Our Lord Goes Before Us

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Today is Halloween – a day for all things spooky, scary, and fun! Our little guys have been so excited about this day for weeks! They wore their costumes to school – Miles, our little sports fanatic, went as a surfer; and Cole, a pirate. Both were going parading through the school with their classmates and then having a party to celebrate.  And tonight –  they will be out in the neighborhood with Mom and Dad, knocking on doors and getting their pumpkins full of candy!

How times have changed! I remember my own days of going trick or treating with my friends and walking for miles! Other kids would hide behind shrubs and trees and jump out at us – to scare us along the way – and I can still see those scenes vividly as we would scream and run! Then we would compare our bags of candy, apples, and homemade cookies to see who had the most! Often we would be gone for a couple of hours, and gratefully our parents never had to worry about strangers abducting us or giving us harmful treats. It was simply a fun night with friends!

I also remember how much Kelly and Scott enjoyed going door to door in our neighborhood, and they were always good about letting me tag along to keep them safe. They also loved going to the haunted house at our local school and being “spooked” as they met unexpected “creatures”, spider webs, and slimy things as they walked through.  But it was all in fun, and they have many happy memories, as will Miles and Cole.

There is something about this day that kids love! Perhaps it’s the idea of “spooky things” without them actually being real and scary. Or maybe they like dressing up and pretending to be someone they’re not. Whatever it is, it is one of their favorite days!  And many adults enjoy it just as much, as they dress up and participate in the fun!

But what is it that intrigues us about being frightened? Why do so many love to watch scary movies? (Not me!) Is it the adrenaline rush? Is it because they know they are perfectly safe watching them, even though the scenes are much too vivid and scary? Maybe it’s because that idea somehow brings fear, excitement, and assurance all at the same time. Or perhaps it’s because there are so many frightening things in life, and this is an easier way to confront their worst fears.

Sadly in our lifetime, we, our children, and our grandchildren have had to come to the realization that it’s a scary world we live in. There’s really no place we are totally safe anymore, Real shootings occur while people innocently watch a movie inside a theater or ride in their cars. Even our homes, schools, malls, and other areas we once thought were safe, no longer are. All around us, we are bombarded with the uncertainties of life as we hear and see stories about abductions, rapes, terrorist attacks, murders, accidents, and natural disasters that cause injuries and death.

Sometimes we have to actually confront our fears and face these terrifying and life threatening events when they come our way. But how? For many of us, it begins with our trust and faith in God’s promises to us. Even when our hearts are filled with fear, we have His assurance that He is present and that He will never leave us nor forsake us. How grateful we can be to know that God goes before us into any dangers we might face – waiting to carry us through – even if it means carrying us through death. What a comfort and a promise from our God who is always present with us.


Dear God, how grateful we are that you are always with us through the uncertain, dangerous, and frightening times in our lives. Thank you for the comfort of your presence, the strength to endure, and the assurance of your grace to carry us through.  Amen.

The Day Will Come

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. Luke 21: 34 – 36

I can’t believe October is coming to an end and that the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are just around the corner. With much anticipation we look forward to their arrival as we think about our many blessings and prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. But there’s a much more important day that God wants us to be prepared for and anticipate with joy – whether it will come tomorrow or far in the future – and it’s one we rarely pause to think about.

In God’s own timing, He will choose the day that Christ will return to earth once again. Is it the uncertainty, the unknown, that makes this day seem so difficult for us to think or talk about? Or maybe in our minds, it signifies the end of life on this earth as we know it, and we aren’t ready to give up what we have grown to love and appreciate. But this too will be a great day of celebration when we see our Savior face to face. This is what our hearts have longed for – a new life – different from this one, but one that we are promised is beyond anything we could ever imagine. It will come, for in Scripture, we learn this day is just as certain to happen as the one in which God’s Son first came to live among us. In fact, many biblical scholars believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ is the greatest single theme in Scripture.

Interestingly, I read that there are approximately 300 prophecies in the Old Testament which foretold the first coming of the Messiah, and more than 8 times as many about His second coming in the Old and New Testaments. About 2400 prophecies reveal God’s promises about the return of Jesus Christ. This increased number signifies the importance of this event in His plan for mankind. God keeps His promises and we can be confident that Jesus will return.

Before Jesus left His disciples, He gave them much hope and encouragement, but also warnings about what was to come for them as His followers. This was a message not only for them, but for us, as well. We are assured that we won’t be alone and that His Spirit will live in us to lift us up when difficult times come because of our faith. We have His Word to encourage us and keep our hearts and souls prepared for His coming. And just as Jesus promised the disciples that He would return for them, we know He will return for us.

There are many warnings for us to heed to keep our hearts ready for Him. We are to be careful not to be lured into worldliness and caught up in evil desires. There are warnings of false teachers and those who claim to be the Messiah, wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines, fearful events and great signs from heaven, and especially the warning of Jerusalem being surrounded on all sides by armies. These are not to discourage us, but to strengthen our faith as we see these times unfold.

In 2 Timothy 3: 1- 5, Timothy warns that people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, not lovers of the good, but lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Sounds like our world, doesn’t it? But it has been our world for generations, and each generation has needed to prepare their hearts for Him.

This is Christ’s message for us in the passage above from Luke: Be careful that your heart is not pulled down with “dissipation (entertainment) and the things of this world, and surprisingly, he mentions anxiety. Our hearts can be so filled with things other than Christ, that we take our eyes off Him and put them on the world, or on ourselves. We must be firm in our faith, strong in our principles, and trust in the One true God who loves us and desires to spend eternity with us. May we be committed to Him, ready to follow Him, and trust in His promises. How grateful we can be that there is more than just this life on earth. What awaits us in heaven should fill us with hope and assurance. May we trust in His goodness to us, His love, and His grace.


Heavenly Father, thank you for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for His redeeming grace. Give us strength to live in Him and not in the world. May we stand committed to His Word, His truth, and His promises always. Amen

He Will Be Our Guide

For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. Psalm 48: 14

Do you know where you are going? I have no sense of direction at all, and I have heard others say the same!  Our inner compasses must not be working properly!  I can’t tell you if I am heading north, south, east, or west. And even when I come out of a building, I have no idea which direction I came from. It can be disorienting and frustrating when I”m driving in unfamiliar places.

As much as I am grateful to have the GPS system, I’m often hesitant to use it because it hasn’t always taken us on the route we thought was best, or gotten us to the right location – especially on less used country roads or in small towns. Sometimes, I think I’ll just use the road signs and figure it out on my own, but that usually doesn’t happen as they’re even less dependable!

Yesterday morning, I had no choice. I had an appointment about 45 minutes away and after I started out on the highway, I ran into road construction and wasted 20 minutes drifting along with the traffic. I finally realized I was going to have to take an exit and go the back roads, or I was going to miss the appointment altogether!

I had no idea which direction to take so I had to call OnStar, and the destination was downloaded. I anxiously followed it, although I felt as though I was going blindly forward with no idea where I was. I had my doubts as to where it would take me and little faith that it would get me there on time. But gratefully, it came through and I was only a few minutes late.

While I was driving, I thought about how true it is that God is often referred to as our own GPS system. I realized that we sometimes think of Him in the same way as I do OnStar. We are so grateful He is there, but we don’t always think we need His direction and we put off going to Him longer than we should. We may trust in others around us to help or we may try to go our own way –  until we realize we aren’t going in the direction we need to go. And even after we have gone to Him for guidance, we wonder if we can really trust Him to take us where we really want to go. We’re a little fearful that He might have some “bumps” or “heart construction” along the way, or He might even take us in a totally different direction than we wanted to go. We like to be at the wheel and feel in control, but sometimes we just have to let it go!

We may have looked to Him for guidance in the past and have found that the road wasn’t always smooth or an easy path to travel, and we are hesitant to call on Him once again. But as our faith in Him has grown, hopefully, we have learned that we can trust in His love and care for us. We may not understand why He takes us on a particular path, but we can be confident that He will take us along the one we need to travel to be the individuals He would have us be. And we will find that the comfort, love, and peace He gives us along the way will make our journey much easier than it could have been without Him.

Just as we preprogrammed the GPS to get us to our destination, God has preprogramed us to seek Him. And just as we had to make the call for our direction and guidance, we have to call on our God. He waits for us to reach out to Him in love for counsel and guidance, and He gives us His manual, His Word, to help us find our way. He doesn’t want us wandering around aimlessly in life, lost, with no purpose or direction, but He wants us to trust Him to take us on the right course. He wants to lovingly direct and guide us through this life and into the next. He is our everlasting God and “He will be our guide, even to the end.”


Dear Lord, how lost and disoriented we become without you. May we look to you always for guidance and direction to travel the roads you would have us go to reach our final destination with you. Amen

Do What Is Right!

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Proverbs 21: 3

After a long weekend with Kel and the boys, it is much too quiet!  It was so fun having them here, and we miss the sound of their voices and their laughter. After Miles and Cole went to sleep each night, it was so nice to have time to sit and talk with Kelly, and most of the time, our conversations turned to them. These boys bring us so much joy, and we are so grateful to have them in our lives. But they are growing up and changing in so many ways!

At 5 and almost 8, we love to hear their conversations with each other – the encouragement they offer, the compromises they make, and the way they tease the other.  As little brothers do, they often like to “fight” and wrestle over their small disagreements, (As Cole says, they make Granddad and me really nervous!) and sometimes their comments, the faces they make, and their actions aren’t always what their mom wants them to be. Separation and a little “time out” – away from each other works wonders! But Kelly often, patiently, gave them stern little reminders, such as, Now is that how you should treat each other?  Is that the right way to handle your disagreement? Could you say that a different way, please?” and “And that’s not a look I particularly like to see.” 

All those things we said as parents to our children, and that we heard from our own parents! Being a parent is not an easy job! Kel and I talked about how difficult it is to teach our kids “to always do the right thing”, especially when they see others around them saying and doing just the opposite. It’s hard for children to understand that we parents just want them to be good, kind individuals with polite manners and good, moral values. We want them to always be the best they can be!

But sadly, we adults aren’t always the best example for them these days, are we? “Doing the right thing” is not always the principle we live by. It’s often not the easiest, the most popular, or the most beneficial thing for us – we think! We find others, and even ourselves, often compromising our values, being less than truthful, breaking our commitments to each other, doing whatever we need to do to get what we want – regardless of what it means to our integrity, or how it affects someone else. As a child of God and a believer in His Word, we know in our hearts what His truths are. And often we know what we are doing is not “right”, but we do it anyway.

It’s been said, “Character is what we do when no one is watching. It’s how we treat people in any and all circumstances, even when we get nothing in return. It is integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness and deciding beforehand that we will always do the right thing regardless of the cost to ourselves.”

We are faced daily with decisions and choices, and how we handle many of them, no one sees, but God. We can deceive ourselves into thinking that the good we do can correct all the wrong. But God knows and He cares more about who we are on the inside than what is seen on the outside. His Spirit will guide us and give us the strength to be who He would have us be. Our hearts will know what is the right thing to do, and we will be pleasing to Him.


Our most gracious and loving God, how we fail to live up to the individuals you would have us be. Help us to treat others with love and respect and to always do what is right in your eyes.  Amen

Our Sovereign God

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.”  When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Genesis 45: 4 – 7

Do you sometimes wonder why things happen in your life the way they do?  Do you wonder if God even knows what you’re going through and even more, if He cares?

If ever there was a story from Scripture that illustrates God’s sovereignty, love, and care throughout our lives, it is the story of Joseph and his brothers. No other can touch our hearts with such feelings of sympathy, injustice, grief, and finally, resolution with God’s grace. No other makes us realize how much God is with us, from the beginning of our lives to the end, working in all things, through all things, and bringing about His will and purpose.

Joseph was the 11th son born to Jacob and Rachel, and it was no secret that he was the favored one. He told his father and brothers about the many dreams he had about himself and how others were bowing down to him. This angered his brothers and they became even more inflamed when their father made a beautiful, soft, richly ornamented coat just for Joseph and no one else.

Shortly afterwards, while tending sheep, they came up with a plan to throw Joseph into a pit, lather the coat with blood, and let their father think he had been killed by a wild animal. Traders found him, took Joseph to Egypt, and tragically sold him as a slave. Yet, his hard work and dedication were recognized by his owner, an Egyptian high official to Pharaoh named Potiphar, and he soon entrusted Joseph with everything he owned.

Joseph’s life then took another twist. This young man soon caught the official’s wife’s attention, and when Joseph declined her advances, she told her husband how he had tried “to make sport of her,” (Gen. 39: 17).  As a result, Joseph was placed in prison for 2 years. While there, “the Lord was with him” and gave Him favor in the warden’s eyes.

Joseph had a reputation of interpreting dreams, and when King Pharaoh had one that no one could explain, he was sent before the King. Joseph told him that he couldn’t interpret the dream, but God could. He explained that God was revealing to the king that a great famine was coming to the land, and that he needed “a discerning and wise man of God” to prepare for this disaster. Pharaoh chose Joseph, and he gave him charge of the palace, the people, and the whole land of Egypt  as 2nd in command to himself.

Joseph, using God’s instructions, prepared well, stored up huge quantities of grain, and none of the people went hungry. Even more miraculous under God’s providence, the famine was so intense that it brought Joseph’s family down into Egypt, many years after he had been sold into slavery, to purchase food. All of Jacob’s sons except the youngest, Benjamin, came before Joseph, and he recognized his brothers instantly. After a series of events, in which Benjamin too was brought before him, Joseph while weeping uncontrollably, revealed his identity and said these words above from Genesis 45: 4 -7. Joseph sent for his father and all the sons’ wives, children and grandchildren, and they settled on the best part of the land in Egypt, as Pharoah had directed.

Throughout the passages about these events, the one phrase you will see repeatedly is, “The Lord was with Joseph.” Finally, what began in Genesis 37 came to a resolution in these verses. Finally, the reasons for all that Joseph had been through were revealed to him, and he saw that God’s divine providence had been at work not only in his life, but in many others.

What lessons we can learn from Joseph’s story. We see the amazing grace Joseph bestowed on others as he gave what was not deserved. He refused to become resentful, bear a grudge, or succumb to bitterness. He didn’t choose His path, but he was determined to make the best of the life he had been given. He never became arrogant or self-righteous about his accomplishments because he knew it was God who had arranged the events in his life so that he could do great things. Through the doubts, adversity, and unexpected twists and turns in his life, God used Joseph to bless his family and save thousands of others because of his leadership and faithfulness.

We may never know what God has planned for us or how many lives He will use us to bless. But we can rest in the assurance that we are in His sovereign love and care.


Dear God, what a beautiful story of your love and grace and the power of your sovereignty over our lives. May you use us to do great things in your name. Amen

A Heart For God

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15: 5

May this be our prayer and our hope for each other on this Sunday morning. As we look outside and see the beauty around us, our world seems so peaceful and secure, as if all is well. But we know our view is small and our world is not as it seems.

We live in a world of dissension, disunity, and uncertainty – in our homes, in our families, in our communities, in our nation, and in our world. All the things we have depended on and trusted seem to be failing us, and we don’t know where to turn. There is much anxiety and even a sense of fear as we look for answers. We can’t even seem to agree to disagree and respect each other’s opinions. We argue to the point that relationships are strained, and no one can agree on what is best for us.

Yet, there’s one place we can all come together, agree, and feel encouraged – and that is with God. Gratefully, we have His assurance that He knows what is going on in our world and He is always with us.  He sees our anxious hearts and hears our prayers. We can trust in Him.

We know that those around us or even the institutions we have put our faith in, often let us down and leave us feeling forgotten, ignored, or betrayed. But if we will focus on God and not on what men can do for us, we will find the hope and strength we need. We can give our concerns to Him and know that our futures will be secure.  He will give us the assurance of His love, comfort, and  presence with us. We will be able to encourage others as our spirits are encouraged through Him. And hopefully, as we look to Him, we can have one heart, one voice, and one purpose – and that is to glorify Him.

We, as believers need to encourage each other, and we especially need to encourage those who don’t know of His love and grace. May we hold on to the promise that we may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds our future – for all eternity.  With Him, our future will always be safe and secure.


Dear God, how we need your encouragement and love in such uncertain times. Help us to keep our eyes on you, trust in your mercy and grace, and encourage all those around us. May we glorify your name with one heart and one voice in Christ Jesus. Amen

Take the Risk!

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

Is there something in your life that you always felt you were supposed to do or accomplish, and you haven’t? Have you ever felt as if there was something God has laid on your heart to do, but you didn’t know if you could?  Do you ever wonder what is holding you back?

For many of us, a fear of failure, more than anything, keeps us from doing the things we would like to do. Did you know that in most surveys about what people fear the most, fear of failure usually ranks in the top 5, and in some, it ranks as number 1 – even above fear of death and fear of the unknown?’

In looking back, I can think of times when my own fear of failure was totally irrational, and you may have some of your own. How many opportunities we may have missed because we were uncertain of our ability to carry them through. And even if we had the courage to try, we may not have put our whole heart and soul into trying to succeed, because we had already convinced ourselves that there was no way we could. What blessings we may have missed!

God has a purpose in mind for all of us. He wants our lives to have meaning and joy. How tragic it would be if we came to the point where we realized it was too late to try to do those things we felt we were meant to do. Can you imagine the regret we would feel if it was only out of fear that we didn’t at least try?

We need to remember God’s promise that if He calls us to do something, there is a purpose, and He will carry us through. We will feel His strength and assurance as He “takes hold of our hands” and gently walks forward with us. We need to place our trust in Him and believe that we can.

“Do not fear. I will help you.”  How much we fail to trust Him at His Word. God wants us to experience life, to always be our best and achieve more than we ever thought possible. He wants us to trust Him and to have confidence in who He made us to be and in what He can do for us. He wants us to take the risk, depend on Him, and give it our all!


Our heavenly Father, how many times we don’t believe in ourselves, and even more, we don’t believe in you. Help us to not fear, but to walk boldly forward with you. Amen

God Created Us With Love

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

Is there anything sweeter than family coming home when you haven’t seen them in awhile? We are so excited that Kel and the boys are visiting with us for a long weekend while Drue is out of town. Miles and Cole are out of school for a couple of days, and we are so happy they chose to spend the time with us!  We have many things planned – including enjoying every minute of our time together!

When I think of how much I love my family, and how much I want to make them feel appreciated and loved, I can’t begin to imagine how much God loves each of us. Can you even fathom the tenderness and affection with which He must have breathed life into each of us? What plans He must have made in His heart for us.

If we could only believe how much He loved us then and how much He loves us now. He has shown us in numerous ways through the beauty of His creation, through the provisions He gives us each and every day, and through the rhythm and flow of life that gives us the assurance of His power and greatness. He has shown us through the people He has placed in our lives and through the joy we are able to experience. He has given us His wisdom and understanding to know His grace and His comfort and peace in times of difficulty and sadness. But there is no greater gift of love He could have given us than the one of His Son on the cross.

The apostle John reminds us in John 1 that we love because God created us with love, we came into the world with His love, and His love will always live in our hearts if we choose to accept it. He has taught us to love through His own pure, sacrificial, infinite, and unconditional love for us. We strive to love as He does, and His indwelling Spirit within us teaches us how to open our hearts to others. His Word instructs us on how we can be more kind, compassionate, and merciful to those around us. Even more, He empowers us to love in ways our selfish spirits could never do without His grace – to love even those who are the most difficult to love.

Through the life of Jesus and His teachings, we see the depth of the love we are to extend to others. He taught us that if we love, truly love one another, the world will see Him in us and know He is our loving Savior who can bring peace and hope to the world. For many, we are the only face of Christ they will ever see. May we be His shining light in a world of darkness.

God is pleased and glorified when we love and care for each other – encouraging, consoling, and ministering to each other’s needs. For God is love and there is no greater love than His. May we never forget just how much He values and loves us!


Our gracious and loving Father, we thank you for your abiding love and mercy. Fill our hearts with a desire and grace to love others as you love us. Amen

His Word Endures Forever

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40: 8

Fall is here in all its glory. The trees are ablaze with color and more changes are in the air. With the passage of time, many of us may think of autumns past! And, isn’t it amazing how even a certain smell can take us back to a fall day long ago – even to one in our childhood? And what a flood of memories it can bring.

A friend of mine, who knows I love everything pumpkin – pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin yogurt, and even pumpkin hand soaps and air fresheners – recently gave me a pumpkin spice candle. This morning I lit it, walked out of the room, and when I returned, it was as if I had walked into my mom’s kitchen with pumpkin pies in the oven! I just stood there, frozen in time, breathing in the aroma and the sweet memories that came with it.

I could see her in her apron, standing with smudges of flour on her face and hands, rolling out the crust, and placing it in the old, glass pie plate which had belonged to her mother and had become browned with age. I could see me, as a child, sitting with my face in my hands and my elbows on the table, watching her every move, mesmerized by the movement of her hands as she smoothed out the crust, crimped the edges, poured in the mixture, and placed it in the oven.

I can also remember the smooth, creamy taste of the pumpkin with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and the most perfect, flaky crust ever! In all these years since, I have yet to taste one that could even come close to hers! How many pies she must have made for us – not because she thought she should, but because she saw it as an act of love to her family.

So many other memories came to mind in those brief moments. I could see my mom and I sitting at the same table after dinner, reading her Bible about those well-known stories that we all enjoy as children. How she loved God’s Word and what faith she had. I miss her in my life, but how grateful I am for the sweet memories of those beautiful autumn days with her.

Time passes on and our lives change, just as the seasons come and go with all their changes. Fall brings not only beauty, but yes, the grass will wither and the flowers will die, but we are grateful that newness of life will come again. What a world our God has created, and what love He has for us.

Through His love, He desired that we have the gift of His everlasting Word to encourage and sustain us through the seasons of our lives – through the challenges, joys, and sorrows. Things will change around us, but our God never will. His promises will always be faithful and true. How reassuring it is to know that His presence is with us no matter what our circumstances are in life. He has a purpose and a season for everything. And with every season we have reason to rejoice for His love and goodness to us.

Life is about change – changes in us as He molds us into who He would have us be, and changes in our circumstances. Seasons come and seasons go,“but the word of our God endures forever.”


Dear God, we thank you that you are always with us no matter what changes come about in our lives. We thank you for the strength, comfort and assurance of your love found in your Word. Amen

Give Us A Heart of Grace

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4: 31 – 32

This morning, I opened up the windows and let the fresh air in as I cleaned our house – for hours, in a way I haven’t done in quite awhile! I have been putting it off for too long! But isn’t it the best feeling after it’s done, and we know that everything is fresher and cleaner?

Wouldn’t it be even better if we could “clean out” our minds, hearts, and souls and just get rid of all the clutter, the resentment, bitterness, sadness, and anger that we’ve been carrying around for years? Can you imagine the freedom we would feel, just letting all those feelings go, knowing they’re not a part of our lives anymore!

We all have our “baggage” – things left over from our childhood, past relationships, betrayal by people we trusted, or just issues we can’t seem to get past. They’re difficult to forget, and our anger or hurt feelings may be perfectly justified, but harboring them keeps us from living lives filled with peace and contentment. Life is too short. How much time and energy we waste carrying these feelings around and often, we don’t even realize what a burden they really are – to us and the people around us.

If we could only let them go. How much joy and peace we miss  by “holding a grudge” and keeping those feelings of ill will in our hearts.

Scripture tells us to get rid of them – all of them – and to have a forgiving heart. God wants more for our lives than for our hearts to be filled with such burdens. He wants us to make the decision to let them go and with His help, we  can. And once we do, letting go means never looking back and picking them up again. It means going forward, forgiving, forgetting, and depending on God’s love and grace to help us show the kindness and compassion to others that He shows us. May we have a heart of grace to forgive “as in Christ, God forgave us.”


Dear God, thank you for your love and for your forgiving grace. Give us the strength to let go of any grievances and resentments that we might have. Fill our hearts with mercy, compassion, and love for each other.  Amen

He Will Remain Faithful

Here is a trustworthy saying . . .  If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2: 13

If someone asked you if you were a faithful follower of Christ, what would your response be?

It shouldn’t be as difficult to answer as it is, should it? We want to be. We have faith in Him, but are we are always faithful? Do we put Him first and foremost above everything else in our lives?  Do we worship Him, read His Word, spend time with Him in prayer and listen for His voice in the stillness? Do we obey Him and follow His truths? Do we give enough and love Him as devotedly as we know we should?

I fail Him in so many ways, but I am so grateful for a God who still calls me His own and remains faithful to me even when I’m not.

If we were as faithless to our spouses and the other special people in our lives as we are to God, what do you think would happen to our relationships?

We know from experience that if we don’t put enough love, commitment, trust, time, and effort into a relationship, it will fail. We also know what happens if one person tries to make the relationship work and the other offers nothing in return. It too will probably fail because there is nothing to base it on, nothing to hold it together.

Yet, our God holds on to us. How grateful we can be that He still calls us His own and remains faithful to us even when we are not.

What an amazing truth – “If we are faithless, He will remain faithful.” This verse is not meant to discourage, but instead, it should offer us hope and comfort as we are reminded of who our loving Father is. God is merciful, loving, gracious, forgiving, and always trustworthy and faithful. God is always going to be God. He is never changing, always consistent, and always true to His promises. If we believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, we have His Word that we will have His saving grace to live eternally with Him.

May our hearts be more faithful to the One who cares for us, loves us, and provides for all our needs. May we glorify Him with our words, our deeds, and our lives.


Dear Lord, thank you for loving us and being faithful to us even when we don’t show our love and gratitude to you in return. Thank you for your Son and His saving grace. Amen

In the Morning

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5: 3

How do you begin your day? Do you jump right out of bed and busily begin doing all those things you need to do, or do you check your messages first and read the news of the day? Or – if you have the opportunity – do you rest in bed a little longer and enjoy the quietness of the morning?

The commercials tell us to start our day with a warm cup of coffee, or another says that we can’t possibly get started without our Special K! But the psalmist David, has a different idea. He suggests that we begin our day with God.

Imagine Him being our very first thought the moment we wake as the day stretches out before us. What a way to enjoy the quiet stillness of the morning, as we lay our thoughts, gratitude, and concerns before Him and ask Him to direct our path for the day.

The timing of our prayers, of course, is not as important as the fact that we make time to communicate with our loving God – to let our thoughts flow from our hearts into His. We probably all find ourselves saying little prayers all during the day as concerns cross our minds, and even during the night when we wake.

Some of us may find it reassuring to end our day with Him. Before sleeping, we want to thank Him for the blessings of the day, to ask for His grace to help us deal with problems in our lives, to ask for forgiveness for the ways we may not have been our best, and to prayerfully request His presence, comfort, or healing upon those who need His care. There’s something comforting about falling asleep knowing we’ve laid them all out before Him.

But sometimes after a long day, our minds and bodies are so weary that we fall asleep before we even finish, or we rush through so we can. Perhaps if we rested our bodies, and woke refreshed the next morning, we could begin the day with Him, and then rise with a whole new perspective of feeling blessed and assured of His presence.

We can always do both and much more! Nothing pleases God more than for us to spend time with Him in His Word and in prayer – telling Him about our lives and thanking Him for His goodness to us. What a promise, “O Lord, you hear my voice. In the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

Our God hears our prayers. And we can rest assured that He will answer them in the way that is best for us. What a privilege it is to go to Him in confidence and faith and let Him fill our hearts with His peace. What a gift to know He cares.


O Lord, we thank you for hearing our prayers, recognizing our voices, knowing our needs, and loving us enough to listen to them over and over again. May we begin our mornings with thoughts of you and how grateful we are for the blessings of life you give.  Amen

The Essence of God

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3: 16 – 17

We hear these words often: “Glory be to God, the Father; and to the Son; and to the Holy Ghost.”  What a great God we worship. One beyond our understanding in so many ways.

One of His greatest mysteries has to be the concept of the “Trinity”. We accept it as one of God’s truths to us, but yet, we wonder and question, “How can there be 3 gods, yet 1?  Three separate entities in 1 God?” 

There is clearly nothing in nature or life that we can relate it to, although many have tried with such simplistic explanations as a man can be a son, a father, and a grandfather. Three distinct roles in one being. But in all we know about God’s true nature, this analogy doesn’t begin to offer understanding of His divine essence.

The term “Trinity” is not found in Scripture, although in such verses as this one from Matthew, we are given a clear visual image of the three: God, His Son, and His Holy Spirit. Just as we do with so many things about God, we accept this truth on faith and are grateful for the grace to do so.

From the beginning and throughout the Old and New Testaments, we read of the greatness of God as the Creator and Sustainer of life. We learn of His eternal plan to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to live among us, to teach us about loving and serving others, and to give us His saving grace. Believing Jesus is our Savior and Lord, the true Son of God, is the cornerstone of our Christian faith.

We also recognize and believe that God lives in us with His loving, encouraging presence in the form of the Holy Spirit. Since our loving God knew how difficult and painful this life could be, He sends His Spirit to give us the power to do things we could never do on our own.

God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit. All three make up the essence of God, but yet, all are distinct from each other. Each one has a separate function, but not a separate essence.

The mysteries of God – what an amazing, sovereign being who gives us all we need to live a life on this earth filled with His assurance and the hope of eternal life to come.


Our most sovereign and almighty God, we thank you for your presence with us. Thank you for the gift of life and for being our Father who pours down His love and grace upon us. Thank you for your Son who gave His life to redeem us, and for your Holy Spirit who lives in us to give us your strength, comfort, and peace. Amen

Dreaming Big With God

Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God. Ecclesiastes 5: 7

Now that Miles and Cole are back in school, we don’t see them quite as often and even our conversations on the phone have become less frequent! At least we text with Miles every now and then, and last night, we got a call from Cole! I was so happy to hear that sweet voice and said, “Cole, it’s so good to talk to you. How are you and how is kindergarten?”  

But first, he wanted to know if Granddad was on the phone too. I told him he was, and before Bob could even speak, he said, “Ok guys, this is really serious. I have something really important to tell you. You know that I’ve been really busy with school, homework, soccer practice and games on Saturday, and I don’t have much time to talk to you. But I have to tell you this. I am getting ready for the “Turkey Trot” again this year! Dad and I have been training at the track and it’s a lot of work.  But I have to be ready to do my best! I really want to run fast, finish the race, and get a ribbon! So I just wanted you to know. Bye. See you soon. Love you.”

And before we knew it, we were staring at the phone, listening to silence. He was gone! What a funny little 5 year old he is! Kel called later to tell us that she had suggested he call, since we haven’t talked to him in awhile. So he did – to tell us that he was too busy to talk! He has a race in November to get ready for!

She said he is so excited and is taking it so seriously! It is a fundraiser at their school and students and their parents can sign up for the 5k run. They also have a “Fun Run” for smaller kids called the Turkey Trot“.  Cole entered last year and loved it! A teacher wears a turkey hat and costume, the kids run around the track, trying to catch him, and everyone gets a ribbon for completing the race. Cole definitely wants to be ready and is promising that he will do his best! He has big dreams and he is determined to make them happen!

We’ve all had our dreams, haven’t we, and we still do. In the past, we’ve carefully mapped them out, put our hearts and souls into making them happen, and found that some worked out, and some didn’t. Then at other times, we probably “dreamed” and “talked” a little more than we worked, and of course, they never panned out.

This verse in Ecclesiastes written by Solomon has a good message for us. I think he is reminding us that dreaming and talking “with many words” about our dreams is pretty meaningless if we don’t put our best efforts behind them. God planted the idea of dreams in our hearts, gave us creative minds, and wants us to be challenged, and live happy and fulfilled lives. Because we worship an awesome God who can do great things, He wants us to dream BIG, but He also wants us to plan well, work hard to accomplish them, and most of all, He wants our dreams to be in line with His purpose  for our lives.

At times, we try to get God to go along with our plans, pray that He will work them out and bless them, when instead, we should be going to Him and following His direction and guidance. Sometimes we may need to just be quiet, listen, and let Him show us the way. Then if our plan is in step with His, we can rest assured that it will work out. And when it does, we can give Him much gratitude and praise, knowing we could have never done it without Him.


Dear God, may we come to you with our hopes and dreams and let you guide us through them. We are grateful that you know best and will always show us the way. Amen

Cast Your Net on the Other Side!

He (Jesus) said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” John 21: 6

When Scott was about 7 or 8, his best friend, Ryan, kept telling him about all the times he and his dad had gone fishing that spring, and how much fun they had. Scott thought it would be the grandest thing and he wanted to go too. We had plans to go to the beach soon, so Bob promised him that we would all go fishing while we were there!

They bought fishing poles for the 2 of them, a tackle box, and when the time came, their much awaited bait. They were ready and Scott could not wait to catch his first fish!

I was excited too! It was something I had always wanted to do, and the thought of us all sitting by the water relaxing and watching the fish being reeled in sounded like fun. I really thought that it was going to be a great family adventure for all of us! Kelly, at 13, was the practical one, and knew from the beginning that it wasn’t going to be all that great! And she was right! She and I lasted for about an hour or so, and then we headed for the sandy shore. We were done.

I can’t say I enjoyed it. It was so frustrating to sit and wait and wait, knowing those fish were in the water and not taking the bait!  I had so wanted Scott to be excited by each one he pulled in. I could not wait to see the pride on his face. But it never happened. Not even once!

Several hours later, he and his dad joined us on the beach, and the pail was still empty!  They were 2 dejected, disappointed guys! They had tried so hard and failed!

Don’t we feel that way about life sometimes? We too have had those times when we have worked hard to make something happen and have put much time and effort into making sure it did. We really felt as if we were prepared, we had done everything we could, and it was really important to us. Yet, we kept waiting and waiting, hoping and praying. And still it didn’t happen.

Some of us may be experiencing that same situation at the present time in our lives. We may be looking and hoping, and even waiting for God to come through and make the thing we want so badly to happen.

Perhaps we are like Peter and the 4 disciples we read about in John 21 who kept trying to catch fish all through the night and caught nothing. I can only imagine their frustration when their livelihood and their source of food depended on their success. They must have been so tired and weary from their long night and felt as if they had nothing to show for all their efforts.

As dawn came, they saw a man standing on shore who called out to them, asking if they had caught any fish. And when they answered that they had not, Jesus, the resurrected Christ, in his third appearance before the disciples, said, Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”  When they did, their catch was so heavy that they were unable to haul in the net!

Maybe there’s a lesson for us in this story. If we have been waiting for something to happen in our lives and it hasn’t, maybe Jesus, too, is telling us “to put our nets on the other side“, or to look in another direction for what it is we want. Whatever we are hoping for – whether it has to do with our families or other relationships, our finances, our jobs, healing with a health issue, or a resolution to a problem we’re dealing with – God may be telling us to stop “looking at our empty nets and fish elsewhere”. He may have something else in mind, much better than what we had planned for ourselves. We may have been counting on this one thing for so long that we may have lost our focus and we need to look elsewhere. And when we do, “our boat too, may become full to overflowing” with the blessings of His goodness.

When that happens, hopefully, we too will realize what the disciples did. After they saw the abundance of fish they had caught, they looked back to shore, and the disciple whom Jesus loved (most likely John Himself) said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”  They recognized that it was their Master, and that it was He who had given them what they needed. He had once again shown them His love and His grace, but most of all He had shown them His glory.

Hopefully, we, too, will see that God’s hand was in our situation, giving us His best. And we, too, will give Him much honor and praise!

(And all was not lost on our little “fishing trip”!  We had a great time, and later that summer, Scott caught his first fish – in a pond!)


Our loving and gracious God, we thank you for your presence with us and for all the blessings of life. How grateful we are that you always know what is best for us and will show us the way. Amen

Give Your Cares to God

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Who or what is on your heart today?  Something is because we all have our cares and concerns.

Some days we have the same ones we have been carrying around for quite awhile, and then on other days, we get brand new ones to add to our already burdened hearts. We try to hold on to hope, but sometimes we need more. We need God. We need Him to just take our burdens from us and give us peace.

God desires that we do so. He wants us to give Him our cares, not one by one, but all of them – our anxieties, stresses, worries, doubts, and fears. He will take them all because He loves us unconditionally and completely. He will soothe our spirits and assure us that we can trust in Him and be at rest. We can let them go and know that He will carry us with His love and grace.

I love this beautiful song, “Carry You” by Amy Grant (with Vince Gill in the background and on guitar) that I heard many years ago, and it has often reminded me to give my cares to God. Below are the words and the link to the song. I hope you will take a few minutes to listen and let it fill your heart with His quiet peace.

“I Will Carry You”, by Amy Grant

Lay down your burden
I will carry you
I will carry you my child, my child
Lay down your burden
I will carry you
I will carry you my child, my child

Cause I can walk on water
Calm a restless sea
I’ve done a thousand things you’ve never done
And I’m really watching
While you struggle on your own
Call my name, I’ll come


I give vision to the blind
I can raise the dead
I’ve seen the darker side of hell
And I’ve returned
I’ve seen those sleepless nights
And count every tear you cry
Some lessons hurt to learn



Our gracious Lord, how many times we try to carry our burdens and cares on our own instead of giving them to you. Thank you for the assurance, peace, and rest we can find in you when we do. Amen

The Fountain of Life

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Psalm 36: 9

I am amazed! I just glanced over an article entitled 50 Ways to Look Younger”.  All these years have gone by and I didn’t even realize all the things I could have been doing! I could look 20 years younger now if I had only known! But then, I have to admit that I’ve tried a few of them, like using moisturizers, drinking more water, and giving up many of the desserts I love. It really hasn’t made much difference, so I’m not sure the other 47 will either!

What is it with our nation’s current obsession with looking younger and defying the onset of natural aging? In all the ads and articles we see, we are not only promised that our faces and bodies will look younger, but our spirits can be revitalized, renewed, and refreshed, as well, to help us act and feel less than our age.

But sadly, we know the reality is that we could exercise routinely, monitor our diets, do spa treatments, meditate, do yoga, and all the other things that would supposedly relieve the signs of aging, and we probably still wouldn’t be satisfied or content with how we look. We realize that we still could not meet the expectations of the “world” which values youth and vitality.

God wants us to value and take care of our bodies, but we also recognize that He created us with the inevitability of growing older. We realize there is no fountain of youth that we can drink from or any magical solution for aging on this side of heaven. Life goes by quickly, our bodies change, and renewal can only come from Him. When we give Him our hearts and all that we are, He gives us a “fountain of life” that springs forth in our souls. By presenting our body, mind, and spirit to Him as a living sacrifice, we are inviting him to renew and refresh us from the inside out.

He is our life-changing, life-giving resource. He is the fountain from which all of life flows. If we give our hearts to anything else but Him, we lose the opportunity for His Spirit to fill our hearts with His overflowing grace and love. Grace and love that could flow out to others and fill our hearts with all the things that truly make us happy and content.

God is our source of life and light, and only through Him can we see what is true and desirable for all our days on this earth, no matter how many or few there are. John 4: 14 promises “that those who drink from His water will never be thirsty again. His fountain of life will be a fresh, bubbling spring within us, giving us abundant blessings now and forever more.”  

May we accept with grace the aging process and be grateful for the gift of each and every day. And may we always be grateful for the renewal and refreshing of our Spirit  through Jesus Christ. He is and always will be our source of strength, hope, and life.


Our most gracious and loving God, we thank you for being the fountain that flows into our lives with your blessings. We give you all honor, praise, and glory for renewing our bodies and our spirits with your love and compassion. Amen

We Have His Assurance

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8: 38

Recently, I went into our walk-in attic to look for a certain book that I haven’t been able to find. I had hoped it was packed away in one of the boxes filled with things we have collected over the years and wanted to keep. Thankfully, I found it without too much searching and even ran across my yearbooks from 31 years of teaching. I had not looked at them in years!

I just sat in the floor, going through the pages, looking at the faces of my former students and remembering the experiences we shared. It seems impossible that it has been so many years and even more amazing to see the young men and women they have become!  Many I run into from time to time, or see on Facebook, and others I keep up with through family and friends. But then there are some that I have heard nothing about in the many years since. I wonder how they are and what is going on in their lives.

Hhmmm . . . what memories, and the thrills and heartaches of those young teens! There was so much peer pressure, and sadly, for many of them, their perceptions of who they were, were based on how they thought others perceived them. I remember hearing so many comments, such as, “I can’t do this. It’s too hard and everyone knows that I’m dumb anyway!” Or  “No one likes me because I don’t have the right clothes and they think I’m ugly.”  Or “There’s no use to try out for the team, because my friends say that I’m no good!” It was heartbreaking to hear, and many of them had family and friend relationship issues, as well. They had all these worries, and I was trying to get them to think about figurative language, the plot of a novel, and linking verbs. No wonder they weren’t interested!

But don’t we adults do the same? Many of us have these same thoughts in our minds that we can’t accomplish certain things or be who we wish we could be. We concentrate on what we don’t have more than we do on our blessings. And sometimes, we get so bogged down by life and its problems, that we become paralyzed by fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, sadness, or just plain indifference. Then it becomes difficult to focus on anything else but our own problems. We may even find ourselves just going through the motions of life, just living day to day, taking those we love for granted, and missing out on a life of contentment and joy.

God wants more for our lives than this. He wants us to do more than just survive or cope with whatever circumstances we are in. It is his desire that we live with hope and have confidence in who we are and in what He can do for our lives. He wants to give us the strength and the will to deal with whatever comes our way, whether it’s personal or health issues, relationship problems, financial concerns, job stress, or grief over the loss of loved ones.

With Him, there is nothing we can’t overcome. “In all these things we are MORE than conquerors through him who loved us.”  Through His unabiding love and mercy for us, He will carry us through whatever we may face. It may be a daily challenge for us to let go – to totally place our lives in His hands and trust Him, but wouldn’t it be the greatest gift to have His assurance that we can?

In the very next verse after this one, Romans 8: 39, we read, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   

We find His assurance in those words. He is always with us and we can always trust in Him. May we feel His love and let His peace fill our hearts.


Dear God, how grateful we are that we can do all things through you. Thank you for loving us, and giving us the strength and assurance of your presence. Amen

Go Light Your World

He (Jesus) said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed?  Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?  For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.”  Mark 4: 21 – 22

Don’t we all read or hear something at times, and then we can’t get it off our minds? Often it is important enough that it stays with us, lays on our hearts, and we promise that we’ll never let ourselves forget it! I heard such a message yesterday in our worship service, and I want to share it with you.

It was a wonderful service, as always, and it began with beautiful music from violinists, singing, children lighting candles symbolizing the light of Christ, and then the reading of the Scripture passage from Mark 4: 21 – 25. Then our minister began his sermon by telling us about an email he had received from someone this past week with the above verses. He explained that it had really convicted his heart, and you could hear the emotion in his voice as he talked about its content.

The email had come from a church member who had received a letter from a missionary in Iraq and in it, the missionary had described the dire conditions of Christians at the hands of ISIS terrorists. He expressed his sadness and grave concern that believers in Iraq are being systematically eliminated for refusing to renounce their faith and convert to Islam. They are literally being held at knife or gun point, asked if they will deny their Christian beliefs and if not, they are beaten, tortured, and killed without delay.

Can our minds even begin to comprehend the despair and fear other Christians must be experiencing knowing what their fate and that of their children will be? What would we do in a similar situation?  What would our answer be? Would our faith and courage become so weak that we would deny the Savior we love and call our own?

Do we even begin to understand a situation in which Christians in Iraq are being murdered for standing up for their faith, and Christians in our nation are too embarrassed to even admit that they are a believer in Christ?  Why are we not willing to put our light “out on a stand” and tell the world about the life they can have in Him? Our faith is not a secret to be hidden and kept quietly for ourselves – it’s a gift that should be shared with the world. A world that is crying out in the darkness for hope, peace, comfort, and love.

Rev. Queen reminded us that some Christians say their faith is a private matter that they do not wish to discuss with others. Some are even uncomfortable admitting that they are Christians or confessing their faith. They fear they might be looked down upon and thought to be intolerant and narrow-minded. But private faith becomes what we want it to be, not what God says it should be. God values and desires authentic faith that is personal and real to us, so real that we want others to know what we have. We want them to know our Savior, His love, and His saving grace.

The point was also made that the amazing thing about our Christian faith is that sometimes words aren’t even necessary to share our light with others. They can see the glow of His love in the goodness of our hearts. They can see Christ in us as we live out our lives and show His love and grace to others. They see our faith as we worship Him and are faithful to His Word and His truths. Our lives shine brightest in the darkness when our hearts are focused on Him.

It was such a heartfelt and powerful message as Rev. Queen ended with the words that were sung at the beginning of the service:

Carry your candle. Run to the darkness. Seek out the hopeless, the tired and worn. Hold out your candle for all to see it. Take your candle. Go light our world.”

May we let our love and our light shine in the darkness. Go light your world!


Our Lord of light, our hearts are burdened by the treatment of our fellow believers around the world. We pray for your presence and your protection with them, and for the hearts of such evil men. May we be strong in faith and let our lights shine in the darkness. Amen

May We Pray For Something Greater

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 3: 16 – 19

Don’t we all want those special people in our lives to know how much we love and appreciate them? It’s so hard to find words to convey just how much, and we try to show them with the loving things we do. They are always in our prayers as we ask that God will bless them, keep them in His care, and provide all they need. There is no doubt that our greatest desire is that they will always be healthy, happy, and safe, and that they will experience all that life has to offer.

But this beautiful prayer from Ephesians reminds us that there is something much greater that we should desire for those we love. Could there be a more loving gift that we could give than to pray that they will truly know that Christ dwells in their hearts, that He will empower them to do things they could never do on their own, and that His Spirit will strengthen their faith to trust in Him? Could there be a greater blessing that we could give than to pray that they will truly know how much God loves them – that they will be able “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is His love, a love that surpasses all knowledge” and understanding?

This is my prayer for them, for you, and for me. God has assured us in His Word that in order for us to have the most fulfilling life possible and to experience all His goodness, we need His presence surrounding us and permeating our hearts and souls with His Spirit. As we come to understand the depth of His love for us, we will grow to trust Him more. And as our faith grows, He will give us the power and strength to trust in His loving will for our lives.

As we worship Him today, may we be grateful for His grace to trust Him, to fully realize His great love for us, and to follow His will. May our prayers for those we love and for ourselves always be that we will see God in every part of our lives, be aware of His presence with us, and be grateful for His love and goodness. Only then can we truly live life to the fullest!


Our most gracious Lord, we give you all honor, praise and glory for the love and blessings you bestow upon us.  May we always pray that you will open our hearts in a way that helps us understand the depth of your love and that will strengthen our faith in you.  Amen

Enter Through the Gate

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. John 10: 9

Enter through the gate! We’ve done that a few times in our lives, haven’t we? And with what anticipation we have done so as we have passed through to a baseball, basketball, or football game; the fair, an amusement park, the zoo, or to a garden. What opportunities and good things await us on the other side. But nothing can compare with the gate of life through which we can enter to find pasture in Jesus Christ.

Jesus used many comparisons when He taught His Gospel message and one of those is found in this verse, as He declared, “I am the gate and whoever enters through me will be saved . . . and find pasture.” The “gate”, (or the “door” as used in the King James Version) is one of the most vivid and important illustrations used in the Christian faith, as is the metaphor of Jesus as the devoted shepherd. For both make it clear that there is only one way to the Father, and that is through His Son. As we gain access through the gate, we find that He will shelter and provide for us just as a shepherd does for His sheep. He will keep us in His care, and His love and grace will always be available to us. He is the door to our Father and our passage to eternal life. Only those who are His, who love and believe in Him, will be allowed into His presence to enjoy the fullness of His blessings.

The door is always open to us, and inside, we will find green pastures leading to a full, abundant, and contented life, knowing that we belong to Him. Our shepherd will provide the security, sustenance for life, and freedom to come to Him whenever we need protection, nourishment, quiet solitude, and the presence of His love and comfort. We will find pasture for our souls as Jesus leads us through the difficult times, refreshes our spirits, and gives us life now and forevermore. How grateful we can be that we found our way to Him!


Dear Lord, we thank you for the “gate” to enter into your goodness, your love and your saving grace.  Thank you for directing us through life, protecting us, and keeping us always in your care as our shepherd. Amen 

Growing In Faith and Love

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, we boast  about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring . . . May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. 2 Thessalonians 1: 3 -4; 3: 5

Isn’t it the most amazing thing to see how our love and faith can grow as we go through difficult times together? How grateful we are to have those who care about what we are going through and are there with love, support, and prayers.

There are so many individuals around us who have a devastating illness, who have suffered a terrible loss, or who are experiencing some painful circumstances in their lives. Some involve children and they pull at our heartstrings even more. All of these situations affect entire families, communities, and even those of us who don’t know them personally, but have heard or read their stories. We are deeply concerned about what they are going through, we pray for them and their families, and our hearts ache at the thought of their pain. So many of these stories are filled with examples of how God is touching so many lives in the most amazing ways – even those who haven’t been physically present, but have been there with their love and encouragement. God brought us together through our love and faith in Him, and what wonderful things He has been able to do.

All of us need others – we need their love, strength, and their words of hope and encouragement. In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, we see in the above verses how he and his companions encouraged the new believers in their faith. Paul wanted them to know that his love and prayers were with them as they experienced persecutions and trials, and he wanted them to remember to pray for and support each other.

Paul reminded them to let “the Lord direct their hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance”. He wanted them to grow in appreciation of the depth of God’s love for them, and he knew once they realized how great His love was, their own love for God would grow deeper, as would their faith. Instead of being distraught over their situations, he wanted them to have the assurance of God’s love, strength, and grace to carry them through whatever came their way. And as they endured the trying times, it was his hope that they would hold on to the steadfastness of Christ by remembering what He did for them on the cross. Christ Himself was the true example of perseverance, trust, and patience as He followed the will of His Father.

This message of encouragement is for all of us, as well. Remembering the depth of God’s love and the sacrifice Christ gave, reminds us that we too can have the strength of Christ to do all things. We too need to remember during these painful times to let God direct and refocus our hearts on His tender and infinite love for each of us. May we lift others up with the reminder of His love, comfort, and strength. As we hold on to our steadfast faith in Him, may we too have the assurance that we will be able to get through these difficult circumstances and help others around us do the same. May we pray for those who are suffering, and for those who are helping to love and support their loved ones through these trying times. And may we pray that the love and faith of each of us will grow and that God will use us in a mighty way to show others to Him.


Dear God, we thank you for your love and grace to get through difficult situations and to help others do the same.  May we pray for them and their loved ones and lift them up with reminders of your faithfulness, love, and strength to do all things through you.  Help us to trust in your mercy and in your purpose for our lives. Amen 

May We Never Forget

 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.  James 1: 23 – 25

Ever thought about how many times you look in a mirror during the course of a day? I read that the average for women was 8 times a day!  (Ladies, think you do more or less?  Couldn’t find anything on guys. What do you think – 2, 3, 4?)

A study was done of 2000 women, and one of the most surprising aspects of the study was that 75% said they hate looking at themselves! 39% said it even affects their confidence to do so. Most of the reasons for looking were not actually about vanity. Women don’t look to admire themselves, but it is more about concern for their appearance and good hygiene – is the make-up and hair ok? Are the teeth, nose, and face clear?  Men just don’t seem to have the same need to check as much as we do, but we all still want to try to look our best, don’t we?

Reflections in a mirror. Hhmm. If we think about it, mirrors could be considered one of the most trivial necessities of life. Do we really need to see? I think we would all say yes! Thankfully, with them, we won’t forget how we look and can check at any time!

In these verses, James is comparing the way some listen to the Gospel of Christ to looking in a mirror. It seems incomprehensible to him that someone could hear the message of God’s love and grace and not remember it – as if they were looking in a mirror and then forgetting how they look!  How could they hear about His goodness and the life they could have in Him and not want what He has to give? It’s inconceivable to him that they would regard God’s truths with such little significance!

Just as mirrors can seem to be of trivial importance, many believe the Gospel to be trivial and unimportant to their lives. They may hear or read its message, but then ignore or refuse to accept the life and saving grace they could have in Christ. His Word seems unimportant and unnecessary. They don’t feel as if they need God or want Him in their lives. They believe they can rely on themselves or those around them to give them all they need. They like what they see when they look at themselves and their lives, Yet they fill their lives with such useless things and they always seem to be searching for something more to fill the empty places in their hearts.

As believers, we too need to look at our lives from time to time and see if we like what we find. Just as we see our outward self in a looking glass, so we may need to see our inward self by reading the Word of God. By doing so, our secrets are revealed – our lives, our thoughts, our hearts, and our souls. We can truly see – not as others see us, or even as we see ourselves, but as God sees us.

We are able to see not only our actions, but our motives, desires, and the inward condition of our hearts, and we may realize we need it to be transformed. Just as we wipe away those smudges and stains we see in our reflections in a mirror, we need to wipe away those undesirable  places in our hearts, as well.

May we read His Word with all our hearts, souls, and understanding and never forget His love and the life God desires for us to have. What blessings He has to give. May we never forget His truths and always be faithful to Him. And when we do, we have His assurance that He will give us even more of His goodness and His grace.


Dear Lord, may we listen to your Word, read it, meditate on it, let it dwell in our hearts and minds, and feel your love and grace. Help us to live the life you would have us live in you and may others see your reflection in us. In your most glorious name we pray.  Amen

To Be More Like Him

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 3: 18

It’s another beautiful day at the beach, and once again, I am in awe of the work of God’s hand. But the inspiration for today’s devotion came not from the beauty of nature around me, but from His greatest masterpiece of all – and that is man Himself. He has breathed life into every human being and has made each one special for His own purpose. Today I took note of those amazing creatures around me. I did what many of us do from time to time – I watched people interacting with people!

Every individual is fascinating, and I am filled with wonder when I think of how He created so many distinct and different beings – with so many shapes and sizes, skin tones, personalities, talents and abilities, and unique characteristics that make each of us who we are. What an awesome Creator He is!

As I watched, it was intriguing to wonder what each individual’s life story is – what their situations are and what is most important in their lives. I thought of these things as I enjoyed watching families interacting, friends spending time together, children playing, and the flow of life in such a relaxing and happy environment. As I watched, I saw much laughter, many smiles, genuine kindness and concern, and much warmth and love! But we know all too well that life can’t always be so carefree and happy. We eventually have to return back to the real world and to the stresses of life. I wondered if they knew God and the assurance and hope He can give.

Then I began to wonder if anyone was watching me!  If we’re watching others from time to time, someone is probably watching us! Have you ever wondered what they see, and what they think of each of us when they see the real us in our day to day lives?  Do they see our kindness, our love for others, and more importantly, do they see our love for God?

We all have different versions of ourselves, depending on our circumstances, but gratefully, God loves and accepts us for who we are. Yet, as His beloved children, He desires to make us better – to transform us into better versions of ourselves. He wants to shape and strengthen our character, cleanse our hearts, give us more wisdom and understanding through His Word about what is truly important in this life, and more than anything, He desires to make us more into the image of Jesus Christ Himself.

He wants to use His Spirit in us to show us all the opportunities we have before us to love others and share His grace. If we let His Spirit work in us, He can transform our hearts, and make us more pleasing to Him.

This is what we should strive for  – to be more like Him. As He continues to mold and shape us, we will keep learning, growing, and changing, and hopefully we can become who He would have us be!  And when we stand in His presence and see His glory, hopefully, one day, we’ll see His glory reflected in us!


Dear God, our Creator and Sustainer of life, we wonder at your goodness to us and thank you for the gift of life. May we be transformed by your Word and your Spirit in us to become individuals worthy of your love and grace. We give you all honor and glory. Amen

Hidden Secrets

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Psalm 51: 6

We’re at the beach for a few days, and I’m sitting by the ocean writing a devotion! I can’t think of a better place to get inspiration!

I am so enjoying the blessings of the beauty and sounds around me. Bob is playing golf – not that I don’t enjoy his company – but there’s something about being in front of this vast sea of waves, feeling the sun and gentle breeze on my face, with just my thoughts and a blank page waiting to be written.

A few minutes ago, a little girl around the age of 3 or 4, who has been playing nearby, ran over to me and whispered, “Do you want to hear a secret?”

I said, “I do! I love secrets!” 

Then she held out a big sea shell, put it next to my ear, and said, “You have to really listen! It’s the ocean telling you a secret! Do you hear it?”    

I did! And it was the most amazing secret as I was reminded of the greatness, the power, and the glory of our loving Creator. How sweet of this little girl to share it with me. Sharing our secrets with strangers is just not something we usually do!

I began thinking about secrets – how they can be such a wonderful thing on one hand, and then how others have the potential to be such a negative and painful thing. Some contain such wonderful news that we can’t wait to share, and then there are the little ones that we enjoy sharing with close friends. There are those that we only want to reveal to those closest to us whom we love and trust, knowing – or at least hoping – that they would never tell anyone else! And then, of course, regretfully, there are the really big secrets that we probably all have that are too painful and private to share with anyone, ones hidden deep in our hearts.

We keep secrets for many reasons. Perhaps we don’t want to hurt those we care about, earn their disapproval, or have them find out about our lies and deception. We may have done things that we are ashamed of, or at least, aren’t too proud of. We may have caused someone pain or embarrassment and we feel regret. And then there may be some secrets that have been buried in our hearts for years – even since we were children – ones that may have shaken our trust in those around us or changed who we would become. Such memories may have stolen our confidence and given us insecurities, fear, and anxiety. We may have even hidden some secrets from ourselves and would not even remember them at all unless we have gone searching deep into our hearts, or have asked God to help reveal them to us.

God knew that we would have such secrets, and even though many may be undesirable to Him, He wanted us to have a “cover” or protection for them – a place to keep them from being exposed so we wouldn’t have to endure the pain, humiliation, or judgment of others. Yet, our deepest secrets and deceptions aren’t hidden from Him. He sees inside our hearts, souls, and minds, and He sees our pain. Because He loves us, and values and desires a close relationship with us, He wants us to bring our secrets and our broken places to Him. He wants to take them and use them for our own benefit – to make us more than we ever thought we could be.

And amazingly, in the process, He gives us the “secret wisdom” of His healing, His love, and His grace. His Spirit within us will reveal deep truths about His love for us. We will realize even more what a sovereign, loving God we have who can bring us security, peace, and even joy in the midst of our darkness. He can permeate our souls and bring such freedom from the cares and burdens of this life. Our God has such a heart of concern for those of us He calls His own. He longs to take our despair and fill our hearts with His hope, love, and strength.

We can entrust our secrets with Him, and in turn, we’ll receive the most amazing secret of all – one that includes a deeper understanding of our amazing, loving God.


Our Heavenly Father, we know that you know our hearts and the things in our past that we need to let go. We ask that you take our most hidden secrets, heal our broken places, and fill them with your love and grace. Teach us the riches of your “secret wisdom” and fill us with your peace. Amen  

All He Wants is Our Willingness

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28: 18 – 20 

Don’t we all love the song, “I Can Only Imagine”?  Such a beautiful vision comes to mind as we listen to the words and wonder what it will truly be like when we see the Son, Jesus Christ, for the very first time. We can close our eyes and wonder as the song asks, “Will we dance with joy, fall to our knees, sing Hallelujah, or simply stand in silent awe of His glory?” It is truly hard to imagine, isn’t it?

But have you ever wondered what He will do or say when He first sees each of us? I once read this thought, “Wonder if you were to arrive in heaven, and Jesus were to say to you, ‘My child, you are here, I have so much to show you, but first I have one question to ask, How many people did you tell about Me?’ ”  Oh, what a humbling and painful thought! How our minds would go to all the opportunities we missed and the time we wasted!

Yet, we are called to be witnesses through our words and deeds to those around us by our Savior Himself. We have heard the good news and have experienced the freedom and joy that can be ours through Christ, and we have been given a mandate and a mission as Christians to share His love and grace with others. It is given to us in this Scripture passage from Matthew, and it is known as “The Great Commission” (also recorded in the Gospel of Mark).

After Jesus’s death and resurrection, before his ascension into heaven, He gave His apostles these words: “Go . . . and make disciples . . .”  This is a message for us, as well. Wherever we go, we are to share the good news of His saving grace to others when we have the opportunity.

But what a difficult task it seems for us. Perhaps it’s because we are embarrassed or we don’t want to impose our faith on others. Maybe it is because we feel inadequate and we want to leave it to those who are more knowledgeable about Scripture or have more experience. Or maybe we have tried to witness in the past and we failed. But the best news of all is that we don’t have to do it in our own strength. He will do the work for us. We’re just the “feet on the ground”.  All He wants is our willingness! He will help us do the rest!

We all aren’t called to be missionaries and share His message of love and hope around the world, but we all can witness to His grace in our own little corner of the world. We can show the face of Jesus Christ through our kindness and generosity, through teaching Sunday School, working in a food pantry, singing songs about His love, or even telling our story of what God has done in our lives during some difficult situation. Or just by the way we live our day to day lives might make someone who doesn’t know Christ stop and think about wanting what we have – the joy, peace, and contentment of life with Him. What a gift we have to share!


Dear Lord, how humbled we are by these words and your mandate to us. In the midst of a world screaming for answers – for love, compassion, understanding, hope, comfort, strength, and peace, we have the responsibility and privilege of sharing the news of your saving grace and love. Help us to use those opportunities that come before us and to use your Spirit to give us the means to do so. In your most holy name.  Amen

The Bread of Life

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6: 35

“I am the bread of life”, Jesus declared to His disciples. He reminded them that just as God had sent the manna from heaven to fall to the ground to sustain His people in the wilderness, so the Father had also sent Him, the Bread of Life, to give sustenance to the world. What a beautiful expression. What a source of life He truly is for all of us who believe in His most holy name.

In Jesus’s day, bread was the main part of any meal and the most important. By Him referring to Himself as such, He is not only reminding us that He is available to everyone – the rich and poor alike – but He is also saying that He is the true and only source of life. As the nutrients from natural bread give strength and nourishment to our bodies, so Christ can bring life to our souls. Once we “feast” upon His goodness, nothing else will ever suffice. He is all we will ever need to satisfy the emptiness in our souls as He lives and flows through us with His love and strength. He is our Savior, our Sustainer, and our true Comforter. He is the Giver of hope, our saving grace, and our deepest joy. “All who come to Him will never go hungry, and they will never be thirsty as they drink from His living water.”

Throughout Jesus’ public ministry and even today, people have questioned His identity. Throughout the book of John, Jesus focuses not on what others think of Him, but on who He declares Himself to be. Besides teaching that He is the Bread of Life, He declares Himself to be The Light of the World, The Gate, The Good Shepherd, the Way, The Vine, and The Resurrection and the Life. He supplies all our needs in this life and in the one to come for all eternity. How grateful we are for His love and grace.

As we pray the Lord’s prayer and say these words, “Our Father who art in heaven . . . Give us this day our daily bread” may we think of more than food for our physical nourishment that we need and desire, but may we think of receiving Him into our hearts with just the portion and grace that we need for today. What joy to know that He lives in us and gives us life – now and forevermore.


Our most gracious Lord, we thank you for the bread of life you give. How you fill our hearts and souls with peace, love, comfort, hope, and the promise of eternal life to come. Amen

A Life Focused On God

Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.  Proverbs 30: 7-9

One of the great mysteries of life might be why some live in such extreme poverty, others in abundant wealth, and most live comfortably with all they need. Yet, our mindset in all our abundance seems to be the desire for more.

I think we have all played the game of what we would do if we won the million dollar lottery, or what we would ask for if we could have any 3 wishes. But imagine if we had the opportunity to ask God for any 2 things, what would they be? Would we ask that He give us good health, surround us with loved ones and keep them safe, or would we ask for the good life with prosperity and success?

The author of this verse thinks quite differently! In his request, he asks for neither riches nor poverty! He asks only for what He may need each day. His desire is to be focused on God and the life He desires him to have.

This prayer from Proverbs probably seems like a strange one from today’s perspective for we see that its focus is not on how much or how little we might be given, but it is a prayer about living a more righteous and godly life. Filled with wise sayings and good advice for daily living, most chapters are believed to have been written by King Solomon, but this particular one was written by Agur, an oracle. We know nothing about him other than the words at the beginning of Chapter 30 and what we can surmise from these verses – and that is, that Agur was a man who trusted God and who prayed wisely.

This is the only prayer in Proverbs and from it we can see that Agur’s commitment was to honor God in all he did, and his honest intent was to never let his own self-interests get in the way of his relationship with Him. In his request, he was concerned with his spiritual life and his physical life. He wanted to live an honest, worthwhile one, and he had a sincere desire to keep his heart in a godly place.

He was satisfied if God would just provide him with his daily needs. He asked God to avoid giving him affluence or poverty. He felt if he were given wealth, it might lead him to self-reliance and a denial of God’s blessings in his life. He might feel as if he didn’t need God and his greatest desire was that he would always seek and honor Him. On the other hand, if he was given extreme poverty, he was concerned that he might have to obtain what he needed in dishonest ways and dishonor the name of God. He wanted to live an honest, simple life and one focused on God – nothing more and nothing less.

Food for thought about what we consider important to us, isn’t it? And what a reminder to be grateful for the blessings we have!


Our most gracious and loving God, thank you for loving us even when we seem only concerned with ourselves and what we have. May we seek to live more honest and godly lives, be content, and honor you in all that we do. Amen

Let’s Live As If We Believe

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42: 5

Have you ever been so downcast that you had a talk with your own soul? I think we all have from time to time. Sometimes even when we know we have so much to be grateful for, we can become so overwhelmed with the cares of life that our minds and hearts feel heavy with despair. We know from His Word that He never forgets His children, but sometimes in our darkest times, we feel alone and forgotten.

Hopefully, in such times, we will remember that we can go before our God and pour our hearts out to Him. He knows our thoughts and feelings already, and He longs for us to come near to Him with our concerns. He desires that we let Him remind us that all is not hopeless, that we are not alone, and that He is with us. He wants us to remember just how much He loves us, how much He longs to comfort us, and how He promises to keep us in His loving care no matter what happens around us.

Haven’t we learned that the more we focus on the pain and difficult memories, the more despair we feel? If only we could set our hearts on His goodness and faithfulness, the more peace and contentment we could have. If only we could believe Him and His promises to us.

One of the most meaningful Bible Studies I have done was Believing God by Beth Moore. In this particular study, Beth encouraged us with the truth that though we may have believed IN God for many years, we believe Him for very little. We often find it difficult to really believe what He has said to us through His Word and His promises. She challenged us to see how much more God can be than what we have acknowledged and experienced. We even had a Five Statement Pledge of Faith which we were asked to memorize, and it has come to mind many times through the years since this study to remind me to trust in Him.

1. God is who He says He is

2. God can do what He says He can do.

3. I am who God says I am.

4. I can do all things through Christ.

5. God’s Word is alive and active in me. 

Powerful words to plant in our minds and hearts, aren’t they? Memorize them and let’s live as if we believe them!

We can believe!  Let’s look for Him all around us – in small and magnificent ways. He will reveal His presence and His truths to us in a very personal way.  Believe in Him – as the God we always wanted to believe He is. May we “put our hope in Him and forever praise Him as our Savior and our God.” 


Our God of hope, we thank you for the confidence we have in coming to you with our concerns. Thank you for all the ways you make yourself known to us. We ask that your Spirit in us help our hearts to grow in faith and belief in you. We give you all honor and praise. Amen

Be Alert

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith. . .  1 Peter 5: 8 – 9

Do you ever feel as it there is something terribly wrong with our world? Is it because of the evil around us? Do you believe in evil and the evil one?

Some say there is no such thing as either one. They argue it is just a state of mind; the opposite of good, and that the “devil” is just the sinful part of each of us. Yet God, in His Word has made the truth known, and He has assured us that evil does exist.

Have you ever thought about how you would define evil?  We would probably use terms such as “wicked, reprehensible, malicious, morally bad, and causing harm or suffering.” Evil , in simple terms, seeks to destroy. The Christian definition of evil makes the illustration even more vivid by describing it as “the total absence of God, a dark place filled with hopelessness and despair.”  Can your mind even conceive of such a horrible thought – a place without the presence of God, a place without light and goodness?

I think we have seen much evidence of such a place in men’s hearts in recent weeks with all the hatred, desire for revenge, and a drive for power to cause harm, as we  have seen with the terrorists around the world as they terrorize and kill. We see vivid images on our TV screens of bombings and shootings, and we hear the many reports of murders, rapes, kidnappings, abuse, molestations, and destruction of property and lives in our own nation. The violence and injustice seems overwhelming, especially against innocent children, and we cringe in horror and disgust, and even feel emotional pain when we see or hear of these despicable acts against anyone.

This verse from 1 Peter reminds us that we must be on guard from such evil. There are 20 times in the New Testament, when we are told to Be alert, to be careful.” Most of these examples are said by Jesus Himself as He warns us of the spiritual warfare around us. He knew that our hearts would be constantly tempted away from Him and our minds led onto a path of hatred and discontent.  Such evil intentions are meant to take our eyes off of Christ and divert our attention on the world. They are meant to make us doubt God’s power, goodness, justice, and grace, while offering attractive counterfeit “gods” who will better serve our needs, give us satisfaction, and give us value more than God can. In this way, evil seeks to gain the victory over Christ.

As evil “prowls around the earth like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”, we all are susceptible to its power. We must be firm in our faith and vigilant against the attacks to make us deny God’s truths. We must keep our eyes focused on Him and trust in His promises, His love, and His saving grace. And one thing we can be sure of is that He will overcome evil in this world, and the kingdom of Christ will stand for all eternity.


Dear God, amidst all the evil in the world, help us to stand firm in our faith in you. As we pray from the Lord’s Prayer, “Deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever”.  Amen

Go Out in Joy

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; . . . Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David . . . You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55: 1, 3, 12

I turned the calendar page over and the October scene before me made me even more eager to see the display that fall has in store for us!  The leaves are just beginning to turn, and I am so ready for all those glorious colors, the cool breezes, and the feel in the air that change has come. How I enjoy this time of year and all it brings.

I am so grateful that we live in an area where we can enjoy the variety of weather that the seasonal changes bring. Even the thought that the time is nearing for nature to take a rest as the cold winter months approach doesn’t dampen my spirits, for afterwards, I know the promise of new life will arrive with spring. And then will come summer, as nature gives us even more time to enjoy all her beauty! But for now, let’s take in this one.  The days will go by quickly enough!

Our boys have even made their annual visit to the pumpkin patch to choose the best from the field. Remember when that meant rows and rows of pumpkins and nothing else? Well, not anymore!  Now it means rows of pumpkins with bouncy houses, trampolines, games, pony and tractor rides, goats to feed, huge cornfield mazes, corn cribs to play in, games, pipes to crawl through, and bales of hay to jump over! And then there’s pumpkin pie, candy apples, and hot chocolate! These little guys could ask for nothing more! Kel sent great pictures of them in the midst of the surroundings of the farm, the beautiful red barns framed by the blue sky, the geese on the pond, and the hint of leaves changing which just added to the anticipation! It’s as if all of nature is getting ready to celebrate the change in seasons and burst forth in song – inviting us all to be a part of it.

God too has an invitation for us in these beautiful verses from Isaiah. In fact, chapter 55 is sometimes referred to as “The Great Invitation” in which God calls His people to come to Him, and He gives beautiful promises of joy and peace in return. A joy so great that even the mountains, hills, and trees join in. He  graciously invites us to come and be a recipient of his glorious presence and the opportunity to take advantage of all His blessings, spiritual and physical, that He has to offer. What a gift of His everlasting covenant with us – a call to His people to believe on Him, to drink from His living water, and to partake of the life He longs to give us. What an invitation to enjoy all He has to give.

As these changes come, may we enjoy this fall season – take in the beauty of nature as it “bursts forth in song” and especially remember to be grateful for His goodness to us. Let us bask in the beauty of His world and His presence with us as “we go out in joy and be led forth in peace.”  


Our most gracious God, what gifts you desire to give us, what beauty and grace we can find in a life with you. Thank you for all the many blessings of life, your goodness to us, and for the beauty of your creations. Amen