Some months ago, I bumped into a dear friend of mine. It’s always wonderful meeting him. After many years as a missionary in far away countries, he is always full of stories and encouragement. When he saw me he held me in a big bear hug and said, “You know, prayer always works; always!” There was a gleam in his eyes. I knew he was going to tell me about one of his adventures and he had my rapt attention. “Jesus,” he said, “is a shepherd. He knows where the green pastures are and where the wolves hide, and we don’t. So when we need help, we need to talk to Him.” He chuckled and said, “I was in a financial pinch the other day so I entered my closet and took time to listen to the Master.” “Sure,” I answered. “What did God say?” “Teach,” my friend said. “Teach? Teach what?” “Teach Dutch.” “Huh? Teach Dutch?” I didn’t understand. I know the Lord never fails and that He’s alwaysContinue reading »

The apostle Peter panicked when he stepped out of the boat onto the lake in an attempt to walk on the water as he saw the Master do. I can see him standing there, staring at the waves with a pale face while he started to sink into the deep, dark waters. I am going to die. I made a mistake. I am not supposed to be here. But then he cried out to the Lord; helpless and lost. And Jesus heard his cry. He and the other disciples had a similar experience when they were in a shaky little fishing boat in the middle of a furious storm. With a bewildered look on their faces, their clothes soaked from the rain and the waves, and a desperate cry on their lips they stared at each other. What are we going to do? Death is imminent. We are not supposed to be here. But then they cried out to the Lord in their helplessness. And again Jesus heard their cryContinue reading »

Let us expand on Part One, showing the roots of our fear and obsession. We who are sealed by the Spirit of God are protected by that Spirit; therefore, we need not be afraid of evil spirits. However, we must be cautious not to invite harmful things into our thinking. At some point in the recent past, I was obsessed by the type of shows such as Dateline on 20/20, Snapped, and other dramatizations of gruesome criminal acts. Therefore, I was exposing my mind almost daily to the heinous acts of murderers. Even though I know the Lord watches over us and keeps us safe, once I allow those graphic images into my mind, I am unable to prevent these thoughts from creeping into my subconscious and causing fear in me. Take a moment to consider with me the terror that grips me as images of my loved ones are superimposed over these victims of violent crimes and flood my mind. Your eyes, ears, and mind are the spiritual gatesContinue reading »

How challenging is it to be spiritually unyoked with spouses? Only those who have lived and are currently living it truly know what such conditions do in relationships. When children are in the mix, the challenges present themselves on increased levels. What ways are best to handle the spiritual differences? The answers vary. There’s no one size fits all. Some folks got married as mutually non-Christian. Later, in some marital unions, spouses became Christians, which can have spouses feeling like they are married to strangers. Emotional distance seeps in due to the spiritual differences. How can the Christian spouses love and be loyal to the Lord, but also love and honor their non-Christian spouses? Where are the lines of compromise? In some instances, initially, boundaries may be confusing. The Bible provides some guidance as does the Holy Spirit, but still, it can become more than slightly challenging to abide in those mixed spiritual environments. Another family dynamic is when spouses are equally yoked as Christians, but later their spouses decideContinue reading »

Based on a poem A man appeared before the judgement seat of God and the books were opened. “Let’s see what we will find on the pages of your life,” God spoke to the man in a reassuring voice. The man smiled with a confidence he didn’t feel. Jesus sat next to the Father and looked down at the man with tender eyes. “Don’t worry,” God said as he glanced at the man. “Don’t be nervous. After all, I am a righteous God and my judgements are always fair and right. If you’ve done the right stuff, there’s no need for worry.” But that was precisely the problem, as the man knew all too well God would surely stumble upon a few pages of his life that he would have gladly ripped out of the book. He hadn’t been wicked in the sense that people in the world regard as wickedness, but he knew all too well he had broken the law on countless occasions. “It’s a fairly simple process,”Continue reading »

There is a sweet anecdote about a dying Union soldier during the American Civil War. The unfortunate fellow lay shivering and wounded in a ditch when a Confederate chaplain found him. He knelt down by the wounded man and asked him if he wanted to hear some comforting words from the Bible. But the soldier moaned and answered that he preferred some water. The chaplain got up and promised he would find him some. When he returned the soldier asked the chaplain if he could support his head so he would not feel the pain so much. The chaplain took off his vest and gently slid it under the man’s head. “And could you cover me,” the man requested further. “I am so very cold.” Without a second thought, the chaplain took off his own overcoat and covered the dying man. “Anything else?” the chaplain then asked. The man looked up and said with halting breath, “Thank you, Sir. If there’s anything in that book that made you do whatContinue reading »

Who doesn’t long for that eternal place where we can quench our thirst with living water and will be surrounded with nothing but the soft light of God? Heaven, the place where pain and sorrows can no longer molest and Satan is no longer allowed access. Still, it is hard to imagine what it will be like in that beautiful place. Paul said, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Right now, because we are on earth and can only truly understand earthly things, we judge Heaven by earthly standards. Therefore, the first things we consider important about Heaven are the absence of pain and stress. The things that bother us the most here on earth are our dealings with fear, desperation and misery, and therefore to us, Heaven surely must mean the absence of those things. Thankfully the Scriptures agree, as is clearly written that in Heaven all tears shallContinue reading »

Is sufficient consideration and help being given to caretakers? There are those in that population who feel that they do thankless jobs. Often, caretakers don’t believe that they’re adequately appreciated. What caretakers do to help people is enormous in content. Those roles are, by no means, easy. Lots of caretakers don’t receive any sort of financial compensation for those very demanding and stressful responsibilities. Yes, in many instances, care is done from positions of love, but even then, the duties spiritually, emotionally and bodily take tolls. It’s great that there are some programs in place that provide relief, counseling, and encouragement for caretakers. Also, online engagements help considerably. It does make a treasured difference to connect with other caretakers who understand the roles. Sharing with like minded folk ministers to weary hearts and minds. I’ve heard and read that in matters when family members are caretakers of loved ones, there are instances when other family members allow one family member to shoulder most of the caretaker tasks. In such cases,Continue reading »

We’re surrounded by gifts — Priceless gifts of love and splendor Gifts with no expiration dates I stepped outside today and connected with multiple gifts — Trees, birds, clouds, rain and snow I danced in their presence A dance of joy, freedom and gratitude — Thankfulness manifested in fluid motions in sync with the movements of love It was a happy dance despite what appears with aims to distract — We press through with awareness that we dwell in the habitation of God Our Lord provides bountiful and abundant gifts — Days and nights we’re presented with more gifts — How precious and treasured that LOVE is the best gift of all.

It happens often that mentally challenged and considerably obese people are mocked and marginalized. They receive rude stares and remarks, as well as insensitive actions. Bullying occurs relative to them, also. Mentally challenged and considerably obese people are precious, too. God’s love abundantly extends to them just as it does to the folks who don’t have such conditions. Compassion is the godly order for all of humankind. We can do and express things that relieve such challenged people. We can smile, hug and assure them of the love of the Lord, and that we care. Actions often speak louder than words. Our compassionate words need “feet” that provide evidence of our love and consideration for folks who are often mocked. Parents/guardians and other responsible adults should teach youth how to engage with people who are bullied and, overall, dismissed. Also, peers of bullied youth should speak up and demonstrate kindness towards them. There’s the saying that we lead by example. Our lifestyle postures should consistently reflect that we care. IContinue reading »

In Part One of this topic, the focus was on being more mindful of when/how to wisely use restraint in communications. On the flip side, how challenging is it to speak up when that’s in order to do? How often are folks silent when the circumstances warrant expressing? Injustices have grown due to silence. Reforms have occurred when silence isn’t the chosen path. I’m so grateful for those people who have made their voices heard when fitting and timely. Yes, many folks sacrificed their lives for causes that warranted voices and actions. Admiration flows for the loving and brave people who cared/care, in earnest, for the well being of fellow men and women — and show it by declaring what is just and suitable for the common good of — we the people. In the Bible, we read the account of Moses and Aaron defying King Pharaoh by obeying the words of God to deliver to Pharaoh. Those words, which included, “Let my people go” resonated and set in motionContinue reading »