Posts

Have Faith and Pray

Image
  Faith is an element in my life, which I have questioned from time to time. What exactly is faith? Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) says “F aith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” If I pray for something in faith and it doesn’t happen, is that a lack of faith? I have come to realize over the years that it is not. We need to understand and be thankful that God sometimes says, “No.” I grew up in a godly home where examples of faith surrounded me. On the family farm, there was a great deal of work, but there were also lessons of faith. I watched year after year as my father planted the seed and had faith it would grow. The seed needed to receive the right amount of rain, sunshine, and nutrients to produce a crop, which provided food for his dairy cattle and an income for his family. I observed my mother, who was definitely a Proverbs 31 woman. She had the faith necessary to stretch Dad’s income to provide for their five children. Her faith showed her how to b

The Fall and The Rise

Image
  I still remember the phone call I received from my sister while on vacation several years ago. She called to inform me that our nephew Heath had embezzled money from the family farm to support his addiction to prescription narcotics. Though many of us were suspicious or even knew there was a problem, we ignored the signs. We did not realize how horrible his addiction had become. Now several years later, if you ask Heath about this day, he will describe it as the best and worst day of his life. The fall—The moment Heath’s world crashed down as the truth was revealed. Since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit there has been sin in the world. You and I are no exception. Though it seemed Heath’s sin was huge at the time, we all fall short of the glory of God. As the day unfolded Heath was given two options. He could leave the family farm and admit himself to rehab, or he could face criminal charges. With the unbelievable grace shown to him, he wept a sigh of relief. His drug addiction a

Your Branches

Image
  Your Branches We recently visited De Leon Springs state park in Florida. It was a beautiful setting with a natural spring and many huge old trees filled with moss. It was relaxing to take a walk through the trees, see the wild azaleas in bloom, and just sit on a bench and soak in the sunshine. Unfortunately, you weren’t in Florida with me, but hopefully you can relate by the picture of the trees covered with moss. How are your branches? Do you feel as if they are bending down under a heavy load of moss? Before I left Ohio, I felt like the tree in the picture. My branches were bending under a heavy load. Nothing specific, just everyday life and busyness. Fortunately, some R&R and sunshine has restored my body and I feel like some of the moss has been removed. Thankfully the Son-shine has also renewed my soul this past week. We can either prune our branches or God will do it for us! What I mean is, where are your priorities. Is Jesus part of your day-to-day routine? We can either s

KOKO

Image
  My friend signs her notes KOKO, which means keep on keeping on. In other words, when life is difficult, stay the course, don’t give up, go the extra mile, and keep being a witness for Christ. In some respects, KOKO is easier on paper than it is in person. There are times when we get weary and struggle in our faith. In those moments of frustration or discouragement, we need to dig deep within ourselves for the motivation to continue. Walking the Christian road alone is not sufficient in itself. We need to lean on one another, and tap into our faith in Jesus for strength. The early Christians had incredible faith and endurance. They are true examples of KOKO. If they had given up, would the Christian church exist today? Paul and Silas were among those who suffered for Christ. They were on their way to the house of prayer when a young slave girl repeatedly mocked them. After several days of her repeated chanting, Paul demanded that the evil spirit leave the girl in the name of Jesus. Th

Gratitude

Image
  Whenever I have a fortune cookie, I have to read the fortune. Most of them are more of a puzzle than they are wisdom, but on occasion I receive one that makes me think. This fortune has been sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks, and I have read it periodically. “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” I believe it is important to live a life of gratitude, but I would like to rephrase the fortune for you. “Gratitude toward Jesus is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” After all, where would we be without a Savior! When you realize that without Jesus you are nothing and have nothing, it puts a whole new twist on the fortune. Paul is very poignant about this fact in these words. I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mer
Image
I have recently become friends with Leah as a result of my first book. We have never met in person. I’m in Ohio and she lives in New York. I love reading her blogs and seeing how her faith is strong through the many struggles in her life. In spite of these struggles she is always focused on Christ and His goodness. Just so you understand the bigger picture, she is recuperating from some back problems. Her mom has cancer which has spread, and her son also has some special medical problems. You could easily say her plate is full! In spite of all these health issues surrounding her, her creativity continues to flow and she helps others with her encouraging words. She continues to praise God with all of her heart and soul. Today God was really urging me to pray for Leah. When she lives two states away, I obviously can’t go give her a big girlfriend hug, but praying I can do. I asked God to give her comfort and peace today. We later chatted online and I learned that she was traveling to her

Bloom

Image
  So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 (MSG) I visited a different church Sunday and the pastor closed with the scripture above. I am familiar with this passage of scripture but not from The Message. As I followed along, I highlighted the reference so I could focus on it later. As I reread the passage again it occurred to me, the reason this scripture spoke to my heart is beca