Monday, December 07, 2009

Season's Greetings

We had lunch in a Thai restaurant the other day. Like all restaurants, they like to dress the plate with fruit or green stuff. This place chose cantaloupe...which looked lovely in all it's delectable orange splendor. But one bite told my son it was all show, no flavor. I explained to him that in Florida, cantaloupe's season is summertime. Some growers try to force the fruit to produce out of season. They are successful, but if you've ever tasted fruit that was not in season you know it's not worth the steep price they charge. Normally it's bland, small and sometimes a mere shadow of itself.

As Christians, we bear fruit...Galatians speaks of this as fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal 5:22-23

Strawberries are best in February and cantaloupes are best in the summertime but as Christians, our fruit is in season year around. The trick is to keep growing.

If you are rooted in Christ, your season has no end. If your branches feel a bit bare, then maybe it's time for some pruning, weeding or irrigation!

preach the word; be ready in season {and} out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Recipe for Thanks

I am drying bread in my oven today. The whole house smells like bread baking. This is the first step for making my Mom's recipe for Thanksgiving dressing. I am excited that the Thanksgiving cooking sequence has begun!

I think this step is the most important for good dressing. You see, if you don't remove the moisture in the bread, there is no place for the turkey stock, butter and veggie juices to go. You end up with a soggy dressing that sits like a lump in your belly. By drying out the bread, you make room for all the flavorful wet ingredients.

When I remove the slices of bread from the low temp oven, they will rattle on the cookie sheets. They will be raspy and crunchy and ready to receive the juices that help the spices permeate the bread.

Those brittle slices of bread reminded me of a story. (Stick with me, it may not be very appetizing but I think you'll understand my point.) This story is from the old testament about Ezekiel. In chapter 37 we find him in a valley:

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, {there were} very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, {they were} very dry. Ezekiel 37:1-2

God asked Ezekiel if it was possible for those dry bones to live. He left it up to God. God told him to prophesy or preach to the bones. He spoke the words God gave him and he heard a rattling. A miraculous regeneration takes place for the house of Israel--because Ezekiel spoke God's words to the bones.

Have you ever felt like you've been walking in a desert? Do you feel like someone turned up the heat on your life lately? There are a few reasons for this, but the one I want to focus on is this: God has a plan for you.

Sometimes we get drenched in the worries and cares of the world and there is no room for the Holy Spirit to fill us up. So God takes us on a journey and turns up the heat a bit. We are left parched and much so that our will becomes brittle. But we are not abandoned there. It's when we can say, "Lord not my will but yours!" that God can begin His work.

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalms 63:1

It's at this point that we are finally ready. God wants to fill us up with something better--something that will permeate our souls and bring back the spice to our lives. It's a regeneration of our spirit, that comes from the washing of the Word.

If you find yourself in an arid land during your walk with Christ this Thanksgiving, think about that side dish--dressing. Allow God to pour His Word into your life--find a quiet place, grab your Bible off the shelf and check out any of the following passages: Ezekiel 37:1-14, John 4:4-26, Psalm 42:1-5, John 6:32-40 and Revelation 7:13-17. Before you start to read, ask God to speak to you about your life in that passage, then dig.

Be prepared, you are about to experience a new blessing in your walk that will saturate your dry bones. He will pick you up out of that dark valley and quench your thirst. All you have to do is ask, receive and be thankful for it ALL.

Happy Thanksgiving dear ones, and may God speak to your dry bones!

"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' " John 7:38

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wishing Well

So I was with a dear friend today and her sweet little boy. We stopped at a huge fountain and gave him coins to toss into the water. He was at first amazed that we would allow him to pitch pennies into the splashing water, but loved the game. Happily he toddled back and forth from us to the pool and tossing pennies one by one into the bubbling water. The coins seemed to vanish magically.

Have you ever done that? Have you pitched a penny into a fountain and tossed a wish in with it? It's a fun way to dream...whether it's a wish for winning the lottery, finding a soul mate or just hoping for a good parking spot at the grocery store, we love to wish.

Sometimes people look at God as a wishing pool. They summon on their best prayer skills and cast their wish into the hopes of Him granting it. And when an answer doesn't come, or they hear a "no"...they move on to the next fountain that might grant their wish.

In John 15:7, Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."

Some people grasp onto the last part, "ask whatever you wish" and forget the first part.

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you..." You see, God wants us to have the desires of our heart. (Psalm 37:4) He loves to give gifts to His children. (Matthew 7:11) When we only come to Him with our wants and never stop to build our relationship with Him, we become a child playing at the fountain...casting our pennies in one after another, never abiding, never listening to His words.

We go away with a few less pennies, and a few more unanswered wishes. And we wonder, does He really care? Will He ever answer?

Dear reader, if we would only learn what it means to truly abide! Abide means to dwell, live with, remain. Can you truly say you abide with Him? Does His word abide in you?

I challenge you to take at least a week and really abide. Shut off the TV, open your Bible start and end your day with His word. Take those few minutes of your day...the ones you consider as not so important, like pennies on a sidewalk, and give them to Him.

Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask. Matthew 7:7-11

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Mind Games

I have a 70 lb. lap dog. He is a cross between a collie and German shepherd. He's very protective of his family and likes to herd grandkids around the yard. Recently he met our neighborhood armadillos.

The dog is fascinated by these "armored squirrels" that root around in our yard. They come to harvest earthworms wherever they can be found. And, they leave behind holes just big enough to turn your ankle in while hanging out the wash.

Our dog has taken on the responsibility of policing our yard for these creatures. He watches from the front and back windows like a noble sentry. And when he sees movement, the barking begins. It is my job to open the door, (he has not figured out how to open a doorknob yet), and he shoots out to meet the unsuspecting interloper.

With all the barking and full speed chases, you'd think I would have buzzards circling for all the carcasses in our yard. But, just when you think the attack dog instinct is going to snuff out an armadillo...his shepherding instinct kicks in and he ushers them quickly to the fence line to our neighbor's yard. It's hilarious to watch, especially when he surprises the animals and they leap into the air about two feet. (This is why you never drive over an armadillo--they'll leap into your car's undercarriage.)

So for now, we play this cuckoo clock game every half hour or so. The armadillo is spotted, the bark strikes 3pm, and the gate opens for the race to begin. Neither animal understands the concept. The armadillos keep coming back, and the dog keeps chasing them to the neighbor's house.

The only way to really rid our yard of these hole diggers is to trap them and either send them away to the wild or have them put down humanely.

As a Christian, sometimes we get thoughts that creep across our mind's fence line. They root around in our brain and cause everything from worry to unclean thoughts. Some allow those thoughts to dig around too much and they start acting on those thoughts. And sometimes they end up with legal problems as a result of those actions.

In II Corinthians 10:5b it says, "...and {we are} taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ..."

How do you do that? When you find a bad thought creeping into your mind, you say a quick prayer and mentally grab it and give it to Christ to deal with. It's like trapping an armadillo and asking animal control to take care of it. Then focus on something else and remember it no more.

I know, it will be hard at first. Have you ever had someone play the "polar bear" game with you? They say, "Don't think about a polar bear!" And you find it impossible to NOT think about polar bears. Or someone starts humming the theme song to Gilligan's Island or the chicken song and you feel like your brain has rebelled completely. The mind is very sensitive to suggestion!

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

Once you pray about it and acknowledge to God that a bad thought has slipped in, (confession) replace those thoughts with good stuff. Memorize scripture, listen to positive music, or just count your blessings. Above all, focus on something good in your life.

It may take a while, because our brains get pretty lazy. Especially with all the pop up ads and commercials out there. Someone always wants our attention. Maybe it's time to fast from TV or computers for you. That's something you should pray about. Because once we cut off the access that some bad thoughts have through the media, we make it easier on ourselves to really round up these bad thoughts and send them out of our lives.

I know that one day those armadillos will be chased into the wrong yard. You see, for now they go to our neighbors who are environmentalists. (Maybe I should give the animals more credit than I have.) But one day I think they will end up in our other neighbor's yard, and she has lived in the wilds of Florida for decades. She probably even has a recipe for possum on the half shell.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lady in Waiting

I have just returned from a women's retreat. It was 72 hours of concentrated teaching. During the lecture series, we were to sit with the same group of women throughout the whole retreat. And each table had a name from a women in the Bible. My table was the table of Rachel.

Can I tell you a little bit about Rachel? She was a shepherdess. Her job was to lead her sheep to better grazing areas, watering holes and defend them from wild animals. She is found in Genesis 29.

She was in love at first sight with Jacob, a visiting Israelite. Her bride price was seven years of labor. Alas, her father tricked Jacob and had him marry her older sister Leah first. So Jacob vowed to work another seven years for Rachel's hand. They were finally wed.

Can you imagine 14 years of waiting for the man you love? After those 14 years she had an even more difficult wait. It seems she was not able to have children. She watched as her older sister had child after child after child.

Rachel tried everything, even using her handmaid as a surrogate mother. She was ashamed...even though she still had the real love of her husband...something that Leah never had.

These days I feel like Rachel, waiting for God to make something happen. I'm coming up on my one year anniversary of being laid off from a job I held for 17 years. Should I start my own business? Should I go deeper into ministry or missions? I am ashamed of my unemployment, I should be helping my husband support us!

When I pray about this, the only answer I hear is, "Wait."

Sitting at the table of Rachel over the retreat weekend reminded me of something. Yes, I am a Rachel and I feel a bit empty because I don't seem to be producing anything right now. I look to my sisters and see careers, children, missions and amazing lives. Am I envious? A bit.

But you know what? Like Rachel, I still have the love of my Savior Jesus and it will never stop. There's nothing more I can do to earn it, it is a gift. So, I need to repent of my envy.

And that is the reason why I have resolved to be His Lady in Waiting.

I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. Psalm 130:5

And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Thursday, September 24, 2009


One of my earliest memories was about my Dad. I can remember being in a group of adults. I was toddling around, looking for my dad and the sun was in my eyes. I couldn't see him, but I could hear his voice laughing and talking. I found his slacks, so I reached up, and said, "Daddy up!"

I was picked up. To my surprise it was not my father. I panicked and looked around for my daddy...he was not far from me so I squealed to be rescued from the stranger I thought was him.

Once I was in his arms I felt safe and was ready to face the crowd of people.

I want to speak to someone out there. Someone who has been walking around, trying to find the answer to their emptiness. You reached for something you thought would satisfy your need for comfort and now find yourself in the clutch of a nightmare. You feel like you are forever trapped, a slave to sin and there is no way out, and the grip seems to tighten every day.

What should you do? Do not fear. Your heavenly Father is there with you, waiting for you to reach out to Him. He will scoop you up and hold you close. All you need to do is reach out and call, "Abba! Father!"

You see, you are His just climbed into the wrong arms. I pray you find God and His peace for your life today.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" Romans 8:15

He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. Psalm 91:4

Friday, September 18, 2009

Name Calling

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet." ~Juliet

I have always been interested in names. There have been a few babies born at our church and I loved hearing what the parents decided to call their children. Names are important, they are the one legacy that really sticks with you. Have you ever looked up what your name means? It's pretty cool, especially if you look at it from God's perspective. You see, He calls you by name. (Isaiah 45:3) So whether your name is Spike or and your name are significant to God.

Think about it, your name is the one word that you have heard consistently throughout your life. It is like a repetitious pronouncement over your life. So I want to explore what that can mean as a Christian.

In the Bible, names were very significant. From Adam (Of The Earth) to Jesus (God Is Salvation), names carry the weight of life. There were instances where names where changed, because people were changed by the touch of God. When Abram was changed to Abraham, a man's life changed from "High Father" to "Father Of Nations". His wife, Sarai changed to Sarah...which didn't seem to be much of a change but when you look at the definitions, God was making a statement. You see she went from "MY princess" to "Princess". God was changing this woman's legacy from someone's trophy to a higher standing.

What about someone who changes their name on their own? Then they are rejecting the legacy that the name carries. Whether it is a surname or their first name...they are turning away from the life that the name represents.

Recently, there was a football player who changed his last name. He changed it from Johnson to Ocho Cinco. What do you think he was saying about his legacy? Johnson=Son of John to the number 85. Do you think he had a problem with his Dad? Who knows. But I do know this football player is the most all-out player that I have seen. He is so committed to the game, that he legally changed his last name to his football jersey number, 85...Ocho Cinco.

When we meditate on the concept that God calls us by name, we should take a look at what our name means. Especially when we become a Christian, because our name speaks volumes as to what we were before and after accepting Christ.

To illustrate, take my name: Kelly. Kelly means Warrior or fighter. Without Christ, I am the opposite of a warrior. I am weak, I give up to easily and become a doormat. But as I allow Christ to work through me more and more every day, a spiritual warrior starts to awaken and I am ready to speak up, to stand and to not allow people to take advantage of me.

I shared this with my Bible study group the other night. I was amazed to find the amazing potential encircled in that group. We had a Conquerer, Friend, Joyous Song, Promise Keeper, and a Gift of God's Mercy. When we accept Christ, the full impact of our name can be realized in our life.

So Spike, your name means long, heavy nail. When a spike has no purpose, it is a heavy piece of metal that will rust eventually. When it does have a purpose, it secures a piece of railroad that tons of material can travel over...or cars of people. One loose spike in a railroad can cause a catastrophe.

Spike, who are you in Christ? You can either decide to be a spike with no purpose and rust, or in the hand of our Carpenter, be hammered into place (Psalms 16:8-9) and help support the lives of others as they seek Christ in their life.

Hortense, your name means Garden. A garden that has no gardener goes to weeds very quickly. It is unproductive and may hide a snake or two. Hortense, if you allow the Master Gardener into your life, your life will be so fruitful (Galatians 5:22-23) you will always have enough to share with others.

So what is it about your name? What does it say about your potential for abundant life in Christ? If you are curious, send me your first name and I'll help you discover what God thinks about you. (

Be encouraged today, God knows your name. Do you?

I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. Isaiah 45:3

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I asked, He answered

Our family was in the Medicine Bow National Park, specifically the Snowy Range camping area near Laramie Wyoming. We were gathered to spread my mother's ashes. It was difficult, but a necessary step in our grieving process. Once we found the spot, we had a short ceremony and huddled in tears.

I wanted so much for a special message from God for my family. I asked God to send an Eagle, a butterfly or something to show my loved ones that there is a hope. Instead, it started to rain so we walked back to camp...tears mingling with raindrops.

It was chilly at 10,000 ft because the wind was coming off the mountain peaks that still had snow. The rain started to come down harder and thunder rumbled like boulders rolling down the mountainside. Six of us crammed into the small RV and we found warmth. It was good to be together.

My brother and I sat in the front seats and watched the rain wash over the windshield. Just then I noticed a light outside.

"Rainbow! There's a rainbow coming out!"

We jumped outside and watched as the biggest, brightest rainbow I had ever seen started to glow in the sky. This was not a small one either, as I watched it stretched I started to weep. It was reaching towards the area where we left my mother's ashes. Dad and I were crying. We grabbed our cameras and started clicking. My battery was dead so my brother and uncle started taking pictures as well. And then if that big bold rainbow wasn't enough, a second rainbow started to form...almost like an echo of colors, like a watercolor. It was a glorious sight.

What I want you to know is, God does not always answer prayers the way we want Him to. But know this too, He is our heavenly Dad and He knows just what we need. You see, I asked for an eagle...but God knew I needed a rainbow, or two. His loving kindness is never ending.

So the next time you pray, go ahead and ask with your heart. But be prepared dear one, God will give you exactly what you need. And I pray that answer will blow your socks off like our rainbow did.

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.
Ephesians 3:20-21

Friday, August 07, 2009

Being Still

We had an afternoon summer thunderstorm the other day. I was enjoying the rain and lightshow by my window until a bolt of lightning hit very close. So close in fact that I saw the fireball and felt a wave of static electricity like a slap. The dog and I then did something very brave...we ran to the bedroom and trembled.

We didn't lose our electricity. I figured all was fine until I tried to turn on the tv for a weather update. Nothing. Then I tried the internet. The computer wouldn't turn on, and the modem was dark. Then I tried to call for cable repair and the phone was dead. I had lights and air conditioning, but I was still "in the dark".

When my hubby arrived home with our only cell phone, I started the calls so we could get repairs to all that was zapped. Yesterday I had the last technician leave our house. We are finally back with all our technology humming happily. But I have to ask myself...have I lost some spiritual connections?

You see, the last four days I have had time for quiet. No pitchmen selling shamwows, no popup ads and no telemarketers to interrupt my day. I had extra time to read, to study and to just listen to the quiet.

They say if you exercise part of your body limb too much, the other may become very weak. I must say that these last few days have proven my spiritual senses had weakened a bit without me realizing it. Losing the access to information overload has been good. It has proven to me that my walk is still not at the level where I thought it should be.

You see, when you become a Christian it doesn't end with a sinner's prayer. It opens the door to a whole new life, some say a life of restrictions and no fun. But I say that's not true. I have found real freedom, strength AND fun. It is a constant daily walk down a road of pitchmen, popup ads and phone calls that try to beckon you down other paths that cost you money, time and scruples. Then, when we find our days wrapped in the worries of the economy or health, sometimes the only way God can get our attention is with a lightning bolt in our front yard.

What has happened recently to you that has you thinking about God more? Is it an illness, a job loss or something that has upended your life completely?

I want to encourage you today to stop, turn everything off and pick up a Bible. Go to the book of John and get to know The One who speaks in the storms of our lives. When we finally realize we've been living life "in the dark" and seek the Light of the World, you will be blessed with a peace that carries you through the next storm that is coming even now across the horizon.

When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to {Him} and woke Him, saying, "Save {us,} Lord; we are perishing!" He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" Matthew 8:23-27

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Its summertime and I love going barefoot. The grass underfoot is God's carpet. Even the scorching heat of a blacktop road is a summertime kiss to the soles of my feet. A quick dash to the water hose and they cool instantly...only to do a quick tap dance in the puddles for a summer mud bath.

When fall comes to town I will reluctantly pull on socks and shoes. And for those first few weeks of autumn, my shoes are a bit tight. You see, my feet had all summer with no boundaries--no socks, no laces, no rigid sole to keep my feet contained. The bones and tissue have to be pulled back into place to fit into the constraints of shoes.

In Exodus, there is another man who went barefoot. His livelihood depended on his feet. He was a shepherd in the rocky regions of the Middle East. He had to protect his feet with thick sandals because his walk was through an arid, rocky wilderness.

One day he saw a light on a hillside. When he walked closer, he noticed it was a bush on fire. What was different is that the bush did not burn up. It continued to be engulfed in flames. It was mesmerizing. As he drew near a voice came from the bush that burned and called him by name. Can you imagine? Out in the middle of nowhere and a bush knows a man's name.

He walks closer, saying "Here I am Lord."

Then the voice said, "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." (Exodus 3:5)

This ended up being a pivotal point in the life of Moses. It was his call to action, but first he had to go barefoot. You see it was God who was speaking to him from that bush that didn't burn up. And for a mere man to be in the presence of God, it was considered holy ground. He had to remove his shoes, because they had been everywhere. Probably had some sheep stuff stuck to the bottom, or a bug he had squished earlier in the day. It was a sign of reverence to remove your sandals.

So what am I getting at? Well lately I feel like my spiritual shoes are too tight. I've been enjoying a new Bible study, getting fired up by my pastor's sermons, waking up with worship music in my head and just enjoying the glow from a fire that does not consume me. I'm on holy ground and I don't want to put my shoes back on.

So where does a Christian go from here? Do I purchase a bigger size in shoes? Or do I stay barefoot? For now, until God tells me what I need to do, I'll enjoy this summertime of my soul. Won't you join me? Kick off your shoes dear reader; join me as we walk on holy ground.

How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!" Romans 10:15

Thursday, July 09, 2009


I had a friend forward an article to me from Harvard Business Publishing. It was a blog about "The Generation M Manifesto". I read it and could hear the verse, "deep calls to deep". (Psalm 42:7) Could it be that people are finally getting tired of fast food, fast relationships and fast living?

The writer says that Generation M stands for "movement" or "...mostly about a growing number of people who are acting very differently. They are doing meaningful stuff that matters the most."

Could it be that people are tired of what the world has to offer and want something more? Something deeper? Something with purpose?

How prepared are you when you cross paths with that person looking for something more? People are begging for community. No wonder there is a myspace/facebook/twitter phenomenon. But then that's just a counterfeit of true community. It's a shadow of what they really desire.

Who remembers the small town mindset where you knew when your neighbor was hitting hard times--and you did something to help without thinking twice? Who remembers when the family rolled up their sleeves and dug in when an illness struck? Or a wayward child is called back into the fold by unconditional love of relatives and friends?

Where can so many disconnected people find that community or family structure? This is one of the reasons for church. It is not a building, but a structure of hearts that hold each other up, encourage, repair a roof, cook a meal or just meet for coffee in the afternoon. It is a place where people are "doing meaningful stuff that matters the most".

If you are starved for that human tie that binds, check out your local churches. There is one just right that will introduce you to the One who created that longing in your heart.

There is a reason for that echo in your soul, He is calling across the universe and it can shake you to your core.

Beyond all these things {put on} love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms {and} hymns {and} spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, {do} all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:14-17

Friday, June 19, 2009

About Faith

I found my faith at the bottom of my purse the other day. You see, my granddaughter gave me a necklace just before my mom's funeral. It was the word "Faith", with a bit of bling in it.

After the memorial service, when I packed to move back home, I slipped it into a special pocket in my purse and forgot about it.

This week I was cleaning out the frass of life from my purse while waiting in my parking spot for someone to ride with me...receipts, shopping lists, notes to self, rubber bands...then something hit my fingertips. It was the necklace. When I pulled it out of the pocket, it was a bit tangled but still as bright and sparkly as when I first received it. I detangled it and hung it from my rearview mirror. It's always in front of me, like a compass with bling.

It has been a difficult few months since my mom passed away. I have had flashbacks from the hospital, memories of camping trips and dread for upcoming holidays. My faith was pushed to the bottom of my soul...covered by the frass of life.

But when I take time to order my life and really dig deep in my heart, I can reach the Faith that has never left me. It remains, even when I think I've lost it.

The Bible calls Faith a shield. (Ephesians 6:16) It is something that you indeed keep in front of you. It guards you from the fiery arrows of the enemy. Christians live by Faith. It is essential to our surviving this broken world.

So my question for you is, do you think you've lost your faith? Dig deep dear reader, search with all your might. Ask God for more faith, pray and seek His will for your life. I truly believe you will find that shining faith that is a compass to point you Home.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, {being} more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:6-9

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pieces for Peace

I joined a sewing group recently. They are getting together gifts for our team from church who are traveling to Israel this summer. So far the group has made 300 backpacks for kids, and several quilts for a nursing home. The colors are beautiful, the handiwork is wonderful too. (If you have material to donate, let me know!)

After some of the piecing, there are scraps left over...bags and boxes of remnants. A good quilter never throws away material. She reworks it into another quilt somehow.

My favorite part is putting together the colors. It appeals to my artistic side. I could see how my mom really loved to quilt. She was so good with colors, always mixing shades that make the key color really show well.

As I started to put together my first quilt, I found it interesting that as we pull remnants together for quilts, God is calling together His own remnants back to Israel.

You see, if you read in your Bible, there is talk of a remnant being called back to Israel. Here are just two of 700 scriptures...

He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Isaiah 11:12

"I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:3-4

It is as if God is gathering up those remnants that everyone forgot about. He's painstakingly piecing them back together. Stitch by stitch, the pieces and colors go together in a pattern only He knows. And when the last knot of thread is tied, a glorious thing will be done with a nation that was once in tatters.

But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! Isaiah 43:1

He can do it with your life too. Do you find your world torn in two? Do you find scraps here and there of a life that has seemed to fall apart? Give your pieces to Jesus. It is the remnant, the castoff and the forgotten that He redeems.

When that life is put back together in a new way, the pattern and colors reveal the handiwork of a Creator who does not castoff anyone who simply comes to Him. I am one of those human quilts. I was sewn back together by a loving hand. He doesn't ask us to come with new material, just bring your box of remnants and let Him do the work.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, {he is} a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Last weekend I attended a packing party...and it was fun. My friend is moving back to Iowa soon, and her hubby is already out there. I figured she needed some help. I put out a call and some wonderful volunteers stepped up.

My friend was very humbled by the offer to help. She was reluctant to let us in. It wasn't the state of her house but the state of her heart that was a big deal to us. Most of us had been where she was. It was clear she felt overwhelmed by the job. Especially from just having a tooth pulled the day before.

We entered and discussed the best plan of attack. We decided to stack the packed boxes in the dining area. One volunteer had to be careful of her back, so we found a comfy chair and made her the breakables specialist. The rest of us started carefully sorting, tossing and organizing.

We had the kids take their stuff to their rooms so those items wouldn't get packed with living room stuff. Keeping like items together would keep valuable Pokemon cards from getting mysteriously lost.

When my friend came back from a smoothies run, she was amazed at the change in her home's first floor. Boxes were neatly stacked, cupboards and shelves were empty.

This is also true spiritually. When you become a Christian, you join a family of people who are willing to help you "do life".

Christians are people who have been redeemed by Christ. A lot of us are either survivors of abuse, depression, drug problems, alcohol addiction, or just used to have a ton of baggage locked away in storage somewhere. They have been where you are and know your struggles. (Most of us are still a work in progress!) They are willing to be the hands and feet of Christ to help where they can. Even if it's just to listen to your heart.

The first step is to realize you can't do it alone. One time I was so bogged down with worry and depression, I couldn't get out of bed. It took the love and prayers of my sister in Christ that sent a ray of "Sonshine" into my life when I needed it the most.

Then you put out a call for help. You want someone who will be discreet, not gossip about what you need help with. They should have an outside perspective of your life and may ask difficult questions. They will also know when it's time to just cry with you. (James 5:16)

Celebrate Recovery is excellent for this! They have a Step Group program that helps you really deal with your hurts, hang-ups or addictions. Check for meetings in your area.

Then it's time to sort out your life. What are old tapes you don't want to listen to anymore? What is the old behavior you really don't want gathering dust in your life? What does the Bible say about it?

Time to pack up those old sins and realize you are forgiven and they don't have any power over you unless you open up that box and let it back in. Time to know that Jesus has moved them out of your life to never return...and that means no storage facility that you pay rent on every month!

Then when the dust has settled and you look at your life, you realize you have room to bloom in Christ. When you deal with the stuff that was stealing your Joy, your "house" gets put back in order.

Just remember, it's easy to start collecting new stuff. Or, that ol'devil may come knocking at your door trying to sell you an old suitcase full of stuff that looks familiar. If you don't let Jesus answer that knock, before long you can be back to where you were. (Matthew 12:43-45)

It's a good friend in Christ who is not afraid to ask, "Do you really need that?" Who do you know that's got your back like that?

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not {merely} look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I remember when I was in elementary school and asked my teacher how to spell something. Invariably she'd tell me to "look it up" in the dictionary. Now for a word like hospital, that was an easy find. But a word like gnat or seemed impossible!

I would reply, "Well I can't find it in the dictionary, it must not be a real word!"

These days dictionary publishers are always adding and subtracting words to their heavy tomes. An interesting editing job came to light the other day as I was reading my Discipleship Journal regarding the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

It read,
"Citing space constraints and the need to reflect Britain's modern, multicultural, and multi-faith society, the editorial team cut a number of religious and historical words and added others deemed more culturally relevant. Bishop, coronation, empire, monarch, nun and sin disappeared, replaced by words such as blog, broadband, celebrity, MP3 player, and voicemail."
Now isn't that interesting? I can see some young Brit sitting in their classroom realizing one of these words was gone from their dictionary and piping up, "If I can't find it in the dictionary, it must not be a real word!" Blimey.

Let's look at those edited words from the Webster's American Family Dictionary.

Bishop: a person who supervises a number of local churches or a diocese, being in the Greek, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other churches a member of the highest order of the ministry.

Coronation: the act or ceremony of crowning a king, queen, or other sovereign.

Empire: a group of nations, states, or peoples ruled over by an emperor, empress or other powerful sovereign, as the former British Empire.

Monarch: a hereditary sovereign, as a king, queen, or emperor.

Nun: a woman who is a member of a religious order, esp. one bound by vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Sin: transgression of divine law, any act regarded as such a transgression, esp. a willful violation of some religious or moral principle.

Isn't it interesting what words were chosen as obsolete? (If I were the Queen of England, I would be a tad nervous.)

Could it be that those children from my era had a plan all along? Do they think that if they removed a few words from the dictionary, they could remove it from society?

Did you know that snake of a devil has a way with words? He is ready to question what God really said at every moment.

Remember he was in the garden with Eve, asking her if God really said she'd die if she ate that apple. (Genesis 3:1)

He loves to work doubt into our brain and twist scripture. He did that with Jesus in the dessert. (Matthew 4:1-11)

So why not remove a few words from a dictionary?

Take a closer look at the smallest word that was removed: sin.

Why not reduce the vocabulary a bit by taking out a three letter word? It's a very narrow word...narrow in size and narrow in it's meaning. It's an electric fence, a scarlet letter, a chasm between man and God. It's such a negative word, heavy with guilt and judgment.

Who even uses that word outside of church anyway? Sadly, even churches are removing that intolerant word from their speech.

Be assured, sin will always be with us. You can take it out of every dictionary, thesaurus and sermon, but you cannot remove it from man's heart. There is only one way to do that.

You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
1 John 3:5

Jesus is the only One who can really remove sin from our lives. No dictionary editor has that power. Jesus is the "white out" and "delete" button for our sin. All we have to do is ask Him to edit our heart. And He will do it gladly, because that tiny three letter word is the only thing that separates us from God.

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

Friday, April 17, 2009

Miracle Grow

A curious thing happened with a bouquet of roses at my Dad's house. These roses were given by my Mom's brother for her memorial service. I was cleaning up the wilting flowers and noticed that several of the long stems had sprouts of new growth on them. I had never seen that before. We saved some of those long stems to see if they would root. Sadly, they did not take so they were discarded. It was amazing to see the new shoots grow to over an inch long.

When you read about caring for roses, you find out that they are actually two plants in one. One half is the sturdy rootstock. This has been chosen to resist disease, handle cold and heat, as well as survive pretty well in questionable soil.

The other half is the branches that are grafted into the rootstock. These are chosen for the number and size of blooms, color and fragrance. A horticulturist will spend years developing a special hybrid. And once he is satisfied with it's uniqueness, beauty and fragrance, he gives it a name.

Once grafted, it is a relationship between two plants that is a delight to experience.

In my ladies' Bible study this week, we studied John 15. It's all about roots and grafting and I was loving the word picture Jesus painted.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. John 15:4

We had the stems in a vase of water with a root hormone and Miracle Grow...but this was not enough. These new shoots could not produce more blossoms because it was not grafted into a rootstock.

This what happens when a Christian only practices being a Christian on Sundays. Yes, you get a sermon, you worship a bit and you leave your offering. By Tuesday you've forgotten the message and wish you had that offering back for an unexpected bill. Jesus says "Abide in me..." That means dwell, remain, be grafted in and grow in Him...every day.

What happens when we "abide"? Think about yourself as that lovely rose sprout that is grafted into the rootstock.

You were thought of in the beginning, God knew exactly what He was doing when He created you. And when everything was just right, He called you by name. You were chosen because of your unique qualities that nobody else has...your talents, your life experiences, your demeanor.

When you become a Christian, you are grafted in to the sturdy rootstock of Jesus Christ. You experience a growth like never before seen--even in questionable soil. Without the "Root of Jesse", you are like these stems in will only see a little growth. When you abide, you don't have to grow by your own strength, you draw it from your rootstock--Jesus Christ.

I want you to take time today to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the "rose" inside of you, waiting to bloom. Abide, dwell, remain in Him by reading His Word, praying at all times and sharing that fragrance and beauty that He found special in you. Believe me, it is a relationship that is a delight to experience.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Being Mary

It was Easter Sunday in our little church several years ago. We had decided to launch the Easter festivities in a different way. We decided to have a woman run up the center aisle of this tiny church, dressed in Biblical garb and carrying a basket of spices. It was to be a reenactment of Mary's telling the disciples that Jesus was alive.

I stood outside the church door, waiting for my cue. It was chilly outside, and my toes where cold in my sandals. The basket of spices smelled good. I waited, and rehersed my lines. I wasn't sure if I was shivering from excitement or the cold snap. There was my cue so I opened the door and ran up the center aisle of this tiny church.

The faces in the congregation were so shocked...I bet they were wondering who this crazy woman was. Their faces did not recognize me at first. I spoke to the pastor, and it went something like this:

"Brother! I have just come from the is empty!"

"What has happened?" he asked, "Did someone take him away?"

"No, I saw Jesus, He spoke to me-He is alive!"

"You must be mistaken, you saw a gardener."

"No, I thought He was at first, until He called my name. Then I knew it was Jesus, and He is alive!"

As our conversation grew in excitement, I could feel the congregation understanding what was going on. The emotion caught on with a few and I saw smiling faces, some with some tears.

As I exited the building I stopped to tell a few more on my way out, "He is alive!" It was a great feeling, one that I won't ever forget.

I thought, what would've Mary Magdalene felt like? (John 20:1-31) It was the darkest day for her. She was going to prepare Jesus' body with spices. It had been the Passover, so they had placed him in a tomb very quickly--no preparation. She wanted to make sure he was taken care of, even in death.

But to her surprise, he was not there. Just his burial clothes. She ran to get the nearest disciples, maybe they knew what had happened. They ran to the tomb and found it empty as well. They left Mary weeping at the tomb. She was crying so much she didn't realize two angels were speaking to her from inside the tomb. When they asked her why she was weeping, she told them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." John 20:13

When she turned, Jesus was standing there, but she thought he was the gardener. She only recognized Him when He called her name. Then she knew. He told her to go tell his disciples, and she did-she told them of the whole experience.

When I think about this wonderful thing that Mary experienced, I realize two things. That Jesus revealed His resurrected self to a woman first, and that she was the first evangelist.

She makes it look very easy, and it is. It's that pride thing that gets in the way. What if I say something wrong? What if they ask me questions I don't know the answer to? Did Mary argue theology with the disciples? Did she embellish the story? No, she told them everything that happened to her in the garden--from "He called my name" to "He told me to tell you."

It's that easy. When did you meet Christ, when did He call your name? How did He change your life? Just tell of your experience with the Risen Christ. Some will think you've "got religion" and will avoid you. But those who have been searching like you, will realize you have something real and will listen.

It can be a little scary because you don't know how people will receive you. Like that tiny congregation who witnessed my attempt at recreating Mary's experience, some will "get it" and some will jot it down as another disruption to their day.

But once you realize that it is not you they are rejecting, something in your gut goes that extra mile to talk to them. The pride will melt and so will the fear.

Who do you know that needs to hear that Jesus is Risen? Who needs to hear that He is as alive as He was that very first Resurrection Day? Take the name that came to mind just now, pray about it, then seek them out and share the Good News.

I wrote about "being Mary" because I could relate. I didn't really know Jesus until He called my name one day. And you know what? He told me to tell you about it.

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15

Sunday, March 29, 2009

About Mom

Whenever Mom told me about her Dad, she told me about following him around--basically being in his back pocket when he was at home. She was the first girl after two boys and loved her daddy. Grandpa loved to garden, so naturally she helped him with his plants.

He actually developed a lovely version of the Cockscomb plant. The flower is a unique crimson velventeen ruffle that looks like the comb on a rooster.

She carried those skills on to her adult life and had beautiful plants and flowers, orchids and herbs in her yard. That's how she had a connection with with her dad.

When Mom got sick with MDS, myelodysplastic syndrome, she wasn't allowed to dig in the dirt anymore. The germs could cause an infection since her immune system was weak. In January of this year MDS bloomed into leukemia. She prepared for a bone marrow replacement. Two rounds of chemo later, the illness was not giving way so the bone marrow could be given.

When Grandpa passed away, Mom brought back an envelope with those treasured cockscomb seeds. I'm not sure if she ever got them to grow in Florida. The other day I remembered a verse that has to do with seed:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." John 12:24

You see when a seed germinates, it bascially "dies". It's buried in the ground and changes...It breaks through the surface and a plant is born.

Mom not only planted seeds that grew in her yard, she planted seeds with people. By serving her church, her neighbors and her friends she planted seeds of love--and oh what a harvest she has!
If you knew my mom, you knew love, because that's what she planted. Are you going to take that "seed" she shared with you and plant some of your own?

My Mom lost her battle with leukemia in early March, at the height of Spring. I bet when she arrived in Paradise her daddy was waiting for her. And I can just imagine them side by side, planting amazing things in the Garden together.

What are you sowing in your life while here on earth? Have you taken time to do some weeding and preparing the ground to receive seeds? Are you willing to give to others until it hurts, to basically die to self, so you can bear fruit for the Lord?

You ask, where does this seed come from? Guess what? Jesus is a Master Gardener. All you have to do is ask Him for that love for others. It will be difficult at first, but as you kneel in prayer--and get your knees dirty--you will find He will give enough. It may seem small at first, like a mustard seed, but oh, what a harvest you'll have if you take the time to plant it!

"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, {and} running over..." Luke 6:38a

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Bible Basics

One of my favorite Christian ministries is The Navigators. I was just reading a quick article on the Navigators in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They have gone back to basics with Bible study and teens.

“We recently taught them a devotional method called Lectio Divina,” Abe says. This includes five steps: lectio or divine reading; meditatio or meditation; orotio, or prayer; contemplatio where people contemplate throughout the day on what they received from God during the first three steps; and actio, or action, applying what God has said to everyday life.

Every once in a while I get reminded how God is in the small stuff. How simple Bible study is, but how difficult do we make it? We pull out our commentaries, teaching websites, help books and dictionaries, not to mention umpteen translations of the Bible itself. We find ourselves "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth". 2 Timothy 3:7

I want to encourage you to get back the basics like this group of Navigators did.

Read the Word. Find a translation you understand. Make an effort to read several verses every morning. (John 1:1)

Meditate on it. Take a key verse and write it on an index card and memorize it. (Romans 12:2)

Pray about it. Ask God to show you something new about Himself with that scripture. Ask Him to reveal something about you. (Ps 139:23)

Contemplate it throughout the day. Write in a journal, ask questions. Log key thoughts on the passage. (John 5:39)

Then apply it. What do you hear God saying you need to do? Do you need to make a change in your life? Do you have some confessing or healing to do? Does it give you a fresh idea for a ministry? (James 1:22)

How simple can it be? As simple as opening the Bible and reading.

Get back to the basics of Bible study. And when you dig, you will find a priceless treasure that is in a loving Creator speaking to you personally, as only you can understand Him.

'You will seek Me and find {Me} when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Thursday, January 08, 2009


We had our belated Christmas party last night at Bible study. There was food, study, debate and a gift exchange. What was interesting about the gift exchange is that we brought items from home that we had an abundance of. At the end of the study, we sorted out the gifts and decided to open them at home. It was exciting to bundle mysterious packages into my car that night.

When I arrived home, I brought the gifts inside. My husband was a bit suspicious at first...he thought maybe I got waylaid at the mall instead of going to my Bible study!

I started opening gifts and what a treasure each one was. I could hear that still, small voice whisper to me what each gift meant.

My gift was a Christmas CD to each sister. I hope they heard God say to them, "...sing to the Lord a new song..."

A glasses case--to protect my glasses and removable sunglass attachments. "...protect your sight my child, make sure it's clear so you see what I see!"

A kneeling angel statue. "...remember the Holy Spirit is praying for you at all times my dear, even when you forget."

A mixing bowl with tea and chocolate candy nestled inside, with a bar of homemade soap. "...dear daughter, take time to confess your sins--wash daily--so your life will be sweet."

A magnetized shopping list pad with magnets with the scripture from Isaiah 65:18, "Be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create." (the scripture was loud and clear)

A beautiful hand painted rock. " not throw stones, hang on to them and make an altar to Me instead."

Two books, one a daily devotional for fruitful living, the other "A Woman's Journey to the Heart of God". " child, it's time to move forward and discover all that I am."

All of these are precious to me, because my sisters gave out of their abundance. They are growing and discovering God in so many different ways and as they do, they reflect His attributes.

What an amazing time with my sisters. What amazing sisters.

Beloved, do not forget that as you give from your abundance, you become the gift in Christ to another. You would be amazed at how God speaks through your generosity.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
James 1:17-18