Thursday, December 13, 2007

In the Vineyard

Last weekend I was in Bethlehem. Well ok, not the Middle East and not Pennsylvania. Our church created an authentic marketplace in Bethlehem. It was amazing. My job was to tend the vineyard. I got to dress up in a long dress, head covering and veil. I carried about 4 pounds of grapes in a basket and talked to visitors.

As characters in Bethlehem, we were to step back in time and forget all about cell phones and cars. I found myself really having a good time pretending. As visitors walked by my vineyard, I would explain to them about grapevines in Bethlehem. you pretend you're walking by.

"Welcome to my vineyard! Are you in Bethlehem for the census? I don't think I've seen you in the marketplace before. And such fine clothing, you must come from
Egypt or Greece!

Have you ever seen a vineyard like this? My family works very hard on our business. This is a small plot. We have several more acres that my sons watch from the tower over there. We have to be on the lookout at all times for bandits, foxes and vermin.

Where are my vines? Look closely down here...they are laying across these large rocks. We don't have a lot in Bethlehem, and what we do have Rome takes as taxes. But rocks, we do have!

See, the rootstock is planted in the ground. As the vine grows, it is trained up on the rock. You can't let the vine touch the ground because it will try to re-root itself back into the ground. The vine will be so busy trying to grow roots it won't produce the fruit you need. So constant pruning is needed. Oy, it's back breaking work!

After the season, we get a wonderful harvest. Then we cut it back for the winter and wait for spring.

I hope you have a nice visit in Bethlehem. If you cannot find a place to stay, come back and I'll put you to work in the tower. At least you'll have a place to rest your head!"
What got to me about staying in character is the rich message the vineyard tells us. Every so often a visitor would look at me and I'd see the light go on in their eyes. It was amazing to watch. For those that just saw it as an educational message, I wanted so much to explain this parable to them.

So now I've returned from Bethlehem. And I don't have to keep quiet. If you have ears to hear and eyes to on!

In the Bible, Jesus tells us, "I am the vine, you are the branches." (John 15:5) When you become a Christian, Jesus is whom we are grafted to. He is the rootstock, we are the branches.

We have a problem though. The world is so appealing to us; we're constantly reaching for it. Sometimes we get caught up in the world and it's offerings and we find ourselves rooted and stuck. That's when our productive Christian life dries up--we stop producing fruit. (Galatians 5:22)

" Father is the vinedresser" (John 15:1b) If we allow God to come along and lift our branches out of the dirt, He will prune us back. This is the sting of discipline. But be assured, He only disciplines those He loves. (Hebrews 12:6) So if you've had a season of pruning--know you are loved!

Finally God is also called, "the rock". (Psalm 95:1) As we grow and reach, we find that the only way to keep from being rooted to this world is to keep leaning on the rock.

So when you feel a little dusty and dry, remember that you are a vine, grafted into the vital rootstock of Jesse: Jesus. God will keep you lifted up, pruned back, and fruitful--it's up to you to be willing to be grafted. (Let's talk if you're not sure about where you are with God.)

This Christmas may a simple vineyard in Bethlehem turn a light on in your soul.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Forty Days

It's almost Thanksgiving and we are in the crush of the holiday season. With our calendars filled to the brim, we will somehow cram more than the usual amount of festivities into every 24 hours. There will be shopping and cooking, gift wrapping and visiting. All with the usual work and school schedules wedged in between.

There will be countdowns to Christmas, last minute gift buying and Top 20 lists for the year. Who is your favorite movie star? How about the best song of the year? What's the 10 best ways to prepare turkey leftovers? Not to mention the multiple renditions of the song, 12 days of Christmas!

I realized today that it is almost 40 days until 2008. And I got to thinking...A time period of 40 days was pretty important throughout the Bible.

Noah was in a rainstorm that lasted 40 days and 40 nights. Moses went up on the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments from God for 40 days and 40 nights. When the Israelites sinned against God, Moses appealed to God on his face for 40 days-so they would not be destroyed. The spies took 40 days to check out the Promised Land. For 40 days Goliath taunted the army of Israel, before David vanquished him. Elijah traveled after one angelic meal for 40 days and nights to the mountain of God and God revealed himself in a still small voice. Jonah warned Nineveh that it would be destroyed by God in 40 days if they did not repent. Christ was tempted for 40 days by satan in the wilderness before He began His ministry. And finally, after the resurrection, Christ appeared and spoke to many people for 40 days before He ascended to heaven.

So in the midst of all the holiday clamor, I ask that you set aside 40 minutes a day for God--it can be early morning, lunchtime or late at night. I am a firm believer that when you give God time, He seems to stop time and your day goes more smoothly!

You may find yourself in the midst of a storm right now, it will wane. You might find this short time an amazing time of growth, and find yourself journaling. You may find forgiveness and abounding love from God who only wants you to forgive yourself. It might be that someone is taunting you for your faith, pray for them for 40 days and see how quickly they quiet. You may have a journey of faith that you are starting, begin with the bread of Life--Christ's words every morning. It will sustain you for the trip. Listen to Him as He brings up things you need to repent from. You may be facing a lot of temptation these next 40 days in the form of food, spending or covetousness. God knows that and wants to release you from it.

As you shut off the noises during your quiet time these next forty days, listen as Christ speaks to you with His scripture, His people and His presence in your life.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving {And} His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. Ps 100:4

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ah Sleep

I like the quiet at night when everyone is asleep. There is a gentleness outside as people crawl into their beds to rest from the day. If I step outside with the dogs, I can hear the nocturnal animals waking up for their part of the day. Rabbits call to each other to look out for the dogs. An owl screeches like a patrol car, rounding up a vermin snack. An armadillo shuffles through the leaves in search of worms and grubs. Back by the pond a group of frogs start their do-wop serenade. Finally a battalion of mosquitoes chases me inside; their tiny engines whining in my ears.

Life goes on while you sleep. People work night-shifts, get up with colicky babies and click away on the internet. Eventually even they will sleep. Humans will die from lack of sleep. Their bodies cannot take the stress; the brain must debrief the day in your dreams. You have to rest sometime.

But God, He does not rest. His day is like a thousand years, his thousand years like a day. (2 Peter 3:8) He watches over all. He is with the sick trying to rest in a busy hospital. He comforts the little one trembling from the monster in the closet. He sees the man on the Internet, coaxing a young wayward teen to meet and sets a trap for him. He is with the soldier on his watch, scanning the horizon for movement. And He is with me as I pray for my family.

He is never too busy for the smallest problem. If God takes care of even the smallest of animals, why would He not care about your rest? (Matt 10:29-31)

He is never caught napping unawares. (Psalms 121:3) He is the parent in the other room, guarding the house as His children sleep. And I wonder, would you dare to trust Him with your rest? You ask Him to win the lotto, to protect your kids and heal a critically ill friend. Why not ask Him for simple rest? Do you think it's too mundane a request? Do you think He's too busy with wars and criminals? No, God created sleep for His children. Sometimes that's the only time He can get you to listen to Him. And you wonder why some of your best ideas come in your dreams! (Job 33:14-18)

Tonight, before you close your eyes, ask Him to be by your side as you chase sleep. Then take a few deep breaths, be still, and know that He is God. (Psalms 46:10)

But You, O LORD, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying to the LORD with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah.
I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.
Psalm 3:3-5

Friday, October 19, 2007

Me and my Shadow

Kim Peek is the man that the movie Rain Man was based on. He is an amazing autistic savant, who has an unlimited photographic memory. His father Fran Peek is his caretaker and they go everywhere together. To strike up conversation, his father will ask you your birthday. Kim can tell you what day you were born, and what day your 65th birthday will be on in seconds. He has memorized entire books and maps around the world. He amazes everyone with his vast knowledge.

Kim has rarely shown thoughtful insight. He surprised his father in an interview when he said, "My Dad and I share the same shadow." It touched his father and humbled me. I see Kim and Fran's relationship as a heavenly example of how we should be with God.

Am I walking so close to my Heavenly Father that I'm in His shadow? Do I get close enough to even touch the edge of His silhouette? I can say I have days when I feel the cooling shade of His presence in my life. But more often than not, I readily traipse outside His companionship. Without His protective shade, the burning demands of life dry up my ambition for anything. I crawl back, looking for that sheltering shade to revive my spirit from the scorch of reality. You'd think I would've learned by now!

How am I handling Life in His shadow? Am I reluctant and shy, or am I bolstered by His close presence to jump in and do whatever He asks? I should be less afraid to face anything, knowing that I am close enough to God to share His shadow! (Psalm 63:7)

Are you already there? When people see you, do they sense that something bigger is going on in your life? (When you share someone's shadow you look like one large being.) Don't be afraid to tell them what's going on when they ask.

Are you on the verge of heat exhaustion? Do you feel like you're fighting a battle all by yourself? When you were little, did you ever try to run away from your shadow? It's impossible. So it is with God. No matter how far you run away from Him, He's as close as the shadow of your right hand. (Ps 121:5)

Time to draw near to God. Read your Bible, pray and ask God to come near. Because the closer you are to a light source, the more defined your shadow will be.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Point of View

In Peru's Nazca Desert there are curious lines on the ground. As you walk around, there are pathways cleared of their dark colored rocks to expose the light sand beneath. From ground level, it seems like a maze of paths that stretch for miles. However, from the vantage point of the sky, amazing drawings come to life. You can see animals, people, insects and geometric designs. When you take into consideration that these lines were created between 200 BC and AD 700, they are even more amazing. How did these primitive people figure out how to draw these elaborate figures? And if the only way you can see the complete drawing is from the air, who where they creating these for?

I'd like to think they were related to worship. These drawings don't seem to lead anywhere; some figures go in circles. But one thing is constant--they are beautiful, complex and only visible from the sky. Could this be an offering made to something or someone bigger than themselves? Could this be a gift only visible to a higher being they believed lived above the earth? We may never know. Archeologists are still studying these ancient drawings.

Consider your own life. It seems some days you're spinning your wheels, going in circles. A door closes, and another one opens. Sometimes it doesn't make sense where God is taking you. But if you read the Bible, it says in Isaiah 55:9, "For {as} the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts." God knows the masterpiece of your life. The paths don't seem to go anywhere, but to Him they do. From His vantage point, He's got a better view of where you're going. It's when we leave God's direction that our paths lead to destruction.

His word tells us, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

What will your life reveal about God's touch? I know it is hard work, we're moving stones in the desert…but once we're done we'll be able to look back at our life from God's vantage point: Heaven. What do you hope to see?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lights Out

It was after the evening church service and we were all standing around, talking and laughing. There was a Florida rainstorm going on, so inevitably the lights went out. It's amazing how quickly the room went silent. All you could see were the EXIT lights, showing the way out of the pitch black room. The lights came back on again, and everyone resumed their laughter and conversation. My sis-in-law and I decided it was time to duck out in the rain and get home.

If the lights had stayed out, we still would've made our way outside because those EXIT lights are battery operated. They stay on when all the electricity goes off. They help you find your way out of an unfamiliar building. (Yeah, you see where I'm going with this don't you?)

Has it gotten dark in your life lately? Did all the lights go out and nobody's talking or laughing anymore? Do you find yourself trapped in unfamiliar territory and don't see a way out?

Jesus said, "I am the way…" (John 14:6) and " I am the door" (John 10:9) When you are fighting depression or life has gotten so hard that you're looking to get out, I will point you to Jesus. His light never goes out and He will always lead you out of the dark. (I know this first hand.)

All you have to do is trust. I know that's one of those little big words, but maybe if you talk to others who have taken that route, you'll see it's a real deal. That EXIT light does not lead to more darkness or a locked door; it takes you to a freedom that is so amazing you will wonder why you fumbled around by yourself this long.

Where do you start? Pick up your Bible and start with the book of John. Ask a Christian friend to pray for you. Don't give up and keep searching my friend. Ask lots of questions! I'll pray for that light to go on for you.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." John 8:12

Monday, September 10, 2007


Six years ago, September 11 was like any other day. People were just getting in to work, dropping off their kids at daycare or stopping for a coffee. In minutes, their world would change. Evil touched the United States and thousands lost their lives in one stroke. Were they in the wrong place at the wrong time? Were they bad people, did they somehow bring it upon themselves? Harsh questions, I know.

Jesus’ disciples asked the same thing about a tragic massacre. Jesus assured them that the magnitude of the event had nothing to do with how much the people had sinned. He even related another event where a tower had fallen and taken several lives. Towers in those days where considered a sanctuary, so people rationalized that the dead had sinned greatly.

He made it clear that these tragedies were not brought on by their sin. In fact, He said the bigger question was whether or not they repented of their sins. Jesus was more concerned about spiritual death. He told His disciples, “…but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." Luke 13:1-5

It’s a hard statement to swallow, but think about it. It’s going to happen, we will all die one day and face God. We don’t have a choice when and where. BUT, we do have a choice as to whether or not we will live on in heaven after our physical death.

When you reflect on the anniversary of 9-11, pray that people will realize how delicate life really is. You could be gone tomorrow. And the most important questions are not, “Do you have your affairs in order?” or “Have you told your family you love them?” The most important question is, “Do you know Christ?”

Before you go to sleep tonight. Consider repentance, because to Christ that was the most important thing.

If you'd like to know for sure whether you're heaven bound or not, drop in here: Need Him.

…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." Romans 10:9-11

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Launching Pad

The shuttle lifted off to another mission this week. We stood in the parking lot of the church and felt the ble minutes later. The launch had a beautiful orange tail that changed colors as it made it's way through the atmosphere. The trail of smoke was towering, then bent as the shuttle found it's "window" to space. The winds in the sky then seemed to make the rocket trail dance a bit as the shuttle became a bright star in the sky.

How long did it take to get to this point? The teacher that was on board waited 20 years for this. She signed up when another teacher was getting ready to blast off in '86. There were months of preparation, training and medical testing. For the vehicle, there was repair, tune-ups, computer upgrades and test after test after test.

When we discover that God has a purpose for us, we go to great lengths to discover it. A whole industry is built around this quest. We spend our money on thousands of self-help books, life coaches and "find yourself" conferences...only to find ourselves looking to the sky and asking God, "Who am I?"

Did you know that you are still on the launch pad? Don't let that discourage you! There is a lot of testing to go through. There are upgrades, repairs and lots and lots of training.

Get real with yourself, if you were told what your God-given purpose was right'd be very excited. But then after you told everyone and thought about it...wouldn't it be a bit scary? Would the doubts creep in, or much worse...what if like a Christmas gift that you open on December 20th, it gets forgotten and shoved in a corner?

You do have a God-given purpose. The more you see yourself on the launch pad getting ready for your "mission", the less you will worry about it. For now, your duty is to care for that baby or parent. That training is being a loyal employee and doing your best for your boss. That repair is reading your Bible, studying the Word and growing in your faith. It may sound like ho-hum every day stuff...but to God it's being faithful in all things. Matthew 25:14-30

And as your faith grows and you become the person God knew you were when He created you, countdown will commence and you will be ready for the ride of your life!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Fish Tale

In August it rains a lot in Florida. You can pretty much count on afternoon rainstorms that last 20 minutes and dump an inch or more. Today was no different. I had errands to run and the rain started. After an hour with no let up, I figured I better get going. I wouldn’t melt.

On the way out of my neighborhood, there were huge puddles. Ponds were so full they were spilling into the street. And then I saw it…no lie: catfish in the street. These ugly mud-colored fish were trying to swim on the asphalt. One curious driver was outside of his vehicle in the rain, touching a catfish with the toe of his boot. I don’t think he thought it was real. I watched another slither off into the grass.

I bet the fish were more surprised than we were.

How is life going for you today? Have you had a little rain in your life? I wonder, has the problems and worries of this life driven you out of your comfort zone? Do you, like the fish, find yourself struggling as you make your way to safer waters?

I want you to know, that feeling that you get when you know you’re not where you need to be is no daydream. We are aliens on this planet.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe we’re from Mars, or our ancestors are little green men. The Bible tells us we are strangers in this world. Just like those catfish didn’t belong on the street, we belong in heaven with God. (2 Corinthians 5:1)

God puts in the heart of every man and woman a longing. Some people call it a God-shaped hole. We feel like a fish on the road, making our way to the next puddle…the next paycheck, the next romance, the next drink, the next buzz. Why waste your time trying to find that thing that makes you feel whole or right again? I know what you’re missing my dear fish. You need water…living water. And I know just Who can supply it.

Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." John 4:13-14

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I have a dear friend who made a big decision to sell her house, buy an RV and travel the nation with her husband, a dog and a cat. They decided together that now was the time, and when her house sold so quickly, it was more confirmation to get going.

She is sorely missed at our Bible study group. My sister in law called her the other day. She made it safely to Tennessee and is settling in nicely. (The dog is happy; the cat is not.) She remarked to my sis in law that she was standing on a “mound”, away from the campsite. It was the only place she had good reception for her cell phone. She had to find a high point so her signal could clear the mountains and reach the closest tower.

There was another traveler who had to go up on a mountain to get a good reception: Moses. In Exodus 19, you find Moses climbing up Mt. Sinai to talk to God. Several times he climbs up high to make that connection with God. The 10 Commandments were given to Moses after one of those sessions with God.

In Matthew, Jesus climbed a mountain so He could speak to the crowds that gathered. It was like stepping onto a podium. He had to climb higher than the crowd so they could hear Him better.

How has your prayer time been? Have you been experiencing dropped calls or bad reception? Do you find yourself too busy to climb up a little higher than all the ruckus? I implore you to set aside at least 10 minutes today, get away from the chatter of this world and talk to God. God’s network is pretty amazing. He promises that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. (James 4:8)

I bet if you take the time to make that connection daily, you will soon hear that still small voice whisper, “Can you hear Me now?”

Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalms 61:1-2

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Poem

My friend and niece had a baby. The same friend lost her brother this year, tragically. Then our pastors did a sermon series on me to thinking and a poem practically wrote itself! Enjoy.

A Parallel Universe

When we are born
we depart
a small universe

No more floating
a tiny orbit
inside a darkened space

Propelled into light
we leave with no choice
to land in a world

so different from what
we left

We gasp at the air
and open our eyes
to brilliance and sound

and soon wrapped
in arms of love

When we die
we depart
a small universe

No more floating
a tiny orbit
inside a darkened space

Propelled into light
we leave with no choice
to land in a world

so different from what
we left

We gasp at the air
and open our eyes
to brilliance and sound

and soon wrapped
in arms of

Kelly Edens
June 7, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007

Power Factor

My husband is in the electrical wholesale business. We had a discussion this morning on the term Power Factor. I thought, man that sounds like a great title to one of those self-help books! He saw that look in my eye...the wheels were turning and he went off to work. Then I started digging.

Did you know, Power factor is the ratio between the amount of energy supplied and the actual amount of energy used? The result is known as reactive power, and is essentially wasted energy capacity.

"A motor running with a 70 percent power factor is only using 70 percent of the incoming current for useful work. If you increase the power factor at the motor, more of the supplied energy will be transferred into useable work by the electrical system...Wasted energy capacity, also known as poor power factor, is often overlooked. It can result in higher energy costs, safety problems and, in some cases, additional financial charges." (Alliant Energy)

What's your spiritual power factor? Did you realize you have access to a Master switch that can light up the universe? That's a potential for major wow. How much spiritual power do you use? Are you a Sunday only church attendee? Do you only think about God as you sit down to eat and say grace? Or is it only when you suddenly find yourself in a real crisis...then you decide to "plug in" to God?

We're not using our power factor to it's potential! If we're using 70%, I'd really be shocked! We don't plug in to our Power Source and wonder why the cost of our choices are so high, our eternal life is at risk and why the heck we can't keep money in our pocket!

Did you know that the Bible says if we rely on Christ, we will do more than what He did on earth? (John 14:12-14) Our spiritual Power Factor is the ratio between the amount of energy God supplies (unlimited!) and the actual amount of energy we use in our day to day walk with Him. No wonder some people are able to move mountains!

Are you willing to try plugging in today? It's time to get reconncected to our Source. Get out your user's manual, the Bible, and give our spiritual Electrician a call.

Ephesians 3:14-21 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; {and} that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him {be} the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Boot

I am humbly acquiescing to my ankle doctor. It seems that sprains need immediate attention. They do not thrive on neglect and activity. They will continue to change color and swell no matter how high you elevate, no matter how much ice you pack on and no matter how expertly you wrap your ace bandage. I was missing one gizmo, the boot. It seems it was the continual flexing of my foot that was re-injuring the damaged tendons and ligaments. The boot keeps the foot in a rigid environment so it is impossible to flex your foot. (It also gives me a kind of a pirate-y gait. Arg!)

I thought I had enough knowledge after suffering a sprain several years ago. I went immediately to the ER and they wrapped my ankle, gave me lovely crutches (that only endangered me more) and painkillers. So with this last graceful trip and sprain, I thought I knew how to take care of it myself. I didn’t realize I was going to prolong my recovery.

How interesting it is to see people self-diagnosing their own spiritual injuries. A pastor trips and falls into sin, and his flock disbands. A close Christian friend lies to you and suddenly all Christians are hypocrites and church is out of the question. Or maybe we dabble in astrology and crystals and we rely on yoga to bring us inner peace…only to find ourselves still hurting, still bruised or our problem swells to unimaginable sizes. We need an absolute truth that will not give in with pressure from the world—like a splint, the Bible will prop up our life.

If you haven’t taken care of this issue, I cannot stress enough the importance of taking care of it today. Like a sprain, spiritual issues get worse with time and take longer to heal if neglected.

Is it time to make an appointment with the Great Physician in prayer? Have you any unforgiveness you’re holding inside that’s knocked you off balance? How about any unconfessed sin eating away at you? Have you ever really accepted Jesus, or just assumed you were on the right track to heaven anyway because you’re a nice person? It’s time for your spiritual check up. Make sure you’re not hobbling around on your own makeshift solution for eternity my friend. (Romans 8:31-39)

A simple prayer like this one might be just what the Doctor ordered:

Father God, I’m sick and need your healing. I need to help with forgiveness and unconfessed sin. I know that you can handle my baggage that has hindered my walk in life so far. The things that I’ve tried to fix have done more harm than good. I believe you sent your son Jesus to save me and I want to ask Him to come heal my life. Thank you Jesus, for saving me.. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, it’s time to follow God’s prescription. Find a local church that’s not afraid of Bible study and believes Jesus Christ is God’s son. Daily doses of prayer and scripture and fellowship with his people will do a world of good for a lifetime of neglect. (Don't forget, a church is like a hospital. There will be others there, seeking healing--so don't expect perfection!)

Welcome to the family, and keep giving sin and unforgiveness the boot! (Romans 8:1-2)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Got game?

As I sit here with my leg elevated, I once again feel a blog coming on.

I play basketball with my son almost every weekday morning at the gym. It’s fun to play. A lot of moms have told me, “I can’t do that! I wouldn’t even be able to shoot.” But I figured, if I don’t try, I wouldn’t have those memories to hang on to. And how better to show my son that I love him?

Today I got hurt, which was inevitable. You put a 40-something, overweight mom on the court with a 15 yr old jock, something’s gotta give--literally. Today it was my ankle. Last week it was a quarter sized raspberry as I gracefully tripped and skid across the court on my knee. But you know, it’s all worth it to spend time with my son. Pretty soon I won’t have this time and I’ll have great stories to recount with him and his kids.

What kind of sacrifices are you willing to make to be with your kid? If I don’t reconnect with my son, how can I even try to empathize with his life? Saying, “I love you” every day just doesn’t hack it. Kids need to SEE the love. An all out, trash talking, sweat-slinging, sneaker-squeaking, one-on-one is called for with boys. (I don’t think I’ll ever let him get over the one game I made 2 pts on him before he knew what was happening. boo-yah!) It can be painful at times, but worth the effort.

Did you know that God has made that same type of effort to reach you? He did it a long time ago. He didn’t have to, but He came down in human form as a baby…only to die on a cross for what He knew we were going to do. He said in the Old Testament over and over how much he loved people, and even did a lot of miracles…but until He actually came down out of heaven on our “court” and experienced human life, we didn't understand that love. How could we think He could ever begin to empathize with our earthly lives?

He was beaten and tortured and then died. But, after 3 days He was victorious over death and our debt for sin was paid in full. Showing us His love was all it took to reconnect with His kids here on earth. It was painful, but well worth the effort. With an example like that, I figure I can suffer a few bruises and raspberries for my son so he’ll know I care and want to build on that mother/son relationship.

Are you willing to make that connection with your kids or even with your heavenly Dad?

Me, I’m going to nurse this ankle until next week…then it’s GAME ON BUD!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No Greater Love

Liviu Librescu survived the genocide of European Jews by the Nazis during World War II, but yesterday he did not survive America’s holocaust at Virginia Tech. As the gunman made his way through the building, Librescu barred the door with his own body so his students could escape through the second story windows. He lost his life and is a hero today.

Do you think Liviu ever wondered why his life was spared so many years ago? I didn’t know the man, but his life speaks volumes. He was a great teacher in Europe, Israel and the US. He touched many lives.

Yesterday’s survivors will look back and wonder why they were spared. They should look to the life of their professor. Everyone’s life has a reason. Liviu figured that out, lived it and eventually gave the ultimate sacrifice. He answered the door when death came calling and gave his students time to escape the wrath of a madman. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Keep these people in your prayers as they fight the grief and anger.


There is another one they called “rabbi”, “teacher” who gave his life for his students. His name is Jesus. He still calls people to follow. He stood between you and everlasting death and made the ultimate sacrifice for you, so you could have eternal life with God. When death knocked on the door for you, He took your place and answered with His life.

Your life matters that much to God. What will you do with that information dear pupil?

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Surprise inside

My son loves practical jokes. His new one is an oldie—the “can of nuts” with a spring-loaded snake inside. It even has a nutritional index on the back of the label, so it’s pretty realistic. He left it sitting out at our last cookout, hoping for some unsuspecting relative or friend to get hungry and open it up. He was a little frustrated since no one seemed to bite the bait, so he offered to open it for me. I told him no thanks. I had seen those before, and I was familiar with the surprise inside.

In a recent bible study, we came across James 3:13: Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. It took a week of wrestling with my conscience before I understood what God was saying.

God was showing me the “can of nuts” that I was. Most of the times I looked and acted like a Christian. He seemed to be asking, but are you a “doer” 24/7? Did my label illustrate something that didn’t match what was on the inside? Was I showing my family, my coworkers, the convenience store clerk, my son…what it is to be a Christian?

No wonder people shy away from those who say they are Christians! A lot of times our actions speak louder than words. Non-Christians are familiar with that prize inside and choose to live without Jesus, thank you very much. Why would they want to be a can of nuts with a snake inside?

"You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Matthew 12:34

This faith business requires continuous growth. Fellow Christians, I encourage you to keep reading your Bible and be a doer of the word, not just a hearer. Let it transform you, inside out.

To those of you who have not yet made a decision for Christ: if you come across one of those Christians like me who is still learning, please excuse us. We’re doing our best to get the snake out!

But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the {law} of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25

Friday, April 06, 2007

40 Day Fast

My husband and I were driving to a restaurant the other evening. It was date night and we had a lot of talking to catch up on. We started to get testy with each other because we were finding it hard to understand each other. I thought, "Great...get some time together and we end up snipping at each othter instead!"

Suddently my hubby reached up and turned off the radio. I hadn't even realized the radio was on. What a difference! The music and djs that we were used to listening to all the time by ourselves were interrupting our conversation and we didn't realize it. Once the radio was off, we could clearly hear the conversation and enjoy each other's company.

Our church encouraged us to fast from something for 40 days this Easter season. And this is what the last 40 days has been for me...a turning off of the spiritual radio. I fasted from t.v. for 40 days and fasted from food for 24 hrs each week. (call me crazy, i don't think i'd make a 40 day food fast)

When I fasted from t.v., I was very amazed how much of a hold that squawk box had a hold on me! I LOVE home improvement shows. Now, many people would think that HGTV is G rated, safe to watch, family friendly...but I found that it should be called "the coveting channel" instead! That desire for more "stuff" for the house has dried up.

I also fasted from food from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday each week...Did you know that food has a voice? It squeals like a whining toddler. Once I got that under control, it was amazing how much clearer the voice of my God was! I had energy on Saturdays and found myself getting a lot more done.

What did I do with all that extra time of tv watching and munching? I journal, I listen to music, I read books, revisit my art, talk to friends and read my Bible.

These past 40 days has been a very blessed time with God. I can say now I would gladly give up cable--but alas I live with two Miami Dolphin fanatics!

I would encourage everyone to take some time and try a fast. Turn off the noise in your soul and reconnect with your First Love!

Have a blessed Easter!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ask Dad

At a certain age, boys seem to stop listening to their mother. The simple phrase, “I’ll ask Dad,” pops up more and more every day. Some days I find myself hounding my son, trying to get him to do his chores, clean his room or do his laundry. It’s like trying to nail jello to a wall.

When I realize he’s not going to listen to me, I call his father at work and hand my son the phone. For now, only his dad can move him to action. I have to realize the days of “Because I’m the mom!” are gone. My boy is growing into a young man and I need to let go.

If any of you know my son, you know him as an exuberant, outgoing teen. He dances on the edge most of the time, flirting with breaking the rules and getting into real, life changing trouble. There are days when I hound him, trying to get him to fly right, clean up his life or read his Bible. Again, the jello metaphor comes to mind.

One day as I was dialing my hubby to hand the phone over to my son, God did one of those—HEY YOU moments. (Mind you, I don’t hear God’s voice; it’s more like an elbow to the conscience that makes your ribs hurt.)

I thought, “I should be dialing my son’s Father in heaven to get him back on track spiritually!” So before I get exasperated with his spiritual walk, I have resolved to hit my knees in prayer during the day, as a supplement to my regular prayers. I ask God to bless my son, to put a holy hunger in him for God's word and to keep him from temptation. And you know, I’m handling his behavior a lot better.

Do you have someone in your life that you can’t seem to get through to? Is it a relative, a neighbor or good friend that can’t seem to get back on track? Give our Heavenly Father a call in prayer…and then let God deal with them. In fact the prayer works both ways, you’ll start treating them differently.

Let me know when you start to see a change. Because if anyone can nail jello to a wall, my Heavenly Father can!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Brick by brick

My father-in-law was an expert bricklayer. Even though he was missing a few fingers on one hand. Just after he was injured, he was hired by a man to lay brick.

He tried it for a while, and told the man, “I don’t think I can do this.”

His boss said, “I hired you to lay brick, you take as long as you need to get the hang of it.”

Because his boss believed in him, he persevered and he adapted to the loss of his fingers. He had to handle the brick a different way from the rest of the masons, but with determination and his plumb line—he built a lot of things.

How often do we tell God, “I don’t think I can do this!” That fear always pops up for me when someone asks me a difficult question about faith. Today I felt that prod to go visit a new neighbor and decided to take a s’mores kit—because I noticed they like their fire pit.

All the way down the road, I heard “I don’t think I can do this!”

When you get out of your comfort zone, the enemy will throw all kinds of doubts at you.

We feel that since we don’t have a theological degree, we can’t be useful to God. Did you know that God does some of His best work with people who have weaknesses? Because people will see that the only way we could do it, was with God's help!

I don’t like confrontation and I don’t like speaking to strangers. But somehow God gives me the courage to walk down that road…literally. And if all I do is make them feel welcome to the neighborhood, then I’ve begun the first step. The Holy Spirit will then take that seed and do with it what He will.

It’s not up to me to get them saved; it’s up to me to be obedient when the spirit says, “Hey, how about saying hi to them, they need a smile.”

I want to encourage you to take some time to figure out how to talk to people about your faith. You will have a different way of sharing from mine, because we were made differently. Still not so sure? Why not get with a friend who’s good at it and ask to be mentored? Are you ready to start and need some ideas? Check out

With perseverance and God’s plumb line, the Bible, you can’t go wrong in building God’s kingdom. Together we can get this done, brick by brick!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Penny for your Thoughts?

If you see a penny on the ground, do you pick it up? What do you do with it? Save it in a jar at home, until you get enough for a cup of that Fourbucks coffee? Or do you toss it in the nearby fountain, making a wish as it kersplooshes into the greenish water?

One of my favorite authors, Ruth Bell Graham wrote, "Temptation and testing are two sides of the same coin. Satan uses an occasion or a person to tempt us to fall; God uses the same to try us and make us stronger."

What a revelation that was for me! Every day I get the spare change of life in my path. What I didn't realize is that it's my choice to either spend my time fighting the temptation and fall or look at it as a test to build my character as a Christian.

So tomorrow when that trial is at your feet, pick it up and look at both sides. What would be the wise thing to do with it?

Is it going to be heads or tails today? A trial or a temptation? Let's spend it on something that will last for Eternity.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Who's Watching?

There was a 5K run the other day, and a West Melbourne engineer won the race.

He said, “It was pretty crazy. I actually ran my best time in three or four years...”

He thought that maybe being a brand new father, he had newfound energy to run. But there was a simple act a lot of runners don’t do; he left his watch at home. What a difference it made to not have the hurdle of time to jump over! He ran with no restraints.

We live in a rat race. We rush to work, rush home, rush to eat our meals, rush to appointments. Everywhere we go the clock is ticking. Time is running out and we find ourselves like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. Constantly checking our watches, cell phones, computers, store clocks—as if we could somehow squeeze one more minute out of the day.

We find ourselves in a pile of excuses when the starter pistol fires. We stare at our watch and wonder how in the world we’ll ever get that far. We’ve made it into a race against time…and who can win that one? We’ve lost before we’re even out of the blocks.

What keeps you from running the race that God has set before you?

Why not write that book or song that’s been banging around in your head? What about that letter you need to write or that phone call? You love to sing, and there’s a call for singers at church. What’s holding you back? Is it really time, or something bigger like doubt? Why not take off that watch and just run?

Let’s run together and see where God takes us. I bet we’ll progress farther and faster than we could’ve ever imagined, all because we left our burden at behind.

Are you ready? Get set, GO!

Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I have an orchid that grows by my front door. My mother gave it to me. It has a lovely milky white flower that blooms when I water it consistently. The spidery bloom lasts for weeks and seems to put up with my sporadic gardening. The one curious thing about this orchid is that it has no scent in the daytime. You can put your nose right up to the bloom opening and sniff hard and get nothing.

When evening comes and the darkness enfolds the plant, you no longer see the beautiful bloom. But you do start to notice a light fragrance dancing on the breeze. It’s not like the heady gardenia or sweet red rose. It’s a fragrance that lets you know something special is lingering there and bids you to come a bit closer. I am content some evenings to stay outside longer in the moonlight with the dogs and my fragrant orchid. It reminds me of the scent of a loved one when you embrace—just light enough to linger in the warmth of the hug and it’s gone.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 , “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.”

My husband’s daughter has to deal with death sometimes—she knows the aroma well. And if it smelled anything like my orchid, she would not be so quick to jump in a hot shower. It clings to her clothing and hair like no perfume and can only be scrubbed away.

We are like that orchid to God. In this world of darkness, we are the sweet fragrance of Christ that bids the lost to come closer and drink it in. Be encouraged, you don’t have to have physical beauty or even be planted in a special pot. You just have to be willing to bloom where you’re planted.