Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sprinter?


2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

What happened to spring? Most of the Midwest states have experienced a new phenomenon called "sprinter" (spring & winter.) We're wondering where the pleasant sixty-five degree temperatures have hidden. Where the sunshine went to rest. We've had a sun-kissed day here or there, but only a tantalizing taste. No full blown, run outside and dance in the breeze kind of day has arrived. The result—downhearted folks who need a boost of tulips blooming without snow laced over them.

When winter hangs on well into April, we become restless and discouraged. This is much like seasons of life, where darkness seems to hang over our heads. Maybe the tragedy of loss, discouragement from what seems like every side, or the results of sin drags me down. Or the melancholy feeling of defeat or failure. The good news is spring does finally come. Yesterday, I heard the birds twittering their welcome.

Through the darkness, God will encourage and refresh our hearts. His robins will sing a song of joy. Regardless of the situation I'm in, I have wonderful hope in Jesus. I may feel discouraged and alone, but I'm not. Jesus is with me, and he strengthens me. Pray for his encouragement and open the Bible to his verses of grace. He's the light in the darkness. The spring after winter.
Like the essence of spring, Jesus refreshes my soul.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Fear is a Liar!


Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:13:
For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

I stood on the platform wearing a harness attached to a long, heavy cord. All I had to do was step off, and fly through the air. Across the lake, my daughter, Hannah, and husband, Tim, waited for me to glide across the zip line and meet them on the other side. I'd cheered Tim on as he took the trip just moments before. But for some reason I couldn't take the leap. It wasn't like I'd never zipped. I'd taken this same line a year or so before. And I loved it. But this time, instead of embracing the excitement, fear gripped me. My anxiety peaked. I couldn't let go. Much to my disappointment, Hannah's friend and co-worker, Rachel, had to help me out of the harness. I climbed down the steps and trudged around the lake to meet my family.

I'd been defeated by fear, one of the most frustrating feelings in the world. Sad thing is, the fear wasn't real. I'd ridden the zip line before and had no problems at all. How many times do we create fear in our minds. When this happens the story gets bigger and bigger. Most of the time the very thing we fear is never realized. Have you heard the song Fear is a Liar? How the liar wants to stop us from moving forward. He wants us to doubt God. He wants us to be paralyzed in our tracks unable to follow God's lead. But guess what! God doesn't want to let that happen. If we turn our fears over to him through prayer, he will walk us through every single fear.

I flew to Hannah's last month and yes, I had some fear. Not so much of the flight itself, but more the whole layover, getting on a different plane idea. My fear came to fruition, I missed my flight from Philly to Greenville, through no fault of my own. I admit, I panicked, cried and wanted to crumple. But guess what. God had my hand. He led me to a lovely young lady who got me on another flight and even gave me a much needed hug.
God knew my fear and he lifted me up. Whatever you're afraid of, turn it over to God. He's just waiting for you to ask.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Fiction Book Review: Pelican Point, A Hope Harbor Novel by Irene Hannon


Book Description:
A crumbling lighthouse is not part of the inheritance Army doctor Ben Garrison expects to claim when he journeys to Hope Harbor. Fresh out of the service, he wants only to unload the tower of bricks, decompress from years of treating battlefield trauma, and prepare to launch his civilian career.

Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber has other ideas. She may not be a Hope Harbor native, but the small Oregon seaside town has become home--and she's determined to save the Pelican Point landmark.

Sparks fly as the two go head to head over the fate of the lighthouse. But when they start to cooperate, a different kind of fire ignites. And as they work together, might Hope Harbor heal the hearts of these two romance-wary souls?

My Review:
Charley, Floyd, and Gladys are back for another lovely story. If you've read the Hope Harbor novels, you'll remember the artist and taco stand owner Charley and the two seabirds, Floyd and Gladys. If you haven't, you'll want to meet them. Charley delivers his wisdom to the folks in town who are trying to figure out life. In this 4th book in the series, Ben comes to town to figure out what to do with the lighthouse his grandpa left him. In the mean time, Marci is working out her career and hoping the lighthouse remains a fixture of the town. As usual, Irene Hannon writes a delightful small town story. I have to admit this one is my favorite of this series because of the lighthouse. I also enjoyed how Irene wove the story of Ben's grandfather throughout the book. This is one of those books that leaves me with a satisfied feeling at the end. If you want a pleasant read, set on the coast of Oregon, this is the book for you. I received this book for free. 5 stars

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Can we Have a Happy Place?


Job 12:7-10
"But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
    or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
    or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
    and the breath of all mankind."

When was the last time you...
  • stopped to watch a monarch sip nectar from an azalea? 
  • spotted a yellow finch twitter about the purple thistle as it seeks out food? 
  • dipped your toes into the waves that carry in shells and sand?
  • rested in the shade of the maple or oak and enjoyed the comfort of the breeze?
  • gazed at the stars as they twinkled in the sky?
  • listened to the robin trill his song?

Every walk in the woods, hike up a trail, and visit to a beach shows me Jehovah— God the Creator of all things. Even the television shows and books that explain "how things work" in nature amaze and humble me before God.

Why? Because nature is my "happy place." Please don't take the term "happy place" lightly. In all serious, I love that I have a relationship with God that's enriched by his creation. A place where I commune with my Lord and Savior without the noise of this crazy world. The natural world he made with his hands reminds me of God's wisdom, and grace, but most of all his love.

Maybe your personal bond with God comes through music, or working outside. Maybe it's writing or playing with children. Maybe you sit in a quiet place and reflect. If you haven't found your connection, begin with prayer. Talk to God—ask him to show you your place of peace and joy. Read the Bible. Seek out God's wisdom in his word.
God created each of us to be in relationship with him. Because he loves us.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Alive? What Do You Mean He's Alive?


Luke 24:1-6
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! 


In mid-March, South Carolina beckoned me. I flew down to spend a few days with my youngest daughter. I left gray skies and the possibility of snow in Ohio. On Monday, Hannah and I headed to Falls Park. I love standing on Liberty Bridge that overlooks the Reedy River and waterfall, the centerpiece of the park. Along the walkways, tulips and pansies blew in the breeze. Redbuds bloomed and the grass had greened up. New LIFE surrounded us. And I loved it! There's something about the freshness of spring that reminds me of the new life I have in Jesus.

Early in the morning—on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and her friends walked to Jesus' tomb. She expected to find his body there. Instead she found hope. Amazing, refreshing, exciting new hope! I can't begin to imagine how Mary's mind must have reeled. "Alive? What do you mean he's alive?" She had to have asked. Two men in gleaming clothing stood before her and told her, "He is not here; he has risen!"

Just as Jesus said he would.

He died for our sins. God brought him back to life...for us! Yes-for all of us! Jesus loves us so much more than we can fathom.

On this Easter, thank God for his son and the beautiful grace covered path he paved for us to heaven.

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” John 20:18


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fiction Book Review: High Cotton (Bucklin Family Reunion Book 1) by Debby Mayne


Book Description:

Some families are filled with so much love they can’t help but drive each other crazy.

Shay Henke has mixed feelings about going to her family’s next reunion. On the one hand, she’ll get to see everyone in her mama's family—folks she loves unconditionally. On the other hand, she knows there’ll be more drama than you can shake a stick at.

The days leading up to the event bring one surprise after another. First Shay must deal with her sister-in-law’s deep, dark secret. Then she has to contend with the childish ways of her business-mogul twin cousins. And when her high school crush wants to be her date to the reunion . . . well, it may have been a dream come true for Shay’s teen self, but the woman she’s become doesn’t know what to make of this.

Shay’s contentment is challenged, and she’s determined to shake things up a bit. But will she find the excitement she’s looking for, or will Shay realize she prefers her quiet and predictable life? One thing is certain: Life in the Bucklin family is never boring. 

My Review:
The Bucklin family is full of quirky characters, including nosy aunts and meddling mamas. While the younger generation tries to figure life out, the older generation gives sage advice whether it's welcome or not. Shay seems to be at the center of everyone's problems and their triumphs, including her own. Although Debby Mayne is an excellent storyteller, I found the roles of the men and women in the families a little old fashioned. I did like the unconditional love the family had for each other, but felt the story lines were a bit dated. This just wasn't my cup of tea. I received this book for free.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Young Adult Fiction: Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Book & Movie)


Book Description:

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse. 


August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. 



My Thoughts:

My granddaughter and two of my daughter's have been encouraging me to read and watch Wonder. I finally got to watch the movie, then immediately wanted to read the book. I loved both! Yes the book is a little better. But I have to say the movie is fantastic. This story should be required reading for every middle schooler and their parents.

Some of the things I loved about this story:
  • The author promotes kindness
  • Auggie's parents love him and his sister unconditionally 
  • Auggie's parents take the responsibility they are given and make the best situation possible for their family 
  • The fifth graders are portrayed realistically, quirks and all 
  • Anyone running a school could take some cues from Mr. Tushman 
  • The various points of view add depth to the book 
  • This book/movie has no hidden agenda...just be kind
If you are like me and haven't gotten around to reading this wonder-filled book or seeing this inspirational movie, go for it. I wish I hadn't waited so long. Yet, I'm glad I can bring attention to it, now.

Thank you Dilly, Sara, and Hannah for sharing this story with me.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

He Breathed His Last Breath


Luke 23:44-46
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

My daughter and I drove to Sullivan's Island to visit the ocean. Being from Ohio, I don't get to listen to the crashing waves and feel the wind off the water often. When we arrived we set up our spot on the sand then walked toward the salty water. Along the way, we spotted a sandy graveyard of jellyfish. They rested all along one area of the beach. I researched later and found out this phenomenon tends to happen in the spring when the cold waves roll in. A natural process for the sea.

After Jesus dragged his cross to the top of the hill, the soldiers nailed his hands and feet to the wood, then dropped the cross into a hole in the ground. With a thud, they planted him there. With a thief on either side, Jesus waited to die. Unlike the jellyfish, this was not a natural process. He was murdered by the people who despised him. Sad as he was about it, he knew his Father's plan for his life and understood his place in the story of salvation. After humiliation, frustration, and pain, Jesus committed his spirit to God and breathed his last breath. He knew his role, he knew the sacrifice involved. Jesus died because he loves us. He died to set us free.
Isaiah 53:5
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Rainbow Row-Charleston, SC



My daughter, Hannah, and I visited Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina. Fourteen, mid-18th century homes towered over East Bay Street. The pastel colors created the quintessential essence of a charming city in the south. With the palms waving in the sea breeze, I felt like I was in a southern novel. What a gorgeous scene.

According to Free Tours by Foot, the homes were originally built in the 1740s. Merchants constructed them with a shop on the first floor and living quarters above. After the Civil War, the area was neglected and became run-down. Dorothy Porcher Legge, a pioneer of historic preservation in Charleston, with her husband purchased some of the homes in the 1930s, restored them, and painted them pink. Other buyers and restoration followed, resulting in a colorful array of homes.

I loved the pink and periwinkle. Wouldn't it be fun to have a street like Rainbow Row in every town and city? The beautiful homes brightened the street and my day.





Friday, March 16, 2018

For Us


John 19:16-17
Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).

In southern Ohio, we've had a taste of winter again before it blows out of here and welcomes spring. A few snow flurries sticking to the trees, then gone with the wind. Temperatures that dip enough to drag out the heavy coat, one more time. But we know at the end of this cold, grey season—spring arrives with color, brightness and hope. I love winter, but by this time in the season, I look forward to spring and the beauty that blooms and flutters.

With the thoughts of new life, I've been pondering the new life Jesus gives. But like winter, there was a dark time before the light. Jesus, accused of wrong doing, took up his cross and dragged it through the streets to the place where he knew he would die. The accusations flung at Jesus were false, yet he carried his cross. Literally, as he bled from a flogging, he carried his cross. Along with the heavy wooden burden, he carried our sins. Yours and mine. He carried the cross for us. Not for himself. He had no sin. But we do, and he understood he'd be the one sacrificed for us.

For us.

And that's just the beginning of the Easter story. Jesus sacrifice and pain.

For us.

How could he love us so much? I have a hard time comprehending his love. But Jesus does love us, enough to suffer this world, then die in our place. Praise God for his obedient and compassionate son.
Isaiah 53:7  He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Worn and Well Read


Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

At halftime of our granddaughter's basketball game, a couple of boys took the floor. They practiced their shots and dribbles with a well-worn basketball. The orange color had dulled to a brown and the black grooves smoothed out. As they shot we could tell they spent hours with the ball, not just from the condition of the ball, but by the way they handled themselves on the floor.

After Billy Graham passed away, I read some articles about him. In one, the writer talked about how Billy always left his Bible open. Frequently throughout the day, he'd look at his Bible to see what God had to say. I love that picture. A wise man of God continually consulting the book of truth. Like the basketball the boys wore down, Billy wore through the pages of the scripture. Obviously, he not only read the Bible but lived it.

We are so blessed to have God's word to guide us. Think about how much more difficult life, as a believer, would be if we didn't have a reference of truth to read and study. I may not understand every word, but I know the ones I do understand are God's. I want to be a follower who not only wears out my Bible but lives by the beautiful truth of God.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. -Psalm 119:105

Saturday, March 3, 2018

This Old Tent

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 5:1
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 

I never dreamed when I turned fifty how many parts of my body would begin to fall apart. I know I'm not alone in this. No matter the age, the body can go wonky. Most days my back hurts and my bone-to-bone knee cries for help. Sometimes my fibromyalgia is more than I can bear. To be honest, I get frustrated about the things I can't do anymore. I've cried over the changes to my body, been depressed when I can't keep up with my responsibilities, and yes, even felt sorry for myself. Pain stinks! The body's crumbling frustrates. But even in all the pain, I have good news.

Even though our bodies are wasting away, Jesus has a plan for us to receive new bodies. Did you hear that? Brand new bodies, with no pain, no falling apart, no wasting away. Through Jesus we have a path to heaven. Because he died for our sins and offers forgiveness to anyone who believes in him, accepts him, repents and is baptized, he will welcome us with open arms into heaven. And then, we'll have a brand new, perfect in every way, painless body. I don't know about you, but for me that's exciting. To imagine a life with no pain gives me hope.

I look forward to the day I meet Jesus, and this old tent I live in becomes new.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Ever Feel Not Good Enough

Philippians 4:13
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 

Deuteronomy 31:6-8
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Ever feel inadequate or afraid? I've been writing and posting devotions on my blog for more than seven years. Each time I put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, a feeling of incompetence sweeps over me. The dread of "not good enough" stymies my words. Then frustration sets in and my thoughts dissipate into a wisp of smoke and blow away. If inadequacy isn't enough, sometimes I'm afraid I'm not writing the words God wants me to. I feel like I am not listening close enough to him. Yet, I keep at it. I write and pray and pray and write. God knows my heart. He understands where I've been and knows where I'm going.

God knew Joshua, too. He understood that he'd need to give Joshua a lot of encouragement. If you read through the end of Deuteronomy and the beginning of the book of Joshua, you'll see that God tells Joshua over and over to be strong and courageous. God doesn't say this because he thinks Joshua is inadequate. He says it because he knows without doubt that Joshua is the man for the job. He's called him to replace Moses.

Our Lord invites us to work for him, he calls us to serve. He reminds us to work with our hands and make a living. And in all of those things, he equips us. God pours over us the tools we need. That's why I believe the words of Paul. " I can do all this through him who gives me strength." All this which Jesus encourages me to do.

My prayer is to be strong and courageous, no matter what my circumstances. To not hold back, but to move forward for Christ. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Be the Love

I Corinthians 13:8
Love never fails.

Matthew 22:37-39
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

The word love is mentioned more than 500 times in the New International Version of the Bible and more than 300 times in the King James. Plus, King James uses words like charity to speak of love. As I've studied and written through the "love" verses of 1 Corinthians 13, I'm brought to the one verse that ties a lovely bow on the most beautiful package. "Love never fails."

Paul is speaking of the love God has for his people, the love we have through Jesus, the love God wants us to have for one another. Matthew writes with authority from God that we are to love God and our neighbor. The question is often asked, who's my neighbor. With social media and the internet connecting people around the world, I chance a guess to say, whoever God sends across our path is our neighbor. That person may live across the street or on the other side of the world. Wherever they are, we need to pour love over them the way Paul poses in Corinthians.

Maybe if we show more love and less hate, there will be less senseless acts of violence. Maybe if we show more love and less hate, people will feel loved and pass it on. 
Maybe if we show more love and less hate, less bullying, abuse, and evil will be prevalent in the world. Where do we begin? At home, at work, on Facebook, in the classroom, and yes even in the church. God's love never fails. But sometimes we stink at showing his love to others. Look for the people God needs you to love.

Be observant. Be intentional. Be the love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fiction Book Review: Phoebe's Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher (series Nantucket Legacy)

Book Description:
Phoebe Starbuck has always taken care of her father--worrying enough for both of them, as he chases one whim after another. Now, for the first time, she's doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, she takes two gifts from her father, but desires only one: her great-grandmother's journal. The second gift? A "minder" in the form of cooper Matthew Macy, a man she loathes.

Phoebe soon discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary's journal and finds a secret that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially the captain and the cooper.

Sail away with expert navigator Suzanne Woods Fisher, who confidently explores the sometimes treacherous shores of Quaker life on the storied Nantucket Island.


My Review:
Phoebe's Light gave me a feeling of hope. Set in the sixteen and seventeen hundreds, the story goes back and forth between Phoebe and her great-grandmother. The stories have several parallels, which keeps the thread of the book running smoothly. Suzanne Woods Fisher did her homework when preparing to write this adventurous story. The details from Suzanne's research jumped off the pages. I enjoyed learning about the Quaker culture and the Puritan's reign in America. In the front of the book is a list of characters and a glossary. I thought I'd need to keep referring to the character list, but once I got into the story I had no trouble keeping the people straight. Most of the Quaker vocabulary is self-explanatory within the context of the story. Thee and thou are spoken by the characters, but the words flow with the text. Phoebe's Light was a refreshing read about courage, honesty, redemption, and love. I highly recommend Phoebe's story.

Love never fails


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Hope and Perseverence

1 Corinthians 13:7b
Love...always hopes, always perseveres.

Psalm 33:22
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.

From a young age, I planned to earn a college degree. What I didn't know—the process would take thirty years. Yet, I had a hope to accomplish what God laid on my heart. When Tim and I married, he took on that hope with me. We persevered together, along with our children, as I worked a full-time job, raised a family, and took classes. They all stuck with me until I accomplished my goal.

My granddaughter plays basketball. All season she's hoped to make her first game basket.
We took on that hope, cheering her on. On Saturday, she swished that ball through the basket. As a family we persevered with her as she practiced and worked toward the goal.

These examples of hope and perseverance may seem simple, but every step we took was dressed in love. Dilly and I had people who cared about us and supported us as we focused on our goals.

Jesus, the giver of hope, came to earth. He knew he'd be crucified— tortured for our sins. Yet because he loves us, he chose to persevere. His is the truest story of hope and perseverance. Jesus, hope in human flesh, rose from the grave to give anyone who follows him the hope of eternal life. With that, God sends the Holy Spirit to persevere with us through this life. I praise God for the Holy Spirit. He's with us every day.

Hebrews 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

He's our Protector

1 Corinthians 13:7a
Love...always protects, always trusts...

Proverbs 3:6-7
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.

When we're at home our dog, Tater, parks himself between us. He's our protector. Without a doubt, he'd place himself between me and an attacker. That's just who he is. He's a good dog who loves us. He trusts us, too. He knows he'll be fed, watered, and walked every
day. If my dog can show love through protection and trust, I can too. With my children, I've always been the mother bear. Protection mode, all the time. My husband loves me by watching out for me, and I love that. But what about the part, love always trusts? Yes, Tater trusts us to take care of him. But maybe there's more to loving and trusting.
I believe God wants us to not just trust the people we love, but to entrust them to him.
One of the most difficult things I've ever done is turn my loved ones' safety, health, and life over to the one who loves them the most. At times, as a mama bear my anxiety choked my ability to think straight. I felt helpless. No matter what I thought I could do, it wasn't enough. That's when I knew I had to look up and pray to God. The one I entrust my loved ones to needed to hear my pleas. He's the one I truly have faith in. It's not easy to let go and give our needs to God. But I know when I do, God gives me strength and comfort. He pours his peace over me. I'll admit, I still struggle with letting go and letting God. But that doesn't keep me from trusting in him and crying out.

Love always protects and trusts when we hand our cares and worries over to the one we believe can move a mountain. Even when the situation seems impossible, God cares and listens. The creator and worker of miracles loves you more than you and those you love even know. Trust the Lord with all your heart because he loves you.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Choice to Love

1 Corinthians 13:6
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

John 11:3-5
So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

I've been reading a novel where the main character flees from her abusive husband. Here's the kicker—the husband who physically, mentally, and emotionally abuses her, says he loves her. The story breaks my heart, but thanks to God, she's surrounded by friends who love her and help her. Even though this is fiction, the story resonates with truth. People say they love others, but is the love reflective of evil or God's truth? Does the "best friend" gossip behind her BFFs back? Maybe a sibling's anger over who-knows-what creates an uncomfortable situation. I could go on, but I think you see where I'm heading with this.

The love I have for my spouse, my children, my parents, my siblings, my friends, my church— must rejoice in truth. Just like Jesus loved his family and friends. In the book of John, we read about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus could have said, "sorry sisters, I can't do a thing to help out Lazarus." He could have left them to mourn their brother. But instead, Jesus went to them and healed his friend who he loved. He rejoiced in the truth that Lazarus' restored life brought glory to God.

Life brings choices. Decisions on how I treat the people I'm called to love. Do I belittle them to make myself look better? Do I yell at them? Do I ignore their needs? Or do I reach out to them as Jesus did, with love?

Choose to love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Shine like Stars...in Love

1 Corinthians 13:5
Love...does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Philippians 2:3-4
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
As a mom, I didn't always have the best discipline methods.
One time my three girls were doing what siblings sometimes do, arguing. Who knows what the squabble was about, probably something trivial, but it ended with name calling. Frustrated, I wanted to end the quarrel. So instead of telling them to stop, or sitting them down to discuss their behavior, I yelled out, "Let's just...call each other names." Well that stopped the fight, all right. All three of them busted out laughing...at me. So maybe it wasn't the best method, but it worked. You see, I hate name calling, especially among loved ones.

When we love someone like Jesus loves, there is no place for rudeness, selfishness, quick anger or grudges. Think about it, these are the people we love. We've chosen to love our spouses, our family, our friends, our church. I'm not just talking about the call to love all people. I'm talking about the love we have for those who are dear to us. When I think about Jesus and the love he has for me, I am humbled to my knees. He gave his life for me and you. Like Jesus, I aim to value the people I love.

Philippians 2:14-15 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky... 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Chionophile, Me?

My daughter sent me a meme recently that fit me like a snug mitten.

The photo was a person in a knit hat and winter coat.

The caption said:
CHIONOPHILE (n.)
lover of cold weather, snow.
a person who finds joy and peace of mind during snowy days.
I love winter. There I said it. I know many people think I'm crazy. But, I truly find peace and rest when the snow blankets the yard and piles up in my flower bed. I enjoy watching the flakes dance from the clouds. When the sun shines on them, they twinkle like Christmas lights.
We've had freezing temperatures in Ohio. The first time in probably three years. And yes, I'm excited. I don my purple boots, heavy socks, gloves and red scarf, and I'm delighted. I love winter clothes and dressing in layers.

But what I enjoy the most about winter is the quiet. We took a road trip to Marblehead, yesterday. Lake Erie is frozen. Ice piled high along the rocks and snow covered the ground. There were a few other people out enjoying the cold. But the one thing I noticed was the absolute quiet. No waves crashed on the rocks. People whispered. The wind stood still. We tossed small pieces of ice onto the frozen lake and we could hear them skitter.


Peace covered me. I stood amazed at God's creation.

I never want winter to hamper others or cause difficulty. But while I can, I'm enjoying the beauty and peace of winter.



Saturday, January 13, 2018

Love is Personal

1 Corinthians 13:4b
Love...does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

James 3:13-18
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

As I've considered what 1 Corinthians 13:14b means to me, I've thought about the times in my life when I've felt jealous. I'm not talking about when I was young and envied, Partridge Family actress, Susan Dey's flowing hair. Or the times I'd see a Jeep and wish it was mine. No, this is more personal. I'm talking about the times I've envied people I love. The ones who mean the world to me. Envying someone I don't know is one thing, but being jealous of someone I love is personal.

Jealousy or envy promote bitterness and selfishness. If you've ever envied a friend or family member, a switch flips and a protective mode pops up. You begin to boast about your life to cover up your flaw of jealousy. Sound familiar? It does to me. This is neither wise nor humble. In love, Jesus wants us to support each other. He calls us to rely on Godly wisdom and encourage each other. God's love results in peace.

This week I pray, I will promote peace through love.