Only You and God Know

Each heart knows its own bitterness; and no one else can share its joy. Proverbs 14:10

Have you ever made a phone call to someone with the most exciting news and once you told them, they just didn’t respond in the way you were hoping? You had so wanted them to share in your excitement and be happy too, and it was really disappointing when they didn’t!

Or have you ever been so upset over a situation, and yet, those closest to you didn’t seem to even notice or care? How frustrating and hurtful that can be! Or perhaps they truly might have been trying to be empathetic and caring, but yet, you knew they just didn’t get it. Doesn’t it sometimes feel as if no one truly understands how we feel?

This proverb, like so many, is a short, meaningful statement that gives us a truth about life. In reality, we can walk this journey of life together, even share similar experiences, but we can never truly know what another person feels. Our emotions, such as bitterness, despair, joy, and happiness are felt in the sanctuary of our hearts, and truly, they are ours alone. We may try to make our feelings known to others by our demeanor and our words, but they can’t truly know our hearts, and we can’t know theirs.

No matter how hard we try, we can’t begin to know the depth of their suffering or mental anguish, or their bitterness because of loss or disappointment. We can’t truly understand another’s shame, confusion, their insecurities, or their despair. We can share in their tears and often try to carry their pain as our own, but yet, we can’t fully know what their heart feels. We can share in another’s happiness, but we will never be able to fully experience their indescribable joy, contentment, hope, and peace.

An old American Indian proverb says, “Do not criticize another‘s walk until you have walked 2 miles in his moccasins.” And even then, we can’t really understand or know. Each individual heart is unique. Each person feels things differently. Each of us has to walk this journey of life alone with God – our joys and sorrows, hopes and fears are ours, even if they are somewhat like the feelings and experiences of others, and only God can know the depth of our emotions. Only He can truly understand and know.

Neither can anyone else fully understand our relationship with God – our trust and faith in Him, our love for Him, our contentment and peace we can experience in His presence, and the strength we can find in His Word. We can share these thoughts with others, but sometimes we can’t even put them into words ourselves.  

I love the Psalms in which David and others express all these emotions so well as they cry out to God in times of need, or joyfully praise His name with love and gratitude. They often echo my feelings and give me the words I need when I pray.

But whether we voice our feelings or keep them in our hearts, gratefully we can always have the confidence of knowing that our God knows and understands. We can always tell Him exactly what we are feeling. He knows anyway, but He longs to hear it from us and He desires that we come to Him.  

What a comfort to know that someone understands, especially the One who loves us most! “I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.” (Psalm 31: 7) 

*If you are reading these Daily Devotions in 2015, you may want to scroll forward to April 13 – 20th and come back to April 1st at a later date. These entries include Scripture passages about the Easter story. (In 2014, Easter Sunday was much later – on April 20th.)


Thank you, dear Lord, that you know our hearts. You know our pain, our fears, our deepest thoughts and emotions, and you also know our joy. Thank you for loving us through each and every situation and for being a constant source of strength and peace in our lives. Amen

Choose Whom You Will Serve

Choose you this day whom you will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

Isn’t it so difficult when you have to choose between 2 good things, or between 2 things when you know one is better for you, but the other one looks so much more enticing?

Kel still tells me that I scarred her for life in making decisions! When she was a little girl and we went shopping for clothes or toys, or to a restaurant, I would ask her to choose. She would make her choice, and I would say, “Now, think about it. This other one might be better because. .”  

Then she would pick a different one, and again, I would tell her the benefits of the first one. I wanted her to be satisfied with her choice and not regret that she hadn’t taken the other. I thought I was trying to teach her how to make wise decisions and really balance them out and choose which would be better for her. Sometimes such consideration is wise, but in this case, I really overdid it! What child could handle such over analysis!

Sometimes in life, you just have to choose, and some decisions are much more important than others. The one in this verse is such an example. It was true in Joshua’s day and just as true for us.

Remember Joshua?  He was the leader God chose to take over for Moses when the Israelites were being led into the Promised Land. God forbid Moses from doing so after all the time of leading them through the desert for 40 years, because Moses had disobeyed God. You also might remember that Joshua was in charge of the successful crossing of the Jordon River with the ark of the covenant – as the waters divided, they crossed, and landed on the banks of the Jordon. Then he led God’s people to conquer the land of Jericho as they encircled it with trumpets, and “the walls came tumbling down” (Such good stories from our childhood Sunday School classes!)

This verse above is found at the end of the book of Joshua before his death. He has been a strong leader, but he is nearing the end of his life. He gathers the people together and tells them that he’s not going to be with them much longer, and it’s up to them how they continue without him. They must make a choice – they must choose between the pagan gods they left behind in Egypt, or they must choose to continue following and serving the God who has brought them to this Promised Land.

He is asking them to choose to serve God with obedience and a worshipful heart. He is asking them to love Him as God has loved them, and to fix their hearts upon Him with gratitude and hope for their futures. Joshua in this verse reminds them that he and his family will continue to serve the one true God. The people replied, “We too will serve the Lord, because He is our God.” And Joshua made a covenant between God and the people so they would never forget.

God gave us free will to choose. He will never force Himself upon us. We all have to eventually make the choice – whether we are going to choose God, the One who loves us and gives us hope for the future, the One who can fill our hearts with His presence and grace. We must choose if we are going to believe upon His Son, and receive the gift of eternal life, and live our lives devoted to Him. We must decide if we will let His Spirit live in us to empower us to do things that we could never do on our own, such as love one another, live with joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control – to be the person God would have us be. A life lived for Him and with Him.

Or we can choose the darkness of this world with all the things that can take our hearts away from God – the ordinary, busy things that keep us from spending time with Him, and the pleasures that seem to lure us away from His goodness. Scripture tells us that none of these things will really bring us happiness and we will be constantly looking for something else to replace it.

This is one decision that needs to be weighed carefully and done so with all the wisdom and knowledge we can obtain. For the end result is too important! But just like the Israelites who often failed in their commitment with God, we too can fall short of our promises to Him.

Yet, He will always remain faithful to us if we seek His presence. On this day and every day may we choose Him. How grateful I am for the peace and joy His presence brings. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”


Our Heavenly Father, we are so thankful for your love, grace, and your presence in our lives. How humbling it is to know that the Creator of the Universe longs to know and love us. We pray for those whose hearts have not been opened to you. May they find their way to your saving grace. Amen

How Fleeting Life Is

Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. Psalm 39: 4 – 5

The morning had gotten off to a slow start and I was determined I was going to get some things done that I had put off forever! I had just gotten started when the phone rang and for the next hour and a hour, I did nothing but sit and talk to the boys.

Cole doesn’t have preschool on Friday mornings so we often get to have these little chats, which I so look forward to and enjoy! He is so funny and keeps us laughing! On this day we had a good one as he told me all about going with his mom to see the oldest lemur in the world at a museum near their home. He told me everything about her. Did you know her name is Cynthia, she is 33 years old, has 2 daughters, loves dried fruit, and that lemurs usually don’t live past 15 or 20 years? Ah, the things they teach me!

Then what a surprise to get to have the sweetest conversation with Miles too for about an hour! Sadly, he was home from school with strep throat and he called to tell us he was feeling better.

I can say with all sincerity that I didn’t even think about the things I needed to do as I sometimes do. None of it mattered and I took the time to enjoy this gift I had been given. The fact that they even desired to spend this time with their old grandmother was priceless!

Miles and I talked about so many things. As he has gotten older, I sometimes think “this Nan and Miles thing” we have had going on for the past 7 years is coming to an end. He is getting more and more interested in sports and golf and loves his granddad something fierce. I love that he does, but still, it is with a little sadness that I know he is growing up and developing new interests!

Thankfully, we share a love of history and reading. We have had some great conversations, and he is always asking me questions about my childhood and what my life was like growing up. I always try to give him a sense of who I and his granddad were before he came along, as well as give him details about his great grandparents’ lives. I think it’s important that we share these things with our kids and grandkids and gratefully, he always wants to know more.

We talked about school and he said he might want to be a pro basketball or soccer player someday, or maybe even an author. We  discussed different authors he likes and the different books he might like to read that were favorites of some of my students. Then he began telling me about one he read recently about time travel. We started talking about what period of time we would like to travel to if we could choose. I definitely said the pioneer days because I like the idea of having my family together under one roof and working together on the farm and in the garden, but he reminded me of the wild animals and Indian attacks we might have and all the conveniences I would have to do without.

He said he would definitely choose a future time to visit. Without thinking, I immediately said, “Not me. The future is too scary for me!” He was really puzzled that I would say such a thing.  He reminded me of all the things that might be invented and how much fun it would be.

I immediately realized for a little 7 year old boy who has the whole world ahead of him with all his hopes and dreams, the future looks bright and exciting, and I had to have just as much hope for him as he did. I quickly replied, “But think of all the things this grandmother wouldn’t know how to do. Even now, I don’t know how to use the I-pod and I-pad and how to download games and do all the things you already know! I would be lost with all the technology to come, and it would be pretty scary to not know how to operate all the things around me.” He replied that he would teach me. Oh, the hope of a child to think that I would still be with him far into the future!

It bothers me sometimes that I can’t live with more hope for their future. It truly does seem so uncertain and scary to me. The life that is unfolding before us seems so unfamiliar to the one I knew growing up. But my very wise daughter often reminds me that my parents and grandparents probably felt the same way as events unfolded in their world and changes came. So true, but still . . . These little boys have such an innocence, and they haven’t learned the ways of the world with all its darkness and evil.

To them, life is full of goodness and love. Yet, I am so grateful for this time of sweet innocence that they have and that they are able to live with such hope and anticipation for what is to come. I often have to remind myself that God is in control and with Him there is always hope for those of us who know Him. I have to remind myself to give Him all my fears and concerns. He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us and I know that to be true. I have experienced it numerous times, and I know He will be with these little boys as they grow and change and the future opens before them. Trust in Him I will. Life’s too short to spend it worrying about what might be, and I know He holds the future and these little boys in His hands.

Spending time with them on the phone this morning was precious time and nothing on my list couldn’t wait! As we grow older, I think we gain a little more wisdom about life and the limited number of days or years we have left that makes each one a little more bittersweet, but we also lose some of that sweet optimism and joy for the future.

Yet, we are reminded that we must enjoy each day, see each one as a gift, not be so concerned with what is to come, and just enjoy what is before us in the present. Even in doing so, we can’t deny that we have seen how fast the years go by, how quickly our kids and grandkids have grown up, and how fleeting and fragile life is. We can appreciate the time and enjoy it, but still, it seems like such a small window of time.

Even Scripture tells us this is true. David writes in this Psalm about life being but a breath and how quickly it goes by – just “a mere handbreadth”, the shortest of the natural measures, the distance between 4 fingers – the top of the thumb to the little finger – just a moment in time to God. He has made it so and has given us this gift of life, no matter how brief it may seem. It is His to give and we must look to Him and trust Him with it.

I have had the most wonderful life and am so grateful for all the blessings I have been given. I feel as if I have fully and deeply appreciated the people God has placed in my life and I have learned to enjoy the moments.

So my message to you and to me on this day is that sometimes we should just put aside all those things we need to do and just enjoy the sweet gifts God has to offer.


Dear God, our Creator and Sustainer of Life, we thank you for the gift of life, for the lives of those we hold dear, and for the hope of the eternal life to come with you. Thank you for time you have given us and for the days and years to come. Only you know their length and what will unfold before us. Help us to trust you with our futures and to know that you are always with us in our present. May we take advantage of each day and appreciate your goodness to us. Amen

The Gift of Encouragement

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10: 24 – 25

Can you think of a time when someone’s words to you were exactly what you needed to hear at the time? A time when their words were so powerful and so encouraging that it honestly made you look at yourself or your situation differently and you were able to move on with confidence?

I remember an incident at the beginning of my 5th grade year when I had been separated from all my friends and I was feeling disappointed and quite sad. My teacher, Mrs. Carson, held up a paper before the class that I had written and said, “Look at this nice handwriting! Look how neat this is! Now this is the way I want you to do your assignments!”

Whoa! Here I was – this shy, insecure, young girl, who felt like I was never noticed (except for my wild, curly, bright red hair which earned me the nickname “Firetruck”), and suddenly I saw myself differently! I was worthy of her attention and I knew right then, friends or not, it was going to be a great year!

What simple words of encouragement, but what a difference it made in my attitude! There have been many other experiences through the years when the words of a family member, a friend, or even a complete stranger has “spurred” me on and given me the courage to move on, try harder, and believe in myself. I am sure many of you can remember similar instances when someone’s reassuring words strengthened your heart. We all need words of encouragement more than we sometimes even realize!

I believe one of the greatest gifts we can give is the one of supporting and encouraging each other. What other gift could be more meaningful and more appreciated, but yet require so little of our time, effort, and resources!

It seems like such a simple thing to do, but yet it doesn’t come naturally or easily for some. Lifting each other’s spirits doesn’t just happen by chance. In fact, God must have known we would need instructions on how to do so.

Paul teaches us that it is an act of love that needs to be intentional, and that over time, we can offer it more easily as we begin to focus more on loving others than thinking about ourselves. Encouragement is more than just paying someone a passing compliment, or saying something to make an individual feel better about himself. It’s about encouraging others on to something greater as we lift their spirits with our love and compassion.

The Hebrew term that is used in Scripture for “encourage” means “to call to one’s side, to comfort, to console, to strengthen, to give courage”. With all the many issues we deal with in life such as illness, pain, discouragement, weariness, despair, fear, loneliness, confusion, insecurity, and hopelessness, we need each other to help us through the difficult times.

And even when life is good, we still need to know others care enough about us to urge us on. When encouraging others, we may need to give an understanding ear, a gentle touch or hug, a note, a phone call, a word of appreciation, or some act of kindness to let them know that we value them, we have confidence in them, and that we are pulling for them and cheering them on. When we strengthen others with our love, we are showing that we care about what they are experiencing or feeling, and we are trying to give them what they need at the time they need it most.

Encouraging others is a gracious and powerful way to minister to their needs. We are called to lovingly encourage one another, to strengthen, console, and touch each other’s lives.

Nowhere else is this gift needed more than in our walk of faith. We need to spur each other on to stand firm for Christ in a world that rejects and denies Him. We, as believers are often ridiculed for our faith and called naive and lacking in intelligence and wisdom. We are often seen as intolerant and narrow-minded.

When confronted with such attacks, we may even begin to question our beliefs, especially when those who make such claims are being treated by the rest of the world with such respect and high regard. Jesus, the Son of God, was rejected and despised. He understood that the day would come when we too would be rejected because of Him, and He knew we would need the love and support of fellow believers.

Scripture tells us that those times will increase as the “Day” for His return nears. We need to remind each other, our children, our grandchildren, and to pass down our heritage of faith to future generations, to stand firm in faith and not let the contempt of godless men and women lessen our beliefs in God – the One whose love gives us hope and assurance for all eternity.


Dear God, help us to be more sensitive and caring to those around us who may need encouragement. May we be that voice that can help lift their spirits and spur them on. May we encourage our fellow believers who may become discouraged to trust in you for strength, hope, and peace. Thank you for your presence and your grace in our lives. Amen

*If you are reading these Daily Devotions in 2015, you may want to scroll forward to April 13th tomorrow and read the entry on Palm Sunday, as well as through April 20th. These entries include Scripture passages about the Easter story. (In 2014, Easter Sunday was much later – on April 20th.)

The Eyes of the Lord

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding jobs there is! It can bring so much joy and pride as we watch our children grow and change.

But it can also be very difficult – always challenging, often overwhelming and stressful, and sometimes even scary. It’s a huge responsibility and takes much time, commitment, effort, and love along the way. The hardest part of all has to be just letting go and giving our kids the opportunity to become their own independent, individual selves, doing things their own way.

And when they do get ready to spread their wings, we just hope and pray that we have sufficiently provided them with the necessary confidence, guidance, ability, and strength to do it on their own.

It’s really scary to let them take their first steps, walk into the kindergarten class for the first time alone, drive off in a car, go off to college, or move into a place of their own. We may want to hold on to them and not let them go, or at least, we may want to go along with them to make sure they make the best decisions and to be there if they need us! But most of all, we hope they will seek our guidance and direction as they face new experiences!

But sometimes we just have to let go and let them do it on their own. When our kids were growing up and at school or with friends, how many times I must  have thought to myself: I wish I could just see if they are ok – to make sure they are safe, happy, being respected, or behaving well, or eating well, or being taught or treated the way I would want them to be, etc. etc. (And my kids would probably tell you that that hasn’t changed much with adulthood!) As parents we love our children and are concerned about them ALL the time – no matter their age! Just as our parents have always been about us!

I thought of how much God thinks of us, His children, in the same way. He wants us to have the confidence of knowing we can make it in this world, and if we call out to Him, He will always hear us and be near with His love and care. He wants to give us His guidance and strength – if we will only let Him.

But sometimes we are just like our children and we want to do it on our own and in our own way. We want to be in control and take matters into our own hands. And when, or if, we fail, just like a loving parent, He will be there to pick us up.

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” What a beautiful thought! Imagine Him looking around the earth from His throne in heaven, searching to see if one of us needs His help, or guidance, or strength. We can trust God’s sovereign care.

Psalm 121 :8 assures us that “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” If we have hearts that look to Him and rely on His presence, He will keep His eyes always on us, seeking to cover us with his love and grace. He is our heavenly Father, and He cares for His children who are committed to Him. What greater comfort could there be than to know He is always “looking” out for us!


Our most gracious and loving Father, thank you that you never tire of looking out for your children, get frustrated with us, or completely just let us go. Thank you that you are always there, caring for us and giving us what we need. Amen

His Promises

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these, He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1: 3 – 4

The calendar says that spring has arrived! And it seemed so with a few warmer days, but then came more cold weather and snow! The weather forecasters called it a “spring snow”, but I am so ready for the real thing!

With what anticipation and hope we wait for spring to arrive – with all its newness, its warmth, freshness, and beauty. What hope we have for it to brighten our days and refresh our spirits. What a promise for the time to come. We can depend on our amazing God to change the seasons and give us newness of life.

How many promises God has made to us throughout His WordThey are ours to claim if we will accept them. He promises to love us unconditionally and to cover us with His saving grace. He promises eternal life if we will accept His Son, Jesus Christ, and call upon His name.

He has made a covenant with us that if we will trust Him, He will grant us His serenity and peace in all situations for all time. He has promised to be with us and give us His strength and comfort whenever it is needed, for in His Word, He vows that His grace will be sufficient to supply all our needs. He has pledged His assurance that we will always be secure in His hands and that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

And He has promised to send His Spirit to abide in us, to give us a portion of His divine nature and essence so that we may be able to live a more righteous life and one filled with love and joy. A life dedicated to Him – away from the evil and darkness that surrounds us and threatens to fill our lives.

His love and grace will be sufficient. What goodness and peace we can find in His many blessings of life! If we will only honor and remember Him, love and serve Him, we will be linked to Him always “with cords of love.” (Hosea 11: 4)

What promises He gives us, and they are ours to keep if we will only put our trust in Him. He, like no other, is faithful, and how grateful we can be that His Word always stands. What newness of life He gives us each and every day with His presence. May we see even more evidence of His love for us as we get ready to enjoy the beauty of His world in spring!


Dear Lord, thank you for your faithfulness and love to us. Your promises have always proven trustworthy and true to your Word. There are no greater ones that could be given, nor no greater love could be ours than yours. Amen 

May We Be Remembered

Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. “They will be mine,” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” Malachi 3: 16 – 18

As I get older, I have to write notes to remind myself of things, and I have to do it the second I think of something, or it will be forgotten. Some things are just too important to forget such as today’s notes: mail a friend a birthday card, order Cole’s birthday present while I have a 20% off coupon, find a book Miles wants, get soccer trading cards to mail to our sponsor child, Kobby, in Ghana; get a prescription refilled, and clean out my closet.

Now if I can just keep up with my list! But did you know, could you ever imagine that God too may keep some notes from time to time – and even more astonishing, did you know they may be about YOU, about US? 

Malachi is one of those books in the Bible that we are probably not as familiar with as we are others, but I found the most incredible little passage tucked toward the end of this short book, and it includes the verses above.

Malachi was the last of the minor prophets. He wrote the last book recorded in the Old Testament, and his words are believed to be the last and final ones sent from God to His people for over 400 years until John the Baptist and Jesus, the Messiah, appeared, as prophesied in Malachi 3: 1: I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me, and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple.” (Doesn’t that just boggle your mind that it was prophesied over 400 years earlier and it came true? It does mine, but it shouldn’t! After all, it’s been a part of God’s plan since the beginning of time!)

Since the return of the Jews from their Babylonian exile, these people have neglected and disobeyed God, and Malachi prophesied to them that God would judge them for their wickedness, but He also promised that God would save those who remained righteous.

This first verse is about a remnant of those people who have remained faithful to Him and were meeting together to talk about their mighty God. This verse refers to them as “those who feared the Lord”, and in this text, “feared” means “in reverent awe and respect”. These faithful believers are meeting, talking, fellowshipping, and communing again and again over the things of God. They aren’t talking about the ordinary things of life, or of anything else. Their focus is on God alone and they are worshipping Him in awe and reverence.

And then notice the next words in this verse, “the Lord listened and heard, and a scroll of remembrance was written in his presence”. (From Scipture, it seems God may have several scrolls about His devoted followers! How I want my name on them, don’t you? )

Isn’t it amazing that God in all His glory and power who knows all things and will never forget anything wants to make some special notes about His people – things that He particularly wants to hold close? It seems it must be an ongoing process in which He weaves His thoughts together and meditates on the ways He wants to bless us with His love and grace.

And the next verse shows us even more about His pride and joy in those who love and honor Him, as Malachi writes, ” ‘They will be mine,’ says the Lord,” and He calls us His “treasured possessions” whom He will keep and spare”.

God will lovingly care for us for all time and give us eternal life with Him. We are His prized possessions whom He has personally acquired through our faith in Him and whom He carefully protects, loves, and has compassion on.

Just the thought of it should make us want to think of Him more, love Him more, and speak of Him more than ever before. After all, He is listening, and He may want some notes taken on His scroll of remembrance about us!


Dear God, we are so humbled by your interest in us, your love for us, and your compassion to keep us near to you. May we be found faithful and devoted to you, and may you hear us speaking your name and giving you much honor and glory for your love and grace to us. We pray, dear Lord, that in all the things we say and do, we might in some small way become worthy of our names being found on your scroll of remembrance. Amen

His Spirit is Our Constant Supply

 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25: 28

Having self control touches on almost every aspect of our lives from eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, and avoiding addictive behaviors to working harder, building better relationships, keeping our commitments, and being the individuals God would have us be.

For most of us, it is a constant struggle to do the things we know we need to do, or to keep away from behaviors that are not in our best interest. But the good news is that God’s Spirit within us can be our constant source and supply of self-control. His Spirit will give us the strength and resolve we need.

We all have our own personal list of ways we show a consistent lack of self-control. How many times have we said or done something, and then later wished we had thought before responding! Controlling our words, our anger, and our frustrations can sometimes be difficult.

Some individuals try to control the people in their lives with manipulation, intimidation, or fear. Others want to control the circumstances that surround them whether it be in their jobs or in their homes. These are destructive behaviors that keep us from having healthy relationships and happy lives.

And often some of us merely become too interested in or obsessed with someone or something in our lives, such as food, work, leisure time, shopping, sleep, sports, money, success, and the addictive behaviors that can interfere with us being able to live a happy and fulfilled life with those we love. How difficult it is to give up something that we think brings us satisfaction, comfort, or pleasure, even when we know it is not the best thing for us! And changing our behavior is not easy unless we have some clearly defined purpose or goal for doing so, and even then, it sometimes takes more strength than we have.

The word “self-control” derives its meaning from the word which means “strength” or one who holds himself in”. In biblical terms, it means “walking by the Spirit.”  

Many Scripture passages, especially the ones found in Proverbs, give us important lessons about life. This one does, as well, as we are reminded of our inability and need to control our own minds and bodies.

In this verse, the lack of self-control is compared to the broken walls of a city. During the time it was written, a city was protected by the walls surrounding it, and a collapsed wall would mean a breach in security. In the same way, if we have no self-restraint, we are like a city with no effective defense. We have no resistance or protection from those things that can harm or lessen the quality of our own lives and relationships.

When we give up our own control to any of the things in our lives, we become weak and undisciplined. We spend too much time and energy on them instead of on the things in life that are truly meaningful such as our families and our relationship with God. We miss out on so much joy, contentment, and peace by giving in to those things which don’t really fill the longings in our hearts. Sometimes these things seem to totally take over our lives and go beyond our control.

But the truth is that we need more than ourselves. We need to know that God can help us overcome whatever it is that keeps us from experiencing the fullness of life. We need His Spirit to strengthen our resolve, and guide us away from harmful behaviors that can change who we are and who we were meant to be.

We need Him “walking with us” to guide us, to quiet our anxious hearts, and to give us strength to live our lives in a way that would be pleasing to Him. May we have a constant supply of self control through His indwelling Spirit within us.


Our most gracious and loving God, our bodies and minds can become so weak, and we need your spirit walking with us, shoring us up, and keeping us strong in overcoming the things that prevent us from having the life you would have us live. Help us not to focus on ourselves but on you. For it is in your name we pray. Amen

More Than We Can Imagine

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3: 20 – 21

I have heard these statements many times and I’m sure you have too, but still we can’t wrap our minds around who our amazing God truly is: “God is not confined to the box of our imaginations.  God will not be defined or limited to our boundaries, our limits, and our parameters. God is bigger than our box.”

There are no words that can adequately express all of who our God is and all of what He can do. And no verse says it more beautifully than this one in Ephesians.  

It’s one of my favorites, and if you read it carefully, you realize that we so often overlook this very significant characteristic of God – and that is, that He has the power to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever ask or even imagine. We have a God who can and wants to do amazing things among us.

Billy Graham once said, “Heaven is full of answers to prayers that we have never prayed.” We tend to only expect so much of God and we don’t take all our cares, concerns, hurts, needs, or desires before Him. We need an expanded vision of who God is and what things He can accomplish in us and through us. There is no limit to His love, no boundaries to His grace, His mercy, His goodness, His compassion, and His faithfulness to us.

With no limits, can you even begin to imagine what he could do with our lives, our hearts, our love, our talents, our marriages, our families, our jobs, our futures, our challenges, our weaknesses, our problems, our heartache, and our disappointments if we turned them all over to Him?  It would be infinitely beyond all our expectations, beyond our hopes and dreams.  And all He asks is that we bring them to Him in faith, and let Him show us what He can do.

He is the power and strength we need, and we can have the confidence and assurance of knowing He can do amazing things not only in us, but through us. The power God uses is already in us – His very Spirit, His essence, and His divine being. He uses it to do things through us individually that we couldn’t possibly ever do on our own.

And through those things, others are able to see His glory in us and will hopefully want the love and grace He has to offer.  But His power is also intended to work among us collectively in His body of believers, referred to in this verse as the church. “Paul says God demonstrates His magnificence, His power, His awesome, radiant splendor through the church – through those of us who call Him our Savior and Lord.”  

He will fulfill His purpose in us and give us the grace and peace to know what is best and He will be with us as we travel this journey with Him. God longs to answer our prayers, to show a watching world how He can transform hearts and lives, and most of all, He longs to do great things among us and through us – more than we can ever imagine.

On this Lord’s Day, may we give Him honor, praise, and glory for His infinite love and boundless grace.    


Dear Lord, thank you that we can bring all our requests, large and small, to you and you will hear us. May we wake every morning with the prayer, “Lord, do something today that is above and beyond what we could ever imagine in our own lives and in our world for we know you have the power to do so”. Thank you for your spirit that lives in us and empowers us to do things that seem impossible. Be with us and our families as we seek to know you and love you more. Amen

When All Else Fails

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3: 17 – 18

NCAA March Madness is going strong in our family! It’s a family tradition. Each one of us has filled out our brackets and we eagerly anticipate who the winner will be! The games and scores are carefully monitored and the leader is announced at the end of each night’s games. We even have a motto and this year’s is in honor of Cole – “I Choose the Team That Won”  because he always goes for the team that wins, and he made it clear that he would complete his form when the games are over.

Miles even had a goal – he wanted to be the first one ever to choose the correct winners in all 36 games and receive the billion dollar prize. Of course, he announced that he knew that probably wouldn’t happen, but he could always hope! He also understands that we are challenging each other in fun. After watching football and basketball games all year, he understands how unpredictable the teams can be.

We try to make it fun, as the texts, emails, and phone calls go back and forth, we consider the upsets, and we try to guess who is going to come out on top. Of course, we are all secretly pulling for Miles, but hopefully if this little guy doesn’t win, he isn’t going to be too disappointed. And as for Cole, he’s already an instant winner too!

I can only imagine how the players feel. As I watch many of these games, I always feel so saddened for those who lose – the devastated looks on these young men’s faces, the tears that fall, the disappointment as they walk off the court – the loss of their hopes and dreams that this year they would be NUMBER 1, the best in the country, the NCAA champs for 2014! I especially feel for the seniors who won’t have the opportunity to try again. How they and their team would have been remembered throughout time and what sweet memories and pride they would have had. There will be a shadow that hangs over them throughout this tournament as they remember the disappointment, and for many, it may last much longer.

Disappointments are a part of life, aren’t they? When our hopes are not realized and our expectations or desires are not met, we feel disappointment. We experience a letdown, a sadness, and a longing for what we think should and could have been. When we set our hearts on people or circumstances, we are often left disappointed and heartbroken. If our true joy and satisfaction comes from either, we are in for a letdown, for both are always changing and neither is always dependable and trustworthy.

There is only One we can truly trust, and He is the only One who can take away the pain of our deepest disappointments. God wants us to put our faith in Him and in His goodness, even in the midst of our despair. He is the only One who can take the difficult things in our lives and work them together for good.

Our questions may never be answered, our circumstances may never improve over time, and the person or persons we have set our expectations and hopes on may not come through, but God will always be the strength of our hearts and He will give us the grace we need to carry on. When we have nothing else, we can know He is sufficient. When all else fails, we have Him.

The prophet, Habakkuk, came to know this same lesson. After God revealed to Him that Babylon was going to conquer and destroy His people and His land, he came to the conclusion that no matter the circumstances, he would find hope and joy in God. If he lost all he had – if the fig trees didn’t bud or there were no grapes on the vine, if the fields produced no crops, if his animals were gone, and if everything he had was destroyed, he knew he could still rejoice in God’s presence, His love, and His blessings yet to come.

May we too know, that when people disappoint us, or when circumstances don’t go as we wish, we will always have His presence with us. When all else fails around us, we can always rejoice in God, our Savior and Lord.


Dear God, thank you that you are our strength and our hope when the people and the circumstances in our lives let us down. Thank you for your love and grace to carry us through the difficult  times and for your promise that we can trust in you when all else fails. May we recognize that no matter what we are going through, we can always see your goodness and rejoice in your presence. Amen

Can We Trust Our Hearts?

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

Isn’t making an important decision sometimes so difficult? We all want to do what is best for us and for our families, but more importantly, we want to do what is best in God’s eyes. We may spend much time thinking about our situations, weighing our options, praying, seeking God’s will to guide us, and still we may find no obvious answers.

We may become impatient and feel as if we should just trust our instincts and do what our hearts tell us to do. After all, can’t we trust our hearts to know what is best for us?

Each one of us wants to believe that our own heart is good and that it holds the best part of who we are. The heart is the essence of our being and it gives us the capacity to love, to feel, to know deep inside. Yet, can we truly trust our hearts to know?

Scripture has made it very clear in this verse and in others that sadly we cannot, for our hearts are often deceitful, wicked, incurable, incapable of being understood, and particularly untrustworthy.

As we reflect on these thoughts, perhaps we too can find the wisdom in these truths. For how many different feelings can we have on the same subject on a given day? Our emotions fluctuate and depending on our moods, our thoughts can change.  Many of our experiences from the past or our own selfish desires can come into play in our heart feelings and decisions.

How many times after we have made a decision based on what we thought our hearts were telling us to do, but yet, later we questioned why we would have done so, and even deeply regretted it?

The truth is, our hearts are seriously flawed and broken by our own selfishness, our own deceit, and our own lies to ourselves. Through time and the experiences life has given us, our hearts have become hardened, rebellious, unreliable, and distrusting of others. We feel as if we have to protect ourselves and our hearts often lead us to do so. They pull us in directions that our desires want us to go or in the direction that we feel is best for us.

We can’t always depend on our hearts to know what is best. In fact, Scripture instructs us to lead our hearts, to take full responsibility for its condition and its direction. We need to keep our hearts on the right path, keep our motives pure, and centered on God.

In Jeremiah 17:10, we are told to let the Lord search our hearts and examine our minds to help us focus on His truth and His will. Only God can transform our hearts into ones that will seek His presence and lead us to make the right decisions. May we trust in Him to show us the way!


Our most gracious and loving God, you know the turmoil our hearts and minds often go through as we try to make life decisions. Fill our hearts with love for you, guide our paths in your truth and light, and lead us into the way we should go. Thank you for your presence in our lives and for your Word to remind us of your love and grace. Amen

A Good Name is Worth More Than Riches

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1

What’s in a name? There has probably been some point in our lives when we all have wished we had been given a different one! I admit I haven’t always loved Charlotte Genevieve, and if you are a parent, you may remember the process of trying to come up with the perfect name for your child. I have seen some pretty unusual ones lately, such as Satchel, Calico, Apple, Rumer, Dweezil, Hopper, and my all-time favorite, Diva Muffin! How would you like to have one of those? These are celebrity children, as you might have guessed!

Most of us truly care about our names and we should care even more about our “good name”.  Shouldn’t we want to do everything we can to preserve it?

But for some, it doesn’t seem to carry the same importance. They seem to be more concerned with notoriety, money, power, or whatever desires they may choose to pursue, regardless of the cost to their personal integrity.

Scripture tells us that A good name is to be esteemed and that it is worth more than great riches.” An old Japanese proverb says it another way, “Life is for one generation. A good name is forever.”  When we speak of having a good name, we are referring to the impressions that people associate with us and our character. And that is something we should care about and honor at any age!

As our kids were growing up, we always tried to impress upon them the importance of making good decisions and being able to have pride in themselves. We wanted them to understand that people would judge them by the kind of individuals they presented themselves to be. And if their good name happened to be “soiled” in some way, it would stay with them, possibly for the rest of their lives.

Of course, we let them know that we all make mistakes and sometimes we even disappoint ourselves. So we especially wanted them to understand that if they did “mess up” in some way, we would always be there with all the love and support we had to give. But one thing we could not do was fix their “good name” or reputation. Once it was ruined, it was ruined, and there was nothing we could do to fix it.

Scripture tells us that there is value in having integrity and a good reputation, and that it is something worth preserving. It is a cherished possession, one that is easier to keep than to regain once it is lost.

A good name goes before you and you aren’t having to constantly do something to earn it or prove yourself any further. You have shown yourself to be an honest, and upright individual, and you have proven that you have a core set of values. You are consistent and you live what you believe. You do what you say you will do. Other people honor and respect you for having good character and a good reputation. And if you have a good name, it tends to protect you when you’re not around to defend yourself.  

“To be esteemed with a good name is better than silver or gold!” It is definitely a prized possession and a gift that no amount of money can buy! And by having one, you honor God, our Creator and Sustainer of life.


Dear God, thank you for instilling in us the desire to strive to be individuals of integrity and worth. It would be so easy to adopt the ways of the world and be different people. But with your guidance and grace, we hope to live consistent lives dedicated to honoring you. Amen

We Have This Treasure

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4: 7

Isn’t it simply miraculous the way our bodies work? Every intricate detail is in sync with all the different organs and systems to work efficiently – most of the time! What an amazing creation God wove into being!

In this Scripture passage, Paul refers to our bodies as clay pots or jars. These earthen vessels were especially valuable in early civilizations so it was not unusual for Paul to use this comparison for the people of his day. Hopefully, we too know that our bodies are priceless treasures in God’s eyes and should be in our own. In this verse, Paul is referring to an even greater treasure that can be found deep within us, in the inner recesses of our hearts.

A clay pot or jar’s purpose is to be useful, to be filled and emptied for some constructive purpose. God longs to fill our pots, our vessels, the essence of our being with Him, for He made us to embody and display the loving life of Christ. But many of us have filled ours with useless things, and there seems little room left over for what truly matters. Some are full of thoughts of ourselves and our importance. Others are filled with greed, desire for success, or things of this world.

And sometimes our hearts and minds are filled to the brim with disappointment, anger, heartache, sadness, unfilled hopes and dreams, and the burdens of life. God longs to empty us of those burdens, and He desires that we come to Him to be filled with the goodness that He has to give. Sometimes we may feel too unworthy to do so and think “God would never accept and love someone like me”.

How untrue that is, for our God loves and desires for each of us to come to Him, no matter our condition or status. Even we can recognize that the greatest treasures can sometimes be found in the most ordinary of flawed pots. Often we love the old, worn containers with all their character and uniqueness, with their cracks and flaws, and we search for these special finds. Just like these vessels which have become worn over time are fragile and can be easily broken, so are our bodies and our spirits. We all have our flaws, our brokenness, and those “cracked”, hurtful places that life has given us.

God knows this and searches for ways to bring us to Him. He knows of our experiences and pain, and He longs to fill us with His love and the amazing power of His Spirit – even if our “vessels” are flawed and cracked. He will keep us in His loving care and use our lives for His glory “to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

Even a pot that has fissures, or cracks can allow light to be seen, and God can shine through the cracks and flaws of our lives to show His presence and glory, as well. He will fill us with His power and grace that can sustain us in difficult times, He will use us to encourage those around us, and He will fill our lives with peace and joy.

As a vessel of life, our bodies, just like the important clay pots, were made to be useful and to serve God with our love and kindness to others. In return, believing and serving Christ gives our lives meaning and purpose, and nothing can give us the joy and contentment He can.

Within the hearts of those who have faith in Jesus Christ, this priceless spiritual treasure can be found. It is a treasure that can give us strength, comfort, and peace in our present situations and hope and confidence for our futures. These earthly vessels, our bodies, will wear out and pass away, but this eternal treasure of the heart will remain. Our faith in Christ is secure, and we have His promise that we will live with Him throughout eternity.


Our most gracious and loving Father, we humbly thank you for the gift of life and for the gift of your Spirit living within us. May others see your presence and love shining in us and may they know that our strength, our peace, and our hope comes not from us, but from the power of your Spirit within us. May we use this treasure to honor and glorify your name by our love and kindness to others. Amen  

An Unbroken Covenant of Love

I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord. Hosea 2: 19 – 20

There have been many beautiful love stories told throughout history, but there is a much more beautiful one that has such a deeper meaning than just the usual story of romance and intrigue. It is found tucked within the pages of the book of Hosea in the Old Testament.

Hosea was a man of God, faithful and devoted to serving Him, and he is remembered for being one of the 12 minor prophets who tried to warn His people of what was to come. He lived in the northern kingdom of Israel during the 8th century when her people were once again turning their backs on God by worshipping false gods, living immoral lives, and disobeying Him.

It is Hosea’s own story of how he came to be with the woman he loved so deeply – regardless of the cost to him personally. But even more, it is God’s story to His people during this time and to us of how much he loves us so completely and unconditionally. Most assuredly, He used this love story of Hosea and Gomer to touch our hearts and convey this message even more.

While speaking to Hosea, the Lord told him to take a wife – not just any wife, but an adulterous one from among His people. Hosea must have felt his heart drawn to Gomer for they soon married and she had 3 children. We can only imagine how he must have hoped that he could change her with his love and that she would become a devoted, loving wife and mother. But that was not to be.

At some point, she must have become restless and unhappy, or maybe she felt herself unworthy to be the wife of a man of God, or perhaps she felt shame for conceiving children while being unfaithful, but whatever the reason, she returned to a life of prostitution.

Perhaps Hosea had been unsure of her all during their marriage and wondered if she had been unfaithful to him, and even if the children were his. How his heart must have ached as her absences from home became more and more frequent and prolonged, and how Hosea must have grieved as he waited for her return. How often he must have gone in search of her on the streets, found her with someone else and brought her back home. How he must have begged her through tears to think of the children and to be faithful to their family. How many times he must have taken her back in loving forgiveness, only for her to betray him again.

Eventually, it must have become too much for Gomer, and she left and did not return. With all the pain she had caused, surely this would have been enough for Hosea to want to forget her and not forgive her for what she had done to his heart and soul, and to his life. But Hosea could not and would not forget her.

In some way, he must have learned that she was living with another man who later deserted her, and he must have felt desperate to know what had become of the woman he had loved so dearly. He longed to bring her home. How he must have worried about her well-being. Even though he must have felt so betrayed, saddened, disappointed, embarrassed, and even angry, he desperately missed her and cared deeply about her.

He raised the children, ministered to His people, and tried to warn them of the consequences of their sin, but he never forgot Gomer nor did he stop loving her. Surely only one who knows the love and forgiveness of God could love this completely and unconditionally.

After a time (we have no idea how long), how relieved he must have been when God came to him again with the message, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress.” (Hosea 3: 1). 

God must have led him to her, for he found Gomer on the open trade sex market – ragged, dirty, torn, sick, disheveled, and destitute. He bought her at the price of 30 shekels, and brought her home. According to the law at the time, he had every legal right to divorce her or have her killed, but instead, he bought her with every last penny he had and all of the barley he owned. She had betrayed him, torn his family apart, shamed and humiliated him, but yet he loved her still. He could and would not give up on her.

He made a vow that he would always love and care for her, but he asked these things of her in return – and that was that she would be faithful to him, that she would let him love her exclusively, and that she would depend on him for all her needs. He asked that he alone would be her source of security and love.

We aren’t told the end of their story, but we can only hope that with time, their marriage was restored and that Hosea’s forgiving love changed her heart. What a story it is – and one of such love and forgiveness!

Hosea’s life with Gomer is symbolic of God’s relationship with the people of Israel. They, like Gomer, had rejected Him and been unfaithful to their commitment to honor and serve Him. More than any other prophet, Hosea conveys not only God’s anger with His people, His sadness, and weariness at their continual disobedience in the midst of His divine love and care, His willingness to let them suffer the consequences of their actions, but also, His patient, loving desire to restore them to Him with His love and grace.

Hosea 2: 2 – 23 is a powerful, moving metaphor of both the relationships between Hosea and Gomer, and God and His people. Just as Hosea made a vow to Gomer to love her if she would be faithful to him, God made the same covenant to the people of Israel, and He has certainly kept His promise to them.

Yet, many believe their complete restoration is yet to come. How many times I have thought of how this small nation placed in the midst of so much hatred and violence has been able to survive as long as it has. Surely it is by His love and grace. How patient God is with His people, as He waits for their hearts to be changed and for them to accept His Son. Scripture promises this will come.

The story of Hosea not only mirrors God’s constant love, forgiveness, and devotion to His people then, but also to us today, as well. Gomer didn’t deserve Hosea’s love or forgiveness, and neither did the people of Israel, and neither do we.

How often we fail to honor God and go outside our relationship with Him to seek other things to fill our longings. But His desire is to always bring us back to Him – the price has already been paid for us on the cross. And if we will return to Him, love Him and no other, and serve Him faithfully, He will restore us with His forgiveness and the assurance of His love and blessings, just as Hosea paid the price for Gomer and brought her back to him.

God’s covenant and promises to us will always be secure. He will give us His unconditional, redemptive, all consuming love and compassion forever, for His vow to us is for all eternity. “If we will only acknowledge Him, as surely as the sun rises, He will appear to us. He will come to us like the winter and spring rains that water the earth.” (Hosea 6: 3)

*(If you haven’t read Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers, you should do so. It is an incredible book inspired by the story of Hosea and Gomer, and it will touch your heart. What a message you will receive!)


Dear God, what a beautiful story of your amazing love and grace. Thank you for always seeking us, forgiving us, redeeming us, loving us, and bringing us back to you when we know we don’t deserve it. May we be just as forgiving and loving to those around us, and not judgmental or condemning. Thank you for your compassion on us and for your faithfulness to us. We give you all honor and praise. Amen

If You Must Boast, Boast of Him

 This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 9: 23 – 24

If you could choose the one talent you would most like God to endow you with on this day, what would it be? So many choices. . . I don’t know if I could decide!

I would love to be able to paint – to pick up a brush and blend colors to make a vase full of flowers or a scene in nature. How amazing that would be! But then, how unbelievable would it be if I could sing and touch people’s hearts and spirits with my voice? Also, it would be really nice to be able to cook anything and everything, and it taste wonderful! I know Bob would like that! Hhmm . . . Writing a children’s book for my grandsons would be incredible too! The stories would be about all the things they are interested in and would include them as the main characters. How delighted they would be with such a book! Oh, but then, I do wish I could have beautiful gardens full of flowers and vegetables and enjoy the fruits of my labor! I could go on and on! We know that God has given each of us talents of our own, but some of us could always use another one!

We all like knowing we have certain abilities or skills – not so much for the joy of bragging to others, but for us to know that we can do something really well and for which we can be proud of. But, according to Scripture, we have something far greater and of much more importance than any of the talents we could be given. For we can boast about knowing God and His love and grace.

In this verse in Jeremiah, we are given a clear message about giving God the glory and not basking in our own. Jeremiah reminds us that the greatest “boast” we can have is knowing we have His presence in our lives and that we can say, “He understands and knows me!” What a thought!

We know how God feels about prideful hearts, and He  is very clear about expecting and wanting us to be humble beings. (Interestingly, humble and humbling are used 56 times, and humility is used 7 in Scripture).

Jeremiah is very specific in telling us that there are three things we are not to boast about, and the first is our own wisdom. So many individuals think they can give us so much more insight into our world, into the nature of the universe, and into the existence or non-existence of God, than we ourselves could ever know. Teachers, professors, scientists, politicians, astrologers, ministers, authors, and others tell us about the real “truths”, as they boast about their superior intelligence and wisdom.

Imagine that we would even think of letting the words of mere humans be treated equal to or above that of our Creator and His Word! He also warns us about boasting of our strength or power. Some use their political strength to sway people to believe what they perceive to be true, and often it goes against what is in our best interests or against our moral beliefs. Some look upon famous or powerful people with too much importance and even let them guide or dictate their thinking. And last of all, we are told not to boast about having riches. Amazingly, we often tend to equate wealth with wisdom, and we let those with power and wealth be the voice of reason and authority.

In truth, neither wisdom, strength, nor wealth makes one of us better than another, for we are all equal in God’s eyes. If we do gain such blessings, we know it is not because of our own doing, but because God has given them to us, and we should give Him the glory and honor.

Then there are others who just boast for the sake of bragging. They are trying to impress people, to make themselves feel more important, to create envy, or to influence how others think and feel. Yet, in doing so, they are trying to exalt themselves above God. Scripture makes it very clear that boasting and pride are not pleasing to God, for individuals who do so are moving Him out of their lives and replacing Him with themselves.

I love what Corrie Ten Boom, the Dutch Christian, who helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust, wrote about being prideful: “People would thank me so much and it used to worry me because I didn’t want to get a big head. So I began to collect these compliments like flowers. ‘Thank you’, I’d say. ‘Thank you. Thank you.’ 

Then at the end of the day, I’d kneel down and say, ‘Here you are, Jesus. They’re all yours!’ ”  

What a beautiful example of humility. May we save our highest praise for Him.


Dear God, how grateful we are that you know and understand us. May we always recognize from where our blessings come and give you the honor, glory, and praise. Help us to have a humble heart full of kindness, justice, and righteousness dedicated to serving you. Amen

Life Eternal Can Be Ours

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:  3

What a beautiful Sunday morning – even if the skies are cloudy and the rain is coming! “For this is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” 

Whether you worship Him in church or spend some time alone resting in Him, may He speak to your heart and fill you with His presence. May we truly seek to know more about our God, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

This verse in John could sum up His entire Word and our Christian walk of faith. For in the Old Testament, we learn how difficult and impossible it was for God’s people to follow every letter of the law. He knew a Savior would be needed to redeem us, so God sent His Son.

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”  For it is only through the Son that we truly know and see God for who He is. And to truly know God, we must know the Son whom He sent to save the world through His life, death, and resurrection.

But do we really know Him, this God of ours and His Son, Jesus Christ? For there is an essential and marked distinction between knowing Him and knowing about Him. He wants us to spend time with Him so we can get to know Him for the God He is. We can read and learn about Him, and try to understand His essence and His loving nature, but until we experience His presence, there is no way we can truly know and understand our loving God.

Truly knowing Him requires a personal experience with Him – acknowledging that He is God, calling out to Him, depending on Him, trusting in Him and believing in His love and care. For He loved us enough to send His Son to save us and to transform our hearts and our lives. Such a God, such a Savior, deserves our time and devotion. Truly knowing Him requires our hearts to be open to Him.

I once read an analogy about truly knowing God by thinking of the illustration of a vending machine in which the coin has been put in the slot but has failed to drop. In the same manner, the knowledge of the Gospel has been “seeded” into the minds of many, but sometimes it lodges there and fails to drop into the heart. Without the heart, we can’t feel His love and experience His grace. But once we do, the more we learn about God, the more we want to know, the more we want to feel His presence, to worship and praise Him, to know Him personally, and the more we want to tell others about Him so they too can know and experience the fullness of life in Him.

What a gift of love, sacrifice, and grace. We often praise God for the gift of life, for the beauty of His creations, and for His goodness to us, but may we never forget to give Him praise for His Son. For in Him, life eternal can be ours.


Dear God, may we always honor you for all the blessings of life, but especially may we praise your name for the gift of your Son who came to earth to glorify you. May we truly experience your redeeming love and grace through knowing you, the only true God, and your Son, Jesus Christ. In your most Holy name. Amen

The Secret of Being Content

I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. . . I am not saying this because I am in need, 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, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4: 10 – 13

Where do you think you would rate yourself on a “Satisfaction/Contentment in Life” scale of 1 – 10? Do you find that you are usually a happy, contented, grateful person who enjoys life and all it has to offer, and you would give yourself a pretty high score? Or would you describe yourself more dissatisfied, disillusioned, and disappointed with life in general, and you would rate yourself much lower?

When I was teaching, some of my middle school students could get in some pretty “unpleasant moods” over some incident that had happened at home or at school, or over something that was going on in their lives at the time. In my little “pep talk” to help them deal with the situation and their emotions, I would listen and tell them that I understood what they were feeling. But I also reminded them that sometimes they really did have a choice. They could choose to be happy, or they could choose to be miserable. I would remind them that yes, sometimes circumstances can make us sad, upset, and unhappy, but it is how we choose to handle them that makes a difference. And often, we even let those feelings carry over long after the situation has passed, and then it matters even more how we deal with them.

Do we tend to dwell on the situation and see only the negative and make ourselves miserable and in turn make everyone around us miserable, or do we pick ourselves up, go on, and not miss out on the good things to come? Obviously some situations are much more difficult and painful “to get over”, and I tried to be sensitive to their circumstances, but I truly wanted them to think through how their mood was affecting their actions. It often came out as anger or frustration towards others.

This might be true of us as adults, as well. Perhaps we should examine our attitudes and actions, and realize that sometimes we really do have a choice. Being content is a state of mind, an attitude, and a conscious effort to see the best in ourselves and in others, instead of the worst.

We know how our emotions can sometimes get the best of us! At times we may just need to know that someone is listening or cares. And who better to tell our feelings to than to our loving God Himself. He longs to know what is on our hearts. We can tell Him about every need we have!

But as for real need – very few of us have experienced it. Most of us have all our needs, wants, and desires met beyond anything people in underprivileged homes and countries could ever imagine. For the most part, we know plenty – maybe not in terms of what others might have and what true monetary wealth could bring us. But plenty we have, and not just money, but wealth of family, friends, warmth, food, protection, and God’s love for us.

And even with all those wonderful blessings, we sometimes don’t know how to find true contentment. We can fret over the most inconsequential things and never seem really satisfied with our lives. Maybe we need a new attitude!

This verse from Philippians was written by Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome to thank the church of Philippi for their love and concern. Sick, weakened, and in prison after suffering much pain and persecution, he knows what it is to be in need, and he has also known what it is to have plenty from his earlier years. But having riches or power, poverty or illness – having much or little was of little concern to him. He had learned what enabled him to do powerful things for God and to walk through the pains and miseries of life with a heart of gratitude and joy.

He teaches that it all comes down to attitude. It’s not about putting on a brave face, or simply trying to convince ourselves to move boldly forward through the hardships of life. It’s about trusting in God and letting Him give us strength. It’s about making a conscious effort to depend on Him to give us the ability to rise above our circumstances and to make the choice to live in contentment and joy with Christ. It’s about truly believing that I can do everything through Him.”

Only then can we live the life God desires for us to have. Only then can we ever hope to score a perfect 10!


Dear Lord, thank you for the blessings of life and for your presence in it. Help us to know that if we look to you, we can have the strength, peace, and contentment that you can give us no matter what situations we may face. But especially may we realize that we can do all things through you. Amen

Though You Have Not Seen, You Believe


Though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1: 8 – 9

At 5:10 A M yesterday morning, we received a text message. I immediately reached for my phone, hoping it was the news that we had been waiting for, and it was.

The brother of a close friend had gone into surgery at 4 A M and was about to receive an amazing gift of life – a new liver. He and his family had been waiting for months. And the last few days had been especially difficult as the need became greater, and he began to go through organ failure.

I could only imagine this family’s absolute relief and gratitude, concern at what might lie ahead, the hope of renewed strength and health for their brother, and the inevitable sadness of a life lost to save his. We had often talked about what this would mean – joy for one family and deep sorrow for the other. This brought much anguish for our friends, but they remained steadfast in their trust in God.

In His sovereignty, these two lives became connected in a way we will never understand. Why one was given life and the other wasn’t, is not for us to know. But they realized they could accept this organ as the gift it is and be grateful, and even in their sadness, this is how they chose to see it.

I soon responded with much love for them, thankfulness at their news, and the promise of many prayers – prayers for the brother and his entire family, but also thoughts and prayers for the other family, as well. My heart ached for their pain and despair, and I longed for Him to give them His peace. I pray they can feel comfort in knowing others were given a second chance at life because of their loved one.

Bob and I knew there would be no more sleep. We sat talking about the event unfolding in these families’ lives as we watched the darkness of morning turn to light. The most magnificent sunrise appeared slowly and surely before us over the ocean with the most spectacular array of colors. Words are simply inadequate to describe its beauty and the emotions we experienced, for we felt and saw God’s presence in the most powerful way.

I was moved to tears as I watched and prayed, thanking God for the beauty and the miracle before us, and for the knowledge, wisdom, and ability He has given man to be able to perform another miracle, giving the precious gift of life. How can anyone even begin to doubt His presence in our world and in our lives, when He is all around us for all to see!

I began to think about our own experiences with the possibility and hope of organ transplants. In a sense, I understood our friends’ experience and the painful, agonizing wait, for one of our family members went through a similar situation several years ago, and our story ended so differently. Time ran out before a new liver became available, and we were left with the deep disappointment, sadness, and grief.

Also, I know in my heart, that this could be our family going through this ordeal at this time. It’s hard not to put ourselves into someone else’s situation when similar circumstances arise. This could have been my husband, Bob, waiting for a heart.

As painful as that is for me to imagine, I know it could be our reality. He was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy 15 years ago. (a condition in which the heart becomes enlarged and weakened over time), and because of the weakened pumping of his heart, we were told that he might have to undergo a heart transplant at some point in the future. Thankfully, by the grace of God, with medication and an implanted defibrillator, he is doing well, but the possibility is always in the back of our minds. Hopefully, that day will never come, but I understand fully the value and sacrifice of such a gift from another.

I also think I may understand in some small way, the sacrifice of a living donor. What a loving, selfless act of kindness for someone to do. I am reminded of a former student, who in the past year, donated her bone marrow to an unknown recipient. A young wife and the mother of a child under the age of 1, I will never forget her gracious willingness to give an individual another chance at life.

I was so humbled by her decision to do so. I  always knew she was an incredible young woman, but I never knew how much until she gave this amazing gift to another. The transplant was a success and her recipient is living a full life because of her compassion and desire to give the greatest gift she could give.

I, too, am an organ donor, but with age that may become less and less of a possibility. What an amazing gift it would be to give, but I know this rests in God’s hands.

One thing we never have to concern ourselves with in any of these situations, is whether God is present in them, for it is only through His power and grace, that it is even possible. He is present with us and is present in our circumstances. “He knows the plans He has for us – plans to give us hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29: 11

What more proof could we possibly need? Though I have not seen Him, I believe in Him and I love Him for his goodness, strength, comfort, love, healing, peace, and hope that only He can give. I know from experience that He will fill our hearts with an “inexpressible and glorious joy” if we trust in Him. We can have His assurance that our faith will carry us through the difficulties of life if we will hold on to Him.

Even when we can’t see Him, we can know He is with us. We can believe in Him, love Him, and find hope in His everlasting love. I saw His glory and His presence in the sunrise and I know it to be true!


Our most gracious and loving Lord, thank you for your love and saving grace, and for the strength to deal with the storms of life that come our way. May our faith and love for you grow as we experience the blessings of your presence. Thank you for the glorious ways you make your presence known and for the gift of life. Be with this individual who has been given a 2nd chance at life and both families who are going through these difficult times. Fill them with your peace and your loving comfort. Amen

Be on Guard

Jesus said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12: 15

Don’t we all get pulled in by the “things” we think we must absolutely have? We are constantly being reminded that having more means we are more important, we will be more accepted, and much more content. This has become our way of life and definitely a part of our culture. We accumulate all these things we don’t really need or sometimes even necessarily want, but we see others have them, and we think we must too! We often realize how meaningless it can be, but yet we are ingrained with the belief that having more will make us happier.

Yet, this is not the life God desires for us, for we were not created to have “things” satisfy or fulfill our lives. An “abundance of possessions” does not bring contentment or happiness. These things will only bring temporary pleasures and as we all have seen, once we have them, we easily move on to the next “dream purchase”. Having more never seems to meet our needs or desires.

Yet. it seems to have become a lifelong obsession with most of us which we know will mean little when we look back over our lives. Out of all the regrets we might have, having wished we had obtained more possessions probably won’t be one of them. We will most likely wish we had spent more time with our family and friends, invested our time more wisely, given more to others, and made God a more significant part of our lives.

Wealth in this life goes beyond money or possessions. We have far greater “riches” of more value right before us and sometimes we don’t even realize it –  the love of others, time spent with them, the beauty of our world, the satisfaction and contentment we can find in our accomplishments and in helping others, and in spending time in God’s presence.

Jesus knew we would be faced with the challenges of this world and he warns us in this verse to “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.”  With such a strong warning, we realize that He knew coveting would be a constant struggle that we must work to overcome. The constant grasping for more to fulfill our needs will only bring discontent and a longing for more. We become so preoccupied with our wants instead of our blessings and we fail to appreciate the simple pleasures of life. How mutch rest and peace we miss in our endless search for more.

God desires us to find joy in the loving families and friends He has placed in our lives, and in our experiences in which we invest our mental and emotional energies. He wants us to focus on using the talents He has given us to enrich our lives. He wants so much more for us than what we want for ourselves.

We waste so much time and energy wanting, searching, and purchasing those “things” that are so meaningless. How much more fulfilling life could be if we would only fill up our hearts with a genuine and sincere love for Him and a desire to serve Him and others. What greater blessings we would receive!


Dear God, how selfish and materialistic we have become. We focus so much of our lives on things and the pleasures they might bring. But we know from experience, that the joy we get from them is temporary and fleeting. Help us to truly focus on you and the blessings you desire to give us – wealth of much greater worth than possessions or money. Amen

Show Respect to Everyone

Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. 1 Peter 2: 17

We all want to be respected and appreciated. We desire and need to be valued, honored, and treated with dignity. When we respect someone, we show we care about how we make them feel and we want them to know of our deep regard for them. In showing such compassion to others, we are following God’s command to us. For in showing respect, we are offering His love and grace to others.

I once heard it referred to as “playing the Grace Card”. Isn’t that the most beautiful way to think of it – to treat someone in such a way who doesn’t deserve it, but we do it anyway? Some people may not be worthy of our honor or consideration, but by treating them with kindness and respect, we will see the amazing power that grace can have. The gift of  forgiveness, gentleness, loving care, and honor that God desires us to give each other can make a difference in any and all relationships. It can soothe the anger, calm the storm, and change the heart.

We live in such a hectic, self-absorbed, and preoccupied society. People have become so cynical and rude, and common courtesy is sometimes hard to find. There even seems that an irreverent tone of sarcasm and put down has become the attitude of the day! These attitudes show a genuine lack of respect and disregard for others.

Scripture teaches that we are to use the Golden Rule and treat others as we ourselves would like to be treated – with patience, understanding, kindness, and respect. And what a lesson we are showing others by doing so!

This verse also reminds us that if we find ourselves in disagreement with our fellow believers in Christ that we should respect each other’s opinions and continue to treat each other with the same love and kindness we always have. We are also told to respect those in positions of authority in our communities, nation, and world who are needed to bring about and keep order.

Could it be stated any more simply? As Christians, we are to “Show proper respect to everyone”, for in doing so we are honoring and pleasing Him. And no one deserves our respect, honor, and praise more than our gracious God!


Our most loving Father, may we always be mindful of sharing your grace and love to others by showing them proper respect. And when we don’t receive it ourselves, may we remember to follow your command to love others. Thank you for the many blessings of life and for your presence with us. Amen 

God’s Glory, Majesty, and Splendor

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29: 11

We are at one of our favorite places – the beach – and like always, I am overwhelmed by its beauty. I become more and more aware of God’s greatness, power, glory, majesty, and splendor with the passage of time. I am in total awe of His creations and His goodness to us. And nowhere is that more evident than in the beauty of the ocean.

Though the years, no matter my age or the location, as I looked across the vastness of the seas, there was nowhere else that I have ever felt the presence of God more completely or securely. What magnitude of beauty and splendor our God gives us!   His greatness is beyond our infinite power to understand His love and desire for us to enjoy this life we have been given.  And it humbles me to think of how often we take His creations for granted and fail to give Him the honor and glory He so deserves. Each time we see His goodness to us, we should praise Him and exalt His most holy name.

Yesterday was no exception for I saw the work of His hands. It was the most beautiful day, with the sun shining brightly and glistening on the water with the most glorious blue sky, and the temperatures warm in the 60’s to low 70’s – so nice after the snow and cold weather we had last week. There was a slight, cool breeze, and it felt good.

It was just the 2 of us, Bob and I, and it was quiet and peaceful. How blessed we are to have this time together. We talked about all the wonderful memories we have shared with our family here through the years and what a blessing it is to have grandsons to make new ones with. We wish they were here with us running around, kicking soccer and football, collecting shells, digging in the sand, and chasing the waves. We miss their conversations and all their smiles, giggles, and laughter. We love seeing the absolute joy on their faces as they watch the sun rise, the seagulls soar overhead, and the tides break on shore. They too look upon His work with such wonder and amazement.

God deserves our love, honor, and praise each and every day. Not just in this beautiful location but everywhere, in everything, and in everyone. For His power, glory, majesty and splendor are in each and every creation, including these little boys who are in awe of His world. If this earth contains such glory, how can we even begin to imagine what heaven will hold for us!

Yet, we are promised a splendor and majesty we can’t even imagine. Everything in heaven and earth has been created and sustained by His powerful hand, and Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom”. May we be grateful to be a child of His and a part of His earthly and eternal kingdom and always give Him much praise and glory.


Our most kind and gracious Father, thank you for the gifts of life and family, the beauty of your world, and for all the creations you have made for our enjoyment and pleasure. May we always be grateful for the opportunities to see and appreciate them. We are in awe of your greatness and delight in your goodness to us. We exalt your most gracious name. Amen

Serving the Lord

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12: 9 – 13

I know very little about U2. If I heard one of their songs, I would probably recognize it, but I can’t name one. I have heard Bob speak of them and especially their lead singer, known as Bono, from time to time, and know him to be a great humanitarian and global activist. Bob has mentioned  how much He admires him for his work with President George W. Bush and other world leaders to fight poverty around the world, in part because of his deep faith.

In searching for an article I wanted to read, I came across one about Bono doing “a fascinating radio interview” with FOCUS on the Family (FOF), a Christian organization. Because of what Bob had told me, it grabbed my attention. I read the article, and listened to the 30 minute interview. I was astounded by the words of this famed musician, his passion for helping the poor, but I was especially moved and impressed by his intense faith in Jesus Christ. His knowledge of Scripture was incredible. He quoted many passages and gave examples of faith, love, and service from His Word.

These are a few of his most profound statements from the interview:

“It’s very annoying following this person of Christ around because He’s very demanding of your life.”

”It’s important to be honest with God. He is more interested in who you are rather than who you want to be.” 

”Go about doing God’s work. Don’t just speak about it. Do it! Believe in Him to help you make a difference.”

”Jesus didn’t have many manners or try to be polite. He spoke directly to the people about justice and what needs to be done by His followers.”      

”You have to decide whether to embrace this Christ, the Son of God, or believe He is a total nut case. It is necessary to choose one or the other,  and if you choose the first, you must live the life of love He teaches.” 

”Beyond accepting Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the 2nd most important thing to do is to bring love and grace together in 1 cup of justice. We must take care of the people in poverty and need.”    

”Jesus will not let you off the hook. Scripture won’t let you off the hook. We are expected to help others.”

”Jesus, the Word of life, appeared, as written in 1 John 1:1. You don’t have to be a PHD to understand His Gospel. Believe with your heart.”

”If you and your life are in alignment with Christ, special things will start happening in your life.” 

What a lesson for all of us and what an influence Bono has been and can be on the world stage – especially among young people who like his music and know of his fame. For the past 25 years he has worked tirelessly to make a difference in young people’s lives. It was stated that over 7000 kids live every day because of the collective efforts he pushed to fight AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. 51 million children in Africa go to school because of his work and vision to get government allotted funds available for them. He especially wanted to give credit to the American people who have given generous gifts to His cause to save 9 million lives with AIDS. He spoke of how we all have our philosophical disagreements, our different theological beliefs, and our opposite political positions, but this is one thing we can come together on – our belief that we can change lives and love others in the name of Christ.

The above verse speaks to how all of us should be devoted to each other in brotherly love and in service to Him.  Bono is definitely a testament to that! I know nothing of his life outside of what I read and saw in this interview, but his love seems sincere, and he appears to always be “clinging to what is good.”

He is devoted to helping his fellow human beings around the world, and he honors and values life. His zeal and passion for the broken-hearted is obvious as he seeks to serve the Son of God with love and compassion. I think I like this man! I might have to check out his music!

And what a Savior! I am in awe of the many ways He uses individuals we would never expect to carry His message of love to others!


Dear Lord, thank you for such a man who is willing to use his platform to glorify you and to help those in need. We pray many hearts will be opened to you through his life and service. May we all serve and honor you with the same love, zeal, and compassion. Thank you for your presence with us and for your saving grace. Amen

Life Will Be Brighter

You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest. Job 11: 16 -18

Doesn’t it seem as if everywhere we turn these days – on the news, reading online, and talking to others – there seems to be these underlying feelings of restlessness, uncertainty, and concern? We want stability in our nation, in our world, but especially in our own lives. Yet, we seem to hear so much bad news and wonder what is to come.

These verses are such a beautiful reminder of hope when life isn’t what we wish it to be. How grateful we can be that hope is not just wishful thinking; neither is it resignation or acceptance of a situation. Hope is an attitude we can find in God’s love for us that is filled with confidence and assurance that life will go on and that we can get through any and all situations we are facing. It is like a single candle giving off just enough light to get us through the darkness and guide us into the light of His love.

Hope can burn so brightly in our hearts and be all we need to keep us going when all else seems to be failing around us. It is the feeling or understanding that we can get through these uncertain times, pain, despair, hopelessness, or any challenges or difficulties that come our way. Our God is a God of hope and we can always look to Him to provide the strength and courage we need.

God wants us to seek Him with full determination, to hold on to Him during painful times and pray to Him earnestly and with expectation to receive His mercy and grace. In return He will give us His peace, love, and assurance that all will be well.

What a beautiful metaphor is found in this verse as He promises that His light of hope will shine even brighter than the noonday sun and the evening will be as fair and clear as the morning. His light will break forth from behind the thick and dark clouds of life and bring forth the shining rays of hope. If we turn to God and truly seek Him, we will live with rest and security in His loving arms, no matter what is happening around us.

Hope is an anchor for our souls, and we can be assured that we will always be living under his divine protection. What a gift in this life. What a gift of hope for the life to come.


Our Heavenly Father, how can we even imagine life without the hope and assurance of your presence with us? Thank you for filling our hearts with your strength, peace, love, and hope for the future. Without these blessings from you, life would be so overwhelming and unbearable. We give you all honor, praise and glory for helping us through the darkness of life with the light of your love. Amen

Our Time Is Not His Time

Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 2 Peter 3: 8

The last few days I have had my son, Scott, and his wife, Emily, so much on my mind. Living several hundred miles away and they being so busy with work and life, it has been much too long since we have seen them! Texts, emails, and phone calls help, of course, but I just need to see those faces that I miss and love! Thankfully, it will only be a few more weeks until we do.

As you can see, I am much too time conscious! I count the days gone by and the ones to come before I will see them again. I am grateful for the times we share, but that doesn’t keep a mother from longing for more – or anyone else for that matter, who is missing a loved one!

“Are we all not so imprisoned by time? We can’t escape it.” Sometimes we feel trapped in a time frame when things are going badly, and then at other times, life seems to fly by much too quickly. And then when life is particularly happy, or we have only a set amount of time, we want to slow it down, or even stop it. We watch our clocks and calendars, and time passes on. We may feel restrained by it or wish to hurry it on, but either way it imprisons us to its control. We know our amount is limited and precious, and we want to make the most of it. As we well know, “Time waits for no one!  It marches on!”

I think one of the hardest things about God to understand is that since He is eternal and we are of this earth, we see time quite differently. His clock and his nature are quite different than ours.

This verse reminds us of how inconsequential the days and years are to Him. No matter how long a time interval is from our viewpoint, it is like the twinkling of an eye from His eternal perspective. While we tend to number our days, He looks at life for us as the beginning and the end, and then everlasting. In eternity there is no past or future, only the present. Time as we know it does not exist for God.

How difficult that is for us to comprehend, especially when we are waiting on Him. We know from experience that sometimes we just have to wait and be patient. If we could only learn not to just wait on God, but to wait with Him, it would be so much easier. Patience is not easy for any of us, especially as the waiting gets longer. But if we could only remember that God’s timing is not ours.

With us, time is one of the most important aspects of our lives – it can be such a difficult thing, or a priceless gift – depending on the circumstances! With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”  None of us know how many years we will have on this earth, but I am confident our loving God would want us to make the most of each day and live with anticipation of what is to come!

Even more difficult than trying to understand God’s timing is the concept of eternity and no restraints on our time. Imagine the freedom of knowing our time is infinite, limitless, and forever. It is human nature to not look forward to death, and very few of us can get excited about the idea of heaven while life consumes our days with loved ones, new adventures, and familiarity, and comfort.

But then when you try to imagine what God could possibly have planned for us, it becomes incomprehensible compared to our lives now. It’s just inconceivable because we have no concept of eternity. We can read Scripture and others’ perspective on heaven and try to envision its beauty and glory, and what it will be like, but we can never truly know until we experience it for ourselves.

As is written in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”  With this promise, we can trust and believe that it will be beyond anything we have ever known or imagined! Maybe a part of us longs for it more than we even realize!


Dear God, there is so much about you that we don’t and can’t understand, and one of those is the concept of time. Help us to be patient and wait with you for whatever lies ahead. Thank you for the wonderful times with family, all those we care about, and for all the moments that make life so sweet. May we live our lives in a way that brings glory to you, and may we look ahead to the hope of life eternal with you. Amen  

It’s Not All About Me!

Now then, listen, you wanton creature, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, “I am, and there is none besides me.” Isaiah 47: 8

Have you by any chance seen the movie, Grace Unplugged? It was in theaters last fall, so it should be available on DVD. Surprisingly, it is a good, clean, family movie – which is rare – and it has a great message. I don’t want to give away too many details, but it’s about a family whose daughter seems to be moving away from the values she has been taught growing up. It has a really great line when the father says to her: “You always said you wanted to have a life centered on God, but I have been hearing an awful lot lately about ‘What I want, what I need, and Me, Me, Me.’ ”  

What a “me generation” we are! It’s easy to think that the world revolves around “me”, and it’s all about me and nothing else!

In fact, I recently read a Time Magazine article (May 20, 2013), which was written about this very topic, entitled, “Me! Me! Me”.  The author wrote about “what a self-absorbed, lazy, entitled, narcissistic, overindulged, materialistic, and shallow people we have become.”

One of the most disturbing statements I read was that our teenagers and young adults have become so convinced of their own greatness that the National Study of Youth and Religion found that the guiding morality for 60% of those surveyed was that they would know what to do in any given situation just “by feeling what is right”. They have no need or desire for parental or spiritual guidance. Many of them exhibit a complete lack of empathy of the kind that allows them to feel any sort of compassion for others. Many disrespect authority and choose to do what they think is right.

It’s obvious as we look around us, that the vast majority of people in the world seem to only care about their own needs, and not about those who are truly “in need”. Our culture has taught us to love ourselves and put our own needs and wishes above all else. We believe that nothing is more important than what we feel, think, like, or desire.

We have become obsessed with appearance, intellect, power, money, position, and social media. (We even get overly anxious if we feel as if we are missing out on something and have to constantly check “to keep up”. How much time we waste doing so, which could be spent on real relationships and more worthwhile endeavors!)

Our greatest purpose in life seems to be to glorify and satisfy ourselves. This question says it well, “Why worship God when you can be one yourself?” Or this one, “If Satan can’t get people to worship him, he will convince them to worship themselves.” What “wanton, selfish creatures” we are!

This is not what God desires or commands of us. We are told in Scripture that we are to first and foremost love Him and then love our neighbors. God’s love is selfless and unconditional and He desires us to love in the same way. Our lives are to be focused on Him and on helping others. How we disrespect and dishonor Him when we think only of ourselves. If we will center our lives on God and serving Him, we will find our problems, issues, needs, and desires seem to fade away, and we will have more purpose and meaning in life. God wants us to have more, to have the best of what He has to offer us, and if we will look to Him, He will fill our lives with the blessings that truly matter.

We have become ingrained in this world to have a self-absorbed mindset. It will take strength to develop a deep resolve in our hearts to focus on what is truly important in this life, and that is to live one that is in every way pleasing to Him and will bring Him honor and glory.

May we always remember, “It’s not all about me”. Nor is it about me at all! It’s about Him, our Creator and Sustainer of life, the One who gives us life and longs to give us more. He doesn’t want just a part of us part of the time. He wants all of us!


Our most kind and gracious God, forgive us for thinking so much about ourselves and what we want. Thank you for loving us and blessing us with your goodness, even when we don’t deserve it. Help us to keep our eyes focused on you and may we honor you by showing our love to others. Amen.

A Happy Home

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. Psalm 127:1

Have you heard the expression that few things in life can give us as much pleasure – or pain – as family? We probably all agree with that one! We know there is no such thing as a perfect one, but God has some practical ideas for making it better!

I like this statement: “One of the primary principles of the family unit is that it involves a commitment ordained by God for the lifetime of its members.”  We may not like each other at times, but we’re stuck with each other. So we might as well make the best of it!

I love the imagery and symbolism of this verse, for one of the greatest gifts God gives us is family. He desires that we have strong, vibrant, healthy, and happy homes and loving relationships, but more importantly, He wants to be a vital part of our families from the ground up.

Psalm 127 was written by David to his son, Solomon, in which he offers godly advice about starting a family with God as the “builder” and “watchman” over his house. God can help build our families and our homes – not just in terms of a house or shelter, but in establishing a place where a family can learn and grow and love each other – a home where families can remain committed and know joy. Who knows more than God Himself about the foundations for a happy home, for He instituted the family unit Himself and is able to give us the necessary instructions and tools for what we need. His Word gives some of the the best marriage and child-rearing advice we can find. For what better place could we find the loving guidance and wisdom we need to encourage us and give us strength in challenging times!

God also wants to help protect our families from the outside world. The Lord watches over our homes just as a watchman looks over a city. He wants to guard it, keep it strong and safe and intact. As much as we don’t want to believe it’s possible with a loving God, we realize evil can enter our doors, and when it does, we can have the assurance of His presence with us.

God will help us provide for our families. When we look to Him, He will give us a way to find the necessary provisions, and He can guide us in what we truly need for a happy home – not just material things, but a healthy dose of loving attention, kindness and respect for each other, and a commitment to honor our relationships.

If children bless a home, they too need and deserve our love, time, respect, parental guidance, and discipline. They need to know that they are important to us, that we cherish who they are, and that we enjoy spending time with them. They need to know they are unique and much loved by God. May we always be reminded that they are one of life’s most precious gifts, and should never be seen as a burden or a hindrance.

And one of the best gifts we can give them and God in return, is to teach them values and set a godly example. Children need to grow and develop mentally, physically, socially, and especially spiritually. Good healthy families can fulfill all of these needs by giving our children stability, security, and serenity. If they grow up to feel valued and respected, they will become loving, caring, responsible adults, and as parents, we can have the contentment and peace of knowing their lives are secure.

The happiest homes are the ones where God is welcomed as a part of the family and His blessings upon them are acknowledged and appreciated. May our homes be happy ones – filled with love and His presence!  


Dear God, thank you for the gift of family. What a blessing to see and know families who love and respect each other and honor you. May we always keep you in our hearts and in our homes. We thank you for guarding our families and for keeping them in your loving care. Amen  

God’s Thoughts and Ways Are Not Ours

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55: 8 – 9

Isn’t it so hard to understand life sometimes? We question and try to make sense of it all, and sometimes we even question God. Why does our loving God let such painful and devastating things happen?

Perhaps it doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t have faith in Him, but it shows our human frailty and our deep desire to understand. We want things to be logical, to make sense, to be just, or to have meaning, but sometimes this isn’t God’s way. It is difficult for us to comprehend that His thoughts and ways are “higher” than our own and that they have a purpose. His plan for the world was in place before He laid the foundation and life began. Yet, it is almost inconceivable for us to understand that He knew the end from the beginning and that all “the threads will weave together to make the perfect tapestry.”

We can’t understand his thoughts or His ways, but we can trust Him with our very lives and know that whatever may happen, it will be for some divine purpose. God in His Sovereignty will use “our threads”, our lives, to fit within His plan, and maybe someday as it all unfolds before us, we will understand, and it will all seem clear. But for now, we struggle with the whys, try to trust the One who knows, and go on.

Our amazing God of the universe is far beyond our limited ability to comprehend or understand. For He is infinite and full of mystery. He defies our attempts to define Him in any absolute way, and in this verse, He even speaks of the futility of our feeble attempts to do so. We have been given glimpses of His greatness and power throughout Scripture and still we fail to conceive of such a God.

Yet, we have seen evidence of His presence in our own lives and we know personally of His love and grace. We can look at all He has done and know that our God is able to do the impossible. Whom would we want with us besides Him when all else fails around us? Whom could we call out to in our time of greatest need? Who could love us more? In Proverbs 3: 5 – 6, we read: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

We must trust Him with all our hearts and with all our being – even when things don’t make sense around us. Often we can’t see what lies ahead and we feel helpless, alone, and frightened, but we can know His loving presence is with us, and we can lean on Him moment by moment as He carries us through the uncertain times. We have His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Even when we can’t understand His ways and why things happen as they do, we can trust in Him. For He longs to make us part of His ending, and what an ending it will be, as we are promised life eternal with Him!


Our most gracious and holy God, there are so many things we don’t understand, but we know you do. Help us not “to lean on our own understanding”, but to trust in you and your love for us. May we be strengthened by your presence and look to you for peace and comfort. May we seek you, know you, and trust you with a deep, abiding faith. Amen

He Will Carry You

 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46: 4

Sometimes it’s just amazing to me what we can learn about life from others!

Recently I took my former neighbor and dear friend, Betty, to visit her beloved Aunt Annie, who lives a couple of hours away. I was anxious to meet this sweet little lady I had heard so much about, and I knew how much Betty was longing to see her.

But I cannot find the words to tell you what a blessing it was for me to do so. To see those two precious little women – Betty, who is 87, and her aunt, who is 103 – embrace each other with such love and joy was so heartwarming. It was as if they held on to each other and then “took each other in” as they memorized every feature on each other’s face. For you could see in their eyes that they knew time and distance were not on their side, and these visits might be few in the future. But at that moment, on this day, they were going to enjoy every minute they had together and they did. And they let me be a part of it, and that was such a gift.

Aunt Annie, who she has endearingly come to be known to me, is an absolute wonder and joy! After just being discharged from the hospital a few days before, she was amazingly resilient, able to be up and about, and her spirit was simply incredible. I just sat in complete awe of her as I listened. She made me smile and I loved hearing her stories. She said she had decided not to worry about dieting anymore and she thought she would just focus on enjoying life. (How cute is that at 103, and if you could see her, she is tiny!) She said now as she is starting to feel better, she just wants to “burst out” and live again. And she was all ready to do so and go out to lunch with us, but her therapist came by for a workout so she had to stay. She made us laugh as she said her appetite had not been as good lately, so if we would just bring her a Wendy’s hamburger, that would be great. Her wit, charm, and memory were unbelievable and her enthusiasm for life so uplifting.

We spoke of many things and listening to her tell of her early years as a telephone operator in the 1920’s was fascinating, as she told with excitement of being promoted from a local operator to a long distance one.

As I listened to her so intently, I couldn’t help but notice how flawless her skin was. Her age is quite deceiving for she is beautiful and vivacious. We asked to what she would attribute her secret of longevity and beauty. She immediately smiled and responded that it was totally due to her lifelong use of Estee Lauder, (although she did admit that she has recently changed to Pond’s).

But I knew from our conversations that it was much more. She has such a joyful spirit, and her unshakable and unwavering faith in God is quite obvious. There was evidence of her deep faith in her loving God throughout her small apartment in the assisted living facility where she lives. She spoke of Him as a lifelong, devoted, personal friend and One she has counted on to be with her throughout every day of her life.

The only time she spoke with any hint of sadness was when she told us of the passing of her “special friend” a few weeks earlier. They had spent much time together, enjoyed each other’s company, and he had always come to her room each night to watch TV with her.

Just as in so many friendships, age was not a factor – she was 103, and he, a mere 82, and they cared deeply about each other. But in speaking of him, she quickly added that he had had some serious health problems, and she couldn’t be sad because he was in heaven now, and she was so happy for him. Incredibly, she spoke not of upcoming death in the future for herself, but she was focused on life and living it to the fullest. It must run in the family, for Betty certainly has her beautiful spirit.

Later, in the afternoon, I felt these two needed some special time together before they parted, and I went outside to walk. I thought of Aunt Annie’s sweetness, her enthusiasm for life, and of God’s abiding presence with her. What a beautiful life she has lived, and He has indeed carried her, sustained her, and rescued her with His love and grace over and over again. And He will lovingly rescue her one last time when she becomes weary and worn and ready to leave this world and enter the next. What an example she is for all of us to follow – from this moment on, and throughout our old age and gray hair!


Dear God, thank you for the special people in our lives that teach us more and more about the loving grace you have to give. May we learn from this precious little woman’s example of how to live each day to the fullest – with hope and anticipation, but especially with gratitude for your presence. Thank you for sustaining us and carrying us through, no matter what our age. In your most holy name, Amen

Hopes and Dreams

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13: 12

Have you checked your “Hopes and Dreams” list recently? I am sure we all have had those aspirations in our minds since we were young of what life could someday be.

The ability to dream is one of the most wonderful gifts God has given us. It can open our eyes to so many possibilities, and give us purpose in life, a reason to look expectantly ahead to tomorrow, and it gives meaning for making the best of today. God gave us imaginations that have no limits and an abiding hope that can sustain us if challenges and disappointments lie in our path. Then when we do fulfill our goals, the satisfaction is that much greater and the feeling of success that much sweeter.

I hope most of your dreams have come true, but if not, there’s still time. Or maybe life has taken you in a direction you never imagined, that has far exceeded your expectations, and those old dreams have gone by the wayside with no regrets. Or maybe, there’s still one, or even two, still there, hidden deep down inside, almost forgotten, but with no real hope of it ever being fulfilled.

Yet, every now and then, it rises to the surface and you still wish and ask yourself, “Could it really happen?” Perhaps it’s a good time to take an inventory of our lives and see where we stand in the “satisfaction and happiness department”. None of us want to come to the end of our lives and have major regrets about things that we wish we had done differently.

An article I read recently “drove this idea home” even more. It was about an Australian nurse who spent several years lovingly caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies when she asked what they wished they had done differently in their lives. Here are the top 5 responses she received:

1.  I wish I’d had the courage to carry out my own hopes and dreams, instead of living the life expected of me.

2.  I wish I had not worked so hard and so much.

3.  I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4.  I wish I had stayed in touch with friends.

5.  I wish that I had let myself be happier.

I was really surprised by the number 1 answer. I suppose I had never really thought about how much unfulfilled dreams can affect your life and happiness. It makes me wonder about the reasons why these individuals weren’t able to do so.

Was it their parents discouragement of those dreams, financial reasons, no opportunities to do so, family obligations, or did these individuals give up too easily and settle for something far less? Did criticisms, fear, doubt, or a streak of bad luck keep them from pursuing their dreams?

Obviously, as these were dying patients, nothing can be done about their disappointment. I hope and pray that there was more to their lives than those feelings of regret. I hope there was more that brought meaning, joy, and fulfillment, and they didn’t live out their years being bitter, resentful, and sad.

I wonder about those lost hopes for their lives and why they were such a disappointment. But as wonderful as dreams can be, surely we all know in our hearts that they can’t always come true and a back-up plan is called for. If the failure of a dream devastates someone’s life, maybe he/she had too much invested in the idea of  “the dream”. There has to be more to life than that one thing that will make the difference between your life being happy or miserable.

Our dreams need to be realistic. Too often we place our hope in the wrong areas – in ourselves, in wealth, success, or fame. How many people get so disappointed and bitter about life because their dreams didn’t come true when in fact it wasn’t their dream to have. How many young people want to become the next American Idol, but they don’t have the talent, or how many young boys dream of playing professional football or basketball when they don’t have the necessary skills or abilities?

God gave each one of us special gifts, abilities, a unique personality, and experiences that will shape the person we are, or the one we can become. Often what we dream and aspire to be may not fit with those qualities God has given us. Yet, He gave us the potential to be more than we ever thought we could be. If we seek Him and ask Him to help us find our place within those dreams, I truly believe He can exceed our own expectations.

God desires our happiness and wants us to have lives that are fulfilling and full of joy. He has promised that with Him, nothing is impossible. And sometimes, miracle above miracle, we may even come to the place we can admit, that those dreams we had weren’t really what we wanted anyway. What God has given us in terms of love and family, good friendships, feelings of pride and accomplishment, His blessings in so many unexpected ways, the joy of His presence and grace, have far exceeded any dreams we could have ever imagined on our own!

If we place our hope in Him, we can have the assurance that our lives will be secure, for He is the only one who can give us the contentment and satisfaction that we long for. He is our anchor in the present and in the future. For without Him, “hope deferred makes the heart sick”, but with Him the heart is filled with joy.

As for those of you who haven’t been able to fulfill your dreams and still wish to, take your dreams to God. Tell Him what is on your heart. With Him nothing is impossible and nothing is ever too late. Go to Him, seek His counsel and guidance, and see where His love and grace will take you. And even if it doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped, you can rest assured that He will satisfy your longing in a way you could have never imagined!


Dear God, there is so much about life we can’t know or understand. You know our hearts – you understand our hopes and dreams. Help us to look to you with hope that you will lead us in the path that will bring us the most joy and contentment in our lives. Thank you for the gift of life and all its many blessings. Amen

How Great Our God Is

“Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord? . . . How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.”  2 Samuel 7: 18-19; 22

I think we all need to stop from time to time and think about the relationships in our lives. How easy it is to take our loved ones and friends for granted and believe that they will always be with us.

Do we say the things on our hearts, the things that need to be said, the things we wished we would have said if we had only known that we would never have the chance again? Do we make time for them and enjoy their presence with us? Do we laugh together, remember fond memories, and make new ones?

Life is so unpredictable and we need to take advantage of the times we have to show those we love and care about how much they mean to us, how much we appreciate who they are, and what they bring to our lives. What a blessing they are from our great God.

But even more, Our Creator and Giver of life above all deserves our words of love, gratitude, and praise. Could we find ourselves taking Him for granted, as well, and not giving Him the time, honor, and glory He so deserves? Do we tell Him enough of His greatness, the beauty of His creations, how much we appreciate the gift of life and of those loved ones He has placed in our lives, and for His faithfulness and goodness to us? Do we tell Him how grateful we are that we can trust in His Word and in His promises?

It’s humbling to think that we might forget Him from time to time and not express our love, gratitude, and joy for His loving presence in our lives. “Ah, our Sovereign Lord, how could we ever forget what you have done for us?”

These beautiful words are taken from David’s prayer in 2 Samuel. Perhaps it could be called more of a meditation, full of thanksgiving, and even of wonder at the greatness of God’s mercies to him. God has made David, a humble shepherd boy, the King, and has laid out His promises and plans for him through the prophet Nathan.

Notice David’s first words in response to God, “Who am I . . . that you have brought me this far?”

These could be my words or yours when we look at what God has done for us. Are we not so overwhelmed and humbled by His many blessings of life, of His grace, and of His love for us? Look how far He has brought us, what promises He has kept, what comfort, hope and peace He has given us.

David’s next question could be ours as well, when he asks, “Why do you care about man, let alone about me?” David acknowledges his own unworthiness compared with the highest form of dignity with which God is bestowing upon him and he gives Him praise. For not only has He raised him to kingly office, but promised him the continuance of his line for years to come.

As much as we can praise God for what He has done for us in the past, we have His promise to care for our futures, as well. We have His eternal promise of what lies ahead with Him and our loved ones. As we acknowledge the blessings of God in the past, present, and for the future, we can rejoice in His presence, but even more, may we show the world the joy they can experience in Him.

In this powerful prayer, David thanks God for His sovereignty over his and his family’s lives and over his nation. David realized God’s place in his life. As the Sovereign Ruler over his life, He freely and willingly submitted to His will and promised He would follow the path God has set for him. May we do the same and always speak to Him from the heart, as David did, giving Him all honor and praise.


Thank you, Lord, that you have redeemed us and taken us as your children. Thank you for not giving up on us when we fail to give you the honor, glory, and praise you so deserve. Thank you for being with us and our families through the experiences of life and keeping us in your sovereign care, but most of all, thank you for giving us the promise of eternal life with you. Amen.  

Godliness Has Value Above All

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8

We all know the importance of taking care of our bodies, but how easily it is to fail to do so! As a person with heart issues, I know I need to eat healthy foods and exercise every day! The benefits of exercise are well-known and our family physician has often said that if “exercise” could be bottled and placed on the shelf, very few people would need medical care!

Some weeks I am really diligent about walking and even enjoy it, and others, I let too many things get in the way! But I have to admit that I feel so much better when I do. I have more energy, I feel refreshed and healthier, and it definitely puts me in a better frame of mind!

But isn’t it amazing how much time, energy, thought, and money we put into improving our physical bodies, but how little we put into building our “spiritual ones”? It’s humbling to think about!

A recent Gallup annual Well-being poll showed that a little over 50% of Americans exercise at least 30 minutes for 3 or more days a week. Obviously, we all could do better – if we had the time! Another amazing number found in the Nielson Report is that the average American over the age of 2 spends 34 hours a week watching TV, plus another 3 to 6 hours watching taped programs or movies. We need time to relax our bodies and minds, but often what meaningless activities we do!

Can you imagine if participants were asked how much time they spend each day or week promoting their spiritual well-being, what the answer would be? If only we would put a small portion of our time and energy into improving our spiritual health, we would be much more refreshed, invigorated, and filled with contentment, peace, and joy! Nothing like a good “workout” with Him and a healthy “serving” of His Word filled with His love, presence, and grace to make us more “spiritually fit”! It might even give us a new “bounce in our step” that we haven’t had in awhile, as we see life through His eyes!

The road to healthy bodies begins in the soul, and if we truly want to be fit for life, we need to put time and energy into our spiritual care as well. Just as we should watch what we eat, we need to choose our life principles and monitor what we put into our minds and especially our hearts. God has called us to live great and godly lives.

Being spiritually healthy requires as much time and discipline as being physically healthy. We need to set aside time for reading His Word, studying, praying, meditating, and especially, we need to set aside time to praise and worship our Giver and Sustainer of life. We need to be strong in faith and focus on what is truly important in life. It is so easy to dilute God right out of our system and fill it with unhealthy choices, as we do with our physical bodies.

Getting in shape is important, but it shouldn’t be the thing we value most. God wants our lives to have value and not be empty and meaningless. He created us to have fellowship with Him and to be fulfilled in our relationships with Him and with others. Centering our lives on Him gives us peace, contentment, hope in uncertain times, and much joy. “Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”


Dear God, may we look at our priorities and focus our lives more on you. May we build up not only our physical bodies but our spiritual ones, as well, by reading your Word, spending time with you, and loving others. May we desire to lead godly lives in your most holy name. Amen