Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Walking, we know is good for our health. Well, so they say.

Years ago the last eighth of a mile of my mile walk was up hill. Some days, when it was hot and humid in summer or bitterly cold in winter, that incline seemed straight upward, impossible to navigate.

Some days I would seem to breeze right on to the top . . . and home. On the other days, I would find myself looking at the hill with sheer determination. I wanted to finish the walk and finish it at a good, steady pace.

We, as children of the King, should also feel determined about our walk along the paths God has given us. It should be our heart’s desire to finish well so that at the end we may hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:1

Heavenly Father, please help me finish well to Your glory! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Liz, at age 87, could have anything she wanted that week. Liz was dying.

Liz had lived a long life which has honored God. She raised two daughters successfully in the days when being a single parent wasn’t honored at all. She worked her entire adult life as a physical therapist, finally retiring, finding that God became her personal friend. Even in retirement years, He had more work for her to do.

Liz visited the sick, served in her church and was a breath of fresh air to everyone who came in contact with her. For me, she was my spiritual bookmobile, delivering good books about Jesus to my doorstep. She always had an excitement about what she was learning from God.

We went to visit Liz in December at her daughter’s house where she then lived. She had given up her apartment and had stopped driving her car. Liz was ill and at the point of death.

Liz had quite a remarkable story to tell us that day:

Being ready to go Home to the Lord, Liz said that she had had a dream and it had become clear to her that “We are to live.” We questioned her gently about her meaning behind those words. With a far away look in her eyes, she said, “I could even see the road.” We waited for her to say more but she was silent. When questioned further, she said that the road was gold and that her family was with her.

We can only imagine . . . .

My times are in Thy hands. Psalm 31:15

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your encouragement along the way Home. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, December 29, 2008


It was the middle of winter, dark and bitterly cold that particular Friday night. The person who would normally unlock the door to the building where we held our weekly Bible study had forgotten. We had to find an alternative place to meet - quickly!

Suggestions were made, many discarded. The only logical possibility was to drive to the nearest mall and meet in the food court. Perfect, we thought, until we arrived at the site and heard the loud carousel music which infiltrated every square inch of space throughout that area of the mall.

Having no choice in the matter, we decided to go ahead with our plan, straining desperately to hear each other above the loud music. Prayer requests were shared but, in order to hear, we had to block out all other noise. As Scripture verses were discussed - we listened intently. It became quite apparent to us that listening is not a passive activity, but one in which we must consciously block out all other “noise” in the world in order to hear God’s voice.

How thankful we should be that God doesn’t try to yell over all of the noise of the world but speaks quietly in the stillness of our hearts. Now, if we will only listen!

. . . speak, for thy servant hears. I Samuel 3:10

Heavenly Father, thank You for speaking to me daily. Please help me to quiet my heart to hear You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


That winter the Arctic blast to the Midwest seemed to be unending. The sidewalks and roadways were ice-covered, dangerously slick and slippery.

Daily walks outside become increasingly dangerous because of the ice. As I walked, I noticed how carefully I looked for a good place to put each step. Exercise intended for good health could quickly turn into an unhealthy result.

At other seasons, the importance of walking carefully can become apparent, too. In the summer, bare feet must be protected from glass or other sharp objects. A visit to the woods in the spring or autumn means looking carefully for poison ivy before making a wrong step.

I am reminded how carefully we must walk as we follow Jesus. He has a pathway marked for each of us - a pathway He has planned ahead of time. He knows daily where our steps should be placed so that we arrive safely Home with Him.

May we heed the admonishment to:

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of the
time . . . .

Another translation of the same scriptures reads:

Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.
Ephesians 5:15

Heavenly Father, I thank You that You delight in our walk of childlike faith. Please help me to balance that with careful walking. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


As the gray days of November and December turn into the brighter days of almost January, as the snow falls, have you looked around your home lately? All of a sudden you seem to be able to SEE - cobwebs in the corner, streaks on the refrigerator, spills on the stove, spots on the walls and lint on the rug. Unable to be seen previously, now with the light shining more brightly, you know that bit by bit each must be dealt with - now that they can be seen.

Have you looked around your life lately? What do you see? Are there specks of dirt on your soul? Is God speaking to you about some areas in your life which previously couldn’t be seen? Is He urging you to take steps to remedy the situations?

Let’s take advantage of the Light - those times when God shines His lamp into the nooks and crannies of our souls.

Let’s go to Him for His help and direction. Let’s go to Him....

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all . . . if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
I John 1:5-7

Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your Light which searches the hidden areas of my soul. Please help me to see as You see and to obey what it is You would have me to do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Friday, December 26, 2008


The snow was deep that winter. As I walked through the apple orchard, I entered the pines where the snow liked to drift. It seemed that every day as I rounded one particular pine, I would sink up to my knees in the fluffy white stuff, falling in a heap.

The first time I fell, I was surprised and tried to scramble to my feet quickly, being embarrassed about the fall, straining my muscles as I struggled to get up.

A few days later it happened again. This time I rested a moment before scrambling to my feet, realizing that I was human after all - subject to stumbling and its consequences.

By the end of winter I would find myself laughing when I fell. I was actually enjoying being human on this gravity-bound earth.

In our walk with Jesus, we sometimes stumble and find ourselves in a heap. Let’s not be embarrassed for being human - let’s rest a moment in His care, knowing that if we will allow Him to do so, He will pick us up and set us again on His path.

The steps of a man are from the Lord, and He establishes him in whose way He delights; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord is the stay of his hand.
Psalm 37:23& 24.

Heavenly Father, I thank You that You made me a human. Please make my steps more sure as I walk this earth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Candy canes now come in all sizes and colors. Miniature candy canes hang from tree branches. Giant striped sticks are given as gifts. Some have the traditional red stripes, others are of a different hue.

Yet at the center of each candy cane is the purest of white - something at which to marvel. As it passes from machine to box, from hand to hand, buffeted by this and that, the center remains the same . . . pure white.

Especially at this season, may we seek for and find purity of soul. At the center of our being, let’s ask for and receive the cleansing forgiveness for which Jesus came to earth to provide us. May the God-given purity from within us shine outward to our loved ones, especially at this season.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8

Heavenly Father, I admit my sin and ask for Your complete cleansing and forgiveness. I want to walk with You daily in purity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


The weather was rainy and chilly, too uncomfortable for a daily walk outdoors. I decided to become a ‘mall walker’ that day. Since it was the Christmas season, there was music piped throughout the mall - a nice touch.

What I actually heard, however, was not so nice. As I began walking, I noticed layers of sound reverberating throughout the mall. Not only was there an over-all layer of music, but each individual store was playing its own choice of music. On top of those sounds, people were talking, babies were crying, children were yelling.

How, I wondered, if a person wanted to hear God’s voice, could He ever be heard above the layers of sound we humans subject ourselves to on a daily basis? May we be sensitive to the layers of sound in our own personal world, quieting them if need be so that we can hear God’s tender voice.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

Heavenly Father, please help me to draw apart in quietness to hear Your voice. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Go with God.” That’s what “Vaya con Dios” means in Spanish.

Have you ever thought about that phrase?

What does “Go with God” mean? Certainly it does not mean to drag God along behind us as we hurry and scurry through our busy days, ignoring Him, leaving Him to trail behind in the dust.

This is Almighty God we are talking about, the King of the Universe. This is God our heavenly Father who longs for our companionship, our love and our obedience.

Yes, as we go through our busy days, God’s presence is with us every step of the way. Yet how important it is for us to Vaya con Dios - go with God - every step of HIS way. That means listening to His voice, learning His thoughts on a matter and following His directions. Let’s VAYA CON DIOS.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. II Corinthians 13:14

Heavenly Father, I thank You that You want me to GO WITH YOU. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Monday, December 22, 2008


It was winter in the midwest. Every day seemed dark, gray and dreary as the sun failed to shine on this side of the layer of thick clouds. All of the color seemed to have left the earth. All appeared gray, gray, gray - day after day.

Doesn't life seem like that sometimes? The sparkle, color and excitement that should be life are gone. Day after day we seem to exist in a state of grayness - work, eat, sleep and arise to do it all over again the next day.

Here in Michigan the gray winter days seemed to stretch endlessly. There wasn't even any snow to brighten the landscape. Then one night it rained and the water, which covered trees and grasses, froze. We awoke in the morning to a world transformed. Ice glistened like crystal as the sun arose. Everything sparkled.

What has been happening in your life recently? Have your days, your very existence, seemed gray, almost lifeless? In Psalms 13:3, the psalmist prays:

"Restore the light to my eyes."

Can we also pray that prayer - that God would restore a sparkle to our lives? He wants us to see and see clearly those aspects of our lives which should sparkle - along the common roadside, in our homes, at our places of employment and with people.

Let's begin to ask God to restore the light to our eyes so we may LIVE!

Lord, you have brought light to my life; my God, You light up my darkness. Psalm 18:28

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Do we believe it - that God has a plan? A plan not only for the entire universe but for our individual lives. Do we believe it, really? We hear it again and again. Some of us even pay lip service to the idea. But do we really believe it?

Over the past couple of months I have been watching a plan unfold here in my village. A dilapidated bowling alley along the lake was demolished. Piece by piece every last bolt and beam were carted away. The land was cleared. Excitedly we all watch as a drive-in restaurant is being created, nestled along the lake. It seems like it will be a great place to enjoy and make new memories.

How amazing it is to me to realize that someone ‘saw‘ what the possibilities could be. They thought about it and planned it. They talked about it and gathered dreamers and architects. Plans were drawn up and the action began. Within those plans is every conceivable detail - where each electrical outlet is to be placed, where the seating will be, the color scheme, where the kitchen will be and how it will be laid out.

Now switch gears to our lives. The Master Architect has lovingly and thoroughly planned our lives right down to each day’s detail. It says so in Scripture:

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:16

Do we believe it? If so, let’s live in terms of that belief. Since God has the plan, the wisest thing we can possibly do is to progressively get to know Him - the One who made and holds the plans in His hands. Then as we need to know what step to take in our lives, He will unroll the blueprint just far enough for us to see what He has designed next. Then we can gladly turn our beliefs into action step by step.

Heavenly Father, thank You that You have designed my life to bring honor and glory to You. Please empower me to live in obedience to what You are showing me every step of the way. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Saturday, December 20, 2008


When the snow began to fly, two of my daughter’s friends came to our home and visited for the afternoon. We took them on an outing to friends’ farm. After an enjoyable time visiting Prince, the Belgian draft horse, newborn lambs, goats which ate our coats, peacocks and chickens, we arrived home, ready for some indoors time and homemade pizza. Because farm mud and dirt aren’t welcome inside any home, I encouraged the girls to walk around in the pure white snow to clean off their shoes.

My daughter and her friends romped in the yard, making fun impressions in the new snow. For days afterward, even though our friends were gone, we enjoyed the impressions left by them. Just seeing those impressions brought smiles to our lips.

I wonder what kind of impression I leave behind? Is it an impression that points to God?

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of

the knowledge of Him everywhere. II Corinthians 2:15

Heavenly Father, please teach me how to leave Your impression wherever I go - especially in my own home. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Friday, December 19, 2008


As you face a daily decision, a life changing decision or a career decision, have you ever wondered what is the BEST plan for your life, the BEST decision to make in a given situation?

Did you know that God has the BEST plan already laid out for our lives?

"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

It is our responsibility to go to Him, to find out what that plan is . . . and then to walk in it. How do we do that?

1. Go to His Word - search the Scriptures for His Word to you in black and white. It’s His living Word, able to meet every need and question you may have.

“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3:16-17

“Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit . . . it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:2

2. Listen to His still, small voice in your spirit. He longs to talk with you!
“If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly . . . .” James 1:5

3. Look at your circumstances. God has taken tremendous effort to align everything in the universe for you - for just this decision.

God is interested in every detail of your life!

4. Seek Godly counsel from others. As you listen to counsel and do the above, make sure the counsel agrees with the Scriptures, that it glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ (I John 4:1-3), that the fruit produced is good fruit (Matthew 7:15-20 and Galatians 5:22-23). Then ascertain if the decision you make will bring you freedom or bondage (II Corinthians 3:17).

5. Determine if this bring peace.
“. . . the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7.

When all five of these indicators line up, you will have a good indication of God's BEST for you. Then move ahead in confidence, with hearts open to His directing you differently while you walk ahead.

May our prayer be:
"Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord;
point out the right road for me to follow.
Lead me by Your truth and teach me,
for You are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in You."
Psalm 25:4-5

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Briefly watching television to see serious events unfolding in the world, it was amazing how many words were used . . . constantly, without a pause . . . day and night, it seemed. So many details were given - the temperature, the wind speed, which forces were headed where. The commentators went on and on. Everyone seemed caught up in catching every word. And there were so many of them.

With so many words flying back and forth crowding the airwaves, are we allowing God Himself to break through and speak to our hearts? Yes, the times are serious. Yes, we need to be informed. Yet, what is God instructing us to do today to bring His Love and care to our little corner of the world? Let’s not become so caught up in the world’s words that we can’t hear Him!

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Heavenly Father, I am still before you . . . .

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


In the grocery store, we see a vast array of fruit with little stickers on them. Apples and oranges - each has a sticker on it, identifying who ‘produced‘ it. Of course, we all know that just because a piece of fruit has a sticker on it, that doesn’t mean that the fruit is good. Some may certainly have a nice, brightly colored sticker and look like good fruit on the outside but they may be spoiled or rotten inside.

The same can be said for people. We who are believers in and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ also may have stickers on us. Some stickers read Nazarene, some read Baptist, others Mennonite or Episcopalian . . . . You get the idea. Here, too, we must realize that just because we have a sticker on us, that doesn’t mean that we produce good fruit.

What, you ask, is the good fruit which is to be produced by those of us who claim to be followers of and lovers of God? Scripture plainly tells us:

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
Galatians 5:22-23

May we who claim to love God manifest Him from inside out. May we not only look good on the outside by our good deeds, but may we be good on the inside where God, Himself sees us.

Heavenly Father, please help me please You by bearing Your fruit which is of lasting significance. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Weak areas in our lives are like a patch of quicksand. They may look OK from afar, but the closer we get to them, they look a bit suspicious. If we actually become caught in them, we are sunk.

Maybe your weak area is a bad temper or fear and anxiety, chocolate chip ice cream, a super-critical attitude, procrastination, a lack of love for others, extreme busyness, lack of truthfulness, laziness or . . . . Do any of these attributes sound like your weak areas?

For example, dipping our toes into the edges of anger or procrastination should be enough to see the danger of proceeding further into it. By God’s mercy, we will walk away from the danger to our souls. If, however, we ignore God’s Spirit speaking to us of the danger and if we wade in, we are lost as we slowly sink into the mire.

What are we to do with the weak areas of our lives? Just live with them? Or are we to do something about them?

God has the answer: We can avoid the quicksand entirely. Run, don’t walk, the other way. As scripture says:

“Run from all these evil things - follow what is right and good.” I Timothy 6:11.

If, however we find ourselves in quicksand because we didn’t run or made poor choices - then what?

1 Call to God for help. Don’t just call out once. Keep calling out to Him.
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses. He led them also by a straight way.” Psalm 107: 6 & 7

2. While waiting, surrender your life to God. Let Him lift you out by His hand.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God….. Draw close to God and He will draw close to You.” James 4:7 & 8

3. Watch for God’s help to arrive.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay;
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.” Psalm 40:1-2

4. Reach out to God when help arrives.
Being in a humiliating place calls for humility of attitude. Let Him reach down to you and draw you to Himself.
“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God.” I Peter 5:6

5. Let God be your strength as you walk away from the sinking sand.
“He gives strength to the weary And to him who lacks might He increases power.” Isaiah 40:29

6. Don’t go back there - ever!
Again, obey the very first directive - “Run from all these evil things - follow what is right and good.” I Timothy 6:11.

Heavenly Father, cause us to listen to Your voice as we walk in this world. There are pitfalls all around and we know that it is only You who keeps us safe from them or saves us in the midst of them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I left the bitterly cold wind and snow outside deciding to do my daily walk in the mall. Before the stores opened, imagine my surprise to find the mall filled with walkers. They came in all shapes and sizes, male and female, young and older. Dressed in all sort of clothing from sweatshirts to more dressy attire, there was one thing they had in common - sturdy walking shoes.

As I went up the escalator to the upper level, I had a bird’s eye view. A multitude of walkers were marching steadily onward. Yet, they weren’t really going anywhere. Yes, they were putting in their time, adding step upon step toward better health but they had no other destination other than walking a set path, around and around.

How careful we must be not to let our lives fall into a similar pattern - walking steadily onward without a purpose or destination. May we know that where we are going is directed by God and that He, Himself is our destination . . . for an eternity.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. I Peter 2:21

Heavenly Father, please prevent me from walking aimlessly without Your purposes for me in mind. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


In our computers, default settings are provided so that each time we turn on our computers, we don't have to re-set everything just to be up and running. The question is: Have the default settings in your life been set by you or by God?

Let's look at a couple of examples of how this works:

Your child or grandchild has a high fever. Yes, a small amount of fear may be good to help you take action to lower the fever. However, if your default setting is utter panic, your actions may be hindered, making you ineffective in the situation. Since we are commanded to have the mind of Christ, we are told in scripture:

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6

What is your default setting? Panic or prayer?

Another example: When someone cuts you off in traffic, what is your default setting? Is it anger and rage or the desire for peace? God's default setting for us is clear:

Those who desire life and desire to see good days...let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it. I Peter 3:8-11

What is your default setting? Anger or the desire for peace?

One last example: Where do you go when a difficulty enters your life? Do you immediately look on the dark side, expecting the worst? Or:

Whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-5

Yes, God's default settings are usually opposite from our human default settings. But if your life belongs to God and you truly love Him, the only default settings should be His, learned and progressively practiced day by day.

Heavenly Father, Help! I am human and will revert to my own ways of thinking and doing things. I need YOU to influence my life in such a way that I have the mind of Christ each day, each moment of each day. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Did you know that, when doctors give advice to their patients who are suffering from a well-known chronic illness, only 2% listen and heed the advice?

Have you ever tried to give someone advice which you knew was needed at the moment and yet you could just see the other persons ears closing, their eyes glazing over? You just knew that their thoughts were onto the next thing they intended to do that day. You knew they stopped listening and did not heed your words.

I wonder what that says about us as humans? When God speaks to us through His Word, through the quietness of our hearts, through our circumstances or through others, do we listen? Do we heed His wisdom?

Let’s open our ears and hearts to Him. He just may have something He has been trying to tell you.

Give heed to My reproof; behold, I will pour out My thoughts to you; I will make known My words to you. Proverbs 1:23

Heavenly Father, I am listening to You....

Friday, December 12, 2008


Long ago, in a previous day, what did you dream about becoming . . . about doing?

Yes, we probably each , as children, wanted to be cowboys, cowgirls, pilots and other superheroes or . . .

But as you grew and matured a bit, then what did you dream of becoming . . . of doing . . .

Inventing a . . .
Parenting children that . . .
Owning your own . . .
Taking a mission trip to . . .
Photographing a . . .
Writing a book about . . .
Painting a . . .
Creating a . . .
Mentoring two . . .

As the years marched by, perhaps you had to put some of your dreams on hold, some seeming to be impossible, never to be resurrected. There was an education to attain. A career to establish. A marriage to enjoy. Children to nurture.

But what about today? Day by day, you have become who you are now. Does who you are include any of your dreams or are they still dangling? Hopefully, under God’s direction SOME have become reality. But what about the ones left unfulfilled?

Think about it. Not just for a minute . . . but ponder the idea of the dreams God gave you long ago. Or maybe He has given you a new dream . . . .

Maybe it is time to go to Him, surrender the dangling dreams, unfulfilled dreams, old dreams and new dreams to Him. As we seek Him, He will breathe His life into the dreams He still wants to be fulfilled.

Whether we have two days remaining on earth, two years or two decades, we KNOW that the basis for our lives is to bring glory and honor to God:

“You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created everything and it is for Your pleasure that they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:11

So, as we think about giving glory to God with our every breath . . . and the dreams left dangling . . . let’s ask Him to gently lead us in the direction He wants us to go.

After all, the way we attain any dream (and give glory to God) is step by step. No one jumps into a dream in a minute. It takes a realization of what the dream is, of how God is leading and then following His directions step by step to get there. We can trust Him to show us the way. He’s the one who gave the dream. He will empower the steps to get there . . . and to reach Home, the dream accomplished.

Heavenly Father, please renew in me the dream or dreams which You placed within me. Please show me the practical steps of how to attain them. Then please empower me to faithfully walk the journey. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


My son and I made a pilgrimage to the town where I was born. It had been 45 years since I had walked through my old neighborhood, marveling at how everything seemed smaller to my grown-up eyes. The older houses seemed closer together and smaller than I remembered. They also seemed to sit closer to the street. As I got out of the car to walk down the cracked, worn sidewalk, I found tears beginning to flow. I was remembering a childhood filled with joys, but also filled with sorrows.

When I was 9 months old, my mother was taken to the hospital, eventually being transferred to a larger city hospital hours away. Over the next four years, when I needed her the most, Mother was frequently hospitalized with subsequent surgeries, returning home weak and unable to fully care for me.

As I walked through the neighborhood, my tears turned to wonder as I realized how closely God had guarded me during those days and nights.

Yes, the Scripture is true for each of us:

Upon Thee was I cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me Thou hast been my God.
Psalm 22:10

Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your care for me - then and now! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Have you ever had a week when you seemed in a muddle? Your brain just didn’t seem to click along. You couldn’t seem to get yourself organized. Your to-do list looked like a mess because you couldn’t figure out what to do, let alone when to do it. You realized the problem, you just didn’t know how to get out of your muddle-brained state. What to do?

Here's a suggestion: Go to our heavenly Father and ask His help. Ask Him to shed light and truth onto your life so you can see. Consider how you are feeling physically - are you getting enough rest and sleep, are you eating nutritious meals, are you unusually busy, are you coming down with a cold?

Then consider your emotional health - are you under unusual stress at work or at home, are you grieving because someone close to you has died, are you facing the unknown world of medical tests? Perhaps your disorganized thoughts are to be expected at such a time.

No matter the cause, we can always ask the Lord to:

Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me. Psalm 43:3

Thank you, heavenly Father!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Your tooth has been bothering you for weeks, but you keep putting off that call to the dentist. There is a slight leak in the dining room ceiling, but you hope it was a one-time problem and that the stain will fade with time. The car has a strange knocking sound coming from under the hood, but you don’t want to take the time to have it checked out. Maybe it will go away. We procrastinate - put off until tomorrow what we should do today. Then tomorrow we don’t do it either.

All of us procrastinate at one time or another. Procrastination, however, becomes a problem when we find ourselves procrastinating over too many things over too long a period of time. Then we notice ourselves becoming irritable, anxious and frustrated. We begin to lose our tempers and hate ourselves for how we are acting - all because we keep putting off doing something we know we should have done yesterday.

Sound familiar? Would you like to escape the insidious grasp of procrastination? God tells us exactly what to do in II Samuel 3:17 - 18:

“Now do it.”

It’s as simple as that.

Heavenly Father, I thank You that as I obey, procrastination does not become part of my character. Thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Everyone wants to fit in, to be accepted by others. Sometimes, though, that just doesn’t happen. Which means we’ve all experienced rejection at one time or another - that horrible feeling of being on the outside looking in.

Whether it was on the elementary school playground, in junior high school band or whether friends neglected to include us in their activities last week, rejection is painful!

Imagine Jesus - a man who only wanted good for people. One week they wanted to make Him king. The very next week they rejected Him, put Him on trial, beat Him, chose someone other than Him to live, and killed Him. The ultimate rejection was His.

Because Jesus experienced what it was to be human, He understands exactly how rejection felt.

But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. I Peter 4:13

Heavenly Father, I thank You that Jesus knows my deepest heartache. I thank You that You know exactly how rejections feels. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Why is it that we are consistently sent mixed messages by the world? It seems every time I enter the grocery store, the headlines on the women’s magazine shout out: “Lose 10 Pounds.” Yet on that same cover is the photograph of the most delicious piece of chocolate cake smothered in fudge you’ve ever seen. How can that be? It is almost impossible to lose 10 pounds and enjoy that cake! A mixed message has just been sent to millions.

At the repair shop where we like to do business, the mat in front of the door declares, “Welcome”. Yet, as we wait for service which is slow in coming and we must wait endlessly just to ask a question, we feel anything but welcome! Again, mixed messages, the world is full of them.

How do our lives measure up? Do we send mixed messages? Do we say one thing with our words and another with our actions? God Himself longs for us to live out what we say we believe. . . to be consistent in what we say and what we do . . . . Let’s take a look at our words and actions to ensure that we are sending one message - the one God wants to send through us.

Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. Romans 6:13

Heavenly Father, I thank You that your expectations for me are high and that You enable me to do what You expect. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


As you were growing up, when you did something wrong, did you have a horrible sense of guilt? Perhaps you took something which didn’t belong to you. Or you found yourself cheating on spelling tests. Maybe you lied to your parents concerning your whereabouts.

You grew up and that sense of guilt followed you. When you gossiped about a friend . . . when you ran that red light, knowing you had time to stop . . . you weren’t kind to your own child. That sense of guilt was there.

Many would say that was your conscience speaking, telling you clearly what was right and what was wrong. Do you notice that God doesn’t usually send wind, earthquakes or fire to speak to you? He speaks quietly, in your heart. How glad we should be for that small inner voice which points us to the Source of all righteousness - God Himself.

May we listen . . . and heed.

And behold, the Lord passed by and a great strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still, small voice. I Kings 19:11-12

Heavenly Father, please open my inner ear to hear Your voice leading me toward righteousness day by day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Have you ever wondered what is going on? Nothing you do seems to turn out right. Your words seem all wrong, your actions seem bumbling and inept. Everything you do seems to turn to mud before your eyes. Nothing seems to go right.

Then at other times it seems like you can do no wrong. Everything you do seems to turn to gold. You have just the right words at the tip of your tongue. You are full of grace, moving through life at a dancing, graceful pace. Life is pure joy.

Isn’t that what life in the kingdom of God is like? Full of paradoxes. Yes, we are merely humans, often stumbling and making mistakes. We can’t even draw a breath apart from God’s kind care of us. We are truly weak and needy as human beings. Yet, on the other hand, we are heirs of God’s riches, co-heirs with Jesus who died in our place.

Ah, the mysteries of God’s kingdom surround us. Let’s enter in and enjoy His

As for me, I am poor and needy; but the Lord takes thought for me. Psalm 40:17

Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to those who love Him? James 2:5

Heavenly Father, I thank You for all of the things I don’t yet understand. I thank You that You do! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


My daughter and I made a rare visit to a clothing shop to find something to wear for a wedding. As we were looking through the racks of dresses, a petite woman in her 80s asked us where she could find her size. Thankfully, we had just come from that department so we could direct her.

Later, as my daughter and I were leaving the store, we noticed that same lady looking around the parking lot for her car. We asked if she needed help but she declined. My daughter and I found our car and headed home, not knowing if that lady had ever found her car or not.

Looking back at the situation, I wish we had waited a moment before driving away. I wish we had watched to see if the woman had really found her car. It was a missed opportunity to do good.

. . . be ready for any good work. Titus 3:1

Heavenly Father, please open my eyes to see opportunities to do good to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


It was the first winter in our “new” home in the village. The first snowfall was a delight, as always. When a surprising December thaw arrived, icicles - grand icicles - began forming on the edge of the roof. Oh, how lovely they were!

Then I noticed that many of the icicles were discolored - a muddy-looking brown. The autumn leaves, still on the roof, had become mixed in with the thawing snow, turning the icicles brown.

Now, we all know that icicles should be sparking and clear so we began looking at those brown icicles with a critical eye. Then upon further thought, I decided to change my perspective. No, those icicles weren’t crystal clear, sparkling in the sunlight, but they did have a certain lovely quality as the various shades of gold dazzled my eyes. I began to enjoy them.

Isn’t it true that often we need to change our perspective about circumstances, too. In order to see the beauty in them, we need to see as God sees. Let’s practice doing that!

To the pure all things are pure . . . . Titus 1:15

Heavenly Father, please give me a heart to see and hear what You already know. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Once upon a time, my daughter and I visited a local bookstore. As we were leaving, the man in front of us went through the door first, never considering that someone could be on his heels ready to go through the door next. Instead of holding the door open, showing consideration for the next person, he barged his way out the door, letting it slam in our faces.

All I could think was that here was a man who was quite self-centered. He was so preoccupied in his own world and with himself that he didn’t notice anyone around him.

Later, upon arriving at the parking lot, a friend asked if I had seen Mr. X - a politician who had consistently caused problems in the city because of his power-hungry attitude. Even though I didn’t know the man, personally, I knew exactly who was being referred to. The man’s character had shouted loudly and clearly to all who came in contact with him.

I am wondering: What do our lives reveal about our characters as we go about our everyday lives? Something as simple as holding a door open for someone speaks volumes.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control . . . . Galatians 5:22

Heavenly Father, please help me at all times to exhibit Your Spirit who indwells me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, December 1, 2008


On my daily walk in the midst of winter, I began to laugh as the ice crystals pelted my face. The wind was howling across the open fields. The road was slick and treacherous with ice. I found myself laughing in glee, wondering how much worse it was going to become through the remaining days of winter.

When times are difficult, we think we will never laugh at the days ahead. Our tendency is to fret and stew. It’s amazing how the Proverbs 31 woman could laugh at the future. Surely she must have known that the days to come would probably bring laughter as well as tears. How could she laugh, knowing that she would probably experience some heartache in life?

She must have known God is a loving God. One who would clothe her in strength as she needed it! We can be sure of it!

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. Proverbs 31:25

Heavenly Father, please clothe me with all the courage I need. Help me to
joyfully look forward to Your kindness and provision day by day. In Jesus name. Amen.