Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scornful of its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2, 3 NIV
Got joy?
What is joy, anyway? Where does it come from? How do we get some?
Not happiness. Happiness depends on what happens to you. Lots of things can make it go away, from stubbing your toe to losing the big game to getting jilted. Joy is independent of what happens. Joy exists in the presence of, in spite of, things that go wrong: pain, loss, disappointment, sickness, grief, frustration, exhaustion, put-downs, bullies, you name it.
Joy comes from the One who made us in His own image.
And, just as I can do nothing to make Him love me more, nothing to make Him love me less, His joy doesn’t depend on my successes and failures. He loves me anyway. And, He rejoices over me with songs of joy.
I come to You in this season of thanksgiving to thank You for enjoying me, Avi, and for letting me enjoy You. Nothing else drives home to me how much You love me, how valuable I am to You, how so not worthless I am. In Your holy name, Amen

Tuesday, November 18, 2014



I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten. Joel 2:25 NIV

Eight years old! Today I would be the special one!

But no one mentioned my birthday. Mama’s busy, I reasoned. She’ll cook my cake while I’m at school. That afternoon I leapt from the school bus and hit the ground running—to fresh disappointment.  No word, no smell of baking. Aching with loneliness, I waited outside, near enough to hear her call, far enough to be out of the way.

Supper passed without comment; I choked down the food I had no appetite for. She cleared the table and set us to do our homework. I tried hard, but my mind was on my non-birthday.   

“Y’all get ready for bed, now.”

I stood, then she caught my shoulder and stopped me. I held my breath. What had I done? Would I be sent out into the dark to pick a switch for a spanking?

“You never did say anything about it being your birthday.”

I had spoiled her joke! Guilty, I could neither look at her nor answer.

“Well, here’s your present.” She handed it to me and turned away.

My mother taught us of God’s love—but could even God love someone her own mother couldn’t love?  No. If I let Him see what was inside me, His anger would be even greater than hers.

And, His power was greater. 

I ran from Him. Finally, flushed from my last hiding place, my strength gone, I turned—and found Him waiting, His arms open wide to welcome me.

Years later, with land taken for road improvement, I’d lose young oaks I’d planted, nurtured and loved. I prayed to see their leaves brilliant once more with autumn color, their bare branches white again with snow.

Autumn came, with its bright colors. My trees still stood, but their destruction was imminent. 

Eight years old—but this time, I was a child in the family of my heavenly Father. I spent a tranquil day alone with Him, then went out to look at my Southern autumn, snow-covered, birthday-card  trees and reflect: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you.”

Avi, thank You. You’ve brought me into Your family and made me a child of Your own heart. You haven’t forgotten me, nor do You ever fail to tell me of Your love. Help me to remember You always. In Your holy name, Amen.





Tuesday, November 11, 2014


You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.                              Psalm 18:28 NIV

       As I drove to an early morning assignment, a shadow lay across my soul. The night sky softened, and sunrise began to play hide-and-seek among trees lining the highway. A fire-edged blue cloud appeared above a distant line of hills—and was gone. Afraid I’d miss the brief sunrise, I sped around a sharp curve.
       Straight ahead, a majestic fireball sat enthroned on the horizon, draped in robes of dark pewter cloud, an endless soft blue stretching beyond it. My breath left me and, like Job, I put my hand over my mouth.

  We’re candles in the darkness, reflections of the light that cannot be overcome by darkness. 
But we hold His light in fragile earthen vessels.  The weight of this broken creation threatens to crush us. We tremble and cry out for relief.

       Then a window opens in heaven and, if we but look, we catch a glimpse of a world beyond, a soft reminder of His loving presence. Jesus is still enthroned at the right hand of the Father. Our God reigns, even in the darkest hour before dawn.

Prayer: Our Father, teach us to seek Your light in every dark valley. Help us to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. In Your holy name, Amen




Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.                                 Colossians 3:23  NIV                                                       
I took the plunge this year and signed up for the November NaNoWriMo challenge. National Novel Writing Month. A novel in a month. A whole novel. 50,000 words. 1667 words a day for 30 days.
Whatever made me think I can do this?

Day 4. I’m working on it, putting in some hours—and I’m already behind. In all fairness, though, I’m pushing to finish an online computer class, too.

All I have to do is my best—every day. My best isn’t the same every day. Some days there’s more of me. Some days less of me. Some days less of me left over from the other demands on my life. And when those demanding days come on days that started with less, well…

However much I am, however little, He deserves my best.
Jesus promised not to give us more than we can handle—but He does give us more than we can handle. Why doesn’t my burden feel easy? Why doesn’t my yoke rest light on my neck? What’s the deal here? Why the contradiction?

No contradiction. He gives us more than we can handle in our own strength. He wants us to bring our burdens to Him. He wants to work with us, through us. If we give our burdens to Him, He will gladly place His hands under ours and take the full weight.

Will my 30 days run over into December? Will I meet my goal? Or, will I collapse under a weight too heavy for me?
Depends. Will I let Him carry my burdens, or will I try to go it alone?

Avi, help me to focus all my efforts on pleasing You. And when all I have to give You isn’t enough, please work through me to accomplish Your will. In Your holy name, Amen.