Tuesday, July 28, 2015


I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.                                      II Timothy 4:7 NIV

I wrote this piece this afternoon, then came in to post it, and saw last week’s post.

Same subject, but with a different Scripture and a different slant: young man writing about an old man finishing well. Even had the same title.

OK. Just change the title and continue from there.

Finishing well.

Several years ago, I took part in a cancer relay march. Folks cheered as the youngest survivor marched proudly across the line with her family around her. Big accomplishment—but my eyes were on an elderly man far down the track, pushing his walker ahead one slow step at a time, not one drop of quittin’ in him, until he finally made it.

For several years now I haven’t been living my life very well. Wasted too much time, money, energy on the wrong things. Playing computer games, building Webkinz towns, etc.


To write a story well, I have to go so deep inside the story world that it hurts like pulling a deep-rooted tooth to be jerked out of it. Enough jerking, and I got scared to even try to go back into the story and risk that pain again.

Webkinz was something I could do, a little world I could control, a place without mind-numbing clutter, without platforms and marketing, a painless hiding place.

Except for the pain of disappointing God.

It’s almost August. Autumn’s coming—and I’m entering the autumn of my life. There ahead is the finish line. Can’t tell you how far—the air’s too hazy—but I can make out the tape stretched across the way. Still time for correcting my course.

But how do I do that?

Don’t give up.

Throw off all that hinders me.

Learn to use my tools.

Keep my eyes on the prize. See, there’s Avi, waving me on, that great cloud of witnesses behind Him and lining both sides of the track, running in place with me, lending me the strength of their encouragement.

Avi, You are the God of second chances. It will never be too late to finish well until You Yourself have given up on me. Help me to finish the race. Catch me when I stumble and set me back on track. In Your holy name, Amen.

PS. Thank You for not giving up on me.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015


This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”  Isaiah 48:17 NIV

I just finished a book about an old man by a young author. In the afterword, the author said he not only wanted to finish as well as his subject did, but to prepare to finish well.

To prepare!

Ah, the wisdom of the young. I wish I’d had that foresight  years ago. But when I was young, I was a stranger to the God who gives wisdom to all who ask it of Him.

Finishing well has been on my mind a lot lately. The more life throws at me, the heavier that desire sits on me, and the more impossible it seems.

Scripture calls our lives a race. The flesh is weak, and grows weaker with the passage of time. The goal seems farther away than ever. This calls for wisdom, and for training.

I know I have to do my part, working every day toward the finish line. The goal is certain; the pathway sometimes shimmers like quicksand.

But our Guide, the One who makes a way in the wilderness, knows the path as well as the goal. He who gives the assignment and defines the goal will not let my foot be snared, but will lead me all the way. If I let Him work in me, He will finish all He’s given me to do. I have only to lean on Him as I put one foot in front of the other.

That is my preparation, all I need to do to finish well.

Avi, You can do all things. You have no need of our small efforts. But, like a father at his workbench, You let us stand at Your side and poke our clumsy fingers into Your projects. Guide my hands, Avi, and fix my mistakes. In Your holy name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.             Psalm 90:12 NIV
Good advice—but some days I just get tired of counting. How many days is enough?
As much evil as there is in our world, there’s beauty, if we only stop to look. Three score years and ten, 100 years, 125 years, however long, it isn’t long enough to enjoy all God has given us to enjoy.   
On the other hand, it’s more than enough. Even if life were a fairy tale and all the joyful moments you’ve ever enjoyed could be packed into one endless day, and if all the loved ones you ever loved could stay here at your side for that whole day, the time we have here is more than enough.
Living in a world of pain, watching from a decaying body that can’t maintain its youthful vigor. Watching as our broken world goes from bad to badder to baddest.  
Watching the news, bad on bad, every day something worse: poverty and high unemployment because our businesses—job-makers—are taxed out of business or out of the country; crime-ridden streets; hopeless lives; powerful judges stealing power not theirs and legislating some pretty bad laws from the bench; bad leaders making bad deals with bad enemies, handing over power and money for little in return; enemies who don’t fear us, allies who can’t trust us.  
Yeah, but there’s a new day comin’. And a new home.
Avi, I long for the day of Your appearing, the day You will take us to be with You to a world we cannot imagine, a world of endless joy and peace. Help us to endure and to overcome. And, help us to spread the news that the tickets are free for everybody. In Your holy name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


For your Maker is your husband—the  LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. Isaiah 54:5 NIV

Husband is both a noun and a verb. Verb: to husband is to care for. Nouns: husbandry is the continuous act of caring; husband is the one who cares for.

Last Sunday I held my husband’s hand during communion. My head on his shoulder, I looked down at our joined hands. At the ring on his finger. At the ring on mine. Outward signs of an inner joining, the mystery of two becoming one.

There’s a ring on each of our hearts, too, far stronger than these symbols on our fingers, patterned by the ring on God’s own heart. Ring of promise, ring of covenant. For better or for worse.


Symbol of a far greater mystery: God in us, sharing our sorrows and our joy, upholding us in our weakness, working in us and through us, helping us live our lives to the fullest. Where we are weak, He is strong.

My friend’s husband was recently diagnosed with dementia. Fulfilling his role as husband will grow progressively more difficult. He will lean more and more on his wife as she takes on the role of caretaker. As she “husbands” him.

But—a part of the mystery—he will be no less her husband. God, our Maker, our Husband, will lift this man’s hands in ways to comfort her, uphold her, even as his own strength fails. No matter how rare those moments seem, they will come, and remain. Through a memory, a mannerism, a familiar word, a moment of recognition, they will come. God will not leave us comfortless.

For He who keeps us in all our ways is the Keeper of Promises.

Avi, You said Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. You promised never to give us more than we can bear—and You have kept Your word. When our burdens threaten to crush us, we remember who You are: the One who carries our burdens for us. Help us to release them to You. In Your holy name, Amen.




Sunday, July 5, 2015


. . . and with him will be his called, chosen, and faithful followers.  Revelation 17:14 NIV   
Last week SCOTUS upheld a key issue with Obamacare. This week, the majority voted that gay marriage is a federal right. Those Justices were put in office for life by Presidents who probably wouldn’t have been elected if conscientious objector Christians had voted.
Obamacare will bankrupt our country, but so what? What’s fiscal bankruptcy when we, as a country, are so nearly morally and spiritually bankrupt?
We need godly leaders.
I’m encouraged—but not as those are who celebrate this decision. I’m encouraged that Scripture has been further validated, and that Home is getting closer all the time. At the same time, I’m appalled. Yesterday was Independence Day—but we’re losing freedoms left and right.
I’ve never understood why hunger strikes work. If you don’t cave in and give pets and kids and dissidents what they’re holding out for, they (except for those whose soul-deep convictions override physical need) will get hungry and eat the good food you give them.
How can anyone think that withholding their vote in protest gives them more power to make changes? Many liberals will have compassion if they see you hungry for food, but what’s it to them if you don’t vote? More power, that’s what.
What if RFRA is struck down, or revised and passed with no teeth?
Would you just roll over if government jailed you or took your property or your business for trying to be true to your conscience? Or will you call your congressman and senator now and insist that they pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act? 
We need godly citizens who vote. We who know God’s truth are charged as stewards. Will you maintain your ‘hunger strike’ as one more liberal judge is appointed for life to SCOTUS? That’s all it will take to nix our chance to make changes through the system.
Jesus said, “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” He’s constantly checking our faithfulness here to see how much He can trust us with at Home. Have Christians who throw away their voting power been faithful in the small things?
Nine judges in black robes, or one Judge in a white robe? SCOTUS is not supreme, Avi; You are. I don’t believe there’s a candidate alive who can bring us back from this brink of destruction, but You can do it.  Please protect us from our foolishness, and help us to do better. In Your holy name, Amen.


Thursday, July 2, 2015



Always be prepared to give . . .  the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect . . .                I Peter 3:15 NIV

Isn’t it strange how joy and grief can coexist?

I grieve for the Justices who thought they could change eternal truth by fiat, who failed to consult the God who gives wisdom to all who ask. I grieve for every person affected by this bad decision.

I stand with pastors who refuse to marry gay couples, for churches who refuse to hold gay weddings in their buildings.

I feel for and with LGBT’s who have pushed for this change. I’m no stranger to loneliness. Too shy and distrustful for friends, too afraid to date, I married for the first time at 40 because I thought he was my last chance. But he was an abusive control freak who kept me away from even the shallow relationships I’d survived with.  

What’s so wrong with letting people enjoy loving relationships? Why not legitimize those relationships and let them share in the legal and financial benefits of marriage?

Because the concept is specious. What is offered is counterfeit. No other human, no matter how loving, how committed, can meet another person’s deepest needs. No human can offer what God, the Creator of man, the designer of marriage, gives freely—for the truest, deepest marriages are a joining of three, not of two. Same-sex marriages cannot offer this oneness with Him.

I could agree with the premise of equal access to marriage for all if it didn’t hurt God so much. I for one have seen enough of His pain, caused enough of it myself.

If you could see what a difference Jesus has made to me and in me, you could see why I’m coming down on His side.

Happiness is the shallow end of the pool. Joy is far more than the deep end; it’s the ocean of God’s pleasure shared with us.

Don’t settle for counterfeit. 

Avi, when I see these things happen, I rejoice that You’re still on the throne. Help us to shine Your light into Satan’s darkness, and to love those who fight against You. Help Your church to grow and thrive, as it has done whenever faced with persecution. In Your holy name, Amen.