New Thing


The old pair of jeans. The favorite pillow. That certain coffee cup.

The same job for five, maybe ten years.

The familiar is often comfortable. Change can be……not so comfortable.

God does not always leave us in the same place. We find ourselves entering new territory as we grow closer to Him. The plans God has for us unfold on His schedule, not ours. We may feel that we are not ready for the change. Certainly more preparation would help. Our lack of confidence surfaces when change is close at hand.

God wants us to trust Him through the familiar days as well as the unknown. He alone remains constant, guiding us to the next level, one step at a time.






The Light


I hadn’t been at work long this morning when I noticed the rising sun blazing through violet colored flowers outside one of the buildings. The light completely enveloped the blooms, causing them to glow as they hovered gracefully by their stems above the ground.

There’s a story behind the flowers there. When I first started work at my current location, I met a coworker in my building. She told me she had planted flowers in this area that, I suppose, had been drab and possibly unappealing in the past. Since they were there when I was first hired, I hadn’t known of their origin.

Three years ago, my friend retired. I do not see her often, yet her impromptu "garden" lives on, reminding me of her and beautifying the well traveled walkway that runs beside her plants.

What do we, as Christians, leave behind to continually bless and encourage others long after we have accepted our next assignment and moved on? We should have "blooms" glowing brightly, still proclaiming God’s love, even though we are no longer there.

Have you planted any gardens lately?






Justified Through Faith


 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


Romans 5:1-8






Do Not Worry

While on a mission trip to a more northern area of the country, the group I was with stayed for several days in a rural setting. We were delighted to find kittens awaiting our arrival. They scurried and played with such innocence. On one occassion, someone had fed them a bowl of food. Sharing with each other, they stood around the white container. No worries. Supper had come….

Stress, worry. It robs us. It takes away the moment that could have been enjoyed and leaves in it’s stead time spent uselessly. God knows what we need. He is well able to provide.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

—Matthew 6:31-34









I was talking with a friend when her cell phone rang.

That’s not unusual. What I was about to learn was, however, unusual.

Unusual and precious.

Precious, and wise.

"It’s my mother," she said. "She calls me every day."

My friend is an adult with young children of her own. How precious it is for her to have a parent call her daily from another city to check on her, catch up on life and be there for support.

What kind of mother do I want to be to my adult children someday when they are out on their own, hopefully living the dreams that God has placed within their hearts? Will I call them daily? Visit them often? Pray for them?

I certainly hope to have the kind of relationship where mutual love, honor and respect are braided into the very fabric of our lives. I want to support and encourage, listen and comfort. Laugh with them, cry with them.

My friend is tremendously blessed. A daily phone call from home—a gift of love from God.







A Way That Seems Right


I’m certain that he didn’t know what he was doing.

Inside one of the buildings where I work, I noticed a fairly good sized tree frog, raised up on his front legs. With a closer look, I realized that he was dead. Though his back legs were on the floor, his front legs were still in "standing" position for a frog. How odd—he died seemingly so suddenly that he didn’t even move from his upright position.

Why did he die? Probably because he could not find water. He really wasn’t far from freedom–only a couple of doors and some floor space kept him from continuing his life in the freedom of the vast outside world. When he made the choice to come inside, I’m sure it seemed the right thing to do at the time. Sadly, it was a decision that led to his death.

Many times we are like that frog. Things appear to be just what we’d been wanting. "This looks good," we say, or ‘What harm could there be in this?" Later on, we realize our mistake. Sometimes, it’s not too late to fix it. Other times, our opportunity to make matters right is over. It can even bring us to our own demise.

How we need wisdom from God to know what choices to make each and every day.

Are you so close to the water, yet trapped in a dry, barren place of your own choosing?  Ask God to guide you out—before it’s too late.

With God, there is always hope.

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." —Proverbs 14:12








Now I Am Old

If the LORD delights in a man’s way,
       he makes his steps firm;

  though he stumble, he will not fall,
       for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

  I was young and now I am old,
       yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
       or their children begging bread.

  They are always generous and lend freely;
       their children will be blessed.

Psalm 37:23-26












Narrow the Road


It was a wonderfully sunny day. I needed to pick up some books from a friend. She happened to have them in her car, and she and her car just happened to be at a park in a nearby town. No problem; I’d drive to the park.

When I arrived there, I realized that I had been to the park once before—almost ten years ago. Memories were reconnecting as I drove into the parking area. After getting the books I needed, it was time to head home. The exit route I chose took me under a very unusual structure. A railroad overpass had been constructed of wood, separating a two lane road beneath it.  The passageway for either lane was quite narrow. I wasn’t sure if I remembered ever driving that way before.

Jesus tells us in the book of Matthew, chapter seven, to  "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

The wooden structure, the divided road—why had I not gone that way before? It was there, all along, yet I missed it.

The narrow road that leads to life is knowing Jesus as your Savior and living for Him. The broad road that leads to destruction is so easy to find. It’s the one most traveled.

Which road are you on today?


Men of Falsehood


Who do you sit with?

If you’re like me, you don’t sit much at all. I’ve been known to eat meals standing up trying to multitask and take care of several things at once. But, just suppose you might have the time to just sit—-who would you want to sit with? And where would you sit?

Right now, attending outdoor sports events is the entertainment of choice for MANY people I come in contact with. For those watching, this involves sitting. Taking it all in together. Exchanging thoughts and emotions about victory or, in some cases, the disappointment of defeat.

When I was a child, it was not uncommon to see people just sitting on their front porches talking. Talking? Yes. Just talking. Whatever about? The rain, the traffic going by, the family. If you were on the porch talking, there was a certain sense of closeness and belonging.

Although God wants us to reach out to others and share our faith, the psalmist declares that he does not sit with men of falsehood or deceit. Our closest friends—those we confide in and trust—those we sit with in life—should not be untrustworthy in character and habitually deceitful. On the contrary, finding a trustworthy and loyal friend with whom to share our joys and and struggles is a venture of value.

So, who do you sit with?






Boundary Lines

According to one source that I found, the word "boundary" is mentioned in the Bible 53 times.

What do you think of when you hear someone speak of a boundary? Does your mind immediately think of real estate? Surveyors with tripods standing at the edge of the road looking through scopes pointed at, well, somewhere?

Even as you pass them, it would be unclear as to where these people are actually calculating a boundary line. One would have to read a document stating their conclusions in order to understand where the lines of ownership began and ended.

Often, the scriptures speak of such boundaries with regard to specific landmarks, allowing all interested parties to know exactly where property was located.

I have heard of boundaries referring not only to land, but to the limitations we put on our lives. Though having "limits" may seem to have a negative connotation, knowing where your personal standards begin and end is invaluable.

God gives us wisdom and discernment in living out our lives each day. We must choose to say "no" to harmful things that would dare to cross personal boundary lines that we have previously set. Knowing the limitations that God would have us to maintain protect us from needless pain and discouragement. The Bible serves as our "document" of ownership, and we, as stewards, must guard our hearts and minds against those things that would threaten to compromise God’s best for us. God counsels us and instructs us in the way that we should go.

Psalm 16:5-8 says,

"LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
       you have made my lot secure.

  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
       surely I have a delightful inheritance.

  I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
       even at night my heart instructs me.

  I have set the LORD always before me.
       Because he is at my right hand,
       I will not be shaken."




The Former Days

Everyone was singing. Except for me, that is.

Actually, I don’t know who was singing or not, because I wasn’t really looking around. I was thinking and praying. The lyrics that I remember were, "You make all things work together for my good."  All things.

Memories can come in at moments like these. Disappointing things, hurtful things. It’s easy to think that God could cause circumstances that we percieve as positive to work together for our good.  We recieve a promotion at work. God can use that, sure. We are accepted into the college we had hoped for. God will most certainly use that for our good, won’t He?

But what about those other times? Maybe we lost our job. Perhaps we flunked out of college. What then? Will God use that? Can He?

Memories are stories of the past that God allows us to keep in the bookshelves of our minds.

Though it may be challenging, pick out a volume or two. You know, from that shelf where the books have unhappy endings, or so you think.  As you open the cover and reveal the discolored pages from the past, look closely. Do you see God there? What was He doing?

Next, pull a book or two from the current events section. Look closely once again—-do you see any evidence of strength, blessing or maturity tracing its roots back to some of those difficult times long ago? What is God doing now that has a direct correlation to what you have gone through before?

As we learn to trust in God, we must bring our feeble understanding to Him, time and again.

Does God make all things work together for your good?







The Way of Wisdom

What would it be like to be the wisest man on earth?

Only Solomon would have known from personal experience. God gave him great wisdom.  I’ve been thinking about wisdom a little more lately. Why? I heard someone give a definition of wisdom at work recently. Simply put, it was, "Wisdom is knowing what to do and choosing to do it."

It was as if those words came to my ears and went straight to the "for more consideration" bin in my mind.

Solomon was the wisest man. Given that wisdom, he thought it best to write the book of Proverbs with an exhortation to his sons to listen well and acquire it for themselves. Solomon surely loved his sons; he wanted to impart the desire of wisdom into their lives. He was showing them love by his instruction.

Each day I am faced with choices. Many times, I am unsure of the selection I am to make. It is God who gives wisdom. With that understanding in mind, perhaps I should pray,

"Lord, please help me to know what you want me to do and give me the strength and the will to choose to do it."

What would your definition of wisdom be?


Listen, my son, accept what I say,
       and the years of your life will be many.

  I guide you in the way of wisdom
       and lead you along straight paths.

  When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
       when you run, you will not stumble.

 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
       guard it well, for it is your life.

Proverbs 4:10-13








Let my teaching fall like rain

       and my words descend like dew,

       like showers on new grass,

       like abundant rain on tender plants.

  I will proclaim the name of the LORD.

       Oh, praise the greatness of our God!

  He is the Rock, His works are perfect,

       and all His ways are just.

       A faithful God who does no wrong,

       upright and just is He.

                             —Deuteronomy 32:2-4






Old Order


Times change.  People, places. There’s always something new—something different than it was.

We may laugh when we hear someone say, "That was SO last year!"   Really, though, it’s true. What was current only a few months ago is replaced with the lastest, up to date version. Most of us walk into our kitchens and turn a faucet knob to have clean water come pouring out. We do not consider the not so long ago reality when water was drawn from a well or hand pumped. The old way was replaced by the new.

God has a big change in mind for all of us, if we will accept it. Surrendering our lives to Him, allowing His love to flow through us and following Him on an humanly uncharted journey is a REALLY big change. A life of fellowship with God here and now, with the promise of living eternally with Him in Heaven is an offer no one should refuse. There will be a day when our faith will be sight and we will see and experience what He has had in store for us all along. No matter how much we loved our lives on this earth, our eternal existance will far surpass anything we could ever imagine.

Revelation 21:4
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."







A Solitary Place



Do you need to step away from the stress and just be quiet for a while?  Would a time of reflection and prayer calm the noise of busy-ness and distraction that weighs so heavy on your shoulders?

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."  So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.—Mark 6:30-32






How do you respond when you have to change your plans?


 "This is the doctor’s office. You will have to reschedule your appointment."

  "The show is cancelled because of the weather."

  "We’re sorry; that offer expired Tuesday."

  "We’re closed."


There are times that a change of plans cannot be avoided. There are times that we must stop and wait.  For instance…..

We were heading out, driving down the road. Nothing in our way—at least until the ducks decided it was their turn to cross the street. Never mind the traffic.  It was where they lived, and they could do as they pleased. Visitors would have to wait. Case closed.

As we sat in our seats watching the parade of matching orange beaks and webbed footing, there was nothing to do but enjoy the moment. How hard would it really have to be to be patient while a few feathered friends waddled by our path?

The next time you have to change your plans, why not look for something positive in the situation.

After all, it may only be a few ducks in the road….
























Sometimes I have trouble. I have trouble with putting things off.

It’s not always that I procrastinate, but occassionally, I find that I really should have taken care of something that I neglected. What causes that?

I probably avoid doing tasks that might be tedious, or perhaps something that might bring about sad memories–like going through a box of old photos or cards from a family member long ago. It might actually be that my heart is not ready to deal with that certain thing that needs to be done.

At whatever moment that God speaks to me about a matter, my heart needs to be open enough to listen and not put off really hearing from Him.







Preserve Sound Judgment

This morning I read an anology of the book of Proverbs—-Proverbs are like recipes for our life.

Recipes?  If I plan to bake fish for dinner, I follow the recipe and include the ingredients listed in the order they are to be added. If I do everything the recipe states, then the fish should turn out the way I expected them to. But what if I don’t follow the recipe?

"Hmmmm. I don’t quite have enough corn meal; I’ll just add some flour.  Let’s see—I really like eggs. The recipe says to add 2 eggs.  I think I’ll put in four. Oil? I don’t like oil. I think this fish can just do without it this time…."

Uh oh. This isn’t going to turn out the way I planned. But, wait!  If I planned to bake good tasting fish, why didn’t I plan to follow the directions?

We, as believers, need to plan to follow God’s directions. Proverbs provides us with many ingredients for living a faith filled life.

Fish dinner, anyone?












The last few days I have been reading a book about knowing God.

One of the statements within the book that really stood out to me was concerning Moses:

"Even though Moses was an exile in the desert, he was right on God’s schedule, right in the fullness of God’s timing, right in the middle of God’s will." (from Experiencing God, Youth Edition by Blackaby and King)

A word with very negative connotations appears here–exile. Other terms to describe exile might be banishment, deportation, displacement or expulsion.  Although Moses was banished and displaced, he was in the middle of God’s will?

I must say, I don’t believe I have ever considered this point before. Moving the template over just a bit to position this idea over my own life, does this mean that I could be in a place of extremely negative circumstances by my own thinking, and still be in the fullness of God’s timing and the middle of His will? It would seem so.

God spoke to Moses, and all of life changed. Things would never be the same. The "new normal" would be so different for him. God had allowed his previous life experiences for a purpose.

When God makes changes in my day to day living, I may be surprised, but He isn’t.

God is right on schedule. If I am with Him, so am I.

The timing belongs to Him.








PSALM 15:1-5


LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
       Who may live on your holy hill?

  He whose walk is blameless
       and who does what is righteous,
       who speaks the truth from his heart

  and has no slander on his tongue,
       who does his neighbor no wrong
       and casts no slur on his fellowman,

  who despises a vile man
       but honors those who fear the LORD,
       who keeps his oath
       even when it hurts,

  who lends his money without usury
       and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
       He who does these things
       will never be shaken.






If you could make a list of all the characteristics that you would want to have, what would they be?












The list could go on and on. Consider placing each character trait that you might strive for in the blank of this sentence:

When I am ______________________ to others, am I not showing them love?

When I am kind, I am showing love.

When I am gentle, I am showing love.

When I am thoughtful, I am showing love.

When I am considerate,  I am showing love.

When I am giving,  I am showing love.

When I am patient, I am showing love.

When I am forgiving, I am showing love.

When I am loyal, I am showing love.

When I am trustworthy, I am showing love.

When I am responsible, I am showing love.



If I don’t have love, then I am nothing.






It was a late night at work for everyone with extended hours.

With the onset of early evening, a thunderstorm rolled in.

As the lightning and rain passed, the sun’s rays created gorgeous images with the billowing clouds.

Light is such a magnificent thing.

Without it, we cannot see.

God’s spiritual truth and light enable us to live in wisdom in a way not possible apart from God.






A Voice Came


Several weeks ago, I attended a performance of "The Rock and the Rabbi."  The main speaker was portraying the part of Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. He told of several experiences that he had encountered in his time with Jesus, the Rabbi.

One such experience was when Moses and Elijah appeared to them from Heaven. The actor recounted the moments by saying that when he saw the two appear, he didn’t have anything to say—-so he said something.

"Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters…."

Are we learning to remain quiet when we have not considered what to say? Words spoken in haste may not be what we had hoped to convey. Speech is a curious thing, allowing our minds a passageway to the consciousness of another, sometimes, without the proper screening.

My mouth has uttered words that I wish I could retract. They can never truly be taken back, yet God can forgive us for our careless utterings.

Luke 9:29-36


As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.

Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus.

They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.

Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.

As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)

 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.

A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him."

When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone.

The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.





Those Who Doubt



Have you always understood your need for God? Was there ever a time when you doubted?

Most certainly, everyone must come to a place of decision. Is God real? Did Jesus really die on the cross, paying the penalty for sin? Years upon years may go by as countless friends and relatives may answer this question with, "I’m not sure."

For those that we know who are still pondering these statements, acceptance and love are great encouragers. Fear and hurt in their lives may have contributed to any reluctance we see in acknowledging God. Should we not be loving and gentle as we share about our faith?

Think back: what were your deepest inner thoughts before you came to believe in God and His salvation? Were others kind and open to your questions or comments?

Jude tells us to be, "merciful to those who doubt."

Is there someone in your life that is dealing with feelings of doubt today?









Blessed is the Man


Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,

       the man who gains understanding,

  for she is more profitable than silver

       and yields better returns than gold.

  She is more precious than rubies;

       nothing you desire can compare with her.

  Long life is in her right hand;

       in her left hand are riches and honor.

  Her ways are pleasant ways,

       and all her paths are peace.


                             Proverbs 3:12:17





Be Prepared


Everything was so green.

Suddenly, there was a tree unlike the others. It was RED. Very, very red. In the month of August. Not previously knowing about such a thing, I asked a friend about this unusual occurrence.

It would seem that this particular type of tree changes color early in the season and remains a contrasting hue of crimson.

Well. I just hadn’t been aware….

There was no missing this tree among the others. It was totally set apart from any of its surroundings. Surely anyone passing by would have to stop and consider this difference. That is, if they noticed the trees at all.

Last night, I had a serious dream. When I awakened, I began to think of the need to speak to some friends of mine about their relationship with God. Although I had spoken to them once before, I felt an urgency to do so again.  What could I say? I could begin with explaining my understanding about God’s plan for salvation through His Son, Jesus. I could talk about my own acceptance of His plan.

In I Peter, chapter three, we find these words:

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…"

In my own life, I have found Jesus to be set apart. Once I understood that I truly needed Him, I could no longer ignore it. Like a very red tree among a cast of green, Jesus’ gift of eternal life appeared as the one true answer. I must be prepared to share my hope and faith to others.

Have you set apart Christ as the Lord of your life?



Love Surrounds

It was an inviting time of day. The misty morning clouds were overflowing their usual boundaries, coming to a restful float around the tree branches and roof tops. The blanket of moisture lay silently above the land, peacefully engulfing every moment. I, too, remained silent as I took it all in. 

Psalm 32:7 says,

"You are my hiding place;
       You will protect me from trouble
       and surround me with songs of deliverance."

The psalm continues with,

"Many are the woes of the wicked,
       but the LORD’s unfailing love
       surrounds the man who trusts in Him." (Psalm 32:10)

Do you ever sense being surrounded by songs of deliverance?

Do you ever feel that God’s unfailing love is surrounding you?

Be silent for a moment. Just take it all in…..










The Water’s Edge






Most people are probably just like me.

I want to walk through an open doorway, one that I can see clearly. I want to understand assignments thoroughly before I begin. I want to consider my choices well before a decision is made. I trust what I see and comprehend.

With God, things aren’t always this way. Faith takes on the form of trusting, when absolutes are not to be seen. I may be asked to walk toward a doorway that I cannot view clearly. I may be asked to do an assignment that I barely understand. My choice may not seem in focus, yet the decision to obey should be immediate. I may not see or comprehend the task, yet I must trust what God sees and comprehends.

When God told Joshua to have the priests stand in the Jordan River when they reached the egde of its waters, he related God’s words to them. He told them that God said He would cause the waters to stand up in a heap.

As they approached the river, it remained as it had always been. When the feet of the priests touched the edge of the water, the river stood up in a heap and the people crossed over on dry ground.

When the feet of the priests touched the water’s edge.  The miracle happened at the point of their obedience to God.

There was faith in the hearts of the people enough to touch the water—-and there was power enough in the hand of the Creator to roll it back.






Songs of Joy




When things are really in a mess, isn’t the feeling of relief wonderful when you see help coming?

It could be a flat tire on a rainy night. Your child may be arriving at the emergency room. The water pipes may have broken underneath your home. The face of help is a welcome countenance.

But what if it’s more of an internal "mess" that you’re in? Confusion, doubt, guilt. Lonliness, low self-esteem. Do you long for help? When you see it coming, do your hopes rise up within you?

God speaks of restoration and help for the people of Israel in the Old Testament. How beautiful are those that will tell of how He will restore them. As they listen for the voices of those watching for the arrival of God’s redemption from suffering, they will hear shouts of joy as God is comforting His people. The "ruins" are told to "burst into songs of joy together."

What do the "ruins" of your life look like, deep down inside? Is it a desperate place, long abandoned, left to become nothing more than hopeless fragments of a former joy? 

Don’t be silent any longer. Ask for God’s help and healing. Look ahead for the sounds of His comfort as it nears your most desolate place.

A song of joy will soon be sung, rising up from a heart only God could transform.





How beautiful on the mountains
       are the feet of those who bring good news,
       who proclaim peace,
       who bring good tidings,
       who proclaim salvation,
       who say to Zion,
       "Your God reigns!"

  Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
       together they shout for joy.
       When the LORD returns to Zion,
       they will see it with their own eyes.

  Burst into songs of joy together,
       you ruins of Jerusalem,
       for the LORD has comforted his people,
       he has redeemed Jerusalem.

Isaiah 52:7,8,9