December 24, 2012

The perfect gift

Yesterday, the family and I decided to head out to one of our local malls to finish our Christmas shopping. This mall is a bit on the larger side for our area – over 175 specialty stores and restaurants.  None of us are what you’d classify “a mall shopper”.  We are more of the ‘get in, get it, get out’ people.  …Did I mention this is the last shopping weekend before Christmas? Usually we are more of the early shopper type but it seems like this year time slipped past us.  So it was an experience!  I paired off with one of my boys, as did my husband and our daughter who was on a mission, left all of us in the dust as she set of to find the perfect gift for one of her brothers. 

The deeper into the mall child2 and I went, the more crowded and busy it got.  Child 2 looks over to me as we are pacing, dodging, and lunging through crowd spurts and says “I like the mall’. “we hardly ever come here buddy.  It’s easer to shop the strips by us – get in, get out” I reply.  He says ‘I don’t like shopping here – I like walking around and watching here.  The people are interesting.’

And on we walked.

I started to consider not the crowd, or the waves of shoppers, but the people.  They were fun to look at and watch – definitely interesting: goth teens leaning against a store front giggling about an older woman in one of the hipper stores; the dad corralling three kids while he was chasing to catch up with mom; the older gentleman sitting in a seat outside the woman’s dressing room waiting, and waiting, and..; the elderly couple holding hands as they went into the Hallmark store…There were many people in the crowd, this huge uncountable crowd, each with their own purpose – especially on this weekend before Christmas – the purpose of seeking that ‘perfect gift’.

I began to think… I know what it is like to be the one who’s found that perfect gift for that very special person.  This is a person I care so very much for and want to express my appreciation, my care, my love wrapped inside.  There is great joy in giving that perfect gift – especially when you see the great joy found when it is received.

That perfect gift… I’d bet an innumerable number of people shopping were striving for that “perfect gift’.

And then I smile – not because I already found that ‘perfect gift’, but because it hit me that I have been the recipient of “THE” perfect gift. 

It was given to me by my FATHER in a manager wrapped in swaddling cloth. I am reminded of this even by the signs all over the mall for Christmas begins with C-H-R-I-S-T.  I can proclaim with Paul “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”  Thinking on into the book of Ephesians I am lovingly told “for it is by grace you have been saved through faith – this is not from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God.”   I didn’t do anything to received this perfect gift – it was not my good dees or my being a good person –it was solely the grace of the  Heavenly Father and out of his great love and compassion that He found the perfect gift to give me.

Each person in this crowded mall, each person in this fear-filled, hesitant, defiant country – each person in this whole world has been given the perfect gift - His son, who would later take our punishment willingly and completely out of a very personal deep love.

It is my prayer as you search for or receive “the perfect gift’ you will reflect on THE PERFECT GIFT given for you – the FATHER’S beloved child.  It begins and is C-H-R-I-S-T-mas.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:22-23

December 14, 2012


As a nation this past week we have faced two more senseless acts of violence.  A young man went into a mall for the sole reason of killing – and just days later the same act was committed in an elementary school.  People were going about their day – working, shopping, going to school – and in moments life turns to chaos.  Then, chaos turns to stillness.  It is senseless (July 20,2012 entry). What are we left with now but unspeakable sorrow.  There is heartbreaking pain over the loss of loved ones.
Gone is the father, the brother, the son, the uncle, the coach. Gone is the mother, the daughter, the wife, the friend, the co-worker.  Gone are the promising lives of children.  One was said to have had “a great sense of humor and a zest for life; a vision and belief in others that brought great joy and value to many”. One was said to have been “everybody’s friend – a wonderful person who was very caring and put others first”. 
Grief and anger bare weight on so many.
Loss spreads and darkly covers those who hear what has happened. 
Sadness for those who are gone and for their families pours out. 
But Loss is indiscriminating – we all are experiencing it.  Parents shake their heads and worry each time children leave the house.  Many say they cannot listen to the news anymore. Many think twice about even leaving the house.  We all feel loss…. Loss of freedom and the ability to feel safe; loss of innocence; loss of joy and peace of mind; and loss of HOPE as people try to enjoy living in such a flawed and hurt filled world.
Fear and anxiety invade every aspect of our thoughts.  There is a realization that tragedy and violence do not discriminate – this randomness is capable of touching any of us personally at anytime…anywhere.
Confusion abounds in our hearts and minds.  Why? What goes on in the minds of people who so maliciously or numbly perform such acts?
Once again, answers are wanted. The cruel reality is that there are none.
The loss, the confusion, the fear and anxiety will only be compounded if we pursue the why’s, how’s and what if’s.  We will be left to live this life in anger and despair; discouraged.
Truth is we live in a world where evil not only exists but thrives.  This is an imperfect world that is filled with the irrational, the ludicrous, the callous, the mindless, the hurtful, the empty, the flawed…  Peace, joy and security will never truly be found in that of this world.
Life does not have to be lived in despair.
Our pain, our fear, our anxieties can be overcome if we pour it all out and open our hearts to the One who heals, comforts, and loves beyond measure. 
As I lay my thoughts, my anger, my fear and hurt open to the Father, my tears are wiped.  I am reminded through His Word to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you(1 Peter 5:7).”
We each need to Stand Still and know we are held in the palm of His hand, surrounded by His love.  This is the time to listen to Him for the answers that are so deeply longed for and needed. 
In this world we will live with darkness – but we can live in Hope.

“Peace I leave with you; MY peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” – Isaiah 66:13
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10
I “plan to give you hope and a future” – Jeremiah 29:11
I am your “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” –Psalm 46:1
You can be “convinced that neither death not life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate” you “from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” – Romans 8:38-39

August 4, 2012

Running ahead and wandering off…

I learn some of the best life lessons when I observe children.  Throughout my day, I found myself reflecting on a few situations I observe during my trip to the grocery store.  As I entered the store from the parking lot, a little girl was running ahead of her mom.  She was about to run into the entering traffic lane when her mom caught up to her and grabbed her hand with a yank – stopping her cold.  It was the type of situation that makes you catch your breath as you watch it unfold from a distance.  Mom, with the mixed look of panic and relief, scolded her daughter then gave her a hug and picked her up to carry her safely to their destination.
I continued on with my shopping – picking up a few items from the baking isle.  A dad rounded the corner of the isle with his son.  The boy ran straight to the chocolate chips and with an exclamation of “Found ‘em!” threw them into the cart.  Then he ran down to the end of the isle and rounded the corner.  Meanwhile, dad had stopped to pick up a few other items in the isle.  A moment later came a voice from an isle over shouting “Dad? Dad?!  Daddy!!!”  The father called the boy’s name and was met at the end of the isle with the boy hugging his leg.
Finishing my shopping in the produce section, I watched another situation unfold.  As a mom concentrated on selecting cucumbers, her two little ones wandered over to the bakery eyeing the doughnut selection.  Mom glanced up with expectations of finding them standing by the cart.  She was looking back and forth when our eyes met.  I wordlessly pointed to the bakery on the other side of the vegetable stand.  She smiled and shook her head.  When she pushed her cart to them, they looked up at her oblivious to the fact their wandering had separated them.
As I pondered reflections about each of these, I could relate so easily to the parent’s point of view.  There have been quite a few wanderings and running ahead moments experienced with my three children. 
Then it hit me.
I’ve been the child quite a few times (more than I care to admit)….running ahead…, wandering off…, separating myself from my Father.  I stood still with this thought for a bit.
I can pinpoint quite a few times when I ran ahead of God.  I saw what I perceived as a course of action; thought a certain path looked right and moved forward only to realize what may have looked really good as I started… ended up to be the wrong direction – obstacle after obstacle – leaving me weak, confused, struggling and flailing ineffectively.  My impulsive decision, my wrong approach or wandering away from God’s intended path landed me in a place where I was troubled, not in sync with others and distant from the Father.  There were times I was so oblivious that I was headed in the wrong direction action-wise or thought-wise but I can now see it was so obvious.  It took a good yank from my Father to reel me back in - often in the form of being allowed to suffer the consequences of my choice.  Yet, lovingly God protected me, set me right again and at times even carried me through until I was ready to seek His direction…seek HIM…and follow.
Why do I “follow the stubbornness of my heart”?  Can’t I see I make the journey so much longer and so much more difficult when I run ahead? 
What have I learned….?
-seek Him first
-Be Still
Lessons I am still striving to implement daily.

Matthew 6:33  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Psalm 85:8  I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly.
John 10:27  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

"Those who walk with God always reach their destination"...a bit more easily and quickly.

July 24, 2012

Could you Pray for me?

“Could you pray for me?”

This question seems to be echoing all around me.  There have been quite a few requests for prayer this week.  Requests coming from my children – one struggling with health issues; one who is concerned for friends. Requests coming from friends – asking for resolution to conflict; asking for direction and guidance; one looking for spiritual growth; one concerned for a child’s choices.  And I found myself asking a few spiritual sisters to pray for the Father’s guidance regarding an issue with which I personally am struggling as well.
I stood still today after reading a commentary in which the author asked: “Why do we seem to make it our goal to get as many people as possible praying toward our predetermined positive outcome?  Is it that we think God is resistant to doing what is good and right but can be pressured by a large number of people to relent and deliver?  Do we think that the more people we recruit to pray for the same thing will prove our sincerity or improve our odds?”  I began to think about comments some others have made about prayer requests – “God’s going to do what He’ll do – what we want doesn’t matter.”  “Not all prayers are answered.”  “Just think positive.”  “Do you really think He is listening?”
At the core of all of these questions and comments seems to be “to what end? What is the purpose of praying?”
After standing still I’ve determined a few things for myself.  Prayer is a conversation with God – it deepens my relationship with my Father.  Having a conversation means two way communication.  I seek, cry out, ask, beseech, and pour out my soul as He hears, listens and answers.  As I draw near to him through conversation, I am aware of His presence and direction.  Through communication a relationship is strengthened.  Through communication answers are given – “Yes child”; “In due time – be patient – wait upon Me”; “No, I have something else in my – plans to grow and prosper you – in ways you are not yet able to see”; “I understand you – let me carry this burden – receive My Comfort, My Peace”….
Maybe praying for others or having others pray for you is more about us – as individuals, as “the family”, as community – than it is about the request or entreating an answer.  Through prayer we draw close to God – we also draw close to one another.  We carry one another’s burdens.  We encourage and comfort each other. 
I recall a time of great darkness and loss – I had no words just emptiness – I felt distant not just from others but from the Lord.  Yet prayer tethered me safely.  Even when I had no words – the Sprit prayed for me.  I couldn’t pray but I knew others had me wrapped in a blanket of prayer.  I was covered with the comfort, encouragement, and warmth of prayer.  I personally wasn’t in a place for relationship or communication – yet had relationship and communication deepen with others and my Father by being prayed for.

So let us pray – to the Father – with each other – for each other.

1 Samuel 1:15,16 - Hannah replied “I was pouring out my soul to the LORD…I have been praying hear out of my great anguish and grief.”
Psalm 5:3  -In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Psalm 17:6 - I call on you, my God, for you will answer me.
Psalm 55:17 - Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and HE hears my voice.
Psalm 73:28 - but as for me, it is good to be near Go.  I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge.
Romans 8:26 - In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Galatians 6:2 - Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
James 4:8 - Come near to God and He will come near to you.
James 5:16b - …and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
 John 5:14  - This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, HE hears us.

Romans 15:30  - Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.

July 20, 2012


My prayers today are filled with senselessness….

Inconsideration, thoughtlessness, illness, a violent act of mass murder in the news.
Today is definitely a day to stand still – step back. 
In my humanness I try - I want to understand how and why these things happen.
Hurt and tragedy in our lives ,or coming close to our lives, rattles life.
Answers are wanted.
Perspective is needed.
Senselessness is just that…. It is without rhyme or reason; purposeless; pointless; illogical; irrational; ludicrous; inane; callous; apathetic; mindless, moronic; numbing; empty…deadened.
It exists because of the imperfection of this flawed, human, sin filled, damaged world.
Senselessness is only compounded if we try to figure out the way and why of these happenings.  To do soon only will discourage your spirit; distract from the joy that does exist; cause division among those involve with the hurt, or destroy – love, relationships, joy, peace, contentedness, and even faith.

So what is my reaction to be in the face of senselessness? 

I will process the hurt – the confusion – the loss. 
I will pour out my emotion – my hurt, my confusion, my anger, my helplessness – to the Lord.  God doesn’t cause the suffering of His children – unfortunately we cause it for each other.  Decisions made have consequences for others.  Violent behavior has a victim.  Words and actions impact relationships and inflict hurt that will forever leave scars.
God created a perfect world in His image of Love.  He doesn’t cause suffering but He is the only answer. 
As I lay my thoughts; my emotions; my heart bare before my Lord, I stand still.
My tears are wiped and I hear His words:
“Peace I leave with you; MY peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” – Isaiah 66:13
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10
I “plan to give you hope and a future” – Jeremiah 29:11
I am your “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” –Psalm 46:1
You can be “convinced that neither death not life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate” you “from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” – Romans 8:38-39

July 18, 2012


I honestly am okay with criticism – even when it comes from a place that is not constructive.  So often it is far more telling about the source rather than its intended target and often no matter the intention there is something to be gained.
I can deal with those who are snide, derogatory or malicious – for in reality such are those who suffer deeper insecurities, lack of intellect, ignorance or are products of hostility themselves.

But thoughtlessness…

Thoughtlessness is something far more damaging.  Some may chalk it up to simply being ignorant or unaware; perhaps careless – this at times can be true.  However, when someone consistently demonstrates thoughtlessness it comes from a place of pure vanity…simple out and out narcissism.  It reveals disregard, disingenuousness, disrespect and even disdain.
The thoughtless acts demonstrate that person’s main motivation is self …. Self-benefit, self-gratification, self-glorification, self-promotion.  The mere fact that the person doesn’t realize the thoughtlessness shows his vanity. 

The sad thing is that thoughtlessness happens at the cost of others.

As I stand still being thoughtful about thoughtlessness – at the moment weighing on my heart brought by a series of incidents recently, part of a repetitive hurtful pattern – I ponder what others have said about thoughtless acts.
Poet Edgar A Guest writes that “it blurs the eyes that ought to smile with many needless tears” and “the hurt it leaves behind them takes years to wipe away”.
Poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox considers that people flatter those they scarcely know and please the fleeting guest while dealing many a thoughtless blow to those who love them best.
Winston Churchill commented that the process of building is a slow laborious task of years but the thoughtless act of a single day destroys.

I struggle in my human-ness with how to react toward the source of such consistent acts.  Traveling the high road while being hurt and especially seeing those I love hurt gets extremely hard at times.  My own disdain builds and I do not like the person that bubbles up with hurt and spite.
I turn to the One who has the answer.
Romans 12 reminds me (9)Love must be sincere.   Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. (10)Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves….(13)Share with the Lord’s people who are in need…(14)Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse….(16)Live in harmony with one another…(18)If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone…(21)Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So there it is – that hurtful, narcissistic, disdainful, disingenuous human is a broken flawed child of God.  Though wounded – I need to view this person through the Father’s eyes …
And kill him with kindness.

I turn each of them over to your hands.  I will look to You and surrender my spiteful thoughts.  Forgive me.  I ask for peace, comfort in hurt, guidance for actions and words of my own.  AMEN

June 29, 2012

Process of Decision

It seems to me that I’ve been going through a period of time that has required serious decision making in quite a few areas of my life.  Quite honestly I have found it to be at times: tiring; troubling; a time of doubting; upsetting; a struggle; distracting; and divisive – just to list a few feelings.  I find myself also being impatient, indecisive, short tempered and unsettled.
In my quiet time as I stood still with the Father this morning facing yet another decision, I commented out loud asking “why can’t it just be an obvious and clear answer?”
A clear, obvious answer came!

The process is just as important as the decision.

By examining all the aspects and the way an answer fits (ie. the process) – there will be:
-a better awareness of pros and cons
-an awareness of potential issues that could arise
-a willingness and readiness
-a better awareness of my own feelings, biases and how I communicate
-a clearer awareness of my own strengths and weaknesses
-a stronger foundation on which to build
-the knowledge I’ve grown; individually and together with others on joint decisions
-in joint decisions there is mutual understanding and purpose
-a personal clearer purpose

This time has reinforced that as I make life decisions I need to be in prayer, be in the Word, and seek the counsel of Godly mentors.  It has also reinforced the need to stand still. 
A couple of these decisions have reinforced that there are times in joint decisions when the process is more than what I feel has been laid on my heart or whispered to my spirit. It is rather listening to the whispers spoken to the family – what is weighing on the hearts of all. 
This time of decisions has also reminded me I need to intentionally let go of my anxieties, fears and wants; let go of my plans in order to be able to have what God has planned.

I’m sure there is more for me to realize here – but I trust I will learn or eventually see His purpose – sometimes things take awhile for this kid to learn…ha!

I continue to learn to be able to let go and let God – to say willingly (not begrudgingly) “Thy Will be Done”.

Psalm 119:105  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight
Proverbs 15:22  Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 16:1  To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.
Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Matthew 6:33 Seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

June 19, 2012

For those alone or lonely

A conversation from the past replayed as I was lying in bed.  Someone I knew had commented that she had been so alone and lonely.  This floored me.  She had a husband who was a man of God; three loving girls for which she was very active in a multitude of activities supporting their interest and talents; attended and was involved in her church; part of a women’s group and involved in more than what even I was aware of.  Yet, she felt alone and lonely; having many acquaintances but no close friends. No phone calls to chat or check in – unless she initiated it; no emails with encouraging messages or sharing funny stories; no invites when couples went out or families got together – unless there was a need “could you watch my daughter,” “can you bake a dish,” “could you drive?”

I couldn’t believe that someone I admired so much felt so alone.

“We all get trapped in the business of life” I suggested.

“If some one values you – time is given and even enjoyed” she said through a sigh. “I’ve asked people to coffee or lunch or shopping – often met with “busy” and then heard stories of the deal at the restaurant or the funky shirt that was seen as they shopped.”

She told me ‘I decided I needed to step back and let what I thought were friends go.  I’d hoped that maybe they’d show me …” (she lowered her head).

We got together a few times before she moved for coffee, prayer, discussion.  The last time we spoke she told me she was okay.  Her conclusion – “I can be alone and not lonely because my best friend is Christ and He will not leave me where I am”.

I pass through the empty valley she was in – sometimes again and again - with the companions of ‘alone and lonely’. It is then I remember her words and SMILE.  I might feel lonely but I am never alone. I have also learned that my best friend Christ will not forsake —I will not be left, deserted, or abandoned in the darkness; Christ is my Light.

Is. 42:16 - “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

June 14, 2012

Vertigo of life

I suffer a few health issues that at times tend to make life run a little less smoothly.   Vertigo tends to challenge me periodically.  It’s a dizzying sensation in which I lose equilibrium.  Sometimes accompanied by light-headedness, vertigo causes me to go through my day with unsteadiness.  Perception is tilted and there is a feeling of wavering motion as I am trying to move forward or even just be.  On those days, all I want is to have balance restored.
I realize that this is actually a physical manifestation of how so many of us exist in daily life emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  Many of us find ourselves juggling so much – schedules, commitments, concerns, quests for perfection, quests for success – that we seem to be endlessly searching for some kind of balance in life.  And finding balance in our lives is important for studies have proven that a balanced life improves mental and physical health.
So the questions become – How do I find balance?  How can I live life feeling balanced?

There is plenty of advice on how to have a balanced life:  get organized; create daily routines; establish a good support network; be flexible; simplify your life; track your time; leave work at work; nurture yourself; learn to say no; rethink your errands; drop activities or even people that sap time and energy; establish and focus on your priorities; take down time; exercise; relax.
While all of these pieces of advice may hold benefit, I have learned from experience – both in my physical struggle and in life – that the ONLY way to overcome loss of equilibrium is to focus beyond…    The answer/cure/solution will never come from inside yourself or a source that exist within this earthly realm. 

Peace… balance…  contentment…  answers… come from beyond and above; from a God who knows, cares, and loves.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

“For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do all this through him who fives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

June 12, 2012

"Who do you say I am?"

A recent devotion focused on Matthew 16:15 and Christ's question, "Who do you say I am?"
As I was Standing Still with this question I became amazed by how personal the answer to this question is at any one given moment in my life.
When I am walking through the dark times - He is the "Light of the world" (John 8:12).
When I am on shaky ground - He is the cornerstone (Luke 20:17)
If I am searching for a direction or answers - He is my wonderful counselor: the truth and the way (Isaiah 9:6 and John 14:6)
When I am feeling distant, weak or unsure in faith - He is the "author and perfecter" (Hebrews 12:2)
When my spirit is in turmoil - He is the Prince of Peace (John 14:27)
When I hunger - He is the "bread of Life" (John 6:35).
When I am feeling inadequacy, convicted and know I fall short in my sinfulness - He is the Lamb of God; my Redeemer and Savior.

Considering once again the question "who do you say I am?" my mind and my heart ponder perhaps a different perspective - "who does He say I am?"
I am both humbled and filled with joy as His Word provides answers:
1 Peter 2:9 reminds me that I am His Chosen - "called out of darkness into his wonderful light".
Galatians 3:26 tells me that in Christ I am a "child of God."
Romans 8:17 says that I am an "heir of God and co-heir with Christ".
He knows me so intimately that He knows the number of hairs on my head (Matthew 10:30) and my name is written in His hand (Isaiah 49:16).
I am so loved that "He gave His only Son" (John 3:16).

I am so very thankful for a Heavenly Father who holds all the answers to questions I have at any moment of my life.  It is my prayer to know - that each of you may know - fully His love, His mercy, His faithfulness, and His abundant grace.

John 6:35  I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 8:12  When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 14:6  Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Hebrews 12:2  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith; who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

February 8, 2012


A phrase in a worship song recently caught my attention – "Wait upon the Lord."  Waiting upon the Lord is often isn’t easy. 
I stood still with the word “wait”.  I discovered wait doesn’t just mean to pause, to linger or remain inactive – it also means to look forward to eagerly. So as we struggle to wait upon the Lord with hearts pondering questions such as “Where do I go from here?” “What is God calling me to do?” “What is God’s will for me in this situation?”and  “How long – Oh Lord?”  We can rest assured and eagerly look forward to His answer knowing He will provide clarity in line with His good and perfect will.  Psalms 27:14  tells us  “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
 As we quiet our hearts, and stand still – we hear His voice.  When we seek the Lord and yield our will to His, clarity happens. Proverbs 3 states "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight". 
Life may seem to be filled with cross roads, forks in the road and detours – But we have this promise of straight paths – clarity.

January 11, 2012

It is a case of scratched vinyl?

   Do you remember what it was like to listen to music played from a record?  Each of us had our favorite records – those black vinyl circular things before digital music on ipods, or laser read cd’s, or heads that passed over the tape in a cassette (we won’t even mention an 8-track). We’d place the record on the stereo table and the needle would follow the subtle track of the grooves and the music would play.  Some were played till it seemed the grooves wore out.
But the most dreaded event was the scratch.  And at some point there always came “the scratch” on one of the favored records. 
As your favorite music played, the needle following the track hit the scratch.  The music was never the same.  Sometimes it would continue to play but you would hear the click of the bump of the scratch made again...again….again…until the music got past the area affected by the scratch.  The worst scratches brought the needle hitting the scratch and being stuck in the same groove causing that particular ridge of music to play again… and causing that particular ridge of music to play again… and causing that particular ridge of music to play again…UNTIL the needle was bumped over to continue on an unaffected piece of music.

I recently read a book that quoted Katherine Walden – “Unforgiveness is like a scratch on an old record; the song never goes on to the end.  It keeps the beautiful music yet to be released unheard and all that resounds are the same old three or four chords again, and again, and again.”

 I’ve been witness to this scratch of unforgiveness too many times:
A beautiful family song is playing.  The daughter chose to leave her husband and two children and follow another man. The song never goes on to it’s beautiful melody of lives shared moments, growth, celebrations, grandkids, anniversaries, stable foundations that build lifetimes of God’s intended experiences of love shared
Another family’s song plays. A son off to college and meets others who point out faults here (skip) and there (skip) in his family relationship.  Nothing really meets expectations of either side.  Words are said. Hurt is formed.  Efforts go unmade or unrecognized.  Intentions are misinterpreted.  The song ends abruptly – the beautiful music of relationships experiencing life’s joys and sorrow together with love, support, encouragement, traditions….will never be played.

I’ve experienced this scratch of unforgiveness;
A song of Hope began with curly brown hair and quiet smiles.  A certain doctor refused an appointment.  Illness later was quickly recognized. Realization hit hard when it was time to let go…that song ended.
There was the silence of grief, frustration, anger, anxiety, hate, disbelief (so much more) that grew into nothing but noise – not the song that had begun.  One day the noise had grown too loud – I knew I had to stop the noise of the scratch of being angry and anxious and lift the needle off the scratched song. I had to forgive; forgive the doctor and his refusal; forgive the people who told us if we had enough faith…; forgive those who not knowing what to say stayed away; forgive those who stayed but said such wrongness; forgive myself...

Ephesians says, ‘but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God’.  Not a verse you would think to give to a frustrated, angry, hateful, anxious, mourning woman. I took the verse knowing I needed to give and experience forgiveness and prayed -  BUT pray with thanksgiving?!?  The noise slowly dissipated as I prayed for help in forgiving, as I prayed to forgive and I prayed with thanksgiving for the doctor, the people, myself, the blessings of time given……….Then I heard a melody begin, and grow, and heard the beauty and have felt the peace that transcends understanding coming with the song.  I now have blessings that I otherwise never would’ve dreamed of with the new song…because I forgave.
Please pray for those whose songs have the scratch of unforgiveness.   Encourage them…Find encouragement in scripture yourself to stop the scratch from not allowing the music waiting to be played. Be the one to pray with a repent heart and true thanksgiving and then listen to and experience the beautiful song God has intended.

Matthew 6:14
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Luke 7:48
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times