The Bible Says
Learn what the Bible Says about the past, present and future. Discover how to apply Scripture to life's pressing questions and needs.
My dog is faithful. He is always glad to see me. He wags his tail and follows me around when I’m home.
While in the Marine Corps, I spent some time in Africa conducting missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
It was Saturday night. I was sitting alone in our family’s car, watching the people walking by. I was six years old, and broke.
There is no doubt that the Bible talks about prosperity. God wants to prosper His people.
In today’s “information age” when our senses are continuously bombarded with stimuli, silence can be an obscure commodity.
Running to Win
At mile 238, in her third day of continuously pounding the pavement, Pam Reed guzzled Ensure as she closed in on her goal of 300 non-stop miles.
Capture the Moment
I was at a church wedding recently that really made me feel quite uncomfortable.
Yesterday morning I had the privilege to watch the sunrise over Half Dome from Glacier Point inYosemite National Park.
Brian Anderson, 31, was surfing off the coast of Northern Oregon on December 24th, 2005 when a great white shark attacked him.
Winning Life's Race
Nike wants us to believe that having the right shoes will make us winners. We can overcome any obstacle with the right equipment and the right attitude.
Where Are the Nine?
One day Jesus healed ten men of the dreaded, wasting disease of leprosy. As soon as they were healed, they took off running.
New Year, New You!
Lurking amidst a stack of coupons that recently landed in my mail box was the following assurance: New Year, New You!
Live By Faith
Driving along the highway yesterday, I saw a church sign with the sermon title, “Faith is Daring the Soul to Go Beyond What the Eyes Can See!”
Come On In
An excuse is what a person makes when he or she doesn’t want to do something, but doesn’t have a reason.
A Better Country
The Bible tells the story of two wealthy ranchers who lived long ago in the Middle East.
Saved by Hope
We cannot exist without hope. We need something to look forward to. Today's disappointments make us long for better tomorrows.
Death Will End
I can still remember the night that my sister received the news that changed her life.
Hard to Swallow
Recently I had a medical procedure which required me to drink about a gallon of liquid in a couple of hours.
It's Just Smoke
A number of years ago, a major television network aired a program that infuriated magicians everywhere.
One of the more popular television shows in the past few years has been a program called Extreme Makeover.
Did you catch the news about Lucky, the calico house cat that was tossed into the icy waters of a Montana river a few days after Christmas?
We Should Always Pray
The Bible says that we should always pray, and not lose heart. One day I was visiting with a young woman who was telling me about all her problems.
Like Paul Bunyan
Back in the days when logging was emerging as a major industry in the West, there arose a legendary figure called Paul Bunyan.
Change Is Coming
My world is changing around me and I have to face it. And like most people I don’t really like change.
Better Than Boots
Criminal authorities tell us that one of the best ways to protect yourself and your home from intruders may also be the least costly.
Forgive and Remember
Recently an Orlando, Florida, man took out a full-page newspaper ad to ask for his wife’s forgiveness. She had left him two weeks before . . .
"Don't Be Afraid"
Vera was frightened. While riding the city bus home from her downtown job, she’d accidentally gotten off at the wrong stop. The night was dark, the street vacant. She had no choice but to start walking home.
All We Need
I wonder if we will ever realize that we truly have all we need. There's a song by worship leader Charlie Hall called "All We Need." I think the words that speak to me and are the most truthful are found in the chorus:
A Guiding Light
I actually like rule books and manuals. When some people open a box and start assembling the contents, like a new bicycle, I’ll dig for the instructions and carefully read through them. If we are playing table games on Saturday night with friends and someone makes a questionable...
A Sense of Urgency
Recently, I was whisked off to the manager’s office to sign the yearly evaluation. I work as an ER Technician in a small hospital. As we entered the office and closed the door my new coordinator let me know right up front, “I just want you to know I...
Beside Still Waters
In our house, my morning starts at 5:30 a.m. I have exactly 30 minutes to take my shower, get some hot tea, and take a deep breath before my children wake up. I usually sit on the second stair in the still dim house...
Babylon Is Fallen
Babylon, which means "gate of the gods," was a city that many believe was established by Nimrod, the son of Cush. In time, Babylon became a symbol of everything that was opposed to God.
In high school I had a compulsion to constantly be with my friends. I couldn't stand to be alone. Maybe this began because I felt lonely at home due to the fact that my dad was often gone on business trips.
I like to clean my house. Some people find it funny that I not only like my house clean, I actually enjoy the cleaning process. Cleaning has a very calming effect on me and helps me to feel organized.
Chronic insomnia? Are you one of the millions of people who won’t sleep tonight?
Chasing the Dream
We have a 15-month-old dog named Sammy. Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is look to see if Sammy is still there. Sammy likes to dig. And when Sammy digs, he gets out of the yard and goes wandering in the...
Full Access God
Last week, I went with my family to a furniture store. I was having a little trouble walking, so I picked up my cane and off we went. In the window front of the store I saw a Handicapped Accessible sign.
God High and Deep
I’ve been a flatlander for most of my life. With the exception of one year in which I could see the Pennsylvania mountains in the distance, I have lived where the land was gently rolling at best. Currently I live in...
Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to learn a lesson or two about what it means to share the good news of Jesus with others, through a simple drive down Springs Oaks Road in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
“You cut your hair!” It was more out of surprise that I made the exclamation, than anything else. My family was gathered in our living room on a recent morning when I saw something that looked quite different about my...
I call them “gut-punchers.” They come without warning. They are those emotionally powerful reminders of a loss—and they are heart wrenching. You can be going about an otherwise happy day when you see or hear something that reminds...
We shouldn’t have made it. After months of unemployment and futile job searching, our little savings ran completely out. We tried to save money in every way we could think of. We had done without a lot, and lived on next to nothing. But eventually, the money just ran out.
Lessons in Trust
It was during a very dark time in my life that the Lord manifested Himself to me in a miraculous way. My husband and I were in the midst of some desperate years that we spent in financial ruin.
His Due Date
My first child arrived in the world a week overdue. I’m hoping this next one isn’t as much of a procrastinator. What I most depend on is the knowledge that he can’t stay in there forever. He’s got to come out eventually.
Heart and Soil
It had been awhile since it rained, but the weeds were thriving in the flower beds. I decided to reclaim the space for the flowers. The ground was hard and each weed was a challenge. It didn't take long for me to figure out that the weeding...
Driving down the highway, on the Olympic Peninsula, I got to thinking about how difficult this spring has been to enjoy. Every day has seemed gloomier than the one before, and with two restless toddlers, there have been many...
Mercies Every Morning
“It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness"
Madly in Love
Do you know how much God wants to hang out with you? He wants to spend time with you, share with you, and grow your relationship with Him. As in earthly relationships, development of a friendship with God requires time...
There were no stop lights in the town where I grew up, just stop signs. In this season of my life I live on the outskirts of one of the most populated metropolises in the United States. Because I grew up on roads without much...
My New Career
I’ve finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. You might think it’s a little too late for such a discovery since I’m dangerously close to 40. Besides that, returning to college would strain both my tight schedule and my even tighter monthly...
Okra and Mangos
I’ve become a bit of a hippie, thanks in part to some great books about the advantages of eating local, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Simply put – produce grown locally is generally allowed to ripen for a longer time (increasing...
The Mighty Wind
I was startled in my hotel room by an unusual noise that I didn’t recognize and so I crept to the window to take a peek. Looking out of my third story window, I noticed that the flag pole was flexing like a reed in a storm.
Friends with God
If you aren’t a Christian, you may have asked yourself, “Why should I be a Christian?” You may wonder what it is about Christianity that causes so many people to “join up.”
When I was six years old, my parents had a telephone installed in our home for the first time. We resided in a very rural area, so a telephone was a luxury.
A Better Place
The top of Mt. Everest is littered with used oxygen tanks and other unnecessaries that climbing aficionados have unloaded before their final ascent to the top of the world.
The Good Samaritan
In Bible times, the good Samaritan rode a donkey. But today you might find a good Samaritan on a motorcycle.
In Super Bowl XXXVII, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Raiders, the final score of 48-21 was substantially overshadowed by an off-the-field football player in a Reebok commercial.
Is the Bible True?
Before I became a Christian, I had serious doubts about the authenticity of the Bible. How could anyone believe in 2000-year-old stories about a man who claimed to be God?
Peace, Be Still
Have you been battered by the storms of life that come suddenly upon you without warning? The disciples of Jesus were once in that situation.
I hate January. I really do. There’s not one January on record that I recall enjoying myself. It’s possible I do it to myself.
Indian Charlie, Patrick and Linda came in out of the cold to visit. They were not expected and not particularly welcomed.
Just that Simple
It was a sunny, 70-degree February morning in my new California neighborhood. I was tagging along behind our ever-pulling Husky when I saw them.
Another Man's Crime
Calvin Willis stepped out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, his arms raised in victory.
Every year at Christmas time, much of the world celebrates the first coming of Jesus.
More Than Conqueror
Paul says that as believers in Jesus we are more than conquerors. A conqueror is a winner. He or she has beat out the opposition and come out on top.
Paint and Pride
Recently, my husband built a two-story house for our pets, which sets on our deck. I decided to paint it to match our house. So after priming it, I got the house paint and proceeded to apply the cream color paint to the pet house.
One summer, while enjoying some down time in Santa Barbara, Calif., I came across a kind old gentleman selling poetry by the side of the road. He was wearing a ragged old jacket, thick with dirt. His hands were covered in grease and soot.
I sat watching my friend, a very talented painter, create a beautiful painting of a field covered with wildflowers. I watched how much detail went into each brush stroke. He had never taken formal art lessons, but he told me that...
Chain Letter Deity?
Remember when chain letters were all the rage? In case you’ve forgotten, they went something like this:
The Quiet Voice
Peggy felt impressed. She felt the Holy Spirit’s quiet voice saying to her to make amends with her mother.
Harry Houdini was perhaps the greatest escape artist this world has ever known.
Tattoos and Scars
Singer-actress Brandy Norwood made the papers recently because of her tattoo.
Open Our Eyes!
The New York Times ran a story about a boy who was blind. Someone asked him what he would wish for if he were granted just one wish.
Philippians 3:10 says “I want to know Christ…” I suppose every Christian could agree with that. The verse goes on: “and the power of his resurrection.” Yes, the resurrection will be a good thing.
Powered by God
The 21st century cannot escape the need for clean, renewable energy. All forms of modern technology requires some kind of power to make it work.
Technology fast. The moment those words left the professor’s mouth we knew we were in trouble. Did she really expect us to not use any technology for 24 hours? In this day and age? No cell phone, iPod, or computer.
Testing and Tithing
I have a confession to make: Tithing isn’t always easy for me. I write this article because I suspect that at least some of you may feel the same way. I understand the Bible to say that ten percent of my income belongs to God.
That Good Part
It isn’t always easy to do the right thing. So, naturally, we like some positive recognition when we do. After all, we have sacrificed ourselves in order to do the right thing, the good thing.
“Never seen this before,” the rancher said, removing his old hat and scratching his head. We were standing next to the barn looking out towards the East. “Better saddle up and see if you can find 'em,” he continued, “it's getting...
What Mean These Stones?
Several shells lie in a dish in my home. Among them is a black stone. Visitors ask, “What is this black stone among the shells?” Thus, I share a lesson a friend taught me.
Way in the Wilderness
We stared down the trail at the sheer rock wall blocking us from following Calf Creek to the trailhead. “We’re lost,” Dillon, my nineteen-years-old grandson declared. “We’ll find a way out,” Steve, his dad, assured him. I’d jumped at the chance when Steve had...
When God Shows Up
Mahatma Gandhi once said, "He who does not see God in the next person he meets need look no further." When you stop and think about it, that's a pretty profound insight, spirituality is about seeing each other as God sees us.
I was driving in a city a couple of hours from my home. I’d been having trouble with my car’s electrical system. I knew there was a good auto repair place in this city, so I decided to go there. The mechanic soon found the problem...
Drain and Fill
Growing up my father owned a gas station and my two brothers and myself spent a lot of time down there filling cars up with gas and doing other odd jobs.
"We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God" (2 Corinthians 4:8, 9). It has taken me a long time to embrace struggling.
Immanuel: God With Us
To many people today, the name Immanuel doesn’t have any particular significance. But to the Hebrew-speaking people in Isaiah’s time, it meant everything. They knew that this name meant “God with us.” And that’s what the universe had been...
But for a Dolly
"I want my doll. I need my dolly!" exclaimed my three-year-old granddaughter, noting that her friend Taylor held a doll. Sighing inwardly I turned to her. "You can get it when we come back. This will be just a short ride."
Years ago I worked in a gym, and music was played all day long. At first, unable to ignore the songs, I listened to every one. However, as time passed and the songs became more and more familiar, hours would pass...
A Bigger Part
I'm not sure if it is a sign of age or how it happened, but it seems time sped up and Christmas surprised me. It made me wonder how I would get everything done in time. Then I remembered the forgotten. Christmas is suppose to be about...
Not So New Bike
As a kid one year for my birthday my parents got me a new shiny royal blue bike, or so I thought. Come to find out it wasn't so new. One morning while my mom was taking her walk she found an old bike frame in the neighbors trash and rescued...
In Good Hands
Attachment to a heart monitor provides some element of apprehension. One hopes that no bad thing is discovered. As I write, I’m “hooked up.” Do you recall the 60s song that vocalist Tony Bennett is known for popularizing, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”?
How Will Jesus Return?
You know the scenario. A man wakes up in the morning. His wife is not in bed beside him. In fact, she’s nowhere in the house. He checks with his neighbors.
While taking a leisurely evening walk with my two-year old son, I noticed him looking at all of his surroundings so intently; the flowers, the water, the bugs, and the people. But it was the wind that really intrigued him.
Do you think you could fall out of an airplane without a parachute and survive? Vesna Vulovic, a former Serbian flight attendant did while flying over Czechoslovakia in 1972. Croatian terrorists planted a bomb in the baggage section of the aircraft that blew the plane to pieces and killed...
Thunder rumbled across the high mountain valley, lightning flashed and rain pelted against the canvas walls of our tent. I snuggled further into my warm, dry sleeping bag. An afternoon thunderstorm isn’t unusual in the San Juan Mountains of...
Do Not Bother Registry
"Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you," said Alexander Graham Bell. And sure enough, Watson answered. That very first phone call took place March 10, 1876. Some even joke saying the second phone call took place that same evening with someone on the other end asking Mr. Bell if he wanted to buy some suspenders.
One Little Thing
Is there something you enjoy doing or feel you should do, but you have trouble finding the time to do it? I enjoy taking a walk in the woods. It refreshes me and brings me closer to God. But I wasn’t doing it very often. So last summer when I was diagnosed with cancer...
Mom, Mud and Me
I grew up in a veritable jungle. There were so many green things that if you weren’t careful, you could get lost in my backyard for days! To a little boy it was like the “Garden of Eden.” I loved to make mud pies. I would take several old metal pie pans to our backyard near the chicken coop...
When my mother was a little girl, she lived through some extraordinary experiences that can only be described as miraculous.
Last evening I sat in worship with a chaplain friend. We talked about our lives, work, families and faith. My friends, hospital chaplains, sit with dying people all the time. Somehow we also talked about a patient who is riddled with cancer and dying.
My bed was shaking. I popped open my eyes and looked at a small book shelf sitting above my head. It jostled back and forth, so I quickly sat up. My heart was pounding. This was my first experience being in an earthquake. It only lasted a few seconds. I was visiting a friend in southern...
Define the Relationship!
My 12-year-old “tween” daughter has been educating me in the finer points of text-ese, that is for all you uneducated people, the language of texting. Even as I write this my overworked thumbs and forefingers are screaming out for a much needed rest. I should have purchased stock in Tylenol!...
The Rating Scale
We all have one. Maybe it’s from one to ten, maybe it’s a list, or maybe it’s more subtle and subconscious. Whatever the criteria, we all seem to have a private scale of how we stack up next to others. This scale can apply to all kinds of different aspects of our personal and private lives.
Christ in a Box
When we first became friends, she showed me her treasures carefully stored in the drawer of her bedside table. Prayer cards, scripture cards offering words of comfort, and a tiny Bible, handled delicately; kept in mint condition. As soon as I had admired them, she returned them...
Rules that Perfect
My friend Lily is an expert rice cooker: she is Chinese, grew up in Southeast Asia, and has, as she puts it, been cooking rice since before some of the rest of us were born. Further, she is a well-seasoned professional dietitian and caterer. Knowing that our friend Carol’s husband...
The Hardest to Love
I have a box that I keep tucked away, filled with little notes and drawings from my past students. Occasionally, I will take it out and reread them, cherishing the memories behind the crooked handwriting and stick figure drawings. I smile as I remember the shy, quiet student who wouldn’t...
Stop, Drop, and Roll!
I was in the third grade the first time I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I attended Dream Lake Elementary School in Apopka, Florida and some local firefighters came to talk to us about fire safety. They said “if you’re ever on fire you should stop, drop, and roll.”
Many today view freedom as the absence of law. In their view laws are restrictive and confining. I recently read an article by a guy who wants to do away with the weekly cycle. He argues that it is archaic and out of step with 21st century culture, and he argues that it needs to be abolished.
Idols All Around
Many Christians roll their eyes in disbelief at some of the different religions in the world that worship many gods. They cannot imagine bowing down to a large statue of Buddha or praying to the thirty-three gods of the Vedas in the Hindu religion.
Many times over the years I have read and shared the beautiful word picture of Revelation 21:1-7, the New Jerusalem, God wiping away the tears of the redeemed, the Alpha and the Omega, the glorious lot of the “over-comers.” I’d stopped reading at the end of verse 7. Verse 8 deals with those who aren’t saved.
Least of These...
It was one of those warm, sunny, southern Oregon mornings as a crowd gathered for the 11 o’clock church service. It was the early 60s, so everyone was dressed in their church finest, including me with my new suit fashioned in the style of the day. My wife was greeting at the front entrance when Don...
In my teaching career I have found myself murmuring this sentiment to myself more than once on those occasional days where no one seems to be obeying like they should. The students know what I expect, so why do they find the need to test the boundaries from time to time?
Unlock the Door!
It was hot, muggy and wet Friday afternoon. I had been counseling teenagers all day and was drained and exhausted. All I wanted to do was come home, chill and watch a documentary on birds (hey, don’t judge).
Summer rains, even during storms, are usually uneventful. They’re welcomed to cool the earth. Today a summer storm came, with lightning and thunder. Then c-r-a-c-k! Within seconds, a hole in the ceiling spilled out insulation and dry wall like vomit. Looking out the window, my husband...
Join the Resistance
I'm made of the same stuff that everyone else on this planet is made of, and I've been hot-wired to treat people as they deserve to be treated. Scripture invites me to be gracious--even when I am wronged, but that doesn't come naturally. So, I've come to the conclusion that it's impossible...
Call to Prayer
While visiting Istanbul, Turkey recently we were astounded at the number of mosques. Our guide told us there are 2,500 of them in the city! Five times each day the muezzins chant the call to prayer, reminding the devout to come to the mosque or kneel and pray at home or work.
Covered by God
A nasty windstorm blew through our area a few weeks ago and left lots of damage. Many trees fell on power lines. Some smashed houses and cars. Dry lightning strikes created a few bush fires. When the winds first began to blow, there was an eerie color in the air before it hit.
Bridges fascinate me. Their strength and purpose intrigue me. Bridges seem to tell their story as one crosses from one side, one town, one state, even one country to another. Looking at a magnificent structure spanning the distance over waterways or canyons, between freeways and cities...
Reverse the Curse
My wife makes incredible granola! She could actually sell the stuff and make a ton of money! She has a secret recipe that she has finely honed until it’s, well, perfect. Okay, now I’m hungry. You should be at our place when she makes it...
Where Is the Fire?
As I sat in church, I had a million different thoughts bouncing around in my head. “Did I forget to add salt to the potatoes for lunch? Is my baby hungry or just tired? I need to get the garden weeded. I have to make sure and talk to my friend before she leaves after church.” On and on it went...
Another Look at Grace
It was a dark, rainy night as I traveled north on Highway 101. As I passed through a small community I soon realized that I did something wrong because I saw red and blue lights in my rearview mirror. I quickly pulled off to the side of the road. An officer soon appeared at my window and...
Before They Call
My friend Virginia grew up in a coal mining town in West Virginia. She showed me pictures of shabby shacks along a narrow road carved into the side of a mountain. “A road and a train track to carry the coal was all we had. That and a church, a school, a few stores and a pharmacy that sold...
“Keep” God’s Law
A few months ago, I learned a new meaning of the word “keep”—a common word. When I originally learned it in relation to “keeping” God’s 10 commandments, I simply thought that it meant the observance of them; thus obedience to God, no more. But its meaning goes deeper than that.
My brothers and I had traveled to the western edge of Zimbabwe to raft the Zambezi River. We boarded our raft at the base of the Victoria Falls. Massive amounts of water spilled over the top of the giant falls and dropped almost a thousand feet; the roar was deafening.
Dancing or Marching?
Don't ask me to dance! No, sir. Except for a brief period of life in the early 1980's when aerobic dancing (for exercise) was all the rage, my people did not dance. Fast forward and we are aboard a boat on the Sea of Galilee with a tour group.
Liabilities of Being Privileged
It came at a pivotal time, just when the disciples realized that the religious authorities would not accept Jesus as the Messiah, and the throngs who had recently praised Jesus as king were starting to question the nature of his kingdom, something happened that lifted Jesus' spirit and countenance.
Escape to Freedom
I recently watched a documentary on the Colditz Cock. It told the incredible story of British prisoners, held in one of the most tightly secured Nazi compounds during World War II, who actually built a glider in which two men planned to escape.
Joy in Jail!
I find it interesting that most people in developed countries have a difficult time being satisfied or contented with themselves, the world, the stuff they have—basically everything in their life! It seems that nothing is ever good enough for them. Like a stomachache, this discontented attitude is...
Step Out of the Boat
Have you ever noticed that in the story of Peter walking on the water, the main thing Peter is remembered for is when he sank into the waves? This story in Matthew 14 tells how Peter and the other disciples were in a boat on the lake one night and from their boat they saw Jesus walking...
Time is a currency I frequently struggle to make good use of. I have wasted many hours scrolling the internet reading meaningless dribble or watching programs and movies that have not done anything to improve my moral fiber. I have brushed off the subtle guilty feeling; always...
With winter passed, the warmer months of late spring, summer, and early fall provide most areas an ongoing blooming process. The delight brings with it lovely floral fragrances. Chemists and perfumers learned centuries ago, starting with the Egyptians that they could profit well in the sale...
What do eating food and reading your Bible have in common? I’ll tell you. It’s all about digestion. One of the common pitfalls that we all make in both our Bible reading and eating, is lack of chewing. What? you say, chewing when I read my Bible? Well, here’s what I mean.
Move Toward the Son
Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. I don’t know what it is, but the older I get the more I am literally slowing down to smell and notice all the incredible flowers and foliage in my yard. Several years ago we moved into our present home during the winter and come that next spring...
Summer 1976: Europe wilted in the grip of a record-breaking heat wave. In an effort to keep from suffocating in our un-air-conditioned Paris hotel room, my roommate and I opened the French doors that led onto the balcony. Across the street we could see a family in an upstairs apartment...
I love reading biographies of famous people. It inspires me to live with a greater purpose in life. Whether it is the sacrificial life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer or the daring acts of Raoul Wallerstein, the stories of common people, who never thought of themselves as heroes, challenges me to...
Opportunity for Grace
The day dawned bright and blue. Taking advantage of the cool morning air, my mom watered flowerbeds as we enjoyed some time to chat. The sound of metal against metal shattered our conversation. Rushing to the fender-bender at the intersection, I was surprised to see the youth...
Storms of Blessings
I woke up one morning this week to the sound of thunder rattling the windows. It made me think how different it must have been in the Garden of Eden, and how things have changed since sin. I don't know whether plants were naturally watered by dew or some other calm quiet method, but I...
By Our Words
It amazed me to see how quickly the bombers at the Boston (Massachusetts) Marathon on April 15, 2013 were identified and either killed or captured—thanks in part to security cameras and those ubiquitous cell phones almost everyone carries. Their friends were soon identified and...
Language of Heaven
Many times throughout the past several years, I’ve been inspired to learn Spanish and have made several attempts. Something will trigger me to give it a go, and I apply myself full force for a few weeks. But then life gets busy, and things take precedence over my bout of language learning.
Go For It!
Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). This is one of the first texts...
Moses Is Dead!
Moses, the Lord’s servant, was dead. So the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, who had been the assistant of Moses. The Lord said: ‘My servant Moses is dead. Now you must lead Israel across the Jordan River into the land I’m giving to all of you...
Bless the Hands
Standing at the kitchen sink, I held the orange under the water and gently rubbed a little dish soap over the outside surface of the orange. “You can’t be too careful,” I thought. “You never know whose dirty hands have touched this orange.” Remembering outbreaks of illness due to...
Move to the Light
Soon after moving to Ohio, someone gave us some red raspberry shoots. Perfect, I thought, to plant along the chain-link fence that cordoned off part of our back yard. Though I tried to enrich the hard clay with top soil and peat moss, the berries failed to thrive.
“There’s a big difference between pressing the shutter release and pushing it,” my college photography instructor explained. “When you push down the button when taking a picture, you tend to overreact and move the camera. If you want to get a crisp picture, especially in low light, slowly...
He Holds the Key
My wife and I were invited to a large country church in our area for their Easter play. Though this was the third performance, the parking lot was quite full. The actors were just country folk. And one of the members of that congregation was actually the person who had written the play.
Who is Your Nathan?
While reading through Psalm 51 recently, my mind filled with questions. What if Nathan the prophet had not confronted David with his sin? Might David’s life have differed and the history of God’s people been altered? Nearly a year passed from the time David sinned with Bathsheba and ordered her husband...
Paint Your Life Right
This week my wife has been repainting our kitchen and pantry. When she was in college she worked as part of the school’s crack team of painting professionals. She really knows her way around a brush and a can of paint . . . one of the many reasons why I adore her.
We’re in This Together
Do you, as a reader of GraceNotes, realize that even if you aren’t one of the writers, that you are a blessing to those who put it all together? A Christian writer may write for years before he or she is assured that what they write is really worth something more than printed words.
The tour guide smiled and said, follow me. I was visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral in London more than a dozen years ago. With a couple days to spare between speaking engagements, I jumped on one of the famous red double-decker buses and saw the Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey...
Yes, I Can!
Sick and confused, the elderly man could not understand the restraints and restrictions imposed on him. He wanted to go home. His plaintive cry broke the otherwise hushed hospital atmosphere at frequent intervals.
Forgot to Pray!
A few weeks ago, I had the honor of being a bridesmaid at my best friend’s wedding. I remember being very excited about the whole event except for one small detail. The wedding was twelve hours away, and as a college student I hardly had the money to fly, book a hotel, and a rent a car.
In His Steps
I grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The wintery landscape there was breathtaking as was the fresh mountain air. Walking through the snow was somewhat hard, especially if you were a five-year-old boy. I remember one time my family hiked to our cabin in the month of January...
Here I Am, Again
All day long I pray. No, I’m not secluded on my knees like a monk might be. In fact, most of my through-the-day prayers are mental, rather than verbal. It’s a connection with God that gives stability to my life. I’ve found that my life doesn’t work well without prayer.
This week I received a steep assignment from my violin professor. He asked me to have a certain piece of music performance ready and memorized by next week. The piece is three pages long, and exceptionally difficult to memorize. There is no beautiful melody line to easily follow...
While many Americans celebrated or cursed April 15th due to it's eponymous moniker of Tax Day, April 15th also brought with it something quite extraordinary. If one had but glanced up from their tax software, or the pale glow of their television, and walked outside just a bit after the sun had...
Spring has definitely sprung, along with plant-life activity around my garden. Many trays with seeds like radishes, beets, lettuce, kale, now an inch tall, line my grow tables. The neat thing, all the crop failures from last year are in the past and will contribute to my success this year.
His lights flashed. My heart fell. Another ticket. Another ticket! It’s all I could think. How can I have gotten another ticket?? I admit that back in my early years of driving, I had a bit of a record.
After the Storm
I had awakened that morning to the cacophony of birds. As I peered at my backyard through my bathroom window, I was taken aback by what I saw: my entire backyard—almost an acre—was covered with crows. We had just had several days of bitter cold followed by an entire day of rain.
Nudges Blindly Ignored
In his book Resolving Everyday Conflict, Ken Sande tells about observing a visually impaired woman who resisted the repeated warnings of her loyal and protective guide dog. One day during my morning run I noticed a blind woman walking on the other side of the street with her Seeing Eye dog, a beautiful golden...
You can read about it almost every day in the news. Somewhere on the planet a person drowns in water. It’s the third most common cause of accidental death in the United States. About 8,000 people in the U.S. die each year in the water. Around the world the annual numbers climb to...
I got up sleepy-eyed, before dawn, and began shaving in our dimly lit bathroom. Groggily, I made a few swipes with the razor and then began splashing my face with water. After rinsing off I noticed an unseemly spot on my neck that just didn’t seem to want to come clean. No matter how...
The Battle Hymn
In the midst of the raging Civil War, a well known poet by the name of Julia Ward Howe, attended a public review of the troops in Washington D.C. She heard the soldiers singing a familiar tune, John Brown Song. The tune was catchy and perfect to be sung by the troops, but she was not...
Garbage City Witness
The city of Cairo has its own unique version of poverty called Garbage City. Each morning at dawn some seven thousand garbage collectors on horse-carts leave for Cairo, where they collect the garbage left behind by the city's seven million citizens. After their day's work they return to...
With springtime dawning, we're at a new starting point. Some words my pastor stressed several times during a recent sermon stayed with me so much that the thought continues to resonate in my thinking. As the days pass, I realize the wisdom of his 11-word statement, “Faith must be...
Philip Yancey’s, writings sometimes comfort, or challenge, or confront. At other times they just niggle. Then there was the day they brought elation. Let me tell you why they evoked such a reaction. The words of the note stabbed as I read them. And the signature was worse.
Queen of Green
Recently, I started working at a flower shop. Being an avid gardener, I really love working with flowers. As you might guess, Valentine's Day is the biggest day of the year in the flower business.
I met him in a nursing home where friends and I conducted chapel services. Angry and hurting, he railed against the world—and at me. The job loss, the swollen discs in his spine, the Uh-oh at the hospital when the steroid injections went bad. They delivered him to the nursing home late at...
Sometimes being happily complacent puts us in the most dangerous places. When winter starts to grace the ground with it’s white blanket, I start to get a wild look in my eye and randomly find myself standing in front of windows searching the sky for flakes to begin floating down.
Who is My Neighbor?
I’m fortunate to live in a quiet neighborhood with caring neighbors—you know, next door neighbors, close by folks. Neighbors are usually thought of as those in the neighborhood. Then, recently, I read an anonymous quote printed on one of those daily tear-off calendar pages, Who is my Neighbor?
At the founding of Facebook in 2004, our world changed. Making our lives public suddenly became the craze. In just four years Facebook overtook it’s main competitor, MySpace, and it continues to grow by the million each month. It didn’t stop with Facebook either. YouTube, Twitter...
Over the holidays, I was able to spend time with some family I hadn’t seen in a while. It was nice to reconnect with them. I got to help my aunt with her newborn baby girl, Sofia. It was such a joy to see a beautiful new life and be reminded of how small we start and how much we grow.
Which has a better sense of hearing, cats or dogs? Hands down the cat has an incredible range and can pick up higher frequencies than dogs. Besides that, cats have about 30 muscles that can independently rotate each ear and move them 10 times faster than a dog’s ears.
In the late 1600s and early 1700s a half-literate Italian craftsman named Antonio Stradivari designed and made a series of beautiful musical instruments. Today, those violins, named after the Latinized form of his name, Stradivarius, are considered priceless.
It’s every mother’s dream. To see her children up in front of church, singing for Jesus. Right? After six weeks of practicing, the kid’s choir at church recently performed for a special service. All three of my children are in the choir and it was their first time up on the stage.
God's Perfect Signpost
Do you, like me, read those church marquees—the ones that really make you think? One I spied this week reads, “If your back is turned away from God, any direction is wrong!” Indeed. Followers of Christ know that the only way to heaven is to follow the right directional signs.
One on One
During my teen years I dated a guy who displeased my parents, my mother especially. So I avoided her as much as possible, fearing potential conflict. My strategy for avoiding confrontation was to manage my life in such a way as to not be alone with her. The tension in our relationship...
Proving vs. Testing
“Testing, testing, testing…” As a parent; as one who taught the toddler classes at church for over half a century; as one who now works and observes behavior in a 12-grade school, I have come to the conclusion that from practically day one of our lives, we humans are engaged in...
What could a team of medical doctors possibly learn about practicing medicine from a Formula One racing team? If the doctors remain teachable, maybe they could learn a lot. That's what happened at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
The Daunting Unknown
Right now my life is in transition. My plans for the future are not definite. I’m facing several different roads, and I’m not sure which direction God is going to take me. It’s tempting to want to decide for myself, and make my own plans; thus turning my vague future into a reality.
A Good Soldier
In September 2009 a group of American soldiers were making their way to an Afghan village when suddenly the whole valley exploded with gunfire from the Taliban. Dakota Meyer was about a mile away and asked permission to enter the fray and help save his fellow soldiers, his friends.
My Father has Paid
"Norton” is the rudest child I have ever met,” I commented to my coworker in the school cafeteria. “Yes, he is a challenge,” she admitted. Somehow, I determined, I wanted to see a glint of happiness in those sad, angry eyes.
In the End
Life is often hard. We lose loved ones, we battle health challenges, we experience financial hardships and the list goes on. If not for the hope experienced in relationship with a loving and faithful God, we might easily give up, ditch our faith and become bitter.
The Mandela Effect
News of Nelson Mandela’s passing in early December captured the world’s attention for days as television, radio and social media played and replayed the scenes from South Africa. On the day of his funeral, three U.S. presidents and their wives were in attendance showing how important...
I have three brothers and no sisters. When we were young and would sometimes get into squabbles, my father would occasionally discipline us by having us apologize and then hug each other. I can’t say I felt repentant when I awkwardly gave one of my brothers a quick hug. Dad would often...
It was a frigid day in Eastern Washington, with temperatures well into the teens. Bob stepped out of the fast food restaurant and hurried toward his car. “Hey, do you have any spare change so I can get something to eat?” Bob turned and saw a young man leaning against the building.
Let's Help People
John Marks, a producer for television's 60 Minutes, went on a two-year quest to investigate evangelicals, the group he had grown up among and later rejected. He wrote a book about the quest called Reasons to Believe: One Man's Journey Among the Evangelicals and the Faith He Left Behind.
Claim Your Sonship
I remember it like yesterday. I had been planning it for a long time. Mom and dad were stuffing their Bibles into the old computer bag as I carefully watched and waited to spring into action. Wednesday night prayer meeting was a family tradition, so my performance had to be Oscar-worthy.
Playing Holy Spirit
I’m sure that most of us know what it feels like to watch a close friend or loved one make choices that appear to hinder rather than help their relationship with God. In those situations, it is so very tempting for us Christians to play the Holy Spirit. And we are so very, very bad at it.
On July 20, 1969, a unique story in the history of the universe happened. Outside the lunar module, in which two American astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed, special marks were made by leaving their footprints on the moon. Yet Aldrin, the Apollo 11 pilot, made an even more...
Twenty-five years ago my wife and I were driving back from visiting friends on the Oregon coast. As we wound our way up the small road that twisted over the coastal range to the interior, the slushy, cold February weather made road conditions challenging. Logging trucks occasionally...
God’s Mighty Helpers
In university towns like Loma Linda, California, people are always coming and going. Milton and Bernice Corwin ran a small property management business there. “Who are the tall, powerful men you hire to guard your house?” a young man asked Milton.
When people speak of treasure and treasure hunting, one's mind immediately goes to pirates and loot—gold, silver, diamonds or other precious jewels. But would you ever think of smiles, hugs, or food? One of the most prominent preachers during his lifetime, George W. Truett (1867 – 1944) visited a wealthy...
The Best Gift
An expensive-looking car stopped alongside the busy road. A well-dressed woman got out and walked toward a cluster of overgrown bushes. She was carrying a box. A homeless man came out of the bushes, took the box, and then quickly disappeared.
Power Up Your Prayers
If you ever experience times when you feel as if your prayers are going nowhere or your prayer life has become ho-hum, let me make a suggestion: Infuse your prayers with praise! Our beautiful God is completely worthy of our praise! When we focus our worship and prayers on His amazing character...
Worthy, Not Worthless
Antique stores abound throughout the United States. Some are attractive places, while others look like junk yards. One such eye-sore exists a short distance from where I live. I keep wishing the owner might close out and retire. However, I recently read an article in the newspaper...
We Want More
There’s a series of hilarious television commercials for a major cellular phone carrier that always show a guy sitting in a classroom asking kids funny and inquisitive questions. I think what makes these commercials great is that the kids answer the questions very passionately and honestly.
As I sat with my family at a local breakfast establishment, I noticed a finely dressed man at an adjacent table. His Armani suit and stiffly pressed shirt coordinated perfectly with a "power" tie. His wing-tipped shoes sparkled from a recent shine. Every hair was in place, including his perfectly groomed mustache.
What Comes Naturally?
My job was to take care of the dog and the chickens while my son and his family enjoyed a vacation in Hawaii. It wasn’t so bad until one afternoon I found that two of the chickens had “flown the coop,” literally. They were happily pecking right outside the fence while their girlfriends stuck inside...
Nine Who Forgot
Your son or daughter’s birthday is coming up and you want to find the perfect gift. The gift that will bring light to their eyes and a shout of, “Wow, thanks!” After searching you find that gift. You bring it home, wrap it, and set it on the table for the party. After cake and ice cream your child begins to...
Acts of Kindness
On an ordinary winter day in 1961, an MIT meteorologist named Edward Lorenz ran some routine experiments and found some unusual results. Lorenz discovered that seemingly tiny and insignificant changes in his data could produce huge differences in the final result. At first, Lorenz and...
Every day I’m in wonder of the marvels of technology. The Internet is my connection to editors as we team together, preparing materials for readers. This invention connects me to family and friends all over the world any time of the day or night.
How to be Fearless
Years ago a friend invited my family and others to go jet-skiing. On my turn, I picked up my oldest son, then four, and walked him out, setting him on the back of the wave-runner so I could hop on—he wouldn't let go of me to save his life. I tried to educate him on jet-skiing and how much fun...
Do you ever lack motivation in your spiritual walk? Or wonder if it’s really worth the effort to resist temptation? Should you just give up? I’m sure we’ve all struggled with these thoughts at some time or another. I’ve wondered them myself. After all, being a Christian is hard work isn’t it?
I guarantee that if I were to ask 50 people whether or not they like being confident, I would get an affirmative response from every single one of them. Having confidence is key in our world. Think of a time when you were extremely confident. How did your confidence affect what you said or did?
When I answered the phone, the conversation started in the usual way. My close friend asked if it was an okay time to talk, and I responded that it was. Then our conversation took a direction it never had in the previous thirty years. I asked her how she was doing, and she said...
I was sitting on the floor in my kitchen, shining my stainless steel refrigerator when I suddenly thought of James. James, my college friend turned missionary doctor who has been serving the people of Chad in Africa for years. James, who sleeps under mosquito tents, jump starts his truck...
A Great Mystery
I was stunned by her beauty. As I stood on the platform next to the pastor and the groomsmen, my beautiful bride stepped into the back of the church holding her father’s arm. As she came down the aisle in her long, flowing wedding gown, smiling at me through her veil, I stood transfixed.
The Shade of a Tree
Today my husband and I sat on the front porch, shaded by giant old pines. We watched as birds flitted through the branches. As we enjoyed the sway of our swing, peace surrounded us like a hug. Trees provide that feel.
What Does Daddy Say?
“Caleb, what does the dog say?” My two-year-old sat in his car seat behind me as we drove to his doctor’s appointment. I quizzed him on his animal sounds to help the time pass more quickly and enjoyably…for both of us.
Seasons of Change
In a way, I’m surprised at this, because I don’t like change. I’m one of those people who enjoy sameness. If I’m happy with something that I’ve purchased, I don’t grow tired of it and feel the need for change—which is why I’ve had the same couch for 18 years, the same comforter for 10...
Cry for Help
Millions have seen Nick Ut's Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of Phan Thi Kim Phuc (pronounced "fuke"). On June 8, 1972, a napalm bomb was dropped on her village. Phuc, who was just nine-years-old at the time, ran crying from her hiding place in the village temple in Vietnam.
Does it Matter?
“It doesn’t matter what you believe,” declared Ann, “it only matters that you believe something.” The ladies in the office where I worked had gathered around one of our co-workers during break to learn the condition of her husband’s health. Not especially good.
Before There Was Color
When I was a small boy, I loved to sit on my mother’s lap and look at photo albums of the “olden days.” All the pictures I viewed were black and white, so in my child’s mind I imagined a world that was mostly gray. Somehow, I didn’t realize that there really were red roses, blue skies, and...
Go Out on a Limb!
Little kids love to climb trees and sit on limbs. Their imaginations enlarge as they find themselves in all kind of fanciful places when they play. Perhaps they see themselves as sitting on a throne in a grand palace or on top of a great mountain where they can view the entire world.
Don't Look at Me, God
Dallas Willard writes about a two-and-a-half-year-old girl in her backyard who one day discovered the secret to making mud (which she called "warm chocolate"). Her grandmother had been reading and was facing away from the action, but after cleaning up what was to her a mess, she told...
What do you expect when you pray? Do you actually expect God to answer or are you content with the knowledge that He hears your prayers? There is a difference, you know.
Light Your Candle
Every day, television and radio announcements bombard us with the dreadful news of human agony due to disasters of all kinds. Gross darkness seems to cover the world. What can you or I do to help, we wonder? Is it possible that we can make the world better in some way?
A few years ago our youngest son gave my wife and I a plant. We asked our son what it was. He said he really couldn’t guarantee that it wasn’t a weed. Finally, after a hard winter we were blessed with springtime and some warmer temps. I looked for signs of life in the plant, but there was none for quite some time.
“Good-bye dad. I love you.” Just a couple of sentences, but hearing them felt like a knife piercing my heart. My 17-year-old daughter Madeleine had recently left home to attend a boarding school. We were parting ways after...
Be His Hands and Feet
Curses and screams penetrated the closed door, echoed through the corridor and caused me to doubt my intentions. Should I visit Estelle or not? “Go,” an inner voice urged, “just knock and see what happens.”
Managing Our Abilities
“May I borrow your ladder?” a friend once asked. “Sure,” I replied, “Just take good care of it and return by next week.” The ladder was returned several weeks later covered with paint. Ouch. It made me wonder how God feels when the Lord gives us gifts and abilities to use for heavenly purposes
A Little TLC
It was a hot Sunday afternoon, and I figured it would be a good idea to make some lemonade. What’s a better companion on a hot afternoon? So I went to the kitchen and got to work on the lemonade. As I opened the refrigerator to put in the lemonade, I noticed that everything in there felt quite warm.
Beyond the Pretty Face
Over the course of the past 20 years, I’ve ofton thought about the pretty face in the grocery store parking lot. I’d just finished shopping. I spied both her and the leering man in the late-model Lincoln at the same time. You’d think he’d lie low, but he didn’t. He flipped cigarette ashes with his...
While waiting in an unusually slowing moving checkout-line, I curiously watched the four or five people in front of me; the group's body language and facial expressions spoke volumes. One gentleman stood hands on hips, his facial expression revealing disgust at his inconvenient...
Kinder Than Necessary
I hadn’t even had a chance to say hello and she exploded at me. She said unkind words that weren’t true. It hurt. I wanted to say something back that would put her in her place. I wanted to walk away and never come back. But there was pain in her eyes, and I...
Living in the Midwest can make gardening difficult. No, not the weather as we usually get adequate rain and sunshine; not lack of variety as the growing season is long enough to enjoy a multitude of yummy and healthy foods. No, the number one thing that makes gardening difficult in the...
When I lived in Massachusetts, I remember the winters were very cold and very white. Never had I ever experienced such cold winters! It was definitely a different scene from Florida, where I had previously lived. Something else I noticed was our neighbor.
On January 16, 2013 André Cassagnes died in Paris at the age of eighty-six. The French-born inventor was in his early thirties when he created a plastic device with a glass screen on which children could draw by turning little knobs.
Every Leaf a Witness
When I am seeking peace or solace, I retreat to the woods. The kaleidoscope of light filtering through the trees and the birds' joyful hymns help me restore a sense of balance and tranquility.
We moved across town a few years ago and with us came not only all of our furniture, clothing, and dishes, but our pet cat named Puddin’. Knowing that our mackerel tabby feline might want to wander back “home” to our previous house, we kept him...
Bus-Load of Angels
“You’re going to ride the city buses all the way to El Monte and back? Oh, lady, I’m going to pray for you all day! You don’t know of all the muggings, violence, and even murders on the busses lately.” “It’s the only way I have of visiting my friend Elizabeth while I’m here in California.
Love in Action
In 1999 a Scottish nurse named Gillie Davidson came eye-to-eye with India's youth and their poverty. And she chose to never turn her back. Gillie was inspired to take children who had been forced into prostitution, begging, and life on the streets and help them...
Gates and Beyond
One of my loves is gates, any kind of gates. They say to me, “Welcome, come on in.” A recent day-trip to Huntsville, Alabama, piqued my sense of gate-love, touring the historic district. Like many historic districts, the town possesses lots of gates, the kind that lead to charming gardens, revealing a sense of beauty.
Are we truly free? What is freedom? Does it mean being able to do whatever we want? The news is full of stories that have something to do with freedom. People fighting for their right to vote, to attend school, to have clean drinking water...
Hunger and Thirst
Do you enjoy memorizing Scripture or like me, do you still have good intentions about delving deeply into it? There is one text I've had in my memory for years and I have come to appreciate it more lately. I want to “soak it up” by sharing it here.
Happy Dependence Day
Happy 4th of July! Today America celebrates gaining her independence in 1776. It’s a day spent enjoying family barbecues, camping trips, parades, flags, and of course, fireworks displays.
Today we plant the garden. My wife purchased some seed packets and also pulled a big gallon glass jar from the fruit room that has extra seeds. She lays them all out on the kitchen counter and decides with our still-at-home kids (ages 15 and 17) which things...
With springtime, come the weeds. During winter I never think about them, but I already see them popping up all over and it’s only early April, as I write. Lawn weeds aren’t so bad because mowing hides most of them. Yet I must remember they are only hidden...
It has always been a summer tradition in my family to do a big “clean-out” of things in our house. We all go through our closets and drawers and look inside all of the boxes in the garage and give away everything we don’t need anymore.
Look Before Leaping!
Perhaps you've heard the saying, "Look before you leap." Sage advise! It simply means, stop, look and think before you do something, otherwise you may regret doing it.
You Can Do It!
Recently, my husband Mark and I had the opportunity to watch our two nephews and niece run in a half marathon event. Their dad, Dwight, had trained to run the half marathon, too, but the week before the event, he developed a chest cold and wasn't able to...
I was at my wit’s end. After two hours of trying to remove a stubborn nut from the blade on my riding lawnmower, I was ready to just put up with a dull blade. The other nut came off after much coaxing and sweating. But this second one wouldn’t budge.
Soft Place to Land
When does a nine-story fall not kill you? When you make a perfect landing. What should have been a tragedy for Gloria Jummati turned out quite different. While cleaning the balcony of her 9th-floor ...
God washed my world last night. Raindrops fell fast and thick, and the last rays of the sun lit up the corners of the sky as it set. It made the clouds look even darker. But there was sunshine on the wet grass, sunshine on the trees—sunshine that turned all those...
What Would Jesus Do?
You see the slogan, What Would Jesus Do (WWJD), on bumper stickers, key chains, and T-Shirts. A few weeks ago the church I attend started reading the book, In His Steps, by Charles M. Sheldon. Sheldon a minister/writer addressed the WWJD concept in a
Still Small Voice
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). Following a public testimony for Jesus Christ, our Jewish friend “Lee,” who lives in a nursing home...
Unless one is deaf, it’s almost impossible not to notice if an instrument or a vocalist is out of tune. When the wrong note is hit, the listener reacts. A child might cover his or her ears, an adult may grimace. The performer may sweat with embarrassment.
Let's Be Real!
Having grown up going to church, and grateful for it, I have found “the church” to be quite a sociological study. For me, it's a safe place on familiar territory. A setting of spiritual hominess, if you will, while still being hallowed ground.
Peace at Last
As a child of a stressful, violent home, I only recalled unhappy memories. Family vacations couldn’t be remembered, but thousands of hateful words and actions flew into my mind in seconds. Sadness and anger dominated my emotions – peace...
My son loves Apple computer products. He is such a devoted fan that, a few years ago, he painted a four foot replica of the company’s symbol on his bedroom wall. He’s now in college and actually works in a computer lab, helping other students with...
On January 30, 2013, a tornado hit the area where I live. The twister tore a swath across two counties in northwestern Georgia. Fortunately only one life was lost, but one life lost is always too much. Hospitals mended many injuries. Almost 600...
The other day I watched cataract surgery on a 69-year-old lady. The disease had taken away her ability to see. The cataracts had started out quite small, but these had been going on for quite some time. They were the largest I'd ever seen and left...
“Let me out! Let me out!” The woman’s voice rang urgent and demanding. My friend, “Lee”, had heard it before. That was the disadvantage in being housed in the first room on the hall of the Rehabilitation Center, next to the code-controlled exit door.
A story is told of a warehouse that had a suspicious box that had been left unopened on the loading dock. A decal on the outside said, "Danger - Do Not Open," and so everyone left it alone. The employee that came to work on the "graveyard" shift...
Learning From Nature
The first day of spring, a friend called telling us that it was the ideal time to plant seeds for above-the-ground crops. But where we live there was still snow predicted.
Tomorrow morning I am scheduled for a biopsy. There was an irregular area on my mammogram yesterday and so they want to take a better look. I guess it would make more sense for me to write something about this experience next week...
In Touch with Him
As a student who attends a university far away from home, I try to stay in touch with my family as much as possible. Sometimes my mother will call and we catch up as I walk to my next class, or we have a group text message conversation...
What’s in Your Hand?
We’d probably call him a slow learner. Even after God protected him from the evil ruler who decreed death to all Hebrew babies, even after he was saved and raised in the palace of the princess, even after he killed an Egyptian and escaped...
A Good Sign
A man drove toward a narrow covered bridge in his car and noticed a sign that said, “Yield to oncoming traffic.” He slowed down and looked across the bridge. Since no one was coming from the other direction he proceeded. Later in the day he...
“Let go of the rope! Take my hand!” yelled our guide over the roar of the rapids. The rope was my lifeline. How could I let go? We’d just heard stories of rafting trips gone seriously wrong—of river guides losing their lives to save the lives of their...
Responsible to God
As we turned off the mountain road onto a small graveled road, there they were; five of the tiniest kittens: two black, two black and white, and a beautiful silver one. We inquired at the homes of two families nearby and learned that they had been dropped...
He needs glasses. My sweet little boy. And I’ll admit that jumping up and down with joy was NOT my first reaction. I’ll even confess a little vanity. What if he looks nerdy? What if the kids make fun of him?
Danger of Legalism
In an interview with Preaching Magazine, preacher, professor, and author Haddon Robinson warns against the danger of legalism: When an abstract concept says, for example, "You shall honor your father and mother," it's clear that's what you're...
I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time getting rid of old socks. Threads may be missing, holes appearing in the heels, and shoe stains clearly visible around the edges, but something inside of me just can’t walk over to the trash can and toss...
Lift Your Voice
A few months ago, I was attending a meeting in which the subject of verbal witnessing was a part of the discussion. One of the attendees said that he doesn’t have a burden to witness verbally. He feels that his life should show that he’s a Christian, and...
Love Your Neighbor
We’ve all grown up with the saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18 and Mark 12:31). In addition to this we’ve also heard the adage, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).
Seeing the Tears
I sat coloring and cutting illustrations for my Kindergarten Bible class the next day. The lesson focused on Eden and the forbidden fruit. The first illustration depicted Adam and Eve in their beautiful, perfect surroundings.
Lesson from Lost Teeth
My son is at the age, where he seems to be losing teeth left and right. At first, he was nervous and didn’t let us come near his lose tooth to try and help wiggle it out. He was scared it would bleed and hurt. He couldn’t bite into his food nearly as well, due...
God Led, I Followed
We never know what Jesus has planned for us when we allow Him to lead in our lives. But rest assured that He will give us opportunities and blessings that we would otherwise never experience.
We recently received a box of antique silverware from a relative who told my wife and I that they didn’t have time to sell it. We were happy to take the box of goods and I immediately began to study the contents. We decided to sell most of it.
Six-year-old Hilary Russell and her parents, Susan and Richard, were on a mission of mercy that blustery winter day in 1978 as they drove from their Miami home to the deserted stretch of Miami Beach. Their English springer spaniel Siddhartha had a...
Lost in the Swamp
In April of 2010 an 11-year-old autistic girl decided to take a nature hike in swamplands near Winter Springs, Florida. After much determination Nadia was deep inside the snake/alligator infested swamp. Her parents were unaware of her departure...
One of the most important things I ever wrote was three now-forgotten sentences on the back of a newly-purchased bookmark bearing Annie Johnson Flint’s poem, “What God Hath Promised.”
Jesus Loves Me
For decades the beloved song Jesus Loves Me has been sung by children in church, at home, and in some cases, at school. Whenever a children's song is needed for a program or for congregational singing, Jesus Loves Me is most often chosen.
Rejoice, Be Glad
Each morning, my husband and I launch our day by reciting this psalm verse together. We want our day to begin with God. It fortifies us. Actually, it’s one of several portions of Scripture that we have memorized as walls of safety for each day.
Caught Off Guard
To our surprise, large snowflakes began to fall in late October and continued nonstop for four days. When it was finished, the ground was covered with about 26 inches of snow. Gusting winds throughout the storm, left five foot high drifts and toppled...
Part of the Flock
We have a dog named Elijah. He is a border collie/greyhound mix. He mostly looks like a big border collie and his characteristics certainly resemble the border collie. He is obsessed with “herding” our cat.
Gatekeeper in Heaven
“What’s your favorite class,” I ask my grandson, who’s a student in kindergarten. “That’s easy,” he says with a big toothless grin. “It’s recess.” College students often jest that they’re going to major in basket weaving, and anyone frustrated with the...
King Saul hated David with great passion! The young shepherd boy had repeatedly shown himself to be wise and strong. Every effort of the jealous king to destroy David turned against the ruler. Saul could not pin the future monarch of Israel down.
Clocks are all around us, ticking and chiming and hopefully displaying the correct time. We plan our whole day around the structure of a clock. We wake to our alarms, head off to work, glancing from time to time at our car’s digital clocks, and we...
Return to Manufacturer
A little creak in my laptop sounded, as I lifted the lid (screen). The next day I noticed a tiny screw on the table the same color as my laptop. As I attempted to open the lid, the creak turned into a c-r-a-c-k-i-n-g noise--I noticed the keyboard was...
Why do we, fallen and imperfect, find it so hard to forgive those who offend us all the while knowing that we have been so mercifully forgiven by the infinite, perfect God? When man disobeyed the command of God, God wasted no time reaching out in forgiveness
New Year Kicking
Do you have a New Year’s resolution to kick a bad habit? It may take work, but even the toughest of habits can be broken with God’s help. A key to winning over bad habits can be found in what my husband calls the “Replacement Principle.”
Celebrating the New
I love new things. Not just the new slippers or sweaters or gadgets found inside brightly wrapped packages to celebrate birthdays or holidays. I love every letter or expression of friendship which finds its way through my mailbox or e-mail.
“You have a low tire,” a friend of mine pointed out just before my family left church to head home. Sure enough, it needed air. So I stopped by a gas station and pumped it up. The next morning I looked at the wheel and now it was completely flat.
As far back as I can remember I’ve always enjoyed going to thrift stores and flea markets. Finding old scuffed and dented treasures just appeals to the treasure hunter inside of me.
Love without an IF
While Paul Knight, a pastor was visiting Fiche, Ethiopia, he had the chance to meet the little girl his family had been sponsoring through Compassion International. He wanted to bring gifts to the girl and her mother...
Promise for the Broken
Just about everyone I come in contact with, is going through or knows someone who is going through difficulties. A recent conversation caused me to pause and pray for a woman who has moved from one sorrow to another; her life seemingly...
Seeing Like God
When God called Samuel to anoint a new king over Israel, the old prophet journeyed to the little town of Bethlehem. There he met the sons of Jesse. When the firstborn, Eliab, passed before the man of God, he exclaimed...
My niece, who is one and a half years old has a little obsession with the sunshine. She loves to point her little finger to the sky and with great joy on her face and in her voice say, “Sunshine!” She will say it over and over again and it's all very cute and...
My Plans Failed
You know that moment when life suddenly disposes of all of your preconceived ideas, and doesn’t consult your carefully laid plans? I was 22 years old when my little world seemed turned upside down. My plans failed. Someone broke my heart.
The Brightest Star
Night winds whistled through the doorway. The teenage mother drew her skirt close to her legs, rocking her baby. Her long dark hair hung loose as she sang his first lullaby. She looked out at the star-filled sky. Her attention focused on the brightest...
Many mountain climbers regard Italian Walter Bonatti as the greatest climber of all time. In 1954, when he was 24-years-old, he was the youngest member of the Italian climbing team that became the first in the world to conquer K2, the second tallest...
The Lost World
Have you heard something over and over until you don’t pay much attention to it? It’s not that you don’t like it. It’s just that you already know the beginning, middle, and end. Or do you?
A Check from God
Time and time again I have heard remarks from program speakers such as, “We were down to the last day and needed several thousand dollars to meet expenses, then I opened one of the envelopes on my desk and found a check for the exact...
That’s right: “selected” hearing. Many of us are accused at one time or another of having “selective” hearing—hearing only that which we want to hear. But I think God is in the business of providing “selected” hearing.
My kids and I enjoyed the best worship time together this morning. If they got half as much out of it as I did, I know they were well-fed spiritually. We’ve been reading our way through the classic series Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories written by Arthur...
A few years back, a buddy and I decided to take a hike in the desert near Palm Springs, Calif. We packed our day-sacks with granola bars, first aid kit, extra socks and of course plenty of water, and we headed into the beautiful desert landscape.
Lesson of the Leaf
What is your favorite season? I appreciate the beauty of autumn and anticipate and admire it every year. I often take pictures of fall’s flamboyant redecoration process.
Not long ago I inherited a house full of furniture. Even though most of it was damaged through neglect, I hung onto it. In fact, I moved it twice, a total of a thousand miles with the hope I could restore it to its original beauty.
Michelangelo’s David is one of the most recognizable sculptures in the world. The block of marble Michelangelo used to carve David had been rejected by some of the world’s best sculptors because of the numerous veins running through it.
What I Know
I don’t know about tomorrow. Sometimes I wish I did. I don’t know whether or not the sun will shine, or it will rain again. I don’t know if times will get easier or if we’ll lose what we have again. I don’t know if anything will change tomorrow, or if everything will. Sometimes I wish I did.
Lighten the Load
The first time a person backpacks they take just about everything they can. They know they’re going on a trip and want to take every item they think they’ll need. Once you put the backpack on, it’s comfortable, and as the miles increase that pack...
Pit bulls have been given, according to many owners, a bad rap. There are actually several breeds that fall under the term “pit bull” (American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, etc.). Even though there are popular TV shows and movies...
Passing the Baton
I loved being on the track team in high school. I wasn't a star by any means, but I did a fair job of contributing, in general. I especially loved running relays. I was not a long-distance runner, so I usually got to run short distance stints where I could...
The Art of Hibernation
“Hibernation is a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in animals, characterized by lower body temperature, slower breathing, and/or lower metabolic rate,” according to Wikipedia.
A Way That Seems Right
The other day my husband and I dined out--an Asian meal. He doesn’t like Asian, yet every once in a while he’ll surprise me by taking me to a buffet, at least there’s more variety for him at one of those.
Seeds have always fascinated me. It's amazing that something so small and seemingly insignificant can grow into organisms of such beauty, height and power. I recently spent some time enjoying the Northern California coast...
Please Open the Door
Author and speaker Max Lucado, shares a story that Dr. Maxwell Maltz shared with him in his book You Changed My Life: Stories of Real People with Remarkable Hearts. The story is about a man’s unsuccessful attempt to save his parents from a...
Positive Prayer Power
We all have people we pray for. At least those of us who believe that there is a God who hears and answers prayer. Maybe it’s a child who has drifted away from God. Or maybe it’s a parent who has not yet found the Lord in a personal way. It could be a...
A popular series of fiction, movies, and even video games have introduced into our modern culture the concept of brain implants. Though the dramatic stories of changing people’s brains through major operations seem far-fetched, there is a level...
Pinning the Tail
As a child I remember getting an odd shaped present for my 5th birthday. Upon opening the package from my grandparents I found a large picture of a donkey mounted to a cork board with several accompanying donkey tails.
As far back as I can remember, I've always loved the Olympics. Watching the torch as it makes it's trek around the globe, the colorful flags parading through the Olympic stadium, the smiles and joy stamped on the faces of all the athletes as they...
I've never been very good at floating. On my back in a swimming pool, I can keep my face out of the water only by paddling constantly with my hands or feet. If I stop moving for just a second, I start to sink! This tends to...
Flying has always fascinated me. As a teenager I took flying lessons, and today, were it not for my wife’s concern, I’d most likely be a pilot. I used to dream of doing spins, performing fly-overs of friends and relatives homes, flying upside down, and...
Most people may never know it, because I can make a brave face when I need to. But I think you should know that deep inside my heart, I am Much-Afraid. I’m not afraid of dark nights, or big storms. I’m not afraid of being home.
The Poor Man
Chuck, one of my co-workers was holding forth. “You have to understand,” he said, “the country today is stacked against poor people like me.” When I heard that I burst out laughing. “What?” he said, outraged at my reaction.
Have you ever wished you could trade places with someone, not in their fortune but in their suffering? Pain is not something you covet, but the grief of their pain makes your heart plead that somehow you might share their suffering if only it would make...
This Little Light
I remember as a kid in Sabbath school singing, “This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine”, and thinking quite skeptically, how my one little light could actually impact anything let alone the world. All I could imagine in my head was some guy...
Not long ago, I applied for a secretarial job that I really, really wanted. After working part-time, I had come to realize that I really needed something more stable. Especially since I'm in the second half of my life when health benefits become more necessary.
I truly didn’t mean to do it, but when I saw the sign, “Welcome to Canada,” I knew I’d made a very wrong turn. Recently, my family made a trip to the Northeast United States, and on our way back we decided to have a...
We Are His Jewels
People can be cruel. Sometimes the cruelest actions and the deepest wounds come from loved ones. Many tears have been shed, many hurts felt, from malicious words spoken by those who should have been the ones protecting us. I’ve had friends...
Lawn Care for Life
Weeds thrive in our yard. Some grass grows too, but rather sparsely and plagued with mites and a fungus that attacks grass. The first strike against us is location; grass struggles in Colorado’s arid climate and requires extra...
Saved by a Shepherd
I remember as a kid, going with my parents and a youth group on a mission trip to Monument Valley Indian Reservation. It was way out in the desert and hotter than anything I'd ever felt. The sun seemed to reach right under my skin and fry my bones...
Eyes on the Prize
On March 6, 1987 while running in a qualifying heat at the World Indoor Track Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, Emil Coghlan was tripped. He fell down, but immediately got back up. The Irish world record holder, with great effort, caught back...
Leaving a Voicemail
One down, twenty more to go, I think to myself as I put the phone down on the receiver. I like making phone calls, but leaving voicemails is a new kind of embarrassing torture. I always end up starting with a million "Um"s and ending with a far too...
“Shun wistfulness...” When I read those words many years ago, the word “wistfulness” evoked an image of a child with bat and glove in hand looking out the window at the rain. What’s wrong about wishing for sunshine when it’s raining?
It was a cold, icy day in my home state of Alaska. Everything that could go wrong, had gone wrong. I was upset, heartsick and discouraged. I pulled on my jacket and boots, and headed out into the snow to wander and let the wind blow away
Give It to God
My wife has been engrossed with reading Otto Koning’s The Pineapple Story. It relates how Koning, a missionary, had a pineapple garden. The natives kept steeling his pineapples. After much frustration, Koning gave the garden and pineapples to God. Miraculously the thefts...
God Uses Words
How can you know someone if you do not seek to know and understand their thoughts? How can you understand motivations or purposes unless you take the time to study and understand the heart?
Proton for God
The other day, I was talking to a friend at church. In one of her classes she had learned about the atom and the different particles it contains. As she shared with me about the electrical charges of these particles, it occurred to me that they can be...
New Body, New Heart
My teddy bear stank. Mom tried to coax me to give it up and let her buy a new one. My stuffed animal’s eyes were missing. One arm was dangling by a thread. The fur was mostly gone. Plus, it smelled so bad people visiting would turn their noses...
Your just not keeping up with the Jones' if you don't have the latest and greatest gadget, car, pair of shoes, trendy clothes and so on; at least that's what the advertisers selling you these products want you to think. We've become a society of...
Spiritual Gold Mining
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was discovered by James Wilson Marshall in California. When Marshall made the find he wasn’t even looking for gold. He was actually just...
When I was a kid, a fun aspects of starting back to school after summer vacation was getting a new or replenished pencil box. In addition to a new pencil—I loved the eraser. The eraser allowed me to remove my mistakes.
I don’t like weeds. My “earth friendly” acquaintances think I’m prejudiced to label any plant a “weed.” Whatever you want to call these “misplaced plants,” they are a nuisance to our flower beds, garden, and gravel driveway. One of my sons likes the quick ...
Send Me a Rainbow
A childhood friend and I recently traveled to upstate New York to attend our high school reunion. While there, we planned to visit his recently widowed mother to help out with any chores she needed done before heading back out of state.
"What’s that music box you’re carrying?" asked the new resident at the Senior Center. "It’s so I can play music CDs for the chapel service," I responded. They hadn’t told him about the weekly service.
You Opened My Eyes
I woke up to Your sunrise, Lord, but was so rushed for time that I only gave it a quick glance. I passed by a pond, only taking the time to look at it briefly without stopping. I saw a tall tree standing in the path, and simply walked around it because it was in my way.
My mother loves fishing. She’s taught five of her eleven grand-children and a couple other kids she babysat how to fish. When she taught my oldest nephew, he was so overcome with excitement at catching his first fish that he almost jumped out...
Recently a meteorite the size of a small van burst into pieces over the quiet Sierra foothill villages of Lotus and Coloma, Calif. Being that this is only a few miles from where I live, I had to investigate. I drove to a large park near the American River, with a...
Out of Season
In the Bible book of Mark, Jesus and the disciples are in the process of leaving Bethany when Jesus realizes he’s suddenly hungry. As they trek along, they come upon a fig tree. The Bible says that when he realizes the tree hasn’t produced any fruit, he curses it by saying...
There's an old story about two young people traveling through a wilderness when a certain wise one stopped them and gave this message. “Collect some rocks on your journey and put them in your pocket. If you will do this, tomorrow you will be both...
A Bit of Green
As I picked up a small pepper plant at the store, my wife noticed a tiny bit of green nestled on top of the dirt. I was about to flick it out of the pot when my wife interjected on its behalf.
Often we hear the expression used, “called by the Lord.” What does being called mean? Does it mean hearing an audible voice? Does it mean ordination, dedication, consecration? Does it mean mentoring by others who have lived the Christian life?
Precious Lost Coins
When I was about six years old I lost something very precious to my mother. Her uncle gave her about a dozen coins he collected from his travels around the world. Mom showed me the coins one day...
Swiss Chard Christians
I inherited the maintenance of a greenhouse with two beds of Swiss Chard from a previous gardener. I’m an organic grower, she was not. Until recently, I neglected those beds; the sad-looking greens did not have much flavor so I needed to do...
I recently read a book entitled Who Owns The Earth by James Ridgeway. In it he describes the various natural resources of the earth, where they can be found, what they are used for, their value, who controls them and how much is left.
Hoodwinked by Satan
The Devil has millions of people hoodwinked into the belief that they must save themselves. As some verbalize it here in the South, they’ve 'gotta get religion' before they can come to God. And my big question to this is, "Why wait?"
Have you ever been a rock climber? I haven’t, I don’t have the courage for such activity, not even the simulated indoor rock climbs. However, I know stout-hearted people who take on the challenge of such climbing. A lot of gear is required to climb...
Last year our family moved into a little farmhouse in the country, and we often uncover old items. It seems that two elderly bachelor brothers owned it years ago, and almost weekly we find remnants of their lives around the homestead.
Our piano is out of tune and it drives me crazy! We had it tuned just a few years ago, but it didn’t hold. On Friday evenings when our family gathers around the piano to sing, we have a few instruments that need to be...
Come, Jesus! Today!
Lately, I’ve been riding somewhat of an emotional roller-coaster. I notice I’m not alone, either, as nearly every seat on that ride is packed to capacity! And why wouldn’t it be? As a friend from my teenage years once said so...
Let Jesus Lead
Jean Francois Gravelet, a.k.a. Charles Blondin, was somewhat of a legend in the last century. He was a world-famous tightrope walker and acrobat.
To All Nations
At the end of long and grueling trips to build churches and schools in Central America, awaited long and grueling plane rides home. And when it became time to board the plane after each trip, intense waves of emotions would...
Beauty of Reality
I was reading my devotional book this morning, the one I’ve been reading for the past two years. It is by Eugene Peterson, the amazing author, poet and writer who’s also the translator of The Message paraphrase of the Bible.
Red Car Envy
It was hard to miss. Parked in front of the church was a beautiful cherry-red convertible. The top down and in the driver’s seat, Leslie was reclining, her blond hair flowing over the headrest. She looked happy and peaceful...
Running the Race
A few weeks ago, we had a gorgeous, sunny day, made all the more spectacular by the fact that it interrupted a long, dreary stretch of gray days of this year’s sorely protracted winter. As I dodged patches of slushy snow on...
He confidently made the oath and the waiting crowd was amazed by the unexpected outcome! A Chinese man named Xu, who swore he didn’t owe money that he had borrowed from a neighbor, was hit by lightning 60 seconds later.
As I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, I discover that God's Sabbath has been and always will be celebrated. As a gift to man, the Sabbath was given at Creation. It was observed through Old and New Testament times, and is...
The Power of His Word
As I talked with a group of friends, the topic of the economy and financial difficulties was brought up. In a matter of minutes we were all complaining, blaming the hard times on numerous things. The conversation turned sour and...
I’ve been thinking about life experiences. Some are mountaintop experiences where I’ve stood in joy and strength on the solid rock of the summit. Others are very low experiences where I’ve sunk to rock bottom.
One Kind Act
When it comes to helping others, I can't say that I shine. I love doing things for others such as baking fun goodies or buying simple gifts to say “Thanks for your friendship,” or “I am thinking of you.” I usually only...
Rest in Peace
During the 1980’s, ‘scientists’ reportedly looking for oil in Siberia, drilled nine miles down where they broke through the earth’s crust into a spot where the temperature was 2000 degrees F.
Who's in Charge?
A world leader was having trouble getting to sleep. He got out of bed, and was nervously pacing the floor. His aide had seen his light on, and knocked on the door, asking if he might be of help.The statesman responded, “It’s the...
Every morning as I drive to school I pass a large billboard on the side of the road. The messages change frequently; some are pretty bland, some are downright bizarre. Currently, the sign reads: Today could be the day.
Just recently, I witnessed a woman who was all up in arms. She did something for her co-workers and no one said thank you. She was absolutely beside herself. “So typical!” she said, “you do something for someone and no one tells you...
When I was eight years old, my mom got me a “Rock Tumbler.” The machine came with a bag full of ugly, rough, sharp rocks, and a bag full of sand. The idea was to dump the rocks and sand and some water into the machine...
When I gaze down at a river from the bank, I am always filled with a sense of curiosity, trepidation and even a twinge of fear. Rivers are mysterious creatures. They wind, bend, curl, flow, trickle and rush in an almost...
Out of Tune
Recently, my son, his friend, and I did a musical medley at our church’s talent show. Granted, there were no talent scouts present, nor did anyone expect to be signing any contracts at the end of the show.
It was months before I even laid eyes on the Gateway Arch. Partly due to the weather and partly due to the fact we live south of the city, I just never got around to heading downtown. Going downtown wasn’t a priority.
Daddy, Don't Leave Me
It was a cold and rainy winter morning in Santiago, Chile. Our entire family was up very early that morning. We were heading to the airport where Dad would embark on a 14-hour flight to New York. Dad had secretly planned...
Get into the Game!
Do you have a talent that is sitting on a shelf—or buried in the ground, as Jesus describes in his parable from Matthew 25?
Browsing the Internet, I recently came across several short but fascinating stories.
The Required Runway
The wrong runway. How could that happen? Did the pilots talk together about the fact that, in the pre-dawn, the runway was not lighted?
He Will Be
“He will be.” These three words hold such strength for me today. They sound so promising—so sure. A friend e-mailed them to me this morning, knowing that I’m going through a tough time dealing with my brother’s cancer.
I planted tomatoes last month. Well at least I thought I planted tomatoes. I went to the nursery and found the “Tomato” sign and chose the colors of pots that corresponded with the varieties I wanted and brought...
Knowing God's Will
“I wish I could just hear a voice from heaven telling me which choice to make,” a friend recently confided to me. “It’s so hard trying to figure out God’s will!”
When pediatricians examine babies and children, part of what they look for is their growth—to find out at what percentile they are on the growth chart. Are they growing normally, is the question?
Let's admit it. It's easy to say “yes” to things that we enjoy doing. And it's especially easy to say “yes” to things that we know we are good at. Recently, though, I was asked to do something that I didn't want to do.
There is a passage of Scripture that conveys such hope and joy that it should be at the top of every parent, grandparent, teacher, pastor, and sibling’s precious promises list. I’m talking about 1John 5:16.
More Than Water
One summer when I was about 10 years old, the street in front of our home was torn up to put in new sewer lines. Large trucks, backhoes, and front loaders dug and pushed mountains of dirt all over the place. As a child, it looked like a giant...
Fine-tuning the Gift
There’s an old story floating around in the Kennedy family empire, which had one brother successfully run for President at the age of 42, another make a run for the White House at the same age, and a third brother in the...
Afraid of the Dark
As a kid I was very afraid of the dark. I always thought that monsters and wild animals were waiting under my bed to nip of my heels or that shadowy thieves were standing just outside my bedroom window trying to break in.
Be Still and Know
Technology has changed our lives dramatically in the last century. Personally, I cannot imagine going back to the days of reading by candlelight, traveling by horse and buggy and no indoor plumbing.
Recycling. For people who are concerned with the environment, it’s the easiest thing we can do to help. I’m a faithful recycler. I salvage newspaper, magazines, copy paper, cereal boxes, tissue boxes, cardboard, tin cans, plastic, glass...
Would I Know Him?
Years ago Christian contemporary singer Wayne Watson wrote a song called, “Would I know You Now.” In that song he contemplates whether he’d know Christ if he saw Him. Would he recognize Him? Would he bow in acknowledgement?
Changing the message on our church sign is a job that another person in our church and I share. Since I don't really want to have that responsibility all of the time, I am glad to have someone else who is willing to help...
Sheep or Goat?
I always wanted to be one of Jesus’ lambs. The Good Shepherd stories appealed to my need for comfort and safety. I also loved the depictions of those lambs with their fluffy white coats and doe eyes. But goats didn’t fare so well and were often...
I was 12 and living in suburbia on the East Coast. At many church socials, I remember my parents talking with other adults about moving to a less congested area. They were burned out with their jobs in the city, and the conversation would...
Watching for Jonathan
Fifteen-year old Molly is a blonde cocker spaniel. She has lived with our family since she was a puppy, and she has gone through many experiences right along with us. One experience that she endured with us, which she did not ask for, was...
Sunlight and Shadow
I watch each day as the bright, gold colors of the aspen trees slowly creep down the mountainside. A small group of aspen nestle against the dark, green of the spruce outside my cabin window. I marvel as the morning sunlight intensifies their...
What in the World?
A lot of people have talked with me about world conditions. They’re wondering what’s happening to our world. Why so many disasters, like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, famines, storms, wars, and terrorism?
The Impossible Stain
The owner of an old Scottish mansion had the walls of one room filled with sketches made by famous artists. It all began after a pitcher of soda water was accidentally spilled on a freshly decorated wall. It left a hideous stain.
Follow the Leader
“ Go to the ant, O sluggard, and observe her ways and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6). Most of us have read this verse one time or another. Ants are constantly busy doing something. Solomon sends the lazy to go watch and take a lesson from them.
As a journalist, I have interviewed many gardeners, including Master Gardeners, yet I never asked, “Are you drawn closer to God as a result of your gardening?” When the opportunity comes again, I will. I venture to guess that few, if any, who...
Less is More
Recently the U.S. Census Bureau released some statistics on how much the average American makes per year. It came to about $28,000, yet many Americans spend and aspire to a lifestyle of more than $100,000 per year.
Work Before Pray?
Well, we've all heard the common adage "work before play." It's a good one, too. At all ages, it proves to be beneficial to get your work done and then play will be not only more deserved, but more enjoyable.
Saved by Grace
I was caught in the act. Caught in bed with a man who wasn’t my husband. When a group of men burst through the door and dragged me out into the street, I was terrified for my life. A curious crowd had gathered and their curiosity turned to...
They’d waited 40 years for this moment; this time when at last their lives could move forward and their dreams of home and hearth could be fulfilled. Waiting was the hardest thing—waiting for beloved parents to die—burying them in the...
Just Say Yes
There’s something God can’t do. You’ll have to do it for yourself. There’s something you can’t do for yourself. God will have to do it for you. What are these?
"City Ambulance, respond to 423 Main Street for a lift assist.” The dispatch, followed by high-pitched tones on my handheld radio, alerted me of the need for medical help.
A couple of weeks ago I was stirred from my sleep early in the morning to the loud honking of flocks of geese flying over my house. Since that day there has been a steady increase of geese migrating south heading for warmer climates as the...
The smell of fall is in the air and as I notice yellow school buses zooming past our home my heart yearns to be back in the classroom. I loved school. Each autumn my mother took my three brothers and me clothes shopping. How she found...
Let's Keep in Touch!
The whole world watched via TV on April 1, 2009, as President and Mrs. Obama met Queen Elizabeth II and her consort, Prince Philip. It seems the foursome hit it off just fine. The Queen Mum even slipped her arm around Michelle Obama’s...
Maybe it’s because we live in a windy Valley, but every summer I have volunteer flowers show up in some unusual places. A yellow pansy blooming in our front lawn and a red snapdragon blooming in the middle of my pink petunias surprised me...
Woe is Me
It’s been 16 months since I was laid off from my full-time job and for 13 of those months I’ve praised God for all I knew He was doing to care for me. Freelance writing jobs came pouring in and there was enough money to pay all my monthly bills.
I was picking up autumn leaves when I noticed that even though they were all from the same tree, they varied somewhat in size and color. The fallen leaves gave growth to these thoughts.
Dabbling in self-sustaining organic farming, I’ve leaned the importance of frequent watering for young plants. During the early stages of a young plant’s life, roots remain near the surface of the soil. At germination, roots grow downward due to...
Scratchy is definitely not a curl-up in your lap and pet me kind of cat. I try to entice him. I give him treats. I talk to him—but to no avail. Every time I reach to pet him, he shies away from my touch.
The other day I bought an up-to-date world atlas. I just wanted to see the world without having to pay the high prices of flying to every spot on the map. I know it's not the same thing as actually going there.
Have you ever given much thought to Jesus’ hands? First, they were chubby baby hands, a baby at his mother Mary’s breast for nourishment. Surely he patty-caked and clapped his hands as other children did.
Pickles or Prayer
Here in Iowa, we are in the midst of pickling season. That is, for those of us who enjoy canning pickles. Each year, I grow just a little bit bigger garden, and I try to preserve a new food item each year too. Last year it was homemade salsa, using...
Lover of My Soul
I saw Him that afternoon and I knew…He was the Lover of my soul. No one told me; I just knew it. His lofty figure and generous smile captivated my heart. And I desired to know Him. He was called…Man.
Ernst Haeckel's book, Art Forms in Nature, displays a dazzling array of strange and mysterious microscopic creatures gleaned from the oceans of the world. Small skeletal creatures that most of us never will have the chance to see first hand.
I Am Not Ashamed
Something happened after my baptism that I certainly did not expect. I was in the fourth grade and couldn’t wait to get to school that Monday to tell my friends what I’d done over the weekend. My three best friends met me in the hallway. “Were...
A friend of mine recently responded to a question that I asked her concerning changes in life, as compared to a butterfly. She said that she likens the lifecycle of a butterfly to that of a Christian’s growth. Beautiful analogy, is it not?
Her Foot in His Hand
Outside the church I attend is a sculpture by artist Alan Collins called, “Jesus Among Us.” It’s a beautiful life-sized bronze sculpture of Jesus washing the feet of three modern-day disciples. He is kneeling in front of one man sitting on a bench.
The King is Coming!
“The King is coming! Prepare the way.” The message spread by drum beat across the hilltops, and runners carried the word through the villages along the king of Rwanda’s intended route.
A Writer's Worth
Writers display many genres and styles. However, for the Christian writer, the craft is more than words on paper or a website or a kindle, writing is a responsibility—not only to one’s reader but also to the One who gives us the talent. <br />
Lesson from My Laptop
I just had an amazingly annoying experience. I’d put off taking my Toshiba laptop computer to the repair shop for the past three, maybe four months. I bought the four-year-old laptop “refurbished."
I love beautiful music that moves the heart. I find something strangely beautiful and thrilling about the moment a pre-concert tune-up session suddenly turns into one, unanimous and harmonious note. All the instruments are in tune with...
Praying is Free
Recently while reading Huffington Post, I came across an article describing a company that is selling prayer services. The headline grabbed me so I read on, for a monthly fee of $34, this company will cull together all of your prayer requests...
This spring many storms hit our area, causing widespread damage. One of the most common sights are large uprooted trees. Obviously, judging by the size of them, they’ve stood many years. Upon closer observation, I note that these fallen...
During my morning commute, I reflected on the Independence Day fireworks my oldest son and I had watched the night before. I couldn’t help but relive the excitement of my five-year-old sitting on my shoulders as he cheered at the fireworks...
Minute to Win It
The TV show, Minute to Win It, is a worldwide phenomenon. In the show, contestants attempt silly tasks that they have one minute to complete. If they are successful doing the one minute of work, they can win more and more money.
Why Be a Christian?
It’s a question I’ve been asked more than once: “Why be a Christian? If you have to struggle through life as much as any non-Christian, then why be one? What’s the difference?”
My Little Light
As a child, I learned the Christian children’s song, “This little light of mine.” Those words started my education about my personal responsibility as a Christian: I knew Jesus and I wanted to share Him in some way.
Awhile back, I decided that I was going to grow an apple tree from a seed that came from a particularly delicious Honeycrisp apple from Hood River, Oregon's Fruit Loop region. <br />
I thought permanent markers were supposed to be permanent. But then the signatures of the members of my favorite band began to fade from the back of my iPod. The names that were once so sharp and clear were now faded...
Many of us enjoyed the hoopla surrounding the recent royal marriage of Prince William to Princess Kate, but as most of us know, there was a pretty big story lurking under the surface of this romantic event. The future King of England was...
I don’t like guns. I’ve never owned one and probably never will. But I did find “weapons” to be interesting when I was a child. I owned a slingshot. And I learned to shoot rubber bands and spit wads in grade school. My first weapon was a...
The Glass Slipper
You’ve heard the phrase, “Life begins at 40!” That’s when my life took on a new dimension. After praying for three years, asking God for a special ministry, I discovered a writer lived inside me. Election as the press writer for my church led to a...
Every time I turn on the TV or listen to the radio, some company is pushing some new product that claims to make you look years younger or some pill that helps you feel more alive. In the end though, most of these products fade into...
I recently changed my major to Nursing, and praise to God, I was accepted into the program to start this fall term. Most of my friends are nursing majors, and at the end of this school year, they will have finished their first year in the program.
My Favorite Teacher
Do you enjoy learning unusual facts? I find what some call trivia, to be idea producing. Often these facts prod me to do some secular/spiritual comparisons.
God's Right Hand
Which is your dominant hand? I’m right-handed. But an injury as a teen-ager has given me a weak grip in my best hand. It’s a disadvantage when playing racquetball. But, I am still among the majority of people in the world when it comes to...
Learning from a Bird
It started in a simple way. On a cold, wintry January day, while visiting my parents at their farm, I sat by the fire dreaming of warmer days when I would be able to go out and roam the hills again. I picked up one of their nature magazines and...
If You Really Knew Me
A few weeks ago a new show debuted on one of the popular television stations called If You Really Knew Me. I remember seeing the concept before on a talk show some years ago, but seeing it again after it had been more...
Honesty time: I’ve been a in a bit of a spiritual dry lately. An unsettling feeling of unfulfillment comes over me every time I leave church, Bible studies and required school worships. I leave thinking, “I learned absolutely nothing through this message.”
My desk is on the fifth floor of an office building about 12 miles south of downtown Houston. It faces a window on the north side of the building. From it, Houston’s skyline can easily be seen, the downtown buildings etched against the...
Well of Patience
This semester of school, I’ve had the opportunity to work at my old grade school. It’s been quite an experience, with all the diversity of kids now, and the fact that I am helping out with third and fourth graders. I’ve had a front row to the...
Give Up, Never!
One of my boyhood school chums grew up to be a super salesman. The reason: he never gave up. One day he was going door-to-door with one of his trainees, teaching him to sell vacuum cleaners
Packaging or Contents
Last month a friend gave me a box of chocolates as a surprise. It was a lovely, large, multicolor box. The packaging was beautiful, and I admired it before opening the box. When I took the lid off, I was surprised to find more decorative packing...
Every morning while eating breakfast I watch the birds as they gather around the little wooden feeder in my backyard, jockeying for position and a chance at a life sustaining meal.
A New Direction
It was a beautiful day and I decided to spend time alone in the mountains with God. I took my Bible, a sack lunch, and a journal and started down the trail. It was early June and the birds were singing.
More Like a Daffodil
As I walked along the edge of the woods among the sparse, spring flowers, I wondered what it would be like to be a daffodil. I thought about how the daffodil bulbs wait while the ground is hard and cold, then they readily respond at the...
Pray Like Nehemiah
Dear God, Here’s what I need today: 1. Heal my grandmother. She’s sick and could really use a miracle. 2. Keep my husband safe as he travels today, and help him make a lot of sales. 3. Give my children a great day.
Are You Listening?
Have you ever stopped whatever you were doing and simply listened to and tried to identify all the sounds around you? It's amazing how much sound and noise bombards our senses through the course of a day.
If Love Could Heal
The doctors said there wasn’t any medicine they could prescribe that would heal him. The surgeons said they couldn’t operate and heal him. Hours of internet research…specialists…calls to a renowned surgeon…the answers...
Faith and Feedings
I love 20/20 hindsight. It enables me to quickly jump to conclusions regarding the mistakes of various Bible characters. From my vantage point, I clearly see the error of their ways and the choices they should have made.
On Bread Alone
Have you ever missed a meal? Of course you have! So, you know that when you do, your body will generally signal you that it wants food.
Out of all that I have learned and have yet to learn as a Christian, I think the most intriguing and at the same time the most beautiful belief of all to me is how God can let me come to Him.
When He was twelve years old, Jesus went with His parents to the temple in Jerusalem. It was the time of the yearly Feast of the Passover.
Acts of God
Earlier this year, a large chunk of ice fell from the cloudy skies above Tampa, Florida onto a parked 2000 Ford Mustang, caving the roof in and blowing out the rear window.
On Valentine’s Day of 2005, Bill Parsons made his last and fatal skydive after filming a “tandem” jump in Hawaii.
I take the same route to and from work every day and have noticed the sprucing up of a particular establishment as I pass by. First they painted the outside of their building, put on a new roof and installed a new sign.
A Young Voice
It happened while driving down the 405 freeway in Southern California. A voice from behind me. A voice from a car seat. “Momma, listen to Jesus.” Hmmmm. The first thought that tumbled into my mind and nearly out of my mouth was...
If I were to ask if you have ever experienced sorrow, I would feel fairly confident that even though I can’t actually hear your response, you would say, “Oh, yeah!” And if I were to ask if you have ever experienced joy, I...
Do you have a “junk drawer?” Almost everyone I know has one, including me. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please let me explain.
Road to Riches
In the past several weeks, I have been inundated by a barrage of email scams. Perhaps you have been baited by them, as well. Worse than the Publisher’s Clearinghouse come-on’s that used to cram my mailbox, these email...
I don’t know if this has ever happened to you. In the midst of the chaos of moving from one apartment to another, having lived with roommates that are often messy packrats just like I am, I end up with stuff that’s not...
Have a Heart Like God
I have always thought “I am who I am, and that doesn't change.” While I believed I could change certain things about me such as how I dress, or what I eat etc., I didn't think I could change my tendencies. But a book have...
Have you ever been so thirsty you thought you were going to pass out? So thirsty that every time you swallowed it felt like you were swallowing sand paper? I’m pretty good about drinking my eight cups of water.
On a recent Saturday, I wheeled my truck into a county parking lot, cut the engine, grabbed my stuff, locked the door and headed for the building.
Adopted by God
In Japan, all ages observe Revere Your Elders Day. Tribal leaders in Native American cultures are called wisdomkeepers and act as guides to younger tribe members.
Sitting… on the porch, my feet propped up, watching the white light of early-morning northern sun swell, burst, and splash its glow on everything in its path.
Saved by a Hymn
A party of Northern tourists formed a portion of a company gathered on the deck of an excursion steamer that was moving slowly down the historic Potomac one beautiful evening in the summer of 1881.
When to Believe
Modern-day miracles and supernatural events surround us, but they are often missed.
The Cross and Forgiveness
“I’ll never forgive him for what he did!” The person’s words shocked me. But you’ve probably heard similar words at some time. Some people have a hard time forgiving those who do them wrong.
Chicanery of Chic
I received an invitation to a birthday party for two wonderful twenty-something friends. The email arrived with all the basic information about the party: the date, the time, the address, etc. What caught my attention was one...
The Top Resolution
By the time you read this story, 2011 will be at least a few days old. If you are like most people, you are almost a week into your New Year’s resolutions, if you made any.
Baptism, Why Bother?
I grew up in a family and a church that believed in water baptism, not a little bit of water, but a full dunking. It was believed that around 12 years of age was the appropriate time, just about the time when a child could...
God's Block Heater
Winter mornings move slowly in North Dakota, especially when it’s colder than usual. I well remember one icy day at 7 a.m. when the temperature was 30 below zero with a 20 mph wind.
Imitators of God
My Bible reading recently lead me to a verse in Ephesians that immediately caught my attention. Though only a short verse, I stopped to read it over and over.
If you travel today about 45 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, you’ll come to Babylon. Babylon is the most famous ancient city in the world.
Let It Snow!
Here in the Midwest, there is an abundance of snow, and with it, an abundance of people who don't like it. It's understandable. After all, snow is cold, snow is often accompanied by biting winds, and snow can even be hazardous.
Search for Sanity
In western culture we try to fill every waking moment of each day with activity. Productivity is closely associated with personal success and self-worth.
You Snooze, You Lose
For several weeks during a period when I was especially tired, I was awakened during the night by a strange, buzzing sound.
I’m going to have to put her to sleep soon. For twelve years, she has been the most consistent and faithful friend I have. I’ve only been married for five years and my children are under two.
No Strings Attached
I remember my sadness, the day one of my best friends moved from our neighborhood. Yet, within weeks, a new family settled in with a daughter just my age.
Not long ago I pieced my first full-sized quilt. I thought that since there were only 30 blocks I could average one a day and be finished in a month. How wrong I was!
You've probably heard people say that it's good for your health to get up in the morning and drink a glass of water first thing. Doing this does a couple of things. It gets your digestion going, and it also keeps you from becoming...
Our Big Brother
Little boys are different from little girls. They sometimes enjoy a good tussle. They just like to rough and tumble. When I was a small boy, I liked to wrestle with other small boys. As long as they weren’t bigger, older and stronger...
Deliverance From Evil
All my life I have known that there is a battle going on between good and evil. I have always known that Satan is trying to destroy us, while God is trying to save us, but I had never really understood it on a personal level.
Working in a Christian hospital in the area of pastoral care, I try to make it a habit of going to the hospital chapel each morning to pray for my patients.
Mystery of Salvation
Many of us have prayed for a spouse, son, daughter, parent or friend, hoping they would become a follower of Jesus. We may have given them books, talked with them, and pleaded with them, without a positive response. It can be very...
Recently, I read a wonderful passage of wisdom from a book called "Acts of the Apostles" which said, “Not in the freedom from trial, but in the midst of it, is Christian character developed.”1
As a child, did you ever play hookey? For a number of years in elementary school I employed a method of dodging class with the unknowing cooperation of my mother.
I took a deep breath and sighed it out, laying back helplessly. That word, helpless, described me perfectly at that moment. I sat up to look at my friend on the other side of the empty chapel, sitting in the pew across from mine, then...
Questions And Answers
When I was a little girl I asked a lot of questions, as most children do.
People in today’s world find it difficult to take a day off every week, a day in which no work, no finances, and no business takes place.
In Over My Head
It was a beautiful, sunny, summer day. A perfect day for the beach. I, along with a couple of my high school buddies, decided to head for New Smyrna Beach on Florida’s East Coast. The Atlantic was not nearly as calm for swimming as...
The Hope of Heaven
As I drew close to her bedside, Adrianna appeared to be sleeping. At only 36 she still looked very young. Her warm brown curls reached well below her shoulders, delicately falling upon her alabaster forearms.
Shrek is no ordinary sheep. I have a picture of him on my home computer, and I must confess that in the picture he looks like a bale of wool…with legs.
To Talk with God
For some people prayer seems like a mysterious experience, almost like some sort of magic. However, most Christians realize that prayer is a relational experience that connects us with a loving Father, God.
Laws and Penalties
Did you know that if everyone in the country obeyed the laws set by the government you wouldn’t have to lock your doors at night? You wouldn’t have to lock your car when you go to the store.
Whenever I phone my parents and our children are not around to talk to Granny and Grandpa they always say, “Give our love to the kids.”
When Life is a Mess
When I was two years old, I was sitting in my Dad’s car at a service station. I was fascinated as I watched one of the attendants polishing a customer’s car. After the man had applied the polish to the car and allowed it to dry, it looked...
The Waiting Room
In May of 2002, I was slated to move from my one bedroom apartment on the campus of Andrews University where I was doing graduate studies. In anticipation of a temporary relocation to Dallas...
The Bride is Coming!
You could hear a pin drop. All heads were turned toward the back of the church. At the end of the long, long aisle stood 4-year-old Tommy, dressed in a tuxedo, bell in hand.
Heaven's Radio Waves
When I was a boy I loved to play with my neighbor friends. Sometimes, after school, we would get so preoccupied with a game of basketball or baseball that I would not hear my mother calling me for supper. When I finally showed up, it was...
As I peruse the pages of the newest Pottery Barn catalogue, I dog-ear the corners to mark items that catch my eye.
Studies are showing that more and more Christians are falling away from being members of organized churches. The reason? Primarily, they feel that Christianity is no place for giving and receiving positions of rank and that following Christ...
Signs of the Times
Night flights aren't much fun. About all you can see is darkness for much of the trip. A lot of the passengers are sleeping, or at least resting, so you cannot visit.
Written in Our Hearts
Psalm 40:8 tells us, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”
Recently, I was showing Monica, a friend of mine, how to deadhead flowers. As we stood on the patio off my city apartment, she found it interesting to discover that by pinching off the spent blooms of my hanging baskets, that the plant...
So Jesus flunks a catering test. Actually this isn’t a bad score; after feeding something like ten thousand people on that Judean hillside, a few leftover baskets of food isn’t a substantial overage.
When Carolyn Kelly heard a car splash into a pond at the Glen Retirement Village in Shreveport, LA, she didn’t stop to think.
When I was a teen our family lived on a shoestring budget. One day after school I noticed a glaring, bright orange notice with black letters hanging on the door handle of our front door. It was from the electric company.
Worth the Pain
It was dark. The garden was quiet and although he’d brought his best friends with him – he was virtually alone.
Knowing the Judge
Pastor Kelly tells of an experience he had in jail. It happened as a result of one unpaid traffic ticket. Just how it had remained unpaid, he didn’t say. No doubt, he intended to pay it, but one thing after another in his busy life continued to...
The Potter's Wheel
Rick and his wife were artists who lived in an old farm house near my home growing up. I loved to visit them. They were potters who made their living with their hands, their hearts, and their artistry.
Faith Like a Child
I will never forget his face. Looking up at me he appeared close to tears. I felt terrible for putting him through this but I had to finish the process even though it was breaking my heart.
My teen-age son had been bugging me for a motor bike. After putting him off for a while, one day I thought, Why not? He seems responsible enough. So we started shopping. Then we saw the ad for a bike in our local newspaper, and...
God's Plan For You
Sitting in a quiet corner of the library, I took one more look at my biology notes. It seemed hours had passed since I had started studying, yet the clock told me otherwise. There was a sinking feeling as I realized how much I had to go...
Somewhere deep in the corner of our basement is a cardboard box. Inside this box are several shoe boxes full of love letters that my wife and I wrote each other while dating in college. I told my children they were personal and not to read...
To Use, Not to Have
“Being conservative is a sin,” stated the young guest preacher at our church. “It will kill us.” I glanced around warily at my fellow parishioners. Didn’t this sleek California boy know his audience? We are...
Not Mine, His
I close the laptop and rub my forehead in frustration. I feel like my life works around a pattern. A very unpleasant pattern that consists of me making plans, getting way too excited about them, and leaving God completely out of the equation.
Rescued from Trouble
When I was eight and my sister was six, we lived in a trailer. It was summer, school was out, and we were playing with the kids in the neighborhood. Dad and Mom were working in a plant across the street.
Be the Bigger Person
No matter how hard you try, there are going to be people in your everyday life that you don't get along with. My friend and I had a reasonably good friendship. We weren’t the best of friends, but we were there for each other when needed.
I See You!
In the realm of Christianity, it is a common understanding and teaching that our omnipresent God sees everything that we do. Some think of this as God keeping an eye on us to make sure we stay in line or maybe to even catch us if we...
Because We're Broken
I’m not sure why it sticks in my mind, but it does. I must have been around 6 years old at the time. As clear as a video before me I can see myself riding my bike on the sidewalk in front of our house. As I rode I passed a neighbor lady...
Yet I Will Rejoice
In the three short chapters of the unlikely book of Habakkuk we find a fascinating dialogue between the prophet and God. Habakkuk is explaining to God that things are not going well in his life. Nothing is as it’s supposed to be.
I recently did some work on our downstairs shower. I installed a new shower faucet handle but I accidentally reversed the hot and cold. When I finally switched the pipes around I discovered the faucet handle had quit...
The Perfect Storm
The day had been clear, and the sea calm. Jesus had spent a busy day by the Sea of Galilee, teaching the crowds of people. He had spoken many of His parables explaining the kingdom of God. Jesus had worked many miracles...
I was sure the entire hallway could hear our angry screams. I was also sure they’d heard my voice before; I wasn’t exactly the quietest of girls, and Sally and I always found some way to argue.
This world has a tendency to bring us a lot of devastation. Each and every person is affected by some sort of disappointment or loss.
White As Snow
I am a sinner by nature, brought into a world full of hatred and sorrow and right then I felt more guilty than at anyt time in my life. Facing my parents, and having to tell them what I’d done was the hardest moment I’ve ever gone through.
A Very Old Book
The Bible is a very old book. Some parts of it as old as 3,500 years. The most recent parts are 2,000 years old. Books that old are usually out-of-date. How could you get any help from a book that old? How could you trust such...
Every one of us knows what it’s like to suffer. We all feel pain, sadness, loss and depression, and everyone understands what it means to grieve, mourn and feel hopeless. It’s a cruel fact of this world that we will all be touched...
Lay Them Down
In the song "I Will Glory in Your Cross", I am struck by the following lines."All my glory and all my shame, I lay them down to find them much the same, and all my shadows and all my shine are hidden behind, this precious cross of Thine, and I will glory in Your cross."
Safe and Sound
Alberto Rozas and his daughter slept peacefully in their 13th floor Concepción, Chile apartment. Suddenly the world began to shake. He grabbed his seven-year-old daughter in his arms and they stood underneath the doorframe of the...
Afraid to Witness?
Many Christians are terrified by the thought of it. I’m not sure why, but it’s true, even though we wish it wasn’t. It could be from fear of saying the wrong thing. Or maybe we fear embarrassing ourselves, or possibly being rejected.
We acquired a new security feature for our office secretary at the place I worked a few years ago. It was a panic button. The little round plastic button on a keychain, when pressed, would alert the police to make a visit to our...
Frogs and Gifts!
Last evening it happened! The frogs by our pond began singing. And they were in excellent voice, I must say! The tenors were whirring the top line, the bull frogs were beating out the bass, and the rest were carrying a steady...
Just Little Things
The time was just after 3 p.m. on Friday, May 25, 1979. The big DC-10 taxied to the end of the runway at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. On board were 271 passengers and crew. The weather was perfect. All on board were looking forward...
A Thousand Acts
The phrase “death by a thousand cuts”, long used as metaphorical currency in the western world, actually refers to an ancient Chinese execution method called Ling Chi. And while we currently see this phrase employed as a catchy book...
One could write a book about the heartache in Haiti since a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the country. We’ve watched as the world came together to give aid to those left injured and homeless.
In our constant search for spiritual “deepness,” my friend and I have taken Bible classes, attended Bible studies, poured over verses and verses, had numerous heart-to-heart talks where we share whatever “deep” thought has...
They appeared as two normal men walking down a shady pathway late that Sunday afternoon. But something was desperately wrong. Any observer could tell they were in deep conversation as they walked along with their heads...
Angels All Around
I had just finished reading my four-year-old son, the story of Daniel. At the end of the story, it talked about how God had sent angels to protect Daniel from the lions, and that He also sends His angels to watch over us.
Mary and Martha were worried. Their brother Lazarus was sick. When the doctors couldn’t help him, they sent word to the One who they believed could help. “Lord, the one you love is sick” is the message Jesus received. The sisters...
Prayer Changes Things
For my birthday, a friend gave me a refrigerator magnet that says Prayer Changes Things. The gift is special because this friend and I are serious prayer partners. We pray for each other’s children every day and for other...
Keep On Keeping On
Someone has said, “If you could have religion and not know it, you could lose it and never miss it.” Well, there’s no question that when a person is truly converted, or “born again,” as the Bible puts it in John 3:7 (NLT), a real change takes place in that person’s life.
Not Home Yet
We were hopelessly lost. Surprisingly, this time at least, it wasn’t because I was with two of the worst drivers that have ever stepped behind a wheel. We had taken one wrong turn, just one, and now had no idea where we were...
Going to Jail
I’ve been in jail many times. In high school I was part of a singing group that went to jail to sing to the inmates. I’ve gone to visit a relative in jail. We sat across from each other talking on a phone, separated by glass. More recently...
Standing Up For Jesus
I walked into my four-year-old son’s room one evening. He had already been tucked into his bed. I was simply checking on him. When I looked in his room, he was standing up in his bed very straight, tall and very still. I asked...
Bread from Heaven
The Israelis were in a tight spot. They had just made their escape from Egypt, where they had been held as slaves for many years. Numbering perhaps two million men, women and children, they now found themselves in the Sinai...
Hope for Haiti
I can’t stop thinking about Haiti. The horror of thousands of rotting bodies, people trapped for days in rubble, the agony of people not knowing if their loved ones were dead or alive. Those heart-breaking images of parents clutching...
A Cold Branch
I stared at the fire in discontent, wondering why the tree branch wouldn’t stay lit. We had been sitting by the fire for the better part of an hour and by that time the situation had become symbolic. No matter how long I left the branch in...
Know Not What They Do
Recently, I spent a couple of days substitute teaching for a teacher whose classes have historically been easy to handle. This time, however, it was different. Not that I don’t expect some bad days. That’s part of my job. But there...
It’s the American way. You drive to your bank to either cash a check, deposit money or request to withdraw an amount from your checking or savings account. It was this sort of routine at a bank for a man we’ll call Ralph.
Bitter or Thankful?
The pictures and video footage coming out of Haiti wrench my heart. I feel helpless to ease the emotional and physical suffering that hundreds of thousands are facing.
Forgetting the Girl
I keep forgetting her. My brand new baby girl. There's been nothing traumatic yet, but I just keep forgetting that she exists. I'll be driving along and suddenly remember that she is behind me in her car seat.
Years ago a man purchased a remote castle in Spain. Vandals were destroying the old building, so the man hired a builder to put a protective wall around the castle. Weeks later the man checked on the builder’s progress and...
Who Are You?
There comes a time in our lives when we need to define who we are—when we need to figure out what defines us. But, wait. Who is doing the defining? The Bible tells us in Job 9 that God can move mountains...
It all happened many years ago in the small town of Granger, Washington. And I’ll never forget it. There was a weekly event that took place during the summer months. A group of boys, myself included, would round up a wild...
Look Up, Lifted Up
Ally is eighteen months old and is loving life. Surrounded by people who are always ready to read her a new book or share a new experience with her, she is almost constantly embracing fresh experiences.
I once read a story about a music therapist named Ken Medema. As a pianist, Ken’s concerts draw large crowds and standing ovations.
Seeing the Truth
I could not see very well. My optometrist had dilated my eyes to get a better view of the inside of my eyeballs. It’s a pretty common procedure. But with my pupils forced to expand, it’s a bit difficult to see clearly, even with the cheap...
My dad was dying. He’d been sick with Hepatitis C for years and we all knew it was only a matter of time. I’d been staying in his hospital room night and day for the past few days.
Socks was about the sweetest dog anyone could ever want. She was a family dog, part border collie and part just plain precious. We rescued Socks accidentally from death row.
I’ve been fascinated lately with books on people who climbed Mount Everest, the highest mountain on our planet (29,035 ft.). Ever since 1852 when the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India discovered Sagarmatha.
I took a walk in the snowy woods this evening at dusk. I observed the tracks that deer, rabbits, opossum, and dogs had made. I even noted the small impression left by a hopping bird.
Love Each Other
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 13:34). “Love each other!" I scream to my friends who are jokingly arguing about whose dorm room is cleaner, throwing
When it comes to cool cleaning products, there’s one under our kitchen sink that is head and shoulders above the rest.
It was our church’s annual Christmas celebration service and the sanctuary was festive with colorful poinsettias and sparkling white lights. Our daughter’s clear soprano voice joined the others in the choir.
Life of Integrity
What do people think when they hear your name? Do they think, “Oh that person is always so trustworthy and faithful; they always do the right thing.” Or do they think, “Watch out for that person. You never know what they’re...
Free From Guilt
"There’s no way God can ever forgive me. I am unforgivable." Have you ever harbored these thoughts?
My Signet Ring
As I was working on a Real Estate transaction, one of the documents we needed was a “survey”. I’m pretty sure you have heard about this piece of paper which represents some kind of a territorial map of the property’s boundaries...
Creating Sacred Space
Vincent Van Gogh, the famous Dutch artist, composed a drawing titled, “Girl Kneeling in Front of a Cradle.” It pictures a young girl, hair disheveled, clothed in an ankle-length dress, kneeling in front of a cradle.
Barefoot and Stubborn
If there’s something I’ve had to learn the hard way, it’s to never walk barefoot on a wooden boardwalk. As my feet skidded along carelessly after about the second mile of our venture to get pizza for our hungry family, I felt a sudden...
We Are Covered
Winter was always a special time for me in the hills of the Northeast, but nothing compared to the anticipation and drama in the promise of a full-fledged snow storm.
More than 10%
Often when I contemplate what my duty is to my fellow man, I couch it in the crass and frequently cold terms of political efficacies. But lately, thinking of the world around me in those terms seems insufficient at best, and harmful at worst.
I was swimming peacefully around my pond when my fish world was interrupted by a loud bang and tumultuous waves. Right next to me, too close...
We want that which seems unattainable. We can't help it. We're born with this insatiable desire to get what we seemingly cannot have.
Put the Gavel Down
As the little red truck rolled slowly down our drive, I turned away and sighed. Had I just lost a few hundred dollars? I wondered. I had placed an ad for a loveseat I hoped to sell. An older couple arrived to look at it in...
We can do many things in this world if we set our mind to it. We can choose to get married, buy a house, have children and raise a family. We can, if talented enough, make a million dollars, design a rocket, change someone’s...
My First Bible
They don’t make Bibles like my first one anymore. It was given to me on my tenth birthday, the year my family became Christians. The cover is white with a golden zipper. Hanging from the zipper is a cross, something I used to...
Some Bible verses should come with warning labels. It might be nice to know beforehand what we’re really getting ourselves into when we ask God for guidance and He leads us to a familiar verse. A little disclaimer can go a long...
Not many argue that we are living in times of economic hardship, difficulty and uncertainty. But the bright side is that this provides a strategic opportunity to evaluate our attitudes and paradigms that typically drive our financial priorities...
When people in the Bible asked Jesus questions he often gave answers they did not expect. They were usually looking at only two options—asking “Is it this way or that way?” And Jesus responded, “Neither.”
Are You "There" Yet?
"When I came to the spring today, I said, 'O Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come' " (Genesis 24:42). Last month, I was driving from Orlando to Sarasota’s beaches...
How easy is it to fall into a hole? As easy as it sounds. Run fast enough, get distracted for even a second, and the next thing you know you're underground, looking at darkness and dirt.
Kindness Pays Off
Julio Diaz disembarked a New York City subway train after a routine journey deposited him at his station. The 31-year-old social worker stepped off the platform anticipating grabbing a bite to eat at one of his favorite diners.
Mind, Heart, Spirit
Recently, I ran across some wisdom that someone had asked of God. While I can’t remember who actually asked these things, I do remember what it was. It was a request that God grant three things: a quick mind, a large heart...
As I draw near to the eve of my seventy-ninth birthday, I’ve done some thinking and some calculating and came up with the following: One day = 24 hours; 1,440 minutes; 86,400 seconds...
It’s been almost a year since that Tuesday in November. It happened at 11:05 p.m. My friends and I had been following the polling results and adding up the electoral votes since 7 p.m. There was a sense of excitement and...
True or False?
“O, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!”-Sir Walter Scott. These brief lines aptly summarize the current situations of several individuals making national headlines in America these days.
Words that Heal
Have you said something recently that you wish you hadn’t? I know I have. The Bible says that our words reveal what’s going on inside of us. "Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance...
How To Bless Others
The world is becoming more polarized by the day - within religions, between religions, within communities, between communities, within political groups, between political groups, and the list is almost endless.Just read today's...
It began as an ordinary work day for Scott Bolzan, as it did for thousands of other Arizonans, that mid December day in 2008. After successfully maneuvering the morning commute, the 46-year-old CEO and founder of a Tempe...
Dreaming of Heaven
When I was a young girl and a new Christian, I loved reading about heaven. It sounded like such a beautiful and utterly amazing place! One of my favorite descriptions was the one in Revelation 21:18-21: “The wall was made of...
Life is Fair
Life is not fair. I'm sure you have heard this before. In fact, more than 80% of the people who are going to read this message have said it or used it before. I was listening to a Christian talk show not too long ago where people were...
Hunger for God
It’s easy to get swept away in our day-to-day lives, filled with our day-to-day activities. We wake up, we eat breakfast, we drive to work or school, we spend eight hours at work or school, we come home, eat and go to...
Winning the War
A few weeks ago my husband and I attended the memorial service of a family friend who died from cancer. She was an unassuming young woman, yet the building where her service was held was packed to the bursting point...
Silence holds us in its grip. Collectively as families and individually within families or communities. Silence beats on our inner ears cajoling, tempting, threatening, lying. “You mustn’t say… Indeed, you cannot say… No one...
Always on Time
It was August 28, 2008. The day had finally come. I’d prepared for this moment and patiently waited for more than six months. I was extremely happy, anxious and nervous all at the same time. I was going to Chile on a...
The Red Button
On September 1, 1983, Russian jet interceptors shot down a Korean airliner that had drifted into Soviet airspace due to a navigational error. The plane carried 269 civilians, some of which were American citizens. All passengers...
No Other Gods
Michael Jackson. His name brings many different thoughts and emotions to the minds of those who hear it. As I have seen and heard the coverage of his recent death it has made me think again of the slippery slope on which so...
It had gotten a little too quiet. And mothers know that sound. The silence that signifies someone is probably in trouble. I walked in to find my one-year-old and three-year-old sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor with...
Someone Chose Me
I was a small, scrawny, non-athletic kid but I wanted to belong, so I did the only thing I knew to do. I stood on the playground and endured “choosing teams”. Invariably the “top” guys got chosen first; top meaning the ones who...
One triple digit Arizona day near the end of June, I cashed in an expiring coupon for a free car wash. Following the interior vacuum and conveyor belt suds, spray and pom-pom wash, my vehicle was driven to the...
The Middle Man
Last year I had the awesome opportunity to go on a mission trip to Santiago, Chile. It was a group of five women and five men. Among these 10 people, only eight of us were going to work on the project and from these eight...
You may have read John 3:16 dozens of times and even have it memorized. But I’d like you to read it again and pick out your favorite word. The one word that is most meaningful to you: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one...
Its been quite a number of years and it still hurts to remember that house. It saddens me to talk about the tense climate that reigned there. I was very young, but I remember Freddy's parents.
I didn’t ask her. She asked me. I’m sad to admit that I hadn’t even considered inviting her to our Bible study. It hadn’t crossed my mind that this friend of mine might be interested in learning about the Lord.
A Call from the Past
It was a Tuesday in April, around 9 p.m., when I received a phone call from an unknown number. I was driving back home after playing basketball at the church’s facilities. Not knowing who it was I decided not to answer the...
Seat of His Pants
To locate and ascend to the Vultee Arch near Sedona, Ariz., is no mean feat. Of the two ways in, one will beat up your body; the other will thrash your car. Meandering seven miles north from town on Highway 89-A through...
Cleaning Out the Well
Some of my mother’s relatives lived on a farm. I remember one time when we made a trip to visit them for a few days. As a small boy, this was a new experience for me. They had boys and girls my age and older.
The Perfect Day
In my Bible reading this morning, I came across the verse that says, “The path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). Several things got my attention as I read the...
Though the followers of Christ did not recognize the Stranger beside them on the road to Emmaus, they recognized truth when they heard it. When they realized their companion had been Jesus, they exclaimed, “Did...
I often find myself at my local Fresh Market store. I enjoy buying produce there because the products are of exceptional quality. Most, if not all, are organic and I find myself enjoying their heightened taste and flavor.
On May 8, 1981, Mae Rose Owens began to notice the ground eroding around her three bedroom house in Winter Park, Florida. Within days, the earth had swallowed her home, the surrounding trees, half an Olympic size...
My Dad is Stronger
After an intensive workout I decided to stop by my brother’s house to pick up a CD. His identical twins named Alvin and Irving, who were six or seven years old came to the door to greet me. They both noticed I was all...
Impossible to Repay
I once heard a story from a woman whose husband of over twenty years was given the devastating diagnosis of cancer and was quickly scheduled for treatments. In the days that followed, she was sure to take the two busses to...
The Other Side
Our dog, Chaucer, insisted on digging holes under our fence so he could visit the neighbor’s yard. It was exciting for him to be in a new and different place. When we discovered that he was doing this, we’d go get him...
Turn the Other Cheek
Vengeance is one of the most primal human desires. It is also one that Christians are charged to avoid. Christ adamantly opposed retribution. In Luke 6:28-30 He advises us to “...bless those who curse you, pray for those...
In His Likeness
Have you ever stopped to think that when God created the world, he only spoke it and it was done? Because before anything existed, He, who is the Word, existed. John writes that “in the beginning was the Word...
Bible's Road Map
Recently, Mark and I traveled from Iowa to Alabama to attend our son's wedding. We were excited about the trip since we would be traveling through seven states to get from our home to our daughter-in-law's home.
The Jewish scriptures use a powerful metaphor for God—one that is too often overlooked in today's realms of male-dominated, patriarchal religious life. Notice the wording—God is speaking here...
"There's Just No Way"
It only comes around once every four years. The Olympics, a much looked forward to event, can be controversial, exciting, even inspiring. I did not realize that in flipping the channel on my way to the news that night in...
Bustling around the kitchen one day, yellow rubber gloves on board, I deftly wiped off the counter in on fell swoop. Grasping the large glass of fresh pressed carrot juice in one hand, I quickly sponged off the electric juice...
Give to Those in Need
I have a soft spot in my heart for the homeless. I see them and wonder about their lives. Did they lose a job? Did they get kicked out of their home? Did they lose all their assests forcing them to be on the streets?
People walk in all directions: men, women, young people, the elderly, children...they all walk with a purpose...(or do they?)There are different colors… white, brown, blonde, redheads, brunettes. There are people from...
What does true humility mean? Our church recently celebrated Communion, and this time God particularly impressed me with the significance of the Ordinance of Humility, or foot washing. If you don’t know the story...
I Still Love You
Up until a few months ago I had a nice job with great benefits like health insurance, bonuses, personal and sick days and almost two months of vacation each year. I wasn’t going to get rich but at least I was making enough...
"Don’t shine the light in my eyes; shine it on the engine!" exclaimed my husband. "Now I can’t see anything." I was holding the flashlight so he could work on the car but I turned for a moment to look at something else and...
Led by a Little Child
We've all probably heard the Bible phrase, "A little child shall lead them" (Isaiah 11:6). It has been rolling around in my mind a lot lately. I'm the leader of a new children's ministry in our church called The Sonshine Club.
Somewhere underneath the soil in our backyard are spring bulbs. Soft yellow daffodils and bright red tulips that will bloom and bring spring beauty. I know they are there because I planted them myself. And I was very careful.
Two months ago I moved into a brand new home. What a pleasure to migrate into something clean, fresh and unblemished.
The Expected Harvest
What goes around comes around. Every farmer knows that if you plant corn, you're going to harvest corn. The same principle applies to our personal lives.
We Forgive Them
Dr. Kojo A. Carew sat at his hospital desk trying to catch up on paperwork. It was late and he wanted to get home to his wife and child, but noisy chatter from the patient ward below distracted his attention. Finally he went...
Mustard Seed Faith
Not long ago, I met a friend of mine who I had not seen in about eight months. He told me that he had lost his job and was having a difficult time providing for his family. He had been the general manager of a prestige car...
Shy About Jesus
My three-year-old son and I had just picked up the mail from our mailbox. My son asked if there was any mail for him. I looked through the mail and found a religious flyer with a cute boy about his age on it, folding his hands...
Looking out the window, I could see hints of color and shape forming on the bushes. Winter’s dull hues were once again being replaced by spring’s vibrant shades. It was rolling out its green carpet to welcome the scattered...
He Has Overcome
The scene is an upper room. Jesus and His disciples are eating a symbolic meal in honor of the Passover. Wanting to show the full extent of His love for them, Jesus rises from the table to take on the role of a servant. He gets...
"Probably" No God?
Atheists are placing advertisements on buses that read “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life.” The advertisements have run in London, several cities in Canada, and may soon be coming to the United...
Here in the Midwest, we are experiencing some very cold temperatures. The weather forecasters report the actual temperature, and also what the temperature feels like. Our local meteorologist refers to this wind chill factor as...
The Dark Night
This is a true story—a story of my life. It’s the story of a former drug addict, of someone that did not deserve to live. But the Giver of Life, remade and transformed this life for His glory. It was the darkest night I had ever...
While I was waiting to see the doctor yesterday, there was a commotion in the large three section waiting room. A woman was so ill that she fainted from her seat onto the floor. Her head hit the ground with a sickening thud.
Less of Me
John tells us in chapter 3, verse 30 that Jesus must increase and he (and we) must decrease. In other words, in order to increase God's cause, we must decrease our own. Do you ever have trouble decreasing? I mean, it's hard...
The Red Ribbon
In my box of memories from childhood, there’s a red ribbon. I don’t keep it for its monetary value, or sentimental value. I keep it for the valuable lesson it taught me.
The Little Sparrow
It was almost 12:20 pm on the kitchen clock, when I realized how many lemons were on our lemon tree in the back yard. Suddenly, I saw a little sparrow fall from the sky! “Could it be possible?” I asked, in astonishment.
“Defining moments put the spotlight on us. Our character isn’t made during these times, it is displayed!” These words from John C. Maxwell’s latest book Leadership Gold challenged me to consider the defining moments in my life.
The Truth of Star Wars
You may remember the movie Star Wars. This science-fiction movie by 20th Century Fox was one of the greatest ever on Broadway, and one of the top money-making films of all time. It told how Darth Vader, a bright, young...
Among the belongings that my husband brought into our marriage almost 36 years ago, was clothing from high school, artifacts from a mission trip to Haiti, sports equipment, beloved music records, his childhood pillow...
Forget What's Behind
Have you tried to forget what lies behind? Are you determined to forget what lies behind? Did you know that in order to be successful the Scripture invites us to forget what lies behind? In Philippians 3:13 Paul says...
What Do You Say?
As I sit here, I am reminded of a story that one of my students told me many years ago. As he walked down a busy street in Bronx, New York, he witnessed a car accident. While not serious enough to summon ambulances...
OK, so that’s a pretty intriguing title, and you may be wondering what a Jesus corner is. But I’ll bet that many of you may already know. It’s no great revelation to say that in this modern world we are all faced with moments...
In the rugged highlands of Switzerland, close by a mirror lake and far from any beaten path, a hiker chanced to come upon a beautiful estate. The caretaker showed him around the flower-filled gardens.
Running From God
Do you ever feel like the Christian journey is more about relearning what we already know than learning something new? Jonah had the same problem. Here are a few of my favorite “new” old lessons from Jonah.
Counterfeit or Genuine
My wife and I were conducting a seminar in a large metropolitan area. While there, we became acquainted with an enthusiastic youth leader. She was raising money for her youth club’s many activities. She had her kids busy...
Taking Out the Trash
Today while I was riding my bike through our neighborhood, I was greeted with the variety of smells from all the trash containers. I even saw one woman adding something to her curb while she was in her nightgown. You can...
Can You Hear Me Now?
Anyone who watches television at all is probably familiar with the commercial for cell phones using the phrase "Can you hear me now?" The idea is that with poor cell phone reception, the person talking has to keep trying various...
If not for China, an Argentinean farm dog, the newborn baby would have never survived the night. The little girl’s 14-year-old birth mother delivered her in a field and left the baby there alone and without shelter on a...
Humbled by Bugs!
Brittni is not a bug lover. In fact she hates things that creep or crawl. Currently she is a student missionary in India at a boarding school for orphans. She believes God’s goodness and mercy is giving her the strength to deal...
Confusing the Devil!
Many people carry the idea that Satan is a rather dim-witted creature with horns, a pointed tail, and red suit. The primary element of his job description is to use a pitchfork to stoke the fires of hell and maybe get folks...
One day a woman I knew approached me with a somewhat unusual request. Slipping a rather large diamond ring from her finger, she handed it to me. She said she wanted to donate the ring to a charitable cause which she...
Faith of a Child
The year I spent as a student missionary on the tiny little horseshoe-shaped island Majuro, was the year I learned about simple faith from a seventh-grade Marshallese boy. I had been teaching a roomful of 27 fifth to eighth graders...
Life for Sale!
Ian Usher was selling his entire life, and no, he wasn’t joking either. He was dead serious. Life had gotten a little out of hand for this 34-year-old Australian man. His wife of 12 years had left him, he was working at a...
New Year Revolutions
We’ve all heard of New Year's resolutions, right? In fact, we may have heard so much about them and dealt with them so much that we’ve actually lost a desire to even make them. But let’s not even ponder the old idea of whether...
When you drive around town during the Christmas season, you’ll often see signs that proclaim Jesus’ birth. Signs stating “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” or “Keep Christ in Christmas” are common. But if you live in...
Several years ago, we had a pastor who was a former electrical engineer. One evening, we were visiting their home and my husband Mark was helping him with some work outdoors. After a while, a typical Iowa thunderstorm...
A Perfect Love
If you grew up a Christian, you probably heard over and over again just how much God loves you and how we ought to display this kind of love to those around us. Did you ever want to know where people were getting that information...
Merry Messy Christmas
Every Christmas we hear stories that suggest pieces on Earth and bad will toward men. For example, San Francisco Chronicle told of two men in San Rafael, California, who were offended by the presents they received from...
A Beautiful Letdown
Life can definitely take its twists and turns. That much I know is true. I was thinking about that as I sat at a Christian concert this past weekend. The main group had taken a break for intermission and while we were waiting...
My Older Brother
When I need advice, I talk to the experts. My four sons are authorities in their fields—a teacher, a minister, a realtor/contractor, and a medical doctor. I call them now and then when I need some good advice.
She’s a new widow, barely making ends meet and trying to hold her family together. Life has been tough since her husband died unexpectedly. There are bills to pay, a child to put through college, a van to fix, a lawn to mow…and the...
Five More Minutes
Recently, I subbed in an English class of high school sophomores. Toward the end of the class period, I could see that they had completed their work, so I gave them the last few minutes to visit with each other.
A Motorcycle Witness
I was on my way home late one afternoon when out of the corner of my eye I saw a man ride past me on his motorcycle. My husband and I are members of the Christian Motorcycle Association (CMA), so I took more than a...
The news on Wall Street these days is not very encouraging. I doubt financial investors are sleeping well, and neither are many average citizens. Uncertainty and confusion are common companions.
Okay, I'm finally convinced! I need glasses. Rather, I need to wear glasses. I remember when I got my first glasses a couple of years ago. I became quickly frustrated. I didn't like wearing them. I hadn't worn...
Lesson in the Clouds
I am one of those kind of people who would rather be doing something than nothing. This attitude usually works well in our society. We live in a culture of fast food, same day delivery, one hour processing, and we want it done...
A House Built on Sand
My wife and I were exploring one of the beaches on Florida’s beautiful West Coast. We had wandered far from the place where we were staying. As we came to a densely wooded remote area, we were startled to see a beautiful...
For the fourth summer in a row, my husband and I have packed our tent, food, sunscreen, and ear plugs, and taken our teenage daughter to a four-day Christian concert event. Beyond the stage at this outdoor amphitheater is...
God, the Sparrow and You
I once heard it said that God is the only one who shows up for a sparrow's funeral. What do you think about that? If a dog gets hit in the street, someone is going to feel bad about it. Most likely, it belonged to someone and will...
Watching Over Us
What is the first thing you say when you return home after a hurricane hits your house? How about: “It is not as bad as I feared.” Or, “Yeah, we got hit, but it could have been worse. We got off lucky.” Possibly: “God was...
Prayer Doesn't Work
Prayer doesn’t work—God does! Pass it on! This closing line in Debbonnaire Kovacs’ article jumped out to grab my attention and draw me into her story where she thoughtfully examines the popular slogan...
The Los Angeles area recently experienced an earthquake. Of course, a little 5.4 magnitude jolt should hardly qualify as news in Southern California. Yet, news it became. Scientists saw this tremor as a warning or even...
The Real Thing
Recently, I heard the experience of a secret service agent in regard to counterfeit money. He said that in his training to recognize counterfeit money, he studied and studied and studied. But the interesting point of his...
Waking Up Alone
The highlight of my family's summer is going to our church's family camp. We love this camp for many reasons, but one reason is that all the parents watch out for each other’s kids. That provides a great deal of flexibility...
The office where I work shut down for a hurricane. Employees were told to store critical data and irreplaceable items in their desk drawers or filing cabinets. I regularly back-up my work. For me, it was...
Are You Lost?
My sister and I were excited. As small town kids, we were headed for the big city with Dad and Mom on a shopping trip. We enjoyed the sights and sounds. The day passed all too quickly. Our parents had to make a stop, and told...
Late summer in Iowa means it's blackberry-picking time! Several years ago, my husband's brother uncovered an Eden of blackberries on his property while he was clearing away brush. Acres of them. He mowed some pathways...
Poison in the Bottle
It was a warm summer afternoon. Just waking a nap, Nora decided to freshen up by taking a cold shower. It was just around the time the baby was due for her bottle. Nora asked her younger sister who was visiting her, to...
The Big One
Here in Iowa, we've just about decided that clear skies are a thing of the past. After a long winter of snow and record ice damage, we are experiencing a spring of constant rain. Gray skies are the norm, and sunshine...
The Measuring Stick
Some hold that you should feel free to pray for anything. If you pray hard and long enough, God will grant your petition. Yet Christ stated, “. . .when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will...
The Medal Race
The Olympics make me cry. I cry during the opening ceremonies. I cry during the team events, during the individual events and during the medal ceremonies, whether my country is represented or not. My eyes are red and throat...
My Home, Sweet Home
More than 30 years ago, she welcomed me to New York; a monument that moves anyone to tears just by catching a glimpse of her in the distance; the Statue of Liberty. That stone lady looked striking on that hot and humid...
Church Saves Life
News Commentator Paul Harvey told the story of a 73-year-old man who was driving his farm tractor when it turned over on him. He was pinned underneath his tractor for four days and nights in a driving rain and severe storm. When...
What Do You Expect?
Do you expect God to do something big today? I'm not asking if you believe that God will do something big today. I'm asking if you expect it. That's the question that Pastor David Asscherick asked a group of youth at...
Bad News Birth Pains
Any Christian who pays even the slightest attention to current events should certainly appreciate the words of Psalm 112:7: “He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”
Cure for Resentment
Recently, I heard someone say that the cure for resentment is to pray two weeks for the person for whom you're holding the resentment. Having some “issues” along those lines at the time, I made special note of those words...
It’s time to prepare our typhoon box again. This is the large plastic bin that holds enough food, water and necessities for a week or more if a bad one were to hit us. Last summer, our first in a typhoon zone, it all seemed...
I Have Seen Jesus
Have you ever felt depressed? Have you ever wished your life had been different? Have you ever hoped that the situations and adversities that you have faced would not have affected you the way they did?
Great and Terrible Day
I love fireworks. I love the beautiful colors and patterns, the anticipation of waiting for each one, the excitement as each one unfolds across the sky, the grand finale with it rapid succession of brilliantly colored...
Burdens. Everyone has them. Uninvited, they latch onto us and efficiently go about their business of sucking the life right out of us. And the longer they are with us, the heavier they grow.
There‘s nothing in us that would make God love us. He loves us because He simply has no choice. He created us. He created us in His own image and likeness! He knows everything about us.
The End of the Road
My family and I were returning to our home state after living elsewhere for a few years. During our absence, a new interstate highway system had been constructed. Even though we were tired after traveling all day, we were...
One More Thing
As a busy wife and mother, I typically focus on ways to clear my schedule and carve out extra time. I rarely seek to add to my hectic days. Yet, who would have guessed the positively life-changing impact of placing one more item on...
Round Up Treatment
Recently, I sprayed an area of our back yard with Round Up in order to plow a new garden spot. Of course, we could plow the sod without killing the grass first, but it would make the work so much more difficult. I've tried that...
A friend and I were discussing a mutual acquaintance who was rescuing another friend. The friend with whom I was speaking felt that the rescued person was in the jam she was in due to her own lack of effort. My friend felt...
The Perfect Candidate
For those of us living in the United States, the presidential election has grabbed a lot of our attention this year. Like every election that I can remember, it has had its share of negative comments thrown back and forth...
I Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray without ceasing.” That used to bother me just a little. I mean, how can I pray without ceasing when I have to work, go to school, take care of kids,eat, and sleep?
A Drink of Reality
If you have ever been wronged by someone at church or known anyone who has had their feelings hurt by other Christians, this story is for you. Now that I have everyone’s attention, I’ll begin.
From Groaning to Glory
“We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth” (Romans 8:22). I believe that God can hear them, the groans coming from cyclone victims of the Myanmar misery. He hears the groans of a lone boy...
When God Says, "No"
Just last week my adult Bible study class started reading a new book about shattered dreams. I was very aware of the implications in my own life. After 12+ years of trying to find my way in a second career path, I had finally been...
The Greatest of These
As I bustled around the kitchen preparing supper for my family a little neighbor girl poked her head in our back door. “I’m thirsty,” she whined. I was not feeling kindly toward this child who often pinched my children...
“Bread of Life”
At a young age, I learned to make bread by watching Aunt Chepa on those cold Chilean winters. We would arrive at her home and the sweet aroma of the milk-diluted yeast would guide us to her roomy kitchen. She would say that...
Out of Our Element
When the neighbors are away, their German shepherd stays in their basement, accessing the outdoors through her own special door. Each evening we come to play with her, feed her, and shut her in for the night. Each morning, we...
Whatever happened to holiness? That may sound like a strange question to you. But, then, maybe it doesn’t sound strange at all. Maybe you, like me, have wondered that very thing.
In my work as a hospice Chaplain, I have often stood by the bedside of those who have recently died. Surrounded by family and loved ones, I have listened with interest and sometimes astonishment as family members envision...
Holy Spirit "Top 10"
If you knew someone had a gift (a good gift) they desperately wanted to give you, wouldn’t you nearly burst with anticipation? Absolutely. The fact is that God holds an amazing gift bearing your name.
About Half Dead
A few days ago, I decided to do some shopping early in the morning before going to work. I like it then because it’s quieter and people, including myself, aren’t yet tired and worn down by the day’s activities. Well, except for the...
Of More Value
“What is that on the fence?” my son asked as we were driving by a local cemetery. “I’m not sure, but it looks like it might be a deer,” he added. My first thought was that maybe someone had shot a deer and hung it there...
The Language of Grief
It was one of the few times in my life that I’ve felt like I was part of a minority. I was attending the funeral of a Hispanic boy in which the sermon, prayer, and music were presented in Spanish. I carefully watched the faces of...
Day by Day
“The temperature is up to zero today,” Mark reported as he got ready for work. “Yesterday it was minus one.” How’s that for a positive attitude in the midst of one of the longest, coldest, and wettest winters we’ve had in...
The other day something completely crazy happened to my family. We were driving home and my husband and I were frustrated because both of our kids were screaming in the back seat, leaving our nerves on edge.
God on a Leash
On many Saturday afternoons we take our dog for a special adventure. We enjoy some fresh air and sunshine by driving to a people park, dog park, or lake with a path. During this past trip we drove to a park, and walked the scrub...
Be a Thermostat
Recently, I heard a speaker say that there are two types of people: thermometers and thermostats. Thermometers reflect the temperature of their surroundings, and thermostats set the temperature of their surroundings.
Life or Death Matters
When I think about Easter and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus I also think of the fact that there would have been no resurrection if there hadn’t first been death. Death is totally Satan’s thing. Don’t ever be tempted...
God's To-Do List
As I drove away, I wondered what I would find when I returned. Before leaving the house, I had mentioned a few chores I needed my children to complete while I was gone. Past experience had shown that sometimes I would find...
Pray for Small Things
An announcement in church brought everyone quickly to their knees. Ten-year-old Madison has been diagnosed with cancer in her lymph nodes. This was practically a death sentence. As one, church members’ prayers...
Old Oak and Ice Storm
Recently, we had a rather devastating ice storm here in Iowa. For two days and two nights, my husband and I were without power in our house. As anyone knows, whenever you lose your power, it is more of an inconvenience than a...
God never gets tired of hearing our requests, is never distracted or impatient with our failings, can always handle our emotions. Every moment God is lovingly watching over us, ready and able to relieve our burdens.
Whiter Than Snow
I’m sitting by our large living room window, looking outside at a winter wonderland. Our backyard is covered in a blanket of white. The fir trees are flocked even though Christmas is over, and the birds have gathered at the...
Silencing the Angels
Angels. What a fascinating creation they are! They live in heaven, but work among us. They see all of our faults, but they still come to our aid. At the word of their Commander, they are here at our side to stop a car, aid...
Peace in My Heart
“I have the peace that passeth understanding down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart; I have the peace that passeth understanding down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.” How many times have I sung this...
Join the Revolution
I've always thought it would be cool to start my own revolution. I've had this craving since graduation weekend my senior year in high school when, for class night, I played the role of Patrick Henry.
It's Not Fair!
It’s not fair! How many times, as parents, have we heard those words? “It’s not fair that I have to do more chores than my younger sister.” “His piece of pie is bigger than mine, it’s not fair.” “It’s not fair that I have to be...
God Made Butterflies
On Sunday, July 18, 1999, Ron Bottomly had taken his wife and daughters to the Portland airport for a trip to California. After seeing them off, he walked toward the closest exit out of the airport mall area to the parking...
I’m not much of a fisherperson. While I grew up in the country and loved sitting on the creek bank watching the community of fish going about their daily lives beneath the surface, I never really had any desire to catch any.
Gideon was a man of doubt. Sometimes I am a man after Gideon’s own heart. He had the audacity to test the Almighty. The braggadocio to tell a messenger of God that his intentions must be proved before he would bend his...
It came out of nowhere, just when I was getting ready to go on my laptop to check some e-mails. The lights in our home flickered and then went completely dark at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. We had encountered a freak blizzard.
What's Your Issue?
For a dozen years the woman had struggled with her issue. She’d gone to friends for their suggestions, searched out healers in her region and spent all of her money on doctors. We don’t know a lot about her, but can...
Muller's Favorite Four
“I wish I could just hear a voice from heaven telling me which choice to make,” a friend recently confided to me. “It’s so hard trying to figure out God’s will!” While most of us don’t hear voices from heaven, we do want to...
Cross that Bridge
Ever wonder if you're good enough to be saved? Oh, you're working at it all right. You volunteer at the soup kitchen. You go to Sabbath School. You don't drink or swear or chew or date those who do.
Looking to the Light
One morning a small boy living on a North Dakota farm awoke in great pain. Recognizing their son was deathly ill, his parents were greatly alarmed. They rushed him to the nearest hospital, 75 miles away, where they were...
I was raised in rural Virginia—far from any large bodies of water. We had a man-made pond that turned into a mud puddle in the heat of summer. The only time it was good for swimming was in the late spring and then you had to...
My older sister, Cheryl, was an excellent student. When she was in high school, she taped a hand-made poster on the wall just above her desk at home that said, “There will be sleeping enough in the grave.”
The Squeaky Wheel
Chirp! Squeak! Dead silence. On a recent snowy evening, my wife and I realized we had a huge problem. After the strange noises, dead silence, and rapidly chilling house, we quickly came to the conclusion that the furnace...
Someone gave me an envelope and said, “Use this to cover tuition, or any other costs your students cannot pay themselves.”
Free of Charge
Angry? You could say that! When I looked at the bill for services renedered that I received, my mouth literally dropped open. I had contacted an attorney to assist me with some legal matters, and after a five minute phone...
Big Problem? Big God!
A while back, I was made aware of a poster that says: I don’t tell God how big my problems are. I tell my problems how big God is. What a great thing to remember! Have you had any problems lately?
The Wisest Prayer
As a teenager attending a Christian high school, I recall my friends and I feverishly claiming James 1:5 on test days. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it...
The Ponzi Scheme. Most people have probably heard the phrase, but many do not realize that this incredible form of swindling money from another human being actually took it’s name from Charles Ponzi, a man who lived in the...
Arriving home from school for the summer, I was excited to get a call from my friend Anna*. She had recently started a Bible study with several friends and invited me to join them. The first week we met in a little city park and...
An Open Door Policy
Every one of us knows what it’s like to suffer. We all have felt pain, sadness, loss and depression, and each person on earth understands what it means to grieve, mourn and feel hopeless. It’s a cruel fact of this world that...
Seeing the Unseen
My scientist-professor friend tells me there are more non-human cells on and in the human body than human cells. Bacteria and such, he says. How does he know this? Only 150 years ago scientists and doctors didn’t even...
Why Go To Church?
One of the things I’m very grateful for is that I have been in church every week since I was brought home from the hospital at birth. What a blessing! I joined my family as the youngest of four children, and I also joined a...
The heroic rescue efforts for the six trapped miners in Utah in August 2007 provided some significant perspectives on the human experience of hope. First, we are extremely reluctant to give up hoping, even in the face of...
Teach Me to Heel
I love dogs and have shared my heart and home with two of them during my life. As a responsible pet owner, I always trained my dogs to act as pleasant, cooperative family members (for the most part).
A Summer Reflection
I walked along the banks of a small creek following its rocky path through the cool, shady woods. There were piles of sticks and debris caught in some vines I had to maneuver around. It reminded me of messes in my life.
This dessert is the holder of the "Guiness Book of World Records" for the most expensive sundae on the planet. Behold the Golden Opulence Sundae, painstakenly constructed by Serendipty 3, a posh restaurant in...
More Than Berries
I went blueberry picking today. Sure, my family could buy berries at our local fruit stand, but we got up at the crack of dawn for “the experience of it.” Turns out I walked away with more than the berries.
Prayer and Presence
When a doctoral student at Princeton Seminary asked, "What is there left in the world for original dissertation research?" Albert Einstein replied, "Find out about prayer. Somebody must find out about prayer."
In our area of the country we had a cold spring. (It snowed on Easter!) It sure made getting a start on spring weeding easy. It got warm enough to work outside but not warm enough to speed the weed growth to out-of-control...
Overawed with Riches
Just last week, my husband received a newsy e-mail from some old college friends of ours. Having not heard from them for a couple years, he eagerly read the message and passed the word along to me.
What Do You Think?
A well-known preacher named Morris Venden said, “We are not what we think we are. We are what we think.” I’m not sure if that was his original thought or if he gleaned that from some other wise person. Either way, it’s true.
Taking Action Today
“If you say, "See, we did not know this," does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:12). This is a very
A Counterfeit Hawk
A family of red-shouldered hawks is nesting in a big pine, just behind my bedroom window. I have written about them before. We have grown fond of our new neighbors. The hawks’ presence has allowed us to harvest our garden.
Socks and Discernment
Our dog, Socks, is a big wimp when it comes to thunderstorms. She is a very mild-mannered Border Collie, who doesn’t have an aggressive bone in her body. However, when a storm is brewing, she does everything she can to...
The last few months have been a time of transition for my family. My husband took a job from a friend so that we could move closer to my family before I gave birth to our second child. We were happy about this job because we...
Math. Definitely not my favorite subject. I didn’t like math as a student, I didn’t like math when I home schooled my kids, and I don’t like math as a substitute teacher in the local public high school where I work.
John Donne, the great 16th century poet, once wrote: "To be no part of anybody is to be nothing." He obviously recognized one of the fundamental elements of being human, the need to be in meaningful relationship with others.
Weeds and Sins
This summer my grass-challenged back yard promises to teach me more than I ever wanted to learn about weeds and lawn care. I recently spent two whole afternoons squatting, stooping, and kneeling throughout my weed...
A pair of hawks set up a nest in a big pine tree right behind my house. The tree is not ten yards from my bedroom window. They are big, handsome birds, brown with white breasts.
More people will probably think twice before stealing items from the Wal-Mart in Attalla, Alabama. A startling reminder of what can happen to retail “rip-offs” has been seen outside the entrances of the store.
Praying for Good Guys
Not long ago, I received a useful moment of discipline from the Lord. First, I must say that I consider myself a real prayer warrior. In addition to praying for my own spiritual growth, I have a list of people I pray for every day.
Mike and Bobby are brothers and today is their last day of school before summer vacation. Mike is in the fifth grade and Bobby is in the fourth grade. Although this is the last day of class, they are both nervous.
Many have declared it to be the greatest hoax of all time. Resting at its permanent home in the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown, New York is a relic so ridiculous and incredible that it netted it’s owner hefty profits.
My belly is huge… and I still have 10 weeks until D-Day. A lot of time to mull over all that could happen on the day I deliver my second son. And knowing first hand all the craziness of labor and delivery, it has made me wonder...
O.K. I admit it; I don’t always keep my eyes closed during prayer! Now, with that confession out of the way, let me tell you what I once observed.
Never a Hole in One
Being a Christian in a church can be an endless gauntlet of enduring unfairness! This parable of the talents, found in Matthew 25, proves it. At the end of the story, what happens to the man who only got one?
Your Soul's Price
What price would you put on your soul? Would you sell it for a lover? Or a job? How about a million dollars?
Pass the Bread
Bread, the “staff of life” in it's basic form is simply flour, water and yeast. But I can't think of anything that smells better than bread when it's baking.
Hold Me Close
“Hold me close, Jesus,” I prayed anxiously. I’ve made prayer a part of my daily life since I was a young girl. I’d prayed for a sick dog, to find a lost shoe, or to make an “A” on a test.
The Surprise Inside
“What’s in the trunk?” I asked quizzically. “Nothing but some old newspapers,” came the reply. I was looking at the items in an elderly woman’s home and I knew from my years in the antique auction business that when sorting...
How God Speaks To Me
When I was a little girl, there were times that I would ask God to speak to me through lightening bolts and a loud booming voice. At the time, I didn't understand why He wouldn’t talk to me that way.
Seen vs. Unseen
I consider myself privileged to stay home full time and raise my two preschool-age children. The only drawback is that this decision places us solidly in the “single income family” category. God blesses us enormously.
I'm Blessed and Guilty
Believe it or not, some people have few significant trials and see themselves as so blessed by God that it makes them feel guilty!
The panicky feeling started as soon as I opened my eyes. When had I last seen my wallet? Pawing through my gigantic purse, I hoped that the black wallet was hidden under some of the stuff I can’t live without...
With God as My Boss
Toilets. I hate cleaning toilets. I would have to say that swishing and swiping the porcelain throne ranks right up there as one of my least favorite weekly chores. To make matters worse, we own not one but three toilets in our...
Pass Me Your Pie
Is it all right to be aggressively ambitious in our Christianity? To want to be the five-talent guy in Jesus’ Matthew 25 parable? The now-famous prayer of I Chronicles 4:10 has Jabez praying, "O Lord, bless me indeed."
Is Your Fever High?
My daughter, son-in-law and grandson Jake were visiting from Cornwall, England. We had a great time catching up and introducing Jake to his cousins Tommy and Brandon. But then the inevitable happened.
I recently attended the annual Chicagoland Flower and Garden Show, held this year for the first time in the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois.
The Empty Tomb
When you think of something that’s empty, it’s often a negative thought: an empty cookie jar, an empty wallet, an empty gas tank, or an empty house. But with Easter just past, I’m reminded of something else that’s empty...
Helping the Homeless
It was summer of 1998, in San Jose, California, when I entered the luxurious hotel from the parking garage below. Stepping off the elevator I nearly bounced off the plush carpeting.
Charles, My Superior
Charles is 18 years old, attends the high school where I work, smiles a lot, has some moments of temper, and looks at the world through crystal blue eyes. Charles is also retarded.
Feelings Got Hurt
There’s a talent investor in the Bible who got his ego bruised. The boss gave his best friends five or two talents to invest for the company—and he only got one. So it was time to pout.
We were producing a new Hi-Definition video for Health and Healing TV; Dave and I got up early and stayed out late in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks. As is common in September, it froze on Thursday.
Most people find themselves disgusted with their behavior at times. Times of self-pity or maybe protecting one’s pride in some way. Often, the behavior is followed by a stinging realization of smallness, resulting in self...
Remember or Dismember
I’ve recently moved to St. Louis and have had to find a new church home. The church I’ve chosen, because of its friendliness, Christ-like members, activity and amount of small groups, encourages new members to attend...
Filling the Core
One day while surfing the web the following add was “in my face” before I could scroll it out of view. Happy looking men and women, young and old were staring me down through an assortment of stylish looking spectacles.
Ready For Rainbows
I thought I dusted very well last night! I used dusting spray and a good cloth. I wasn’t hurrying too much. But as I sit at my desk this morning I am astonished by what I see!
“We’ve been bumped!” I could hardly contain my excitement in May of 2006 when the airline that we were flying with told us that they would give my entire family of five free tickets to anywhere in the lower 48 states.
During the 1700’s, Frederick II, King of Prussia, visited a prison in Berlin. While interacting with the inmates, he was bombarded with their protests of innocence. “Unjustly accused, incriminated, framed!”
Missing Both Parties
I just got back from Mardi Gras – the safe version in Lafayette, Louisiana. The New Orleans version is a bit too spicy for Pastor Dave.
Dead to Sin
The Bible says you can be dead and alive at the same time. Not only that, it says that in order to live successfully, you must be in this condition.
Some hours had passed since I climbed from my bed in my remote tropical island home to begin the day’s activities in the Bible school. Everything was normal, but something gnawed within me.
Lost and Found
We were lost. There was no doubt about it. My daughter-in-law and I were already running late for a party to which we’d been invited – we didn’t really want to go, so we dragged our feet getting ready.
A recent internet article entitled, "The Hardest I Worked for Love," struck to the heart of a very important relationship principle –we often have to work hard for a friendship or romance to flourish.
Listen To Jesus
Most people have the ability to hear audible sounds. Their ears work fine! For these, hearing is a deeply treasured gift!
Thoughtfully placed in my hand, a tubular form rattled slightly as my fingers wrapped around it. Even with my eyes held tightly closed, I knew what it was—a kaleidoscope! I had always wanted one and now here it was given to me.
Ticket to Ride
Known as the father of nuclear physics, Nobel prize-winner, Albert Einstein was German by birth but migrated to America and became a U.S. citizen in 1940. Traveling one day on a train from New York City the renowned...
The job was an answer to my prayers. Work I loved doing coupled with a big raise—tripling my salary. I had been interviewed. The group where I would be working was excited about having me join. The hiring manager wanted me.
As a child, one of my favorite school lunch bag treats was a hard boiled egg. With delight I would slam the egg against the cafeteria table, roll it in the palm of my hand and then try to peel off the cracked shell.
The Big E
How narrow can human beings be in their thinking? The answer; well, it depends. A recent study appearing in an issue of Psychological Science seems to indicate that people become more self-oriented when they have more power.
The Womb of Nightglow
Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?"
"Why are you doing this Scott?” It was a simple question, but Sue was not quite prepared for the profound answer that would follow.
The Day Will Come
Even from my seat toward the middle of the auditorium, I could see Linda’s eyes water. “Has it really been twenty-eight years?” she asked—more to herself than to those gathered at her retirement ceremony.
I recently stumbled across a web page that actually lists names and labels of some of the strange addictions that people possess in our fast-moving cyber society.
But Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
I have a list of people I pray for every day. I pray for my own walk with God and also for my family and others.
A decade ago, I began working for a world-renowned computer chip manufacturing corporation. For the first several years of my employment, the company was “rolling in dough.”
Telling the Truth
I hate being lied to. Most people do, yet lying is rampant in our society.
What’s the definition of a Christian? That’s the question that a small youth group in Iowa took to the streets. With video camera in tow, they went to the city square and asked random shoppers what they think a Christian is.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my tombstone. No, I’m not feeling morose. I’m just taking a moment to think of what it is I’d like to have written on it.
Have you climbed to the top of Mt. McCoy? For those who don’t know it, Mt. McCoy is a peak at the western end of Simi Valley in Southern California, punctuated by a large white cross at the top.
Careful How You Pray
“Pray in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18; Jude 20). What does this mean? It means more things than we can describe here, but one meaning is this.
The 3 R's of Life
Reading, writing and arithmetic are extremely important. But there are three other R’s that wind deeper within the fabric of human life. In fact, without these three the traditional three as we know them would never have happened.
Preach It, Peaches!
Today was peach-picking day at the Simmons home! And what a joy it was to stand under our three-year-old tree as it provided its very first yield of delicious, juicy peaches!
I was walking to my car after an appointment on one of those sunny summer days back in August 2006, thinking about what a wonderful day God gave us.
"Abide With Me!"
On the lawns of Navy House last year, I was introduced to the vice admiral. “Thank you for the wonderful piece you wrote on the navy,” he said, and I smiled.
Surrounded with Favor
I couldn’t help crying when I recently read about the little Amish girls in Pennsylvania, USA, ruthlessly murdered in their schoolroom by a deranged stranger.
Have you ever noticed how the day after Halloween, you're likely to find smashed pumpkins everywhere? Driving up the street by my home the morning of November 1st, I marveled at the beautiful new blacktop that had just been laid.
God Answers Prayer
"And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!
Light in the Darkness
Wow! Working at a public high school on Halloween can be a pretty scary experience. The kids were free to come to school in costume, so as I walked in the door, I saw a variety of gory, bloody, gruesome attire.
Idealism vs Pragmatism
I'm definitely an idealist; I understand and aim for God's ideal plan as laid out in Scripture. But wait. I know we live in a world corrupted by sin and that God's ideal plan for human life, my life, will probably never work, so I'm a pragmatist.
Wow, I’m having a real moment of revelation on the idea of witnessing! A few days ago as I was in prayer, I was asking God to use me as a witness that day. Then, as soon as I had said that, I answered back to myself...
Lost and Found
Have you ever lost anything of importance? Of course you have; we all have. It’s a part of life.
Several Brooklyn, New York vehicle owners are hopping mad! They woke up to find that their vehicles had mysteriously disappeared! The streets where they normally parked their cars was empty...
Dreaming of Victory
The judge was holding up No. 118, my number. I raised my arm to indicate my readiness and the judge nodded. Taking my place on the square mat, I began my routine.
As I turned the key in the lock and opened the door of the truck, my mind was unable to process the message dispatched by my eyes.
Temptation and Sin
If sin were not fun, there would be nothing tempting about it. We are tempted by sin because it is something that entices us. It is something that we have an appetite for. It is something fun…or at least it looks and feels like fun.
One Thing Is Needed
Martha was a great hostess and a good cook. Her friend, Jesus, was coming to dinner, and she wanted everything to be just right.
The familiar voice on the other end of the phone line answered, “Larry’s Sports Center.” “May I speak to Rachel, please?” I asked. While I waited to be transferred, my mind raced with the suggestion, why don’t you hang up and just be nicer next time? <br />
Pear season has arrived in Hood River, Oregon, and according to local agricultural officials, there is a serious shortage of pickers.
With summer now behind us, and the hope of Indian summer remaining, I can’t help but wonder, “How does it all go by so fast?” Hopefully, you will still be able to spend some relaxing days. . .
Sharon loved to give to her church, but being retired she didn’t have much. She wondered how she could increase her giving when her income was limited and didn’t increase.
Do not be Afraid
Following a miraculous deliverance, God freed the Israelite nation from Egyptian captivity. The time was the mid-fifteenth century B.C. The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for over four hundred years.
Mother to the People
As the ship cast anchor off Duke Town on the slave coast of West Africa, the young woman who had so bravely left her home in Scotland to become a missionary was facing a scary reality.
I Learned to Pray
I was born into a religious family, and as early as I can remember, my mother taught me to always pray. So I learned the Lord’s Prayer and recited it constantly for years—that is, before I started to covet.
Proving God's Will
How can you prove God’s will for your life? The Bible answer is in Romans 12:2.
Who Rides Shotgun?
Last summer, I read about a mother of five who was charged with child abuse and cruelty.
Have you ever heard the saying, “the older you get, the wiser you get,” or something similar? The majority of the time this is true—it is common among most cultures that the elderly are treated with respect and people come to them for advice.
Posy of Promises
An attitude of gratitude. It has a neat ring to it. But once we take a closer look, we can’t help but wonder, “What is it and how do I get one?”
Now I See
Did you love to play marbles as a kid? I sure did! My marble collection was one of my most prized childhood possessions.
Help for Every Need
How would you like to receive a blank check that you could fill in for all your needs? Well, you can. Here's how. "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus"(Philippians 4:19).
Name in Vain
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name” (Exodus 20:7).
Ready to Ask
When I left Michigan that warm August morning, after successfully completing three years of graduate school, I made a vow to only go forward from that point on.
Refueling the Soul
A little over a year ago, my wife and I decided to take a driving vacation from Virginia to Texas.
Bless My Putter
It’s an irony of short-sightedness that of all the people in the Bible’s well-known “Feeding of the 5,000” story, virtually all of them scored exactly what we read about: one free supper.
Today, I was surprised to learn of a sham sweeping through my small town.
Sale of the Centuries
I was quietly poking around in an old Victorian home/antique shop many years ago, when the shop’s owner began a conversation with me.
Last week, an ill wind blew through our small desert town. The temperature hovered around 115 degrees and at first the breeze that began to stir was a welcome relief from the scorching heat.
Salvation from a Dory
As a boy growing up in Creston South, Newfoundland, we did not have any commercial amusements, but we enjoyed the local events that took place in our town.
Yesterday I visited a new community hospital especially designed for pregnant women. The lovely facility featured beautiful architecture, helpful caregivers and the latest technology.
Rise Up and Walk
Acts 3:1-11 tells the story of a poor beggar, crippled from birth. This man lay at the beautiful gate of the temple in Jerusalem.
The New Sunroom
Last month I started work on a new sunroom addition in Poquoson, Virginia.
Do you have a phobia? Almost everyone I know has at least one, and while I was surfing the web recently, I stumbled upon a phobia list that was quite enlightening, and strangely humorous to me.
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”
Inside Travel Tips
I remember reading the story of a young boy who hated the idea of heaven. His Sunday school teachers were rather shocked and embarrassed by his insistence that he didn’t want to go there.
Anyone who has done much fishing knows there are times when the fish won’t bite.
Nothing to Dread
My stomach was in a huge knot and my palms were sweating heavily. How was I ever going to get through this? I sat like a statue staring at the speaker before me.
Sitting down by the small campfire, I reached out for the can of Campbell's Vegetable soup anticipating a great supper all to myself. I was free. Free from my parents rules, free from chores, and free from a life where I constantly answered to someone!
There’s a hard reality I’ve had to face about the temptation to stir up strife or criticize others. Simply put, it doesn’t work! Period. If I want to change people by yelling at them, I get the opposite effect when they stubbornly dig in their heels.
One Saturday evening around midnight as I drove through downtown Phoenix, I noticed my gas gauge hovering precariously near E. Being forty miles from home, I pulled into a well-lit station where I observed a lot of activity taking place.
In His Time
Her right leg hung limply in the therapy department’s leg sling (a device to monitor and encourage muscle movement). The spring that held the wide canvas strap cradling my wife’s leg was so loose...
Life Without God
One cold January morning, I had the chance to give a devotional talk in the Florida Hospital Imaging Center. I had been asked to talk about the New Year, with new beginnings...
Not long ago, my wife and I were thinking about getting an avocado tree. So I went on the Internet to get instructions on how to grow one. This is what I learned.
Dad Will Be New
My Dad died not long ago, at 97 years old. He didn't linger. In fact, he'd been keeping house, driving his car, and doing his own shopping and cooking until about three weeks before he died.
I'll Never Understand
When my children were young, I told them that in America some hotels once had posted signs outside saying, “No Jews or dogs allowed.” My daughter, six, was horrified.
A few years ago I went to Seattle for a four-day weekend getaway to visit my family. One of the highlights of my trip was to meet the latest addition to the family, my nephew, Nicholas!
Hosea was one of the twelve Minor Prophets, but his mission was a bit different than the other prophets. Hosea was called on by God to marry a prostitute and have children by her.
Help From the Sky
A couple of years ago, I set out on an adventure. It was an awesome day following a mid-October rain. The sun was shining and the air was pristine. Grasping the moment, I headed toward the Santa Monica Mountains.
Good Morning, Young Man
“Good morning, young man.” It was Richard. He usually called early on Sunday morning. His voice was slurred. He’d been drinking.
The Best Bible
The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek with a few passages in Aramaic as well. Most people nowadays don’t read ancient Hebrew or Greek so we rely on translations. But that brings us to the question: Which translation is the best?
My wife is in a wheelchair, so it has only been natural for all of our babies to rest comfortably on her lap while I push her where she needs to go.
My printer was out of ink, and in searching for some new cartridges to replace the empties I encountered a startling revelation.
Hagar, My Hero
Everything was going great. She was happy, lived in beautiful surroundings and the work was easy. The mistress was a little bossy, but that was to be expected because her husband was rich and powerful. Yes, Hagar’s life was going great.
I remember the day I left home for college. I even remember the date! August 20th, 1997. At the airport with a bunch of friends and family we said our good-byes and I boarded the plane.
Narnia fans around the world were thrilled to spend part of their ‘05 Christmas season vicariously walking into a wardrobe closet in Professor Kirke’s house.
If It Offends You
I still remember the first time I met Kurt. He had come to our youth group. He made a big impact.
Cutting the Grass
We are now in the heart of summer and any plant that loves full sunshine and water is growing at peak efficiency.
The Key to Power
I’d been having trouble with my 13-year-old car. A sympathetic person loaned me his car while mine was being repaired.
Everyone warned us. The Philippines is hot. It is humid. Living in the Philippines is a lot different than living in Los Angeles. Everyone warned us. The Philippines is hot. It is humid.
I Love a Good Fight!
In the ’06 Winter Olympics, America got caught up in a week-long soap opera between two speed skaters. Who as snubbing who? Who wasn’t trying his hardest?
Don't Hurt The Kids
When Lisa and I first got married, and her young daughter entered my life, my own mom essentially lost all interest in me. Kami was everything.
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