Years ago in the Olympic Games, there was a woman swimmer who gained a gold medal. Afterwards, she was interviewed by a reporter. The swimmer shared about her journey in the sport of swimming and how, as a youngster, some people teased and taunted her when she trained. Those taunts didn’t stop the swimmer’s forward progress. She steadfastly persisted in her practices. I imagine that, at the time, she didn’t know that her persistence would lead to a gold medal in the Olympics. The reporter asked what she had to say to those who, years earlier, had teased and taunted her. I will never forget the composure and class that she exhibited in her response. She didn’t display even a hint of arrogance. Calmly and simply, her answer was, “Thank you.” I so love how that was handled. Yes! In the 1992 Olympic Games, runner, Derek Redmond, tore his hamstring, which took him out of the competition for a medal opportunity. Derek, though, made a choice to finish the race,Continue reading »

How many times have we waxed lamentable about what we perceived were failed relationships, job opportunities, deals, and projects? Relationship endings can be some of the most challenging hurdles to overcome. They often penetrate to the core of our beings with gut wrenching emotional attachments. Whew! A friend of mine was widowed and awhile afterwards, she began to date. She was compelled to end two relationships for a few reasons, but one of the main reasons was because the men didn’t sufficiently respect or appreciate her. Ceasing to engage further with those two relationships provided an advantage because eventually she met a prize of a fellow who adores her. Years ago, an employment agency sent me to work for a woman who proved to be unsavory in her employment practices. I clearly remember my first day there. She read from the Bible to me. Witnessing that action gave me measures of peace that all would be well in her employ. Admittedly, I was gullible back then. In time, I gainedContinue reading »

There’s a knock at the door It opens — Joy enters and floods our space Not just any joy but ultra joy, super joy, inescapable joy We taste it and it moves us to ecstasy Where did it come from? Only the Most High can deliver appetizing pleasures at such elevated heights Joy envelops us, circles us delightfully — We marvel and revel in the pure pleasures of indescribable joy We gleefully partake of the joy offerings — Yes, gulps galore Woo wee, taste and see — The joy of the Lord is our strength No opposition can prevent the presence of joy — in season.

In the past two weeks, I have lost more days than I care to count to mind-numbing, bone-crushing fatigue from simple outings to visit the doctor to pick up a prescription, stop at the pharmacy and then visit two more stores for an item or two. Last week, it was visiting the lawyer and a few small errands while I was in town. I have paid for those days for the past eight or nine days with exhaustion, beginning no more than two hours after waking up. It’s like walking through concrete to get anything done. Yes, I could nap, but I don’t want to sleep my day away. I have things I want and need to do. I had higher hopes for today. I made it much further than I expected, which got my hopes up, even though I know very well how that can backfire so quickly and often. Hope springs eternal; isn’t that what they say? I made it to lunch time so I thought I hadContinue reading »

No matter what the circumstance, You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalms 139:14). Do not let anyone or anything deceive you in thinking you are anything less.   [quote]I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.[/quote]

I met him while I was waiting at an almost empty train station to be picked up by my father. Dad had left us in favor of another woman, but since he was still my Dad, I was scheduled to go see him once a month. We weren’t particularly close, so I considered these visits a waste of time and I was already bored. “Hello!” A voice shook me out of my reverie and I looked up into the smiling face of a young fellow, just a few years older than I was. His blue eyes sparkled with joy. What does he want? I eyed him suspiciously. “I want to tell you about my friend,” he began. “Huh?” His friend? I felt confused. Why would I want to know about his friend? But he seemed truly happy and it almost felt as if he was surrounded by a circle of warmth that tried to take me in. I’d never felt that before. “My friend is Jesus,” he continued. “He lovesContinue reading »

There are vines that climb up at the trunk of a mighty oak and cling to the tree during the storms. These vines have little to fear because of the protection they receive from the tree. When the wind blows on the opposite side of the tree, the vine is safely sheltered from the fierce winds. When the storm blows from the other side and the vine is exposed, the vine is only pressed closer to the trunk and that way there is no danger either. This is a beautiful picture of our lives as Christians. When we hold on to God as the vine does to the oak we have little to fear from the storms of life, we are protected and sheltered by God. It has always been one of life’s greatest mysteries why God allows pain and suffering in our lives. After all, nobody likes to reside in the garden of affliction. Nevertheless, it also seems true that the rarest and most precious of flowers grow inContinue reading »

“He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried— our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.” Isaiah 53:3-6 (MSG) The Bible is one continuous historical and prophetic story; it is the story of Jesus Christ, the Lord. It begins in Genesis where God has created everything out of nothing, by His powerful spoken word He has made water, and dry ground, the sun, the moon and all the birds, fish and animals and He called it all good. “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in ourContinue reading »

After our three-year-old son had been diagnosed with leukemia our lives changed drastically. How do you as parents cope with the news that the little fellow that brought so much joy suddenly had to face such a life-threatening disease? There is no formula for it. You just take it as it comes. You seek shelter in the loving arms of the tender Shepherd, but you still have to do the walking. And after we walked together as a family, holding Jesus’ hand through many difficult days, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. The doctors pronounced him ‘healed’. But years later the ugly monster raised its foul head again. The cancer had returned, this time in an unfamiliar country with different people, a different culture, and a different hospital. But the fears were the same and so was the pain, and the endless waiting for even the tiniest signs of improvement. We had to take it just as we had done before; moment by moment, day byContinue reading »

The Bible tells us God has a calling for each and every one of us, and all are different, which makes it important to find and fulfill your calling. Don’t waste your time trying to squeeze your round peg gifting into a square-hole service opportunity. Things get out of balance; everyone and everything suffers, both ministries that are knocked off course, and people who struggle to do something they are not cut out to do. Don’t make an opportunity to serve an idol by putting all your energy exclusively in obtaining a place within a ministry, focusing solely in this direction, forsaking all other opportunities. In some cases the thing you desire and seek out is in an area where you are gifted and long to serve, but an invitation is not forthcoming. Perhaps you are a school teacher, or perchance an experienced Sunday school teacher, and yet no one requests you to fill a teaching position, even though there are opportunities, and your credential are known. I am sadContinue reading »

Love is not arrogant A long time ago it happened that King Canute of Sweden conquered England and his fame rose to great heights. His courtiers were flattering him and kept telling him how great and mighty he was. “Who is like unto you, O great King.” But the king didn’t like the flattering. He ordered his throne to be placed on the beach near the sea and sat on it. When the tide began to rise, the water came closer and closer to the throne. His subjects were standing nearby and were watching in amazement as the water surrounded the King. “Safe yourself, O King. We don’t want you to drown,” they shouted. “That’s not going to happen,” said the King, “for I order you all to stop the waves from rolling in.” But his servants were powerless and could not do a thing. Finally and just on time, the king saved himself and said to his courtiers, “Behold, the power of kings.” But the LORD, who brought youContinue reading »