March 31, 2019
"Omi" of Little Faith
…“You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” ~ Matthew 14:31
The faith of a child is amazing! Children believe and trust so easily, while we as adults are so prone to doubt. This was brought home to me in a sobering way. Recently my granddaughter, Scarlett, and I headed to the beach, with shovels and buckets, in search of treasure. She never doubted we would find some, while I wish I could say the same.
Her excited chatter magnified her faith, as doubt slithered into my mind. I prayed God would provide a treasure, but then doubted when we walked onto a beach of only sand and seaweed. I prayed harder and suggested we walk to the end of the beach where there were some big rocks. Surely God would help us find a treasure there in one of the tidal pools.
When most of the tidal pools held only fragments of shells, doubt hissed louder and escaped my lips, “Today if we don’t find a treasure at this beach, we can always try another beach, another day.” Scarlett’s faith never wavered, as she smiled and proceeded to climb the rocks. I followed and when I got to the top she was squatted next to a tidal pool. “Omi I found the treasure!” she exclaimed.
I saw nothing, but dug around with my shovel. “Not there, Omi, here!” She pointed to a cleft in the rock. I pushed my shovel into the crevice and saw a flicker of white. We looked at each other and giggled with amazement and delight when out came a big, brilliant, beautiful shell! Doubt had blinded me, while Scarlett’s faith enabled her to see and find treasure.
Dear Lord, Forgive me for doubting You, based on what I can see, and help me to believe You for treasures yet unseen,
for truly “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). ~ Amen
March 17, 2019
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater: ~ Isaiah 55:10
Looking out the sun room windows at my snow covered backyard, with spring only days away, I have to smile. While I look forward to spring and all the blessings and activities it will bring, I am also a little sad to say goodbye to winter. Born and raised a southern gal, I never would have thought it possible! However, God has given me a wonderful friend who has taught me to enjoy every season of the year.
Yes, winter is cold and the days are short, but winter offers activities no other season can (Ecclesiastes 3:1). This winter has been full of great snow tubing, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, walks on the lake, and just recently snowman making. My granddaughter, Scarlett was eager to make a snowman after seeing a picture of “Happy Life”, the snowman my friend and I had made. Last week we finally had the opportunity and ended up making a whole snowman family! Walking back to the house hand-in-hand Scarlett squealed, “Omi, this was a dream come true!”
This week warmer temperatures and some rain have caused “Happy Life” and the snowman family to begin to melt away “watering the earth and making it bud and flourish” (Isaiah 55:10). You see, snow waters the earth as much as the rain does, and with the same result—green grass and beautiful flowers! Every year winter melts into spring, but memories made last a lifetime. A new season is on the horizon, let us go out and enjoy it for all it has to offer (Ecclesiastes 3:1), making lots of wonderful memories, and in the process giving us a “Happy Life”.
Dear Lord, Thank You for every season and the unique activities and blessings they bring.
Truly, You have “made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11), including the seasons.
Help me to enjoy and appreciate each one. ~ Amen
March 3, 2019
Our Big, Big God
Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord… ~ Acts 7:49
We all have a picture of God in our heads. Your picture might be of God the Creator, larger than life speaking the world into existence and forming man in His own image (Genesis 1:1-27). Or perhaps your picture is more subdued and natural, God the Father walking in the garden at the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). The truth is, no matter what our picture of God, He is so much bigger and so much more than our finite minds could ever conjure up.
If no mind can conceive “what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9) how can our minds possibly conceive the vastness, the greatness of the God who has prepared such inconceivable things? God, in all His majesty, is just too overwhelming. While we cannot grasp the enormousness of God, I fear, if you are like me, that for the most part, we do not even try. That is erroneous, and we are the ones who suffer because of our mistake. No doubt when we do not take the time to even try to imagine the grandeur that is God, we relegate ourselves to serving a tiny version of God that fits into our easy imaginations. How sad for us.
What if we spent time this week contemplating and meditating on our big, big God who sits in heaven and rests His feet upon the earth (Acts 7:49)? To what unfathomable heights then does His head reach? Would we dare stand before such a mighty God, the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9-10) or would we fall on our faces in repentance, worship, and awe? Reading Acts 7:49 I am convicted that my picture of God desperately needs to be enlarged. What about yours?
Dear Lord, Today help me to take the time to ponder Your greatness, for in doing so I am humbled by my smallness
and hence more prone to repentance and worship than to petition. ~ Amen
February 17, 2019
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16
Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but God’s love is here to stay! Forget chocolates, flowers, and cards and remember God “so loved the world” that “he gave” his most precious gift—“his one and only Son” (John 3:16). We can and should make this truth personal. As part of “the world”, we are “so loved” by God, that “he gave his one and only Son” for us (John 3:16)!
Scripture makes it clear that what every person desires is unfailing love (Proverbs 19:22). The problem is there is no human being on this planet who can meet that need in us, for all earthly love falls short. I know, because as much as I love my family and friends, I fail them. I trust it is the same for you.
Many of us look for unfailing love in all the wrong places and people, finding ourselves disheartened and empty when it is not found. Therefore, instead of looking to our spouse, our children, or our friends for unfailing love, we need to look to God, for He alone can fill that desire completely, perfectly, and eternally.
Not only does human love fail, sadly, sometimes it can end or be lost. Betrayal, separation, divorce and death can take human love from us and we are left to grieve. However, for those who believe, nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39). God’s everlasting love, once accepted can never be lost. So if this Valentine’s Day has left you feeling empty and unloved is it not time to believe in and embrace God’s unfailing and everlasting love for you? God wants to be your Valentine forever.
Dear Lord, Earthly love has failed me, but You promise me unfailing, everlasting love.
Oh God that is what I want and need. Help me accept it and believe. ~ Amen
February 4, 2019
The Family of Believers
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” ~ Galatians 6:9-10
It is always a blessing to be part of “the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10), especially when you are in need. Our daughter and her husband found themselves in desperate need, when they lost their furnace and van on the same day, right in the middle of the polar vortex! Having recently moved into their first house, being a family of four, money is tight. Our daughter called in tears over an exorbitant quote for a new furnace and I prayed as my husband tried to comfort her. As I was praying a young man, who is a member of our church family, came to mind. Before we hung up I suggested they call him.
Within minutes the young man called, letting us know he was on his way to inspect their furnace. On arrival he confirmed they needed a new one and hoped to have one at their house and installed by the end of the next day. He said his labor was free and they could work out the cost of the furnace later. Initially my son-in-law protested, but was silenced by the young man’s words, “You are on the praise team giving of yourself every Sunday. Now it is our turn to give back to you. Let me do this, this is my ministry.”
The next evening my son-in-law and husband helped the young man install the new furnace. Later as I sat in their warm living room, with temperatures still in the single digits outside, I smiled as the furnace kicked on. My body was warmed by the furnace, but my heart was warmed by the young man who was eager to “do good” to my family, simply, because we are all part of the “family of believers” (Galatians 6:9-10). Let us do likewise.
Dear Lord, Help me to be eager to do good to all people and not grow weary. Especially help me to do good to those who belong to the family of believers, because that is what family is all about. ~ Amen
January 24, 2019
The God of New Beginnings (Part 2)
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
~ Revelation 21:5
Our God is the God of new beginnings, both in the Old and New Testaments. The four gospels and Paul’s epistles are laden with new beginnings. Then Revelation culminates with the ultimate new beginning as God creates a “new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).
Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector wealthy from dishonest gain, needed a new beginning. He found it when Jesus invited Himself to his home. (Luke 19: 5). Zacchaeus welcomed Jesus immediately and gladly (v. 6) and in the process became a new man. He vowed to give half his possessions to the poor and repay those he had cheated four times over (v. 8).
Saul, “A Hebrew of Hebrews” and a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5), also needed a new beginning. He was zealous “to destroy the church” (Acts 8:3), approved of the stoning of Stephen (v. 1), and imprisoned many others (v. 3). Saul’s new beginning came when he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. He was blinded by “a light from heaven” and Jesus asked, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:3-4). Three days later Saul could see again and this time much more clearly, as “he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God” (v. 20).
God “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Therefore, He was, is, and always will be the God of new beginnings. He longs to make us new (2 Corinthians 5:17). He makes us new by turning our greed into generosity like Zacchaeus and by redirecting our misguided zeal like Saul. When we truly encounter Jesus He make us new, because He gives us a new heart, His heart!
Dear Lord, Even more than a new beginning You long to make me new by making me more like You.
Please give me Your heart for the poor and for Your church. ~ Amen
January 9, 2019
The God of New Beginnings
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
~ Revelation 21:5
God made everything (Genesis 1:1) and He is in the process of “making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5). He is the God of new beginnings. A new year is upon us and most long for a new beginning. If you are one of them, take heart and believe God can and will do something new this year. It is His way.
The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1 NLT). Abraham obeyed and went to Canaan. There God began the fulfillment of His promise to make Abraham the father of many nations (Genesis 17:4) through the miraculous birth of Isaac in Abraham’s old age (Genesis 21:1-5). Occasionally, a new beginning involves leaving what we know, for what is promised.
God said to Moses, “I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10). After being a shepherd for forty years, God gave Moses a new job. The job frightened Moses, because it seemed beyond him (Exodus 3:11). Still Moses obeyed and with God’s help did the job miraculously (Exodus 14:21-22). Sometimes a new beginning involves taking on a job that is beyond us, so that God gets all the glory.
The angel of the LORD called Gideon a “mighty warrior” long before he was one (Judges 6:11-12). God sees past what we are, to what we were created to be. Beyond calling us to go somewhere new, or do something new, God calls us to be someone new! Often a new beginning involves discovering a new part of ourselves. This New Year may we all experience a new beginning!
Dear Lord, Thank You for a New Year and for the opportunities that come with new beginnings. Help me to go where You tell me to go,
do what You tell me to do, but mostly to be who You call me to be. ~ Amen
November 27, 2018
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
…behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord. ~ Luke 2:10-11 (KJV)
It is fitting to begin “the most wonderful time of the year” by counting our blessings, for truly we all have much for which to be thankful. Thanksgiving is the perfect prelude to the Christmas season, for a grateful heart is open to the true message and miracle of Christmas.
The true message of Christmas is good news! We love to hear good news, and no doubt we could all use a little bit of it right now. One dark night long ago, the angel of the Lord declared the message of Christmas to a group of shepherds, “behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:9-10 KJV). You see the message of Christmas is not only good, and not only full of great joy, it is for all people. The message of Christmas is for every living soul.
The true miracle of Christmas is the “good tidings of great joy” declared by the angel “unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (v. 11 KJV). Jesus’ birth was meant to bring us great joy, for we are all in need of a Savior and God loves us so much He provided one. Luke 2:6-7 is the fulfillment of God’s promised Savior in Genesis 3:15. God always keeps His promises.
So this season, instead of allowing materialism to overshadow Christmas, let us remember what makes this “the most wonderful time of the year”. Ultimately it is the true message and miracle of Christmas that brings “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).
Dear Lord, Christmas truly is “the most wonderful time of the year” when I remember
the true message and miracle of the season. Thank You for keeping Your promise and providing
Your One and Only Son to be my One and Only Savior. ~ Amen
November 11, 2018
A Good Soldier
Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs,
but rather tries to please his commanding officer. ~ 2 Timothy 2:3-4
A good soldier, if necessary, is willing to suffer for the cause, and lay down their life for it. A good soldier trains hard, understanding that one day their training could save their or someone else’s life. A good soldier follows orders, trusting their commanding officer’s instructions are best.
Marine Lance Cpl. Brendan Kelly is a good soldier. He credits his military training, and “God’s protective hand,” for helping him to survive two mass shootings. These shootings, both in a little over a year, were not on foreign soil or in enemy territory. No, they were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada last October, and the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California last week. Both times he not only survived, but helped others survive as well.
When shots rang out in Las Vegas, Kelly went into action getting his friend and several other people to safety. Likewise, after the first shots were fired at Borderline, he initially threw two of his friends to the floor, shielded them with his body, and then managed to get them, and a nearby woman, to safety through an emergency exit. Then he used his shirt and belt, as a make shift tourniquet, to stop the bleeding of his wounded friend.
Believers are soldiers, too. We are part of the Lord’s army and in order to be “a good soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3) we must be willing to suffer for the gospel, to train hard through Bible study and prayer, and to follow our commanding officer, Jesus, even to the cross. If we are good soldiers, like Kelly, God just might use us to “save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22) as well.
Dear Lord, These senseless acts of violence give tangible proof to the spiritual truth that we are at war
and the enemy of our souls, though already defeated, is no less real or formidable. Keep me alert and on guard.
Empower me to be a good soldier. ~ Amen
October 31, 2018
Generous with Jesus
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” ~ Acts 3:6
Day after day it was always the same. At the time of prayer he was carried to the temple. Not to go in, but rather to sit outside the gate, always outside, and beg (Acts 3:2). It was ironic that the gate he sat at was called Beautiful, for nothing about begging is beautiful. In fact, he barely looked at the people passing by as he asked for their money. They never really looked at him either, but occasionally some would drop a mite as they walked by, never missing a step.
Peter and John were about to enter the temple court, when he asked them for money. They stopped and “looked straight at him” (v. 4). He did not notice them at first, too busy looking for the next set of feet, prepared to ask again. Peter said, “Look at us!” (v. 4) no doubt startling the beggar. Peter and John had seen him, now they wanted him to see them. Expecting to get some money from them, he now gave them his attention (v. 5).
Peter had no money to offer him that day, “Silver or gold I do not have” (v. 6). What Peter had was even better! He had Jesus and he would gladly share Him with the beggar, “but what I do have I give you” (v. 6). How often do we fail to see the people around us in need? Or ignore the need because we do not believe we have anything to offer them? If we have Jesus, we have all they need. Sharing Jesus with them could change their life—just like it did this beggar’s. That very day he entered the temple courts with praise (v. 7-8)!
Dear Lord, Help me to see the need in front of me. Empower me to offer the greatest gift I have to meet that need and that is You. ~ Amen
October 15, 2018
To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born… ~ Ecclesiastes 3:2
My heart jumped when Jaclyn called me early the morning of the Lord Teach Us to Pray conference at our home church. She was thirty-six weeks pregnant with her second child. Her first, Elijah, just 19 months old, had been a preemie. I answered the phone with a question, “Are you okay?” She assured me all was well. The night before I had dreamed she went into labor in the middle of the conference and I kept asking the Lord to please wait until the end of conference.
When I got to the church it was already a flutter of activity. Jaclyn and my oldest daughter, Kaitlyn were manning the book table. I only had a minute to greet them before the conference began. The music had just started when Kaitlyn touched my arm and whispered, “Mom, Jaclyn is in labor. We are going to the hospital.” Then she was gone. Shocked I barely heard my introduction. Dazed I made my way up front, announced the good news to the ladies, said a prayer, and with God’s help presented the first session.
During break I got news Jaclyn was safely at the hospital and already six centimeters dilated. Session two began with the update on Jaclyn and another prayer. In closing, I looked at the clock as I called the women into personal prayer. It was 12:50 pm. I sat on the stage and bowed my head, but the Lord quickly brought me to my knees as I prayed for my baby having a baby without me. Later I got the news that Magdalene Mikelle Disla was born at 12:51 pm--while I was on my knees. Talk about God’s perfect timing!
Dear Lord, Your ways are perfect and so is Your timing. Help me to trust Your timing even when it is not my own. ~ Amen
October 2, 2018
An Opened Mind
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. ~ Luke 24:45
You should have an opened mind! This sentiment is often attached to cultural ideologies in hopes of change. However, what about having an opened mind in regards to the Bible? Imagine if Jesus opened the minds of all believers, “so they could understand the Scriptures”, as He did His disciples in Luke 24:45. No doubt, the world would never be the same!
Hopefully, we have all had moments while reading a familiar verse or passage of Scripture when suddenly the light comes on, our minds are opened, and we understand something new and fresh that we never have before. Such moments are invigorating and testify to the fact that “the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). Often when we understand something new in Scripture we feel the need to share it with others. That is because, in those moments, it is as if God Himself has opened our minds—just like He did the disciples (Luke 24:25).
It is the desire of God’s heart to reveal Himself to us. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). In fact, David declared, “The LORD confides in those who fear him” (Psalm 25:14). Furthermore, Jesus promised His disciples that the “knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you” (Matthew 13:11). How amazing that God longs to share His secrets with us, His creation! Yet that is exactly what He has done through His Word!
So this week, as we open our Bibles, let us pray for the Lord to open our minds to “understand the Scriptures” and then trust that He will!
Dear Lord, Please open my mind to the Scriptures so that I can understand great and unsearchable things I do not know,
the secrets of the kingdom of heaven written in Your Holy Word. ~ Amen