Saturday, July 29, 2023

Let Him Fight

Exodus 14:13-14
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Of all the sports available to watch, I enjoy baseball the most. Tim and I and our family are big Reds fans. Growing up, I watched the Big Red Machine, and I remember the team through the years having some great seasons and some, let's just say, that didn't go as well. 

A few years ago, Tim talked about his desire to work at Great American Ballpark. In 2018, that dream came true. He's an usher in the sun/moon deck in the outfield. He often comes home with fun stories about the interesting fans he meets and what the team is up to. This year, we have a lot of rookies who are playing well and entertaining the fans with the hope of winning. Through his job, Tim has made friends with some fans who have caught home run balls. One of them snagged a Jake Fraley ball, and Jake signed it for him. When he showed it to Tim, Fraley had signed his name and written the verse, Exodus 14:14, on the ball.

When we searched out the verse, we found the familiar story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. God separated them from the Egyptians, who were chasing them by parting the sea and providing dry land for them to cross to safety. Moses told the Israelites to trust in God and let Him fight for them. Of course they grumbled, but finally they listened. They were a stubborn bunch.

That sounds too familiar to me. God has assured me He is fighting for me, and I know He is, yet fear and anxiety often sneak into the cracks. I might grumble and question, then finally I stop and listen. God stills me and assures me He has my back. Why do I question when there is no need? I pray my faith grows stronger as I seek to trust Him more.

Seek Him and trust in His care. 


Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Appreciate and Imagine

Every day I see the work of God's hands--
When I pause by my flowers and watch the bees collect pollen--
Then I see butterflies float on air and hear birds sing glorious melodies.

God has gifted us an incredible place to dwell.
The natural world and amazing creation leave me in awe.

If this world is this beautiful, imagine how awesome heaven will be.


Saturday, July 22, 2023

How Can I Help?

John 19:16-18
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). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

I have bionic knees. 

In 2014 and 2018, I had total knee replacement surgery, first my right and then my left. The cartilage had worn down to nothing and the bones beat against each other as I walked. As a matter of fact, the surgeon told Tim several fractures had developed in my bones. I'm beyond thankful that after several weeks of therapy, I walked again and felt pretty good. One thing I have to remind myself of the surgery is my scars. About 6-6 ½ inches, they run vertically along my knees. I used to hide them under long pants or capris, but this summer, because I don't tolerate heat well, I bought some knee-length shorts that reveal those lovely scars.

People often hide the physical scars of life. I didn't want to be reminded of my imperfections, even though I'm thankful for the new lease on life the surgeries gave me. I don't know if it's my age or my attitude, but I'm okay with people seeing the imperfect in me now.

Because of the scars Jesus bore, I've been made whole through Him. When I meet Him in heaven, I'll have no more scars. In the meantime, I want to use the physical and emotional scars I carry to help others. It's difficult to escape scars living on this earth. Whether I've suffered physical or emotional injuries, instead of wallowing in them, I can use those to help other people. The apostle Paul suffered through prison, Jesus' mother lived with the truth that her son would die for all of us, of course, Jesus bore the scars of the cross.

Whatever scars you carry, find a way to use your wounds to help others.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The List of Three

I'm practicing something that will help me be more appreciative.
Before I complain about something, I think of three things I'm thankful for.
By the time I finish the list of three, I've let go of what I was complaining about.

I don't know if it will work every time, but I've got to try.
Want to try it with me?

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
since as members of one body 
you were called to peace. And be thankful. -Colossians 3:15


Saturday, July 15, 2023

Out of the Darkness

Psalm 107:10-16

Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
    prisoners suffering in iron chains,
because they rebelled against God’s commands
    and despised the plans of the Most High.
So he subjected them to bitter labor;
    they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
    and broke away their chains.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he breaks down gates of bronze
    and cuts through bars of iron.

I've been set free!

After I accepted the job offer at the college library, the director gave me a tour of the offices and the book stacks. On the second floor, I saw the collection of books the students used, the ones I would add to over time. The first floor offered a research area, computers, and a circulation desk. In the backthe behind-the-scenes work took place. My new job was a desk job, different from when I worked with children at the elementary school. The majority of my work would be done on the computer, as I ordered and cataloged books. I spent a lot of time at my desk, and depending on my attitude, I occasionally felt chained, even though I could get up and move around whenever I needed to.

Thankfully, the chains of a desk are not like the shackles of despair or sin.

The psalmist writes about the chains of darkness and despair. I can't imagine being chained in utter darkness, yet that's what happens when I sin. My heart hurts if I hurt someone else. My legs feel heavy when I'm not walking with Jesus. The light dims when I'm not looking to the One who saved me from myself.

Jesus came to break the chains of sin and darkness and give us light and grace. God doesn't want His children to live in darkness or chains. He wants us to live in the freedom of forgiveness.

Seek Jesus and break the chains. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023


We all go through dark times, sadness, sorrow, grief, difficulties, 
but there is good news. 

We don't have to stay there. 
With God's help, we can grow through the dirt and bloom! 
Yes, bloom. 
Blossom into beautiful people who understand others' trials and difficulties. 
We can be the person who reaches out and comforts, 
the one who accepts the scars of others and loves them like Jesus.

Sometimes when you're in a dark place,
you think you've been buried,
but actually you've been planted...


Saturday, July 8, 2023

A Dog's Wisdom

James 3:17-18
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.

Let's make common sense more common.

When our dog, Rosie May, was a puppy, we took her for training. She learned to sit, lay down, stay off (well, kind of) and shake. She still doesn't get the concept of stay, but at least she sits when she needs to. The good thing about dogs is they have great instincts. She knows when I don't feel well, and she wants to comfort me. Rosie May loves kids and wants to friend them. She senses when someone is outside and goes to the windows to see if she needs to protect us. Dogs listen to their gut. They hear things we don't and respond accordingly. In their own way, dogs have an internal wisdom.

When I think of wisdom, I also consider common sense. The innate instinct to do the right thing. I love how James shares his understanding of wisdom. Wisdom comes from God and loves peace. It's considerate (thinks of others) submissive to God's guidance, merciful, filled with the fruit of the Spirit, fair and discerning, and sincere and truthful. If there is any doubt as to whether something is a wise choice, measure the wisdom against James 3:17. The wisdom of a believer comes from the Holy Spirit. When I make decisions, I want to check my judgement against the wisdom that comes from God.

While Rosie May has instincts, I have the Holy Spirit to guide me in decisions. His voice speaks to my heart to be a peace-loving person who is kind to others, submissive to God, and considerate of situations.

Seek God's wisdom and use His common sense as you navigate life.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Natural Beauty

This eastern tiger swallowtail swooped
around the purple coneflowers,
when I was watering plants the other day.

Imagine, the same God who created people, 
crafted this beautiful creature
who floats from flower to flower
and provides a way for pollen to move
where it needs to,
and we get to enjoy the show.

Thank you God for the beauty you've given us.

What natural beauty have you spotted lately?

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Garden Surprise!

Matthew 13: 44-46
The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

The columbine had finished blooming. 

The other day, I cut back the columbine, an early spring bloomer, and opened up a spot in the front of my garden. With the spent flowers gone, the pink and white flox shined and flowered to their fullest, but the best surprise, hidden under the other plants, was the sweet little pinkish-red begonia. I had no idea this little guy even existed. He hid under the other plants, yet his blossom pushed forth.

I admit, my heart did a little flip-flop of excitement when I spied the tiny thing. I'd thought about buying some begonias and planting them this year, but never did, so this little one brought me unexpected joy. I hope it grows and continues to bloom this summer.

Like my hidden treasure in the flower bed, the kingdom of heaven is a gift to us. I didn't buy it, but Jesus did. He's the one who buys the field, in the parable, so He can share the treasure with the people who love and believe in Him.

The same with the pearls. Jesus gave everything so that we could be part of the kingdom of heaven. I can't buy my way into salvation or heaven, but Jesus can and did. He traded His life for mine because He loves so much. When I spied the little begonia, I was reminded of Jesus' great love and His gift of eternal life. His gift is free for anyone who wants it.

Seek Jesus and receive His treasure.