4 min read
For the record, I am not a Cleaning Diva. In fact, I don't even come close. I loathe housework and the only reasons I really do it is to avoid public humiliation and embarassment and the thrill of satisfaction once it is over and done with...for now. If left to myself things would be scattered here and there on top of and beneath piles in "plain view". The experts who claim to know about these sort of things would say people like me do not do well if things are tucked away out of sight. They need things out in the open or they can't find them, I guess. Sigh... For most of my married life, there was one thing that typically was tucked away and that was my ironing board. Oh, I would get it out occasionally, when necessary but my typical routine was to race down to the......
We're in this together
published . 1 min read
Amidst all the stories of division, protest, violence and hate, I stumbled across a local news story that took place in my hometown, not far from where I grew up. As people with opposing views aired their hatred through the streets, the airwaves and the internet, hundreds of people gathered together in a South Minneapolis neighborhood to say, "Regardless of who you support, we are a community." While I am thrilled this event made the local news, I am saddened that it did not appear to make the national news. That's too bad because I think this story is the type of story that everyone, not just Minnesotans, needs to hear and think about. Last evening, hundreds of people of various views and backgrounds convened together while thousands of other people across the country......
A reflection of christ
published . 1 min read
This morning I read these words: Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. Hebrews 10:24 (NLT) It seems like society as a whole is NOT doing that. In fact, it seems like people are intent on stirring up feelings of animosity, hate and division, especially on social media. As Christians, are we too supposed to join in and do the same? No! Our attitude is to be the attitude of Christ! Is there hate and injustice in this world? Yes there is, just like there was when Jesus walked this earth but He did not start a revolution and speak of overthrowing the Roman government. That's what many wanted him to do but he didn't. He changed lives by changing hearts and changed hearts change our actions. Are we thinking of ways to motivate others to acts of love......
Always be ready
published . 3 min read
Some areas of the US go into a panic at the mere sight of snowflakes in the air. Hordes of frantic people rush into the local groceries stores to stock up on water and other provisions. If there is any accumulation schools and businesses are quickly closed. Traffic jams as everyone rushes home and all scheduled events are cancelled as people huddle at home to ride out the storm. In my neck of the woods, things are a bit different. Newcomers quickly discover that even though a foot of snow fell, they are expected to show up for work and do their best to show up on time. The stores and other businesses are open although sometimes evening events are cancelled because there is really no sense getting in the way of snowplows if you don't have to. When I headed out this morning, I noted......
Do not forget!
published . 1 min read
During times of trouble, an oft-heard cry is "God, where are you?" When things are going well, all too often we ignore God and pat ourselves on the back in regards to a job well-done. This brings up the question, why do we attribute evil to God rather than good? Apparently we've been chatting with the enemy and listening to him rather than God yet again. When will we ever learn? Sometimes we are a very forgetful people. We tend to remember the struggles but forget the blessings. We need to stop doing that. We need to not only record those blessings, we need to tell about them. This is something God told the Israelites to do over and over again. They were to record the things God had done but they were not to stop with just doing that. They were also supposed to share them......
Remain in my love
published . 1 min read
Photo credit: aftab. via Foter.com / CC BY-NC On the eve of His betrayal, Jesus gives this command to His disciples, "Remain in my love" (John 15:9). He then explains exactly how to do that. In order to remain in his love, we must obey his commandments (John 15:10). What are his commandments? It is at this point that individuals within the Church (or individuals who claim be within the Church) grab their list. For the sake of convenience, they have thoughtfully run enough copies of that list for everyone else. It is a long list. A very long list. Often this list is merely a list of "do's and don'ts with the do's outnumbering the don'ts at least three to one. When Jesus was asked what the greatest law was, he got straight to the point making it so simple that......
It happened for the glory of god
published . 3 min read
Tragedy had struck the beloved brother of Mary and Martha, dear friends of Jesus had become critically ill. Fearful and grief-stricken, the sisters sent word to Jesus, knowing that He could make things right again. But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus's sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this. John 11:4 (NLT) Now this is the place where you would expect Jesus to immediately rush to the side of his friend. That's what I did several years ago when I received word one evening that a dear friend had hospitalized due to pneumonia and had been intubated. Although my friends lived 500 miles away from us, my husband was looking up rental car information and checking out flights for me before I......
When you go
published . 1 min read
In some parts of the world, people are warned that if they choose to follow Christ, they will face severe persecution and even death. To follow Christ may very well involve the loss of their job, their home, their reputation and often even their family. The question is not, "Will you face persecution?" The question is, "Will you be faithful even unto death?" Jesus clearly tells us that we will face trouble in this world yet a different message seems to be preached from so many pulpits in places where it is seemingly "safe" to be a Christian. This "gospel" is so pleasant to the ears that thousands flock to hear it. I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting that this message of "Safe Christianity" which is really materialism, is......
Show your best face
published . 2 min read
I love to look at houses. That's rather strange because I am a miserable failure as a domestic engineer and interior designer but that does not mean I have no appreciation of a well-ordered, beautifully decorated home. With the advent of the internet age, I can curl up in a comfortable chair and browse through interior pictures of homes on the market to my hearts content rather than wait for an actual open house. Lately though, I've been rather puzzled by the pictures I have seen. I have never sold a home but I suspect that if I were to have pictures of my bedroom posted on the internet where millions of people could see it, I would want everything to be in perfect order. I would want everything put neatly into place. I would carefully make my bed and perhaps even tear it apart......
A black envelope
published . 3 min read
In May 2015, I wrote a blog entitled The Black Envelope which was based on a message my pastor had preached during a sermon series called, "I Didn't Ask For This". As I listened to the sermon that day, I recalled the day when I was handed a black envelope with the word CANCER written on it in large unfriendly-looking letters. I did not want this envelope nor did I need it. I wanted to write "Refused" across the top of it and send it back to the enemy which is who it came from. Make no mistake about it, black envelopes do not come from God. They come from the enemy. Often, in fact I daresay most of the time God prevents their delivery. Sometimes, however, for only reasons God understands, He permits them to find their way into our hands. I can only say that we live......
May i never forget
published . 2 min read
Photo credit: Foter.com / CC0 Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. Psalm 103:1-2 (NLT) As I read those verses this morning, I found myself reflecting on what I like to refer to as "God's Photo Album". From the time I was a child, I was taught that it was important to not only experience but remember the things that God has done. In fact, this was something that God commanded His people to do, over and over again. On more than one occasion God would tell his people to erect some sort of memorial, not only so they would remember what he had done but also so that the story might be passed on down from one generation to the next. We must not only......
There's room at the table
published . 2 min read
As a Scandinavian-American who lives in an area of the US with a very high number of the descendants of Scandinavian and German immigrants, the celebration of Christmas Eve is actually bigger than Christmas. In addition to attending a Christmas Eve service, many families get together with their extended family, have a meal and open their Christmas gifts that evening rather than on Christmas Day itself. I love Christmas Eve. I love the service, I love the fellowship, I love settling down after a meal, lighting the candles as well as the tree, singing carols, reading the Christmas story and then opening gifts. I love Christmas Eve. The call before noon on Christmas Eve Day. My husband and I were busy with last minute preparations for the evening, moving additional chairs into place and......
Asleep in the hay
published . 1 min read
He looks peaceful, doesn't he? This little guy looks like he doesn't have a care in the world. The reality is he lives in a very troubled world. His daddy is scrambling about working hard to keep a roof over this little guy's head, food in his tummy and of course, a good supply of diapers. As you can see though, he is not the least bit concerned about those things. Since birth, he has been cared for by those around him. He has been fed, changed, talked to and even cuddled. He has had a safe place to sleep and lots of supportive, admiring people around him. When he had a reaction to a vaccination yesterday, his leg hurt and he ran a low-grade fever, his mommy was there to comfort him and give him medicine to make him feel better. Other people may worry but not him. As far as he......
Come drink of the water
published . 3 min read
Photo credit: shioshvili via Foter.com / CC BY-SA When I read a blog this morning by @watchmanjohn this morning entitled The Broken Tap, these words came to mind: The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. Revelation 22:17 Let the one who is thirsty come. When my grandson was born nine weeks early, he was unable to take nourishment on his own. His body was simply too small and his sucking reflex was poorly developed. As a result, he received his nourishment through a tube that ran through his nose, down his throat and into his stomach. That being said, he still needed to develop that reflex and strengthen those muscles so in......
I know just how you feel
published . 2 min read
We've probably all done it. We know or meet someone who is going through some sort of tragedy. Perhaps they have lost a spouse or a child or perhaps they are battling an illness like cancer.Unless there is something broken in our mind, our normal response is to try to offer words of wisdom. "I know just how you feel." Then we proceed to share our story rather than letting them share their story. I'm wincing as I write this because I am recalling because I have been guilty of doing that more times than I can count. Perhaps the same is true for you. When I got cancer, a lot of people seemed to know just how I felt. Apparently because they'd had an upset tummy before, that meant they understood what it was like to go through chemo. It has been 8 1/2 years since my last......
The sun is shining
published . 1 min read
It was dangerously cold yesterday up here in "The Northland". The actual air temperature hit a low of [-23F] and with the wind gusts, the wind chill at times hit [-40F]. Someone posted on FB that our current temperature was colder than Antarctica. I shrugged and said, "It is summer in Antarctica at the moment." I wasn't impressed but to put it into perspective I just checked and the low yesterday for Barrow, AK was [-0F]. Hmm... Being a native Minnesotan, I did not spend yesterday, hunkered down by the fire. I bundled up and ventured out into the world to go to church. Of course, I had a blanket and winter emergency kit in the car. One would be foolish to head out without those necessary things. Later that afternoon, I planned to attend a Christmas play with a......
God is with you
published . 3 min read
Photo credit: nggalai via Foter.com / CC BY I will never forget the day I became "detached" from myself. It is a strange experience to have your brain go silent but that is exactly what best describes what happened to me shortly before midnight on December 10, 2009 after a cerebral aneurysm ruptured. All the "chatter" that went on in my head and had been going on in my head for as long as I remember, ceased and things were very, very still. Lest you misunderstand what I am trying to say, I am not talking about hearing "voices" or anything like that. What I am referring to is the neurological impulses or messages that constantly travel through our nervous system as well as our thoughts. I never realized how noisy my head was, even when I thought I was thinking......
Nothing really does mean nothing
published . 2 min read
Photo via Foter.com / CC0 The Daily Bible Verse today is Romans 8:38-39. Do we really understand what a glorious statement this is? There is nothing, no nothing, that can separate us from the love of God! We have this promise and yet the enemy continuously and often successfully tries to convince us otherwise. Rather than listen to what God says, we listen yet again to the enemy. "Did God really say...?" Sssssssss! When will we ever learn! When God says something, He means it. Sometimes God does make a conditional promise. An example of a conditional promise is 2 Chronicles 7:14. In English, a conditional promise generally contains the "if clause" as in "IF you do thus and so, I will do...". Romans 8:38-39 does not contain the "if clause". It is an......
In times like these
published . 5 min read
Photo credit: ignis via Foter.com / CC BY-NCThis morning, as I read a blog by @watchmanjohn entitled The Lord Has Spoken Who Can Prophesy, I thought about two passages of scripture. The first passage, which was mentioned by @bethy in her comment, was Psalm 121 and the other one was John 14. Psalm 121 says: I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your......
The great cover-up
published . 2 min read
Thanks to the snow this weekend, my yard is nowhidden under about seven or eight inches of snow. To tell you the truth, I rather like that. If I can't have a lush green backyard, I would just assume that the dead-lookng mess be covered by a nice white blanket of snow that sparkles in the light. I no longer have to gaze at the ugliness that lies beneath it. Since winters are generally long in Minnesota, there is a good chance I will not see the ground again until March or early April. It is supposed to be a bit chilly tomorrow morning. The temperature is falling and will be about -20F/-29C tomorrow morning. The sun will be shining though and I am thankful that I have both a furnace as well as a fireplace. I am also thankful there is a little heater under my desk to warm my toes. Most......
The passage of time
published . 2 min read
I almost missed the past seven years. There has been a lot of heartache over the past seven years. In some respects, I am no longer who I was and there are times that makes me very sad and even lonely. Sometimes I miss "me" and even get angry at who I have become. Then I remind myself, it is not my fault and deep down inside I am still "me". The past seven years seem to have been filled with endless doctor visits, evaluations, forms to fill out, tests to take and so forth. It has been a time of job loss, not just for me but my husband. It was during this time that my son married... and divorced. Death has taken loved ones as well as friends. The past seven years have been years of heartache and uncertainty. I would not have minded missing those things. Ironically, they......
Resting in him
published . 6 min read
On Monday night I made a rather foolish decision, one I have been prone to make over the past few years. I sometimes resist going to bed until I am completely and I mean completely exhausted. Some of it is genetic. My mother has done this for a number of years but sleeplessness accompanies it. I believe that while that might be a factor in my case, due to when this problem began, it has more to do with the fact that it was in that very bed, while I was sleeping, that my brain aneurysm ruptured. There is something within me that feels a reluctance to lie down in that spot once again. The common-sense approach would be to move my bed of course but in actuality, due to the physical layout of the room, that simply is not possible. This is the only spot where it fits so there it remains. I......
The homecoming day
published . 3 min read
The day my family and a lot of friends have been waiting for finally arrived. The signs were all there. We kept being told the day would come but... we had to wait until the right time had arrived. My daughter-in-law had to have an emergency c-section when she was 31 weeks pregnant. While the survival rate is much better than it was even a few years ago, the situation is still very critical even though my grandson was over four pounds when he was born. He simply was not ready to be born yet and even at this age the lungs underdeveloped. My grandson spent several weeks in NICU. He was breathing on his own completely in less than 24 hours but still, he remained in NICU. He developedneonatal jaundice which is not uncommon even for newborns. I wasn't too worried as his father had that as......
My friend beth
published . 3 min read
Today is my friend Beth's birthday. Generally we say, “Happy Birthday” but I know that Beth's husband passed away this year and therefore things like holidays and birthdays bring a great deal of pain. I can't make it better. I can't even be there to just give her a hug as there is a distance of about 500 miles between us. What I can do is just simply let her know how much I love and appreciate her. Her husband's username on CB is “Blessings2you” and as one of his friends, I know that was a desire of his heart... to be a blessing to people, particularly those in crisis. God granted him that desire and he truly was a blessing to not just myself but other members of the CB community. In the “real world” , I believe that he was often one of......
Just checking in
published . 2 min read
My husband has made it a habit of checking in to Facebook when he goes to church. No, no, no! I don't mean he is checking out FB during the sermon. I mean that before the service he "checks-in" letting friends know, "This is where I am at the moment." To tell you the truth, I'm much more "secretive" I suppose. I tend to not let people know where I am unless I think they have a good reason to know where I am like I got lost on my way to their house and need their help or I want them to come and join me. My husband is also one of those people who take pictures of food and posts them as well. I think he has a lot of kindred spirits. Oh well, to each his own. Hmm... wanting people to come and join me. That actually is what happened today. A friend,......
Nine years later
published . 3 min read
I shall never forget the morning of December 3, 2007. Never. I was home alone, about to leave for work when I decided that I had enough time to check my email. I clicked on a message (that I later found out had been sent in error) and my entire world turned upside down as I discovered that there was a "spiculated mass" in my left breast which was discovered during a routine mammogram. I was not supposed to find out like that. I was supposed to be called. It is not the sort of news you want to receive when there is not at least a compassionate voice on the other end of the line. Trust me. When someone learns they have or might have cancer, they immediately think of one thing, "I am going to die". We may say we think about death but we don't. Not really, anyway. It......
The important unimportant things
published . 1 min read
"Do we have some hot cocoa mix?" I turned and looked at my husband who was standing in the doorway. It was a cold and somewhat blustery night and the idea of a nice cup of hot chocolate sounded rather appealing. "Yes, we do." Before I could say anything more, he was gone and I could hear him rummaging around in the kitchen. I thought to myself that perhaps I would go down myself as soon as I finished what I was doing and make myself a cup as well. I turned back to my work that had been interrupted. Now, where was I... A few minutes later, I was interrupted once again by my husband but this time he was carrying to steaming mugs of... you guessed it, hot cocoa. "I thought you might want one too." I smiled and thanked him as I took the mug he offered me. As I......
With a thankful heart
published . 2 min read
Since October 18th my attention has been focused 100% on the little guy pictured on the right: A few days before he was born, my son called to tell me that his wife was in crisis. We knew that she had developed preeclampsia which is life-threatening but after becoming quite ill, she went to the doctor. Little did she know she would not be coming home that night. Instead she was admitted to the hospital and finally told that she would not be going anywhere until her son was born. It is a wonderful things when a full term baby is about to be born but it is a terrifying thing when a baby is born (or may need to be born) prematurely. My husband and I met up with my daughter-in-law's parents at the hospital and we prayed. Then we got the news that they did not need to induce laboryet and......
The power source
published . 3 min read
Early this morning I was awakened by a weather alert going off on my phone and informing me there was a winter weather advisory out until tomorrow. I turned if off, looked out at the gray sky and bare trees, shivered and decided that since I'd been on the run for the past four days I would reward myself by snuggling up with a book and putting off what I should be doing this morning until later. Normally this time of year finds me in a frenzy. I figured up that over the past 35 years of my marriage, I have been responsible for preparing 32 Thanksgiving dinners. Out of the three that I wasn't, one of them was due to having been recently released from the hospital due to severe morning sickness (someone invited us over and I spent 99% of the time lying on the bed in the guest room)......
What would you have god do?
published . 3 min read
A blog I read today by@watchmanjohn entitledScars On Our HeartNot Healed, caused me to reflect upon some accounts of healing I read about this morning in Luke. On more than one occasion, Jesus specifically asks the person what they want. This is something I have noted before and I find it very interesting because the scriptures also clearly reveal that Jesus knew the most secret thoughts of individuals. Did Jesus know the thoughts and desires of the people who came to him for healing? Yes, I believe he did so that begs this question. Why did he then ask them what they desired? We ask God for a lot of things. I think the things that are at the top of the list are probably related to physical healing and our financial well-being. Of course we should be asking God to provide for us......
Remaining in god's presence
published . 1 min read
And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. Exodus 33:11 This morning, at a womens' meeting at my church, this verse was brought to my attention. We had actually been focusing on the Battle of Jericho but the question arose as to how to Joshua had become a man who walked by faith rather than by sight. That was a very good question. In looking back at Joshua's life, that for Joshua, trusting God to deliver Jericho into his hands was not an isolated incident. He had learned to trust God and stand firm, even when nearly everyone else did not. (Numbers 14:6-10) Exodus 33:11, reveals to us something interesting about Joshua. He......
Just like i always have
published . 2 min read
Over the past two weeks as I stood next to my tiny grandson in NICU and gazed into his eyes, I remembered another baby, another little boy so long ago and yet it seems like yesterday. A baby that I cuddled and rocked as I softly sang him lullabies and prayed. He would gaze steadily into my eyes and wrap his tiny fingers around mine. He was the boy who would find comfort by climbing into my lap and resting his head on my shoulder. My hugs and kisses were magical once upon a time, conquering every problem, hurt and fear but little boys grow up into men with problems that can't be cured by a kiss and a hug. I prayed for my grandson, knowing that kisses and hugs were not enough for him either. However, I immediately learned something that every grandparent learns in NICU. We not only hurt......
When i go home
published . 3 min read
Due to complications which endangered the lives of both mother and child, my grandson Isaac arrived two weeks ago... nine weeks early. Fortunately, my daughter-in-law had already been hospitalized almost a week earlier when her blood pressure had soared and an alarming amount of fluid was accumulating. As of several days ago, she had dropped over 70 pounds in less than two weeks so when I say an alarming amount, I mean it! When she was admitted to the hospital, the possibility of the baby needing to be delivered immediately was very real and we began to pray. It was too early. His estimated size was about four pounds but his lungs were not fully developed yet. Steroids could be given to accelerate lung development but they needed time to work. Everyone was very relieved when things......
No room at the inn
published . 3 min read
The nurse poked her head into the room where my mother and I were sitting next to my grandson who has been in NICU since he was born nine weeks early this past Tuesday. She had been trying to reach my son but had been unable to do so. There was a room that had opened up for them at the Ronald McDonald House which is just down the hall from where their little boy lay. They could have it tonight (Saturday) and Sunday evening if they let they checked in by 7:00 p.m. My daughter-in-law had checked out of the hospital earlier this afternoon and they had gone home to drop off some things before coming back to the hospital. I managed to get ahold of my son to let him know the room was available if they wanted it. They did. It is only about a 30 minute drive from their home to the hospital but......
A chance encounter?
published . 4 min read
It had been a very long couple of days. Actually, make that a very long week. Last Thursday, I got a call from my son that his wife was being admitted to the hospital due to complications from preeclampsia. Since there is no cure for preeclampsia other than giving birth, they might have to take the baby. At the time she was 30 weeks pregnant. We prayed and waited to see what God would do and as we did so, He kept the parents and grandparents of this little one in perfect peace, knowing that mother and baby were in God's hands and that all would be well... no matter what. Friday passed and Saturday came. Saturday marked a new "week" in this pregnancy so my daughter-in-law was now in week 31, one week closer to her due date of December 17th. How long would she be able to hang......
Ignore the comments
published . 2 min read
Jairus, a leader of a synagogue came to Jesus in desperation. His daughter was ill to the point of death. He begged Jesus to come with him, lay His hands on her so that she could live. Jesus responds by going immediately. In the interim, however, it seems that a delay occurred. A healing took place but it was not the healing that the man had hoped for, in fact... the healing happened to someone other than his daughter. Jesus had been "interrupted" by a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years. Because of the nature of her illness, she was "unclean",an outcast and the poorest of the poor because the Bible tells us she had spent everything she had seeking a cure to no avail.She wasn't supposed to do what she did for whoever she touched would be declared......
No excuses...just follow
published . 3 min read
I started reading the Gospel of Mark this morning and one of the things that struck me was what happened when Jesus encounter Levi the Tax Collector who is better known as Matthew, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus and the author of the four Gospels. In Mark 2:14, Mark records that Matthew was sitting at his tax collection booth when Jesus said to him, "Come, be my disciple." Matthew did not ask Jesus why nor did he even ask, "What's in it for me?" He did not even say, "I'm working at the moment but I'll follow you as soon as my shift is up." Matthew simply left his booth right then and there and followed Jesus without any questions or excuses and he continued to follow Jesus until the very end. While we can't be certain, tradition says he......
Waiting with great expectation
published . 2 min read
But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. Psalm 71:14 (NKJV) In the Greek myth, Pandora's Box, Pandora allows her curiosity to get the best of her and opens the beautiful box she had been told to notopen, releasing all of the trouble and evil into the world. Weeping, she discovers the box is not completely empty for there at the bottom of the box lies Hope. Like so many myths, there is a grain of truth in this story for we know that after sin was released into this world, Adam and Eve have an encounter with God who, before uttering judgment upon them, uttered hope (Genesis 3:15). Have you ever notice that? Read chapter 3 very carefully and you will see that while the serpent was sentenced prior to Genesis 3:15, Adam and Eve were not. Is this important to......
Nothing means nothing
published . 1 min read
There is an old saying which says, "When it rains, it pours." but sometimes we are facing much more than a sudden cloudburst. We find ourselves out on the high seas, caught in a deluge which we are certain rivals Noah's, desperately praying that a piece of debris will be strong enough to us to climb up onto lest we end up in a watery grave. Utterly exhausted and afraid, no make that terrified, we strain our eyes, seeking help but we see/hear nothing. Nothing... Romans 8:35-39 tells us thatnothingcan separate us from the love of Christ. Nothing. Do we believe that or are these just pretty words that we recite when we are enjoying smooth sailing? Nothing means nothing and we must remember and declare this truth not only in the good times but in the bad as well. Is the hand of......
Spinning round and round
published . 1 min read
While writing a blog this morning, I paused for a few moments to searching for the right words. As I turned my head slightly, a movement behind me attracted my attention. In the corner of the room was a box which I had opened rather hurriedly the day before and I had left it sitting in the corner. The box was empty except for an inflated "pillow" which had kept the item from jostling around in the box during shipment. I had turned on the ceiling fan and the box was positioned in such a way that the breeze from the fan eventually lifted the pillow out of small box and the pillow was now dancing about on the floor under the fan. I found myself chuckling as it twirled round and round, never making any headway but suddenly a very sobering thought struck me. This little pillow was......
But...have i told you why i love you?
published . 2 min read
Over the past few weeks, my pastor has been doing a sermon series on family. I think it is important to not only share with people how to come to Christ but we must also show them how to grow spiritually as well as emotionally and that includes strengthening and if necessary healing the relationships we have with others. When you think about it, we cannot have a healthy relationship with God if we have unhealthy relationships with others. Jesus made it quite clear that things like unforgiveness and bitterness toward otherswill stand between us and God and we need to make things right. Sometimes it is impossible to do this physically but we need to forgive and let go regardless. One of the challenges this morning was to write down the things you love about someone... and tell them. Do not......
The garage sale
published . 2 min read
This morning, while attending a women's group at my church, one woman shared this story: Earlier this summer she had cleaned out her cupboards and closets and she decided to have a garage sale before the summer was over. As the time drew near, she simply did not feel like going through the time and trouble but felt impressed to do so any way. The weather did not cooperate, the customers were few and in fact, she ended up closing down sooner than she had expected. She would take the items to a local charity and be done with it. That should have settled the matter once and for all but it didn't. She could not get rid of the sense that she had to have a garage sale. Why? She had already followed the prompt to do the sale and things had not gone well. It has been a rather gloomy and......
But i did what god said!
published . 3 min read
In Matthew 14, immediately after the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 men as well as, in all probability, numerous women and children as well, Jesus commands His disciples to take the boat and head for the other side of the Sea of Galilee.(v. 22) Jesus Himself, does not join them this time. Instead, He goes up into the hills to pray.(v. 23) The Bible tells us that while the disciples were doing exactly what Jesus had told them to do, a fierce storm arose. Geographically, the Sea of Galilee is susceptible to these fierce and sudden storms that arise without warning. I can relate to this because I live in a part of the world where it is not unusual for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to suddenly erupt. Thanks to modern technology nowadays the detection of the conditions that may spawn......
The missing link
published . 1 min read
Several times a year, my husband and I host a small group on finances and stewardship in our home which is sponsored by our church. Earlier today, I needed to send out an email to our group which in addition to other information was also supposed to include a link to a website they needed to register with in order to obtain their materials. In my message I told them all about the wonderful resources they would find on this website for the class they were taking. They would not only be able to view the videos once again, they would also be able to see bonus videos on some other topics we would not be covering but might be of interest to them. There was also a library of articles, some great online tools, a place to ask questions and find answers and so forth. I gushed on and on about what......
Give me eyes to see and wisdom to do
published . 2 min read
Over the past year or so, my attention is drawn to how blindly we go through life, oblivous to the needs around us. When we do become aware of them, we often say and do things that are thoughtless and than plead ignorance if our thoughtlessness is brought to our attention. In other words, ignorance justifies thoughtless actions on our part. It is one thing to make a blunder and then apologize and try to correct it, resolving to try to be more mindful next time. It is another to excuse our behavior, even if we were well-meaning. My husband taught me a valuable lesson early in our marriage. When he became aware that something he had said and done had hurt my feelings, the first words that came out of his mouth were not, "I didn't mean it that way." His first words were,......
Good to know you're there!
published . 1 min read
With our first cry, we find sudden comfort in hearing the voice of our mother and feeling her arms around us as well as the familiar beating of her heart. Suddenly the confusion around us does not matter for we discover we are not alone. Separation. Being alone. It is something that we all dread. I want to pause for a moment and clarify that there is a difference between desiring a bit of solitude and being lonely. One is a choice and we are in control (at least somewhat) in regards to where, when and for how long. We have little or no control over the other. Though some of us are more "social" than others, we are social beings. According to the accounts of former prisoners which I have read, who have experienced both solitary confinement and torture, it seems that being......
Build up your defenses!
published . 3 min read
Nehemiah was extremely troubled. Although the temple had been rebuilt years earlier by the returning Jews, the walls of Jerusalem still lay in ruins. In ancient times, having a strong wall with strong gates was crucial. The purpose of the wall was to protect the inhabitants from the attack and infilitration of their enemies. Without walls, the city was vulnerable. Anyone could easily enter it making it much more difficult to defend. In all fairness, there had been a previous attempt to rebuild the walls. However, enemies in the surrounding area had advised Artaxerxes I, King of Persia that the city would rise up in rebellion against him if the walls were rebuilt. Under Artaxerxes' orders, construction came to a grinding halt for a number of years. Nehemiah, cupbearer of King......
Let it go!
published . 3 min read
I have a confession to make. Actually, this is no secret to those who know me well. When I am faced with a dilema, I have a tendency to seize it and lock on to it like a pit bull, shaking it about until I have conquered it or sometimes until it has finally conquered me. I do not give up very easily and while persistence can be a good thing sometimes it is not. Take last night for example. I got a new iPhone. This was supposed to be a simple thing. For once, I had actually done the right thing and things were already backed up on my iCloud and I was told that while I might have to enter in a few passwords once again, everything seemed to be there. The man at the store actually let me see things for myself. There were my contacts, there were my apps, there were my recent emails and there......
But god didn't...!
published . 4 min read
Over the past few years, God has called my husband and I to minister to people who are in financial crisis. We cringe at the mistakes we have made over the years but are thankful that God has used those mistakes to teach us some very valuable lessons and has given us the privilege of helping other people who find themselves where we have been. It has been a long, hard road back to where we should have been and it has been a road with some major detours due to illness and unemployment butGod has been faithful when we have obediently followed the plan He has laid out for us. The last part is key and it is often where we stumble. We do not obey God and then we have the audacity to cry out, "I asked God to help me but He didn't!" God is our helper and our deliverer but have you......
It is not forever
published . 4 min read
On February 29, 2008, I began chemo treatments every other Friday. Exactly 24 hours after my infusion ended, I had to report to another clinic that was opened on Saturdays in order to have my Neulasta shot. Chemo works by destroying fast-growing cells like cancer cells but the downside is it also destroys healthy fast-growing cells like blood cells, particularly white blood cells which leaves you very susceptible to infection. Neulasta stimulates and acceleratesthe growth of white blood cells. Most people have no problem with Neulasta but about 20% of the population experiences bone marrow pain. I was one of the 20% and I cannot describe how this deep pain felt. What I can tell you is there is nothing you can take to ease this type of pain. Nothing. The only thing you can do is pray and......
In this moment
published . 3 min read
A blog posted today by @paulphil entitled About Defining Moments caused me to think about a major defining moment in my life that has radically affected the way I not only view things but how I live. I began to think in terms of "moments" when I sat in front of a computer screen in my empty house and learned I had a tumor that in all likelihood was cancer. It was. I have had unexpected moments like that before, an early morning knock informing me that my father had died, news of an accident, a phone call in the wee hours of the morning and so forth but in that moment I came face to face with my own mortality and I have never been able to look much further than a moment since then. Why? Because I really came to understand there is no promise that I will live in this world beyond......
Listening to god's voice
published . 2 min read
The Daily Bible Verse here at CB today is: "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I have strengthened you, and have also helped you, yea, I will also uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness." Isaiah 41:10 (Pesitta) I must admit that sometimes, okay, a lot of times, this is easier said than done. I suspect this is true for others as well, especially when we encounter the silence of God. I learned a long time ago that sometimes it does no good to even attempt to talk to a child when they are hurt or upset. Though we might long to gather them up into our arms and comfort them, sometimes that is exactly the wrong thing to do. We have to let them be for a bit and wait until the right moment before we intervene. Strangely enough, if we do not, we......
Together through the bad times as well as the good
published . 1 min read
Tonight my husband and I attended the 40th wedding anniversary of my son's future in-laws. Tears filled my eyes as I listened to them renew their vows. You see, this was not a starry-eyed bride and groom promising to be with each other through better or worse, for richer or poorer and in sickness and in health. This was two people who bore the battle-scars of life. They had stuck together through the good times as well as the bad. They had gone through the lean times as well as the more prosperous times. They have faced serious illness and even stared death in the face, yet at the end of the day, with tears in their eyes, they were standing together renewing their vows. You could tell that despite the challenges which every marriage faces, it had been and continues to be a "good......
Cherishing the gift of friendship
published . 1 min read
I visited the grave of a dear friend today. I miss him and I miss the sparkle in his wife's eyes. I will not pretend to say I know how she feels because I don't. However, I do understand that she has been ripped in two. When God says we become one flesh with our spouse, He means it. When I was at the cemetery, I found myself recalling the first time my husband and I had visited our friends. It had been a beautiful time of fellowship that came to an end all to quickly. It was time for us to go home. My friend, a much better writer than me, wrote about that August day in 2009 entitled Looking Forward To Never Having To Say Good-Bye. He said it well. As I said in the beginning, I grieve over the fact that when I drive up to the house of my friend, he is not there to greet me. It......
It was impossible
published . 3 min read
I shook my head that night after we had left the home of our friends who were hosting a small group on managing your finances. The first step involved doing what you could to quickly establish a $1,000 emergency fund before tackling your debt. While that might be a small feat for some people, it definitely was not for us. Poormanagement of our money, hadplunged us into high interest debt that was rising with each passing day but that was not the only problem. Serious health issues had left me with permanent side-effects which left me unable to continue to work and my long-term disability insurance claims were still pending. Since my job had provided more than half of our household income, this was a pretty significant cut. When we slashed our budget down to the bare essentials, we still......
Follow the signs!
published . 3 min read
I had to go to the St. Louis airport early this morning. Since I had never been there before, I carefully followed the signs to the parking ramp. When I arrived at the entrance however, there was a road block and a sign which said the ramp was full. Hmm... Several ramp employees were standing next to the sign so I pulled up and asked them where I could park. One of the men told me I could park in the other ramp. Other ramp? I told him I was from out-of-state and had no idea where this "other ramp" was located. Could he please direct me to it? Sure! He then proceeded to tell me to go down this road, curve around and then go over here but when I did, I needed to get in that lane over there, not the one I had been on before and then go up and over, stand on my head, turn around,......
Preventative care screening
published . 1 min read
This morning I read a comment on a discussion board that made me stop in my tracks. I didn't know whether to laugh at the foolishness of the statement or get angry at what I perceived to be not only a stupid but possibly dangerous remark. According to the individual who posted the comment, there is no evidence that preventative care screenings are of any use therefore they are unnecessary. Apparently in this person's mind, preventative screening is merely a way for doctors to pad their pockets with the hard-earned cash of their patients. I suppose that's why many, if not all health insurance plans in the US do not even charge a deductible for routine screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies as well as for the lab work required prior to an annual physical exam which is......
Write it down!
published . 1 min read
This morning after reading a blog written by @paulushoffmaster entitled Remembering The Plenteous, I thought about the times that I pull out the box of pictures in my mind that is labeled, "Me and God". You know, that is my favorite box of pictures. How I love to get it out and spend time going through it, not only recalling the moments of the past but anticipating the future. One never knows what might happen when you are walking with God. One of the unexpected blessings of being a member of CB for nine years is that I have a written accurate description of so many of those "pictures" as they took place. My blogs help me not only recall the memories but also the lessons that God has taught me over the years. They are my markers, my stones of remembrance that I can......
A good foundation
published . 3 min read
Last week I struggled and struggled in my first attempt to crochet a baby blanket for a little one who is due to arrive in mid-December. I must confess that normally I do not always take the time to pay as much attention to details as I should which means I do not always give things my best shot in my eagerness to complete a task and move on. Sigh... we all have our shortcomings and I am not the most patient individual who ever walked the planet. This project though, was special. Even though I did not expect to produce a blanket comparable to someone who had years of experience, I wanted to produce something that was not only functional but looked nice as well. In other words, I did not want my blanket to look like a trapezoid or have the mother embarassed to let it be seen in public. I......
Ignoring the little signs
published . 1 min read
Almost two years I inherited a desk chair from my son. He was clearing out his house after his divorce and I needed a new chair for my desk. I tried it out and thought it would do the trick but within a few weeks I would discover that I was wrong. It was actually what is known as a stenographer's chair and though I spent a lot of time in one in my youth, I discovered there was a big difference between that chair and the one I had just acquired. One had remained comfortable throughout the years whereas this one was just plain uncomfortable. In fact, it has a tendency to throw me forward and I find myself needing tore-adjust it frequently. I told myself I really did not have the extra money to spend on a good desk chair at the moment and decided I could live with it. I was wrong. It......
When one hurts we all hurt
published . 1 min read
Anyone who has experienced back pain knows how debilitating it can be. Over the past few days, the smallest task has become extremely difficult, painful and time-consuming for me and it is beginning to show up in my house. It is not that the other people who live in my house are not willing to pitch in and help me. It is just that they have their own work to do as well so things are not running as smooth as they normally would. When one member of the household is hurt or sick, even if they are the smallest member with the least responsibilities, things just do not function the way they should. In fact, as any parent knows, even an infant, no matter how minor the ailment, can bring a household to its knees. There is nothing wrong with my hands or my arms and yet in order to type this blog,......
Fixing our eyes on christ
published . 2 min read
In all honesty, I have not liked the year 2016 very much. The year started out with an uncertain situation that was not resolved until April and the sudden death of one of my mother's younger sisters. It progressed to to things like more serious illness among family and friends, more death, financial uncertainty, my husband being in an accident, my son's upside down life being turned even more upside down and so forth. I have had years like this before such as 2008 which I spent in cancer treatment and 2013 when my husband was unemployed but this particular year seems to be filled with a myriad of downs impacting not just myself but others around me as well. It has been a tough year for my extended family as well as friends. On more than one occasion I have informed......
My great adventure at cb
published . 3 min read
I arrived at CB on July 29, 2007. I didn't know it at the time but I was about to embark on a great adventure, an adventure that is not over yet. It all began with a casual remark made by my son that I should blog. At the time I laughed at him. Who on earth would be interested in reading my blogs? What's more, though I did not frequent blogging sites, I had observed some pretty ugly things happening on the internet. I cringed at some of the hateful, vicious things I had seen. It was not that I was fearful about writing about what I believe but neither did I relish the idea of bullies and trolls jumping on board and attempt to turn things into a brawl. There had to be some other way, a better place. I didn't know what or where that might be so I asked God to lead me there... if......
The crocheted blanket
published . 3 min read
After a hiatus of about 35 years or so, I took up a crochet hook once again this past week. I had learned to crochet as a girl but I never took it very seriously. The projects I actually managed to finish consisted of a few doilies I had created on a whim rather than following any set pattern. From what I understand, my paternal grandmother who passed away when my dad was 14, was quite gifted with her crochet hook. She used to make items for a department store in the town where she lived. My dad had a few of her smaller pieces and she did do very fine work. I got acquainted with one of her nieces a few years ago and through her met some other members of the family. That's when I learned that the granddaughter of one of my grandma's sisters does incredible work and has an online......
Walk by faith, not by sight
published . 2 min read
This morning I read a blog by@watchmanjohn entitledThe Miraculous Is Often Not The Best Medicine For Us and I have to say that I agree. The road God has had me on over the past eight years has been the rockiest and most difficult one I have ever traveled. Eight and a half years ago, when I learned I might havecancer and when I cried out to God to get rid of the tumor right then and there, I did not get the answer I wanted. He told me that not only did I have cancer (this was prior to the biopsy), He told me that in addition to surgery I would also have to endure chemo as well as radiation and my time of treatment would not be a walk in the park. He also did not tell me whether or not my treatment would be successful or if I would have any residual effects.He only told me that He loved me......
Into the battle
published . 2 min read
Last summer, while watching the movieThe War Room at the local theater,I remember suddenly starting and sitting up straight. An elderly widow known as "Miss Clara" was showing her real estate estate agent, Elizabeth, what she considered to be the most important room in her house. It was a closet which Miss Clara called her War Room. This was where she spent her time in prayer, away from distractions and on the wall were lists of the names of various people and prayer requests which she kept before her. The reason I was startled is because I realized that like Elizabeth, I too had stood in a "War Room" before only that war room was not in a closet. It was in the corner of my friend @blest's basement. Like Miss Clara's War Room wall, my friend Beth has sticky......
The towel or the title?
published . 2 min read
This past weekend, the text my pastor used was from John 13 which is the account of what has become known as "The Last Supper". It is a story which is familiar to many of us. Jesus takes a towel and to the horror of his disciples, begins to wash their feet. This was a task done not by a master but by his servants or as in this case, it would have been done by one of his disciples. My guess is that the actions of Jesus pretty much left his disciples speechless, all except Peter that is. Peter managed to find his voice in time to protest that Jesus must not do this thing. It was not because Peter was too proud that he protested; it was because he considered it to be demeaning for someone who held the position of Jesus to do so. In Peter's mind, the roles should be reversed. It......
The old scrap book
published . 4 min read
A few days ago my mother decided to begin sorting through the things in her attics. Yes, I said attics as my mother's house has not one but four dormer attics. My family moved into that house the summer of 1968 so much has made its way into those attics over the years. While going through one of them, my mother came across an old red scrap book. At first she thought it might have been a scrap book full of newsclippings collected by my granmother but when she looked closer, she discovered it was a scrapbook given to me by my dad over 40 years ago. When she called to tell me about it, my first reaction was shock for I had forgotten all about it. However, I quickly began to remember its history. Though I couldn't tell her exactly when I had received it, I knew it had been a Christmas......
Running into the chaos
published . 1 min read
The name of the current sermon series at my church this summer is called "Sandal Summer". The first message in the series challenged us to be like Joshua and the Israelites and dare to put our feet into the water so that we can step into the thingsGod has for us, going where He wants us to go. Week 2 focused on the power of the Word of God and how it is a lamp to guide our feet and a light to our path. We need to be saturated in the Word of God and use it! This week's sermon was about what has become known as the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). During the sermon, a pair of boots were held up that belonged to a member of a SWAT teamwho attends our church. His boots were not nicely polished boots. They were ugly, scuffed-up looking things. They were the boots of someone......
Keep sailing on
published . 1 min read
This evening, I happened to recall a blog I wrote long ago about a little boat in stormy waters. I did a search and I actually found it right away. The blog is entitled This Little Boat Is Still Sailing On and it was written on March 4, 2008 as I was slowly recovering from my first chemo infusion. All chemo is not alike and in addition to the side-effects of chemo, I also experienced side-effects from Neulasta, a drug given 24 hours after chemo in order to stimulate the growth of new white blood cells. The primary side-effect was severe nerve pain which no pain-killer can ease. All I could do was pray and hang on for dear life until the "storm" subsided just in time for me to do it all over again. This happened eight times over the course of 14 weeks and the effects were......
A fervent love
published . 1 min read
Earlier today, in a message to my friend Beth, I told her that one of the things I remember about her husband Kirk was his great love for both God and people. I said in part: Jesus told us that the two greatest commandments were to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Kirk did that. He really did. He just didn't love God, he loved people. He just didn't love people, he loved God. Later, I happened to notice that today's Daily Bible Verse says: "And above all things have fervent love toward one another, because love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8 (Peshitta). Peter writes that we are not just to merely have love, we are to have fervent love. The word translated as "fervent" is ekten©s. It......
I will wait with you
published . 2 min read
I remember that cold December day back in 2007 when I was going to meet with the surgeon in regard to my surgical options after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Not wanting to be late, we had left in plenty of time to deal with the morning rush hour and ended up being at the hospital about 45 minutes before the clinic opened. We went to the cafeteria, got something to drink and browsed the paper. I felt fine and even optimistic as I knew a lot of people were praying for me. I knew that God had everything under control. Something happened though on the way to the clinic. I suddenly froze right in the middle of the hallway. I just stopped and could not take another step. If I did, I knew I would begin to scream uncontrollably as I was being confronted by the magnitude of my situation. My......
A time to heal
published . 2 min read
When I was a girl, I slipped on an outdoor staircase and sliced my right hand on a broken beer bottle lying at the bottom of the stairs. I felt no pain as I had managed to sever the nerve so I did not realize how serious my wound was. One of my cousins, however, went hysterical at the sight of blood and ran for her mother, my aunt. I was in Iowa staying with my aunt for a few weeks so I did not see my pediatrician. I saw an elderly "country doctor". He cleaned the wound, stitched me up, bandaged the wound, gave me a tetanus shot and sent me on my way with instructions to see my doctor to remove the stitches the following week when I returned home. I remember the day I went to see my doctor. The moment he saw me, he let out a loud exclamation of disgust and shook his head. He......
Just give me a hug
published . 1 min read
If we are brutally honest with ourselves, we are uncomfortable when we encounter those who are hurting. We want to "fix it". We want to "rescue" them. We want them to "move on". So, we give them pep talks, search for words that might inspire them and make them "snap out of it" or even distance ourselves from them because we do not know what to say or do. No one, even if they have experienced a similar problem or loss, can understand exactly how someone else feels. Only God can. We can have empathy, we can try to imagine who we would feel but that is all. Recently I made a terrible blunder. I recounted to a friend a loss I had experienced many years ago and thought I meant well, I realized later that was exactly what I should not have done. You see,......
The valiant little flower
published . 3 min read
I thought I had done it this time. I really did. I am at best, a very poor gardener with a black thumb. I do "okay" with outdoor plants thanks to the rain and sunshine. Indoor plants are a different story. I neglect them and then I try to overcompensate and end up drowning them with my affection. Sigh... A couple of plants have managed to survive through the years in spite of me. One was a plant someone gave me when we first got married. It even managed to survive a move across the country. I had it for years and I was used to plants dying right away. I didn't know what to do with it. I got to the point that I did not even like the plant because clearly there was something wrong with it. I decided I needed to put it out of its misery and deliberately tried to kill it. I......
You lift me up
published . 2 min read
Yesterday, while reading a blog written in 2007 by @blessings2you, I came across these words: "God does not demand perfection from us. All He wants is for us to try to the best of our ability to do things right. If we fall short, He is there to carry us to the finish line. If we run out of steam, He is there to give us a shot of Godspeed to get us over the remaining humps. If we get distracted and end up out of bounds, He is there to bring us back onto the playing field so we can finish the game." I grew up in a pentecostal denomination that had its roots in the Holiness Movement. There was an ongoing struggle between striving to live a life that pleased God (because the way His children behave is important) and legalism. There is a difference. We are not saved by "works of......
Tell it to your children
published . 3 min read
I grew up listening to stories. My grandmother was the oldest of five girls and my mother was one of eight children so whenever the family got together there was always a lot of laughter, singing and of course, stories. The stories were not just about their growing up years, they were also stories about God. One of my favorite stories was about when my grandmother was required to appear before the authorities because there were concerns as to whether my grandparents could properly provide for their children. At the end of the 1930's, despite all of their efforts, the family farm in central Iowa which had been in the family for 70 years had been lost and the family was left virtually peniless. With no relatives to lend support (my grandfather was an orphan and my grandmother was the......
Even when it hurts
published . 3 min read
Several weeks ago, while setting up the stage for a well-known singer who would be performing the next evening, my husband fell six feet. In addition to being knocked unconscious, he broke his left scapula and three ribs. He was hospitalized for nearly two and a half days and we were just told once again by the traumatic brain-injury specialist that if he had not been wearing a hard hat, he would have suffered severe brain injury and probably not survived. No attempt was made to get him up on Sunday afternoon or evening, none whatsoever. They needed to fully assess his injuries, make sure they weren't missing anything (they missed two broken ribs initially), and get him stabilized. On Monday, the physical therapist attempted to get him up but the pain was just too much and the attempt......
When no is the answer
published . 2 min read
Most of the time, we do not like the word, "no". There are exceptions to this of course. If you ask someone, "Are you in pain?" and they say, "No." that's a good thing but generally speaking we do not like the word no and we like it even less when it is said to us. This isn't surprising. In the Garden, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and humanity has struggled with the word no ever since. When a child takes their request to their father, they are hopeful that his answer will be yes. In fact, sometimes they are absolutely certain of his reply. Sometimes they are right but sometimes they are wrong and the answer is no. It hurts when the answer is no. Doesn't our father love us anymore? Doesn't he care about us? He could give/do what we ask so why......
A celebration of life
published . 2 min read
I was a member of CB, the day I learned I might have breast cancer. It had come at me from out of nowhere. A routine mammogram revealing a spiculated mass, a failure to contact me, learning about it in probably one of the worst ways, via the internet early one morning before work, etc did not help matters at all. I couldn't think, couldn't function and yet I had to walk out that door, paste a smile on my face and enter a second grade classroom. I had no choice. There was more bad news. In addition to having invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) which is the most common type of breast cancer, I also had the rarest form. I had what was known as triple negative IDC which accounts for less than 15% of all breast cancers and is very aggressive with a poor prognosis. Most women are put on......
A matter of integrity
published . 4 min read
Earlier this evening, I tried to go out through our garage door. I say I tried because when I pushed the button, the garage door rose about a foot or two and stopped. Uh-oh. It seems that one of the springs was broken and as I needed to go out tomorrow morning (and both our cars were in the garage), we did a search for a place that could come out and do the repair tonight. We found two places that advertised 24 hour emergency repair but only one could come out this evening. I would have to wait until 11:00 tomorrow morning for the other place. Hmm... that doesn't sound like emergency 24 hour repair service to me. Oh well, there must have been a rash of broken garage doors this evening. Within about 30 minutes the repairman called. He was on his way. He arrived at our door and went......
Everywhere we go
published . 1 min read
The Apostle Paul says this about the Christians at Thessalonica: And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don't need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God's Son from heaven - Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 (NLT) Reading those words, I could not help but wonder if the same could be said about Christians today. I fear that collectively, in America at least, the......
The three-legged race
published . 2 min read
A week and a half ago, my husband had a fall at work which resulted in breaking his scapula and two ribs. His injuries could have been much more severe but he was hospitalized for about 48 hours and has limited use of his left arm at the moment and is recuperating at home. There are things he cannot do by himself but he is getting better as his injury heals. A week ago, he was unable to climb stairs unassisted. He needed help getting in and out of the shower and definitely needed help drying off. It was difficult for him to walk because his balance was a bit off and he had lost strength after being in bed for several days. Now he is able to do some of those things with little or no assistance. He is getting better but he is not 100% and he still requires help. I was reminded of this......
Crying in the night
published . 2 min read
This morning I was reading another blog written by @blessings2you that is entitled Standing On God's Promises. This is another one of those blogs that I have printed out over the years because as Kirk states in his introductory paragraph, it "contains certain promises in God's Word which ned to be engraved upon our hearts and minds. These promises form the spiritual backbone of our being that allow us to endure hardships and maintain total faith in God no matter what the circumstances around us bring." Amen! The first two promises Deuteronomy 31:6 and Deuteronomy 31:8. Moses is giving his final instructions to Joshua who is about to take over and lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. Moses tells the people: "Be strong and of a good courage, do not fear......
Looking forward to never having to say good bye
published . 3 min read
A little while ago, I remembered I had a transcript of a communion service held in cyberspace here at CB in 2009. @blessings2you had brought forth the message. I knew exactly where it was at but I was not prepared for what I found underneath it. Over the years, I have occasionally printed a blog or a quote because I really wanted to remember it. When I picked up the communion service transcript, the copy of the blog beneath it caught my eyes. The blog is entitled Looking Forward To Never Having To Say "Good Bye" and it was written by @blessings2you on August 10, 2009 shortly after my husband and I had visited him and his wife @blest for the first time. The tears ran down my cheeks as I read the blog aloud to my husband and recalled that glorious visit so long ago. I remember it......
A tribute to our friend and brother
published . 3 min read
In the Bible, there is a man that is only mentioned twice by the Apostle Paul. We know very little about this man and yet the few words Paul writes about him, reveals so much. Paul writes: "May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. 2 Timothy 1:16-18 (NIV)" Because Paul is speaking in the past tense and the fact that Paul's later reference mentions "the house of Onesiphorus many scholars believe that this faithful friend had died. If this is true, how much Paul must have grieved the......
A blessing 2 you and to me
published . 2 min read
He came to CB in October 2007 with the username of "Blessings2you". I had arrived at CB a couple of months earlier so I am one of the few members who remembers his arrival. I do not believe there has ever been a single member who has had more of an impact. No one has come close to publishing as many blogs. To the best of my knowledge, no one has personally met more CB members. He not only wrote blogs, he faithfully contributed to CB financially and was responsible for helping it whether the most difficult of times. He was not a rich man in terms of the riches of this world but he was rich in the things that mattered and he was a man who not only gave, he loved to give whenever he saw a need. Kirk was a friend to me and my husband but he was so much more. He was like a brother.........
Look what the lord has done
published . 2 min read
Some of you are aware that my husband had a bad fall at work a few days ago and is currently in the hospital. We are both very grateful for all of your prayers. In times of crisis, we have a tendency to cry out, "Where was God? Why did this happen? Doesn't He care?" This may be the natural response but it is the right response for us as Christians? Should we be looking at the situation or should we be looking at God so that we can see what He has done, is doing and will continue to do? On Friday afternoon, my husband got a call from the local union for theatrical stage employees in regards to a job he was going to do this weekend. They wanted to make sure that he brought a hard hat. Now usually they have them at the work site but they wanted to be sure everyone had one so......
Just a little while
published . 2 min read
And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10 (NET) When I read the above passage earlier today, I thought about how slowly time seems to move when you are in an unpleasant situation. In reality, the length of the days has not changed but it seems like it, doesn't it. The longest days of my life was when I was undergoing dose-dense chemotherapy. In reality it was a period of 14 weeks from the time of my first chemo infusion to the date of my last infusion, not even four month but it seemed endless. I was sick, I was tired and I was weaker than I had ever been before. My hair fell out, my nails became deformed, my skin turned greenish-gray and......
You chart the path ahead of me
published . 3 min read
Psalm 139 is one of those psalms that we should mark and re-read over and over again. This Psalm is attributed to David and he begins by saying: "O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up, you know my every thought when far away." Psalm 139:1,2 (NLT) Have you ever considered that God not only knows your past but He also knows your present and your future? Do you realize what this means? Aware of all your faults and failures, not just in the past, not just in the present but in the future, He still called you to come and be one of His own. He still forgave you of your sins and made you His child. Nothing we can ever say or do can/will surprise God and yet He still loves us and still forgives us in spite of ourselves. He......
God's people are generous
published . 2 min read
Psalm 112 begins with this declaration: "Happy are those who fear the LORD. Yes happy are those who delight in doing what He commands." Psalm 112:1 (NLT) The Psalmist continues by talking about the blessings that will fall upon those who fear the Lord. Their children will be sucessful, future generations will be blessed, they will be wealthy (more about that later) and the things they do will be remembered. (Psalm 112:3-4) In fact, God's Word declares this promise: "When darkness overtakes the godly, light will come bursting in." Psalm 112:4. What a glorious promise! Don't you just love it when you see light suddenly burst through the darkness? This is true for natural light as well as spiritual. How I love to behold the light of the sun piercing through the......
You thrill me, lord!
published . 1 min read
You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. Psalm 92:4 (NLT) When I was dating my husband, he gave me a gift one day. It wasn't my birthday, it wasn't Christmas or Valentine's Day. In fact, it wasn't any special day at all. It was simply an ordinary day so the gift was completely unexpected. Sadly, many years later that gift vanished off my desk at school one day when I was out sick but the memory of the day I received it is etched in my mind. The gift was a glass cube that had a measure of music etched upon it. My husband (then my boyfriend of course), had seen it when he had been at the mall with some of the guys the day before.When he saw it, he instantly thought of me and decided to purchase it for me. I was......
A pathway no one knew was there
published . 2 min read
Psalm 77, a psalm of Asaph, begins with an anguished cry to God. I cry out to God without holding back. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I pray, with hands lifted toward heaven, pleading. There can be no joy for me until he acts. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Psalm 77:1-3 (NLT) Have you ever uttered that same cry? I have and indeed, I believe it is an all too familiar cry that has been echoed down through the ages. Who among us has not experienced a sense of helplessness and utter despair at one time or another which has driven us to cry out in anguish for help? The Psalmist continues to write about his plight. His trouble has consumed him. He can't sleep, he can't pray. He......
Carried in the arms of god
published . 2 min read
This morning, during my quiet time, I read this verse: Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. Psalm 68:19 (NLT) As I read those words, I got a mental image of a small child being carried through a large crowd by their father. All around the child was the noisy confusion, the hustle and bustle of the crowd. Left ontheir own, the child would be in danger of being knocked about or even swept away by the crowd for often times they are neitherbig enough to be noticed norstrong enough to hold their own. Alone in the crowd, they can quickly become vulnerable, disoriented and afraid. Sometimesa child will even becomeparalyzed by that fear. Unable to see or hear their father, the child quickly becomes convinced that they are lost and without hope of ever......
Singing through the gates
published . 3 min read
This past weekend I attended an out-of-state wedding and while there, I spent some time talking to the husband of one of my cousins whose mother had recently passed away. I had not known his mother very well but my mother had grown up with her. When I had visited my cousin a few months earlier, her husband had told me that his mom was doing poorly and had been placed in a nursing home as her husband could no longer care for her and except for a daughter who was in poor health herself, all of the family lived hundreds of miles away. Like so many elderly people, they had moved to a warmer climate far from family which can have some serious ramifications when health fails. Over the ensuring months, her sons in Iowa were able to travel to where she lived on several occasions and in fact, my......
Guarding your heart
published . 2 min read
Saul and a servant had traveled through the entire land of Benjamin looking for his father's donkeys but to no avail. As a last resort, Saul's servant suggests that they seek the advice of the prophet Samuel who lived in the nearby town. Saul is initially reluctant to do so because he has nothing, not even food, to offer the prophet. His servant has a small piece of silver and essentially tells Saul it is at least worth a try and Saul agrees. As they pass through the gates, they encounter Samuel who had been told by God the day before that Saul was coming and that he would be the man that Samuel was to annoint king. When Saul approaches Samuel and asks him for directions to the house of the prophet, Samuel identifies himself and tells Saul to go up on the hill to the place of......
The music box
published . 3 min read
When I was a little girl, my father gave me a music box for Christmas like the one pictured here. I later found out that my mother had initially objected to his giving me this gift simply because she believed it was too delicate for a child my age and I would break it. She urged him to wait until I was older but my dad was adamant. He wanted to give this gift to his little daughter for Christmas. I can understand my mother's reservations. I was a clumsy and often careless child. I would race from one thing to another giving little thought to properly putting things away and would only do so when it was brought to my attention. What can I say. I liked having things uh... handy and if truth be told, I still do though I am far more disciplined nowadays. The music box my father gave me......
All my hope and stay
published . 2 min read
When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. --Edward Mote I typed the above words yesterday and stopped, not returning to them again until this moment, more than 24 hours later. Just before typing those words, I had been seated at my piano, singing them over and over again. As I sang them, my voice would tremble at the first part for at the moment it did seem as if everything around me had been giving way not just for days but for months and even years. Every step forward seemed to result in two or more steps backward and life seemed to be a continual crisis for either myself, my family and dear friends. Sometimes everyone seemed to be getting hit at the same time. I tried to remember the promises of God but more and more often I would find myself crying out,......
Give all that you have
published . 2 min read
“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” John 6:9 (NIV) I don't know about you but I tend to accumulate and carry around a lot of baggage. Some of the baggage is stuff that I really do not like. It is junk in my life that is unpleasant and I would really like to get rid of it but I drag it around with me anyway. Other stuff though, well, if I am honest with myself, I sort of like it. Perhaps I think it is pretty or valuable so I don't want to let go of it. Perhaps I have become comfortable lugging it around or everyone else around me has it so I think I must have it as well. Then there is the stuff that I think I might need so I hang onto it, just in case. It is not bad stuff but it leaves me with full......
Step by step
published . 2 min read
When I was diagnosed with cancer I began to talk to other cancer survivors quite a bit. It was during that time that I began to first hear the phrase, "new normal". Cancer is a disease does not just affect you physically. It affects you mentally as well. Though I suppose there are exceptions, studies seem to indicate that the vast majority of cancer survivors have their lives irrevocably changed and have to find a "new normal". This is true whenever we have suffered any sort of loss be it a disease, permanent injury, loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, loss of a career and so forth. Over the past few days, it seems like I have been hearing the song, "Tell Your Heart To Beat Again" playing on the radio quite a bit. For me it was very timely because......
Be who you are
published . 2 min read
I was listening to a radio program today which was first broadcast a few weeks ago. The host, who is a Christian, was talking to a woman (who is also a Christian) about the impact the women's movement beginning in the 1960's has had on society today. While there was definitely need for reforms such as paying women equally for the same work, access to jobs they were qualified to do, laws protecting their rights and so forth, there was something else going on. A message was being sent that men and women were exactly the same except for the obvious physical differences. As a woman growing up during this period, I remember being told that not only could you be whatever you wanted to be but if you wanted to do things that were traditionally considered to be "female", you......
The valiant little car
published . 2 min read
My husband opened the hood of the car and listened. He liked what he saw but the condition of the body caused him to hesitate even though we were desperate and the owner was only asking $300.00 for the vehicle. That was a great deal of money for us in the late 1980's. As he walked around to open the trunk, the owner quickly said, "I will sell it to you for $200.00." My husband was silent as he stared into the trunk. I moved to his side to see what it was staring at and discovered that the rear wheel wells were rusted out and we could see the pavement. Well, we could still carry a spare and jack in the back part of the trunk. We didn't actually need a trunk for anything more than that and we were planning to replace my broken down car that day as well. We would just make......
Capture your memories
published . 2 min read
In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses issues a stern warning to the people of Israel: "But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren." Deuteronomy 4:9 (NLT) Never forget. Sometimes it is easier said than done. In fact, we tend to forget the good things much more than we forget the bad. We can remember when someone wronged us for ever so long but seem to have to think long and hard to even try to recall when they did right by us. I have always found it sad yet interesting that people are very quick to blame God whenever something bad happens. We blame God for sickness, death, poverty, crime, when something doesn't go our way......
A story of forgiveness
published . 2 min read
A couple of summers ago, I joined a small group of women who met for a daily time of devotion and walking. Due to my physical condition I had to take a less rigorous trail than the other women in the group but they welcomed and even encouraged me to come and would take turns walking with me, letting me set the pace. How trying that must have been for them sometimes but whenever I suggested that I could go it alone they dismissed my suggestion. It was not to be thought of for to them it was a joy to spend some time walking and talking with me and I came to discover they actually looked forward to their turn to walk "my trail" with me. Never once did they make me feel like I was a hinderance or a burden. It was during that time that one of the ladies shared with me her story about......
The problem or the promise
published . 2 min read
I admit it, I tend to be a worrier. It wasn't always like this but the past few years have been years of turbulent, unexpected changes and that has made me a bit gun-shy. They've also been years where physically and mentally I have become much more aware of my vulnerability and just how fragile I really am. This has made me a bit gun-shy where I once would have marched in and grabbed the bull by the horns so to speak. The thing is, back in those days, though I didn't realize it, I was actually trusting more in my own strength and wisdom than God's but that is another story. Armed with the promises of God, twelve men entered Canaan in order to spy out the land and bring back a report of what they found. All of the men saw the bountiful goodness of the land. All of them.......
A life-giving perfume
published . 3 min read
In the spring of 1979, I was a freshman at the small Christian junior college where my husband and I met. Not following the usual route of most people who seem to have an immediate attraction for one another, for us it was definitely not love at first sight. Fortunately for us, we had the same circle of friends so we were thrown together daily and eventually after about four or five months, we figured out what our friends had already known. We definitely belonged together. The college we attended had strict conservative guidelines in regards to what women needed to be wearing when they left their dorm Mondays-Fridays until 4:30 in the afternoon. They were more relaxed on weekends and much more relaxed with men seven days a week but that is another story. What this meant was......
Do you remember?
published . 2 min read
I remember that Sunday morning when I fell at the feet of Jesus. I was but a young child but oh how I had felt that growing sense that something was wrong. I would hear about Jesus, sing songs about Jesus and even say little prayers but something was gnawing within me that all was not well. Though I don't know as I ever had heard the word used, I really did feel separated and I did not want that! There was no altar call that Sunday morning before Sunday School. Only a few people praying in a corner for the parents of some children who came to Sunday School and yet I "heard" that call to come. Fear of being reprimanded held me back but the God who loves us understood and had compassion on my fears. He "spoke" to my mother who was standing in the pew where I was......
Nothing to offer but christ
published . 2 min read
I started a new 40-day devotional this morning and one of the journal reflection questions was: Do you sense there are places Jesus might want to lead you where you would rather not go? Where? What is holding you back? It was that last part that really caught my attention because I realized that while I might be willing to go, my feeling of inadequacy often hinder me, particularly nowadays. I sat for quite awhile before writing down my assessment of myself. I am an overweight, middle-aged woman with thinning hair. There is nothing lovely or attractive about me... I went on to write about my faults and how I often felt people perceived me. Yes, I think that most of us have our moments of insecurity and many of us struggle with it a great deal. However, there are those of us who are often......
Warning! roadblock ahead!
published . 3 min read
Several times a year, my husband and I host a small group on finances which is offered through our church. Generally, these classes have 10 to 12 participants as our church has opted to offer several small classes in private homes rather than one large class at the church. This spring however, only one person, a young woman, registered for our class. Last week, the coordinator asked me if we were still willing to do the class (our class was being held on the only night the person who signed up could attend). Now it just so happened, my husband and I had talked about whether or not the class should be cancelled just the night before so I had a ready answer. We had decided that if someone wanted to take the class, even if they were the only one, we were more than willing to lead it. Now I......
With all my heart, soul and strength
published . 2 min read
And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5 (Peshitta) When I read this scripture I realize this is not a suggestion, it is a command. In fact in Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus says it is the greatest commandment which along with the second greatest commandment, love your neighbor as yourself, all the law and the prophets (the Word of God) hang. So, this then begs the question, "Do I love the God with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my might?" To say yes would be easy but would it be honest? Do I love myself, someone or something more? This is a question that should cause us to stop and do some real soul-searching. When I first fell in love with my husband, I probably thought I would be willing to......
Looking at the outside
published . 2 min read
I am currently reading a book that contains the testimonies of former Muslims who converted to Christianity. These people are often referred to as Muslim Background Believers or MBBs. As I read the story of one man, I was struck by something he said. After becoming good friends with a pastor, he finally decided to visit the church unannounced. The first time he went, everything was so foreign to him that he left before the service had concluded. Later, when he told his friend about his experience, his friend explained a few things and encouraged him to return. He agreed rather reluctantly but had a more positive experience this time because he better understood what was happening. After the service, the pastor invited the man to have lunch with him and a few of his friends. During lunch,......
Who are you?
published . 2 min read
In his blog entitled Dandelions And Kings, Dan K mentions the fact that no two living things, whether plants or humans are identical. When I read that I was reminded of an incident that happened many years ago. When my son was almost three, I took a position as a teacher at a childcare center because I could take him to work with me. I was the lead teacher in the toddler room for about six months. Two of the children, Danny and Devin, were identical twins. It did not take me long to discover that although at first glance these boys looked identical, there were some slight differences if you looked carefully enough and they were standing next to each other. Danny's face was a bit fuller than Devin's. Also, when they began to talk more, you could detect a slight difference in the......
God goes before you
published . 1 min read
"For the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you." Deuteronomy 20:4 (NKJV) When you think about it, the world in which we live is really a dark and dangerous place. The reality of this is very clear to millions of people who live in areas ravaged by war and terrorism or are fighting to survive in refugee camps. Even those of us who live in relative safety aren't really "safe". Without warning, any time, any place, the well-ordered world we have built for ourselves could erupt into utter chaos. Apart from God, we are not "safe". Even as Christians, we still live in a dangerous, sinful world and therefore we will be confronted with sorrow and suffering just like the person next to us. We are not exempt. When......
Cleaning out the closet
published . 3 min read
My husband and I are the type of people who tend to shove something into the most convenient corner to deal with or put away at a later date. Some of our kindred spirits are fortunate enough to be married to organized and meticulous people who immediately either make them go pick it up and deal with it properly or have given in and simply do it themselves. In our case, this was one trait in which opposites did not attract. We are long-suffering when it comes to piles of stuff in drawers or behind closet doors (and on desks) but today I reached my limit when I opened our front closet and things came bursting out. It was time to clean the closet. Actually, it had started earlier in the day when I found myself rearranging some kitchen drawers. I was on a roll and when that happens it is best......
It sounds good to me!
published . 2 min read
The travelers' faces were lined with dust, weariness and fear. Their worn-out sandals and clothing indicated that they had been on a long journey. What could have brought them so far from home? Joshua and the men of Israel soon found out that these men were ambassadors from a far country who desired to make a peace treaty with the Israelites. Now the Israelites had been forbidden to make any peace treaties with the people of the land so they immediately asked the right question. They asked the men where they came from. They asked the right question but they did not ask the right person. They did not ask God. The travelers presented the physical evidence that they were telling the truth. They looked the part, they acted the part but there was a problem. It was a ruse, a deception, a......
Is there any limit to god's power?
published . 2 min read
The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord's power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.” Numbers 11:23 (NASB) The solution seemed impossible. Though the people had continually feasted upon the Bread of Heaven faithfully supplied by God which they called "manna" (what is it), they were not satisfied and had begun to complain. This tendency to complain is not exclusive to the Israelites. It seems we all fall prey to it when things are not exactly to our liking. Once we begin to whine and complain, it seems that we become even more displeased and demanding making it very difficult to please us. A disgruntled, spoiled brat is the image that comes to mind and if we are honest, I think that all of us have uh... found ourselves behaving like......
The wound of unforgiveness
published . 2 min read
Recently I got reacquainted with a friend whom I had not seen in more than 37 years. I got together with her once again this evening and she shared with me a very sad situation that involved her niece who I actually met when she was just a toddler. My friend's brother had done something that utterly destroyed his marriage a few years ago. While his son certainly was hurt and angry about what his father did, he has been able to recognize that we all are capable of doing horrible, stupid things and what has happened, happened. It is time to rebuild as best you can. The daughter on the other hand has held onto what her father did as if it was her most precious possession. As a result, what was a terrible wound has grown and festered so much more hurting not only the guilty but the......
Obedience, no matter what!
published . 1 min read
God directed Moses to do a task in a dramatic and unmistakable manner. Quite frankly there are times when I have wished to receive direction in a similar manner. Then I remember that despite the method of delivery, like me, Moses was still uncertain, afraid and even made excuses, reluctant to obey. Though I don't like to think so, perhaps I would do the same. The important part of the story though, is not Moses' reluctance rather it is his obedience. He was uncertain and he was afraid. He had run away from Egypt and the fury of Pharaoh. He was no longer a prince but neither was he a slave. He had made a comfortable life for himself in Midian. He had a new career, married and established a family. Life might not be as comfortable as it had been in the palace but it was good. Now he......
The promises of god
published . 2 min read
This morning, I found a notation in my Bible which I had jotted down a couple of years ago. As I read it, I decided I would share these five promises of God. Sin need not control us again. (Romans 8:9-11) We need not be afraid again (John 14:27) His peace guards our hearts and minds. (Philippians 4:7) We need not be ignorant of His will (Psalm 119:105) We need never again be defeated Christians. (Romans 8:37) How easy it is to forget God's promises. Israel did it and so do we! Romans 8:9-11 reminds us that despite what the enemy may tell us and even despite what we sometimes may think, those of us who are in Christ are not controlled by sin. The problem is we are yielding to it. There is a difference. We need to stop yielding to sin and yield to the Spirit of God instead. John......
We have found it!
published . 3 min read
The mood in the room was very somber and quiet. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion except for my thoughts and emotions. The thoughts were flying so fast that I could scarcely focus on one before it was replaced by another. As for my emotions, they flitted between disbelief, fear, anxiety and even anger. I didn't belong here! This was not a part of "The Plan" but I still found myself on this table, the last place I wanted to be. I felt fully exposed that day. I was unable to cover up or hide. Correction. I had voluntarily put myself into this position though everything within my being screamed at me to shove the people in the room away from me, grab my things and run. I didn't want to be here. I didn't want to do this! I wanted to run, I wanted to hide, I......
Who you are
published . 2 min read
All my life I have been interested in genealogy. While it seems as though some families take great pride in keeping careful records of their history, my family (on both sides of the tree) apparently lost theirs as they wandered about. Then when you throw something like adoption or an unknown fathers into the mix it can even get more complicated. Adoption. My mother and her siblings have always had this feeling of not quite knowing who they are and they have passed that feeling onto their children. My maternal grandfather was placed on a train in New York City bound for Iowa and the great unknown when he was only five years old. I would eventually learn that his parents, who lived in upstate NY had brought him to NYC and voluntarily terminated their parental rights. The evidence shows they......
While you're waiting
published . 2 min read
I hate waiting. Some people seem to deal with it rather well but not me. I am one of those people who have great difficulty hiding my impatience. Even at 50 plus years of age, I sigh, tap my foot, rock back and forth, pace, dance about, twist, turn, stomp, helplessly wave my hands in the air, emit more loud sighs and so forth. My husband does not seem to have this problem. I suspect that I do it for him as well as myself. Over the years, my impatience has caused me trouble on more than one occasion and I really do try work on being more patient. I thought my impatience would improve with time but it really hasn't. I've only become a bit better at hiding it. God has been talking to me a lot about patience lately. He wants me to not only think about practicing it, He wants me to......
The promise of god
published . 2 min read
For years she had clung to the promise of God but nothing seemed to have come of it. She seemed to have reached the end of the road. She had spent a lifetime in the desert, constantly uprooted her home and following the man she loved and even called Lord. I think only a woman can fully understand how difficult it must have been for Sarah to make her nest at one location only to have to pack up and move to another depending on the season. Only a woman can understand the lonliness and even the fear she must have experienced when her husband would have to head off for days or perhaps even weeks to take care of business. Yes, Abraham had servants but he was also an excellent businessman and that requires a hands-on approach. Sarah had reached the point where God's promise seemed......
Jesus, our pilot
published . 1 min read
Jesus, Savior, pilot me Over life's tempestuous sea; Unknown waves before me roll, Hiding rock and treacherous shoal. Chart and compass come from Thee; Jesus, Savior, pilot me. --Edward Hopper The way was dark and dangerous. Uncertainty lurked around every turn. There were dangerous currents and shifting sandbars to be maneuvered through in order to bring your ship safely into port. In order to do so, you need a pilot. The pilot is an expert seaman who has first-hand knowledge of the route you are on. He understands and anticipates how the weather impacts the route, that the sandbar that was over there one day, may be over here another day or that water levels have risen or dropped and the course must be adjusted accordingly. I am very thankful that Jesus is my pilot. Nothing ever......
Woman to woman
published . 2 min read
With the advent of the new and improved group feature at Christianblog.com, I wanted to blog about a CB group for the women of CB called "Princesses of God". CB is different from a lot of other blogging sites in that it is a blogging community. In addition to blogging, anyone who wants to get connected with other Christians from around the world has the opportunity to do so, not just by responding to comments on their own blogs but in a variety of ways. One way of course, is to read and respond to the blogs of others on a regular basis. When you do so, you will discover that most bloggers will make an effort to check out your blogs as well and making comments on the blogs of others is a great way to increase your visibility. Another way to connect with the community is to send......
But it is just one little letter!
published . 1 min read
I was hungry for pancakes this morning and but had run out of the homemade mix I normally use. I could have whipped up more but as someone who is always in search of "adventure" I decided to try a new pancake recipe which I had found online. I am glad that I read the recipe carefully and noticed the editor note. The recipe had been posted incorrectly. The original recipe had a typo. It was a small typo. In fact, it was simply one letter that had been added to the abbreviation for teaspoon. Instead of being printed as "tsp", the measurement was printed as "tbsp" which is the abbreviation for tablespoon. For those of you who use the metric system and are not familiar with this type of measurement, there are three teaspoons in a tablespoon. The original recipe......
Sharing the stories of our lives
published . 2 min read
A few years ago I had read a book by a well-known Christian author and speaker in which she shared the horrible circumstances she had been in prior to finding Christ. She had been an unwanted child, produced under the worst of circumstances, abandoned and placed for adoption. Unfortunately the home she was placed in was not a much better situation. She did not know the details of her story until she reached adulthood yet there had always been that sense of being abandoned and unwanted. It was a heart-breaking story, until she encountered Jesus Christ. Her story inspired her to reach out to women who have been brutalized, disgarded and abandoned and eventually she formed an organization that rescues women who find themselves in prostitution and slavery. She also travels around the world......
Living in god's presence
published . 3 min read
Today I read a blog by @watchmanjohn entitled Taking 2016 For Granted. In his blog, he recounted an incident recorded in Numbers 14. The 12 spies who Moses had been sent to scout out the Promised Land had returned. The land was rich and bountiful but ten spies focused on the obstacles that stood in their way of possessing the land. Two spies, Caleb and Joshua, tried in vain to remind the people that God had promised them this land and regardless of the strength of their enemies, God would deliver it into their hands, just like He had promised. These were the people who constantly complained despite the fact that they had seen Red Sea parted and Pharaoh's army destroyed. These were the people who seen the presence of God as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They had drank......
The walls of jericho
published . 3 min read
Under God's help and direction, Joshua had led the Israelites into the Promised Land. This however was not a time for celebration and relaxation. In fact, it was quite the contrary. It was time to go into battle and take possession of the land God had promised He would give them. It is interesting to note that God did not simply empty the land of its inhabitants when the Israelites arrived. They had to get involved in the process and sometimes so must we. The fall of Jericho is recorded in the sixth chapter of Joshua. It is not surprising that archaeologists are divided on their conclusions drawn from the evidence uncovered at the site of Jericho. There are some things that they do agree on however. There is no question that this is the site of Jericho, not only the walls but the city......
An ounce of prevention
published . 4 min read
Earlier this week, I was contacted by a woman who worked for my health insurance company. They are preparing a series on the importance of preventive care and wanted permission to share my story. I gave my consent without giving it a second thought. You see, I am a firm believer in preventive care and I have good reason to be a supporter of it. Over 25 years ago, a doctor noted that my maternal grandmother died of breast cancer which had matastasized to her lungs. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was about 37 years old. She was 44 years old when she died. This doctor also noted that my father had been diagnosed with colon cancer at age 40. He died a few weeks after his 43rd birthday. Though these two cancers are not related, this doctor immediately issued orders for me to......
Those unnecessary things
published . 3 min read
Last week, the microwave over my oven broke. We knew it had a few "issues" over the past two years and so it was probably time to replace it. Rather than race around town looking for a replacement (I hate shopping), I went online to see what I could find. After checking out a few stores and not liking their prices, I decided to check out a place that sells new appliances with cosmetic imperfections like a scratch in the side which cannot be seen once it is installed. Their prices were better but what was this? A limited number of microwaves that were reduced even further? My husband and I hurried off to store. The inventory showed there was only one left at that store but the sales person couldn't find it. He eventually found it in a back room where it had been placed......
Chariots and horses or god?
published . 1 min read
Yesterday I was just thinking about a passage of scripture which happens to be today's Daily Bible Verse: Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright. Psalm 20:7-8 (NKJV) I remember a particular occasion at the beginning of 1983 when my husband and I prayed but trusted in the chariots and horses of man as the solution to a particular problem we were facing. Instead of waiting on the Lord and allowing Him to provide, we were enticed to take the solution that was handed to us, assuming in our youth and foolishness that this solution was God's answer. Looking back more than 30 years later we can both say with 100% certainty that it was not. We did not know it at the......
Inconvenience or investment
published . 3 min read
My husband is an embedded employee at a large international company which has various office complexes in our area. He is one of a team of people who provide audio visual support at these sites. Last fall, a contract employee with that company was looking for someone to who could pick him up and take him home while his car was being fixed. While it would be about 10 miles out of the way for him, one way, my husband agreed to help him out. My husband did so for a few days. Then the man picked up his car. After a few days however, he told my husband that the car was not fixed and was back in the shop again. Could he help him out? Of course! It was finally determined that the car was not repairable and would have to be replaced. For some reason or another, the man was not in a position where......
Despite the tears
published . 2 min read
I first saw this picture a few days ago and I stared at it for a long time. In fact, it moved me to tears as I recalled two blogs I had written a few years ago entitled When The Music Fades and Keep On Dancing. As I looked at the picture and thought about those blogs, I recalled the some of the most difficult and painful moments of my life which ironically have primarily happened over the past eight years. There have been days when it seemed like the physical tears would never stop flowing and when they did, they continued to flow in my heart. I wanted to crumple up into a heap and would even cry out, "Stop God! It is too much! It is too hard! I simply cannot continue to trust you! I simply cannot continue to dance!" I happen to know that the artist of this picture has voiced......
The evidence of things not seen
published . 2 min read
Yesterday, one of my pastors made a statement that really caught my attention. When we grab a hold of fear, who do we put our trust in? God or the enemy? He went on to give this acronymn of fear: F alse E vidence A ppearing R eal I have been in a battle with fear over the past few weeks and I immediately recognized exactly I was doing. I was holding on to my fear like it was some sort of pet that I was afraid would escape. I would take it out, pet it, feed it and even play with it. I didn't like it. I wanted to get rid of it but rather than put it out, I kept it where I could keep a close eye on it lest it attack me when least expected, I suppose. I was "facing up to it" so I thought but in reality, I was listening to fear and putting my trust in what fear said rather than......
I can't see you!
published . 2 min read
It is very easy to tell people to pray and trust God when they are in the midst of a storm but too often those are merely words we mutter as we move on. If we are honest with ourselves, we are merely trying to apply a Band-Aid to a long, jagged wound that is bleeding profusely to a person who is terrified. This requires much more than a catchphrase that we drop mindlessly before getting on with our own life. Of course it is good to pray and trust God whether we are in crisis or not. The problem is, fear can be paralyzing and the person is unable to even think straight let alone pray. I was in such a situation the other night. At home alone, I loudly cried out in despair alerting brothers and sisters in Christ that I was in trouble. I was in deep trouble to the point that I could not even......
Too many thorns!
published . 2 min read
“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Matthew 9:37-38 (NLT) This cry has been echoed throughout the Church ever since Jesus issued this charge. Who will go? Who will work? Many an individual has stepped forward and responded to the call. They will go and work in the fields. Some never make it to begin with. They were caught up in the fervor of the moment and once the crowd dissipates, the music fades and the lights go down, so does their desire to go and work in the fields. Others eagerly report for duty and God places them in the field as He sees fit. They begin to work with zeal but then something happens. They discover that working in the field is hard work. I grew up......
As christ also loved the church
published . 3 min read
The other day I published a blog entitled Some Thoughts On Being A Woman And A Wife. In that blog I wrote: I would like to start out by saying that the Bible does not tell a woman to submit to every man. It tells her to submit to her husband (Ephesians 5:22). In that same passage further on, the instruction is also given to a man to love his wife but more about that later. It is now later. I could not tell you how many times I have heard these words quoted and preached over the years: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Ephesians 5:22-24......
Some thoughts on being a woman and a wife
published . 5 min read
I recently read something recently that caused me to start thinking about not only the role but the behavior of a woman and in particular a wife according to God's plan. Often when this subject is brought up, a lot of people get this visual image of a quiet, timid little woman dressed in gray from head to toe (and perhaps barefoot, pregnant and sporting a bun), who works unceasingly in her home, rarely leaving the kitchen except to clean the house and put the children to bed. She quietly hovers close to her husband, waiting in anticipation to hastily fulfill his commands, his wants and his desires before retreating back into her corner. She thinks only what he thinks. She does only what he says. Her purpose in life is to fulfill his needs and bear his children. As for her needs, her......
Present with the lord
published . 4 min read
She was small and vivacious just like my mother. Life had been tough for her, very tough, but she never allowed bitterness or despair to gain a foothold in her life. Never. From a human point of view, she had every reason to be. She had grown up in extreme poverty. People "talked" about my mother's family after they were forced to leave their big beautiful home on the fertile land in central Iowa which her maternal great-grandfather had purchased after emigrating from Denmark in 1869. She was just an infant when the family had to temporarily move to the poorhouse until lodging could be found. It seems like the only good thing about the tiny two bedroom house they moved into was that it was situated on a large piece of land enabled my grandparents to have a very large garden......
Say it for daddy!
published . 1 min read
It was Christmas time, 1962 and the little white church was packed with people who had come to see the annual Sunday School Christmas program. I was just barely two years old but for several weeks my mother had worked with me on memorizing my little "piece" that I was to say in the program. I of course, have no memory of this event but I have heard the story of what happened that night on more than one occasion. My father, who was not a Christian at the time and rarely darkened the doors of the church, was sitting in an aisle seat near the back of the church. My mother, who was involved in the children's program led me out onto the platform in front of the audience to say my piece. I was silent so my mother said, "Say it for Daddy." To her surprise, instead of......
What are you supposed to be doing?
published . 2 min read
"What are you supposed to be doing?" The child in front of me stopped in their tracks and lowered their hand. With widened eyes they looked at me as if I had suddenly materialized in front of them. I hadn't of course but they had been so focused on what they were doing that they had failed to notice anything else. My simple question interrupted them for a moment and challenged them to stop and think about what exactly they were doing. It also caused them to think about something else. If they told me the truth, what consequences would follow? Would I smile my approval and tell them to carry on or would they get in trouble? Generally they knew if it was the latter and though sometimes they might attempt to babble off some feeble excuse most of the time they would be silent.......
He is our advocate
published . 2 min read
It wasn't until eight years ago that I began to fully realize what it meant to have an advocate. This is not to say that I did not need or have one prior to that but it wasn't until my life was literally on the line that the word "advocate" became much more meaningful. It was in December 2007 when my husband and I were ushered into a room where we would be meeting the surgeon who would eventually do my lumpectomy. This room was different from all the other rooms I had been ushered into over the years when I had been examined or was consulting with a doctor. Instead of several chairs for the doctor, patient and perhaps a family member or friend, there was a loveseat with a box of kleenex strategically placed in front of it as well as several chairs. I expected the nurse......
Living each moment
published . 2 min read
A few days ago, on a cancer website, I read a desperate cry from a woman who is struggling with anxiety after being diagnosed with breast cancer nine months ago. She finished rads a few months ago and had 22 rounds. Her feelings of anxiety in regards to recurrence were overwhelming her so at her husband's urging she expressed her fears in a place where hopefully people would understand. Something terrible happens within you when you are betrayed by your own body and there are no guarantees that it will not do so again. It is one thing to get sick due to a virus or bacteria but it is another thing when for some unknown reason a cell mutates, divides and begins to multiply, threatening to interrupt the normal operation of your body and eventually kill you. Especially when you are told......
The faithful friend
published . 1 min read
In the second epistle to Timothy, Paul mentions a man named Onesiphorus. He is only mentioned twice and both times it is in this epistle. Based on Paul's choice of words, many scholars believe that Onesiphorus had recently died because in 2 Timothy he sends his blessing and greeting to the family of Onesiphorus rather than Onesiphorus and his family. Other scholars argue that the term family of Onesiphorus also includes Onesiphorus himself or that he was presently not in Ephesus at the time with his family and Paul was aware of that. Which argument is correct? We simply do not know. In 2 Timothy 1:16-18, Paul first mentions Onesiphorus. In these brief verses, we actually learn much about his character. Paul describes Onesiphoros as "refreshing" him. The word Paul uses is......
The beaded bracelet
published . 3 min read
I was suddenly aware of noise around all around me. The faces of people who seemed familiar faded in and out. Why were they here? Wait, those voices. I had heard them before. I detected a booming voice but then a soft but strong and firm voice. Donna. That was the voice of my friend Donna. Why was Donna here and what was she doing? I tried to concentrate, hold onto the memory but it was slipping away. There it was again. Donna was slipping something over my wrist. I tried to focus but everything spun into a myriad of color and noises before being enveloped into darkness and silence once again. Wait! There was something there again. Something shiny and bright. I struggled to take a closer look at it because somehow I knew this was something important. There was something etched on it and......
An unexpected blessing
published . 2 min read
In the fall of 2013, when my husband was unemployed, God miraculously provided the means for him to begin to work towards obtaining his Master of Divinity. This was something he wanted to do after obtaining his BA in Biblical Education in 1982 with a minor in Greek but the door remained shut for 31 years. Only God could have opened the door for it is not normal for people who have been unemployed for nine months to shove loan papers back at a college financial aid officer and say, "Thanks but no thanks. God will provide the funds to pay my tuition." There was a time when we considered the granting of a loan to be the same as God's provision. We eventually got it through our thick heads that it is not. Better late than never, I suppose. While I will not say it is wrong to......
But that is normal!
published . 4 min read
I have cold-induced asthma which means that although I have an inhaler, I rarely need to use it unless I have a cold. Since a cold can hurl me into a vicious cycle that can last for months, the moment I start "barking", I begin using my inhaler in an attempt to keep things from developing complications. In March 2008, I became alarmed when shortly before 11:00 p.m. I began to bark. I dug around my vanity and found my inhaler. I shook it and... uh-oh. It was empty. Under normal circumstances, I could have probably waited until morning to pick up a new prescription. However, this time I'd had several rounds of chemotherapy under my belt which was messing with my immune system. After consulting with my husband, I decided to be safe rather than sorry and called the after-hours......
The littlest things
published . 1 min read
A little while ago someone called into the radio station I was listening to and told about an incident that happened to them the other night. The caller had gone to the Red Box kiosk and rented the movie "The War Room". After getting the DVD, they opened up the box to make sure it contained the right movie. I had to smile to myself because after getting the wrong one before, I have a habit of doing that as well though I rarely rent movies nowadays. To their surprise, the box not only contained the DVD; it contained a $5.00 bill and a note telling them to enjoy a snack with their movie. This reminded me of the time I pulled into a drive-thru. It had been a tough day and I was feeling a bit discouraged as well as exhausted. I placed my order, pulled up behind a car and waited.......
Looking beyond this moment
published . 1 min read
A little while ago I found myself singing, The Greatness of Our God. As I sang, I thought about the words. I don't know about you but often I find myself to be rather short-sighted. I may say the right words and talk about faith but in reality, I sometimes struggle to look beyond the moment. I know I should and I know I must but in all honesty, sometimes it can be quite a challenge to do so. That's when I realize that I simply cannot do so on my own. Only God can fully open our eyes to see more of Him. It is only through the revelation of the Holy Spirit that we can see "God at work". Only God can genuinely still our anxious heart and give us the strength and courage to cast aside our doubts and fears and step out in faith. Often when I lie down to sleep, I remember a......
Room at the inn
published . 2 min read
We were exhausted when we pulled into the driveway of my husband's father the night before Thanksgiving in 1980. I had been on the road for about 12 hours as I had driven from northeastern Tennessee where I was attending college down to a town just north of Chattanooga where my husband-to-be was attending school. I stopped long enough to load his stuff into my car before we headed northwest for his dad's home in western Indiana. The next morning, we noticed that no preparations were being made for dinner and assumed that we going to be going to be having Thanksgiving dinner at the home at my husband's stepmother's oldest son this year. He had a large home and that had actually been talked about the year before. Around 11:00, my husband's dad and step-mother announced......
Does it really fit?
published . 3 min read
"Context! Context! Context!" I cannot tell you how many times over the years that my husband has uttered those words at me. I love allegories and analogies. I love to dig beneath the words on a page, looking for buried treasure amd get excited when I find some. When I do, I am eager to share my discovery with others. The problem is, sometimes instead of finding "gold", I find "fool's gold" (pyrite) instead. To the untrained eye, pyrite can look like gold. I may think it looks like gold, I may honestly believe it is gold but neither my belief nor my good intentions will transform pyrite into gold. Why? Because pyrite is pyrite and gold is gold and all the wishing in the world will not change that. We need to handle the Word of God very carefully. Sometimes......
Let me do that!
published . 3 min read
For many years I spent the day surrounded by the Little People and I do not mean the leprachauns that inhabit the abodes of @bethy and @godissogood though sometimes I suspected that they might be related to the Wee Folk. One thing you learn about children is that they are of the belief they are invincible and can do anything. Of course, practicality can set in rather quickly at times and they are forced to ask for help. Still, they generally like to attempt to do something "all by themself" before calling out for reinforcements. Did you know that underneath all the shiny veneer of adulthood lies a child? We are bigger, we have more experience, we have hopefully developed more wisdom in addition to knowledge but sometimes, if we are not careful, we revert back to being childish.......
When god whispers in the night
published . 1 min read
Earlier today, I wrote a blog entitled Deliberately Letting Go in which I shared a struggle I had been facing for the past 10 days and had intensified over the past few days. I am very thankful for the prayers and support of my CB family. A little bit ago, I decided I needed to clean out my purse. I decided that the best time to do this was when my husband was watching the Ultimate Fight Challenge and the best place to do it was to plop myself down right next to him and proceed to dump out the contents and do a running commentary of each item before placing it in the "keep" or "discard" pile. I decided that this was a good time to clean out my billfold as well. I was rather surprised to find a receipt for my car tabs (registration for you non-Minnesotans) wadded up in......
Deliberately letting go
published . 2 min read
For the past few days, I have been struggling with overwhelming despair. It was compounded by the fact that the trigger was two-part. An change in my diabetes medication last week caused some very unpleasant side-effects which are just now being addressed and brought under control due to a new plan of action by my doctor. These side-effects were of the magnitude that I spent several days in bed and have been able to eat little over the past three days and desired even less. The physical issues are improving and I am optimistic that this new plan will work.The second part was a situation whose resolution is dependant upon the decision of someone else. There is a marked difference in how I handle these sort of situations "post-chemo/post-brain aneurysm". Quite simply, I feel like......
Who shall separate us?
published . 1 min read
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35 (KJV) In Romans 8:35, Paul first asks the reader a retorical question and then follows it by giving examples of possible responses by the reader. In essence he is asking the reader to consider for a moment whether tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword can separate us from the love of Christ. All of these things cause us to feel like outcasts, alone and unwanted, the very thing that we as human beings dread the most. At the moment of our birth, our cry is soothed by the presence of our mother when we are laid in her arms. All is well. We are not abandoned, we are not alone. Of course, we are not consciously......
Wrapped up in god's blanket
published . 2 min read
In December 2009, I published a blog entitled Wrapped In God's Blanket. I didn't know it at the time but just four days later I would be lying in the back of an ambulance tightly wrapped up in God's blanket after suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage due to a ruptured brain aneurysm. In that moment, I was helpless and unable to cry out to God. My family was so stunned by confusion and fear that they were completely overwhelmed. Truthfully, there was no time to pray, get things in order, figure out the right words to say, etc. I am glad that God does not need us and I am glad that I was already wrapped up safely in His blanket. In that blog I focused on Psalm 23:4. We love to read the first part of the 23rd Psalm and we love the last part but we tend to sort of quickly glide over......
In a twinkling of an eye
published . 8 min read
It was a ordinary day, just like all of the other ordinary days that had happened before it. I woke up, got ready for work, headed off to school where I spent the day teaching wiggly second graders who preferred playing outside in the snow more than reading and math. To make things even more challenging, tomorrow was Friday and after that there would be only one more week of school before "winter break". Back in the dark ages, when I was in school, we called it "Christmas Vacation" but at some point in time that name displeased someone who thought no one was entitled to think differently than themselves and convinced others they were right. It is interesting that though officially the name was changed, everyone, including the children knew exactly why this break was......
All that i have
published . 2 min read
Like most Americans, when I hear the word "thanksgiving", I think about the harvest celebration held at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts during the autumn of 1621. Shortly thereafter, a participant named Edward Winslow wrote: Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they......
Lift up your voice!
published . 2 min read
In his blog entitled Weapons of Righteousness, @watchmanjohn mentioned a weapon that I fear is often underutilized. What is this weapon? Praise. I don't think most people think of praise in terms of being a spiritual weapon. They think of it as something we do after God has done something for us or we do it in church on a Sunday morning. Perhaps we may sing "worship songs" as we listen to the radio or some other audio device or when we are happy but use it as a weapon? Nope. King Jehoshaphat understood that praise was a weapon. Surrounded by his enemies, he was afraid and did what we should always do first, cry out to the Lord and seek His face but Jehoshaphat does not stop there. In 2 Chronicles 20, we learn that he stands up and begins to declare who God is. He is God in......
Eight years later
published . 3 min read
There is evidence of a spiculated mass in the upper central portion of the left breast with possible satellite lesion. We will evaluate the area with focal compression views and ultrasound. Radiology will schedule additional views of the left breast and left breast ultrasound. Can you imagine being alone in your house early one morning, sitting at your computer and suddenly reading those words on your screen about you? Due to a technical error, that was exactly how I learned that I might have breast cancer on December 3, 2007. It wasn't supposed to have happened like that. I was supposed to have received a phone call simply asking me to come in for a diagnostic mammogram after a routine mammogram showed an abnormality. I would be told that it is not unusual for abnormalities to show......
Its in the genes
published . 2 min read
I am meeting with a genetic counselor this afternoon in order to determine whether or not I should be tested for being a carrier of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations which can be responsible for breast cancer (in men as well as women), ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancer. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, it was determined that I was not a good candidate for genetic testing but some new information has suggested that I am. After discussing this new evidence with me at length a few weeks ago, my oncologist recommended that I get referred to a genetic counselor in order to determine if I should indeed be tested for these mutations. Some people prefer not to know this sort of information. To them, it would be extremely stressful if they discovered they had a mutation......
There is a cost
published . 1 min read
Earlier today, while doing some Christmas shopping, I headed over to a website a friend of mine had told me about. The items are made by women living in poverty in countries where being a Christian means facing severe persecution. The woman who made the particular item I purchased, has had her facial features disfigured due to acid burns. This was no accident. Her own husband threw acid into her face before throwing her out into the street and divorcing her because she had become a Christian. While a husband and/or male members of a woman's family may attempt to kill her, sometimes they take a difference course of action and "ruin" her so that no one will want her and she will die penniless and alone in the hostile streets. Sometimes, rather than throw out his wife, the......
God is perfect in all of his ways
published . 1 min read
This morning at church we sang a song entitled, Good Good Father. If we believe what is written in the Book of Job, then we believe that the enemy cannot bring any harm upon us except by God's permission. Truthfully, this is a very tough pill to swallow because we believe that God is good and this simply does not fit our definition of "good". Either God is rushing about desperately trying to clean up havoc done by the enemy or our definition of "good" is a bit skewered or perhaps more accurately our view is obstructed and limited. Let's take a look at the Cross for example. According to the human viewpoint of the disciples that day, Jesus had failed to do what He came to do. In their eyes, it was all over. It was finished and in retrospect, it was however their......
A new way of thinking
published . 2 min read
A few years ago, I learned of an excellent book which exams the parables of Jesus from a cultural perspective. The name of the book is Through Peasant Eyes by Dr. Kenneth E. Bailey who was formerly the chairman of the Biblical Department at the Near Eastern School of Theology, Beirut. He spent years doing exactly what his parents had done, getting to know and conversing with not only the rich and educated in the Middle East but peasants as well. In a nutshell, the lawyer, whose true intent is revealed prior to Jesus telling the parable, was attempting to justify his own behavior which was based on Leviticus 19:17-18: Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against......
That you may prosper
published . 2 min read
In December 2007, I joined a breast cancer support group which met at the hospital where I was going to have surgery my surgery done. After my diagnosis, right before my husband and I met with the surgeon, a wonderful woman named Barb introduced herself to us as the nurse navigator. I remember crying at that point because I was so relieved that someone was going to literally take me by the hand and walk me through everything. Barb can best be described as being a type of mother-hen who made sure that her chicks were receiving excellent care, helped us make sense of all the medical information we received and even let us cry on her shoulder when things became too overwhelming. I would have more than one melt-down over the next year and when I did, Barb was just a phone call away. The......
His eye's on the sparrow
published . 1 min read
There is a noticeable silence outside of my window. A small woods borders my yard and in the spring and summer, I am treated to a songbird symphony most mornings. I love it! Several lakes are just down the road as well and in the spring it is not unusual for a line of mallards to noisily waddle er... march across my yard either. My window is high enough that most creatures, including deer, that venture into my yard at the edge of the woods do not see me peering down at them. I have a great view. Most songbirds leave Minnesota before winter arrives, hence the silence. One species of birds that remains however, is the sparrow. Now you would think that the tiny sparrow would be the first to head off for a winter vacation in a warmer climate but it doesn't. Instead it steadfastly remains......
Prepared to live
published . 2 min read
The area of the world where I live has what is known as a continental climate meaning that during the course of a year the climate ranges from subzero temperatures and bone-chilling (literally) windchills to heat and humidty that can sometimes rival that which is found in the Amazon Basin. Generally snow appears on the ground by late November and remains firmly in place until late March or early April spring blizzards are not unheard of. I have seen snow fly as early as September and as late as May. Sigh... Growing up in such an area has caused me to be a bit obsessive about weather in general because in addition to blizzards, the area is also prone to sudden and often severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. I take storm watches and warnings very seriously and thanks to modern technology, I......
Covered with his feathers
published . 1 min read
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.Psalm 91:4 (KJV) Reading the Daily Bible Verse on CB today reminded me of a time nearly eight years ago when I literally felt like I needed to be covered. Every two weeks for several months I received infusions of adriamycin and cytoxen and then for another two months I received infusions of a drug called taxol. Two weeks after my first infusion, my hair started to fall out. I would quickly learn that losing your hair due to chemotherapy and having it fall out naturally are two very different things and I am not just refering to the psychological impact. It hurts! Supposedly shaving your head as soon as possible lessens the pain and from what I have heard from others, I......
I am responsible!
published . 2 min read
It was a beautiful glorious day like every single day before it but it was about to turn into the worst of nightmares. A single action would not just bring a curse upon themselves and all of their descendants but upon all of creation itself. Have you ever noticed that whenever we get "caught" our first inclination is to attempt to justify our actions by blaming someone or something rather than ourselves? We love to take responsibility for our actions when we do good but are extremely reluctant to do so when we don't. While we may admit to wrong doing, like Adam and Eve we find ourselves looking for someone who "made" us do it. Perhaps we will say that they lied to us or we might suggest that we had no choice, they bullied us or forced us to do wrong so it is not......
Just show up
published . 3 min read
On Friday evening, a friend of mine who was recently widowed called me. On Saturday, she and her daughter were supposed to attend an annual dinner event which is sponsored by a local organization called "Widow Might". Her daughter was sick and she wondered if I would be willing to accompany her in her daughter's place. I was very glad that I was free to attend and was able to tell her yes. It was a lovely event and while it involved a lot of tears, there was also laughter and shared hope at each table as one by one each widow passed around a picture of their departed husband and shared stories about him. Some of the widows at our table had been widows for more than seven years while for two of them, it had only been a few months. As they spoke, I listened and thought about......
What was meant for evil
published . 1 min read
It is human nature to try to assign blame for something when tragedy strikes. Sometimes we blame external forces but other times we blame the victim. In our minds if something bad happens it must be the fault of someone or at least something. Perhaps it is due in part to our trying to make some sort of sense out of the messed-up world in which we live. We have an innate sense that things should be "fair" but we live in a fallen world in which "fairness" would be utter annihilation of the human race. I think however, it also has to do with the fact that while first action committed by both Adam and Eve after eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was to hide, the second action was to blame someone else for what had happened. In other words, we come......
Maybe we should say thank you
published . 2 min read
The Word of God tells us to ask so we ask. We ask God to heal us, we ask Him to provide for us, we ask God to help is in a variety of ways. Often we do not only ask these things for ourselves but we ask for them on behalf of others as well. This is a good and right thing for us to do. When I was a child, I knew I could always ask my father for help if I had a want or a need and so I did. I also knew I would always get an answer. Sometimes the answer was yes, sometimes it was no and sometimes it was wait and see but I always got an answer. Recently, I wrote down on a piece of paper a something my husband and I need met by mid-January. My plan was to pray for that need every day. That was well and good and I did that until a couple of days ago when God "tapped" me on the shoulder......
The book of chronicles
published . 3 min read
The following paper was not written by myself but by my husband, Dave Reynolds who is currently pursuing his Master of Divinity. He has given me permission to post this paper, which is a summary of the book of Chronicles (divided into two books in the Protestant Bible) was submitted for his course on Writings on 11/10/15. The book of Chronicles, last in the succession of Ketuvim or “Writings” in the Hebrew Bible and two books in the Protestant Bible, records the history of Judah from the reign of David to the release of Judah from Babylonian captivity (approximately 1010 B.C.E. to 538 B.C.E.)1 Since the author writes from the position of a priest, scholars suggest Ezra writes the book around 425 B.C.E.2 The book naturally falls into three subdivisions: Genealogies (1 Chr 1-9),......
Grief is a process
published . 3 min read
About four years ago, the husband of a friend of mine was placed into a care facility due to the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Sometimes this disease progresses slowly and individuals can be cared for at home for a long period of time. Other times it progresses very rapidly and in this instance, it was only a few months before my friend had no other option but to place him in a facility where he could receive round-the-clock care. My friend and her daughter, who both attend my church, live less than three miles away from me. Since my friend does not drive, it was not unusual for me to pick her up and take her places if her daughter or other family members were unable to do so. Over the past few years our friendship has grown even stronger. I was at the hospital sitting beside my......
Yom kippur: the day of atonement then and now
published . 13 min read
The following was not written by myself but by my husband, Dave Reynolds who is currently pursuing his Master of Divinity. Yom Kippur: The Day Of Atonement Then And Now By Dave Reynolds July 6, 2015 Jewish festivals and feasts, as outlined in the Pentateuch, are much different from our western ideas of festive celebrations. In our western culture, we celebrate many joyful occasions such as Thanksgiving or Christmas with an abundance of food and drink. The requirements for celebrating Jewish festivals and feasts according to the Pentateuch, on the other hand, involve fasting, elaborate rituals, and the sacrifice of certain animals. Through a brief introductions to the ancient Hebrew sources together with enlightenment from modern sources, this writer will demonstrate the relevance of the......
Our spiritual garments
published . 1 min read
Whether we like it or not our physical image whether it be our looks, our clothing or even our actions, says a lot to the world. That image may not always be accurate and in fact often it is not. There have been many sad situations where looks are deceiving. A gorgeous woman may in reality have a vain and selfish heart whereas a very plain and perhaps even homely one has a loving, tender, giving heart. A good-looking, wealthy man might really be a cold-hearted thief while a man who is barely able to keep food on the table is a man of integrity and a hard worker. Still, though looks may be deceiving, how we present ourselves really does matter. God wants His children to be properly attired in a manner that reflects who they are; they are His children. While we certainly should not ignore......
A battle we need not fight
published . 1 min read
The Oxford Dictionary defines the term "friendly fire" as: weapon fire coming from one's own side, especially fire that causes accidental injury or death to one's own forces. In other words, rather than attacking the enemy, a soldier or soldiers are attacking their own fellow soldiers. I cannot possibly imagine what it must be like to be in the midst of a battle with gunfire, explosions and confusion going on all around you. It is something I never want to experience. I know a young man who has done two tours of duty in Afghanistan and though he is reluctant to talk about it to most people, he has shared some details with my husband and myself, not just about what happened but the impact it has had on him since then. It is not surprising that he suffers from PTSD, a......
The pear tree
published . 2 min read
In The Confessions of Saint Augustine Book II, Augustine recounts an incident that happened when he was a teenager. He sneaks into a garden with some friends and steals some pears. He would later write that he had no need for the pears. He wasn't hungry and in fact, he didn't even eat them. He threw them away. Augustine writes that he knew it was wrong and yet he did it anyway. Doing what we know is wrong, doing what we don't want to do. The Apostle Paul addresses this issue as well in Romans 7:15-20. We are constantly bombarded by the temptation to do that which we know we ought not to do, say things we ought not to say, think things we ought not to think and clings to feeling things we should not feel. We are in a battle and we must never forget that. Often when we think......
The oriental rug
published . 3 min read
I definitely needed a rug. We had moved into a new house with a white textured ceramic tile floor in the foyer which happened to have not one but two doors which lead to either an attached garage or outside. Somehow when we looked at the house, I had not considered how much dirt loves to settle into all those crevices and how tough it can be to keep such a floor clean. Instead I looked at the lovely bay window in the breakfast nook, the fireplace, the golden oak woodwork and even the view of the small woods that are dense enough to completely hide the houses behind it for most of the year. I wanted to replace those tiles but my budget said I would have to settle for a rug for the time being. The area I needed wasn't very big. A runner would do the trick perfectly and I could easily......
The right kind of mirror
published . 2 min read
A few weeks ago, I was watching a television program where hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their business and/or product to potential investors. One of the products being pitched was a mirror that made the person who looked into it appear to be slimmer and therefore presumably more attractive than they really were. Supposedly the person would looking into this mirror would have their self-esteem boosted and with that in place go out and conquer the world. Of course, what eventually came out was that the only people who had expressed interest in this type of mirror were retailers. They were very interested in this product and I will give you one guess as to where they wanted to place these mirrors in their stores. That's right. They wanted to place them exclusively in their fitting rooms.......
Every nook and cranny
published . 3 min read
When confronted by a house that could use some tender-loving care, some people are like me. We let out a groan, suddenly remember something else that must be done that very moment (and preferably doing it means we must go out the door), we head out and hope and pray that when we return a miracle has taken place and all will be well. Sigh. I confess. I am easily distracted when it comes to housework and when I am doing it, I grit my teeth and try to plow through it as quickly as possible. In my mind it is a necessary evil that I must endure. Then there are the people who do the job regularly and thoroughly but they too have a grim-look on their face. Their disgust at dirt, grime and chaos outweighs the drudgery of getting on their hands and knees and scrubbing floors and baseboards.They......
What are you hungry for?
published . 1 min read
The thought which came to my mind as I was reading,@watchmanjohn's blog this morning was that we must pursue God. While it is true that we can do nothing to earn our salvation, it is the gift of God, Jesus also tells us, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6 (NIV) His meaning is quite clear. If we want to be satisfied, if we want to be filled, we must hunger and thirst for righteousness. Have you ever truly been hungry and thirsty? I think every single one of us have been at one time or another. Perhaps you have been putting in a hard day of physical labor when suddenly you run out of fuel. Whereas a few moments before, you were just fine, suddenly you are aware that you need something to eat and something to drink. You cannot......
Living the new life
published . 2 min read
Colossians 3:1 tells us that we have been raised to new life with Christ. Paul further writes: ... you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 (NLT) and then goes on to tell us that when Christ, who is your real life is revealed to the world, we will share in all his glory (Col. 3:4). This is a very popular message in the churches today. We love to hear encouraging and affirming messages that we are alive in Christ and that we will share in His glory. Who wouldn't want to hear a message like that? We love Colossians 3:1-4 but what about the rest of the chapter. Do we even bother to read it? The remainder of Colossians 3 is instructions filled with do's and don'ts. It is an instruction manual of how to live the new life. When I was......
The lord is my help!
published . 5 min read
"Be careful, its slick out." Those were the last words my husband said to me before I drove off. His car was in the shop so we were carpooling that morning. I nodded as I slid into the driver's seat and headed off to school. The past few days had been unseasonably warm but the weather had turned bitterly cold once again. It was a recipe for black ice. I was glad that I did not have to get on the freeway but was taking a route where the speed limits did not exceed 30 mph. Carefully, I made my way along the Mississippi River as the radio announced accident reports. In my part of the country, they are very good about applying salt and sand to the roads as well as chemicals. The problem is, there are a lot of roads to cover, chemicals do not work below certain temperatures and......
Change begins with me
published . 2 min read
When my husband and I were dating, a friend of ours was assigned to pastor a tiny church in the mountains of East Tennessee which was about 45 minutes away from the college we were attending. Our friend asked us if we would be willing to help and he quickly put us to work. The one-room church held 30 people comfortably though we quickly found out you could cram even more people inside if necessary. When I say this was a one-room church, I mean it was a one-room church. The outhouse was just a short distance away. Despite all of this, the little church began to grow and by the end of the school year, plans were being made to enlarge the building and make improvements. Both my husband and I were attending different schools the next year but my husband kept in touch with our pastor friend.......
How must we live?
published . 3 min read
The denomination I grew up in sprang up out of the Holiness movement in the southeastern United States just after the turn of the 20th century. Less than five years after its beginning, it began to be heavily influenced by the Pentecostal movement which was sweeping the country as well making it one of the oldest Pentecostal denominations in America. Other Pentecostal denominations actually have similar roots and this is a natural breeding ground for legalism. Some groups are more strict than others. Some groups, like the one I grew up in, are more, shall we say, flexible depending on the region of the country where a local church is located. In my own denomination, there was an attempt to differentiate between church doctrine and advice on how to live a victorious Christian life. The......
A bowl of soup
published . 2 min read
I am not a chef. I am not even a particularly good cook. I am an "everyone is starving and needs something quick but not from the microwave and please no frozen dinners" sort of cook. I am not unlike thousands if not millions of my peers who have attempted to juggle a career as well as be a wife and mother. It requires creativity as well as patience and stamina. As a young wife and mother, I began experimenting with ways to make my food dollars stretch as much as possible without sacrificing nutrition in the process. Since winter in MN can stretch from November to April, things like soup, stew and chili were excellent choices. I must confess I don't make my own chicken stock from scratch. Instead I eventually found a chicken and beef stock base that I like and I uh... stock......
A girl, a horse and a buffalo
published . 2 min read
While reading a blog written by @blessings2you entitled We Cannot Make People Blieve The Word of God, I was reminded of an incident that happened when I was very young. My family had gone up north and one day we stopped at a place where there was a petting zoo. To my great delight there were some horses and before my parents could stop me, I raced towards one them, eager to pet it. If you are the least bit familiar with horses, you know exactly what happened. The horse bolted away and would not let me approach it. I tried in vain to regain its confidence. I approached it slowly this time, holding feed in my hand the way my father had shown me. Other horses would then approach me but not the one I had frightened away. Sadly I watched other children pat the horse I had frightened but it was......
And they lived happily ever after
published . 3 min read
It is a common theme in fairy tales. The prince or sometimes even the princess falls in love with someone beneath them on the social ladder. They go through great peril to rescue their beloved and at the end of the story, they marry. As the story usually ends with this phrase, "and they lived happily ever after". What we are not told about are all the ordinary days between the wedding and death. We enter marriage starry-eyed and hopeful only to find ourselves surrounded by dirty dishes, laundry, a husband (or wife) that snores, runny noses and skinned knees, bills and a prince or princess that is utterly exhausted at the end of the day. Perhaps our heroes get through those first few difficult years of marriage. I suspect that often it is because they are so bewildered by the......
More than i can handle
published . 3 min read
Several times over the past week I have read the statement: "God will not give us more than we can handle." Is this true? Well, first of all you must know what this statement is based upon. A lot of people believe this to be a direct quote from the Bible but that's not true. In fact, I just did a search in a variety translations and including modern paraphases such as The Living Bible and The Message and not a single one of them contained that statement. This must mean that while the statement itself is not in the Bible, perhaps it is based upon a verse. This statement seems to be based upon 1 Corinthians 10:13 which in King James Version reads as follows: There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be......
In the middle of the storm
published . 1 min read
This past weekend, I attended a women's conference. Building 429 performed during one of the sessions. One of the songs they did was "Where I Belong". Before singing the song, Jason Roy gave us a little background on the history of that song. He told us that a woman in his church who belongs to his group was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. Despite the many prayers that were fervently prayed for this mother of two young children, she continued to get worse to the point that death seemed on the horizon. As they watched her battle this beast called cancer, they watched in amazement as something else happened. There was only one thing she cared about and they heard it say it many times, "Take this world and give me Jesus." As the story was related, I remembered......
It could save your life
published . 4 min read
In the fall of 2007, I began to experience strange episodes of dizziness. My primary doctor was not available at the time so I saw someone else who said I had an mild ear infection which was probably causing the problem. He prescribed some antibiotics and that was that. At least, I thought so at the time. The problem continued. The episodes were very brief, lasting only a few moments but there was definitely something wrong. One morning, when I was getting ready to line up my students to go to one of the specialists, I suddenly felt like the room was spinning. Something was terribly wrong. While the children were putting away their morning work and preparing to leave, I quickly called the office and explained the situation. Immediately someone came to my room to take my students to the......
Your targeted goal
published . 2 min read
For the past few years, I have been attending a Friday morning small group for women. Our study topic varies from semester to semester with some women dropping out or others rejoining according to their schedule but generally we have between 10 and 20 attendees. This fall, we have been reading and discussing a book entitled "Good Or God? Why Good Without God Isn't Enough" by John Bevere. I have discovered that it is impossible for me to get through a single chapter and sometimes even a page or two without my heart being gripped as God opens my eyes to something I had not considered before or He has taken me deeper still. In many respects it has been a bit unnerving and since I am reading this along with others, I have discovered that I am not alone in my reaction. This week,......
How will you live?
published . 2 min read
... Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. --Puddleglum in "The Silver Chair" by C.S. Lewis In the book, The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis, two children and a "marsh-wiggle" named Puddleglum, are sent on a mission to rescue Prince Rillian from the Lady of the Green Kirtle who has cast a......
Are you okay?
published . 5 min read
I climbed into the tow truck, shivering with cold and sighed. "I know it is about 10 miles but can you just take me home? I really don't think I can drive and I don't want someone to have to come out to get me in this weather." Without hesitation the driver replied, "Ma'am, I agree. You have no business driving after what just happened, especially in this weather and no one needs to be on these roads." I curled up my toes tightly within my boots, pulled down my cap a bit further and wrapped my arms tightly around my body, grateful for the hot air pouring into the cab of the truck. I was glad I didn't have to drive through all of this but I couldn't stop thinking about facing my husband when I got home. It hadn't been my fault. I had been subbing......
The big red umbrella
published . 2 min read
For the past few years, every fall and spring my husband and I have hosted a small group in our home which deals with handling your finances. We attended such a class ourselves back in 2011 when we were on the verge of a serious financial crisis and this was one of the tools God gave us to help weather the storm. We have become passionate about helping other people learn how to be good stewards of what God has given them so that they might bring honor to his name Him and He can use them to help and bless others as well. One of the lessons in the series is on the role of insurance. It helps people decide if they are under-insured or over-insured. Yes, it is not unusual for people to have insurance they don't need. Take cancer insurance for example. In the US, unless you have a horrible......
And yet i will rejoice in the lord!
published . 4 min read
It seems like a common message running through CB at the moment is to wait patiently on the Lord. Earlier this morning, after reading a post in a group I belong to here at CB, my eyes fell upon one of the sticky notes attached to my computer monitor. Here is what it says: Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains. Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NLT) In the summer of 2012, my husband and I traveled across the central United States,......
Dare to move
published . 2 min read
A blog written by @blessings2you entitled Taking That First Step reminded me of the first time I attempted to drive a car after suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm and stroke. I was terrified. I knew I was having trouble interpreting what I was seeing. Things looked "different" and my sense of distance appeared to be wrong as well. I say "appeared" because it seemed that my vision itself was normal but the brain was not interpreting the information quite right. At least I thought so and that was also what the neurologist had told me. Interestingly enough even though I felt off-kilter when I walked, anyone who observed me said I was walking just fine. I thought I was all over the place but I wasn't. It is sort of hard to explain. I guess when I attempted to do......
I'll leave the light on
published . 5 min read
I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I had spent a week in Missouri last September with my friend @blest whose husband, @blessings2you was in ICU on a ventilator as he battled pneumonia and sepsis. Wanting to stay as long as I possibly could, I had dinner with Beth before saying goodbye and heading back home to Minnesota. I had a long drive ahead of me, a little over 500 miles to be exact. I got perhaps 20 miles down the road before coming to a complete standstill. Uh-oh. Something big was going on and I was right. It was nearly two hours before I was zooming along again. While I was waiting, I made several calls to my cousin Tara who lived about 250 miles up the road. Earlier that week, we had made plans for me to spend the night at her house and I wanted to let her know about my......
Hot apple crisp
published . 2 min read
Earlier this afternoon, I remembered there was an apple pastry in my freezer. My husband had bought it from a co-worker's daughter a few months ago. It has been a rather cold and wet day today which reminded me that fall will soon be here and winter is just around the corner. Fall tends to be rather short in the upper midwest. The snow could quite possibly be flying in another eight weeks or so. With that in mind, I thought the apple pastry would be a nice treat with our dinner this evening. I dug it out, read the directions and sighed when I discovered that I needed to let it thaw in the fridge for 12-15 hours before baking. Sigh. Well, that was that. We would have to have it another time. Still, it is apple season and I could not get the thought of a tasty apple treat out of my......
Move forward with the strength you have
published . 1 min read
Beginning with a blog I read this morning by @watchmanjohn entitled Finally Be Strong In The Lord, the ongoing theme that I have been encountering all day is to move forward with the strength you have. This was the message that God gave to Gideon when He called him to confront and overthrow the Midianites and this is the message that God has for us today. "Go in the strength you have". (Judges 6:14) Whenever God wants us to do something, we can be certain that the enemy is standing by with his handy-dandy list of excuses. He even has a copy he made especially for us, several in fact, just in case we should lose ours. Why are we listening to the enemy instead of God? Why do we even take something out of the enemy's hand, let alone read it? Instead we need to be listening to......
It is just a little thing
published . 3 min read
It had been the first Saturday in months that my husband did not have to work. The July weather was glorious and so we decided to take a little day trip to southern Minnesota. We took a scenic drive to a sleepy little town whose downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places and had breakfast at an old schoolhouse which had been converted into a restaurant. Then we took a winding road south through the beautiful bluffs and escaped the heat of the day exploring an underground cavern. I wasn't surprised to be a bit stiff the next morning. To say that I am out of shape would be an understatement and I typically do not spend my days navigating subterranean passages and stairways. On the other hand, our adventure did not seem to had any negative impact on my husband. Oh well,......
Standing room only
published . 4 min read
All my life I have heard small, struggling churches in America justify their condition by saying that it is because they do not compromise the Gospel. People do not want to hear the Truth. People aren't interested in salvation. People don't want to change. That large church, the one down the street with all of the noisy kids and teenagers, the one with the loud music, bright lights and the doors open all week, the one with some unusual-looking people must be compromising the Gospel because if they weren't, they would be small and struggling just like us! Before I continue, I would like to say that I am not referring to the small, dynamic church which remains small because it is continously sending forth it's members to go out into the world to plant new churches, become......
How about some ice cream?
published . 2 min read
Late yesterday afternoon I got a text from a friend who was recently widowed asking me to pray for her. She had spent a wonderful afternoon at an apple orchard with her daughter and son-in-law who live in the lower level of her home. Her daughter and son-in-law are newlyweds and being sensitive to their need for together time, after they returned home, she thanked them for inviting her and headed upstairs. Suddenly the lonliness and despair crashed down upon her. Though her husband had been in a nursing home for nearly four years and had in fact, had not spoken in more than a year, she missed his presence and the tears flowed. That was when she sent me a text asking me to please pray for her which I did. A short time later, my husband popped his head in the door and informed me that he......
In every tongue
published . 4 min read
I perceived how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue. --William Tyndale The second chapter of Acts records the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Luke tells us that in Jerusalem that day there were "Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven." (Acts 2:5 KJV). Luke further tells us that "the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language." (Acts 2:6 KJV). Luke writes that "they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and......
A natural product of abundant joy
published . 1 min read
They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:2 (NLT) In his second letter to the Church at Corinth, Paul writes of the difficulties and poverty of the Macedonian Christians but then he says something rather interesting. He speaks of their joy and generosity. In fact, these Christians do not merely have joy, they have abundant joy. They do not merely have generosity, they have rich generosity. We do not normally equate abundant joy and rich generosity with many troubles and poverty, do we? The Macedonian Christians apparently were not "normal", at least in the worldly sense. Is this "normal" behavior for Christians today? As I reflected upon that......
The apple cart
published . 1 min read
The Daily Bible Verse on CB today is 2 Samuel 22:33 which says: It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. (New International Version) Over the past seven years, I have become more aware of that than ever before as my body and mind have failed me. I have become all too familiar with my fraility as well as my limitations. My "apple cart" is easily upset nowadays and I am left sitting in the road frightened and sometimes even a bit bruised. I can't fix it. Nobody can, except God. I am so thankful that God, who is ever mindful of me, does not leave me sitting there along side the road. He picks me up, dusts me off, heals my wounds, sets my "cart" aright, loads me up and sends me on my way again. Best of all, He does not send me off alone. He walks......
How's your integrity?
published . 1 min read
Integrity: the quality of being honest and fair Integrity is a word that is often talked about in our society but unfortunately it is practiced less. That is to be expected for we live in a fallen world in which it is human nature to not only do what we want but justify our actions, even when what we do is wrong. We are adept at making excuses for ourselves and placing the blame on something or someone else. As Christians we must always be on guard lest we lose our sense of integrity. "Do I keep my word?" This is a question that we must ask ourselves and when we do so, we need to give an honest answer. Yes, there are times when unforeseen circumstances render it impossible to do what we said we would do but those situations should be the exception rather than the rule. It is our......
Whom shall i fear?
published . 2 min read
One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 41:10. In the New Living Translation it reads: Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Fear abounds in this world and for good reason. This was the emotion which Adam and Eve experienced the moment they heard the voice of God after disobeying Him. Rather than choosing to live in peace with God, they chose separation from God which in turn produced fear. As a result, humanity has lived in fear ever since. We may try to cover it up as best we can but it is still there, just beneath the surface. We are afraid and without God, we have good reason to be! There are times when I find myself struggling with fear. I think that if we......
Sometimes god says no
published . 3 min read
When I was a girl, my mother taught a series of children's lessons on prayer taken from the life of Amy Carmichael who spent many years in India as a missionary. The first story made a tremendous impact on me and I have never forgotten the lesson of the story. Sometimes, like any good father, God says, "No." Why? Because unlike us, God is omniscient. He sees all the ramifications, while we are unable to do so. When Amy was a little girl, she decided to ask God to change her brown eyes into blue ones. Brown eyes were drab and dull as far as she was concerned but blue eyes were a different story. Blue was a much prettier color than plain, old brown! Amy had been taught that God answers prayer so the night before her birthday, she confidently asked God for blue eyes instead of......
Follow your nose!
published . 2 min read
It was early Sunday morning and I was about to head out to the car and then stopped. In the time-honored custom of women, I decided that this was the perfect moment to stop and tell my husband about something that had been on my mind when I woke up that morning. My husband is a patient man. I actually had been ready a few minutes early so my sudden detour wouldn't make us late... yet. I finished my story in good time and started out the door once again with my husband behind me. Suddenly I froze. "What's wrong?" he asked. "What's that smell?" "What smell?" "That horrible smell like something is... " I raced to the stove and checked all of the burners. They were off. I turned and looked around the kitchen with my nostrils flaring.......
By your side
published . 3 min read
Thirty-four years ago today, two twenty-year olds stood in the presence of God and witnesses and vowed: To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part. For the next 26 years they would stand together through all the ups and downs of life. There would be times when life seemed easy and times when they would be confronted with difficulties which they met together. There would be times of plenty but there would also be some times when there would not have been a roof over their head except for the kindness of family. There was even a time when the cupboard was literally bare and they watched in awe as the last meal they had prepared and thanked God for, a pot of chili, did not......
The candle in the dark
published . 1 min read
Okay, I will admit it. I have a soft spot for period pieces. Now don't get me wrong. Just because I have a soft spot doesn't mean I am not selective. I have no interest in watching people sneaking about with other people's spouses and so forth. However, like a lot of other women, I find something a bit romantic about the past. Sometimes I will even learn something. That was the case the other evening. I learned about candles. Not ever having had to depend on candles as my only source of light beyond a few hours, I have never thought about them too much other than as a decoration. As a child, I even made a few but I never thought about the type of wax I used. As far as I was concerned, wax was wax. I was wrong. I watched as a character in the story rejected candle after candle......
I love you but...
published . 3 min read
Christians use the word love a lot. We talk about the love God has for us and the love we have for God. However, we also talk about loving our spouse, our family, our friends, fellow Christians and even our neighbor. Talk is cheap. Several weeks ago, my husband injured his knee while at work. He was seen by a doctor, given a knee brace, some pain medication as well as some instructions to care for it and was told things should be fine within the next week or so. I wonder if anyone ever told that doctor that often times bodies that are more than half a century are sometimes a bit... uncooperative when it comes to healing. Sure enough, after a week my husband was referred to a doctor who specializes in orthopedics. He is expected to make a full recovery but at the moment he is banned from......
My disquieting thoughts
published . 1 min read
In Psalm 94:19, we find the word sarappim which is sometimes translated as "thoughts". I am sure that most of us are familiar with the phrase,"lost in translation" which means that a word or phrase cannot be directly translated from the original language to another one. There simply is not a word that adequately expresses the meaning, you can only try to convey the idea as best you can. While sarappim can be translated as "thoughts", the meaning is much more specific than general thoughts. It means "disquieting thoughts" (Strong's Hebrew 8312). These are what we would think of as anxious thoughts and therefore a more accurate translation of what the writer was trying to convey would be "anxious thoughts" or "anxiety". We have......
Count your many blessings!
published . 1 min read
As I was driving home earlier today, I suddenly began to think of various challenges that not only myself but my family are facing at the moment. Knowing the danger of becoming overwhelmed by these sort of thoughts, I immediately counter-attacked by crying out to God that my family has been through so much and please, please bless us. Now while that is the right and reasonable thing to do, God's response was completely unexpected. I don't know about you but when God responds to my cries in a way I do not expect, I tend to pay closer attention because first of all, I know that I personally would never think such a thing, it is always something the enemy would never suggest and God would and God is about to teach me or reinforce something that is very important. I need to pay......
The arrow in god's hands
published . 2 min read
For the past few days I have been beseiged by a spirit of fear and anxiety in regards to a situation I am facing. Late last night and into this evening, it intensified to the point that I was felt physically sick and struggled to keep it from consuming my thoughts and overwhelming me. Though I had actually first encountered it a couple of days ago, it does not surprise me that this attack greatly intensified after spending all day yesterday supporting, praying and comforting a friend who is making the difficult decision to put her ailing husband into hospice. Often when we have been ministering to others, we in turn find ourselves attacked as well. This morning, while looking for something else, I stumbled across this quote from My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. He wrote:......
I'll save you a seat
published . 2 min read
I belong to what is now known as a "multi-site church" meaning that we are one church with multiple locations. At the moment we have seven campuses in Minnesota with two international campuses. The sanctuary of the main campus, which is located down the road from me, is currently undergoing a major renovation so we are currently holding our weekend services at another location. Several Sunday evenings a year, we have what is known as "Chick Night". Normally, this event is held live at the campus I attend and broadcast live to the other campuses. However, since my home campus is under construction at the moment, it was held at another one of our campuses which is in another town about 20 miles away. Earlier today, I got a call from a friend of mine. She wanted to tell......
The hungry and the oppressed
published . 1 min read
"Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon." Isaiah 58:10 (NLT) Over the past few years I have heard estimates which suggests that as little as 2% of those who profess to be Christians give regularly. I am not exactly certain as to the validity of those estimates but something tells me that number is probably not too far from the truth. I have actually heard messages, read articles and even seen blogs before on this website that discourage people from giving. Instead, the person (or church) in need should "trust God". A few years ago, when faced with an impending financial crisis, instead of telling me to "trust God" several people listened and obeyed when......
Return to the right path
published . 3 min read
Sigh... "I think, he is lost," I said to myself as I followed a van filled with teenagers. The driver of the van was notorious for getting lost and actually, he knew it. In fact, he would even joke about it. The problem was, as the director of youth ministry, he seemed to feel that it was his responsibility to lead whenever we were taking young people to churches, schools or camps to perform. Unfortunately, this was before most people had access to GPS devices. Often times we would be wandering about in a rather populated area but this time it was different. We were wandering around out in the darkness on seemingly deserted frozen gravel roads. The weekend retreat would not be starting until tomorrow but we were coming down early. At least we were supposed to be getting there......
I'm supposed to do what?
published . 3 min read
Occasionally I like to visit websites where people can post recipes. Sometimes I know exactly what I am looking for but other times, I am simply browsing, looking for something new and interesting to try. Usually people who have tried the recipe are able to leave comments and I am the type of person who likes to read comments. Recipes are a tricky business. Fifty people can absolutely love the recipe and fifty people can asolutely hate it. When it comes to food, it is a matter of personal taste... literally. Often people will simply try the recipe as it is written and leave their opinion. However, sometimes people will say that when making the recipe they changed this amount, omitted something, added something else, baked it at a different temperature for a different amount of time and......
In its time
published . 2 min read
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV) When I read the Daily Bible Verse here on CB this morning, I couldn't help but think about varies times in my life when things seemed anything but beautiful. In the moment, they were often very ugly and extremely painful. I would find myself crying out to God, wondering why and sometimes I would even be angry. This was not the way it was supposed to be! Yes, I lived in a fallen world but as a Christian, all around me I would hear messages of hope, messages that I would prosper, messages that God was good and that He would fix everything. Are these messages wrong? No, but sometimes our interpretations of......
Get outta the boat!
published . 3 min read
I blinked and took a deep breath. God wanted my husband to do what? A thousand reasons as to why he could not do that came to mind. This was not prudent. This was not reasonable. This was impossible. In fact, this seemed to be in direct defiance of what God had already told us. We weren't supposed to take out any loans. Even if that last part had not been true, we were the last people who should be taking out loans at the moment. My husband had been unemployed for eight months despite all of his diligence in trying to obtain another position and I was on disability. We were thankful for the freelance jobs that came his way but each week we were teetering on the edge of going under. I didn't know it then but he would be unemployed for another five months. In the middle of all of......
Two eggs over easy with ham
published . 2 min read
In the space of about 62 hours, I traveled by car from the northern part of the United States to down near the Gulf of Mexico and back again. Thankfully I did not do it alone and I only ended up driving for about seven hours. I love to travel by car and don't mind driving in the least but this was a bit much even for me. We were in a hurry to take my mother down to spend time with one of her sisters who is recovering from several surgeries. My son and I were supposed to spend a day or two down there as well before returning home but due to circumstances beyond our control, the two of us had to head for home three hours after our arrival. Needless to say, it has been a very exhausting week. I was exhausted when I arrived home last evening so it is not surprising that I had forgotten......
An opportunity to be a blessing!
published . 2 min read
I do not know how many of you saw John's post on the wall a little bit ago but if you have not, you need to do so. A few minutes ago, I just read the post to my husband who is NOT a member of CB and he said, "If 40 people would donate $25.00 towards a new computer for John, he would have enough to get a new computer." I stared at him for a moment and said, "You're right." My husband, who once again, is NOT a member of CB said, "Put me down as the first person to do so." I cried and decided to write this blog. Over the years, John really has not talked a lot about the financial issues of CB. Despite various things he has tried, it is not self-supporting and that is a shame. He has freely given his time and resources so that this website might continue.......
So 2,000 blogs later...
published . 4 min read
I think it is fitting that I publish my 2,000th blog on the day that marks my 8th anniversary here at CB. It has been a rather interesting journey and in all honesty, I would not have missed it for the world. I came to CB on July 29, 2007, after asking God to lead me to a place where I could write. I had done so after my son had asked me the question, "Why don't you blog?" I had never even read a blog and I remember that I laughed at him wondering who on earth would ever want to read anything that I would write. Still, even as I tried to push the thought aside, there was a strange little tug in my heart. Okay, just supposed I did become a blogger, where on earth would I blog and what would I even write about? Actually, I knew the answer to the second part of that question.......
Your first love
published . 3 min read
While living in exile on the island of Patmos, the Apostle John has a vision which he records, as directed to the seven churches in the Roman province of Asia. Sometimes referred to as Asia Minor, this province was located in what we now know as western Turkey. The seven churches were located at Ephesus, Symrna, Pergamum,Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. This letter is known to us as the Book of Revelation. The second chapter of Revelation opens up with Jesus commending the church at Ephesus. The city of Ephesus was home to the Temple of Artemis which was listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Antipater of Sidon describes the temple in a poem he wrote around 140 B.C. I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots,......
We have to be christians!
published . 2 min read
Currently, my husband and I are attending a class on the Book of Galatians which is being taught by one of his professors. Yesterday the instructor opened class with this question to ponder: When confronted do we defend the Gospel or retreat? I think we have a tendency to answer that question a bit too quickly at times. Of course we defend it... or do we only defend it when there is little fear of rejection or retribution? Well, perhaps there might be a little rejection or a little retribution but if so, it is something we can handle. We must not continue to delude ourselves into believing that Christianity is "safe". Truthfully, it never has been. Not true Christianity at any rate. In fact, if you have never had your faith challenged, never been ridiculed, never been ostracized......
When troubles come your way
published . 1 min read
Nobody likes problems. Well, I take that back. There are some people who tingle with excitement when they encounter a problem but I think it is more about the feeling they get when they have solved or conquered the problem as opposed to the problem itself. No matter how detailed or flexible it is, we really do have some sort of plan of how we want things to go in our lives and when something upsets our plan... we've got a problem. We tend to not think of problems as good things. That's why we call them problems and sometimes these problems may even cause us a great deal of trouble. This is why we may find ourselves pausing when we begin to read the Book of James. He says: Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know......
A willing sacrifice
published . 2 min read
I recently watched a documentary about the journey to school that was made by children in four different parts of the world. They lived in Kenya, India, Argentina and the Himalayans. The shortest journey was about an hour and a half via horseback and the longest journey was about four hours with a combination of walking and hitchhiking. Some of the children attended a weekly boarding school and therefore only had to make the long two trek on Mondays and Saturdays. One boy and his sister walked two hours every day to get to school. Please note that the times I listed do not include the return trip home. All of the children came from poor families living in rural areas. In all instances, the routes they traveled were dangerous. The film opens up with a Kenyan father warning his son and......
Shh! it's a secret!
published . 2 min read
Last evening I watched a documentary called My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes which is about internationally-known cyclist Gino Bartali and other Italians who risked their lives to save Italian Jews during WWII. I found it rather interesting that Bartali continued to remain rather secretative about his wartime activities, even up until his death in May, 2000. It was only through a few casual comments that would occasionally slip out, usually not made by him, that the story began to unfold over time. In 1938, Bartali won the Tour de France. Benito Mussolini and his supporters, eager to capitlize upon the win as proof that the Italians were part of the so-called master race, wished Bartali to dedicate the race to Mussolini but Bartali refused. We must remember that at the time of his......
The plans god has for me
published . 2 min read
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. " Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV) In some versions or translations of the Bible, you will see the word "plans" instead of "thoughts". The word in question is "machashabah or machashebeth" and according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, it means thought, device so either word in English is correct. A few years ago, Jeremiah 29:11 as translated in the NIV became a very popular scripture to quote: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) People were and still encouraged to quote this......
When you walk through the fire
published . 2 min read
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2 (New International Version) Have you ever seen a glassblower at work? I have a few times and I love to watch them at work and see their beautiful creations. This video is a little over 13 minutes long but if you have never seen a glassblowing demonstration or would like to see one again, it is a good demonstration of the process with good information as to what the glassblower is doing and why. As I watched the video, I thought about the times in my own life when I have been aware that God has placed me into the fire. I can "feel" the heat as I am twisted......
To the troubled heart
published . 1 min read
On the eve of His betrayal, Jesus says these words to His disciples: Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. John 14:1 (KJV) Knowing that He was about to be betrayed, abandoned, denied, beaten, publicly humiliated and ridiculed, ripped and torn apart that we might be saved, He tells His disciples to not be troubled but to believe. They were about to face the darkest day but they needed to believe. I turned to these words when my father passed away in 1977. I was 16 years old and had just become fully aware of what it meant to have a father. Why? Because suddenly mine was gone and the gulf between us was uncrossable except through death. I cannot begin to describe how small, how vulnerable and how alone I felt. I had never fully understood how he stood......
He leads me
published . 1 min read
Due to a brain injury I sustained five years ago, I can often feel vulnerable and with vulnerability comes anxiety. Sometimes without any warning (or reason) I can suddenly go from being a capable, mature middle-aged woman to a frightened and anxious three year old. It is not a good feeling. Especially, when you are observing this happening to yourself but simply cannot stop it on your own. It is like having the reins jerked out of your hands and you have to simply hang on until you can regain control of your steed once again. In the beginning, I was afraid to be alone. The few times my husband um... wandered off without me, were frightening for me. I desperately fought the urge to throw myself on the floor of the store and cry like a lost child. Over and over again, I would tell myself......
If you don't know...
published . 1 min read
How would you respond to the question, "Why do you believe what you believe?" Would you respond with a pat answer like, "Because that's what I was taught at church" or "That's what my family has always believed" or even "Because that's what the Word of God says" without backing up that statement by actually quoting or showing them what the Word of God says so that they can see it for themselves? Or would you be able to not only answer the question but provide the evidence to support what you believe as well? It is not enough to know what you believe. You must know why you believe it. Peter tells us: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) yet an......
The great deal!
published . 4 min read
Everyday we are bombarded with images and messages that are intent upon getting us to open up our wallets and exchange it for goods and services. Generally, it is more often goods than services and should our wallet be a bit... empty, that's okay because we have a little plastic rectangle that will give us what we want when we want it. Should that little plastic rectangle not be "big" enough, we can always go out and get more of them. These little plastic rectangles are promoted as being a good deal. In fact I'll even go a bit further and say they are marketed as being a fantastic deal. A bank, other financial institution or a merchant will extend you a line of credit, often in the amount of thousands of dollars and you only have to make a minimum payment of say, 1% of......
Can a leopard take away its spots?
published . 1 min read
"I'll change! I'll change!" As a mother and a former elementary school teacher, I have heard those words often enough. Usually they burst forth when the guilty party has been apprehended by someone with the authority to judge as well as carry out the appropriate sentence which usually involves some sort of punishment. The children of Adam and Eve are very quick to try to squirm out of trouble either by blaming someone or something or saying they won't do it again. Sometimes we really do mean it. We don't like the consequences of our actions and we don't like the way it makes us feel. Sometimes we really do want to change and we will make all sorts of plans as to how we can implement that change. We might post reminders. We might apply behavior modification......
In time of trouble they cry out to me
published . 2 min read
The second chapter of Jeremiah is a chilling reminder that we cannot play games with God. Like children we attempt to push the boundaries to see how far we can go. Then when we find ourselves in trouble, we cry out to God for help. My father would have called them "crocodile tears". There is no repentance or even remorse. There is only the desire to get out of the jam you are in so you can continue to do whatever it is you are doing. Listen to what God says: "Israel is like a thief who feels shame only when he gets caught. They, their kings, officials, priests, and prophets - all are alike in this.To an image carved from a piece of wood they say, 'You are my father.' To an idol chiseled from a block of stone they say, 'You are my mother.' They turn their......
Carried in his arms
published . 3 min read
It came from out of nowhere when I least expected it. There were no warnings of impending danger, no blaring lights or horns, no sense that something was suddenly spinning out of control and no gripping pain. There was nothing. Then the peaceful, quiet, dark room turned into the scene of a nightmare as I unconsciously fought for my life. There was no time to pray and indeed I couldn't. I couldn't call out, not because someone was preventing me but because though I didn't know it, my body was intent on doing one thing, containing the blood that was spilling into so that it would do as little damage as possible. Several weeks after I was released from the hospital, I met with the neurosurgeon who had coiled my ruptured aneurysm and treated my subarachnoid hemorrhage. Knowing......
What is forgiveness?
published . 2 min read
"I forgive you." We often say those words but I can't help but wonder if we really have? You see, often we are not only quick to relive the offense in our mind, we take it one step further and make sure that others know that we forgave so and so after what they had done. If our audience gives us the least bit of encouragement (and sometimes even if they don't), we eagerly reveal the entire story of how so-and-so wronged us and how out of the goodness of our heart, forgave them. My, my, wasn't that good of us? Uh-oh... suddenly that doesn't look so good does it and yet this is often what we call "forgiveness". I've known my husband for nearly 37 years and next month we will celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary. In all those years I have never known......
Our place in the body of christ
published . 4 min read
The vast majority of people never give the trillions of cells within their body a first thought, let alone a second thought. Truthfully, that's the way it should be. Normally those little guys efficiently go about their business, doing exactly what they were intended to do. They have a purpose, a job to do and in most cases they do it perfectly, without and glitches. They don't wander off and do their own thing or whine about how they wish they were something else, perhaps a brain cell instead of a skin cell. They are who they are and they have a purpose. Cancer forever changed my view of the cells because I experienced first hand what happens when a cell goes rogue. Quite frankly, left unchecked, it will eventually kill you. The only two options are to repair it or destroy it......
The old man and the young whippersnapper
published . 2 min read
My son's kitten, Loki, is a black and white bundle of energy. He zips about the house like a small tornado. My son recently moved in with a friend who has two large hunting dogs and so it was decided that it was best for Loki to go live with my son's girlfriend who has four cats. It is obvious though that Loki knows he belongs to my son or as every cat owner knows, Loki knows my son belongs to him. People don't own cats, cats own people. Loki doesnt' seem to realize that he is the runt of the bunch. He fearlessly jumps into the faces of the older, much larger cats and challenges them to wrestling matches. Sometimes they will tire of this and knock him down but Loki doesn't let that discourage him. He bounces right back up, ready to have another go at it and the older......
The disease of sin
published . 6 min read
It was a bright, sunny day in early December. I remember it well. In fact, I can not only tell you the date, December 3rd but I can also tell you that it was shortly before 8 a.m. and it was Monday. If you were to come to my house, I could show you exactly where I had been sitting when I got an email that said the results were available from a routine mammogram. I hesitated as I was about to head out the door in a few minutes to go to work but then stopped. I would look at it. I went to the website, logged in ... and my world was suddenly changed forever. I didn't know I had breast cancer when I awakened that morning. I had no external symptoms. There was no finding a lump in the shower, or feeling something strange. I felt fine. In fact, I recall that the night before, there had been......
The tares and the wheat
published . 4 min read
In order to avoid any confusion, I want to start out by clarifying what I mean when I use the term "Church". I am not talking about a brick and mortar building or any other physical building for that matter. I also am not talking about a group of people who simply gather together and call themself a church or align themselves with a particular group that claims to be The Church. I am going to step out on a limb here and say that just because an organization claims it is The Church does not make it so. I could claim to be rich, I could claim to be famous, I could claim to be a doctor or a lawyer but my claim does not make it true. I have to prove it by meeting certain criteria. This is true of the Church and indeed Christianity as well. Just as I wrote those words, the phrase,......
The way home
published . 2 min read
Living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, I have learned that sometimes you simply cannot always get from here to there by taking the shortest and most direct route. There might be a lake or for that matter, a river in the way. I was reminded of that earlier today when I headed off to have lunch with my husband. You see, for the past month, he has had to deviate from his normal routine. There is a river between our house and his place of employment so in order to get from Point A to Point B he must go across a bridge. Normally this is not a problem however, this past spring, the MN Department of Transportation decided that it would be a good idea to paint the bridge. Truthfully, the bridge really looked pretty shabby. In fact, more than once I would say to myself, "This bridge really needs......
Helping or hurting?
published . 2 min read
Last summer, my son met a man who is involved in the independent film community in our area. After reading some of my son's work, he asked my son if he would write a 10 minutes film for him to direct and present at a local short film festival in the fall. My son agreed and the completed and viewed this past October. The film opens up with a phone conversation between a young woman and who we later learn is her brother. We also learn, rather quickly, that their parents are deceased and apparently each child had inherited a rather large sum of money. The brother apparently has spent all of his money and he is turning to his sister for help. He needs money and he needs it now. The sister, who is the younger of the two, wants to help her brother. At this moment, another woman enters the......
All is well
published . 2 min read
I recently watched a program called The Crash of 1929 on the PBS series, The American Experience. While watching it I heard a story about a woman named Dorothy Livermore who was married to Jesse Livermore, a stock speculator who was worth more than 100 million dollars in 1929 and actually profitted from the Crash though he would later lose that by 1934. He would later regain a modest fortune of 5 million dollars before committing suicide in 1940. Dorothy Livermore, a former Ziegfield Follies girl, loved to spend money and spend she did... provided it was on things that showed. In one of her homes, she had some pieces of 18th century furniture that were priceless. The house, being old had settled and as a result, the floor was no longer level. The recommended solution was to put a hoist......
Warning! warning! warning!
published . 2 min read
I was awakened out of a sound sleep this morning by a "voice" which said, "Warning! A severe thunderstorm warning has just been issued for your area until 9:00 a.m." Growing up and living in the midwestern United States I am all too familiar with dangerous and even deadly weather. I know that within minutes a calm peaceful day can turn into a destructive and even deadly one. I know that ignoring the warnings can be a fatal mistake. This is why despite the fact that I live just down the street from a civil defense siren, I also have a severe weather app on my phone. If there is the possibility of dangerous weather looming over the horizon, I want to know so that I can take the necessary safety precautions. After reading the alert, I remembered that all the upstairs......
The early morning rain
published . 1 min read
I was awakened early this morning by the sound of thunder. It wasn't long before I saw flashes of lighting and heard the pounding of raindrops on the rooftop as wel as on the windowpane. There have been periods of rain all morning though none of them have even come close to the storm that moved quickly moved through early this morning. A few minutes ago, my eyes were drawn to the window which I had opened a short time earlier. I could smell the fresh scent of rain rising up from the freshly scrubbed earth and trees. Mmm... I love that fresh clean smell, don't you? Raindrops sparkled and danced on the leaves as the sun peeped out from behind the clouds. A brisk wind sent the clouds scurrying across the sky until none remained for as far as I could see.It wasn't long though,......
Honor or dishonor
published . 2 min read
A little while ago, after reading a wall comment here at CB, I found myself thinking about how we present ourselves to the world. Growing up, I was raised in a denomination that put a great deal of emphasis on what they callled "holiness". There were the things that seemed to apply to everyone such as not going to movies and dances. However there were other things that seemed somehow to primarily affect women such as the banning of all jewelry (women seemed to care about that more than men), no make-up and sleeves, hemlines and necklines of an appropriate length. While the churches in my area of the country permitted women to wear slacks and cut their hair by the time I was growing up in the 60's, there were areas of the country or individual congregations that frowned on......
The garage door
published . 3 min read
This morning I was greeted by a note from my husband, written in large black friendly letters which said: Do Not Use the Garage Door. It has jumped the track! Uh oh! I thought about how I had planned to go grocery shopping and wondered for a moment if I was trapped in my own home as the store is several miles away, there is no public transportation, etc. Rather than do the reasonable thing and simply head downstairs and check on the state of things, I did what most wives would probably do. I called my husband and interrupted him at work. He patiently explained to me that he hadn't forgotten about me when he managed to get his car out of the garage. He went back in and rescued my car. It was sitting in the driveway. Whew! This morning was spent trying to find someone to come and repair......
For just such a time as this
published . 2 min read
This summer, the women's Bible study group I attend is studying the Book of Esther. This morning when as I was doing the reading, a highlighted portion of a verse on the opposite page suddenly drew my attention. At some point in time, I had previously highlighted the last part of Esther 4:14 which says: "... who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?" In April, a decree had gone out (courtesy of a proud and malicious prime minister named Haman) that all Jews were to be executed the following March. Queen Esther, a Jew, learns of this when she is told that her cousin Mordecai has put on sackcloth and ashes and is wailing outside the palace gates. When a servant is sent to inquire about what is going on, Mordecai not only tells......
And god was there
published . 1 min read
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? Psalm 139:7 One of the things that plagues the human race as a whole is a sense of aloneness. We can be in a crowd, surrounded by family and friends who love us and yet still experience this sense of being alone. There is a good reason for this. It occurred when Adam and Eve sinned against God and their relationship with Him was broken. We are a lost and broken people with an innate sense that something is missing and often, we do not even know exactly what or who it is. We only know that something is very wrong. Adam, Eve and all of their descendants might have been separated from God but they were not abandoned by Him. In Genesis 3, before God declares judgement (Genesis 3:16-19), He promises redemption......
All the days
published . 1 min read
This morning, as I read a blog by @blessings2you entitled Whatever The Lord Wants, That Is What I Want, I found myself thinking about what Jesus said in the 28th chapter of Matthew: "... and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:20b (KJV) The words translated into English as "always" are pas ho hÄ mera, which could be translated as "all the days". "And remember, I am with you all the days, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:29b (MOUNCE) All the days. As I re-read that I thought about all the days I have faced during my lifetime. There have been good days and bad days. There have been joyous days of celebration and heartbreaking days of grief. There have been days of hope and days of disappointment, days of......
When darkness hides his lovely face
published . 3 min read
On March 28, 2008, I had my first infusion of a chemo drug called Taxol. I'd previously had four infusions of Adriamycin/Cytoxen (A/C)and had been told that generally most people tolerate Taxol far better. Granted about 40% of the people have an allergic reaction to it but that is easily dealt with by running an IV of Benadryl before Taxol is administered. Then there was a small chance that I might develop bone marrow pain but that wasn't very likely. Most people ended up tolerating it quite well. So, as spring sprung, I was looking forward to things getting better. The good news was I am not allergic to Taxol. I was relieved by that because instead of making me take a five hour nap, Benadryl makes me HYPER and oh, they had fun with me that day as I kept hopping out of bed and......
Angels of mercy
published . 5 min read
Many of us over the years have had terrible experiences with doctors, nurses and/or hospitals. I have too but I have also had some incredible experiences as well and I have to tell you, I am very thankful that I have also had some wonderful doctors and nurses in my corner. I remember my first consultation with the surgeon after I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in December 2007. A nurse named Barb introduced herself before leading my husband and I back to a consultation room. The first thing I noticed about this room was that in addition to several comfortable chairs, it also had a loveseat and a coffee table with a box of Kleenex sitting on it. My husband and I sank into the loveseat and once seated, he reached for my hand and with my other hand, I reached for the box of......
When i am weak
published . 3 min read
I call it the five year old syndrome and I began to experience it after I'd had a ruptured brain aneurysm in December 2009. One of the things I lost was my ability to multi-task. I had been an elementary school teacher working in the inner-city and with 25 plus students usually under the age of 10, one had to be very adept at multi-tasking. If you don't believe me, try cramming 25-30 active 7 and 8 years olds into a small classroom built in 1931, and spending the entire day alone with them teaching them things like reading, languarge arts, math, science, social studies, social skills and... you get the idea. It is like being the captain of a ship trying to maintain course, despite the frequent eruption of storms. I was good at multi-tasking and needing to make changes at the drop......
Defending our faith
published . 2 min read
Often times when we talk about defending our faith, we get a mental image of donning a suit of armor, mounting a horse and brandishing a sword or lance as we race into battle, intent on annihilating whoever dared to ask us a question. Perhaps instead of viewing questions as a threat, we need to welcome them and view them as an opportunity to share the Gospel. Let me explain. For most of my adult life, I was employed as an elementary public school teacher. Though sometimes children would ask questions in order to delay doing something they did not want to do, most of the time the reason they asked questions was because well, they wanted to understand or learn how to do something. A true teacher always welcomes genuine questions. Why? Because questions demonstate a genuine desire to learn......
The importance of friends
published . 3 min read
I remember that terrible time last fall when my son was "ripped apart" when his wife walked out the door and his world collapsed around him. His first response was to cry out to God. This must always be our first response for God and God only is our ever present help. However, his next response was to cry out not only to his parents but also to his friends. My son is an only child. My husband has no living siblings and my only sibling never married or had any children so he is not only an only child, he is an only grandchild as well though he has numerous first cousins once removed, second cousins, second cousins once removed and so forth. Unfortunately, nearly all of them live several hundred miles away. In retrospect, I have to say that it was God who prompted me from the very......
The house of broken dreams
published . 2 min read
I remember the day I first saw it. My son and his wife were moving back to Minnesota after she had lost her job teaching at a small private school in rural Nebraska. My son had come back a few weeks before the school year was finished to try to find a job and a place for them to live. He had managed to find a resonably-priced duplex in a nice area just across the river from the neighborhood where both he and I had grown up. He called me up and asked if I wanted to go and look at it with him. I did. While the kitchen and bathroom were definitely out-dated by about 50 years, it was a cute little two bedroom place with a large fireplace, nice hardwood floors and a large unfinished basement. After taking a few pictures so his wife could see it, she immediately texted back that he should rent......
How is your connection?
published . 5 min read
At first I did not even realize that it was happening. I would be zooming along on the internet, happily racing through cyberspace unaware that sometimes when I stopped to take in the view I became disconnected for a moment. It is hard to say how long this had been happening before I became aware of the problem. Then a few weeks ago, I got a message that said my browser couldn't find the page. Hmm... my internet must be down. Oh, wait a minute! There's the page! I was up and running again so all was well. There must have been a brief interruption in service but no matter. I was back to speeding along the cyber highway once again. I love zooming along, don't you? Then a bit later it happened again. Maybe that website was down as it looked like the one I had opened on another......
My ever-present help
published . 1 min read
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 (NIV) This morning, I turned to Psalm 46 and was reminded that not only is God our refuge and strength, He is our ever-present help. When God's Word tells us that He is our ever-present help, it means exactly that. There is no hidden meaning that we have to try to figure out nor is it a metaphor. God is not like an ever-present help. God is an ever-present help. It is as simple as that and we need to stop making things more complicated than what they are. God is our refuge. God is our strength and God is our ever-present help. Its as simple as that. When I was a girl, I remember that there were times that I would cry out to my father when I needed help or when I was afraid. He always responded immediately.......
A hidden treasure
published . 2 min read
It was Easter morning in 1967 and I, along with my brother searched the house for the Easter eggs we had helped our parents color the night before. I was as excited as any six year old could be and I had a favorite egg in mind. The night before, my brother and I had helped my parents dye brightly colored Easter eggs. One of the eggs which I had done all by myself was a lovely blue egg and that was the egg that I was really looking for. In my mind it was my egg and I was going to find it. When I spotted it, I dashed toward it, hoping my big brother would not beat me to it. I did not need to worry. He was too occupied with finding his own eggs to notice me. Triumphantly I placed the egg in my little basket and skipped off to find more treasures. Later, rather than eat my egg, I quietly......
Yet another appointment
published . 2 min read
For nearly 30 years I have been a member of a health care co-op. Established nearly 60 years ago, it has over 1 million members and is the largest consumer-governed health care organization in the United States. It is unique in that it provides both insurance and the delivery of care and quite frankly I don't think I would want it any other way. You would think that with so many members in my area, patients would get lost in the shuffle but me and my family never have. This is probably due to the fact that they strongly encourage members to select a primary doctor. They also operate numerous clinics, many of them small, with several large specialty clinics and hospitals. I have probably been seeing the same primary doctor for about 20 years. While they have a clinic closer to where I......
The black envelope
published . 1 min read
My pastor is currently doing a sermon series called "I didn't ask for this!" The title of last week's sermon was "The Black Envelope". While listening to the sermon, I found myself remembering the day I was given a black envelope with the word "cancer" written on it in large unfriendly-looking letters. I wanted to write, "wrong addressee" or "undeliverable" on it and send it back to wherever it had come from. Or write "REFUSED!" and send it back to where it came from, unopened. Sigh... there was no mistake. This envelope was meant for me. I not only had to keep it, I had to open it and see what was inside. I didn't like that idea one bit but God was quite clear about it. This envelope and what it contained was for me.......
A closer look at the good samaritan
published . 3 min read
The other night my son and I were having one of those mother and son talks. We have done that a lot over the years actually and the older he has gotten, the more thankful I am that I always made time to talk to and listen to my son. If you do not make the time to encourage your children to talk to you and actually listen to them when they are young, you should not be surprised at their reluctance to do so with you, when they get older. They are only doing what you taught them to do. My son and his wife of less than five years separated this past fall. Their divorce was finalized in early February. The dids, the didn'ts, the should haves or shouldn't haves do not matter at this point. What is done has been done and even if there would one day be reconcilitiation and restoration,......
Run the race with perseverance
published . 2 min read
On September 3, 2007, a few months after I joined CB, I wrote a blog entitled God Is Bigger. In that blog I shared about my cousin Diane who has a rare cerebrovascular disorder called Moyamoya Disease. Life had been tough. About 20 years ago, her husband abruptly left her leaving her to raise their five young children, three of whom were special needs children which they had adopted. Despite her anger, hurt, despair and confusion, she set her eyes on God and kept on running. Diane had a dream. She had started taking some college courses at the local community college prior to her illness. She worked and went to school as much as she was able but her two youngest children required most of her time and attention. Still, she kept on running. Then disaster struck. She suffered multiple......
Oh be careful little tongue what you say
published . 2 min read
A few years ago, I read a book by Brother Andrew entitled "Light Force: The Only Hope For The Middle East". I have to say that this book, along with another book by the same author, entitled "Secret Believers", gave me much to think about. Over the years, there has been a growing movement amongst Christians to focus on Israel and the Jewish people as a whole. I have a relative who is very involved in various ministries that promote this. I am not saying this is wrong but I think that well-meaning individuals, in their zeal, have done something that is. We have almost demonized Arab Christians, particularly those who live in "The Holy Land". If we are not demonizing them, we are ignoring their plight. We cannot do this. We cannot ignore the fact that we have......
Are you willing?
published . 2 min read
We like to think that we are willing to face a great deal for the sake of the Gospel but I wonder if we are willing to face simply being inconvenienced or having our life interrupted by someone else? We have all experienced this. We are busy, we have a plan, we are on a mission to... relax and watch that television show or movie that we really want to see. We have just settled down with a nice snack, looking forward to a relaxing evening when the phone rings and it is someone in crisis who needs someone to listen. What is our internal reaction? Do we make an excuse and tell them we will call them back later? Do we keep the phone to our ear but block out what they are saying as we concentrate on what we want to do? Or do we allow ourselves to be interrupted? Jesus allowed Himself to be......
The small stuff
published . 2 min read
For a number of years, I taught a summer class for gifted students in grades 3-6 entitled "K'Nex Amusement Park Rides and Technology". For most of the class, students worked together in teams to complete projects. However, I did not consider a project to be complete until the ride actually worked. In the beginning, this seemed simple enough to the students. They had "K'Nexprints" that had been drawn up by experts who had then successfully produced working models from those plans. They had all of the necessary materials needed to build their rides. In addition to all of this, they had an experienced resident expert, me, who had over the years built these rides with hundreds of children. You would think this would mean that they would always produce working rides......
When one member suffers
published . 2 min read
Nearly 30 years ago, I had a bad fall when I broke into my house through a basement window. I had grown up in that house and I knew from personal experience that if you kicked a certain window in a certain way, the latch would release and you could crawl in through the window. In those days, I rode the bus to work each day. Usually my husband would drop off and pick up our son from our daycare provider who lived about 1/2 mile away from our house. On this particular day, my husband was working late so I got off the bus just down the street from her house and picked up my son. On the way home, I glanced up at the sky and noted the threatening clouds. I hoped we would get home before the rain started to fall. Arriving at home, I reached into my purse for my keys and uh, oh. They were......
The director's chair
published . 2 min read
A few days ago, I wrote a blog entitled The Challenges That We Face. One of the verses I mentioned was John 16:33 which says: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. What a glorious thing to know! In this world we will have trouble but we are to take heart because Jesus has overcome the world. So, why aren't we taking heart? Because we really don't believe what He has said. Why? Because there are often times when we pray and things just don't seem to go according to our plan. Our plan? Why am I saying "our plan"? Don't I mean "God's plan"? No, I don't. You see, part of the problem is that we tend to confuse our plan with God's plan. The......
Thou art with me
published . 2 min read
A couple of years ago, while my husband and I were in Missouri visiting our friends, Kirk and Beth, they took us to see Meramec Caverns. I have to say that while I do not generally like small narrow places, I do like caves and I have been to a few in the past, including Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and Mammouth Cave in Kentucky. Like most cave tours, there came a point when the guide turns off the lights so that you might experience the total absence of light. The first time you experience this, you realize that what you believed to be total darkness up on the surface of the planet, really wasn't. You are beyond the reach of natural light. Despite being prepared for it, this experience is always a bit unnerving. One moment you are chatting with the people around you, taking in all......
The challenges that we face
published . 2 min read
As long as we live in this world, we are going to be faced with challenges and not one human being is immune to this. Not a single one. The form of these challenges may vary. They may be physical, emotional, mental or a combination of any or all of them. They may last for a moment or they may last for as long as we reside in these bodies of flesh. Challenges are faced by the rich, the poor, the educated, the uneducated, the wise, the not-so-wise, the beautiful, the not-so-beautiful, the popular and the not-so-popular, the young and well... the not-so-young. We will all face challenges for the plain and simple fact that we live in a fallen world, under the curse of sin. While Jesus walked the face of the earth, He too faced "challenges". While the Bible is pretty much silent......
Step into the water
published . 1 min read
The time had come to step into the land that God had promised them and take possession of it. Between them and the land however, there was a barrier, the Jordan River. Now while crossing the river in itself might be a challenge, the Bible tells us that the Jordan was a flood stage which made it particularly dangerous. The seemingly rational thing to do would be to camp out and wait for the flood waters to go down. That is what their enemies probably would have done and indeed probably what their enemies hoped that the Israelites do. Camp out, sit a spell, wait until things were safe. Then once the way was clear, once everyone deemed that it was safe, they would venture into the water. God is not "safe". Roaring flood waters mean nothing to Him. He does not do things the way we......
The whisper of love
published . 3 min read
More than 45 years have passed and yet the memory of what happened that day is firmly etched in my mind. I could not tell you the date but I can take you to the place and point to the spot where I heard the whisper of love. I had heard about it before. I had even asked about it once, wondering if I would recognize it. I was told, "You will know." They were right. I heard the whisper early one Sunday morning before church began. As the tiny congregation began to gather, someone felt led to pray for the families of the children that my mother would faithfully pick up for Sunday School every week. She would do so once again on Wednesday evenings. My mother, who could easily strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere at anytime, would see children on the streets of Minneapolis,......
The long detour
published . 4 min read
I blinked when my husband told me what he believed that God wanted him to start graduate school in September 2013 so that he could get his Master of Divinity and serve as a hospital chaplain. The chaplain part did not surprise me. When my husband and I met in the fall of 1978, he had started to pursue a degree in practical ministries which he later changed to Biblical Studies with a minor in New Testament Greek. When we started dating, he told me of his call into the ministry. Back then, in the denomination to which we belonged being "called into the ministry" meant that God had called you to be a pastor or evangelist so when my husband said "ministry" that was what I initially thought of but that wasn't what he had meant. God did not call him to have a pulpit......
But even though...
published . 2 min read
My family has been going through a great deal as of emotional turmoil over the past few months and quite honestly my pain and grief has been so great at times that I have wondered if I would ever smile again, let alone laugh. It is one thing when something is happening to you but when you have to stand by helplessly and watch it happen to people that you love, well I think that can be even more difficult to deal with. Earlier today, I found myself crying out to God. I know that God is bigger than anything we face. I know that He hears our prayers and that we do not see the whole picture. I know that God is faithful and true and that He can transform the worst situations into something amazing that is beyond our wildest dreams. I know that we need to walk by faith, not by sight and I know......
Living on the claim
published . 2 min read
In 1862 Abraham Lincoln who was then president of the United States signed "The Homestead Act" into law. The requirements seemed to be simple. Any person, male or female who was either the head or was at least 21 years of age, was a citizen of the US (or had filed a declaration of intent) and had never borne arms against or given aid and comfort to enemies against the United States was eligible to file a preemption claim for 160 acres of what was known as “free land” . Well, there was one very important other detail. At the end of five years they had to prove up on their claim in order to get the title to their "free land". A homesteader had to fulfill certain requirements before they could obtain the title. They had to live on the property for five years......
The corner store
published . 3 min read
I recently discovered a Facebook group for people who grew up in the neighborhoods of Minneapolis that comprise what is known to the locals as "South Minneapolis". As I was born, raised and spent half of my adult life in South Minneapolis, I promptly sent off a request to join. I chuckled when I discovered that one of the administrators lived over on the next block from where I lived. Though he and his sister were both younger than me, I had been in scouts with her for a year or two. While Minneapolis is definitely not a New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles, it is still a major city along with its twin St. Paul. These two cities which are divided by the Mississippi River are close enough in size that their nickname, "The Twin Cities" is true. Though I might be a bit......
God is still bigger!
published . 1 min read
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT) Yesterday I received an invitation from one of my cousins. She is going to be awarded an associate of arts degree in May and it was an invitation to her graduation. Though she lives about 250 miles away from us, my mother and I are making plans to go. We would not miss this graduation for the world because you see, we understand what a struggle it was for Diane to reach this goal. My cousin has moyamoya. You can learn more about this disease at While this disease usually strikes children, it can also afflict adults. My cousin was in her early 40's when she had her first stroke and proper treatment was delayed due to being......
Why not me?
published . 2 min read
"Why me?" It is a question all victims of cancer eventually find themselves asking. They ask themselves why some of their own cells suddenly are not behaving like, well, all the other trillions of cells in their bodies. They ask themselves if there was something they could have done (or not done) to have prevented this from happening. They ask themselves why the treatment that worked for others does not seem to be working for them but on the other hand, if it is working, they ask the opposite question. "Why is it working for me but it is not working for someone else?" Should their cancer go into remission, should they hear those beautiful words "no evidence of disease", the question still haunts them whenever they hear that someone else has had a recurrence......
And then came the morning!
published . 1 min read
It was the darkest of all moments. All hopes and dreams had been dashed to pieces. The love story had been turned into an unimaginable horror story and as far as those who had witnessed it were concerned it was all over. It was done. We can only imagine what the disciples of Jesus were feeling as grief, hopelessness and even terror engulfed them. They would have been experiencing deep trauma and shock in addition to their grief and fearing for their very lives. It wasn't supposed to be like this or was it? In a single moment, God transformed the darkest night into the brightest dawn. In a moment, death was transformed into life, not just for one but for all who would confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead. (Romans 10:9)......
The gift that doesn't stop giving
published . 3 min read
Currently, in the United States we are permitted to deduct charitable contributions to non-profit organizations which in addition to secular organizations can also include churches and various other ministries provided they are tax-exempt. The purpose of this blog is to not open up a discussion as to whether this is right, wrong or how long this will continue. The purpose of this blog is to cause us to carefully exam our motives behind giving or... not giving. When I first joined this website almost eight years ago, I was surprised to see blogs that actually discouraged people from giving. It seems that some people believed a church or a ministry should "trust God" to provide for them and in their minds that meant that God would shower money down from heaven rather than move......
The song that never ends
published . 1 min read
For nearly seven months, things have been rather difficult for me emotionally. I won't go into detail but it was like there was one upheaval after another and truthfully it was during that time that I experienced emotional pain like I had never experienced before. Just a few short weeks ago I would suddenly fall flat on the floor only able to utter a strangled cry out to God. When I would get up, my husband and I would cling desperately to one another and with tears flowing, cry out to God anew. Our hearts had been broken in two by a series of events that were beyond our control. Never have we ever felt so helpless. It was during one of those moments that I looked at my husband with tear-filled eyes and said, "I don't know if I can ever sing again." I have always sung.......
It looks good, sounds good, and feels right but is it?
published . 3 min read
This morning I read an excellent blog by @watchmanjohn entitled The True Light of the World Illuminated. I think his blog is a very important one for us to read. We must take great care when we hear, study or teach the Word of God to guard against deception. Anyone who does not believe that the enemy will attempt to twist God's Word would do well to go back and study the third chapter of Genesis very carefully. They also need to read about the temptation of Jesus. The enemy knows and will quote scripture too and we must never forget that. In his blog, @watchmanjohn spoke about some false teachings that have and continue to deceive many people, including Christians. On the surface some false teaching seem innocent enough and indeed if we do not delve into the Word of God and truly seek......
But i can't see it!
published . 2 min read
A few days ago, I found it. It was a tiny green shoot nestled beneath the faded brown leaves of one of my daylillies. Gently I replaced it's covering knowing that though the calendar says spring, March can be the snowiest month in Minnesota. I would tuck away this little promise of life for now and remember it. About half a foot of snow fell on Sunday evening through early Monday morning. Another inch is predicted for this evening. At the moment, I am once again looking out at trees that are frosted with several inches of snow. Their bare boughs are waving in the wind occasionally dropping a clump of snow to the ground. The calendar may say that it is spring but at the moment, it seems far away. It seems very far away and not even the sun is shining. As a native Minnesotan, I am used......
When life hurts...
published .
There are times in our lives when the pain seems unbearable. Our world as we know it may be collapsing all around us. Dazed and confused, we may find ourselves lying flat on the floor unable to say anything except perhaps a wretched cry that means, "Where are you, God? Why have you forsaken me?" The dawn breaks but you discover that you are still standing in the darkness. We have a hiding place. Blessings! K Image courtesy of Cuteimage/Freedigitalphotos.net...
Out of my sorrow, bondage and night
published . 1 min read
While we are familiar with Hitler's atrocities towards the Jews during the late 1930's and the 1940's, perhaps we are less familiar with the imprisonment, abuse, torture and extermination of those who were considered to be "defective" human beings. In addition to those who were criminals or had what was considered to be deviant behavior, this also included the physically and mentally impaired. Experimentation was performed on the most vulnerable. Broken and unable to care for or protect themselves, death was usually eminent. It was amidst the horrors of a prison camp that the late Corrie ten Boom heard singing. She discovered that the singer a young "feeble-minded" girl, who had been left half-naked and exposed to the elements to die. The girl was singing,......
The living sacrifice
published . 1 min read
While reading a blog by @watchmanjohn entitled Your Kingdom Come, I found myself pondering one of the verses he had quoted which says: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship. Rom 12:1 (NIV) In the Old Testament, specific guidelines were given in regards to animal sacrifices. One of the criteria was that the lamb be free of any blemishes. Prior to the lamb being accepted, it was carefull examined. In order to offer up ourselves as a living sacrifice, we must first be made righteous by God. We might be willing to be a living sacrifice but until we are purified by God, we are unacceptable as such. This is not a one-time deal. We are constantly beset by......
But why not me?
published . 2 min read
There is an idiom in English that says, "When it rains, it pours." It simply means that sometimes when one bad thing happens to us, other bad things seem to follow in rapid succession. Welcome to life as we know it on the Planet Earth. Living in a world that is cursed because of sin, we are going to be faced with what I call "junk" from time to time. Sometimes it seems like we get more of our fair share at times but when you think about all the things that could happen to you in a 24 hour period, well, maybe things really could be a lot worse and we escape far more rain than what we get. When trouble comes our way, we tend to sigh and exclaim (although not always audibly), "Why me?" That seems like a natural response. However, all things considered perhaps......
But i can see you...
published . 2 min read
Sometimes when I read a blog, it will trigger a memory of something that happened in my own life. That is exactly what happened today when I read a blog by @doneuntotheleast entitled " If You Cannot See Or Hear What Do You Do? ". I am one of those people who rarely recalls their dreams. I am also not someone who is given to having visions. However, there have been a couple of times when I have experienced something that seems to burn in my mind and in my heart and I believe it is because God is illustrating something He wants me to know and never forget. It was perhaps about 18 months to two years before I got cancer. Perhaps it was a bit longer but that is not important. As I lay down for the night, thinking about the events of the day and what I needed to do tomorrow, I......
God cares for you
published . 2 min read
After losing her home towards the end of The Great Depression, she would never own a piece of real estate again. She moved from the big beautiful farmhouse with modern conveniences to a tiny two bedroom house with no electricity or indoor plumbing along with her husband and their seven children. Child number eight was yet to be born. Times were hard and she toiled in her large garden and her kitchen tirelessly trying to keep hunger at bay but she did more than just that. She prayed. Some people might have looked at her life and wondered where God was. Her oldest son dropped down dead suddenly at the age of 23. Her husband left her shortly thereafter. For nearly a decade she would travel to the home of one child and then another, paying long visits. She had no permanent address. She had no......
Male and female created he them
published . 3 min read
This morning, as I read a blog by Phillip Jones entitled The Curses of God Last, I began to think about the differences between men and women besides the obvious physical ones. Though we do have a lot of similarities, there are also differences in the way we think, feel, interpret words and actions, react and even in how we speak. Many a man has been left shaking his head in bewilderment not understanding what on earth he said and/or did to ignite that sort of response in his wife and to complicate things even more, sometimes the ignitor was what he did not say or do. We women like to keep things interesting for you men. We can't have you getting bored now, can we? I think one of the biggest tragedies in modern society is the attempt to strip men of their manhood and women of the......
And then there's the chocolate!
published . 2 min read
In the book, God Works The Night Shift by Ron Mehl, the author talks about how as a youth he would hear people tell miraculous stories of God's provision. He took them with a grain of salt until the day came when as a young pastor, he and his wife were down to their last bit of food. He writes about how there was a knock at the door and a couple from his church delivered 15 bags of groceries. This couple didn't stop there. They continued their deliveries on an ungoing basis. That in itself is a wonderful story of God's provision but there was more. You see, as he and his wife unpacked the groceries, to his great delight he discovered that amongst all of that wholesome and necessary food, there was something more. There were Snicker Bars. Did they need the Snicker Bars? No.......
The junk hoarder
published . 3 min read
It sneaked up on me late yesterday afternoon when I least expected it. I was, after all, in the middle of cooking dinner and it was the last thing on my mind. Besides, I thought I was over it, done with that. I was good. God knows what lurks in the dark and sometimes dusty corners of our heart. He knows what belongs there and what doesn't and He knew I'd picked up a bit junk the other day. I was supposed to get rid of it but instead of throwing it out like I was supposed to, I slipped it into a dark corner and figured that was good enough. It was out of sight, out of mind, right? Right! The problem was, I unexpectedly caught of glimpse of it yesterday and when I did, well, I had to drag it out again. I had to look at it, feel it and experience it all over again. In my case it was......
Lift up your head!
published . 2 min read
This morning I read a blog by @blessings2you entitled A Rude Wake Up Call. I think it is an important blog that is worth being read by all. You see, there seems to be a prevalent idea amongst many Christians in nations such as the United States that the persecution of Christians is a thing of the past. That idea is dead-wrong and we need to wake up to that fact. In fact, that idea is not merely wrong, it is dangerous! Why? Because when we believe that lie, we feel no need to pray for and give any type of support to our brothers and sisters who are suffering. I remember being horrified a few years ago when I heard it suggested that if these Christians were suffering than they should have obeyed the law or lied about being a Christian in order to save their own skin. What is wrong with us?......
God's love letter
published . 1 min read
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 It is probably the most memorized passage of scripture in the Bible. If you grew up going to Sunday School, it might very well be the very first verse you ever memorized. I know it was mine. John 3:16 is more than just words on a page. It is God's love letter to us and it is written simple enough for even a small child to understand. Sometimes we forget that. In our quest to explain things, we often tend to complicate them and the more complicated something becomes, the more likely it is to become tangled and confused. The reality is, God made things simple so that everyone could understand. Everyone, regardless of their age, education......
A cheerful heart
published . 2 min read
I hadn't seen her in awhile but then again, for the past few weeks I had gone grocery shopping in the late afternoon or early evening as opposed to going on Thursday mornings like I usually do. Still, I found myself thinking about her the other day, wondering if she was still working at the grocery store or if she had moved on. I saw her today. Yes, her line was a bit long as was the line of the other cashier. I could do like most of the other people were doing and use the self check-out lines but to tell you the truth, I do not like those lines. To me they represent a job that has been lost and besides, I like that "personal touch" that you just cannot get from a mechanical voice that sometimes does not want to cooperate with you one bit. I got in her line and waited......
But the sun is shining!
published . 1 min read
The temperature dropped below zero last night, 0 degrees Fahrenheit that is. Sigh... During the long, cold Minnesota winter, one must learn to be optimistic. "It could be worse" or "We are one day closer to spring" are common Minnesota winter phrases. Looking beyond the here and now is necessary when it is -20F! It is currently -3F/-19C with a windchill of -14F/-25C. I must admit that I found myself sighing a bit over that as I must head out in an hour or so. A few days ago I saw some patches of grass but today they have vanished. As I gazed out the window, however, my eyes were drawn to the cloudless blue sky that was being lit up by the rising sun. As the sun slowly rose, it's beams stretched between my house and my neighbor's throwing a crimson glow on the......
The mixing bowl
published . 2 min read
When I was a girl, I loved to "help" my grandmother bake. One of my earliest kitchen memories is of me standing on a chair at the kitchen counter and carefully greasing cookie sheets. That was my job. I also got to dump the pre-measured ingredients into the bowl. Eventually I moved on to other things under Grandma's tutelage. She showed me how to measure out the ingredients and how to level off the measuring cups and spoons. She showed me how crack an egg and drop the contents into a cup before mixing it with the other ingredients so that it would be easier to extract a piece of shell if necessary. I remember her showing me how to use the electric mixer. With her hands placed over mine, she would guide my hands and eventually I could do it all by myself! I liked mixing......
Oops! there i go again!
published . 1 min read
I had been here before and I had not liked it one bit. You would think I would have learned but I keep revisiting this place time and time again. The name of this place is "Jumping To Conclusions". Some people rarely visit this place. These are the people who listen (or read) carefully. They pay attention and they consider each word thoughtfully. They get the facts straight before they come to a conclusion and even when they believe they have all the facts, rather than believing their conclusion, they give the person the benefit of the doubt and talk to them about it first rather barrelling into them, assuming the worst. I am not one of those people. Sigh... I was reminded of that today when once again, I jumped to conclusions only to realize that person had no idea what I was......
The man behind the counter
published . 1 min read
I was out running errands yesterday when I decided to dash into a fast food restaurant to get a quick lunch. The lunch rush was over so there were only several customers standing at the counter when I walked in. I only had to wait a moment or two before it was my turn to order. As I stepped forward to place my order, I was greeted cheerfully by the man behind the counter. I greeted him in return and placed my order. As he started to ring up my order, I suddenly noticed something unusual about him. His arms were less than half the normal length and his hands were malformed with only thumbs and two fingers. I watched him as he went about his work, meeting each challenge with a smile. His cheerfulness was infectious. I noticed that everyone around him, both co-workers and customers were......
God's love notes
published . 3 min read
My first blog was written on August 4, 2007 and it is entitled A Love Note From God. It is a rather simple story and I suppose that some people might even think it to be a bit silly or even irreverant but I don't think so. You see, it is what my own father did. He did little things to show me that he loved me. My dad always seemed to be making something with his hands. Even if he was watching television or listening to the radio, he usually had his drawing board on his lap. Most of the time he was sketching sometimes he was painting, making something out of leather, drawing plans to make something out of wood, making stencils for silkscreening and so forth. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on my dad's lap and watching in fascination as with pencil in hand he transformed......
The man in the road
published . 3 min read
Christos had a busy day ahead of him. It seemed like all of his days were busy. In addition to the demands of his job and family, there was always some new mountain to climb, some new goal to achieve. Then of course, there was his reputation to maintain. He was a pillar of the community, a man who was highly respected by his peers and recognized by many. As he hurried down the road, deep in thought, he suddenly became aware of someone lying on the road. He stopped for a moment to assess the situation. It looked like the man was hurt. Christos glanced around thinking that perhaps there was someone who could help this poor man but the road was empty. He glanced at his watch. He had places to go and things to do. Besides, he really was not equiped to be of much service. Now if his friend......
Where is your trust?
published . 2 min read
Psalm 20:7-8: - Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. (New Living Translation) I first heard this passage of scripture when I was about 11or 12 years old. My aunt was the music director at a Christian summer camp I attended and one of the songs she taught us was based on Psalm 20:7-8. I still remember pondering the words and remembering the battles recorded in the Old Testament. When the Israelites put their trust in God, the size of their army did not matter in the least. All they had to do was trust and obey God and their victory was guaranteed. If they did not trust and obey God, they were conquered by their enemies. It was as simple as that. It sounds so simple......
Something to sing about
published . 3 min read
When a woman faces surgery due to breast cancer, something happens to her. Regardless of whether it is a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, she feels like she is about to cease to be a woman. In order to try to protect themselves from what they are feeling, many women may attempt to make light of it and tell themselves it doesn't matter. "After all," they try to tell themselves, "it is not like it is something vital." Some women will even throw a sort of farewell party before surgery in an effort to deal with what they are really feeling... a sense of loss and feeling like they are less than a woman. That they will now be maimed, they will now be unattractive... unlovable. Don't ever be fooled. Behind those smiles, there are tears. I ought to know for I became one of......
We are not forsaken
published . 3 min read
I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. Psalm 37:25 (New King James Version) As I read the above scripture this evening, I found myself thinking back to when I lost my job due to health reasons back in January 2011. I remember coming home that day feeling numb. My career, the one I had dreamed of since I was a small girl, was over and it wasn't my fault. It was due to complications I had sustained after suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm and stroke. I had tried to go back to work and my employer had tried to give me a chance. Perhaps things would improve with time but the problem was, they didn't. I knew in my heart of hearts that my employer was right. I could no longer do my job and therefore it was over.......
Valley of weeping
published . 1 min read
Psalm 84:6-7: - When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. (New Living Translation) I love how this passage is worded in the New Living Translation. While many translations call it "The Valley of Baka" which means nothing to me, others translate it as the "Valley of Weeping". I understand and can relate to "Valley of Weeping". Many, if not all of those who read this blog have walked through the Valley of Weeping at one time or another. For some of us, it is a brief visit now and then. Others of us feel like it has become our permanent home but notice that Psalm 84:6 says,......
The testimony of my life
published . 2 min read
It was December 7, 2007 and I was sitting at my computer early in the morning, staring at the keyboard. It was the end of an extremely difficult week that had started out with learning that I had a suspicious mass in my left breast. Now it was time to write about it and it was the last thing I wanted to do. I was numb with shock, fear and even grief. Though I had not yet had a biopsy, I'd had a diagnostic mammogram the day before and the radiologist was blunt. While cancer could not be confirmed until the biopsy was done, the type of tumor I had, a spiculated mass, was almost always without question cancer and what's more, it was an indicator that the cancer was aggressive. As a teenager, I had watched my dad lose his battle with cancer and I knew it wasn't pretty. The only......
Make today count!
published . 4 min read
This morning, I read a story about a man named Orville Kelly who had been diagnosed with lymphoma when he was 42 years old. In telling the story, his wife talked about the depression both of them had slipped into after his diagnosis. He had been given six months to three years to live. Then one day, Kelly, who wrote for a local newspaper, decided that enough was enough. Yes, his time in this world might be short but none of us would reside here forever. Death loomed ahead of us all and today... today he was not dead. He was alive and he needed to act like it! After talking things over with his wife (they had avoided talking about cancer), they shared his diagnosis with their children. He decided to share his cancer journey with his readers and he eventually formed a support group for......
Loving the unlovable
published . 2 min read
Early this morning, I read a blog by @tchable entitled Jesus Died For All!. As I read his blog, an old hymn from my childhood came to mind. This hymn, written by Philip Bliss is entitled, "Jesus Loves Even Me". I am so glad that my Father in heaven Tells of His love in the Book He has given; Wonderful things in the Bible I see- This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me. This song is often viewed as a children's song due to the simplicity of its words. I think the simplicity of these words however, is appropriate. It is written so that all may know, from the simplest child to the wisest man that God is not indifferent to us. He is our Father and He has given us His written word which tells us the story of His love for us. A love that was so great that Jesus Christ willingly......
The scullery maid
published . 3 min read
I love to study history. For many people history is a dull subject. To them it is simply names and dates but not to me. To me it is about people and events which have helped to shape our lives. It teaches us not only about the past but about ourselves as well. I'm just not interested in learning about the great people in history. I am also interested in ordinary people like myself. How did they live? What were their hopes and dreams? Recently I have been been watching some programs where an attempt has been made to replicate the living conditions of a particular time period and people have been selected to "go back in time" and live like their ancestors may have lived. While that may sound exciting, the participants quickly discover that the adjustment is actually quite......
Some thoughts about theologians
published . 3 min read
After reading comments posted on a blog published the other day, I found myself pondering the roles of pastors and teachers within the Church. While we might not always consider them as such, these people are in essence, theologians. Actually, since the word theology is the combination of two Greek words, Theos, meaning God and the suffix -logia which basically means to study, a theologian can be defined as "one who studies God". Shouldn't that apply to all of us? It saddens me whenever I hear Christians treat words such as theologian and theology like they are dirty words. It saddens me when I hear them criticize the use of study tools such as concordances, dictionaries, lexicons and so forth. I for one have been very blessed by the wisdom and knowledge scholars have shared......
A pearl of great price
published . 1 min read
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46 (NKJV) Recognizing its great beauty and value, this merchant willingly sold all that he had in order to obtain the pearl he had found. Everything else was nothing beside it. In fact, everything put together could not possibly even come close to it. He had to have it and he was willing to sell everything he had in order to obtain it. This pearl was all that he needed and once he obtained it, he stopped seeking. He had found the greatest treasure of all. We cannot buy or earn our salvation. The price was paid by the blood of Jesus Christ. Does this mean there is no need to sacrifice ourselves? No. On the......
Just give me cheesecake!
published . 2 min read
In all honesty I can say I did not know any better. All my life I had eaten cheesecake covered with cherries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, chocolate and so forth. Everyone I knew did this as well so I believed it was right. Besides, as far as I was concerned it tasted good. Many years ago, I did have a slice of cheesecake without any toppings. I found it to be bland and extremely heavy-tasting. I thought it tasted terrible and decided that was why people put toppings on cheesecake. It tasted terrible without them. I quickly decided I would never make that mistake again and I happily continued to consume cheesecakes like the one pictured on the right. If you would have asked me if I liked cheesecake, I would have outwardly said, "Yes!" and inwardly added,......
"the check-out line" or "ooops!"
published . 2 min read
It should have only taken a few moments. My husband and I had stopped by a store to pick up a few items. We had other places to go and other things to do but this would only take a couple of minutes. After selecting our purchases, we got in line to pay for them. The lines seemed somewhat busy but the three people ahead of me seemed to only have a few items. This would not take long. That shows how much I know. Truthfully, I could not figure out what was taking so long. No one had to be called to the front for a price-check. No one seemed to be looking for coupons, be undecided as to whether they really wanted an item or not or arguing about the price. No one was telling their life story or pulling out their phone to show the latest pictures of their children or grandchildren to total......
Come, let us walk together
published . 1 min read
While there is certainly always the danger of relying on people rather than God, I think there is also another danger which we often overlook or ignore altogether. That danger is becoming an isolatationist. When God said it was not good for man to live alone, He meant that it is not good for man to live alone. Often this is merely applied to the marriage relationship but human beings are not naturally "loners". We are social beings who naturally form relationships and build communities and we do so for good reason. It is the way God designed us to be. This week, my husband and I have traveled hundreds of miles to spend time in fellowship with friends. Yesterday, we left the home of some friends to visit some other friends who lived four hours further down the road. This past......
Then comes the dawn
published . 2 min read
The picture to the right was taken by me at dawn last September. I remember after taking it, I walked back into the home of my friends, Kirk and Beth. The silence in the house was a stark contrast to what it had been on my previous visits. Kirk was miles away in an intensive care unit battling for his life and a short time earlier, I had taken Bethto work. I was greeted by their dogs, Shadrach and Meshach, and their cat, Jehoshacat. They looked past me, but there was no Beth and most of all, no Kirk. There was only me. Sadly I patted them and told them that Kirk wasn't coming home just yet. As I stood in the living room, the memories of other visits to "The B2Y Ranch" flooded my mind. The visits had always been looked forward to with much anticipation. My husband and I would......
The messy business of sacrifice
published . 1 min read
This morning, while reading a blog by @doneuntotheleast entitled Loving Our Neighbor,Pouring Ourselves out,Crucified With Him it suddenly occurred to me that we often romanticize the word sacrifice. I got to thinking about what was involved in offering up a sacrifice. A sacrifice was, well, a sacrifice and not to be taken lightly. It was a solemn occasion and one that was not to be forgotten. In thinking about sacrifices in Genesis, I realized that the altar had to be built by the individual who was offering up the sacrifice. They were made up of earth and unhewn stone. This required great effort on the part of the person who was to offer the sacrifice. Next, the lamb had to be slaughtered. I have never seen an animal slaughtered and prepared for sacrifice and yet I know it must be a very......
But for the grace of god
published . 1 min read
This evening I was reminded of the unspeakable cruelty human beings can show to one another. In our shock and horror it is easy to point our fingers at those who commit these heinous crimes and forget that without Christ, we too are capable of doing such things. I am reminded that during the holocaust, for the most part it was not hardened criminals nor the so-called scum of society that brutalized and murdered millions or turned them in. It was "the nice people down the street". When there is no law or when those in authority are corrupt and encourage and even reward evil, our true nature is revealed. Except by the grace of God, every single one of us could easily become someone who tortures and kills others. If you think otherwise, think again. Anarchy is the absence of law......
Round and round and round and round and...
published . 2 min read
I don't know about you but sometimes I feel like that little guy in the picture. I will run and run and run but it seems like I am not getting anywhere. I think we can all relate to that feeling. Despite our best efforts we feel like we are simply going round and round and round and round and... you get the idea. Sometimes someone or something put us in that wheel and we race about hoping that if we run fast enough, we will get to the finish line and the race will be over. We've all been there and done that. We run until we are finished running and then we stop. The we can step out of the wheel and go onto our next project or adventure. This one is over, finished, done. Sometimes, however, we get into that wheel on purpose. We have our favorite arguments, our favorite issues and......
One dark night
published . 3 min read
Hidden within me was a secret. It had been there since before I was born but no one knew about it, no one knew it was there except God. It was a time bomb, just waiting to go off. It could have gone off when I was at the front of a classroom, teaching young students. It could have gone off when I was walking down the street. It could have gone off when I was behind the wheel of my car, zooming along down a busy freeway through rush hour traffic. It even could have gone off when I was home alone earlier that evening. It could have easily done that but it didn't. It waited until I had just gone to sleep, safe in my own bed, unable to do additional harm myself or others and it went off just as my husband was about to drift off to sleep. It waited until my son, who has first responder......
The blame game
published . 2 min read
Earlier today I read an excellent blog by @deepaanne entitled Never Try To Hide Disobedience Behind Satanic. I'd like to take it one step further, however. Let's take a closer look at what takes place in Genesis 3 after Adam and Eve hear God's question, "Where are you?" We tend to think that God is asking this question of both Adam and Eve but contrary to what we might think, God is not speaking to both of them. He is addressing Adam. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you? Genesis 3:9 (NIV) Verses 10-12 record the dialogue between God and Adam which ends with Adam saying: The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. Genesis 3:12 Adam does not blame the serpent. You will find the serpent mentioned later by Eve......
A hole in the ground
published . 1 min read
When I was a little girl, I sort of felt sorry for him. After all, it seemed reasonable to me. If someone gave you something, you didn't want to lose it, right? So you would put it away for safe-keeping. I did that all the time. I had my little treasures that I would put into a box under my bed and every once in awhile I would pull out the box and look at them. They were "safe". Yes, they were safe but at the same time, that's all they were. No one benefitted from them. No one really enjoyed them. Why? Because they were shut up in a box and tucked away in a dark corner under the bed. As I grew older, I came to better understand the Parable of the Talents which is found in the 25th chapter of Matthew. The man gave the talents to his servants for a reason. If he had wanted......
The gift of giving
published . 1 min read
The short, cold afternoon was quickly ending as I stood at my kitchen sink. I glanced out the window and saw my neighbor crossing the street and coming towards my house with something in her hands. Pat's mailbox is directly above mine and sometimes our mail gets mixed up so I figured she had some of my mail. I wiped my hands off on a towel, flipped on the outside light and opened the door to greet her. Pat didn't have my mail. Instead she had a Christmas gift for me. A Christmas gift that she had made for me. I opened her gift and found a lovely pair of warm and colorful socks that she had knitted for me. Over the years I have received hand-knitted hat, scarves and even mittens but I have never received hand-knitted socks. Never. I was moved by her gift even more when I realized......
Keep on singing
published . 2 min read
It had started out as an ordinary day. The night before, family and friends had gathered to celebrate my 47th birthday which had been a few days before. As we laughed together, I remember thinking about what a wonderful life I had. Of course there were the normal challenges but surrounded by people who loved me, sitting warm and safe by the fire despite the cold and all the snow outside and most of all, being a Child of God, life was good. Very good. I was a second grade teacher and before I left for school that day, I checked my email. I noticed that I'd received a message saying that the results of a routine mammogram I'd had were now available for viewing. I hesitated for a moment thinking that I'd check the results later because I knew what it would say. It would tell me......
Cancer in our soul
published . 3 min read
In a blog written by @watchmanjohn entitled The Other Biblical Covenants he mentioned that sin is not a disease but rebellion against God. While I understood what he meant about sin not being a "disease" but rebellion against God, I could not help but remember writing a few blogs while I was going through cancer treatment that likened sin to cancer and I will tell you why. While the initial act of Adam and Eve was rebellion against God, that rebellion or sin was passed on spiritually to their children in the same way that we can pass genes for a physical disease or defect onto our children. Sometimes the presence of this "defect" is not apparent in the carrier but that makes no difference, it is still there, lying in wait for the right time and place to manifest......
You, o lord, keep me safe
published . 2 min read
This morning, when I logged onto CB, one of the first things I saw was a wall post by @niki20 which said: Psalm 4:8 "I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe." Every time I read that verse, my mind goes back to December 22, 2009. It was my first day home after having suffered a ruptured aneurysm and stroke twelve days earlier and I was standing next to my bed, unable to bring myself to lie down. Why? Because that bed had literally nearly been my deathbed. Though I consciously remembered very little of what followed and nothing of the actual event, it became very apparent by my reaction that there was a memory of it securely locked away in my mind behind a locked, knobless and tightly sealed door in my mind that said "KEEP OUT!" in......
The tale of the onion
published . 1 min read
I glanced at the clock and hurried into the kitchen. If dinner was going to be ready by 6:00, I had better get moving and get the casserole I planned to make, assembled and into the oven. I seasoned the meat and placed it into the pan. Then I covered it with potatoes and since I am a Minnesotan, topped it with undiluted cream of mushroom soup, of course. Oh, you don't like mushrooms? Well, you can use cream of chicken, cream of celery, cream of onion or whatever you want. Just make sure it is Campbell's Soup. I foolishly tried a different brand once and . Nope, its got to be Campbell's. There! Oh wait a minute, I almost forgot something. I reached for the onions and pulled one out of the bag. I pulled off the peeling, cut the onion in half and gasped in surprise. The inside of......
But i read it on the internet!
published . 2 min read
Sometime ago there was a commerical being run in the US in which a young woman declares something must be true because she read it on the internet. In the commercial she states, "They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true." When her companion asks, "Where'd you hear that?" she answers, "On the internet." We chuckle at that and shake our heads at her naivety. How could anyone be so silly and yet haven't all of us, at one time or another done the same thing? For the most part, particularly if you tend to be an honest individual, you believe that others are too. While we cannot go through life trusting no one, we also cannot go through life with our eyes closed. The bottom line is, people lie. Sometimes they lie in order to avoid......
Mourning into dancing
published . 1 min read
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, Psalm 30:11 (NIV) She slipped into the room quietly last night when I least expected her. I knew God had promised that He would bring her and in fact, I had been reading those promises over and over again and yet, she still had not come. Where was she? It seemed like she was always there and yet at the moment, I couldn't find her. Once again I declared God's promises and there was met with silence. So now what do you do? You keep on clinging to God's promises, regardless. Yesterday I had a good talk, prayer and cry with Pastor Pam who is one of the care ministries pastors at my church. Later that night I had a good talk and cry with a friend that I have known for 30 years. That was all good......
Joy comes in the morning
published . 2 min read
I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” Lamentations 3:20-24 For nearly seven years, I have faced some rather difficult storms. I have battled cancer and other serious health issues which ended my career and changed my life forever. Then when we were finally beginning to settle into "The New Normal", my husband lost the job he'd had for nearly 28 years and was what is referred to as underemployed for 13 months. Though there was a substantial cut in pay, we were very thankful for the job which......
Go in the strength you have
published . 1 min read
This morning, as I read a blog by @watchmanjohn entitled Where Has My God-Given Immunity Gone, the words from a verse he quoted jumped out at me. 'The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have' Judges 6:14 Several times a year, people who are facing financial challenges, some of them extremely severe, flow into our home for nine weekly meetings. I have no doubt that most if not all of them at least secretly hope for that the first time they walk through the door, all of their issues will be resolved and they can go on their merry way. While God certainly can and does do that sometimes, my observation has been that generally it is a process. God requires them to take a good hard look at their behavior. He requires them to give an account of their actions. He......
But i didn't mean it!
published . 1 min read
Though it happened more than 30 years ago, I still remember one Sunday after church when I had decided to give my husband "the silent treatment" because something he said after church in jest had hurt my feelings. I never have been an advocate of the silent treatment because I feel it is not productive but at the moment, that was exactly what I was doing. Of course, since I wasn't my usual chatty self, he noticed immediately that something was wrong and asked me about it. I curtly replied, "Nothing" and then felt a sudden twinge of guilt. That wasn't true. Something was wrong and I was only going to make things worse if I denied it. I took a deep breath and let my hurt tumble out. Now if my husband would have trivialized my hurt or even told me he didn't......
I am empty
published . 2 min read
She had fled the land of the dying with her husband and two sons but death followed her into the land of the living. While dwelling there she suffered not only the loss of her husband but of her sons. Left alone with her daughter-in-laws, she decided to return to her homeland. At some point in the journey, Naomi decided to tell her daughter-in-laws to leave her and return home. Often it is assumed that this happened at the onset of Naomi's journey but in reality, the Bible simply tells us that it happened "on the way". We only know that the journey had begun and how far they had traveled that road before this event took place is unknown. Perhaps Naomi had originally intended for them to accompany her but changed her mind the longer she reflected on it. What did she have to......
The breath of god
published . 1 min read
There is a memory tucked away within me that is so profound that whenever I think about it, I find myself sitting there recalling it for a long time and I am often moved to tears. An intense longing fills my heart and though the memory is so precious and sweet, it also causes my heart to ache. I don't think most of us realize how noisy it is inside of our heads. Our brains hum with activity. Messages go back and forth at lightening speed between the brain and the rest of the our body. Though we are usually unaware of it, we are constantly bombarded with stimuli both internally and externally and the information is processed and and action (or reaction) takes place even if the stimuli is ignored. I will never forget the moment when I became aware that my brain had fallen silent and my......
That the lord your god may bless you
published . 2 min read
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 - At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do. (English Standard Version) There's no doubt about it, God required the Israelites to tithe. The tithe was designated for a specific purpose. It went to the Levite (the tribe of priests) because they were not allotted tribal land and were mingled amongst the people so that they could better serve them. It went to the stranger, the fatherless and the widow. In other words, it was also......
Crying in the arms of god
published . 2 min read
It is easy to get distracted. We find ourselves zooming along the Road of Life, supposedly meeting each challenge and then life throws us a curve or two. We did the right thing. We cried out to the Lord to help and deliver us. Sometimes, we must cry out again and again. We pour through God's Word. We fall before Him time and time again, trusting that He will never fail us and that regardless of the outcome, we are safe in Him. He hears us, He cares for us and most of all, He loves us. Then something happens. The trouble might not exactly be resolved but we are able to breathe just a bit easier. We arrive in "New Normal" and begin to get used to the place. We might even unpack our bags, scatter a few rugs and put up a few pictures. We might not exactly love the place but we......
You have to pay attention
published . 2 min read
I meant well. I really did. When I went to the grocery store today, I saw a small package of ribs that was marked down several dollars. I decided to ditch what I had planned to make for dinner this evening in favor of ribs. Mmmm! Over the past couple of years, especially since I am now diabetic and barbecue sauce and my body no longer play nicely together, I have been experimenting with making up dry rubs. I smear them over the meat, wrap them up tightly in a plastic bag and stick it in the fridge overnight or at least a couple of hours. Because I like to be adventurous, I simply pull out the spices and herbs I am in the mood for and add a bit here and a bit there until I decide that it is just right. Normally this works out quite well actually but today I ran into... well... technical......
Doing the impossible
published . 1 min read
Peter Gideon had a dream. He wanted to grow apples. Fulfilling that dream seems simple enough. The problem was he moved to Minnesota in 1853 and apple trees simply could not survive the harsh Minnesota winters. Undaunted, Peter Gideon proceded to plant thirty varieties of apple trees. He carefully tended his trees and planted new ones as well. After ten years of hard work, every tree had died except a single Siberian crab tree. With a large family to feed, only eight dollars to his name and the brutal Minnesota winter just around the corner, Peter Gideon made a decision that would change history. He spent his last eight dollars on purchasing seeds and scions and crossed them with the seeds from the Siberian crab tree. This time, he was successful and the Wealthy apple (named after his......
But i will always have hope!
published . 2 min read
Some people may consider me to be an optimist but on the other hand, some optimists (like my mother) would consider me to be a bit of a pessimist. Why? Because I am what I consider to be an optimistic realist. This means that I try to not allow my optimism to be blinded by ignoring reality or be blind to the fact that God can transform our reality into something amazing. The Daily Bible Verse at CB today is: Psalm 71:14-16: - But I will always have hope and will praise you more and more. I will tell how you do what is right. I will tell about your salvation all day long, even though it is more than I can tell. I will come and tell about your powerful works, Lord God. I will remind people that only you do what is right. (New Century Version) A few years ago, I wrote a portion of that......
The burlap bag
published . 1 min read
In the words of Jane Austen, any "bloom" I ever had faded a long time ago. Some of this was the result of age and even, though I hate to say it, neglect. I was too busy with the business of living. What nature and carelessness didn't do, illness did. I look a lot more like that plain, rough burlap bag than what I care to admit. That's when I must remind myself that the burlap bag is not important. It is what is inside the burlap bag that matters. I was at a womens conference at my church yesterday and we were each given a burlap bag. I opened up the burlap bag and inside it was a candle. I took it home and today, before writing this blog, I took the candle out of the burlap bag, set it on the window and lit it. My candle is doing more than shining cheerfully on the......
Joy unspeakable joy
published . 2 min read
An email today from a friend reminded me of an incident that occurred back in December 2009. I was lying in a hospital bed recovering from a ruptured brain aneurysm. Due to my injury I was pretty detached to what was going on around me. Except for a couple of isolated incidents, I had not initiated speech nor experienced emotions for over a week and in fact, remembered very little from moment to moment. My short term memory was working minimally at best. As the clean up in my brain progressed, my short-term memory began to return but I still really did not feel any emotions in a normal manner. I was pretty much indifferent to everything around me. I wasn't a participant in life, I was a spectator in a dark corner in the back row. It was right before Christmas when it happened. I was......
But god didn't help me!
published . 3 min read
From the time I was a little girl, I heard this saying: "God helps those, who help themselves." It is commonly believed this quote is from the Bible but it is not. A fable that is now known as Hercules and the Waggoner which is credited to Aesop is believed to be the origin of this saying. In the fable, a man driving a wagon becomes stuck. He begins to call upon gods to rescue him. The response he gets is to get out of the wagon and put his shoulder to the wheel. The moral of the story is: "The gods help those who help themselves". In Christianity, it is stressed that our help comes from God and without Him we can do nothing. This is true. However, does that absolve us of self-responsibility? I think not. Our Heavenly Father, just like our earthly fathers, desires us......
The bad tooth
published . 2 min read
A while back, I had learned that I had some root cavities. I have never had cavities before so this was a new... sigh... adventure for me. It was determined that the damage to two of my teeth is minimal. They can be filled and hopefully saved. The other two however needed to be removed and the decision was made to take out the wisdom tooth next to one of the affected teeth as well. I am thankful that I started out with 32 teeth originally so being down to 28 isn't so bad, especially since they were back teeth in different quadrants of my mouth. I'd had three removed prior to today and I don't even miss them. As I sit here today, eating some soft chocolate ice cream, praying that I will not develop dry socket, I am reminded that yanking things out of your body is not a pleasant......
The scars in our lives
published . 2 min read
It happened just after I'd had my first chemo infusion back in February 2008. I had been warned that since my immune system was compromised, I had to use the utmost care not to hurt myself so I avoided using knives and other sharp objects. Then it happened. I got a scratch across the back of my right hand. It was such a light scratch that it did not even break the skin. All I could see was a small white line across my hand... at first. After a few days, the scratch became longer and a bit wider. To my horror, it soon stretched across my hand. Daily I carefully cleaned it and treated it with antibiotics as it continued to lengthen and widen until it was about 3 inches long and 1/4 of an inch wide. You never appreciate your immune system until it is not working properly. My persistence......
The pen in my hand
published . 2 min read
My second grade teacher walked over to the blackboard and pointed to a picture that was taped to it. "When you finish your morning work, I want you to write a story about this picture." A strange little thrill went through me when she said those words. A story! How I loved stories! I was always making up stories in my head that my little friends and I would act out and if they were not available, my dolls and stuffed animals would take their place. The picture was of a little girl sitting at a desk in a classroom. Next to the desk was a little dog. As I looked at the picture, a story began to form in my mind. Suddenly the little girl, the dog and her unseen teacher had names. I knew exactly how the dog got into the classroom and what was going to happen next. Eager to set down......
Angels watching over me
published . 2 min read
A call from my husband late yesterday afternoon sent a chill through me. I hung up the phone and with tears streaming down my face began to praise God for protecting him. I could have very easily been receiving a phone call from the police or a hospital informing me... A week ago I picked up my husband's car from the county technical college. About a year and a half earlier, when my husband was what is referred to now as underemployed, he needed to get the shocks and struts replaced on his car. Since funds were low, he followed the advice of a friend and arranged to have the necessary work done at the technical college for a fraction of the cost. There was nothing wrong with the work that was done. The problem was one of the replacement parts was defective and gave out while still......
Trusting jesus...no matter what!
published . 1 min read
An old hymn is running though my mind this evening. I am listening to it right now as I write this blog. I had a different picture in mind for this blog but as I was looking for it, I came across this one and stopped in my tracks. You see, there are times when we feel like that little bird. We feel small, helpless and alone. The snow is piled up around us and a stiff, cold wind ruffles our feathers. There appears to be nothing to nourish us. The trees are bare and the ground is frozen solid. You would not think this little fellow would be able to survive through the harsh winter but he does. Why? Because God has equipped him to survive. Not only that but God cares about this little bird. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Luke 12:6 (NIV)......
Absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of god
published . 1 min read
This morning, I was reading a blog that had been written five weeks ago by my friend, @blessings2you, who has been in intensive care for the past two weeks. In his blog entitled What Does It Mean To Be More Than A Conqueror he wrote: There is no doubt in my mind that no matter how tough things get in this life (sickness, mental pressure, foreclosure, homelessness, hunger, persecuted, imprisoned, executed etc) ABSOLUTELY NOTHING can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord. This love allows me to more than conquer the doubts, fears, anxieties and worries that lead to cracks in my relationship with God. Our absolute persuasion that God loves us is the key to victory over the mental pressure and distress that attempts to break our back spiritually and render us a spiritual......
Under his shadow
published . 1 min read
After a phone call this evening, I found myself reading these words once again: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou......
The king's invitation
published . 1 min read
In the twenty-second chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like certain king who sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding. They refused to come. Again the king extends the invitation. "Everything is ready. Come!" This time, the king's invitation is not only ignored, it is ridiculed and the servants are attacked and even killed. Furious, the king sent his armies to destroy those who had not only rejected his invitation but had killed his servants. I have heard it suggested before that one cannot reject the call or invitation of God. However, it seems to me that Jesus is saying otherwise. He clearly tells us that those who had been invited to the wedding feast, rejected the invitation. Since Jesus was using this parable to......
When all around my soul gives way
published . 1 min read
I am half a continent away from both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. There are others here who have far greater knowledge of the terrible storms that can come up suddenly at sea, though I do know about tornadoes! I have also frequently visited the shore of that great inland lake, Lake Superior, watching the wind-tossed waves grow higher and higher; remembering that it's sudden and fierce storms have destroyed freighters and taken lives. Perhaps I am more familiar with natural storms than what I think. One of my favorite hymns is "The Solid Rock" which is also known as "My Hope Is Built", "On Christ The Solid Rock" and so forth. I think the fact that it is known by so many different names taken from it's lyrics only shows how powerful the words......
The microphone cord
published . 2 min read
I had watched him do it hundreds of times for over 25 years. After an event, the mic cables would be disconnected and carefully laid out in front of the stage, across the room or down a hallway. Then they would be coiled and placed in the appropriate bin so that they would be ready for use the next time. It may seem like a small matter but cables that are improperly wrapped (or not wrapped at all) can not only become tangled, they can become damaged. It saves a lot of time and frustration if the cords are properly wrapped at the end of an event so that they are ready for use for the next one. His work-study students quickly learned that incorrect wrapping of the cables would not be tolerated. One of the first skills he taught them was how to wrap cords. In fact, early on the students who......
Let me know if i can help and other things not to say
published . 3 min read
Often the first words that come out of our mouths when we learn that a friend or their spouse or their child has become critically ill or injured is to say, "Let me know if (how) I can help." It sounds like a nice thing to say and don't get me wrong, it is. While sometimes it is simply "good manners" to say something polite-sounding before we walk away, I think that other times we genuinely do desire to help so we say something generic... all inclusive. What we do not realize is that we have just placed another burden upon the shoulders of someone who is emotionally in turmoil. Chances are, the person will say, "I will" and you will never hear from them again. Why? Because they simply do not have the time or energy to think about how you can help them.......
God's positioning system
published . 2 min read
I drove my friend Beth to work early this morning and returned to her house just as the eastern sky was beginning to light up. Beth lives out in the country and as I turned off the interstate and began the five mile journey down a dark and narrow highway, I was very glad that I had the coordinates for her house in my GPS. There I was, confidently zooming down the highway with my CD player turned up and singing to my heart's content. That's when it happened. I was so caught up in what I was doing and making so much noise that I didn't hear it. I did not hear the voice telling me that I needed to turn. To be sure, I know I am supposed to turn when I come to the gravel road that has a blue mailbox. I know that but in the dark, I couldn't see the mailbox very well. The voice......
A heart for ministry
published . 1 min read
It is late and my friend Beth is preparing packages for shipping before she heads off to bed after a difficult and draining day. She does not know it but I am watching her. After preparing her invoices and labels, she adds a handwritten note. Then she carefully inspects each item of clothing. She brushes them and carefully wraps them in paper before placing them in an envelope. At this point you might wonder what on earth I am doing? My job is to take each package Beth gives me and pray over it before placing it in the bin. I am to pray for the person that they may come to know Christ and if they already do, that God will bless them and help them in all that they do.I ask that the package arrives safely and that they are pleased with their purchase. Finally, I thank God for this sale.......
A true friend
published . 2 min read
Tonight my friend is battling for his life in ICU and I am finding myself reflecting about what it means to be a true friend. We throw that word friend around a lot. We say that someone is our "friend" but are they or are they merely an acquaintance or someone we latch onto because they fulfill some need in our life? Perhaps we are lonely or perhaps we want them to do something for us. Sometimes, we feel that they might help us climb the social ladder or enable us reach our financial goal. Other times, we collect them like trophies and brag about the fact that we have 10,000 friends on Facebook. Once our "need" is fulfilled, we cross them off our Friends List and merrily go on our way. Or, perhaps while they are not necessarily deleted from our lives, we ignore them......
Standing together in prayer
published . 1 min read
Tonight a dear brother and friend to many of us within the CB community is fighting for his life. Earlier today,@blessings2you was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed as having a severe case of pneumonia. The oxygen level in his blood had dropped to 68 and he was becoming disoriented. As someone with heart trouble as well, this is a very serious situation. Kirk is now in ICU. Several hours ago, a few CB members gathered together to pray for Kirk in the prayer room. My husband and I talked with both Kirk and his wife@blest via phone before he was taken to the hospital. I have also been receiving updates from@blest this evening. They are aware of and appreciate the prayers that are being lifted up on their behalf. I am reminded tonight of a time when I was in ICU and Kirk wrote a blog......
A gift from the father
published . 2 min read
It is a great tragedy when our relationship with God is based upon what we believe we can get out of Him. We treat God as if He is a genie in a lamp and our every wish is His command. Unfortunately, this idea is often perpetuated by people who proclaim themselves to be ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Promises of the prestige and riches this world has to offer, they lure people into seeking the treasures of this world rather than the treasure of God that cannot be lost, stolen or destroyed. That is, like I said, a great tragedy because God desires to give us so much more. Over the past few years, my husband and I have ministered to a number of people who are in the midst of a financial crisis. Often it is the result of some poor choices but not always. A phrase that is often upon......
Here i am!
published . 1 min read
Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8 (NLT) "You know, I think someone should... " Have you ever voiced that thought before? I have! We see a problem and we know that something must be done about the problem. Sometimes, we even know exactly what the solution is but still we say, "I think someone should... " We have all sorts of handy-dandy excuses ready. We're too busy, we lack the know-how, we're not a leader, we don't have that particular "gift" and so forth. If we happen to run out of excuses, the enemy is more than happy to supply us with more. He is the master of excuses. We tend to think this question is merely for......
Until death do us part
published . 5 min read
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 He had just turned 18 when they met in late August of 1978. She was a few months shy of 18. They had just completed their first week at small Christian college in the corner of East Tennessee and both of them were far from home and eager to make new friends. He was with a group of guys and she was with a group of girls. Together they decided to explore the area on which the campus was situated, just outside of town. She was loud, he was quiet and......
Enduring with love, submission and meekness
published . 2 min read
Today, during my devotions I read a story about an elderly woman living in the former Soviet Union who had been imprisoned for her faith. As she lay shivering in her cell, she began to pray. I was struck by her prayer. Yes, she did ask God to deliver her from prison and she believed He was able to do so. However, she went a bit further. She said that if it was God's will for her to be frozen in her cell then let His will be done. I think that many of us are not willing to pray such a prayer. We reason that God does not want us to suffer and therefore any sort of pain or suffering cannot possibly be a part of God's plan for us. He must deliver us now and that's that! We fail to realize that a pathway of pain and suffering may very well be the road that strategically places us......
Open up and say ahhh!
published . 4 min read
I paid a visit to my dentist yesterday to have a couple of molars extracted which had developed root cavities. A couple of other teeth have root cavities as well but those cavities can be filled. Three teeth, however, can't be saved. They need to be removed. Two of the teeth were next to each other. One of them was a wisdom tooth so they are way back in my mouth. Tooth number 3, also a molar in another part of my mouth, will come out in a couple of weeks. Since two of the teeth were right next to each other, my dentist did sort of a two-for-one sort of thing or perhaps it was more like a buy-one-get-one-half-price sort of thing. At any rate, having the "neighbors" taken out together did make things a bit cheaper and I suspect a bit easier. Before the procedure, I joked with......
Every thing you do
published . 2 min read
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT) Saleeca could not walk. Saleeca could not talk. Saleeca could not sit up. Saleeca could not dress herself or feed herself. In today's language we would say that Saleeca was severely physically and mentally impaired and yet what an impact she made on my life one day. I do not remember why I was struggling that day. Something had happened though and I was very sad and discouraged. I was working as a substitute teacher at the time and Saleeca's teacher had called the day before to ask if I could come in and fill her place that day. I had been there a number of times before. Truthfully, I was......
The dandelion bouquet
published . 3 min read
She ran out the door after breakfast on a fine spring morning. The long, cold winter was finally over and she danced about on the dew-covered grass. Racing over to a swing, she mounted it, backed up onto her tiptoes and then pulled her legs out from under her. She began to pump furiously until she was gliding through the air, higher and higher. As she did, she raised her voice up in song. She always sang when she was through the air. Some of the children in the neighborhood laughed at her when she did so but she did not care. She wasn't singing for them. She loved to sing when she swung through the air or was riding in a car so she always did. It was a simple as that. After a bit, she decided to explore the yard. Even though she had explored it time and time again, she knew there was......
God's amazing gift
published . 3 min read
In July 2007, my son made a casual remark to me that I should blog. I remember laughing at the idea. Me? Blog? I'd heard the term "blog" but that was about it. I had never even read a blog let alone write one. Oh, I had been the administrator for a family/genealogy website since 2002 and would write little articles of interest to my family (my mother is one of eight) as well as my genealogical research but that was it. Though I laughed at the comment and said, "What on earth would I blog about and who would ever want to read it?" I became aware of a strange little nudge. I didn't know anything about blogging but I did know one thing. I had heard that it was a jungle out there in cyberspace. People could jump in and rip people to shreds faster than... well.........
A pocket full of holes
published . 3 min read
Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in a pockets filled with holes! Haggai 1:6 (NLT) Have you ever felt like that? You work so hard and yet there is simply too much monthly left at the end of the month. Sometimes this happens because you have been hit by a crisis but more often than not, there are other reasons. It may be the result of failing to do a budget and stick to it. However, sometimes there might be another problem. This problem is not a new one. More than 2,000 years ago, the Jews who returned from captivity in Babylon faced this same problem. Listen to the message God sent to them through the prophet Haggai. Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? This is what the Lord of Heaven's Armies says: Look at what's happening to......
What god requires
published . 2 min read
When I was in my late teens, I read "The Pilgrim's Regress" by C.S. Lewis. The story begins by introducing us to a boy named John who was living in Puritania. Like all the inhabitants of Puritania, John soon learned that Puritania belonged to The Landlord and he was taken to the Steward so that he might become acquainted with the rules and not break them. To John's surprise, the Steward is wearing a mask. He reads from the list of rules with the mask on but then removes it, contradict that rule, wink, put the mask back on and continues to read. The Steward aso gives John a mask like his to wear as well. Though much of this book went over my head at the time, I'm afraid I understood this part very well. You see I, like John, was also given a long "list" as a......
Sunshine and rain
published . 1 min read
Today I got to thinking about rainbows and how they are formed. Before I proceed any further, here's a brief science lesson about rainbows from a meteorologist: In order for a rainbow to form, you need two things, water and light. When light hits a water droplet, it is refracted and enters the droplet where it is broken into seven colors; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The light then reflects what is inside the water droplet and what's on the inside is refracted back into the air and we see it as a rainbow. It makes me think about how the Light of The World, Jesus, entered the darkness of my life and transformed it into something beautiful. He transformed me and desires to shine through me so that the world around me, can see Him. It also reminds me that......
Do not ignore the manna
published . 3 min read
Philippians 4:19 - And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (New King James Version) Some people will use this verse to justify their greed. They reason that they need something when in reality, they don't. On the other hand, some people tend to think of this verse as referring to spiritual blessings exclusively. As for their own practical needs, it is up to them to meet them and they just might believe they are doing that until they lose their job, get sick, find themselves widowed or divorced and so forth. Suddenly the things which they believed to be their resource is stripped away from them and I know from personal experience, that at least initially, that can be a terrifying place to be. Paul writes that God shall supply all your......
Yet i will rejoice in the lord
published . 1 min read
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. Habukkuk 3:17-19 (NLT) I sat for a long time today after reading those words. I thought about the most recent years of my life which truthfully have been some of the most difficult me and my family have ever endured. Our fig trees had no blossoms. The vines were bare. The olive crop failed and our fields were empty and barren. Our flocks died, the barns were empty and yet God had not......
Congratulations, b2y (kirk m)!
published . 2 min read
Today another milestone was reached at CB. @blessings2you (known to CB old-timers as "B2Y") had the 2.5 millionth view of his blogs. That's more than any other blogger at CB. Now to some people, that might not seem like such a big deal but since I was at CB when he arrived here during the fall of 2007, I know a thing or two that makes this even a more remarkable accomplishment. For a long time, he published a blog every day. Anyone who has tried to do this knows this can be quite a challenge. I have often see people say they intend to write a daily blog but usually within a few days or weeks they give up. Kirk did it for more than a year. In fact, he wasn't stopped until he was hospitalized for serious health problems in January 2009. He continued to blog as much as......
The blocked door
published . 2 min read
This morning, I read the following poem: He asked for strength that he might achieve, he was made weak that he might endure. He asked for health to do larger things, he was given infirmity that he might do better things. He asked for power that he might impress men, he was given weakness that he might seek God. He asked for wealth that he might be free from care, he was given poverty that he might be wiser than carefree. He asked for all things that he might enjoy life, he was given life that he might enjoy all things. He received nothing he asked for. He received more than he ever hoped for. His prayer was answered! Blessed man! --Author Unknown The Bible gives us a number of examples of people who encountered blocked doors. Take Abraham and Sarah for example. They desired a child with......
The proof of god's love
published . 1 min read
You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. Luke 6:36 (NLT) The word "oiktirm³n" is translated as "merciful" in many English translations of the Bible, however, other translations render it as "compassionate". Why? Because it is more than mercy. It is tender mercy. The heart has been deeply stirred to the point that one has empathy for another. I believe this is the type of mercy God has towards us. It is "heartfelt". There have been specific times in my life when I have been truly aware of the compassion of God towards me. I mean, fully aware. His love and His tenderness is completely overwhelming. Just writing about it moves me to tears. Jesus' statement, however, is very sobering. He says that I must be compassionate,......
The survivors group
published . 2 min read
I spent most of 2008 undergoing cancer treatment. I tell people that during that time I was sliced, diced, pickled and fried. You know, to tell you the truth, I think that is a pretty accurate description of cancer treatment. I was very fortunate. My husband was with me every step of the way. He was fortunate enough to have an employer who permitted you to rollover your sick days each year and you could use them to care for family members as well. He had accumulated hundreds of hours and he was able to go with me to appointments, chemo infusions and even adjust his hours so he could go in while I was still fast asleep,work five hours a day and get home in time for lunch. This meant I was only home alone for a few hours every day. That was good because I had chemo every two weeks instead......
A new group: princesses of god
published . 1 min read
Today an announcement was made that groups were returning to CB. In light of that, I would like to announce that a group I used to run for women at CB called Princesses of God is up and running once again.The purpose of this group is to connect with other "princesses" (we are daughters of the King after all) and "do life" with one another as we do life with God. If you would like to connect with otherat CB, if you want to laugh together, cry together, pray together and make new friends here at CB, I would like to invite you to join us. What's that @bethy? Oh yeah. Cake. I nearly forgot to mention cake. We do require that you bring food that is near and dear to the heart of all Princesses like cake, chocolate and so forth. One of the nice things about having a party......
Trust without borders
published . 2 min read
My pastor just started a summer sermon series entitled, "Dangerous Prayers". Usually we want to avoid danger like the plague. At least some of us do. There are people who seem to live for danger. They relish an adrenaline rush and love to put their life on the line on a regular basis. I suspect that most of us are just a tad bit less daring and consider these people just a little bit crazy or foolish. As Christians however, God is calling us to step out of our comfort zone. We have to you know, if we are going to walk with God because you see, God goes to dangerous places. He goes to very dangerous places and if we want to be with Him, then we must go there as well. Gethsemene was a very dangerous place on the eve of the arrest which preceeded the crucifixion of Jesus. The flesh......
The giving heart
published . 2 min read
He was a young photographer who desired to give above and beyond his usual tithes and offerings. He desired to support those on the mission field and help those who were oppressed. He was just one man but he believed that one man who is committed to God can make a difference. He wanted to make a faith pledge so he sought God and the number God gave him, staggered him a bit. However, believing that God would help him fulfill his pledge, he made a commitment. That's when he got an idea. When you think about it, that isnot surprising because there is no need for God to tell us how to do something until we commit to doing it, right? He decided to set aside a time when he would offer a free photograph to families. He would do a photo shoot and they could select a portrait free of charge.......
A broken hope
published . 1 min read
There are three words that hang on the wall over my computer. These words are love, faith and hope. Well, at least there were three words until this morning. Now there are only two words, love and faith. This morning I noticed that my hope had uh... slipped a bit. I had it attached to the wall with two tiny velcro strips and the back of one of them had loosened from the wall. The other one appeared to be secure. I pushed it back into place and it seemed secure and I made a mental note to pick up some new strips when I went out later today. Just as I was thinking that, I heard a thud. This time my hope had fallen behind the desk. I got down on my hands and knees and was able to retrieve it but... sigh... my hope was broken. First I checked to see if I could simply fit the broken pieces......
Just give me jesus
published . 1 min read
This morning, I read a blog entitled Are You Content by@blessings2you. I love the picture he used for the blog which is entitled, "Grace". One of my aunts had that picture hanging in her dining room when I was a little girl. It also happens to be the official Minnesota State Photograph. As I read Kirk's blog, I thought about how it seems like many Christians want something else besides Christ. We rush past Him in our quest for "stuff". Many of us are like the people who flocked to Jesus because they wanted to see Him perform miracles or it was "fashionable" thing to do, until He said things like "Take up your cross and follow me." We want Jesus and money. We want Jesus and success. We want Jesus and the perfect spouse. We want Jesus and perfect......
A servant's heart
published . 2 min read
He was a powerful and wealthy man. In fact, he and his nephew had to part ways because together, their flocks were so numerous that the land could not support them. Later, when his nephew had been captured, he formed an army of 318 male servants who had been born in his household and successfully rescued him. Abrahamwas not an ordinary man. He was sitting at the entrance of his tent one day, when he saw three men standing nearby. In his culture, hospitality was important and it still is today. However, if you read Genesis 18 carefully, you will notice that something seems a bit... strange. He runs to meet them. The rich and powerful men of his day did not run to anyone. It was beneath their diginity to do so. People ran to them. As if that wasn't enough, Abraham bows before them and......
Entrusted with the good news
published . 1 min read
For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. 1 Thessalonians 2:14 For centuries, people have been making this same claim but in his letter to the Church at Thessaloniki, Paul takes the time to substantiate his claim. He begins by stating his purpose which is to please God and not people. I found myself pausing as I read that. What is the purpose of a minister or teacher of the Gospel? Is it to please God or is it to please others or even... themselves. I believe this is a question we must ask ourselves before we preach, teach, discuss or even write blogs. What is our purpose? We must be very careful before answering that question because sometimes what we say or even believe our purpose to be, really isn't our purpose at all! Our purpose becomes is to......
Did you hear?
published . 1 min read
They didn't live in a world where you can talk to someone halfway around the world. They didn't have cellphones, Skype, Twitter or Facebook. They couldn't travel thousands of miles in less than 24 hours and yet here is what the Bible tells us about the Christians at Thessaloniki: So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord. As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece - throughout both Macedonia and Achaia. And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don't need to tell them about it, for they keep......
Watch out for snakes!
published . 2 min read
I have to admit that when it comes to snakes, I am pretty ignorant, especially when it comes to venomous snakes.Minnesota is not exactly at the top of "The Venoumous Snake Favorite Places"list. In fact, it is not even on the list though there are a few, very few, that got lost on their way to some place else and are still wandering about near the southern border. Truthfully, the only snakes I have ever seen in Minnesota (not in captivity) are garter snakes and though they can reach a length of three feet, the ones I've encountered have been smaller. I am not complaining as I learned long ago, snakes and princesses really do not get a long well. When I was in college in southeast Tennessee, I encountered a large black snake while collecting and classifying flowers for my......
Tell it to the children!
published . 2 min read
Joel 1:3 - Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. (New International Version 1984) It is often said that Christianity is one generation from extinction and I believe that is true. One of the first things hostile governments towards Christianity do is place a ban on giving religious instruction to adults and teenagers. Their reasoning is obvious. The youth are more likely to embrace an idea than those who are more settled in their ways. This is not merely true in regards to Christianity. There is a reason political parties strive to influence the youth. You want to teach/influence people when they are young for it is during that time that most of our character, attitudes and philosophies are formed which will......
Your god or my god
published . 2 min read
Once King Saul opened up the door to pride, he quickly headed down a slippery path. In 1 Samuel 10, we learn that God had given him a new heart. In 1 Samuel 13, instead of obeying God, Saul grows tired of waiting for Samuel to arrive and takes it upon himself to offer up the sacrifice to God. He takes on the office of a priest, an action that was not permitted by God. Saul attempts to justify his actions but Samuel tells it to him straight. Saul disobeyed God and there would be a price to pay. His descendants would never sit on the throne. 1 Samuel 15 opens up with Samuel giving Saul a message from the Lord. Saul is to completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation. He is to not only kill all of the men but the women, children and all of their livestock as well. Why? Because they had......
Humility or pride?
published . 3 min read
They were tired and ready to go home when they entered the town where the prophet, Samuel lived, hopeful that he would be able to tell him where to find the donkeys they were seeking. Saul is directed to Samuel. Before Saul could ask his question, Samuel responds by not only telling him that the lost donkeys have been but that he and and his family are the focus of all of Israel's hopes. (1 Samuel 9:20) Saul immediately responds to this message from God by saying, But I'm only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me? 1 Samuel 9:21 (NLT) Now your initial reaction might be to think that Saul is a very humble man but we must remember that words themselves can......
We must still get through the day
published . 2 min read
It wasn't until later this morning that I became aware of today's date. Today is June 6th. Usually, unless it is a birthday or anniversary, dates are not too important to us. Most of the time, days simply slip past us, one right after the other. June 6th is neither my birthday, anniversary or the birthday or anniversary of a family member or a friend and yet I remember it. Six years ago, I awakened to feelings of both dread and excitement. I was filled with excitement because it was my last day of dose-dense chemotherapy. Oh how I had longed for that day. I counted the days and then the hours until my suffering would be over. My hair would finally grow back and my skin would get back to normal. The tiny scratch across my hand which hadgrown to be nearly half and inch wide and......
For you are with me
published . 5 min read
In a blog I wrote several days ago entitled Every Moment That You Live, the topic of the fear of death came up. People who usually say they do not fear death are people who probably believe they are not facing it at the moment. I also think the Christian is the one who will declare it the loudest. The problem is saying that you have no fear of death when you are not actually facing it, means nothing. I have thought about death and my own mortality more over the past six years than I did for the preceding 47 years. That's not unusual for a cancer survivor. They either shove the thought aside and go into denial mode or they accept that death is inevitable. It will come to us all. It's just that our death may come sooner rather than later. It seems that the former state of mind does......
The real story
published . 3 min read
I read an article this morning which examined several incidents of terrible incidents which have taken place over the past three decades. If we only look at the surface, we can only wring our hands and cry out to God, "Why did you allow such terrible things to happen?" Do not get me wrong. Things like The Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4, 1989 was a horrifying tragedy. However, at the same timemany disillusioned students became receptive to the message of Christianity and the Underground Church in China experienced phenomenal growth.We must never forget that it was the fire of persecution which spread the Gospel from beyond the borders of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and into the uttermost parts of the world. What about in our own lives? Does God allow tragedy or hardship to......
Every moment that you live
published . 2 min read
Two thousand five hundred days. That's how many days I have been a member of CB. Lest you think I am keeping track, I just happened to stumble across that fact today. In one respect one could say that it is just a number. However, in this case this number represents the passage of time. It represents two thousand five hundred days. When I think about my days here at CB, I tend to get a bit reflective. You see, just a few months after joining CB, my life was radically changed forever. I was faced with my own mortality, my own weakness, my own helplessness as well as the helplessness of others. We like to believe we can "fix" everything. We can't. We like to believe life will go on as it has forever. It won't. We secretly believe that we are invincible, though we......
What if the rain never came?
published . 1 min read
Like most people, I like sunny days. I do not like hot, humid days but I like the temperature to be about 75F, with blue skies speckled with a few puffy white clouds and a very light wind to keep you from getting overheated. I do not like rainy days as much. There are times they can be very pleasant indeed but most of the time, I view them as an interruption that makes the world muddy and spoils outdoor activities. There is something I do not like, though, even more. I hate drought. I hate seeing living things whither and die due to lack of water. I hate seeing corn, burned to a crisp, standing in field after field. Endless days of sunshine, without rain means only one thing... eventual death. It's been raining all night and as I am writing this blog, the rain has let up for a bit. I......
Carrots, eggs and coffee beans
published . 1 min read
Each day I receive an email devotional called "Standing Strong Through The Storm" written by Paul Estabrooks. Today's devotional tells the story of a young woman who seemed to be facing one problem after another. Have you ever felt like that? As soon as one problem is solved, another one pops up in it's place.There comes a point when you are simply tired and worn out.The woman did what we so often do when we reach this point. She tried to find someone to talk to and in this case, it was her mother. Rather than offer platitudes or tell her to toughen up, this wise mother took out three pots and filled them with water. She put a carrots in the first pot, eggs in the second pot and coffee beans in the last pot. Then she set them on the stove and allowed them to boil for a......
The giving envelope
published . 3 min read
It had happened before. A few women had gathered together at the home of a friend for our weekly Bible study. Before we got started, the leader of the group shared with us that one of the women, a single parent, was not going to be there today as her daughter was in the hospital. After a brief discussion, it was decided that the leader of our group would purchase a gift card for her which could be used for meals, groceries and so forth. Anyone who wished to contribute could either talk to the leader afterwards, simply leave their gift on the table before they left and so forth. It was also made very clear that this was a last minute thing and no one should feel pressured in any way to give. I am living on a very tight budget at the moment. Our household income has diminished a great deal......
We have heard
published . 1 min read
‹ The news spread quickly throughout the city. Her first response was despair. What would happen to her and her family? Yet at the same time, there was a glimmer of hope. If the city was indeed destroyed, perhaps she could manage to escape the nightmare her life had become. The Bible is silent in regards to Rahab's thoughts and feelings prior to her encounter with the Israelite spies. The only revelation is what she said to the spies after she had hidden them from their pursuers. I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites......
Don't stop running!
published . 2 min read
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easilytrips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1 In 1 Chronicles 5tells us about how the tribes east of the Jordan River conquered the land they were given. The Bible tells us there were 44,760 skilled warriors in the armies of Rueben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. All of these warriers were skilled in combat. They were all armed with shields, swords and bow. (1 Chronicles 5:18) This passage tells us two very important things. First, we are toldthese were not ordinary people going into battle. They were skilled warriors. Secondly, we learn these soldiers were well armed.......
Paid in full
published . 2 min read
‹ Living in the Land of Extreme temperatures, my natural gas and electricity bills can be pretty erratic. In the winter my gas billsoars as the thermometer dips down into the subzero (Fahrenheit) range. In the summer, my furnace gets a much deserved vacation but my electric bill soars as my air conditioner gets a good workout for about three or four months. This being the case, both the gas and electric companies offer "budget plans" to help smooth things out a bit. Every six months, they average out your usage for the past 12 months in order to determine your new monthly payment. If we have a mild winter, my gas bill generally goes down for the next six to twelve months or longer. If we have a cool summer, the same holds true for my electric bill. This past winter was the......
The song in the night
published . 1 min read
Though I do not live out in the country, there is a narrow strip of woods behind my house as well several lakes just down the road. I also live within a couple of miles of a 2,000 acre park which has dense woods as well as several lakes. Throughout the day, I will hear the singing of birds. When the night falls, however, the music doesn't stop. In fact, often it is even louder. Listen to the song of the night... When I hear this song and other songs of the night, I am reminded that God is not merely the God of the daylight. He is also God of the night. The song may be different but there is still music. God is the one who gives songs in the night (Job 35:10). Are we listening? (Be patient when you click on the link for you will see an index of pictures first. Just wait about 10......
Where's your sword?
published . 4 min read
Nehemiah was on a mission. He had come to Jerusalem to oversee the rebuilding of the wall which had been destroyed by the Babylons in 586 BC. While the captives, who had returned about 70 years earlier had rebuilt homes and set up businesses once again, without the walls the city was extremely vulnerable to enemy attack even though it was under the protection of King Artaxerxes I of Persia. When Nehemiah traveled to Jersusalem, he was accompanied by armed guards to protect him which were provided by King Artaxerxes, himself. Nehemiah also carried letters from the king instructing the governors of the territories to grant Nehemiah safe passage. A letter was also sent to Asaph, the manager of the king's forest instructing him to provide the necessary timber for the rebuilding of the......
Daily bible verse: philippians 4:6-7
published . 3 min read
Philippians 4:6-7 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (New International Version 1984) This beautiful passage of scripture is so full of hope and encouragement. What precious words these are! It saddens me that this very same passage has often been used by people who profess to follow Christ to justify selfishness and greed. When we read God's Word, we must approach it prayerfully. We must ask God to open up our understanding. We must carefully consider what it is saying... and what it is not. Far too often our eyes will light on a few words, we string them together into something......
Wait for the promise
published . 1 min read
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, Acts 1:4a (ESV) I am probably the most impatient person I know. I remember as a child I would dance about impatiently, hopping about first on one foot and then the other. My entire body reflected my impatience. Sigh... I have not improved very much with age, I'm afraid. Over the years, my impatience has gotten me into trouble at times. Not content to wait, I struggle to keep from interrupting people. While someone is articulating their thoughts, I have dashed off down the road. Sometimes I really do have all the proper information but sometimesI don't and I realize, I should have waited. It is interesting to note that the Comforter did not come as soon as Jesus......
Daily bible verse: proverbs 26:20-fueling the fire
published . 1 min read
Proverbs 26:20 - Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. (New International Version 1984) As I thought about this scripture today, I thought about different types of fire. A fire can either be useful or it can be destructive. It can either be our servant or our enemy. What sort of fires am I fueling? Sometimes a fire within our heart is useful. It ignites our passion and drives us to study God's Word, spend time in prayer, reach out to others, stand firm against evil and so forth. This type of fire needs to be fueled continuously so that it will burn brightly. However there are sometimes fires that need to be quenched. Take bitterness for example.While we may contemplate it silently for a season, we keep it alive by adding fuel to it. When the enemy points it......
Give me the faith to believe
published . 3 min read
Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.' Mark 9:24 (NIV) Today I was confronted with a potential "challenge". When I did, I found myself saying that I would trust in God but then I began doing what I often do. I begin to do what I call "plotting and planning". If this happens, then I can do this, or this or maybe even this. I am by nature a problem-solver and to tell you the truth, for many years I had the audacity to refer to my solutions as "inspiration" from God. Unfortunately, while my solutions may have provided a "fix" they weren't the proper fix and sometimes they were merely temporary or even made the problem worse! A few years ago a dear and loving friend stopped me in my tracks......
The lord shall be a light to me
published . 2 min read
Micah 7:8 - When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. (King James Version) I love this verse. In fact, it is even printed on a card that is taped to my computer monitor. I only have to lift up my eyes from the screen and there it is, reminding me that no matter how thick the darkness is around me, the Lord shall be a light unto me. Several years ago, when my husband and I were visiting our friendsKirk and Beth, they took us to visit some caves. At one point, our group was ushered into a dimly-lit subterranean amphitheater. We could make out the stairs and seats (barely) but the area directly in front of us was clothed in darkness. I remember peering into the darkness, trying to make out what was in front of me but my efforts were in vain. There simply was not enough light......
God has you!
published . 2 min read
In October 2007, I sat with in an auditorium with thousands of women watching Nicole Johnson perform a sketch entitled, "Stepping Into The Ring". This piece was about a woman who had just learned she had breast cancer and it resonated with me as I recalled my father's battle with colon cancer which started when I was 14. He passed away two years later. The day I saw "Stepping Into The Ring" for the very first time, I did not know that within my own body a cancerous tumor was growing. I had breast cancer. It would be about six weeks before I learned that there was anything wrong with me. Truthfully, I did not look sick and I felt great. How I looked or felt didn't matter. I was in deep trouble and if drastic measures were not taken, I would die. Even if drastic......
The best is yet to come!
published . 2 min read
‹Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13b-14 (NLT) Can you imagine watching a race where the runners had their eyes on the starting line rather than the finish line? Think for a moment about what would happen. It would be a mess! The runners would slow down because they kept turning around and they would be crashing into one another. Some would get the bright idea to take their eyes off the finish line all together. They would turn around, face the starting line and proceed to attempt to run backwards. Oops! If they did ever manage to reach their destination, they would have done with difficulty and endured unnecessary hardship.......
The blood path
published . 2 min read
‹In Genesis 15, God tells Abram that he is to bring a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon to the Lord(Genesis 12:9). If you look at the passage, God does not tell Abram what to do with these animals and yet rather than build an altar and sacrifice them, Abram cuts the heifer, the goat and the ram in half (not the birds) and arranges them on opposite sides. Thus the blood from the carcasses which had been ripped apart would flow down towards each other, forming a "blood path". How did Abram know this was what he was supposed to do? In order to answer that, we must look back to the culture from whence Abram came and Abram was a product of Mesopotamia. Is there historical evidence of such a practice as......
Why have you forsaken me?
published . 1 min read
Earlier today, I was reading a blog by Hans Warnke entitled The Truth Is Always The Winner. As I read the blog, Hans raised the question as to why Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!" Hans pointed out that Jesus was quoting from Psalm 22 so I turned to that psalm to read it in it's entirety. In Psalm 22, David cries out in anguish. He asks the hard questions in Psalm 22:1-2. Why has God forsaken him? Why is God so distant? Why is He ignoring his cries for help? Why doesn't God answer? These are the very same questions which we cry out today and it is, in essence, the question God Himself cried out in Genesis 3:9 after Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Then the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you? It......
In the sufficiency of grace
published . 3 min read
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV) I watched my son (then 11) make his way through the massive crowd that had filled the stadium to capacity. We had gone to......
Daily bible verse: 2 corinthians 4:16-18
published . 2 min read
It was a time of fear and uncertainty. A routine mammogram had revealed a suspicious-looking mass and a diagnostic mammogram confirmed I had a tumor and due to it's appearance, it was highly likely I had Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma... breast cancer.I promptly named my tumor "Spike" and began the eviction process. As the date for my biopsy quickly approached, I wandered into a Christian bookstore. I didn't know what I was looking for. I was just looking. The last thing I wanted to be was alone. I wanted to be some place full of people, full of life. A Bible caught my eye. It was a New Living Translation. I happened to pick it up and turned to a favorite scripture of mine which was 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. I had read it many times over the years in the KJV but the words of......
The unknown path
published . 1 min read
A little while ago, when I was listening to the radio, the song "Already There" by Casting Crowns came on. As I listened to the words, I was reminded of the times I have peered down a dark or rough path wondering what lay ahead. We've all been in that situation before and we will undoubtedly be there again before we leave this world. It is inevitable. I turned to God's Word and read: And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8 (NKJV) Do you notice that this passagedoes not start out by telling you not to be afraid? 1. It tells you who God is. He is the One who goes before you. 2. It tells you what God will do. He will be with you. He will never leave you nor......
Darkness into light
published . 1 min read
Psalm 18:28 - You O Lord keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. (New International Version) There are times when God speaks to you so clearly that you never forget it. Never. This was one of those times. It was a few days before I was supposed to start chemotherapy. I was filled with uncertainty not knowing what the future would bring. I remember opening up my Bible and turning to Psalms. Distracted, I turned a few pages and stopped. Looking down, my eyes fell on Psalm 18:28. Suddenly, I was alert and pounced on those words like a thirsty woman would seize a glass of water. No matter how dark things got, God was with me. I knew that butthere was more. God was not only with me; God would turn my darkness into light. What does this mean? Did it mean God was going to......
Through human eyes
published . 2 min read
You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God's. Mark 8:33 (NLT) How often do we do that? I know I do it a lot! I view and interpret the world around me through "human eyes" or from a human point of view. To put it into perspective, imagine a small child attempting to understand and explain everything about the world in which we live. It can't be done. Even we as adults cannot fully do such a thing! Yet when it comes to our own lives we seem to believe that we see and know everything. In Mark 8, Jesus predicts His death. He openly (clearly) tells His disciples that He will suffer terrible things and be rejected. He tells them that He will be put to death but would be resurrected in three days. The disciples did not believe Him. They attempted to......
Take courage! i am here!
published . 1 min read
It was about three o'clock in the morning and the men were exhausted and afraid. Four of them were no strangers to the fury of the sea. They had earned their livelihood from it until Jesus had called them to become fishers of men. However, their knowledge and skill was no match for the storm that raged around them. Despite all their efforts, they were in serious danger of losing their lives. How did they arrive at this point? They had been obedient. That's right. They weren't being punished nor was the situation they found themselves in, their fault. Jesus had told them to get into the boat and sail across the Sea of Galilee to Bethsaida and that is exactly what they were trying to do (Mark 6:45). They were being obedient and now they were fighting a storm, wondering if they......
The impossible situation
published . 1 min read
‹He was in an impossible situation. He was living amongst the dead, feared and shunned by the living. It is unknown if any effort was made to help him. Perhaps there was but the only thing we know for certain is that any attempt to restrain him had failed for he had broken all physical chains. His existence was lonely and wretched. He was a man without hope, without the comfort of human touch. Is that last part important? Yes it is. When I was going through cancer treatment I found myself craving human touch... and I got a lot of it. I was surrounded by loving family, friends and even strangers and yet oh, how I treasured their touch! I never knew until then the full power of the human touch. Try to imagine for a moment what it must have been like to be feared by all and perhaps even......
A few promises to remember
published . 2 min read
This morning I came across a notation I had scribbled on a study note in my Bible written by Jill Briscoe. As I read this once again, I thought I would post them for it just might be that someone else needs to be reminded of these promises, just like me. Promises of God 1. Sin need not control us again. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christisin you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:9-11 (NKJV) 2. We need not be afraid......
The unlikely disciple
published . 2 min read
They were hated then, just like they are hated now. You work hard, earning your daily bread by the sweat of your brow and then, an open hand appears. It is bad enough when it is your own government's hand but it is even worse when it is a foreign government. A government that is hostile towards you and your people. Rome was only interested in what they considered to be their due. If the Jewish tax collectors they employed wanted to take an additional... tip, well so be it. Rome had little interest in what the Jews did to each other, as long as they did not step on Roman toes in the process. They were thieves and traitors. That was how Jewish tax collectors were viewed by their people. They wereto be shunned by respectable people.The only company they were fit to keep was that of......
The ash tree
published . 2 min read
I have an ash tree in my front yard. I did not know it was an ash tree until yesterday when the property manager of our townhome association called me to inform me of that fact. He wanted to let me know that during the annual fall property inspection,a crack had been noticed in one of it's upper limbs. That fact was duly recorded along with a note to inspect the tree once again in March to see if my tree was hosting... visitors. He was calling to let me know that my tree was indeed doing just that and they were not merely visitors. Emerald Ash Borers had come to stay. My lovely shade tree is coming down within the next few weeks. The association will plant a new tree but I know it will be years before the new tree will provide the same shade as the ash tree did. To the untrained eye,......
The lord your god goes before you
published . 4 min read
‹ ‹ ... the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. --Franklin D. Roosevelt The Bible tells us that normally, it would have taken only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir but forty years after they had left Mount Sinai, Moses addressed the people. He recounted how forty years earlier, God had told their fathers at Mount Sinai to break camp and move on. They were to go the the hill country of the Amorites and to all the neighboring regions. They were to go to the land of the Canaanites, to Lebanon and all the way to the Eupharates River and take possession of the land God had promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all of their......
There is therefore now no condemnation
published . 4 min read
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1 (NKJV) What a glorious thing to know.Paul tells us there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus so therefore that must mean we can live however we choose, right? We can simply say that the sin we struggle against is too great, everyone struggles with sin and therefore, since there is no condemnation, it is okay to yield to it. To borrow a phrase from my friend Shani, we would say, "It is all good" but is it? Is this what Paul is really saying? Let's take a closer look at this verse. The first part says: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, only many Christians say/read/think......
Entrusted into our care
published . 2 min read
For far too long we have placed the responsibility of "Christian education" for our children upon our schools or even our churches. While a Christian school and/or church can and should supplement Christian education, these institutions should not be the primary source.In reality, this responsibilitybelongs upon the shoulders of those who are raising the child whether they be a parent or guardian. Many Christians like to point out that American society collapsed in 1963 with the banning of teacher-directed prayer in the public schools. While I personally believe that action was in violation of the first amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or......
Daily bible verse: proverbs 10:28
published . 1 min read
Proverbs 10:28 - The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish. (English Standard Version) From the time we are very young we begin to set goals and dream dreams. We talk about what we will do when we grow up. "If I had a million dollars I would... " As we grow up, we may say that we realize these things in themselves do not bring happiness. That's what we say and yet our actions speak otherwise. If I just get into the right school. If I just get the highest grades. If I just have the right career. If I just marry the right man or woman. If I just get the recognition I deserve or at least want. If I just have the right opportunities, then I will have joy. The problem is, you won't. Whether we want to believe it or not, our lives can......
When we do things in jesus' name
published . 2 min read
He and his sister were brought from upstate New York State to the squalor of New York City by their parents and brought to The Children's Aid Society. After his parents signed some papers,they left and he and his sister were separated as well.He would never see any of them ever again.It would be ninety years before his family would learn that his sister died from complications of a tonsilectomy and is buried in an unmarked grave. The fate of his parents remains unknown. The boy's name was George and he was my maternal grandfather. In 1852, a minister named Charles Loring Brace decided it was not enough to merely talk about loving one another. You needed to put love into action. A year later, Brace, along with other supporters, founded The Children's Aid Society in order to......
Does it mean god no longer love us?
published . 1 min read
In Romans 8:35, Paul asks several questions: Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? Romans 8:35 (NLT) These are questions that I have asked myself at times. Perhaps you have as well when your life seems to be moving from one crisis to another or perhaps it just seems to be one big ongoing issue. You go up for prayer, people quote scripture to you and tell you that if you believe, the problem will go away. The problem is... sometimes it doesn't. This is when everyone, including you seems to start looking for a reason. We decide it must be one of two things: God's Word is wrong. Something is wrong with you. Since......
Obedience or faith
published . 2 min read
God'sIn the fourth chapter of Romans, Paul writes about the faith of Abraham. In verse one Paul asks this question, "What did he (Abraham) discover about being made right with God?" In verse three Paul answers that question by quoting Genesis 15:6. And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. Paul confirms that works do not make us righteous or "right before God". It is because of our faith. What this means is no amount of obedience or good works can make us righteous. If you don't believe me, consider this. Is it possible for a wicked person to do what we would consider good deeds? Can an embezzler, for example, also be donating large amounts of money to charity and perhaps even do work for a charitable organization?......
We're never abandoned
published . 1 min read
He found them in a desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as his most precious possession. Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them in and carried them aloft on his pinions. Deuteronomy 32:10-11(NLT) When I logged onto CB this morning, those were the words that greeted me. What precious words of hope! How relevant these words must have been to the Israelites for when Moses wrote them, they actually were in a desert land, an empty, howling wasteland. Have you ever been in that same type of place? You have heard the promises of God. You have seen Him do great and mighty things and yet there you are, still trudging across the desert sand and doing your best to scramble......
The road we travel
published . 2 min read
Four people stepped forward to where I was standing with other members of the prayer team following the morning service. One of the women introduced herself and then drew another woman forward. "This is my friend who is visiting our church for the first time this morning. She has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Would you please pray for her?" I looked at the woman and softly said, "I am a six year breast cancer survivor." In that moment, something changed. I could see it in her face and in her physical bearing. A light came into her eyes and she stood a little straighter as she said, "So, you know... " "Yes," I said softly, "I know." "They say I will probably have to have chemo." "I have gone through chemo."......
When we listen and obey
published . 2 min read
‹Pharaoh eyed the prisoner before him. Was he telling the truth? Did his words really come from this "foreign" God? In addition to interpreting his dream, the man had the audacity to tell Pharaoh what he needed to do to save himself, his family and his subjects. Pharaoh was faced with a choice. Would he listen and obey or would he throw Joseph back into prison? Pharaoh chose to do the latter. Though he was ruler of a powerful kingdom, he chose to heed the words of a prisoner and place that prisoner in charge of carrying out the advice he had given.As a result, the lives of many were saved, including Joseph's own family who was residing in Canaan at the time. What about Pharaoh? Was there anything that happened to him specifically as a result of his listening to and obeying......
The olive press
published . 2 min read
Olive oil was a very important commodity in the Roman world. Not only was it used for consumption; it was also used for medicine, skin care and of course as fuel for lamps. Extracting the oil from the olives was a very labor-intensive process which is still used today. To the right you can see an olive press which would have been used during the time of Christ. The olives were pressed or crushedby the heavy stone over and over again until the oil contained within them was released. When I read these words, I always think about the olive press: We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.Through suffering, our bodies continue to......
Nothing can separate us
published . 1 min read
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:35 (NIV) He had never experienced lonliness before. Even before she was created as his helpmeet, there was God. How he loved being in God's presence! Even as he went about his work, he could sense God's presence. Everywhere he looked he saw the evidence of not only God's power but of His great love for Him. Hadn't God formed him with His very own hands and breathed the breath of life into him? Unlike the animals, hadn't God formed a helpmeet for him, not from the dust of the earth but from living flesh? He was aware that she was still beside him as was the serpent but... something was wrong. Something was very wrong. He was......
The broken dream
published . 1 min read
It seemed like he had it all. He was the favorite son of the richest man in the land. Things got even better. He'd had dreams. Great dreams which revealed that his family would even bow before him. It seemed like he was truly favored by God and life was good, exceptionally good until... For 13 years his life was a mess. He was attacked and then sold into slavery by his own brothers. They told his father he had been killed by wild animals. He was taken to a strange land. He was accused of a crime he did not commit and thrown into prison. Now that was a far cry from what he had dreamed. His life was a mess and there was no hope of anything changing. It appears that his dreams had been wrong and all he had left was broken dreams. Have you ever felt a bit like Joseph? I have! We forget......
Before we even call
published . 1 min read
I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! Isaiah 65:24 (NLT) What a blessed promise this is! It reminds me that God is aware of my need even before I am.This is reassuring to me for then I remember that though I may be caught off-guard, though I may be caught by surprise, God never is. I may not know the solution to my problem but God does and best of all, He does not stand by passively. He intervenes on my behalf. I am very thankful that God is neither indifferent nor passive towards us. Instead, He is ever mindful of His children and knows what we need, when we need it. We must never forget that. Never. Blessings! K ‹...
Trust god with your future
published . 1 min read
As I was cleaning out a closet the other day, I came across a box which contained some cards. One of the cards was a graduation card given to my son by one of his teachers. School was always a challenge for my son. He was diagnosed with both dyslexia and ADHD when he was barely six years old. The teacher who had given him the card was the learning resource teacher at the private Christian school he had attended since kindergarten and she had worked with him quite a bit over the years. She knew his struggles but she also knew of his success. I wanted to share with you the message of this card in hopes that it will serve to remind you that we can indeed trust God with our future. 10. He planned it before you got here. 9. He offers 24-hour support that's good for a lifetime. 8. His......
Yours, mine or ours?
published . 3 min read
Earlier today, I read an article in a newsletter I subscribe to entitled "His/Hers vs.Ours" by Chris Russell. The article dealt with the topic of finances and marriage. Many married couples, especially if they entered into marriage later in life, treat marriage as if it is a joint venture when it comes to finances. There is a very sharp division between my money and your money and never shall the two meet. You are responsible for paying these bills; I am responsible for those bills. You need to keep your end of the bargain and if I have to cover your bills at any time, you must pay me back and I have the right to remind you over and over again that I had to bail you out. While this might sound good to some people (usually the person who earns the most money), what happens if one......
The flour and the oil
published . 2 min read
I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. -The Widow at Zarephath I sighed as I looked up from my figures this morning trying to figure out how to stretch things out for the next nine days. Thankfully, there is enough to pay the bills but then there are those little things like buying gas so that my husband can drive to work and of course, that ever important thing called food. Then I remembered I had some left-over grocery money from last week as well as a little bit still in my purse.I eyed my list and added cat food to it. It will be tight, very tight but I do believe I can do it. But then I thought about the next week and the week after that and the week after that... sigh. How easily we can forget these words of Jesus'. So......
Right on time
published . 3 min read
Yesterday was a much anticipated day at our house. After nearly 14 months, my husband was going to receive his first"regular" paycheck. Four weeks ago, after being hired, arrangements had been made for his paycheck to be automatically withdrawn. As always, we were holding our breath, hoping there would be no glitches as funds were low. Very low. In fact, I could not do my grocery shopping or fill my empty gas tank if the check was not deposited. My husband must rise around 5:30 a.m. on a work day. Yesterday, while he got ready for work, I slipped out of bed myself and went online to make sure the deposit had been made. It had not. Sadly I reported this to my husband. He is an "embedded" employee so he promised me that he would call the home office later that day to see......
God's song of promise
published . 2 min read
It is the purest of whistles, this promise of spring. --Donald Kroodsma The view from my window is similar to the picture on the right. A strip of woods lies between my backyard and the street which runs behind my house. It is dense enough that for most of the year, I am actually unable to see the houses behind it, even when they are lit up at night and it was one of the reasons we bought our house. It's a nice little view and with a turn of my head, I can easily see it when I am writing ablog. Winter is never short in Minnesota and while we have not had any blizzards to speak of this year, the temperatures have been quite severe with windchills plummeting to more than -30F/-34C not once, not twice but on numerous occasions. Now this is not uncommon in my part of the world but this......
Some thoughts on prudence
published . 5 min read
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Proverbs 27:12(New Living Translation) In March, my husband and I will be facilitators for a class on finances which is offered through our church. We participated in this class ourselves back in February 2011, right after I lost my job as a result of a disabling health issue. We have been so blessed by what we learned that we were eager to help others learn how to become better stewards of what God has given them. As a result, this will be the fourth class we have held in our home. Historically, the Church has done a rather poor job of teaching people how to be good stewards. This is not to mean the Church has been silent when it comes to the topic of money. It certainly......
Is anything too hard for the lord?
published . 3 min read
Abraham had heard it before. God had promised that his wife Sarah would conceive and bare him a son. In fact, in Genesis 17, God had made a convenant with Abraham and at God's command, all males in Abraham's household were circumcised. We will fast forward things just a bit and move into chapter 18. This time, around noon, Abraham is sitting near the entrance to his tent. Suddenly he notices three men standing nearby. He offers them hospitality by inviting them to rest, ordering servants to get water to wash their feet and orders food to be prepared as well. While they ate, one of the men said "about this time next year I will return and your wife Sarah will have a son." (Genesis 18:10). Sarah, who was listening from a nearby tent laughed silently to herself. She knew......
Go with the strength you have
published . 2 min read
Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the oak tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash had been threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, "Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!" "Sir,"Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn't they say, 'The LORD brought us up out of Egypt'? But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites." Judges 6:-11-13 (NLT) Have you ever found yourself asking God similiar questions and coming to the same conclusion as Gideon? I have! Imagine that. We talk about being......
While i'm waiting...
published . 4 min read
Abraham was 75 years old and childless when God told him to leave his country, go to the land which He would show him andpromised him that he would become the father of a great nation (Genesis 12). Abraham did what God told him to do. He packed up and headed off on an "adventure" with God. This was no easy task. Abraham was a man of considerable wealth with a large household. In addition to his wife Sarah and his nephew Lot, he had servants as well as livestock. While we do not know exactly how many servants he had, the Bible does mention in Genesis 14 that Abraham had 318 men who had been born into his household. It is safe to assume Abraham had a lot of servants. It is easy to obey God when it is, well, easy and we can clearly see how things are going to happen. It is another......
The next morning
published . 1 min read
In Genesis 22, we learn that God tested Abraham's faith and obedience by commanding Abraham to take the son God had promised him, Isaac, travel to a mountain God would show himand offer him up as a burned sacrifice. If you are familiar with this story, you know that this account is a beautiful picture of God providing the Lamb of God as the sacrifice for our sins. Sometimes when you read a familar passage of scripture however, something "jumps" out at you. This morning, as I was reading this passage, verse three jumped out at me. It says: The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son Isaac. Then he chopped wood to buld a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place where God had told Him to go.......
How's your connection?
published . 3 min read
Earlier today I read a blog written by @blessings2you entitled Rejoicing That Christ Is Preached. In his blog he wrote: ‹I think that far too many times we allow our love for the truth to manifest itself in criticizing, judging and beating down each other with our interpretation of the Word of God. However noble this appears to us at the time, it rarely (if ever) accomplishes the desired result because for the most part it is not God's preferred way of dealing with the situation. I believe this statement is true and we have all been guilty of it at one time or another. You rarely change someone's mind about something however, if you are clubbing them with a stick. Generally it has the opposite effect and not only do they become more adamant about their own belief, they......
What we write
published . 2 min read
I have no idea why I chose this particular morning to clean out my email folders. Unlike organized people, I tend to read things, think I might want to keep it, plop it in a pile or folder somewhere and promptly forget I ever saw it. I found myself staring at the folders today, thinking I might need to attempt to go through them. Well, maybe one of two of them anyway. I scanned the first folder and thought it might contain things I might still need. Rather than look at every single email, I decided to let it sit for another year or two and moved on to the next file. Right away I saw a few things that I knew I did not need. Then I paused. It was an email from a minister I had known since I was in my early teens. He and his wife used to live in Winnipeg. Each summer, they would pack up......
And then god spoke
published . 2 min read
The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. Genesis 1:2 (NLT) Genesis 1:1 tells us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth but then the next verse tells us it was a far diffent place than what we know today. Over the centuries, scholars have speculated on exactly what this means. Was there a lapse of time between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2? Was the writer simply stating that God created the heavens and the earth and then proceeds to tell us how it was done? Was there some sort of cataclymic that took place, rendering chaos which required God to bring order to creation once again? There are a lot of theories out there but the truth of the matter is, not a single one of us knows for certain. Sometimes, rather than speculating and explaining, we......
Whosoever calls on the name of the lord
published . 2 min read
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13 In all honesty, this verse disturbs some Christians. They seem to believe this verse means that if someone simply says the name of the Lord, they will be saved whether they are repentant or not. I could understand their concern if that was what this verse meant. All too often we jump to conclusions thinking that we understand what something or someone is saying and simply glide right over it. When it comes to the Word of God, we need to take the time to really take a closer look at things, asking the Holy Spirit to open up our understanding. The Greek word that is translated as the English phrase "shall call upon" in this verse isepikale³ (Strong's Greek 1941) which means to make an appeal. So......
He's in the boat
published . 2 min read
They had witnessed amazing things. They had the privilege of hearing Jesus teach and the Bible tells us the teaching was with such power and authority that the crowds were amazed (Matthew 7:28-29). They had seen miracles of healing. A man had been healed of leprosy, the daughter of a Roman officer was healed by Jesus without him ever laying eyes on her and even Peter's mother-in-law was healed. As if this weren't enough, that night many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. Matthew writes that all the spirits left at his command and that Jesus healed all the sick. Matthew says: This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases." Matthew 8:17 (NIV) Then, they got into the boat... We see God do amazing......
The right part
published . 2 min read
The light on my dishwasher indicated my dishes were done. As I pressed the handle to release the door latch, something didn't feel quite right. Sure enough, when I tugged at the door, I couldn't open it. Hmm... I pressed the latch harder and gave the door a tug. I felt something give way but still the door did not open. I tried harder and then finally, the door opened. "Something must have been stuck," I muttered to myself. The next day, however, the same thing happened once again. It didn't take me long to figure out the latch on my dishwasher was broken. Now those of you who are handymen (or handywomen), would have promptly gone down to your local appliance part store (or whatever they call it), located a new part, come home and probably fixed it in five minutes or......
Lift up your eyes
published . 2 min read
It started out as an ordinary day. The servant of Elisha got up early and went about his normal routine. Then he stepped out the door and . There were soldiers, chariots and horses surrounding the city! Have you ever had a morning like that? I have and I am pretty sure you have as well. In fact, perhaps you are having a moment like this right now. You're going about your daily business, serving God and then you suddenly find yourself surrounded by the enemy. The situation appears to be hopeless and you fear you are going to be taken captive or even destroyed. Filled with terror, the servant rushed back inside the house and reported what was going on to Elisha. "What will we do now?" (2 Kings 6:15) I can totally relate to Elisha's servant. There have been many times in my......
The formidable wall
published . 2 min read
The Israelites had a problem. A big one with reinforcements around it. A massive wall to be precise. How on earth were they ever going to bring that wall down? It was big. It was too big. They just were not powerful enough to bring it down but still, they had to deal with it. In the Book of Numbers, we see the instructions which were given by God in regards to fighting against their enemies: When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blast on the trumpets. Then you will be remembered by the LORD your God and rescued from your enemies. Numbers 10:9 (NIV) In the sixth chapter of Joshua we learn that God instructed the people to march around Jericho one time. Seven priests blowing rams' horns (shofars) led the way, followed by the Ark of the......
Christ is enough
published . 1 min read
Over the weekend I've been giving some thought to the question, what do I really want? The standard answer for a Christian is Jesus but do we just want Jesus or do we want Jesus plus something else? Is there a difference? A number of years ago, I attended a women's conference where Anne Graham Lotz posed this question. She challenged us to examine our hearts. Could we honestly say we just wanted Jesus or did we want Jesus and (fill in the blank). What goes in the blank, you ask? Well that depends on the individual. We want" Jesus and financial security". We want "Jesus and fame". We want "Jesus and perfect health". We want "Jesus and the perfect spouse/children". You get the idea. Now financial security, doing great things, having good......
The confessions of a problem-solver
published . 2 min read
I spent the first part of my morning doing a lot of reflective thinking. Actually, I was simply revisiting a topic which God has brought to my attention quite a bit over the past few days. He has been showing me that the very "gifts" He has bestowed on me, have not only blessed me... they have also caused my greatest downfalls. Many times, I have cried out to God for help in a situation. This is what we ought to do. Suddenly, I get "inspired" by an idea. Now, since I was crying out to God, one would assume that the "inspiration" is from Him, right? Well... I have learned from personal experience that this is not always so. The enemy knows that I am an extremely impulsive person by nature. He knows if I am presented with a creative way to handle a problem I am......
With my own eyes
published . 2 min read
The story of Job is a familiar one. God Himself called Job a blameless and upright man; a man who feared God and shuns evil (Job 1:8). Of course at this point, Job had every reason to be. God had blessed him with a wife, children, position and great wealth. He was a respected and powerful man. He was living every man's dream. The enemy was quick to point this out to God. Job's love for God was based on God's material blessings rather than on God. If you stripped Job of the material blessings, well... then you would see Job's true nature come to light. Actually, that assumption was correct. In short order, Job lost his wealth and his children and what was his response? Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:......
The peace which passes all understanding
published . 2 min read
The "What-Ifs" like to come knocking at my door on a regular basis. I know that if I open that door it will be very bad. Usually their cousin, "Fear" accompanies them and if they gain entrance, they will wreck havoc in my peaceful little heart cottage. This is a very persistent group. No matter how much you resist opening that door, no matter much you barricade it, they will knock louder and louder and louder. You can stuff cotton in your ears, desperately trying to muffle the noise but it will only work for so long. You have to get rid of them. The only way to effectively get rid of them is to combat them with the Sword of the Word of God. Today, I read: And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.......
A place of refreshing springs
published . 1 min read
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. Psalm 84:6-7 (NLT) The "Valley of Weeping". It sounds like a pretty horrible place doesn't it. The name makes me think of Death Valley which is located in California. I have never been there, but I know it holds the record for the highest (reliable) air temperature taken on earth. It hit 134 °F (56.7 °C) on July 10, 1913 (source: wikipedia at a place with the appropriate sounding name of Furnace Creek. I was surprised that despite the fact that the annual rainfall is less than 3 inches per year, if the conditions are just right, there can......
Give thanks in all circumstances
published . 1 min read
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) You would think this would be a very easy verse to obey when our circumstances are pleasant. Ironically enough, however, often times during the pleasant times we are too busy taking credit for them ourselves (or giving the credit to another) to do this. Then we find ourselves in circumstances which we do not like. It is funny how while we are reluctant to give God credit in the good times, we are extremely quick at giving Him credit for unpleasant circumstances. For example, how often do you see people blaming God if there is a bountiful harvest compared to blaming God when there is an earthquake? When something good happens, it is because of our own hard work, ingenuity and......
Three hundred and ninety-nine days
published . 1 min read
Three hundred and ninety-nine days had passed. For each of those three hundred and ninety-nine days, prayers had gone up. Prayers of thankfulness as well as petition. For three hundred and ninety-nine days, we prayed as God took us to the next level. We rejoiced, we wondered, we battled fear and doubt. We had our victories but we also faced struggles as we clung to God's promises. Anyone who says it is always simple to exercise faith, says so because they have never been in a situation where they had to truly live and walk by faith. Reaching new heights is never a simple or easy process. You must experience growing pains in order to grow. Three hundred and ninety-nine days. That was the number of days between the day when my husband lost his job and the day he was he had been approved......
Abiding in christ
published . 2 min read
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. John 15:7 When I was a teenager, I became aware of something that was sometimes referred to as "Name It And Claim It". As near as I could tell, the idea was if you "claimed" something in Jesus' name, God would do it. Scriptures, such as John 15:7 were used to substantiate this practice. As you can imagine, things started to snowball. I would even hear it suggested that if you wanted a new car or a new house, you should find a picture of what you wanted, tape it on your fridge, mirror or wherever else you could easily see it and stand in front of it daily, claiming it in Jesus' name. If you did this faithfully, people were assured it would happen because.........
The little foxes
published . 3 min read
Quick! Catch all the little foxes before they vineyard of your love, for the grapevines are all in blossom. -The Young Women of Jerusalem, Solomon's Song of Songs 2:15 I found myself squirming a bit as I read these words these words this morning. You see, it was not even 8 a.m. and I had already allowed a little fox to come and eat in the vineyard. Now, I was fully aware that foxes have no business being in the vineyard. In fact, there is even a gate to keep them out. The problem is, a gate doesn't keep someone or something out if you insist on being "thoughtful" enough to open it! Sigh... It happened quickly. It usually does. First of all, I had no business hanging around the gate. Instead I should have been meeting with the Keeper of the Vineyard at that very moment.......
A faith that is genuine
published . 2 min read
1 Peter 1:7 - These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold - though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (New Living Translation) I have always been fascinated watching smiths do their craft. They take material, whether it be metal or glass and thrust it into blazing fire, hot enough to soften and even liquify the matter. Then with great skill, they twist and turn things until suddenly a new object begins to form. A good smith knows how to read the fire. He can tell how hot it is just by looking at it. He knows exactly when to put something into the fire and......
Don't stop, there's more!
published . 2 min read
It was a heavy box. In fact, my brother had difficulty carrying it in from the car and placing it under the Christmas tree. It was a gift for my husband from my mom. We take turns opening up our Christmas gifts. In my husband's family, the custom is to have one person open up all of their gifts with everyone watching before moving on to the next person. I like our family custom a bit better. The first person opens up one gift. Then it is the next person's turn to open up one of their gifts and so on. My mother said her gift to my husband had to be the very last gift opened. It's a good thing is was. When he opened the box, it was filled with styrofoam peanuts. He thrust his hands in, expecting to find something but found nothing up some bricks lining the bottom of the box.......
I call him father
published . 2 min read
My father died from colon cancer was I was 16 years old. That was over 36 years ago but I still remember an incident which took place after I left the house shortly after hearing the news. As I walked, I raged at God. My dad had become a Christian exactly three weeks ago and now... I was not and never have been angry at God about what happened. Never. I will always be overcome with gratitude that my dad spent his few remaining days praising God and testifying to anyone who stepped into his hospital room. However, I did have questions and of course, my heart was broken as well. My mother is still living so I do not know what it is like to lose a parent when you are an adult but when you are still growing up, you feel completely unprotected and are fearful that the other parent will......
It's under control
published . 4 min read
A friend of mine is currently receiving chemotherapy treatments. A few minutes ago, I read the post on his Caring Bridge page which his wife just posted. Though the side-effects are leaving him feeling very tired, he's doing well and his numbers look good. Reading her post reminded me of when I was having chemo treatments. The side-effects vary depending on which drugs are being used. Not all chemotherapy is alike. The drugs and the administering of those drugs vary depending on the type of cancer you have. Hair-loss is the side-effect people think of the most but not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss. My father-in-law had oral chemo. He took pills. I on the other hand had infusions which could take four to six hours after I had seen my doctor, had blood drawn, got lab results......
My sheep know my voice
published . 2 min read
One of the nice things about CB is you get an opportunity to meet Christians from around the world with a wide variety of different life experiences. For example, growing up in a city surrounded by cornfields and dairy farms, you really do not get much of a chance to observe sheep in action. We have some members of CB who are actually quite knowledgeable when it comes to sheep. From time to time, we have had a few conversations about sheep and this has caused me to look at scriptures concerning sheep through new eyes. A few weeks ago, while having one of these conversations, @bethy told me that sheep will not just follow anyone. Now when Bethy talks about sheep, I listen because her husband G cares for sheep. I have learned that a shepherd really is very protective of his sheep. The......
The dead battery
published . 2 min read
Late this afternoon, I decided to run a few errands. I had planned to do them tomorrow but today was just as good a time as any. Besides, I had pretty much been holed up inside the house since Saturday evening due to the extremely cold weather. I'd poked out my nose a time or two but that was it. As I pulled on my jacket, I suddenly stopped. Oh no! Just last night I had mentioned to my husband that before he left town this morning, we should try and start my car. We'd had subzero temperatures for a few days and though my car is in an attached garage, it had not been driven in nearly a week. My husband thought that would be a good idea and we would do it in the morning. Guess what. We both forgot. With a sinking heart I went out to my car, inserted the key and switched on the......
The power of god seen in us
published . 5 min read
He was a social outcast, dependent upon the good-will of others. Though John tells us that his parents were still living, he also tells us this man was a beggar. Either he was seeking to supplement the family income or his family had cast him out to earn his own bread the best he could. The society he had been born into was not kind to the sick and the disabled. Provision under the law had been made to care for the orphans, widows and those unable to provide for themselves adequately but like today, there was a tendancy to ignore or even blame the victim if there was that bothersome poking from one's conscience. Don't worry. If you ignore the poking long enough, it will go away. When Jesus and his disciples encountered him, the disciples voiced the common assumption of the day.......
So more than one thousand dollars later...
published . 3 min read
Last March, I noticed that my furnace seemed to have decided it needed to take breaks when it should have been working. I gave it a good scolding, fiddled with the thermostat and it came back on. I thought it had learned it's lesson but I was mistaken. I called the gas company who sent out a repairman in short order. He had it working again in no time and my furnace hummed along happily with no more unscheduled breaks. This lasted for about a month and then... hmm. Two more men from the gas company would trudge down to my basement before the middle of April. The last time, a replacement part had to be ordered. Once that was installed, it seemed to be running fine. Of course, by now it was mid-April and by the end of April I was opening windows instead of turning on furnaces. September......
A new song to sing
published . 2 min read
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:3 (NLT) December was a rough month at our house. My husband had been out of steady work for twelve months. The freelance gigs he had been doing which helped extend his unemployment benefit had dried up. In his profession, December and January have never been very good months. To top it all off, his emergency unemployment compensation had expired mid-December as it had been one year since he was last regularly employed and a review had to be done on him once again. He got no warning about this of course. He simply abruptly learned that although there were still available funds for him, he would not be collecting them and he had to......
Let your light so shine
published . 2 min read
It is not unusual for the people at our church to be greeted by a rather quiet man with a friendly, gentle smile as they enter the sanctuary. He and his wife were some of the first people my husband and I met when we started attending our church. He and his wife complement one another very well. He's an optometrist who has been running a practice in a small town since 1977. He has also collected eyeglasses before heading to Swaziland. Quite a crowd gathers for a free eye exam and if necessary, free glasses. What a blessing! People receiving both the spiritual and physical gift of sight! One of the things I notice about this man is he does not generally talk about himself. He is a listener and his interest lies in other people and Jesus Christ. It is not surprising that he is......
The brook dried up
published . 2 min read
In 1 Kings 17, the Bible says that the Prophet Elijah tells King Ahab: As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives - the God I serve - there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word! 1 Kings 17:1 (NLT) Then God tells Elijah to go hide by the brook Cherith. In that wild and hidden place, Elijah would have a water supply and God would send meat and bread via ravens in the morning and evening. In this manner, Elijah was sustained during the time of drought and famine. However, there came a day when the brook dried up. Now I want you to notice something here. God did not prevent the brook from drying up. He certainly could have done so for He is God. He could have created or opened up an underground spring that bubbled up and fed the brook so that Elijah......
Why do you believe?
published .
Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. John 2:23 (NLT) In the second chapter of John, we find the first recorded miracle of Jesus. Shortly after this, He travels to Jerusalem for the Passover. After driving out the money-changers and merchants from the temple, John tells us that Jesus did miraculous signs. In other words, miracles took place. This did not escape the notice of the people in Jerusalem. The city was teaming with visitors who had come to celebrate Passover, not only from Palestine but from around the world as well. John tells us that as a result of these miraculous signs, many came to trust in Jesus. We know that word of what Jesus said and did spread throughout the region. We know that great crowds...
The cracked pot
published . 1 min read
Your life is very different than what you thought it would be. You never expected you would be in this place. Perhaps you had a broken dream, a broken marriage or a broken body. Perhaps you have all of these things and more. You feel just a bit like Job. Okay, perhaps you feel A LOT like Job! Remembering his story, you take courage and move forward but then... you stop short. The enemy has thoughtfully pulled out his picture album with your name on it and he wants to show you a few "pictures" he has taken of you. Now the best thing to do when this happens is to ignore him and keep your eyes where they belong, on Christ. However, being human we are easily distracted creatures. Well, we are far too easily distracted from God at least. Sigh... The enemy knows that if he can......
A cry in the dark
published . 4 min read
I was only about four or five years old but I remember it like it happened yesterday. It was around 1965 and we were living in a house in Minneapolis that had been built at the turn of the century. Like most houses from that time period, closets in bedrooms were either very small or non-existent. At some point in time, long before we lived there, a small closet had been added to the room which later became my bedroom. To a little girl, this closet looked like a playhouse with a real door that opened and shut. It must have looked like that to my friend Denise as well because when I suggested that we go into our house and shut the door, she was game. It took some doing to get ourselves in there. I don't know the exact dimensions but using the tiny closet in my office as a guide, it......
Rescued from the fire
published . 1 min read
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 (NKJV) I just love this picture. If you look closely, you will see the word "rescue" emblazened on the side of it. Can you imagine what it must be like to be a passenger in that plane? Behind you is a raging inferno from which there appears to be no escape. You, however, are high above the deadly flames for you have been rescued. You are safe. As this year closes, I find myself reflecting upon how spiritually we were all trapped in that inferno. Surrounded by the flames, there was no way out. Then suddenly through the......
To all who are hurting
published . 2 min read
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) Sometimes we just experience pain for a moment, a minute, an hour, a day or perhaps even a week or a month. There are other times however, when the pain or difficult situation lasts for months, years, decades or even a lifetime. Sometimes our pain can be fixed when a situation changes or when the problem is solved. Sometimes though, there is no "quick-fix", no solution and we must simply how to deal with it day by day. It is easy to say that we will trust God in the short-term. Often times fellow-believers will rally around us with their prayers, love and support. Oh how good it is to be surrounded by them, listen to their encouraging words and see their strong, confident faces. We pour through God's......
When you feel insignificant
published . 2 min read
"I'm going into the ministry. I'm important but you... you are just a lay member, a cell in the Body of Christ." Though I think the young man who said it to me meant to say it in jest, I still remember my response to his statement nearly 35 years later. I responded by quoting from my biology text book. The cell is the unit of life and without the cells, there would be no body. Twenty-nine years later, I would come to know exactly what happens when a cell goes rogue and ceases to be what it is supposed to be. I would learn first-hand what happens when cells are destroyed or damaged by chemotherapy and radiation. It isn't pretty and it definitely should not be on your "bucket list" of things to do! I learned to appreciate a lot of seemingly insignificant......
The other side of the mask
published . 2 min read
Several months ago, I wrote a blog entitled Behind Our Mask which dealt with how we often wear a mask, hiding who we really are. I wrote: God not only wants to strip away our mask; he also wants us to look through the masks of others around us. We don't have to go very far to find hurting and broken people. Chances are, some of them are sitting next to you at church. Whether we are aware of it or not, our first impression or our initial reaction to what someone says or does is generally based on the mask they are wearing. For example, it is not unusual for a person with low self-esteem to be wearing a mask called "Bravado". People often interpret that as arrogance which causes them to reactive in a negative manner and perhaps even distance themselves from that individual.......
A conduit of god's love
published . 1 min read
Conduit: someone or something that is used as a way of sending something (such as information or money) from one place or person to another Source: Merriam-Webster This morning, as I read a blog by @peoplepower entitled Romans 7&8-Relationship Rather Than Religion, he wrote the following: We don't need to become stronger. We need Sweet Surrender. We need His Love to flow through us and make us irresistably desirable to the lost. They will experience HIS LOVE flowing through us. As I thought about those words, I asked myself this question. "What is flowing through my life?" I need His love to flow through me. Not my own love which is imperfect and can even be self-seeking but God's love. I am not the source of this love, I am merely the conduit through which His love......
The watered-down gospel
published . 2 min read
"It's just fluff!" I blinked as I read those words and actually found myself recoiling just a bit. While I understood the author's desire to not substitute the gospel with a watered-down, politically-correct imposter it seemed like replacing the gospel with legalism was not right either. In reality the Gospel is not feel-good fluff nor is it legalistic. It is the Gospel, the Good News. The Word of God tells us some things we do not want to hear. At the top of the list is the fact that we are nasty, rebellious creatures who deserve to be punished and die. We deserve to be separated from God for all eternity. We deserve to be left to our own devises and suffer the consequences of our actions. We deserve to be utterly destroyed by God. This is what the Word of God tells us.......
The 27th bag
published . 2 min read
I went to the second Saturday night service held at my church this evening. During the sermon a story was shared about a recent incident. Our church has several locations and a short time ago, some ladies at one of the campuses decided to make some gift bags for the wives of some missionaries which coud be delivered by some members of their congregation who were going to be traveling to the area. I can imagine the fun they had as they selected the items and gathered together to assemble the bags. It is truly a blessing to be able to give to those who freely give so much of themselves expecting nothing in return. Everything went fine until after they completed bag number 26. Uh-oh. They had miscalculated. They only had enough for 26 bags and they needed 27. Fortunately, one of the ladies......
The great journey
published . 3 min read
It was a familiar message to God's people. God was calling them to come out from where they were and go on a journey to a new place. Long ago, God had called Abraham to pack up and move from the land of his fathers and go to a land that He would show him (Genesis 12:1). Armed with a promise, Abraham headed off. I don't think we fully understand the magnitude of what Abraham did. Yes, he was a man of great wealth and power yet at the same time, he was leaving the comfort and security of home and venturing out into a very dangerous world. In doing so, he was risking the loss of everything he had and yet he was willing to do so because he trusted God. Then there was the time when God had once again called their ancestors to leave their dwelling place. This time, they were slaves in......
Bearing with one another in love
published . 1 min read
Ephesians 4:2 - Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (New International Version) I found myself cringing just a bit when I read those words just a bit ago. Why? Because I realized that just a short time before I had not been doing that. We are told to be humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love but instead I had been impatient and even frustrated with a fellow follower of Christ. It is easy to be humble, gentle, patient and loving with brothers and sisters when we agree with one another. We walk along happily together, supporting and encouraging one another. Oh how good it is to be in fellowship with others. Then we bump into a brother or sister who has a different opinion from ours. We agree on the things that matter the......
The importance of giving
published . 1 min read
Today, while I was out running errands, I was listening to the local Christian radio station. Suddenly, my attention was riveted when I learned that earlier that day, they had teamed up with a local grocery store chain in my area and had distributed some $100.00 gift cards at several locations. That wasn't what really caught my attention however. I mean that was very nice but there was something more. You see each recipient was informed that there was a second gift card. This card was not for them. It was for them to give to someone else who needed to be blessed. I really liked this, not just because someone else got blessed but because when we have received, it is very crucial for us to "pay it forward", one way or another. If we do not, we are at great risk of having......
A clear channel
published . 1 min read
I live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and from the time I was a child, I knew there was a big difference between fresh or "living" water and stagnant or "dead" water. I remember how my nose would wrinkle up when I would come upon a pool of stagnant water. It smelled of disease and death and instinctively I was repulsed by it. It wasn't always that way, you know. It started out as living water, flowing from out of a lake or bubbling up from an underground water source. Perhaps it flowed from pristine snow melting high up in the mountains. Regardless of the source, at one time it was moving, flowing unhindered. Oh, there may have been curves thrown at it and some adjustments had to be made but that didn't stop it from it's journey. Then something happened. The......
My sheep hear my voice and i know them and they follow me
published . 2 min read
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27 As I have said written before, when it comes to sheep you could probably hold all that I know about them in a thimble. Fortunately, I have friends right here at CB who know a great deal more than I do about them and I am very thankful they are willing to share their knowledge with me. I've been thinking about sheep a lot over the past few days. Maybe it is because Christmas is near and last week I happened to be arranging a small cr¨che on my mantel. It has a couple of adorable-looking sheep. At any rate, I have been thinking about sheep a lot. I ran into @bethy in chat earlier today and the conversation happened to turn once again onto the topic of sheep. Bethy knows a great deal more about sheep than I do......
A wonderful life
published . 2 min read
One year ago today, my husband unexpectedly lost his job after more than 27 years of employment. At the same time, I was awaiting a decision in regards to my disability claim. I remember the disbelief and numbness I felt. I remember how we actually felt physically sick due to shock and of course, fear of what was going to happen. According to our calculations we had enough money to get through until the first of March at the most. It was uncertain as to whether he would receive unemployment, COBRA was going to cost us more than $1,000.00 a month and as someone with multiple health issues, I need health insurance. In fact, my husband thought more about the potential loss of health insurance for me than he did about his job! A job loss is never a good thing but finding work becomes even......
The mallard drake
published . 3 min read
My father christened him "Sir Walter Drake" and he looked magnificient. In fact, he had taken a ribbon at a show sponsored by the Minnesota Ceramic Association. He was my father's favorite piece and he had a place of honor in the display cabinet in our home. It was a beautiful Saturday morning. I was a teenage girl who was eager to get out into the world that day. The last thing I wanted to do was hang out at home doing extra chores. My father, however, had other plans for me which included vacuuming the living room and dining room before I could go anywhere. In order to vacuum the area closest to the display cabinet, I had to plug the vacuum into the outlet located right behind it. Hmm... my dad hadn't thought of that when he moved the cabinet there the week before.......
The shepherd and the sheep dog
published . 2 min read
I remember the first time I ever saw a sheep dog demonstration. It was on the first Saturday in May back in 1986. My husband had been working for nearly a year at a college which had been founded by Scottish immigrants 100 years earlier. In honor of their heritage, the Minnesota Scottish Country Fair and Highland Games was hosted there on the first Saturday in May until a few years ago. I remember it had been a very hard winter that year and this was the first really nice day. Though I would not see much of my husband that day because he was working the event, I packed up a cooler and other necessities, grabbed my 11 month old son and headed off to the fair. There were a number of sheep dog demonstrations that day and I think I probably watched all of them. I was fascinated by how the......
Where is our joy?
published . 2 min read
A few days ago I wrote a blog entitled Love: It's Not A Dirty Word in which I wondered why, if one talks about the love of God, it seems like there is always someone standing by ready to tell them they are watering down the Word of God. Apparently there is an assumption that to proclaim the love of God means you are ignoring what God says about sin. I believe that assumption to be utterly false and that if we remove love when we proclaim the Gospel, then we are not proclaiming the Gospel at all but the message of another! There is another element that is often missing in the lives of those who profess to follow Christ and that element is joy. My heart aches when I see the joyless Christian. They remind me of the Puritans who in their zeal to avoid the sinful pleasures of this world,......
Give me springs as well!
published . 1 min read
Acsah, the daughter of Joshua was grateful. She really was. Her father, Caleb, had been kind enough to give her land. He didn't have to do that because she was a daughter rather than a son but Caleb did it anyway. There was a problem however. The land she inherited was in the Negev, a desert area and without water it would be useless. This could end up being a rather serious problem. Caleb had given Acsah as wife to his nephew Othniel. In Judges 15:18 we find that Acsah urges her husband to ask her father for an additional field but in verse 19, something rather interesting occurs. As Acsah dismounts her donkey, Caleb addresses her rather than her husband. "What is it? What can I do for you? (Judges 15:19 NLT) Acknowledging that Cleb has already been kind enough in even giving......
Love: it's not a dirty word
published . 2 min read
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT) I do not know how it has happened but it seems like nowadays if a Christian starts to talk about the love God has for us and the love we need to show towards others, there are other Christians standing by ready to accuse them of watering down the Word of God. Is that......
Thankful for the moment
published . 1 min read
Most of the time, the pain is non-stop. That's the way it has been for nearly four months. During that time, I've lost about 15 pounds simply because the very act of eating or even drinking water can cause unbearable pain. I guess it's a good thing I have the weight to lose and at this point, there is no cause for concern. At first, I ignored those pain-free moments. They were not good enough for me. I wanted NO pain... ever. Like an angry child, I pouted. I hadn't asked for this disease and there was nothing I did to cause it. I couldn't lay the blame on anyone else. In fact, they have zero idea as to what causes this disease or why it predominately affects women in their fifties and sixties. We don't know the answers... yet, though there is hope that some......
Are you a titus?
published . 2 min read
In 2 Corinthians chapter 7, Paul writes about the troublesome time he and his companions had when they arrived in Macedonia. He says there was no rest for them. Outside, there was conflict from every direction and inside, there was fear (2 Corinthians 7:5). Then Paul continues. He writes: But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus. 2 Corinthians 7:6 (NLT) I was visited by "Titus" today. I felt discouraged. I cried out to God and then opened an email I had received earlier from a friend. It was just simply a friendly email sharing a few pictures with me but on impulse, I suddenly found myself sharing my discouragement with my friend. It wasn't long before I heard back from my friend. I have to tell you I hesitated for a moment for......
The fig tree
published . 2 min read
This morning I sat and listened to an old familiar story that Jesus told long ago. Jesus tells us about a man who planted a fig tree in his garden. He apparently has great hopes for this tree for he comes and checks it time and time again, looking for fruit. To his great disappointment, three years pass and there is still not a single fig. Disappointed and frustrated, he orders his gardener to cut it down for as far as he is concrned, the fig tree is merely taking up space in his garden. Now I have always heard this story as a warning that we need to be fruitful but today the speaker put a slightly different spin on this story. A spin which I believe is worth our consideration. You see, Jesus tells us this man came and visited the tree for three years but he makes no mention of any thing......
The ribbons that i wear
published . 3 min read
Six years ago today, I started to collect ribbons. I didn't plan on collecting ribbons. That was the furthest thing from my mind. I was a nondescript wife, mother and teacher who was simply caught up in the normal business of life. I was about to leave for school that morning when I decided to check my email. That moment is forever etched in my mind. I saw that I had a test result back from a routine mammogram. I accessed my electronic medical record expecting to see what I always saw. My readings were normal and come back for another one next year. Instead the words "there is a spiculating mass in the left breast" jumped out at me and my life has never been the same. I wasn't supposed to have learned of it like that. The clinic had tried to reach me earlier but had......
Healing in his wings
published . 1 min read
The last book of the Old Testament contains a stern message of judgement and retribution against the leaders of Israel. They were supposed to bring comfort, healing and help to the flock of God but they had failed to do so. Then, after pronouncing judgement, a promise is uttered. But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. Malachi 4:2 (NLT) As I read this promise today, it was like a healing balm was poured over my bewildered and wounded heart. Though I might not see that healing at the moment, I can cling to this promise of God knowing that regardless of my circumstances, there is healing in God's wings and what I endure now is only for a moment. There will come a......
The amazing transformation
published . 2 min read
One of the drugs I took during chemotherapy has a tendancy to wreck havoc on your nails. They become ugly, thicken and sometimes will even turn black and fall off. While I escaped the last two things, my nails still took a severe beating. Thankfully, my toenails fared worse than my fingernails as one is generally more visible than the other. Over time, things have improved dramatically but things still don't grow "quite right" even after nearly six years. Of course I would clip, file and buff attempting to make things better but I am not a manicurist and have a tendency to be rather clumsy, especially when attempting to work on my right hand. This past weekend, as a birthday surprise, my daughter-in-law took me into an expert. She took me to a nail salon for a manicure. Now......
Blessed by god
published . 1 min read
As we gathered to prayer before partaking of our Thanksgiving dinner, I glanced around at the faces of family and friends that surrounded us and knew I had to speak up. For nearly six years, my husband and I have been hit with one crisis after another and yet here we were standing before a bountiful table, surrounded by love. After thanking everyone for their love and support and giving praise to God, my husband began to pray. As he prayed in Hebrew, "Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the Universe." He broke down as did I. Who are we that God is mindful of us? We are but dust and yet The Lord, our God, King of the Universe is not only ever mindful of us. He loves us. Us! Do we truly understand this? We get so caught up in what we want and even in what we need that we fail......
You were running well
published . 3 min read
Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? Galatians 5:7 I had a CT scan last Tuesday which revealed there was a bit of trouble within my body. It was in my digestive system to be exact and I was rather miserable and in a great deal of pain. Once the problem was discovered, I was put on two antibiotics and told that I must stay on a liquid diet for 48 hours. After that I could resume foods that would not aggravate my condition and in two weeks it was expected that I would be as good as new. Since I was in a great deal of pain and had no appetite anyway, I carefully followed instructions on Wednesday and Thursday. I was feeling much better on Friday but remembering my pain, I stuck with easily digestable, low-fiber foods on Friday and Saturday morning. I felt......
Fake or genuine?
published . 1 min read
I have a question for you. Is the image on the right a diamond or cubic zirconia? Earlier today I was watching a video clip of Ravi Zacharias and in that clip he quoted Richard Dawkins as saying most Christians could not correctly name the four Gospels of the New Testament. Ravi Zacharias then shared what happened when Richard Dawkins was asked to state the full name of Charles Darwin's book, commonly known as "The Origin Of Species". Richard Dawkins confidently asserted he could and... well... here is a clip of what happened. You may fast forward to 2:20 if you wish. After viewing this clip though, I got to thinking about how someone can claim to be anyone/anything they want. Our claim, however, does not make necessarily make it true. If you were to stand up in a crowd and......
Some thoughts from an old married woman
published . 2 min read
I have heard or seen the story played out time and time again. You have two people. One person believes they are in a committed, monogamous relationship. The other one, well... apparently does not. Person A (who can be either male or female) discovers that Person B has been "unfaithful". Now this can happen in several ways. Sometimes Person A learns this information from someone else. It can be a friend who thought Person A should know or it can "The Other Party" who is either concerned that Person B might lose interest in them and return to a life of bliss with Person A or Person B has broken off things with them so they want to make sure Person B suffers for spurning their love. Other times, ridden with guilt (or afraid Person A might find out from someone else so......
Protected from spam
published . 1 min read
I have recently learned that my blogs have been protected from spam comments more than 287 million times since I first started blogging at CB the summer of 2007. Was I aware of this? Of course not! I was blissfully blogging away, unaware of the sinister sea of spam around me. I didn't have to think about it, didn't have to worry about it because here at CB we have John who hates spammers and takes steps to prevent them from invading CB. It is a good thing those of us at CB do not have to rely on me to protect us from spam. I would not know the first thing about how to do it. We need an expert like John, who hates spam as much or even more than we do. Every day we are constantly being bombarded by spiritual "spam" as well as "viruses". Unable to deflect them on......
Who is your guide?
published . 1 min read
Psalm 25:5 - Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (New International Version) We ask for God to guide us and teach us but too often we forget that if we are being guided requires us to be in the position of following. Hmm... how many times have I asked God to guide me only to pull my hand out of his and zoom off down the path that seems right to me? Other times, like a young child, I am on the right path but I race ahead of the Father, look back, beckon frantically and cry out, "Come on! Hurry up!" Sigh... patience is more difficult for some of us more than others. As a child (and even as an adult), I tend to tap my foot impatiently, sway from side to side, sigh and even hop on one foot and then the other fairly......
Please know that i really mean it
published . 1 min read
"Please let me know if I can help." We've all said it before and we all mean well and yet are we merely being polite or is it sincere? There is a difference. A big difference. Perhaps we need to go just a bit further and make sure the person we say it to KNOWS these are not merely polite words that we dutifully say to everyone in trouble we cross paths with. Outside of family, there are few people I am willing to inconvenience. When I was in cancer treatment, my husband and I were overwhelmed and though I wouldn't say people were insincere, often their offers to call them if I needed help seemed as casual a remark as talking about the weather. I was reminded of this today when I received an email from a friend who had learned I was under the weather. Aware of my......
A closer look
published . 4 min read
I don't know how long it was there, hidden from view. I have my supicions though. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been ... agitated. I felt anxious, stressed-out, had a sense that I was not doing well. I attributed it to stress. When you consider all things, many people would say I have good reason to be stressed. I have faced some pretty serious ongoing health issues as well as financial issues over the past six years and after awhile, you get pretty worn out at times. I figured it was just that coupled with a flare-up of TN (trigeminal neuralgia) but deep in my heart, I still had this sense that something just was not quite right. On Saturday, I became aware of some pain in the left side of my abdomen. I attributed it to something I ate which was probably bothering my large......
The sea of uncertainty
published . 3 min read
We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end. When we think to attach ourselves to any point and to fasten to it, it wavers and leaves us; and if we follow it, it eludes our grasp, slips past us, and vanishes for ever. Nothing stays for us. This is our natural condition, and yet most contrary to our inclination; we burn with desire to find solid ground and an ultimate sure foundation whereon to build a tower reaching to the Infinite. But our whole groundwork cracks, and the earth opens to abysses. -Blaise Pascal I find my ears straining for the sound of it day and night. Will it work the way it is supposed to or must I call the repairman to come in again? This is what happens when there is an intermittent problem; when sometimes something works and......
Jesus, i love thee
published . 1 min read
We say that we love Jesus. Do we? We are willing to follow Him when it is convenient for us. Are we willing to following Him when it is inconvenient? We are willing to following Him when the path is easy and pleasant. Are we willing to follow Him when the path is rough and unpleasant? We are willing to follow Him when we are in the company of like-minded individuals. Are we willing to follow Him when it goes against the crowd, when we are ridiculed, when we are abandoned by others, when we are even threatened? Are we? There are times in our life when it is not easy to follow Jesus. It is not convenient, the path has been rough for a long, long time and we feel like we are alone out there in the middle of an endless desert which seems to be silent except for the jeers of the enemy. Do we......
Holding up your arms
published . 2 min read
I've been in this place before. Facing financial challenges and dealing with health issues, a repaired furnace which is still not acting right managed to break a hole in my defenses. I struggled to keep my hands raised up to God but fear and discouragement were getting the upper hand. My arms were beginning to ache and droop. In fact, try as I might, it was nearly impossible to lift them up. In the Exodus 17, we have the account of a battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites. While Joshua led the Israelites into battle, Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. Moses then held up his hand, the Israelites prevailed against their enemy. However, when he let down his hand, the enemy prevailed. Before reading further, I challenge you to stand up, raise your arm (preferably......
Keep looking up
published . 1 min read
One of the members who attended a small group we are in is a snowboard instructor. A couple whose son is starting to try out snowboarding asked him for some tips. Here was his number one tip. Keep looking up. I've heard this advice given before in regards to various athletic activities. Your body will follow your eyes. A few months ago, I tried an experiment to see if this was true. I attempted to walk in a straight line across the room to the door. I was fine for the first couple of steps but then depending on where I was looking, I would quickly veer off to either the right or left. In short, unless my eyes were on my goal, I failed miserably. To tell you the truth, I needed this little reminder this evening. A "challenge" has been thrown in front of me and I have been......
The blessing of the card
published . 2 min read
It has been a terrible week. Our furnace still isn't working quite right and we are praying we do not need a new one. My husband learned that he was not going to be paid an agreed upon amount and the check for the reduced amount is a week late. Since he is on unemployment and you must report any earned income for the week, whether you have been paid or not, this is a big problem because he has already been docked for the agreed amount by the state. Oops! What makes it even more difficult is this employer is a long-time friend. Now in all fairness, this person did not receive what they expected either but... yeah. It has been a very tough week. Then my husband forgot to submit an expense report for another job and so instead of getting reimbursed tomorrow for a respectable chunk of......
Follow the directions
published . 2 min read
Today is my daughter-in-law's birthday. This morning, while baking her birthday cake, I was reminded of the first time I made this recipe. I had mixed up all the dry ingredients, made a well and then added all of the liquid ingredients except for the last one as directed in the recipe. The batter mixed up beautifully. Perfect. Now I was ready for the final step. Before putting the batter into the pans I was supposed to add 1 cup of boiling water to the mix. I did so and... I paused for a moment and stared at the runny liquid. I had never seen a cake batter that looked like that. I consulted my recipe again and double-checked my ingredients and measurements. Everything appeared to be right but this batter. This just simply did not look right! I am glad that I had read the reviews for......
The story of our lives
published . 1 min read
Often when we think of our "testimony", we think of one of two things. We either think about the story of when we became a Christian or we think it is some exciting and miraculous event which took place in our lives. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines testimony as: 1: something that someone says especially in a court of law while formally promising to tell the truth 2: proof or evidence that something exists or is true A friend of mine here at CB once told me that our testimony is being written as we live it. I agree and I think it is critical that we understand that. You see, that rough spot, that trial that you are going through is teaching you a multitude of things. It is teaching you that God's promises are true. It is teaching you endurance. It is teaching you that......
The bad connection
published . 2 min read
I had awakened early one cold morning and immediately sensed something was wrong. I knew it was very cold outside but still, it shouldn't be this cold inside. I listened for a moment and heard nothing. Uh-oh. I padded downstairs to check the thermostat and my worst fears were confirmed. The air temperature in the house was about 12 degrees colder than it should have been. Why hadn't the furnace come on? I called the gas company and was very thankful that I had some alternative sources of heat. I turned on the gas fireplace and pulled out a couple of space heaters. By the time the service technician arrived, things were much more comfortable. To my relief, he quickly got things going once again. Whew! However... a few days later the same problem occurred. Oh no! Time for another......
The lord and vassal
published . 1 min read
Since early October, a group of women from my church have been getting together every Friday morning and doing Bible study about Gideon. A few weeks ago, we talked about the terms "suzerain" and "vassal". Now while I was familiar with the term vassal, I had never heard the term suzerain before. A suzerain is basically an overlord to whom fealty is due. A vassal is someone who has declared fealty to the overlord and has placed themselves under the protection of the overlord. They have vowed to pay homage to and pledged their loyalty to the lord. If you were asked who is your "suzerain", you would probably say God but is He? Do we really acknowledge His authority or do we only acknowledge it when it pleases us or when it is convenient for us to do so? I have to......
The cracked glass
published . 2 min read
After church one Sunday, the children slipped out the door and were delighted to discover the parking lot as well as the vehicles in it were covered with a thin layer of ice due to a brief shower of freezing rain. One little boy got a brilliant idea which he shared with the other children. They could climb up on top of his father's car and slide down the window. Oh what fun they had until... the little boy lost his balance and came down hard... I mean really hard on the windshield at just the right speed and angle. There was stunned silence and then to the boy's horror, he saw his mom and dad come of the church building and they were headed straight for him! There was no way he could hide what he had done. He couldn't run away for his dad could run much faster than he could.......
The brick wall
published . 4 min read
The Princess looked about wildly. How could she have been so stupid! Although this road had looked so inviting, deep in her heart she knew that it would take her off the King's Highway. The King's Highway had seemed so rough at the moment. She was so hot and tired. His road had been filled with ruts and sharp rocks. The hot sun beat down upon her and there was little if any shade. She didn't like this part of the journey one bit! That's when she saw a lovely little path. While it was true that it did not quite follow The King's Highway, it certainly looked like a much better road. It seemed to be quite free of ruts and stones. In fact, there was a refreshing little stream right over there beneath some lovely shade trees. She could dip her aching feet into the cool......
The parable of the garbage disposal
published . 2 min read
Once there was a woman who decided that it would be a good idea to clean out her refrigerator before a new form of life evolved in it. She was happily emptying containers of their mysterious-looking contents down the garbage disposal and indeed, had already had some wisked off to unknown regions. That's when it happened. She turned on the garbage disposal once again but instead of the familiar roar, it whimpered and the sink promptly backed up. The woman stared at her sink in horror. She vaguely remembered that this had happened before in the presence of a knowlegeable person who had stuck her hand down into the disposal, pulled out some debris and hit a friendly red reset button under the disposal. Actually, come to think of it, she had tried that herself once and it had worked. She......
The sword of the lord
published . 3 min read
In the Book of Judges, we find the story of Gideon. Called by God to lead an army against their oppressors, Gideon started out with 32,000 troops. Based on information in Judges 8, it is estimated that the Midianite army had 135,000 troops so there were roughly four Midianites soldiers for every Israelite soldier. Those were not the best of odds for the Israelites but at the same time, it could be done. If the Israelite army was successful, they would no doubt pat themselves on the back and talk about what skilled soldiers they were and how they had managed to beat the odds. God ordered every fearful man to leave and 22,000 left. Now we have 10,000 men with a ratio of 13.5 Midianite soldiers for every Israelite soldier. Have you noticed that the odds are getting worse for the Israelites......
What i really meant was...
published . 4 min read
I had to run some errands this afternoon and my husband was busy catching up on some work at home. We were both tired so we it was decided that since a local pizza place was running a great special, we would order one and I would pick it up on my way home. Actually, my timing was perfect. I glanced at my clock while I was finishing up at the bank. Oh good! It was just about time to pick up the pizza and I was less than 10 minutes away. It would be ready by the time I got there. When I arrived, there were probably about eight other people crowded in the small area in front of the counter. A frustrated-looking man stood at the counter while several people in the back scurried about looking for his order. Apparently it either had not been received or it had been given to someone else by......
In your struggles, remember...
published . 2 min read
This morning, I sat in a roomful of women, listening to a speaker at my church. I recognized the speaker by sight and perhaps I had talked with her a bit when I have gone up for prayer but I couldn't tell you for sure. I go to a church which has several thousand attendees each week plus my memory is not so good anymore. As she spoke, I suddenly listened even more closely when she shared that she is a cancer survivor of nearly five years and that during that time, it was like God had surrounded her with a protective bubble as she went through treatment. Then she looked back over to where I was sitting to her right and near the back of the room. She called me by name and said that I knew exactly what she was talking about. I was stunned. It had been nearly six years since my diagnosis.......
In the darkness of the storm
published . 3 min read
Less than two years before I would enter the most turbulent period of my life to date, I was peacefully drifting off to sleep when suddenly it seemed to me that the room shook and I felt like my bed had suddenly been transformed into a boat. I remember lying there trying to grip it with my hands as it lurched about like it was riding some terrible waves. It was so dark. I could hear the sound of crashing waves and make out the silhouettes of them rising higher and higher until they threatened to crash over me and capsize my "little boat". My ears were filled with nothing but the sound of screaming wind. I felt panic rise up within me but then the thought came to me that I was not alone. Jesus was out there! The problem was... I couldn't see Him. I strained my eyes trying to......
The barren tree
published . 1 min read
With the cold October winds, the trees I see when I look out the window this morning are stripped of all of their leaves. I will not see them again until late April or early May. The tree in this picture is on the west side of my house and this was taken early this morning. What should be in darkness, is not. Why? Because the sun is positioned in such a way that the sunbeam falls between my house and my neighbor's house illuminating this tree while everything else around it is in shaodws. I love watching the sun transform this tree into a tree of light every morning when the sun rises. It doesn't matter what time of the year it is. If the morning sun is not obscured by clouds, I see a blaze of light in the midst of the darkness. For six months or so, this tree will appear to be......
Faithful to the end
published . 1 min read
Hebrews 3:14 - For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. (New Living Translation) Sometimes we behave our life after our salvation is some sort of spectator sport. Since we are not saved by works of righteousness, we figure there is no need for us to walk worthy or learn to live by faith. If this were true, the Bible would not talk about how we should now live, how we should grow in grace and it certainly would say very little if anything about faith. God's Word talks about these things for a reason and we would do well to listen. We are told that if we are faithful to the end, if we trust God as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. Logic dictates that......
Though i am surrounded by troubles
published . 1 min read
Psalm 138:7 - Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. (New Living Translation) In the dead of the night I awakened suddenly to unbelievable pain as the trigeminal nerve in the right side of my face issued messages to my brain of unbelievable pain but a pain that is "false" meaning there is not reason for it. For reasons doctors do not understand, the nerve has gone "rogue", reporting pain to the brain that does not really exist. Despite the pain, I remembered that my husband was lying beside me asleep and I quickly covered my mouth with my pillow, not wanting to awaken him with my cries. I grabbed the little prayer shawl I had been given when I was going......
A gift from the heart
published . 2 min read
As our Bible study was ending today, one of the women mentioned the upcoming annual women's holiday dinner which is held at our church each year in early November. Women volunteer to decorate and host a table. While my decorating talents leave much to be desired, I did attend a couple of years ago and sat at a beautifully decorated table done by one of my friends. It was just a lovely evening of fellowship, a bit of pampering and an opportunity to admire the beautiful creativity of other women. Over the past couple of years however, I have been hesitant to spend money on wants rather than needs. This is not to say that I do not pamper myself now and then. It's just that I realize that I simply cannot always do what I would like to do. As I listened to her extend the invitation to......
The way we should live
published . 2 min read
The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29 (NLT) Luke recounts the story of how a lawyer stood up one day to test Jesus. The question he asked Jesus was, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus responds by asking the lawyer a question. He asked him what the Law of Moses said. The lawyer responds by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18 Jesus tells him that he has answered correctly and if he does this, he shall live. (Luke......
An attitude of gratitude
published . 2 min read
When I was an elementary school teacher, I used to have to sometimes take a student aside and talk to them about their attitude. A poor attitude could cause a capable student to fail. It could drive away friends. It seemed like if the day started out with a bad attitude, trouble followed throughout the day. Nothing seemed to go right and the child was miserable. On the other hand, I have seen a child who failed, pick themselves up and say, "I will try again." I have watched them persevere.They might not be successful the first time but eventually they will succeed. They have a smile on their face and the other children want to be around them. What's the difference? Attititude. Today, at a women's meeting at my church, the speaker's topic was "Renew Your Mind By......
Restitution, is it a necessary thing?
published . 2 min read
Today, while reading a blog by @blessings2you entitled If The Shoe Fits... I began to think about restitution. It seems like we do not hear a lot of preaching about restitution in our churches today. We talk about forgiveness and we talk about grace but we don't talk about restitution very much. I grew up in a denomination which listed restitution when possible as one of their teaching. Even so, I did not hear it preached or taught about very often. There is probably a good reason for that. While we defintely enjoy being the recipient of restitution, being the giver probably makes most of us feel a tad bit uncomfortable. You see, not do we need to admit that we did wrong; we need to take steps to correct our mistakes. Yes, the blood of Jesus does cover our mistakes and when we have......
The frayed rope
published . 1 min read
Jill Briscoe tells a story about an evangelist who wanted to use a dramatic method to teach his listeners about faith. It was safe for them to fully depend on God alone. He cut a rope so that it was held together by only two or three strands believing that it would break as soon as he put his full weight on it. This would represent trusting in temporal things and he would then tell the audience that they needed to trust in God rather than the things of this world. At the right moment, the evangelist took a running leap across the platform, grabbed the end of the rope and swung out over the audience. To his shock and amazement, the rope held and he sailed above everyone's heads and into the vestibule. He picked himself up off the floor and returned to the platform with a much more......
Running ahead of god
published . 3 min read
I've been re-reading The Autobiography of George Muller over the past few days. Though I have read it a number of times, an incident he wrote about really jumped out at me earlier today. It is funny how you can read something over and over again and suddenly, you have an "ah-ha moment". That's exactly what happened to me today. It was February 2, 1846. George Muller had been waiting upon God about building an orphan home for 91 days. Currently orphans were housed in four rental homes on Wilson Street in Bristol, England. Over the past few months, however, George Muller had been seeking God as to whether or not property should be purchased and an orphanage built or if they should seek additional rental property. If you are not familiar with George Muller, you need to know......
I might not like it but...
published . 3 min read
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a weakness for chocolate and a weakness for ice cream; especially soft-serve ice cream from Dairy Queen. I don't need to think of an excuse to head to DQ. Any excuse will do. A DQ blizzard easily fits the bill for satisfying both my chocolate and ice cream craving. Yummy! In August, I developed trigeminal neuralgia which is a very painful condition which affects the trigeminal nerve in your face. This is a very large nerve which runs down the side of your face and branches off to your lower and upper jaw, runs over to your nose and under your ear as well. For unknown reasons, this nerve can go rogue (generally in women over 50) and beginning sending messages to your brain that it is in incredible pain even though there appears to be nothing......
Thank you for today!
published . 1 min read
I do not know what tomorrow will bring but I thank God for today. I developed trigeminal neuralgia on August 9, 2013. Every single day since then has been filled with pain. Some days have been "better" days but the pain has always been present. Today was different. Today a small and very welcome visitor came to spend the day with me... aged 23 months. Oh how I wanted to feel good today! I wanted to have a day free from pain, a day when we could simply enjoy one another's company and that is exactly what happened. We played together, ate lunch together, walked to the park, sang together, made music and danced together, had supper together and simply enjoyed life together. It was a good day and for me it was also a pain-free day. The very first pain-free day I have had in more......
Blessed are the peacemakers
published . 2 min read
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18 (NLT) One of my earliest memories is of my mother admonishing me to speak more quietly. You might assume that my mother is a quiet, gentle, demur woman but you would be wrong. Growing up, she was a tomboy who delivered papers in their small town (population 300) while her five other sisters did more "domestic" things. She never forgot how she was teased when she reached her teens and attempted to be more "feminine". The words from her peers stung her deeply......
Remember those in prison
published . 2 min read
Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. Hebrews 13:3 (NLT) The fact that we have Christian brothers and sisters who are being mistreated, tortured and even imprisoned should not surprise us in the least. Anyone who takes the time to read the Book of Acts and has any understanding of history since that time can see that the persecution of Christians was definitely alive and well. What makes us think it has gone away? Is it because you yourself are not experiencing it? In Acts 4, Peter and John were imprisoned after the healing a lame man outside of the Temple. They were released the next day but warned not to teach or speak in the name of Jesus at all. They replied: “Which is right in......
Oops... i didn't mean to!
published . 1 min read
I discovered something rather surprising here at CB today. I discovered that someone who I thought was my friend... wasn't. Now before you start to think that someone did something terrible to me, I think I'd better explain. I thought this person was my friend. I mean, we would read one another's blogs and write lovely comments. We would run into one another sometimes in chat and have some time of fellowship peppered with laughter. Why we would even meeting up together at the CB prayer meeting and pray together as well as for one another. In short, it sure sounded like we were friends but today, much to my shock, I discovered we weren't. You see today I learned that... I had never sent her a friend invite. Now it would have been very easy for my friend to have become......
The simple blessings in life
published . 2 min read
I was very thankful that while I lay sleeping last night, my furnace kicked on. Before I went to bed last night, I realized the temperature was supposed to drop to near freezing overnight. Reflecting that my "hot water bottle" aka my husband, was out of town and my back-up "hot water bottle" aka my cat Nix, had decided to go out prowling, I thought that it might be prudent to turn on the furnace. I'm glad I did. Instead of shivering with cold this morning, I awakened to a house that was a balmy 68F/20C degrees. However, I realized that I was on my own for breakfast this morning. Often on Sunday mornings, I will awaken to the heavenly smell of my husband fixing me something nice for breakfast. Mmm... I have to say that man knows how to make a good breakfast! Sigh.........
Guard your heart
published . 1 min read
Proverbs 4:23 - Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (New Living Translation) Our "heart" is a very precious thing and yet it seems that we either fling it wide open to anything or lock it up tight so that nothing can come in... or flow out from it. Neither situation is a good one. Guarding your heart does not mean you seal it up behind stone prison walls. It means you pay careful attention to what may enter into your heart. It means that you are vigilant and on the look-out for any "intruders" which may have crept in and are attempting to take up permanent residence there. Some of these intruders are bitterness, fear, impure thoughts and desires, pride, complancency and so forth. When we detect these things, we must not give them......
The giant of despair
published . 2 min read
What a fool, am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle. --Christian, The Pilgrim's Progress The situation seemed hopeless. Paul and Silas did the right thing and because of that, a mob dragged them before the magistrates who ordered them to be stripped, beaten, imprisoned and put in stocks. It was a desperate and painful situation. Have you ever felt like you are in a similar situation? Perhaps you have been beaten and imprisoned by a family situation or a financial situation. Maybe it is a bad situation at work or at church which causes you to feel trapped. Perhaps the "prison" is your own body which is battling a serious health issue. That's where......
A true example
published . 1 min read
Before sending my students back to their desks to complete an art project, I would hold up the project I had completed earlier. "This is what your project should look like when you are finished." Then I put the sample where everyone could see it and dismissed them back to their tables where the necessary materials awaited them. Some students would walk over to where I had written the directions on the board. They would carefully re-read the directions, look at my sample and study it. Then they would look at the directions again, ask questions if there was something they did not understand and then return to their table and begin to work. Sometimes they would stop in the middle of their work, get up to re-examine the example and perhaps consult with me once again. Were they doing......
You are an overcomer!
published . 1 min read
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world ourfaith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5 (NKJV) The pair of minature pink boxing gloves pictured to the right are pretty special to me. They have hung on on my computer monitor (I've had several) since 2008. They hang there for a reason. In mid-October 2007, I attended Women of Faith and watched Nicole Johnson do a dramatic piece called "Stepping Into The Ring" which is about a woman who learns she has breast cancer. About six weeks later... I was that woman. During treatment, someone on one of the breast cancer boards mentioned this piece. I remembered it and quickly found it on YouTube. I was moved to tears......
Thankful for each moment
published . 2 min read
For nearly two months I have been dealing with a condition called trigeminal neuralgia. It affects a large nerve in your face. For some unknown reason, this nerve sometimes begins to send signals indicating pain. The problem is, they are false signals. The nerve is not working correctly and when it goes off, well, the pain is unbearable. Nerve pain does not respond to typical pain-killers. I was fortunate in that I had a great deal of experience with nerve pain when I went through chemo. When it acted the way it did and was not responding to typical treatments to dull pain, I knew right away that I was in trouble. Most of the time, people are not aware that this is nerve pain they are experiencing and can go months or even years before finding any relief. I became proactive immediately......
Spinning your wheels
published . 2 min read
When it comes to cars and snow, let's just say I am a bit of an expert. Growing up in Minnesota where snow is often on the ground from mid-late November until the end of March or early April, it was essential for me to learn how to drive in the snow. Considering how much winter driving I have done over the years, it is amazing at how few times I have actually been stuck but...sigh... it has happened. Those who are not very familiar with winter driving often tend to make a very serious mistake when they find their vehicle suddenly off the road getting acquainted with a snowbank. They either press the accelerator to the floor and attempt to drive forward or in reverse. Usually that does not work. In fact, it is the worse thing you can do. You see, you have poor traction and the heat......
Behind our mask
published . 2 min read
We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile And mouth with myriad subtleties, Why should the world be over-wise, In counting all our tears and sighs? Nay, let them only see us, while We wear the mask. We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries To thee from tortured souls arise. We sing, but oh the clay is vile Beneath our feet, and long the mile, But let the world dream otherwise, We wear the mask! --Paul Laurence Dunbar If you were to meet me on the street, I would pretty much look like a normal middle-aged housewife. Okay, I need to lose weight and since getting my "new hair" I have refused to dye it but other than that, I look pretty ordinary. Looks can be deceiving. I......
I just wonder...
published . 1 min read
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:30 (NIV) It is a story that many of us are familiar with. Before going up onto the mountain to pray, Jesus instructed his disciples to get into the boat and set sail across the Sea of Galilee. We know that four of these men, Peter, Andrew, James and John had been fishermen on this very body of water. They were well aware of the sudden violent storms that could erupt and probably had faced them before. They knew what they were up against and the situation wasn't good. You see, they weren't near the shore. They were out in the middle of the Sea of Galilee in the midst of a storm. They tried their best to get through the storm. They put forth all of their knowledge and......
A life that is worthy of your calling
published . 2 min read
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:1-3 (NLT) I am fairly certain that those of us who follow after Christ would agree that we need to live in a manner that is pleasing to God. Should those of us who bear the name of Christ and declare to the world that we belong to Him bring dishonor to His name by lying, taking advantage of others, being cruel to one another, slandering others, cheating, indulging in activities which we know to be immoral and so forth? Of course not! We need to strive to live a life which pleases and honors God. Do we live this way in order to......
It sneaks up on you
published . 2 min read
As I read off the numbers I had carefully tallied, I heard some gasps. I looked up from the paper I was holding and glanced around the room. I was not in the least bit surprised to see the surprised and startled faces around me. I had seen it before. Gently I said, "It is shocking, isn't it but..." I paused before continuing, wanting to make sure all eyes were focused on me, ready to absorb what I was about to say. "When you are in crisis, when you have gotten yourselves into a mess, it is easy to become angry and even ashamed of yourself. You are certain that everyone else around you has everything under control. You didn't mean to get yourself into this mess but it just sort of sneaked into your life. We are all at different points in this room but one thing this......
The wrong direction
published . 2 min read
The grocery store I usually shop at about 3 1/2 miles south of me. Interestingly enough though, the quickest way to get there is to drive east, rather than south. That's because the road that travels east only does so only for about a mile or so and then it curves south. If I take that road, I am actually about a mile closer to the store than if I originally start out traveling south. I stumbled upon this "short-cut" by accident when we first moved here. I was just curious as to where the road went and you can imagine my shock and delight when I learned that I had discovered where I ended up. It hadn't looked like the right road to go to the store but in reality, it was the best road. Thirty-one years ago, my husband wanted to go to graduate school and get his Master of......
The hardness of our heart
published . 2 min read
We never intend for it to happen. When we came to Christ our heart was open and tender towards Him. You suddenly discovered it was open and tender toward others as well. Suddenly you were seeing people through the eyes of Christ. You were suddenly overwhelmed with love for person you couldn't stand and perhaps even wanted to hurt. You were a new creation. However, it is easy to become careless and even arrogant. Bit by bit, the enemy attempts to try to get us to "patch up" that tender heart. He likes to call it reinforcing it or making it stronger. In reality, he is simply intending to harden our heart and create a barrier between us and God as well as others. How many times has he tricked us into believing that this was for our own good, our own protection? How many times......
By their actions, they deny him
published . 1 min read
Titus 1:15-16 - To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (New International Version 1984) Titus had been appointed to oversee the work of the churches on the island of Crete. As his superior, Paul was giving instruction to Titus in regards to appointing elders in the church. As leaders, it was imperative that the lives of these elders be carefully scrutinized.Most of us are probably not elders in our church (though some of us are) so are these words pertinent to us today? Yes, they are. "They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny......
But it is your fault!
published . 2 min read
The seven year old child in front of me squirmed uncomfortably. They were "busted" as they would say and they were fully aware that they would not like the consequences one single bit. Almost instantly, an idea popped into their head. "Yes I did it, Teacher BUT it's not my fault! He (or she) told me to do it!" I am just curious as to how any parent reading this would reacted to that statement? Would you pat the child on the head, tell them it was okay, that they were not responsible for hitting another child, tearing up another child's work, destroying property, stopping up the sink and flooding the bathroom and well... you get the idea simply because someone else had told them to do it? I know what I would do for this was a scenario which I faced time and time......
When murphy comes knocking
published . 3 min read
Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong We have all had it happen. It seems like we are staying ahead of life's challenges and perhaps even getting ahead when suddenly, "Murphy" knocks on our door. It seems like when he arrives, his bags are always filled with trouble. Your car which had been working beautifully sputters and smokes, if it starts at all, once Murphy has borrowed it. The bathroom floods, there's a fire in your kitchen, your furnace and/or air conditioner breaks, your child breaks their leg (after Murphy suggested that they ski down the garage roof) and your cat gets sick. Sometimes Murphy likes to make things very exciting and decides that you need a break so he thoughtfully arranges it so you do not have to go to work due to injury, illness or job loss.......
Come and share the rainbow with me!
published . 1 min read
It had been an ordinary rainy day that reminded you that fall (or autumn if you prefer), was on it's way. My husband had taken advantage of one of the interludes to dash off and run an errand and I was home alone. Suddenly the doorbell rang, not once but twice. It sounded rather urgent so I raced downstairs wondering if something had happened. I flung open the door and there stood my neighbor, Theresa. Eagerly she urged me to come outside. She and her husband had just been leaving when she had glanced up into the sky and saw a beautiful rainbow. "Come and share the rainbow with me! It is so beautiful that I just had to share it with someone!" It was indeed a beautiful, perfect-looking rainbow. Theresa and I stood together for a few minutes in my front yard, marveling at......
The ivory tower
published . 2 min read
The Princess looked down from her tower. To tell you the truth, the view was rather breath-taking and she felt safe and secure up here. She was far away from all of the clamour and the pushing and shoving of the crowd. Everything was nice, neat and comfortable. She was too far away to clearly make out everything but it seemed like there was a great deal of trouble going on down there. She shaded her eyes for a moment, trying to determine what was going on but then decided that it really didn't matter. She knew that some of the King's servants did venture out onto the streets but... she shuddered. It seemed so "messy" down there and it was definitely not a place for a princess...or was it? She pushed the thought away as soon as it struck her. Go down there? Why that was......
A clanging cymbal
published . 1 min read
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1 (NKJV) The word in this verse which is translated as "love" is "agape" which means: love, generosity, kindly concern, devotedness (Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament). Much damage has been done by the Church both within and without simply because we are eager to speak but fail to love. This is not to say that we do not have our moments. This is not to say that no one within the Church loves. I am talking about the Church as a whole. Can we really say, in all honesty, that we as the Church always have love towards one another as well as those outside the Body of Christ? I thought not. Over the years, I......
Some thoughts on stewardship
published . 3 min read
In the Church, we hear a lot about receiving. We love to talk about the blessings of God and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is, we tend to want to talk a lot about physical blessings and very little about spiritual blessings. We do hear about giving within the Church but usually it consists of the pastor pleading (or commanding) the congregation to give more because there are needs. Have you ever noticed that those churches never seem to have enough? I mean, it seems like they have one financial crisis after another and I don't think it is always because someone is pocketing all the money. I have a suspicion as to why that is but I will get to that in a little while. I am a firm believer that God provides His children with what they need when they need it. Did He not......
Selfish or selfless?
published . 2 min read
If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24 From our earliest days most of us were taught that we should not be selfish and yet we continually battle against it for we are battling against, well... against ourselves. In fact, even the good things we do with the purest of motives can easily become contaminated by selfishness if we are not extremely careful. While 1 Timothy 6:10 was translated in the KJV as saying the love of money is the root of all evil, a better translation is "the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil" and most English translations, including the NKJV, translate it as such. Pride is at the very root of sin. Pride and selfishness are intertwined. A proud person is selfish......
Daily bible verse: isaiah 40:29
published . 1 min read
Isaiah 40:29 - He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. (New Living Translation) In recent years, I have become increasingly aware of the fact that I am weak and vulnerable, not just in regards to my health but mentally and emotionally as well. In my younger days I was ready to tackle anything and "seize the day". Do I still have those moments? Of course I do and I hope I always do! It's just that nowadays I am less reliant on self and more reliant on the help of others... especially and above all, God's. It is only when we are confronted with our own weakness, our own inability, our own limitations that we come to understand and appreciate Isaiah 40:29. The ones who are weak and powerless are none other than us! Yesterday, I watched a large and......
But you loved all of us anyway
published . 2 min read
They weren't The Chosen People. They weren't the children of Abraham though they were the descendants of Noah as we all are. Unlike Abraham, their particular branch of Noah's family had followed the rest of the crowd and turned away from God to the point that He allowed them to go their own way. This sounds a bit like the story Jesus told about The Prodigal Son, doesn't it. It seems so clear-cut to us most of the time. God chose the Israelites. God gave them The Promised Land and helped them destroy their idolatrous enemies. Because God's judgement fell upon these people we make the assumption that God did not love them and made no attempt whatsoever to save them from judgement. I believe we are wrong in our assumption. We forget we see only a part of God's story.......
In the shelter of the most high
published . 1 min read
Do you see that photograph to the right? Yeah, that's the one. I must confess that it bears a remarkable resemblance to me. Now if you could see me in person, you wouldn't think so because I don't look like that on the surface. I don't even have curly hair though the hair color... sigh... never mind! I'm not talking about my physical appearance. I am talking about who I really am. I suspect you look quite a bit like me as well. We may swagger about talking big and tough but the reality is, we're not. If God wasn't looking out for each one of us, we'd be toast in a moment for we live in a fallen dark and dangerous world. Our problem is, we don't want to accept that. We figure that we are big and tough. We don't need God! We can take care of......
Trust in god and keep on walking!
published . 3 min read
He not only wanted this job, he needed it. He told his parents about it and they agreed to join him in prayer asking God to slam the door if it was not His will and fling the door wide open if it was. He was ecstatic when he got the phone call the next day offering him the job but his heart sank when he learned it was only going to be 15 hours a week. What was he to do? He called his mom and told her about it. He really wanted to do this job. He would be working with kids in an inner-city school and he felt drawn to that but... he had a wife to support and bills to pay. His mother reminded him of their prayer and said, "Trust God". He remembered back to his childhood. He remembered the times his parents would pray in times of need. He remembered how it seemed like there was an......
Broken for his glory
published . 2 min read
Earlier today, as I was reading an excellent blog by @watchmanjohn entitled Finding Our Ministry, I happened to notice the blog tag he used. It said, "broken for His glory." I pondered those words for awhile as I re-read his blog and looked at the picture he had selected to accompany it. Watchmanjohn is right. Though we might be careful not to say it, the sad reality is that so many of us within the Body of Christ have little interest in being "broken for His glory". We desire to be a great and glorious vessel that everyone is awed by the moment they lay their eyes on us. We desire (sometimes openly and sometimes secretly) to be the actor who is standing center stage upon whom the play revolves around. All eyes are fixed on us. All applause is for us even if we......
But why me?
published . 2 min read
You are a survivor. The odds were against you and you beat them. You escaped from the terrible car accident unscathed. You got the job in the nick of time and now you will be able to pay your mortgage before it becomes past due. You are now five years past cancer treatment and there is still no evidence of disease. You share the good news with everyone and you have good reason to rejoice. You are a survivor. Congratulations! You have good reason to celebrate and indeed you should. Then something happens. Someone you love does not simply walk away from an accident. Instead they are seriously injured, perhaps permanently. A friend does not get the job. In fact, they file bankruptcy but since they are still unable to pay their mortgage they lose their home and are now homeless. You learn......
Because i live, you will live also .jesus
published . 2 min read
I received word late last night that the husband of one of my cousins was being rushed into surgery after his aorta ruptured. Early this morning I learned that he did not survive. Loren was 59 years old. On the evening of August 28th his first grandchild, Laura, was born. Shortly before midnight on August 29th, Loren slipped out of this world and into LIFE. His daughter posted a picture of Loren, his wife (my cousin) and Laura. I am very thankful that he got to hold Laura in his arms. I remember the day I met Loren. It was at my wedding actually. Although I had heard of him as I had been down south going to school and when I came home, well, I lived 200 miles away from my Iowa cousins. Loren's family lived in the same area as me so when LeAnn and her family came to Minnesota for my......
The small things
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A few weeks ago, my husband attended a very large church about 10 miles away from our house. He had been invited by their technical director to come and see their setup so he went to one of their Sunday morning services. I attended service at our church that day. At lunch time, I asked him about his morning. He told me all about the things he had seen that day. He told me about the music and the message which was very good. Then he was silent for a moment. "You know what I noticed though, not one person shook my hand or welcomed me. Not a single person." Now it is easy to say that at a large church one tends to get "lost in the crowd" but neither one of us could help but think about our own church which typically runs about 1,000 people or so at each service. As you......
Into the fire
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The small ceramic bird I had been working on, sat on the table beside me. My father, a disabled veteran and volunteer who taught ceramic classes at the VA Hospital Outpatient Clinic in Minnesota, set out the stains for me. I had looked at various pictures of birds, trying to decide exactly what sort of bird I wanted this one to be. I finally settled on painting a scarlet tanager simply because I loved it's black wings against it's red body. I opened the bottle of red stain and stopped. Wait a minute. This wasn't red. The label must be wrong. My dad came and looked at it and told me it was correct. I stared at it in disbelief. That was not the bright and cheerful red and had envisioned. This color was dull and ugly. I would NOT put that awful color on my bird! That's when......
In the arena of life
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Earlier today I read a blog by @arisensleeper entitled To Live Is Christ To Die Is Gain. His text is Philippians 1:21 which says: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. When I read the book of Philippians, I am reminded of Paul's circumstances. He was a prisoner who had appealed to Caesar. He fully realized that he would never walk this earth as a free man again. He understood that after he had stood before Caesar, he would be executed. According to the tradition of the Catholic Church, Paul was beheaded by Nero between 64-67 A.D. You would have expected his letter to the Church at Philippi to be full of fear and disillusionment. It is not. Instead it speaks of joy, regardless of our circumstances and encouragement. Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!......
Thirty-two years and counting
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It was a hot and humid August day and the air conditioning had gone out in the church. Normally the bride hated hot, humid days but today, she did not mind it in the least despite the fact that she was wearing a full-length gown and veil. As they said their vows, she noticed a bead of perspiration making it's way down the nose of her beloved. He looked at her and winked. To the relief of everyone, it suddenly began to rain and a very welcome cool breeze invaded the sanctuary. Whew! The rain obligingly ended in time for the reception. The young bride and groom were twenty years old. The groom would turn 21 the next day. He always says his bride was the very best birthday present he ever got. His bride never argues that point. They weren't out of college yet. They didn't have......
Daily bible verse: matthew 5:16
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Matthew 5:16 - In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (New International Version 1984) While God can look into our hearts and minds and is well aware of the transformation that has taken place, we tend to forget that people simply cannot do the same. They can only look upon our outward appearance. This is why our conduct as Christians is so important. This is what validates our testimony to the world. Something is different about us. We are not behaving like "normal" human beings and that causes non-Christians to become curious about us. I remember how after my diagnosis of breast cancer, my colleages at school kept stopping me in the hallways. After just a bit of small talk they would suddenly......
The lord shall be a light unto me
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There is a card with a portion of a verse on it which I have taped to the monitor of my computer. It says: When I sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me. Micah 7:8   There are so many times, especially over the past few years that I have found myself clinging to that verse. Do you notice that it does not say, if  I sit in darkness? The scripture says when I sit in darkness. There is a difference. When I looked up this verse in various English translations of the Bible, the word when was the most frequently used. Other times it was translated as although or though. This tells me that as long as we live in this world, it is impossible for us to escape spending some time sitting in figurative darkness. In fact, I am certain that everyone reading this can immediately recall a......
A prayer meeting at cb
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One of the wonderful things about CB is that you have an opportunity to meet and interact with people from various parts of the world. With that comes the blessing of being able to also come together in prayer in the prayer room which is located in chat. Several years ago, we used to have a regularly scheduled weekly prayer meeting at CB. To set something like this up is a challenge as we currently have active members spanning the globe with a time difference of up to 21 hours or so. What is convenient for one person might be 3:00 a.m. for somone else. It has been suggested that we have regional prayer meetings but outside of the U.S. we just do not have that many international members to make that practical. Besides, that defeats the purpose of us being able to all come together for......
He that endures
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But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matthew 24:13 The word translated here as endure is hupomen³ (Strong's 5278). It means: I remain behind, I stand my ground, show endurance, I endure, bear up against, persevere. In other words, something or someone is coming against you; forceably trying to overpower you, move you out of the way, conquer you. Jesus tells us that he that shall endure unto the end shall be saved. It seems to me that this requires some effort on our part. It seems to me that once we are provided with the armor of God, we must make a conscious effort to put it on. We must use that shield of faith and wield our sword which is the Word of God. If we don't... Blessings! K Photo Credit: Jennifer Ellison/freedigitalphotos.net...
Your light will rise in the darkness
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When I read that verse this morning, I immediately began to think about the times I have encountered pointing fingers and malicious talk. Sometimes it has been directed at myself. Sometimes it has been directed at others but it always hurts rather than heals. It is easy to blame the victim isn't it. We assume that someone is in poverty because they are lazy and even greedy as we believe (often secretly) that they simply want something for nothing. We believe someone is in crisis because they are seeking attention. We believe that someone is sick because they like to be sick. While there certainly are a few people who are like this (we need to remember that this is often a sign of mental illness), most people do not enjoy being unable to provide for themselves, having turmoil in their......
Because it is your will
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When it comes to winter, I am a bit of an expert on the subject. Except for a four year hiatus, I have spent every winter of my life in Minnesota which has a reputation for long and severe winters even though the place where I was born is about five miles closer to the equator than it is to the north pole. Hmm... It is not uncommon for the first permanent snow of the season to arrive sometime in November and not exit until April. Far from both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and no mountain ranges, brutally cold air masses known as "Alberta Clippers" regularly come screaming down from the arctic throughout the winter. I know all about winter and being so cold that the inside of your bones seem to hurt (bone-chilling is not just a figure of speech) and you cup your hand over your......
Out of ourselves and into christ
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The other day I was listening to the only surviving episode of broadcast talks by C.S. Lewis. The clip I was listening to was aired on March 21, 1944 and the world was at war. One portion of the broadcast really caught my attention. Lewis said: History isn't just the story of bad people doing bad things. It's quite as much a story of people trying to do good things. But somehow, something goes wrong. Take the common expression: "cold as charity." How'd we come to say that? From experience. We've learned how unsympathetic and patronizing and conceited charitable people often are. And yet hundreds and thousands of them started out really anxious to do good, and when they'd done it, somehow it just wasn't as good as it ought to have been. The old story: What......
That's not your job
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I looked at the seven year old in front of me and said, "That's not your job. You need to go and do your job." It was only a matter of time before they were tugging at my sleeve again. So and so was doing this or so and so was not doing that or someone was doing such and such. Could they do that too even though they weren't finished with their job or they were supposed to be doing something else? Why did that person get to do that? Why couldn't they do it also? They didn't think someone was doing something the right way (though it was apparent to me that "someone" was correct), could they go and "help" them do it the right (which was really wrong) way?   This child was so caught up in what everyone else was or was not doing that they......
A mind to work
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So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work. Nehemiah 4:6 Earlier today, as I read a blog by @blessings2you entitled Are We Passive, Pathetic or Passionate Christians?, I found myself thinking about how easy it is to simply throw money at something rather than roll up your sleeves and get involved. Of course it is physically impossible for us to go everywhere and do everything. There is nothing wrong with supporting the work of others financially in addition to our prayers and indeed, I believe we should whenever possible. To discourage us from doing so is not the intent of this blog. However, helping someone so they can work in their field does not exempt us from working in our own little field as well. We know that......
God's amazing grace
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Standing before the judge, there was nothing I could say except, "Guilty as charged." I hung my head for you see, this was not the first time I had been here. I had first stood before the judge as a small child. It wasn't until I had stood before him that I had realized my crime but then it became glaringly apparent and I was not only ashamed, I was repentant. An amazing thing had happened there in the courtroom. Something which I will never forget. Not only was I given mercy but I learned that through the blood of Jesus I was also given grace. I did not received what I deserved that day. I received what I did not deserve. God not only forgave me, he adopted me as his very own daughter. Nothing in this world can ever come close to the joy that I experienced that day. No......
I'm fixin' my eyes on you!
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A blog written by @blessings2you today entitled Resting In The Perfect Peace Of God In Christ In Us reminded me of a song we sang at VBS a number of years ago. Yes, this is a very simple little song for kids and yet I think that far too often we adults complicate things which in reality are quite simple. How much trouble we would save ourselves if we simply did like this song says, fix our eyes on Christ and follow Him. Yet we don't want to do that. We want to make things complicated and difficult. We would prefer to gather together in a dusty corner and argue... er... debate about things we think we know but in reality... we probably don't know nearly as much as we think we do. The choice is ours. We can either grumpily sit in a corner and go nowhere or we can fix our eyes on......
Not of this world
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In Acts 22 the Jewish crowd became enraged when they heard Paul talk about the martyrdom of Stephen and that God had told him to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. The Roman commander instantly gave the orders to take Paul to the barracks and flog him.  As Paul was stretched out to be flogged, everything came to a halt when Paul spoke to the centurion.  What did Paul say to the centurion? He asked him if it was lawful to flog a Roman Citizen. The flogging of a Roman Citizen was prohibited by law as was punishment without a trial. The centurion had good reason to be afraid. If he carried out his orders he would face very serious and severe consequences so he reported this to the commander. After questioning Paul, the commander said: I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship. This was......
Keep on dancing
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While browsing through some old blogs of mine, I came across a blog entitled When The Music Fades which I had written on December 5, 2009. I didn't know it at the time but just five days later without any warning, a cerebral aneurysm would rupture and would result in a subarachnoid hemorrhage and a stroke. It looked like maybe I was going to stop "dancing" that night... at least in this world. There were so many "ifs" that could have happened. I was supposed to have gone to see a dance performance my son was in that evening. I was so tired though, when he talked to me that he told me to stay home. He arrived home minutes before this occurred and we realized that if there had been the slightest delay, I could have been behind the wheel when this happened. My husband......
Some thoughts about cb
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On the evening of July 29, 2007, I found myself doing what so many people at CB have done. I typed in the words “Christian blog”, clicked on a link and POOF! I arrived at the door of CB. Wandering about, I liked what I saw and decided to join. Yes, I did carefully read through all of the “About Christianblog.com” page as well as the Terms of Service, Content Policy and Privacy Policy. After all, I did not want to blog just anywhere. I had shuddered at the few places I had been on the internet where I had seen a few people dare to express their own views (rather than that of the vast majority) and I had shuddered as I'd seen them ripped to shreds. While I did not expect that everyone would agree with me, that sort of behavior sickened me and I had no desire to......
Forgiveness is not optional
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I shifted uneasily when I realized that God had "interrupted" my nice relaxing bath by asking me a question. He asked me why I hadn't forgiven someone. Was this really the time and place for such a discussion? I mean really, couldn't this wait until I was less... vulnerable? Wait a minute. Whew! This was an easy question. I would answer it and be done with it I cleared my throat and wrapped myself up in my dignity (which was a very poor covering) and grandly proclaimed: I have and as soon as they ask for my forgiveness, I will tell them that. There! I smugly went back to concentrating on my bath. A little more hot water would be nice. There that was better. I lay back and closed my eyes. God wasn't finished with me yet. So, when did I forgive you? I opened up one......
I need you!
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We start out life wanting to try everything. We believe that we are powerful and able to successfully do anything we set our minds to do. Though our first attempts to turn over, sit up, stand up and walk may fail, we persevere because somewhere deep inside of us, we believe that we can and if everything is normal... we do. With each success in life, we become more and more independent. We learn that we do not have to rely on mom and dad so much anymore. We can do it "all by ourselves" and have a great deal of pride in doing so. Like anything else, the enemy takes something that is good, learning and growing, and turns it into something else, pride and the belief that we are completely self-sufficient. The problem is... we aren't. When I taught elementary school, every once......
The white squirrel
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If you look at the tree trunk in the center on the right side about halfway down, you will see the white squirrel which moved into the little strip of woods at the edge of my back yard. I can often see him through my window. Growing up in the city, a white squirrel had lived in the tree on the boulevard in front of our house. I was always a tad bit concerned about it's safety as I had an extremely large and ferocious black cat with the dignified name of "Squeaky". Though Squeaky was an expert hunter who terrorized the dogs in our neighborhood and caused people to exclaim, "Look at that cat!", our local white squirrel enjoyed living in our tree for a number of years. Why? Because he was always aware of his surroundings. He was always on the lookout for danger. A......
Tell that to jeremiah
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The only thing Jeremiah was trying to do was obey God. That was it. God had given him a message and instructed him to share it so that is exactly what Jeremiah did. He was simply being obedient. Jeremiah did the right thing. He obeyed God. From a worldly standpoint, Jeremiah was a failure. His message was rejected. He was mocked by his peers. He suffered imprisonment, heartbreak and loneliness. He experienced the horror of seeing the destruction of his country and the land being ravished. He saw the horrible bloodshed and watched as many of his people were seized and taken far away as slaves, never to see their homeland again. If only the people would have listened but they didn't. We like to think that when we are obedient to God it means that we will be received with open arms. We......
The ordinary days
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Though some of us are less willing to admit it than others, I suspect that we all like a dash of excitement or adventure in our lives from time to time. We dream dreams, make plans, set goals and look forward to things. We devour stories, plays and movies imagining that we are the hero or heroine or that we are at least by their side. The desire to learn, discover and explore runs deep within us. It is inborn, a part of our DNA. There have been "tourists" traipsing about almost as long as we have been an existence. Contrary to what evolutionists and others like them would have us think, history reveals people really have not changed that much over the centuries. That's not surprising. For all our technical and medical advancements we are after all, still people. The reality......
I give myself away
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I looked down at the gift I held in my hands and felt ashamed. I wished it was neatly wrapped in beautiful paper with elegant ribbon and a gorgeous bow. Instead, it clumsily wrapped in crumbled and soiled brown paper held together with a piece of twine. It was all that I had. I had done my best to try to make it look as nice as possible but had failed miserably. I winced as I heard the sound of mocking laughter and I hung my head in shame. I wanted to run and yet... something kept me from bolting. Instinctively, as miserable as I was, I knew that if I left I didn't have a chance. There was no where else to go. I had to stay here. Perhaps I could hide my gift. I mean, a gift isn't required is it? I had received notice that I had a gift. A very special gift. I only needed to show up......
There is no charge
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I could hear the noise from my basement all the way upstairs. I could not ignore it any longer. Though my dryer was heating up something was definitely wrong. I either had to get it repaired or replace it. While it would be nice to have a new one or a used one that was less than 10 years old, realistically speaking, we can't afford that sort of luxury at the moment. Truthfully, the only new large appliance I have ever owned is a dishwasher I replaced in 2009. Resources are rather limited since my husband and myself are not working. Buying a new appliance was simply out of the question and so were used appliances from a dealer. I perused Craig's List looking for something affordable but realized that even with a bargain, I would still have to pay $20.00 to $40.00 to dispose of my......
Something to ponder
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Over the years I have heard both ministers and lay members comment that as Christians we do not have to suffer or endure any sort of "hardship" or "challenge". If we are sick, we simply pray and we will be healed right then and there. If we do not have a job, we will pray and immediately we will get a job. Our spouse will instantly have a change of heart and come to us begging our forgiveness. Over and over again people will pull out verses in the Bible to substantiate this theology. A favorite scripture to use is John 14:14. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:14 (NKJV) We cannot build a theology around just one verse and ignore the rest of God's Word. We must see how our interpretation of it lines up with the rest of the Word of God; otherwise......
The way of life
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I stood beside my bed after turning off the light. It had been a long day and I was tired but I did not want to lie down. My body cried out for sleep and yet I still stood there staring down at my bed through the darkness. I have little memory of that night when I laid down to sleep on that bed that almost became the place of my demise but I do retain enough fragments to make me reluctant to go to bed at times. This was one of those times. There it was. Fear was banging at my door. It was banging rather loudly actually. I tried to remember that God had kept me safe that night but oh... I still did not want to lie down and go to sleep. I wonder if David felt like that sometimes as he wandered about in the Judean Wilderness, fleeing the wrath of King Saul? While it is true that he had......
A closer look at jeremiah 29:11
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A comment @kiwibird made on a blog entitled: Daily Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:11-13 by @mamawilder got me thinking a bit about what this word translated as "prosper" really meant. I looked it up and was a bit surprised for I was familiar with that Hebrew word. Indeed I believe that the word used is probably familiar to many non-Jews and non-Christians as well. The word used is "shalom" and the definition which most of us are familiar with is "peace". According To Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, shalom means: completeness, soundness, welfare, peace Strong's (7965) Digging a bit further, I learned that according to The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew And English Lexicon the word shalom used in this particular passage means: peace with God, especially in......
What's mine is mine... or is it?
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There once was a man who was abundantly blessed by God. In fact, he was blessed so much that he could not possibly store all that he had been given. Rather than share his abundance with those in need, he got what he believed to be a brilliant idea. He would have his barns torn down and larger ones erected in their place. Then he would sit back in ease and contentment, enjoying the fruit of his labor. That was the right thing to do, wasn't it? After all, hadn't he gained all of this through his hard work? Okay, maybe it was the hard work of the people he had hired but he was only able to hire them because he was a shrewd businessman. Well granted, he hadn't actually made the seeds or caused the rain to fall in the right amounts. He had nothing to do with whether or not the sun......
Who are we?
published . 3 min read
In his blog "Two Seemingly Opposite Truths" (http://www.christianblog.com/blog/asifbyfire/two-seemingly-opposite-truths/), @asifbyfire wrote: God is sovereign and what He does always produces what is good and true, righteous and perfect. Yet, despite all that, there is something just as true and that is that God always holds man responsible for his sin.   He then stated the objection people usually voice in regards to this declaration: If God is completely sovereign and I am as He has made me? How can He hold me responsible? I loved his response and would encourage you to read his blog for yourself but it got me thinking more about the objection that we are merely behaving the way God has made us. Is that a true statement? Is humanity merely behaving the way God......
Daily bible verse: luke 6:38
published . 2 min read
Within the Body of Christ, we often focus a lot on receiving. While we certainly do receive abundantly from God, far too often we are more interested in what God can do for us physically rather than spiritually. This ought not to be. We should be more concerned with that which is eternal rather than that which is temporary. Note that I used the word more. Of course we need God to provide for our physical needs and we need Him to do so as long as we live in our physical bodies. The thing is, if we are not very careful we will behave like God is some sort of "genie" whose only purpose is to carry out our commands. Does the father command the child or does the child command the father? We must never forget that we are not the Father. God is and who are we? We are His children. In......
Daily bible verse: philippians 4:19
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I am saddened by the fact that this scripture has often been used by the enemy to sow the seeds of greed amongst God's own children but just because something is misused does not mean it is not true. God truly does supply all our need and it does not merely relate to our financial state. God provides ALL our needs whether they are physical, emotional or spiritual. Unfortunately, we sometimes do not want what God provides. We want something else and therein lies the problem. We want something else. Remember the story of how God provided manna for the Children of Israel as they journeyed to The Promised Land? God provided them with manna, food from Heaven and yet after a time, they became dissatisfied with God's provision. They wanted the food of this world. Tired of their......
He is the waymaker
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Earlier today, a friend emailed my husband in response to the email my husband had sent out to friends in regards to not landing the job he had applied for. A copy of that email was also sent to me and I was struck by the following sentence which it contained: God is the Waymaker and He will make a way when there seems to be no way. Sometimes we have merely come to a crossroad or and intersection and we simply need to seek God's direction. Do we turn right, left or continue to go straight ahead? Other times though, we will feel like we have encountered some sort of barrier. The road we are on seems to have hit a dead end but God tells us to continue on. It is times like these when I remember these words: Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his......
I give it all in surrender
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It could have been a bad day. It started out well but before 8:30 a.m. "Disappointment" arrived at our front door and attempted to break in. I don't like Disappointment very much. I suspect that you don't either and you are never happy to see him standing on your doorstep pounding on the door and yelling in that nasty, shrill voice of his. Seven months ago, my husband lost his job which he'd had for more than 27 years. Job openings in his field are very limited and he is nearly 53 years old as well. It is not a good time to be looking for work. Almost two months ago, there was a job lead which looked promising. After several weeks, a phone interview was set up. Then there was an all day interview a week and a half ago. We were optimistic. Perhaps this was God's......
I waited patiently
published . 1 min read
The preceding verse says: Patiently. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word patient means: 1: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint 2: manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain 3: not hasty or impetuous 4: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity 5a : able or willing to bear —used with of b : susceptible, admitting <patient of one interpretation> — pa·tient·ly adverb David was not talking about a "quick-fix". He was not talking about "name it and claim it" or taping pictures of something you want to your bathroom mirror and demanding... I mean asking God for it. He was talking about having to wait on God. We don't like to wait. David however knew all about waiting. He knew what it......
But i want to!
published . 2 min read
Currently, my husband is working on a crew that is in the process of building the stage for a large outdoor concert which will take place later this week. One of the problems they encounter at the work site is that there is a nice bicycle trail just beyond the border of the property near the river. One can access the trail by going around the area which is private property but it is shorter to cut across it. You can easily imagine which route people prefer. The problem is, at the moment, the area where they want to cross is a hard-hat area. While no trespassing signs have always been posted, due to the construction at the moment the owner of the property must post a guard to enforce things. There is a lot of construction going on and heavy equipment is being moved as well. The company......
Yet i will trust him
published . 1 min read
The Daily Bible Verse at CB jumped out at me this morning because it was just the other day that I wrote a blog which mentioned Job. Regardless of that, this is still one of those verses that seems to always fairly leap off the page at me. I wonder how many of us, myself included, can honestly declare these words. We must remember what was happening to Job when he declared these words. He had lost his wealth, he had lost his social position, he had lost his children and his health. As he was sitting in the ashes, scraping his boils his wife told him to curse God and die. Then on cue three friends come to visit him under the pretense of trying to "help and encourage" him but instead condemned him. What would you do if you were Job? I think that while many of us may not be sitting......
Through it all
published . 2 min read
This blog is written for those who have cried out in the night for deliverance. You have strained your ears hoping to hear God's thunderous voice and there is silence. You awaken the next morning and your circumstances have not changed. In fact, things may even have become worse. Those who are supposed to bring comfort, your friends and family, insist that you must have done something wrong. You must have angered God in some manner. You need to confess, you need to repent or else they declare God has utterly turned His back on you. They cry out that you should curse God and die. In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. Job 1:1 (NLT) In a discussion once about whether or not God would ever permit one of......
Another pair of eyes
published . 2 min read
Like a many people, I began to develop near-sightedness when I was a teenager. At that time, there was no need for me to wear my glasses all of the time. I was able to see quite well actually but since I was starting to drive, my eye doctor suggested to my parents that they might want to get glasses for me to ensure that I could see road signs clearly at a distance. For a number of years, I primarily wore glasses for driving though I did wear contacts for awhile when I was in my 20's. As time passed, my eyesight gradually worsened and I began to wear glasses more regularly. However, when I was about 40, a problem was discovered. When my near-sightedness was corrected, I became far-sighted. Uh-oh. At this point, it was very mild. In fact, without my glasses, I was not far-sighted at......
Honor where honor is due
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Until the very end, throughout the movie, October Sky, all of the successful endeavors of Homer Hickam, Jr. were marred by the fact that he did not believe he had the approval of his father. The father who would take off work to see his eldest son play football, was too busy at work to watch his youngest son launch rockets. It didn't matter that the crowd which gathered to watch the launches by grew larger each time. The person Homer wanted there the most, Homer Hickam, Sr. was not present. Though it was Homer's passion to design, build and successfully launch rockets, it was not what he craved the most. The thing that he craved the most was to make his father proud of him. A high percentage of the students I taught over the years were not living with their fathers. I remember how......
When we work together
published . 2 min read
This past week, I went in for my annual eye exam. I have to keep a very close watch on my eyes nowadays. As a former radiation therapy patient whose mother and only sibling have glaucoma, I am considered to have a high risk of developing it as well. I try to take good care of my eyes and am diligent in having them checked regularly. I sat in the chair and with my glasses on, I easily read the chart. That's good. Apparently there has not been much if any deterioration of my sight. Then I was instructed to remove my glasses and hold a card over my left eye. Uh-oh. Now there was a problem. I shifted uncomfortably and reminded myself that this was why I needed glasses but I often go without my glasses when I am reading, using a computer or just working around the house for it seems like I......
The first minnesota volunteers
published . 2 min read
It was July 2, 1863 and the place was Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Two hundred and sixty men stood between about 1,600 confederate soldiers from Alabama and the Union Artillery batteries. A defeat at Gettysburg would leave a clear path for the Confederate army to march to Washington D.C. Minnesota became a state in 1858. It was at the very edge of the American frontier, far away from the trouble which was brewing far to the south and east. Yet when President Abraham Lincoln called for troops in 1861, The First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment was the first in the nation to answer that call. The order was given to charge that day and that is exactly what The First Minnesota did. Two hundred and sixty two men charged 1,600 men. History tells us that only 47 men from The......
My cup runs over!
published . 2 min read
...My cup runneth over. Psalm 23:5 Last Sunday, in his series on Psalm 23 my pastor told us a bit about hospitality in the Middle East. Though it is customary for hosts around the world to offer their guests food and drink, in David's day the host took