Thursday, December 31, 2015


Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. I Peter 1:8,9 NIV

Everybody wants to be happy, but the world offers only counterfeit happiness, temporary and ultimately disappointing. And the thing is, after life disappoints us too many times, happiness drifts a little farther out of reach, hope gets a little harder to hold onto. The harder it gets to hold onto, the faster we chase the next sure thing, and the next, and the next. But happiness, the butterfly riding on the back of that sure thing, flies away and lands on some other sure thing.

Ever try to catch a butterfly?

Our God Jesus offers real life, real hope, real joy.

The most attractive thing about Christians isn’t what we say and do. Joy is the magnet that attracts us to the God whose image we bear. And the joy with which we live our abundant lives in Him, the peace and hope that shine out through that joy, attracts our neighbors, near and far, to Him.

Happy New Year. Happy new life abundant in Jesus!

My resolution, my only one, is to live this moment—all of it—in our happy God, and enjoy Him.

You hold all the sorrows of the world in Your own heart, Avi, but You still have unspeakable joy. I’ve never seen You; when You sing over me, I don’t hear Your songs—but I feel the peace of resting in Your arms. You’re the God who is there, always and unchanging. when the world drags me down, remind me of Your joy. When life gets too heavy, remind me that You’ll carry my load and me, too. Remind me that you hold my life in your hand, and that you give life abundant, joy abundant, just for the asking, for the accepting. Help me to rest in You, Avi, until You come for me and we leave all my burdens behind here. In Your holy name, Amen. 




And by faith he (Enoch) still speaks, even though he is dead.   Hebrews 11:4 NIV

What a way to end an earthly life! Gone home with God, but still preaching to those he left behind. And what better time than year's end to look forward to our own endings? This isn't macabre; it's scriptural.

How will my life end? What will I still be saying after I’m dead? Who will hear that message?

Today ends an old year. Tomorrow is the start of another new one—but we only get one moment at a time. Little is much—even this one small moment in front of us—if God is in it.

Tomorrow, if it comes for me, is a fresh start.

Even if tomorrow doesn’t come, I have this day, this moment. Got to get out my trusty blue pencil and update my sermon while there’s still time. Let His joy shine through me, that others might see what true happiness is: peace with the One True God who created us.

How do I do that? Easy. I just remain in Him, reflecting on His holiness, His joy, and He does it all.

Avi, You give joy, but the choice of whether to accept Your joy is ours. I choose You, again and again, every day.
People who don’t know You tell us, ‘If you’re happy today, you just don’t understand the situation.’ But, the opposite is true; Your children have happiness and joy in the middle of trials and depression and pain because we do understand; we see beyond.
Help me to write a message with my life that will resound through all the years left to this world. Let my small light shine so bright in Satan’s growing darkness that those who haven’t yet found You will look up from worldly infatuations and see our true Hope, the Light of the world.
In Your holy name, Amen.






Tuesday, December 22, 2015


…the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 NIV

Peace with God, the peace that passes understanding.

Manger scene illustrating Sunday’s church bulletin, crowned by a great eight-pointed star. Beams right and left, up and down, depict a cross. Overlapping in the center, an ‘X’, short for the Greek word for Christ.

Look up. See God’s hand, His plan. The Star of Bethlehem, the Christmas Cross, calls to all mankind.

The Gospel in a nutshell: God gave His perfect Garden to His newly created children, Adam and Eve. But, since He wanted real, two-way love, wanted them to choose Him, He gave them one simple commandment and a penalty—eat from that one tree and you die—and they blew it.

Banished from the Garden to struggle in a broken world until their bodies succumbed, they ached with the greater death of perpetual separation from God.

“Children, I love you, and I don’t want you to die,” God said. “Someone else—sheep and cattle and goats—can die for you.”

But animals are a part of this lost Creation. Even millions of such deaths aren’t enough to save just one soul. There’s only one Perfect Lamb who can pay that final price, that balloon payment, for all of us. So, God made Himself a body that could die—something our spirit God cannot do—and died for us to make peace between Himself and Adam’s whole race.

Then, get this, He whupped the tar out of death and walked out of that grave! And so will we, if we choose Him. 
Wise men of old followed the Christmas Cross. Will you? Will you come to the Creator of Life, who calls us to new life abundant and eternal?

Many times death has been close to me, Avi, and many times You saved me. Even so, this frail shell will die, if You delay. With every new twinge, every new failing, I look forward to the new body You’ve promised I’ll live in—but even more I look forward to the Friend I’ll live with for all eternity. Come soon, Avi. In Your holy name, Amen.





Thursday, December 17, 2015


And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. … I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:16-18 NIV

Just finished our Christmas cantata. The solo highlight was the classic, Breath of Heaven.

Mary, weary and feeling inadequate, sang her prayer. Did God doubt His choice of her, she wondered. Was she up to the task? Whatever, she decided, whether she was enough or not, she was and would be His willing servant. She pleaded for His help: hold me together; stay with me; cover me.

Compared to Mary’s assignment, ours seem small. After all, hers was foundational—she bore the Heart of God’s plan—but none of us is given an inconsequential task. God doesn’t waste His resources.

The Child Mary carried was the Cornerstone. We are living stones being built on that Stone into a holy Temple.

OK, our jobs are important. Are we really up to the task? It isn’t that we doubt the wisdom of His staffing choices. He’s the God who invented and defined wisdom. It’s that we know ourselves. We know how small we are, how flawed, how inadequate, how unprepared.

No need to fear; we won’t fail. The all-powerful God who saw Mary through is living in us, working through us, breathing out the breath of His own holiness, working all things for the good of those who love Him—and forgiving us again and again.

A living temple… Wow.

Am I a doorpost? A roof beam? A sunny window? Or, am I the smallest letter on the welcome sign out front? Doesn’t matter, as long as I’m faithful to the end.

Avi, You said You wouldn’t give us more than we can bear. As long as we give our burdens to You, we will stand and not be crushed by their weight. I’m Yours, Avi, and here, today, I give You my treasures and my burdens. I give You my weariness, my discouragement, my confusion. And when I take them back to worry over them a little more, please forgive me and remind me that You are the One who will carry me and my load. Hold me together, stay with me, cover me. In Your holy name, Amen.











Wednesday, December 9, 2015


He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:20 NIV

Watching the media coverage of the brouhaha over Donald Trump’s latest pomposity: No Muslims to be allowed into this country.

I don’t think this is what this businessman is really aiming for. Rather, it’s his first outrageous trade offer, to be followed by the compromise he allows his opponents to push him to, which is everything he really wanted in the first place. Whatever that is.

But has he stopped to consider the collateral damage? Does he realize the risk he’s taking by applying his deal tactics to the political arena, inflaming passions in frightened individuals, many of whom are unstable?

I hope not. To knowingly incite incendiary behavior points to a far greater character problem.  (And no, I'm not accusing him.)

A strong, in-your-face candidate is very attractive in this climate, but we need strong godly leaders. And, whatever he calls himself, a man who says he’s never asked God for forgiveness because he’s never done anything bad enough just doesn’t have a clue.

But here’s the deal: Donald Trump can’t fix what’s wrong with America, with our world. None of the candidates can. None of them can achieve peace in the Middle East. None of them can assure us of peace and prosperity at home. Too many tangles, too much greed and selfishness, too many histories, too many passionate world views, too many conflicting value systems and religions.   

Let’s choose the One who can fix our problems and make everything new. It’s an individual choice. Individual leadership for every life. National leadership for a country longing to be blessed again.

Then let’s choose godly leaders who’ll lead us in His way.

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus. Come for us soon, Avi.
But wait. How many of those we love are hesitating at the door? How many still need another chance, need You to wait just a little longer? You know, Avi. You know every heart. Choose for us. And, while we wait, give us leaders after Your own heart.

In Your holy name, Amen.





Tuesday, December 1, 2015


“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  
“Come,” he said.      
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”    
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”   
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
                  Matthew 14:28-32 NIV

If Peter can walk on water, why can’t I ____ ____ ____ ___?  If you’re here, too, fill in your own blanks.

For me it’s, if Peter can walk on water, why can’t I finish a book? Writing one, that is.

Same reason Peter almost lost it.

I was doing pretty good, until I took my eyes off the prize.  For me, the storm that pulled my eyes from both the task and the One who enables us was technology. I can write. I can use the word processing functions of my computer, no problem.

But when the need to build a platform blew in, it brought with it the need to learn more and more about my other tools, specifically the seductive time trap of social media. And, with it, the need to flounder in the how-to’s of all these things.  

Satan’s pretty good at kicking up storms in our lives. One of his favorite squalls is to get us too busy. Doesn’t matter if the detour has a legitimate purpose or not. If it isn’t what I’m given by my real Boss to do right now, it isn’t what I should be spending my time on right now.  

I can finish a book—if I can concentrate on that book. So, as of now, officially, I quit. I quit spinning my wheels on what I’m not given to do. Bye-bye, Facebook. Bye-bye, formal market research. Bye-bye Pinterest and Twitter and whoever the rest of you are.

Master of all seas, save me! Reach out Your hand and rescue me as You rescued Peter. Calm this storm of doubt in me, and set me back on my feet at Your side. Help me to do what You’ve given me to do, Avi, so that I might hear You say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” In Your holy name, Amen.






Thursday, November 26, 2015


Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.       The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.                                     Mark 10:49-52 NIV

Fresh from His disappointment over the rich young ruler’s lack of trust, Jesus called to Bartimaeus.

Did you catch what happened next? Yeah, Jesus healed him, but after that?

Jesus said, “Give all to the poor, then follow me.” But the rich young ruler turned away in disappointment because he loved his wealth too much. Blind Bartimaeus, who was given the choice to go his own way, left all his worldly wealth, his cloak, and joyfully followed the source of true wealth.

Do I have my stuff, or does it have me? What would I leave to follow Him?

Avi, I want to see. I want to look with a heart of thanksgiving on this beautiful, broken world You’ve given us. I want to see my brothers and sisters, Your children, the way You see them. Most of all, I want to see Your heart when I look in the mirror. In Your holy name, Amen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Matthew 16:15 NIV

Peter’s answer, though a universal truth, was Peter’s answer. Each of us must answer this question for him/herself.

Who is Jesus for you? Who is He for me?

He’s the Shepherd who found and rescued this lost sheep—and to tell you about that, I have to go back to the beginning. Or, rather, to the end—the end of who I was.

A lifetime of searching and disappointments, years with a brutal, shattering husband. At the end of those years, this vessel named Grace wasn’t a pile of shards; it was a pile of dust.

Then Jesus came.                              

He’s the warm light that began to glow and grow in that cold gray heap, fusing the remains into a new vessel. That goblet, His new creation hollowed out to make room for Him, has a glow that was never there before.

But that golden goblet is still inside this jar of clay. This breakable old jar of clay.

The health and wealth gospel notwithstanding, we will face troubles. Fire is the only way to purify gold. Bad times are the only way to test the strength of a new faith.

If you know and trust the Shepherd when trouble comes, you naturally run to Him. If you don’t really know Him, you’ll blame Him. After all, He’s the One who can. If He doesn’t, either He isn’t really strong enough, or He doesn’t care, or He just gets a kick out of watching you struggle, like a little boy pulling the wings off butterflies.

Jesus doesn’t pull off wings; He gives wings.

Satan prowls like a roaring lion to see who he can find to chow down on. Like any other lion, he seeks the easiest prey: baby Christians, wounded Christians, weary Christians.  

The baby gazelle’s best bet is staying close to its mom in the middle of the herd. Our best bet is staying close to God in the middle of a godly church family. Get there and stay there.   

Avi, draw me closer to You. Nobody else can send that sneaky lion packing like You can. Nobody can carry the weight You can. Carry the burdens You gave me, Avi, and toss the ones I’ve just picked up along the way.   

In Your holy name, Amen.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015


…and he shook out his clothes and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of this responsibility.” Acts 18:6 NIV

It’s Veteran’s Day, time to talk about our duty to those who fought and died for what we’re wasting today.

Who do you want for President? Me, I’d like Benjamin Netanyahu. Have we got anybody like him?

I want constitutional government of, by and for the people, not of, by and for inept or corrupt career politicians, nor a biased media that chooses what to report, what to hide and what to make up.

Let’s stop judges who legislate from the bench, executives who “enact” unconstitutional laws with a swipe of their pens.

Stop putting riders on Congressional bills so something bad hitchhikes into law with something good, or something good gets tossed because of the bad attached to it.

A proud country that leads the world from a position of strength. A strong military.

Peace at home balanced with personal liberty.  Secure borders; I have compassion for people seeking a better life, but I hate feeling colonized by illegal immigrants, and I hate what illegal criminals are getting away with here, and I'd rather pray for terrorists from a distance. 

Passing our time-tested values on to our children. School choice for parents.

Tax reform. A business-friendly environment. The gold standard, or some other tangible basis for value in the paper we spend.

Leaders who won’t leave our people hostage while they make bad deals with unspeakably evil enemies. 

Leaders who work to unite us, not divide us.

I want honor, integrity, dignity, competence, compassion, morality, and courageous commitment to keep promises made to the voters and to our veterans.  I want common sense and godly wisdom in our leaders; knowledge, though invaluable, is neither of these.

I won’t try to influence your choice, but I’d love to influence you not to throw away your vote.

Only God can fix the mess we’re in, but many could lead us back in the right direction—and many could dig us in deeper.

We need real leaders—and that takes committed, informed voters.

Now I’ve told you. Come on, y’all. Step up to the plate.

Avi, we’ve let You down, but please don’t give up on America. Forgive us, and give us leaders after Your own heart. Heal our land, and give us also the willingness to be healed. In Your holy name, Amen.















Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven.

I've been late a few times lately, though my promise was to try to post each Tuesday. Then I missed last week--busy with research. Then today I had the whole day totally and unexpectedly all to myself, and had to choose from a whole plethora of things I need focused time for. I just forgot until the last hour that this is Tuesday.

I haven't quit posting, and I haven't run out of things to share. Tomorrow, Veteran's Day, as soon as I can tighten my scribbling and be sure I haven't forgotten anything, I'll meet you at my soapbox.


Thursday, October 29, 2015


For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. I Corinthians 14:33 NIV

Once again, Tuesday's come and gone, and I’m late with my post. Anyone notice?

I live with a clutterbug. As a result, things fall through the cracks of remembering all I’m trying to remember to remember. Nothing in my life is organized long enough to accomplish what needs accomplishing.

Not even my prayer life.

Anybody see War Room?

I have spaces that could double function, but no space to dedicate to a war room. Forget the house. No place but the linen closet, the one place I refuse to allow any clutter. (I have to have at least one door I can open and see neatness and order.)

And you can’t have sticky notes tacked to a tree or hung on the fence out in the weather.

That leaves my creative solitude cottage. No dedicated space—but how about a dedicated time in an uncluttered, semi-dedicated, semi-private space? Just leave my writing stuff in the house and march off to war singing the battle hymn of the Kingdom.

Hmm, I haven’t used the magnetic whiteboards up there for the writing tasks I bought them for…

OK, so I bought cards, felt markers, magnets. And theretwo white boards—is my war room! I can write pertinent Scriptures on cards and post them across the top, then fill the rest of the boards with prayer requests and praises. For my husband, a good wife and a closer walk with Jesus. For friends and family, various needs. For the policemen and firemen I run into, wisdom and safety. For our minister, a heart for God, faithfulness to Scripture, and the right words and tone to reach the people. For the congregation, an open heart, an open mind. For myself, and for all my co-writers, organization and focus and productivity. For all, seeking God’s will, projecting His good name.

Avi, help me to be true to You, to listen for Your voice in everything, at every moment. Help me to use my time and talents wisely. Help me to love You with all I am. In Your holy name, Amen.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.                                                   II Timothy 2:13NIV

I’m back to that old Rusty Goodman song, “Who am I that a King should die for me?”

I got that part. It’s because I’m His child, and He’s my Father. Dying for me was an act of love, and love is who this King is (among other things). Love is what He does.

I got the part about Him. The part I have trouble with is the part that has to do with me. Why did He choose me out of all this great orphanage called Earth? I’m not the prettiest, or the smartest, or the most capable, or the most patient. I’m not the cuddliest, or the funniest, or the most charismatic. I’m not the most talented or the hardest worker. Sometimes I’m not the cleanest. (I’m an outdoor, girl, remember.)

Why me?

Avi, I get it, but I don’t get it. Maybe this is one of those things I don’t have to understand. That’s OK—but I still want to understand because I want to know You more. In Your holy name, Amen.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015


He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4 NIV

No bad stuff, ever again. No tears of pain or grief or fear. No tears of exhaustion or frustration or disappointment.

But what about happy tears, good tears, delicious tears?

We got a new granddaughter this weekend. Not the infant kind. The in-law kind.

Wedding in a barn, performed between rainy showers of blessings. Guys—except for the preacher—in blue jeans and cowboy boots, gals better dressed. Eight-month-old flower girl in a dressed-up wagon pulled by a bigger flower girl. Bride in a standard, floor length wedding gown. (And, no, I didn’t get to see if she had cowboy boots on under there.)

Happy tears, weary tears. The bride couldn’t hold them in. She’s been running on anticipation and emotion for months, for weeks, for these final days of preparation. Then, a wakeful night before the wedding. A tearful mixture of exhaustion and joy.

As the old song tells, “No tears in Heaven fair, no tears, no tears up there.”

But what about good tears, happy tears, delicious tears? Soon, dressed in white, we will walk down the aisle of Heaven at the wedding of the Lamb and His church. Will we be allowed tears of joy when we see the smiling face of our Groom?

Avi, with You a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as a day—but to our finite, time-bound minds, the wait sometimes seems endless. I’ve heard that the best way to kill time is to work it to death. There’s much left to do in these harvest fields. Help us to keep our focus. Help us to be faithful workers until the end. In Your holy name, Amen.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.              John 6:68,69 NIV

Ever want to run away from home? Take a sabbatical? A vacation? Even a staycation, if you can send everyone else off on the real thing?

A private writer’s retreat? Buy a tent and head for the wilderness? No electricity. Anybody invent a solar power source for my laptop yet? 

A lunatic asylum? Check into writers’ rehab? Nah. Doubt they’d let me bring my dogs.

Library study room? An empty room at church when nobody else is there? Again, no dogs allowed. How can I write without my little canine encouragers and crit buddies?

That’s why I invested a goodly portion of my little pension account to build my creative solitude cottage—but even that isn’t 100% distraction proof.

No place in this world, however homey and fitting it feels, is a true and lasting refuge without Him who is our refuge.

Remember this old Southern Gospel song?

Where could I go, oh, where could I go,            
Needing a refuge for my soul?
Needing a friend to save me in the end,
Where could I go but to the Lord?

Where, indeed?

This broken world is full of wondrous beauties, Avi, but You said it hasn’t even entered the mind of man what You’re preparing for us. I look forward to exploring that perfect home with You. How much more the chance to explore You, to learn more of who You are and what You are. But must I wait? Give me more of You even now, Avi.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:3 NIV

That ‘you’ is plural. Jesus is preparing a home for all His kids. A perfect home for perfect children.

But first, the journey.

I’ve never been good at maintaining long distance friendships—but that doesn’t mean ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

Where are they now, those who shared my journey down this river called Time? Reeves, Helen, Martha, Bill, Beth, Eddie, Hal, Anna, Ralph . . .

Riding down the river together, some boats floating near enough to touch, others within shouting distance. Some are with me for a short time, some longer. Whether we steer our craft skillfully or drift aimlessly, for a time we’re in the same current, bound by shared friends, by common interests and responsibilities.

Then one is caught in an eddy. Another is tangled in the branches of a fallen tree and is left behind. Still another is carried in a different direction as the river splits around an obstacle.  

Where are they now, those voices from the past? What currents have they mastered—or been mastered by? Are their boats still seaworthy? What scenery have they seen? What new companions have enriched their journeys? Who sailed on into wide oceans of blessing? Who rode the rapids of adventure? Who glided gently into a still, small pond? Who plunged over a waterfall? Who drifted into the swamps of dementia?

Who has made it Home already?

I don’t know.

But I do know where those who belong to the Master of all waters will soon be. Journey done, we will be together again, in the Home He’s preparing for us.

And the others? There’s still prayer.  

Avi, thank You for all the hellos, for all the ‘sit-and-stay-awhiles’, all the ‘see-you-laters’, and even for all the goodbyes. Thank You for the glorious anticipation of that homecoming reunion. And, thank You for the hope that still remains for those who haven’t yet found You. Please wait a little longer for them, Avi. In Your holy name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Moreover, David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and daughters. But David strengthened (encouraged) himself in the LORD his God.                    I Samuel 30:6 NIV

In the body of Christ, I’m a heart—but sometimes I feel like the fingernails, just holding on.

We all need encouragement. Sometimes it just isn’t there. What’s a body part to do?

David fled from King Saul, and hundreds of hopeless men found hope in him, flocked to him, became his family. Achish gave him the town of Ziklag, where they all settled with their wives and children.

Ziklag, a home for this homeless little army.

But one day they returned from a campaign to find their town looted and burned, everyone taken prisoner. No encouragement for their leader. Instead, the men—his friends, his heart family—wanted to stone David.  

Let’s face it. We’re different. Nobody is 100% compatible with anyone else in this whole wide world, not even soul mates. No one who hasn’t been through it or is going through it can understand what the one who is facing it is facing. Not even the ones who have been through it can understand what it’s like for that person. Each of us has different genetics, different shaping experiences, a different perspective, different things we value.

Lonesome, huh?

So what did David do when his men failed him? He turned to the One who does know every one of us intimately.

Avi, You are the One who made us, the One who knows all we are, all we are not, and who still loves us anyway. You know what’s best for us. You have the wisdom and the power to tackle every problem that concerns us. Please fill us, Avi, and renew our joy in serving You. Help us to keep on keeping on, all the way to a finish pleasing to You. In Your holy name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. Matthew 13:20,21 NIV

The question was asked in Sunday School, “Why is it that faith seems to come so much easier to some people?” Words popped into my head and out of my mouth. “I think it depends on how deep He plowed their ground.”

Sitting on the front porch swing with my sister-in-law. When we ran out of this and that to talk about, she grew pensive. “My granddaughter keeps getting in with the wrong crowd. She’s made so many bad decisions, but you can’t tell her anything.”

“Jesus has her,” I said, “and maybe He needs to keep her to Himself for a while.”

“I know, and I pray for her, but…” She shook her head.

“I made a lot of bad decisions and went down some rocky paths, too. A lot of bad things happened to me, but a lot of much worse things didn’t. Wanna know what I finally realized?”

She nodded.

“Jesus made me, and He knows me. He knew exactly how much it would take to get through to me. He loved me enough to let me learn the hard way. But He didn’t want to hurt me, and He didn’t let even one thing more than I needed happen to me. He knows your granddaughter just as well, and loves her just as much. He’ll be just as careful with her.”

Avi, it’s hard to keep your balance walking across a plowed field, especially with your eyes closed. It’s even harder when you are that field getting plowed. We want our loved ones safe now, but even more we want a real and lasting faith for them. Maybe the best thing we can pray for them is that You take time to plow their ground deep. In Your holy name, Amen.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


That I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. Philippians 3:8, 9 NIV

I disappointed some people today, and here I am in my quiet place, telling God how glad I am that none of those people is my judge. He is.
Then it hit me like a slap upside the head: He is my Judge. I am not.

I’m my own worst critic—learned my worldly lessons well—but when Satan points out my failures, my God reminds me: He is the One who knows my heart. He’s the One who made me, redeemed me, gifted me. He’s the One who assigns me my tasks and watches to see how well I do them—or don’t do them.

He’s the One who strengthens me. When that strength is used up, He’s the One who carries me through and over the rough spots.

And when Satan attacks again, He’s the One who convicts me of righteousness—His own righteousness, freely shared with me.

Avi, You see my heart. You see my weakness, my struggles. Give me strength to do what You choose for me to do. Give me wisdom to choose between good and best. Don’t let me waste the gifts You’ve given me. In Your holy name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  John 13:35 NIV

I’m a compulsive T-shirt reader. Clever, funny, pithy, offensive or just plain dumb. If they’re illegible or cryptic, I’m likely to pursue one across a room to ask what it says, what it means. Had some good conversations started that way.

A couple of weeks ago a normal-looking, football player-sized black man came into SubWay and sauntered past my table. His shirt was in clear view, bold white letters on a dark background: WE CU H8N. I was slow to decipher that because that isn’t where my mind was at.
“We see you hating.”

What could I have said that would have made a difference to him? People interpret what they see and hear and read according to their own biases, their own preconceived ideas. It’s hard, if not impossible, to get past a firmly entrenched belief, no matter how mistaken it is. Yes, there are people who hate on the basis of differences, but far more who don’t.


No, you don’t. if you saw anything “negative” in me, it was pity. Pity that you’re wasting your best years on Satan’s lie.

Avi, what do people see when they look at me? Do they see hate? Indifference? Or do they see the love of Your Spirit who lives in me? Make me like You, Avi. In Your holy name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

What do you think Heaven will be like? What do you want to see, touch, taste, smell, hear? Who are you looking forward to meeting?

I want to see Jesus, the One who made Heaven for us and paid our admission price. I want to hug loved ones I’ve missed. I want to say thanks to the angels who guarded me so faithfully during my long journey home.

I want to feel the strength in my new body as I explore the home I was made for. I want to taste the living water, eat my fill of the wedding supper, climb to the top of the Tree of Life and try to see all there is to see.

I want to smell every exotic aroma swirling through that place. I want to join in with the heavenly choir. I want to hear birds sing and horses neigh and dogs bark and frogs croak and crickets chirp and heavenly deer bugle their praises. I want to hear the roar of waterfalls and the wind in the treetops of great forests.

Most of all, I want to hear the voice of my Shepherd, again and again and again. I want to hear my Jesus shout, “It’s time! Come on home.” I want to see the pride in His eyes as He proclaims, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I want to hear the joy in His voice as He sings songs of comfort and triumph and peace and welcome.

Avi, many doubt that You speak audibly to anyone today—but how can those who do not hear Your voice know whether others do? For who would tell such a thing? Who would risk sharing such a precious gift with skeptics? Who would want to be thought a fool, or looked at like some supersaint?  
You said Your sheep know Your voice, Avi. Open my ears to hear Your still small whisper in the restless winds of this life. Show me the way through this broken world. This weary sheep will follow.
In Your holy name, Amen.





Tuesday, August 18, 2015


. . . being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 NIV

Messed up. Again. And again. And again.

How about you?

A bee dancing to tell other bees where the best flowers are. An ant carrying a morsel many times her own weight. Newborn kittens heading straight for the food. A hummingbird dancing in midair. A mother eagle, fierce in defense of her nest, then tender with her chicks.

Wading in the surf, feeling the ocean just keep coming—like His love. Braced on a windy mountaintop, staring out at other mountains reaching to the horizon. Standing in the rain forest listening to a symphony of nature, awash in the rich aroma of green on green.

Lost under the night sky, looking at Abraham’s stars. Nova. Natgeo. The Hubble telescope. The enormous colors of outer space.

From small to large to immense. From near to far to light years away.

Big creation, bigger God. Jesus.

He made it all, more than our senses can perceive, from nothing to everything, in just six days.

But look how long He’s been working on us.

Easy part, knitting me together in my mother’s womb, setting me on my feet to choose my own way. Hard part, rescuing me from my mistakes nearly 27 years ago and beginning the good work of remaking me in His likeness. He’s still working on me, looong way to go yet. And He won’t quit on any of His children until the work is finished.

Wow, are we valuable, or what?

Avi, sometimes it’s scary on this potter’s wheel You’re shaping me on. Sometimes it hurts, when You pinch off that little chunk of clay that doesn’t belong. Then there are the times I feel like I’m about to go spinning off to nowhere. Help me to lie here quietly while You shape me. Then give me a mirror, ‘cause I want to see this masterpiece You’re making of me. In Your holy name, Amen.