Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Direction for the Journey

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

When I go on a trip, before I even leave home, I check on the map where I am headed. I make sure I have the necessary directions to arrive at my destination. If I have some place specific to be, I want good directions. I am not fond of getting lost. Directions provide guidance of how to travel from point A to point B. With today’s GPS systems, one can have step-by-step directions from door-to-door.

An angel appeared to several people on this journey to Bethlehem, preparing them for journey with two simple words of direction, “Fear not.” The journey of life, like that journey to Bethlehem 2000 years ago, can seem frightening, overwhelming. At the time of the birth of Christ, the journey to Bethlehem was a dangerous one to on which to embark. The route, a seventy mile journey which Joseph and Mary took was in rocky highlands in which bandits lay in wait for those who risk traveling. The travel is exhausting and vastly uncomfortable.

However, God told the travelers to “Fear not” for He was with them. As God was with those weary travelers long ago, He is with us today. Our journey may not be without pain, it may not be without risk and it may be tiring and uncomfortable. Dear one, fear not, for God is with us; we need no other direction.

Digging deeper: 2 Timothy 1:7; Mark 6:50; Matthew 17:7; Revelation 1:17; Genesis 26:24; Isaiah 41:13; Romans 8:15

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rejected Again

“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive Him…. There was no room for them in the inn” John 1:11, Luke 2:7b

Anticipation and dread mix together as the e-mail is opened. Then the words “we thank you for applying but”; rejected again. Louise Brown wrote “I could write an entertaining novel about rejection slips, but I fear it would be overly long”. Rejection hurts; it pierces the heart and wounds the pride.

The Christmas story is not without rejection. It came about because man rejected God. How this must grieve the Father’s heart. No room at the inn for the weary travelers, one who is carrying the Christ child, purports rejection. Back in that time, hospitality was very strong part of the culture and yet no one could make room or give up their comfort for a very pregnant woman. This rejection speaks much about the very heart of mankind during that time and of mankind right now.

Christmas today is stilled filled with rejection by mankind. Room is still not given for the Savior; comfort is not put aside to do the work of the Father. Too many still reject the ultimate gift, that of eternal that God in His infinite mercy offered by sending His son, who experienced rejection before He was even born.

Neal Maxwell writes “Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus”. Are you handing out the rejection slips? Are you rejecting the greatest gift of all? You need not; just accept Him into your heart and know true acceptance for none are rejected.

Digging deeper: I John 1:9; Joshua 25:15; I Kings 18:11; I Peter 2:4; Psalm 94:14

Thursday, December 1, 2011


“It's not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth." Matthew 15:11 (NLT)

I watched with curiosity as my husband took a drink of his coffee and then dumped the rest down the sink. He then reached into the cupboard and took out a filter, poured a second cup of coffee into the mug, which he then drank. You see, the first cup had coffee grinds in it and for it to be more palatable a filter was needed to get rid of the grinds.

Not everything we think or feel should come out of our mouths. We should not let the words we speak hurt others; rather we are “to encourage one another and build each other up” (I Thessalonians 5:11). We are admonished to speak the truth, but to speak it in love; in other words, filter what comes out.

The best way to filter what comes out is to filter what goes in our minds. We are admonished to “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8). Therefore we need to be conscientious about what with what we are filling our minds. What kind of music are we listening to, what is our chosen reading material, what are we watching on television or in the theater? How are we spending our time? Perhaps the more time I spend in the Word and with the Father, the less will need to be filtered that comes out of my mouth. How about you?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Chris told me I needed to post an update, so darling, this is for you.


Matthew 15:25 “But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, "Lord, help me!" (NLT)

Tenacity can be defined as being constantly in action, not just in motion. It requires faith, willingness to continue until the job is done and not quitting when you are tired.

October 2011 found two important steps of the long journey in the doctorate process completed. Really that does not appear to be much of anything until one understands some of the statistics that accompany those steps. The doctorate program that I am currently pursuing has three main steps after being accepted into the program (and that is a hurdle in itself). The steps are:
1. Successfully passing 16 classes;
2. Passing the comprehensive exam;
3. Successfully writing and defending one’s dissertation.

The statistics that accompany the first two steps are what makes completing those steps so meaningful. First off, in the United States, less than one percent of the population has a doctorate degree. Not quite 50% who enter the program successfully pass the sixteen classes. Only 20% who take the comprehensive exam, pass.

For the past 2 ½ years I have questioned at least once a week what I was doing in this program. The challenges have been staggering, pushing me beyond what I have ever known. Tears, doubt, and discouragement have been constant companions. However, encouragement came through Chris who has yet to cast any doubt on me completing the program, through my mom who has prayed for me daily, and through my kids who ask how it is going. I push on through with tenacity that has served me well in my educational endeavors, but most of all through the strength that has flowed from the Lord. “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13); my life verse, the one I cling to and claim in this journey.

So, what do you need to be tenacious about? Trust the Father; He will give you strength.

Digging deeper: 2 Timothy 4:17; Psalm 18:29b; Hebrews 10:23b; Proverbs 4:12

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Circumstance and Choices

"When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other..." - Ecclesiastes 7:14

A minor situation today has left me pondering this subject. Years prior to the prolific ability of obtaining most anything from businesses through the internet and a living in a better economic position, if a need arose for something that the small town I lived in did not have, I was given a wonderful way to obtain the needed item and quell the ever-present restlessness within me. Just hop in the car and head to a bigger town to search out the said item. Now, with the cost of a gallon of gas at an exorbitant price and income so very tight, with the ability to just go online and purchase the said item at the same or even a less price, the choice to just go has become for most a no-brainer; order the said item off the internet, stay home and find another way to curb the restlessness.

However, the very act of going settles me down, allows me to process, evaluate, and examine my circumstances. The restlessness within abates so that I am more productive, able to better handle what is happening in my life, deal with what needs dealt. Going gives me greater clarity of my thoughts, of really seeing my circumstances and the path that has led me here. The bible tells us that “a cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22) and going helps me to be cheerful so I can give of God through being me better.

The choice is left in my hands. It’s not a big decision, a huge choice. It’s not even an important choice. Yet, how I make the choice and how I choose to see this is as a choice is what is important. For each choice made and in choosing how to view the choice has repercussions. Yes, like ripples in a pond. Today I went from being frustrated at the circumstances believing in some part of me that brought me to the choice to be made, to understanding that it has been and is choices that have brought me to making yet another choice.

Today, I choose to once again cling to the scripture and believe that “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13). I will “commit to the Lord whatever (I) do” (Proverbs 16:3a). How about you? What kind of choices are you making?

Digging Deeper: Deuteronomy 31:6; Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This Too Shall Pass

2 Cor. 4:17 “…For what is seen is temporary..”

Our oldest grandson, Caleb is a bit of a dramatist. He very much enjoys the water and when he was four years old, he took swimming lessons. One day his lessons were canceled as the pool had no chlorine and were waiting for the shipment to come in so the pool could be used. Caleb didn’t believe what he was told and had to see for himself that the lessons for the day were indeed canceled. After looking at the non-chlorinated pool, he dropped his head, slumped his shoulders and told him mom that “his life was over”. Our daughter answered him with “Perhaps, but tomorrow your life will go on as you will have a swimming lesson then”.

This lesson for Caleb reminds me of the lesson that God has faithfully through the years been teaching me: “This too shall pass”. Change is a constant in life. However, there are times in my life when it feels like change is never going to happen or the change that has happened is always for the worse, when I feel as if I am in a never-ending valley. It is then that I tend to focus on the temporary, the here and now.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that “There IS a time for everything”, and as I go through seasons, I need to remember this. Each season, while it may seem lasts forever, really does not. This too shall pass. To endure the some-not-so pleasant seasons, I need to be sure I am grounded in the Word, am truly walking with the Father. For God is bigger than our grief, sorrow, pain and every problem that any of us could face. God is eternal and has a good plan for our future. We are not like those who have no hope. In Christ, our future is full of His promises and we are promised victory over death and the grave!

Dear Lord, as we pass through the seasons in our lives, remind us that this too shall pass, that you are in control desiring to give us a future and a hope. Thank you for that. Amen

Digging Deeper: Ecclesiastes 3:1,14, Philippians 3:13, Hebrews 11:1, Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, June 13, 2011

Standing Firm During Adversity

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (NIV)

I was watching a robin outside my window the other day. The winds were blowing, gusting to 25-30 mph, yet that robin stood firm on the swaying branch. All around the robin, the branches of the tree were swaying mightily, including the branch upon which the robin had perched. Not to say the robin’s feathers were not getting ruffled, for they were, yet that robin did not waver on that branch.

Oh, were I more like that robin, standing firm during adversity. Too often it seems that I give way during troubles, doubting rather than clinging to the Father. God has promised that when temptation comes that He will provide an out for us, that we will not be tempted more than we can handle. “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” (I Corinthians 10:13, NIV) All we have to do is call upon Him.

Prayer: O Father, may I cry out to stay strong with your power, your might during adversity. May I not waver, but stay firmly planted in your will. Thank you that you are faithful, holding me up during troubling times. Amen.

Digging deeper: Matthew 6:25-34; Proverbs 13:12, Psalm 25:2a, 105:4, 118:5-6; Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Feeding on Knowledge or Trash

"A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash" Proverbs 15:14 (NLT)

I love learning and increasing my knowledge. I am often teased about being in school at "my age" and asked if I am ever going to finish. My answer is no, as there is so much to learn.

Yet, I need to be discerning with what I am learning. Knowledge is investigation.I need to question principles and those instructing with the biblical truths. Is is truthful, wholesome, bearing fruit within me?

More, I need to look at myself and see how I am feeding. Am I reading material that will help me grow in my spiritual walk? Am I watching wholesome shows? What am I listening to? Do I need to rid of anything that isn't religious? No. However, I do need to be careful of my choices.

And then, what I am doing with my knowledge? Right now, I am on a path that the Lord has been taking me, step by step. It is a path that often frustrates me, is very time consuming, and yet any veering off, is quickly pointed out. The Lord wants me at this stage to learn, from there He will lead me as to what I am to do with the knowledge.

So, what are you feeding on today?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He has Risen

"After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb rolled back the stone and sat on it. The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid for I that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, he has risen just as he said." Matthew 28:1-2,5-6 (NIV)

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Lord and Savior

"It was now about the sixth hour and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour for the sun had stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice 'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit'. When he had said this he breathed his last breath. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.

And when the centurion who stood there in front of Jesus heard his cry and saw how he died said 'Surely this mas was the Son of God".

Luke 23:44-46, Matthew 27:31-32; Mark 15:39

Monday, March 28, 2011

Planting Roses, Getting Weeds

Galatians 6: 7 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

I am not much of a gardener. I usually identify flowers are by their colors such as “Oh, those are purple flowers”. When the roses I planted did not grow but weeds sprouted instead, I assumed it must have been the fertilizer or the plant food that I used. I believed it was probably the wrong kind for those roses. The right fertilizer and food provides needed nutrients to the plants, but the wrong kind or the wrong amount can kill the plants. That is so like our soul.

How do we feed our soul? By sitting in front of the television, reading books and magazines that lead us to less than stellar thoughts, surfing the Net, or other such activities. While none of these activities is bad or wrong by themselves, it is when we pursue activities before spending anytime sowing what we need spiritually that causes the problem. We have put in the wrong food, fertilized with a bad mixture.

A poorly maintained soul is a weed paradise. Jeremiah 12:13a says, “They will sow wheat but reap thorns.” Neglecting your soul leads to loss of joy, a strained, disconnected relationship with our heavenly father. The enemy is always ready and working to destroy the fruits of our labor for Christ and we so often help him. We know that whatever we sow, we reap—and still we sin!

Do not despair. There is hope. We can sow roses and reap roses. God wants nothing more than His best for us. God's will for His children is to be blessed and for His children to be a blessing. However, we have to do our part. We have to feed and fertilize with what is good, what is true, what is right. That means we have to put our quiet time with God above everything else, above what seems to be most pressing on us. We need to make wise choices, be mindful of what goes in our ears and eyes. We need to feast on God’s word. We need to pray and draw close to Him.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to sow roses, not weeds. Help me to be mindful of what food and fertilizer I am using on my soul. I know that gardens need constant weeding to be healthy. Please weed my soul’s garden so that I may grow in you. Amen.

Digging Deeper: Isaiah 1:19, 2 Corinthians 9:6, Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, Galatians 6:9

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Might Tongue

Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Do you know that the tongue never rests? I am talking about everyone’s tongues, not just the jabber jaws that seem to talk non-stop. This part our anatomy is made up of different muscles, which help us to taste, swallow, talk and helps to fight germs. The tongue is busy. Even when we sleep, the tongue is pushing saliva into our throat to be swallowed.

In other ways, the tongue is mighty. It has the power of encouragement or discouragement. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day, while a destructive word to someone who is down can further the spiral into depression. Proverbs 18:21a tells us “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Matthew Henry writes “Many a one has caused his own death, or the death of others, by a false or injurious tongue.” What is your tongue saying today?

Prayer: Lord, may my words today “fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants” (Deuteronomy 32:2b). May I praise you in all I say and do. Amen.

Digging Deeper: Proverbs 10:20-12, 18:13; Psalm 19:14; Ecclesiastes 5:2-4

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Asking for Help

I have a friend who is always the first to volunteer to help with whatever needs done, is the first to ask what she can do for me. Her life is so busy that I always hesitate to say because I don’t want to be a burden to her. I have another friend who sees what needs done and just quietly does it. In all honesty, both friends make me self-conscious. I appreciate and love both, but having anyone do something for me hits me in an uncomfortable part of my being, my pride.

One of the hardest things for me to do is to ask for help. I know it is a pride issue, like asking for help means I am incapable of doing something myself, that I am weak or needy. Society doesn’t give much support for asking for help. We are touted by millions of articles and books on how to do it yourself. However, I can’t do everything myself. I do need help from others.

Even so, I hesitate in asking for help, I even hesitate in asking for prayer. Pride. Do you know that pride steals a blessing from God? Pride in not asking for prayer, for help, is a form of disobedience. God wants to bless us as well as bless others. When we ask for prayer, for help, we are being obedient and it gives others the chance to be obedient as well.

Galatians 6:2a (NASB) tells us to “Bear one another’s burdens”. We can only do this if one is willing to share, to ask for help. And, when we ask for help, we are told to “Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are move to offer them” (Exodus 25:2b NLT).

Today, I am asking for help. Please pray for me. How about you?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mere Seconds

Sports are filled with underdogs coming from behind to win with just a few seconds to play or even won at the buzzer. Seconds count. On January 8, 2011, in just a few seconds a gunman was able to shoot off enough rounds to kill six innocent people and injured 12 others, changing forever lives of many more. Mere seconds. People stop breathing, accidents occur all in mere seconds.

As important as these events and actions are, even of greater significance is an event to occur within a blink of an eye; one that has been prophesied for centuries- the return of Christ. We do not know the exact date and time, but we are told in I Corinthians 15: 52a that “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye” (NLT). The average time for a blink of the human eye is less than a second.

Christ will not return one second before God deems that appointed time, wanting to give as much time for all to have the opportunity to become one of His. Not knowing when that time will occur, many are trying to play the odds thinking they have more time. I am sure that the individuals who died on January 8, in mere seconds, thought they, too would have more time on earth. “Only once is appointed unto man to die” (Hebrews 9:27).

In a blink of an eye, mere seconds… are you ready for that time? Christ invites us to come to Him today. “Now is the time for salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2a). He promises that if we confess our sins, He will forgive us (I John 1:9). Don’t delay for in seconds it may be too late.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resolutions and Bucket Lists

As the New Year has rolled in, there is a lot of talk (written chatter, really) of resolutions. I have never been much of a “resolution setter”, finding the task as tedious as writing out a daily to-do list. I’m not much for dreams, preferring goals instead. My belief for all of this is that resolutions are steps to take to achieve goals; goals are dreams with feet on them.

However, I have maintained a bucket list for many years before the idea was made popular by the movie, “The Bucket List”. Many things on the list have been realized, some through gifts from my husband, such as sky-diving experience, a hot air balloon ride, my first flight in going after my pilot’s license. Some items on list have occurred with help from others, such as singing a duet with my dad, leading a Bible study. Other items on list have been through my own work, such as writing an editorial. Some desires on the list are on-going: visiting all 50 states (only 7 more to go), writing a devotional book.

One item on the list is bound with a dream: continuing my education. Never had I put where to stop with this one, never expecting really to achieve a MBA or further education. Within this rather ubiquitous goal is the dream held tightly, of one day obtaining a doctorate. In a few days I begin my third year in a doctorate of business administration program. I continually find myself amazed to be here. Yet, a few weeks back when Chris asked me what my next doctorate will be in, I gave an answer without even hesitating or taking time to think, confident that I will finish this first DBA. That confidence is not arrogance rather comes from the foundation and the building blocks that have enabled me to be at this place- from God directing my steps.

You see, God has given and is giving me this goal, is taking me on this journey. He has promised me that “As I go forward step by step, the way will be opened for me.” (Proverbs 4:12) And so, I press on knowing and believing that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

So, a resolution for this year? To continue this journey, doing my best, relying fully on Him.