If I Could Tell You Just One Thing

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV) Dear one, if I could tell you just one thing, it would be this … God. Loves. You. God Yes, there is one. Perhaps you already know Him or perhaps you have wondered. Think about this. When looking at a freshly baked cake, no one ever says it “just happened.” There was bound to be a baker—who mixed ingredients just so, in a certain order, in specific amounts, and popped it in an oven for a specific number of minutes. In the same way, the more we examine the intricacies of the human eye or the beauty of […] Read more »

Choosing Church

Five Reasons Church Matters Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25 NIV) I know. Church isn’t always riveting. People at church can often act in frighteningly unchristian ways. Sometimes the music doesn’t appeal. Sometimes it’s difficult having to be nice to people you feel awkward around. Perhaps at times you feel pressured to do more than you feel you can do … committees folks want you to join … so you just stay […] Read more »

No More Hiding

  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NIV) When my husband and I first married, we got ourselves a couple of dogs. Attila was a Doberman Pinscher German Shepherd mix—and he was big. My husband loved that dog. Tank came into our life six months later when a neighborhood child found him abandoned on the side of the road. He was a Chow Shepherd, not as big as Attila, but still a big guy. Tank was mine. We loved our dogs, but they surely could get into mischief. Like the time I left quiche cooling on the counters. I learned exactly how […] Read more »

When It’s Right in Front of You

Hidden Heroes of Easter – Cleopas and Friend on the Road to Emmaus Part Five of our Hidden Heroes of Easter Series Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. (Luke 24:31 NIV) I’m not an observant person. Really. Ask my husband who waited five days to see if I’d notice he’d shaved off his beard. He finally gave up and told me. Ask my friend who took me for a ride in her brand new car hoping I’d comment on it. I had no idea. And then there was the time an old boyfriend tied 100 yellow ribbons on the oak tree in his front yard to welcome me home from a trip. Yep. I didn’t see ’em. […] Read more »

Carrying the Cross

Hidden Heroes of Easter – Simon of Cyrene Part Four of our Hidden Heroes of Easter Series A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. Mark 15:21 (NIV) One sentence. That’s all. Simon of Cyrene is mentioned in three of the gospels, but this is all we know: his name, where he was from, the names of his sons, and what he was forced to do. When he was chosen as cross bearer, Simon was just “passing by on his way in from the country.” Probably not his plan for the day. He did not volunteer for this task. In fact, the word […] Read more »

You Want My What?

Hidden Heroes of Easter – Donkey Owner Part Three of our Hidden Heroes of Easter Series  He sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a [donkey] tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” Luke 19:30-31 (NIV) Singer Michael Card tells the story of his grandfather in the song “For F.F.B.” It seems he was always giving his coat away to someone who needed it more than he did. When I remember that line from the song, I always smile thinking about this South Carolina preacher who couldn’t help […] Read more »

Who Am I Pleasing?

Hidden Heroes of Easter – Mary Part Two of our Hidden Heroes of Easter Series Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3 (NIV) There’s just no pleasing some people. Folks who are so unhappy inside they feel compelled to find fault with everyone around them. Have you known anyone who seems to be permanently dissatisfied with you and anything you do? Hard to be with them, isn’t it? No matter how we try to please them—or at least not anger them—it backfires. We often end up stifling our true character just to keep from […] Read more »

When God’s Plan Does Not Look Remotely Like Yours

Hidden Heroes of Easter – Lazarus Part One of our Hidden Heroes of Easter Series Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. John 11:5-6 (NIV, 1984) I was mad. No, mad is too mild. Furious is a better word. Ray and I had been married less than a year, and my college graduation was quickly approaching. I had proudly attended his graduation from West Point the year before—and even had the great privilege of pinning his 2nd Lieutenant bars. Now, Ray would not even be attending my graduation. What! You see, the army decided to send Ray on a mission for three months. And the army did not […] Read more »

Full of Grace and Truth

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (NIV, emphasis mine) Grace. It’s a word that humbles. Defined as “unmerited favor.” In my mind, I picture the prodigal son finally stumbling home, and his Father running toward him. Did a guy who had grabbed his inheritance prematurely and squandered it in spurious behaviors deserve this? A father who hiked up his robe and ran to greet him? No word of condemnation on that dad’s lips? No lecture. No reminders of how deeply the son had hurt him. Nope. Just arms clasped tightly, embracing, weeping, perhaps at the joy […] Read more »

Stop. Look. Admire. Repeat.

How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all. Psalm 104:24a (NIV) I checked the time on my watch. Dad had been out on our deck for two hours. I’d been in and out several times, making sure he had coffee and was still comfortable. Again, I stepped out to the deck. “Hey, Dad, want to come back in now?” “Look at the trees, honey. They are so tall,” he said with wonder in his voice. Then he seemed to hear my question and answered, “I’m fine right here, thank you.” And he was. He sat out on our deck hour after hour, coffee cup beside him, looking. Admiring. Marveling. You see, for years the poor circulation in his legs had […] Read more »