Archive | May 2014


“Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!” Philippians 3:13b, 14

Attending a conference this week, I heard a speaker refer to moments that have been passed by, but not lived! What a stirring that has done in my spirit since his reference on Wednesday! Are you like me, with a life full of moments that come and go so quickly, yet you haven’t grasped them, and held on to them? The second I just lived, I will never live again. One second closer to eternity, to seeing God face to face. Do you ever wonder about the people who have treated Him with hatred, and suddenly are standing before Him?

Oh, if only we could recycle those unused, or thoughtless moments! A friend of ours, whose job involved building and handling guns and ammunition, got careless for a fraction of a second–just long enough for the weapon to misfire and render his right hand useless for the rest of his life. Just the twinkling of an eye, and doing something he had done hundreds of times, but that fraction of a second changed his life. Do you have those?

How many of the moments that we have lived could we have used to lead someone to the Savior? Once upon a time, there was a girl in my church who wanted to commit suicide. I prayed for her, but then told the Lord, “I can’t go to her house, but if You want me to speak to her, You will have to bring her to me.” I felt safe saying that, as we did not run in the same circles, so to speak. Later that very night I went into our local food store. As I rounded the check-out lanes, in front of me, not 30 feet, she was walking toward me. A divine appointment. Did I grasp the moment? I had to–I had asked God for that very thing.

Oh, that we could go back and re-live the bad choices! Have those moments back when we’ve really blown everything! Perhaps changed our lives and the lives of those we love by deciding to “do it my way,” as the old song said. But that’s not God’s plan for us. It is much bigger, and encompasses Grace, grace, marvelous grace. If we could re-live and fix mistakes, we wouldn’t need the grace; if we could do it right the first time, we wouldn’t need mercy and forgiveness. We wouldn’t need to “forget those things that are behind,” those things that Satan uses to browbeat us, trying to make us useless for God. But bless His Holy name, we can look forward to the things that are ahead, knowing that we can take the useless, unused, or messed up moments to Him, and He alone can recycle them–and we can press on toward the prize of being with Him in glory one day. Praise Him for His promise to return for us!




I will lift up my eyes unto the mountains; from where does my help come? It comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1, 2 NAS

Somehow the scene just popped out at me! How appropriate–the beauty of mountains sticking up out of the foggy valleys! What a glorious time God must have had as He painted this picture so early in the morning for me, the only person around! Climbing up onto one of the guardrail posts, in high heels, I did a balancing act while taking this picture of a scene that took away my breath. How amazing, and what a spiritual truth lay in the beauty!

Raised in the “hills” of West Virginia (America’s “Little Switzerland,”), mountains have been my love for all of my decades. It was sheer agony for me as our family drove our now-vintage vehicles, loaded with a week’s worth of necessities, to spend a week on the beaches of North Carolina. The heat, the sand spurs, the sand, the tides–none appealed to me and I longed to return home to my beloved mountains. Later, as a move to Florida came about, I thought my life had ended: as you top the small ridge on the Interstate and enter Florida, your vision feels as though it is going for miles and miles in a straight, flat line. Once, when my youngest son was about four, we were driving. As we went over a speed bump on a street, he looked back: “Was that a hill, Mom?” he asked.

Later, moving to Central Virginia, I would awaken to the gorgeous beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, drinking in the cool air, the wonder of the loveliness, and the grandeur of the height and depth of the terrain. I have never gotten enough of the view, no matter how often I awake to it.

Now, mountains and valleys have become my daily expectation. Oh, not the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, but the ones that come with regularity into my life: those people who are seem to delight in making our lives miserable, whether in the workplace or a social setting; the load of work that has to be completed by a certain date (have you ever noticed that we refer to the files on the desk as a “mountain” of work? Or, a “mountain” of laundry?); the deadlines set by someone who expects actions to be accomplished yesterday, and on and on. Then the valleys: our spirit gets low, Satan steals our joy, unexpected bills are due, we find one of the children is being bullied, someone we love has a terminal illness, and again–on and on. Sometimes, as in the picture, the fog is so heavy in the valley that we can’t see our way. Do you call on the Shepherd at that point, or has He been walking beside you all along?

Last year, after reading my Bible through for the umpteenth time, as I came to the verse in Matthew, “If you have faith the size of a  mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and nothing shall be impossible to you,” (Chapter 17:20 NAS) suddenly I was struck by the word ‘mountain.’ Now probably you, if you’re theologically taught, have already realized that was speaking metaphorically, but for me–well, I had always thought there would have to be a mighty good reason for the mountain to move, and I had never had that practical motivation, although I felt my faith was solid. Suddenly, I saw the metaphor, and realized that I could have enough faith to move a mountain of heavy burdens, a mountain of tasks, a mountain of responsibilities…and so much more. Why had I thought it had to be a physical mountain? Because I’m a black and white person, I guess. I have to really work on seeing gray areas. God opened my eyes, and the word popped out! Don’t you love it when that happens?

So today, you can move a mountain! Not perhaps all at one time, but you can start with the first wheelbarrow full of dirt. Does your spouse or family member have a mountain of bitterness against you? Then start moving it! Do you have a mountain of work at the house that it seems it will never get done? Then start with one square of 4×4 ft. space. Tomorrow do another square! By the way, leave one mountain in place, so you can go to the top occasionally for a real “mountaintop” experience! And while you’re there, remember how many valleys God has brought you through. Even though Christ was talking in Matthew 25 in a parable about servants and faithfulness, it is easy to apply it to Christ Himself: if He has been faithful in your life to bring you through the many small things, will He not also bring you through the big things, the mountains, if you will? Of course He will! Your faith only has to be the size of a grain of mustard seed!

God, You are so tremendous! What a glorious world You have given us to enjoy, with the beauty never-ending! Yet we know this world is going to wear out like a garment, but we don’t have to fear: You have gone to prepare us a place that is beyond our imagination. Meanwhile on this earth, Lord, as we sojourn here, let us be good and faithful servants, even unto death. Thank You for Your nail-scarred hands, and all that they mean to us! We love You, Lord! Amen




“Will the mother stand who has eight or more children? The oldest mom…” Our pastor, along with thousands of others around the US, addressed the moms in the congregation. Not a big deal? Maybe not to you….

Thursday before Mother’s Day I attended a program where one of our first-grade grandchildren would be participating. As the little ones–so gorgeously dressed–took turns at the microphone with their tribute to their mother (“I love my mom because…. she gives me cookies; … she reads to me… she plays games with me…), my heart broke for the little ones who were making up things to say. Don’t tell me out of a group of 30 or so kids, all had their moms–I won’t believe you. I couldn’t help wondering how many were living in homes where a step-mom resided, who really didn’t like this child of another woman. For a moment I went back to a time in another century when I was responsible for my children enduring a Mother’s Day program without their mother, because I was too backslidden to be a mom. Gasp only if you have never wandered from the path of righteousness–and oh, by the way, don’t doubt for a second but that I would give my life had I never sinned, for I would–but I did. But where I am today is at the foot of the Cross, with its “Grace, grace, marvelous grace.”

As the program continued, I wondered how many were being raised by Grandma… or in a foster home… or had lost their mom to illness and death.

I couldn’t help but reflect on the moms who were sitting there thinking of a baby lost in the womb. One mom in our church has lost ten–can you even imagine the grief? I can’t. Having lost one, I can’t even begin to sympathize. How does one stand up when the pastor calls a number? What if you’ve lost three, as a good friend has, but hasn’t had a baby yet? Does that make her not a mom?

I even thought of all the women who were sitting in the audience who have had abortions; sure, there are some who go on about their lives and never give the baby a thought–but how many do you know personally? Have they ever told you that it hasn’t hurt them? I’ll believe it when they sit before me.

For now, it’s over. Another year before we have to agonize over whether to stand and count the three that we had that we lost in a custody battle, or the three that we raised afterward. Don’t get me wrong: it’s great to honor moms. But somehow the ones who should be honored may be the ones who raised their children to be loving, hard-working adults, when there was no father in the home; the ones who raised their child to remember a picture of a soldier who gave his life that our country could be free; the ones who celebrate a Mother’s Day because they’ve given up having a career that would have given them financial freedom, instead of a one-income home where food is sometimes pancakes for supper, but everyone is happy and grateful for each other–those and more need to be honored. Not how many times you’ve gotten pregnant, nor how long you’ve lived on this earth.

No, next year won’t change. It will be the same categories in all the same churches, the restaurants will be full, and many moms will not receive a card. But maybe each of us could do something special for at least one mom we know who will be alone with her children, doing her best. That would make two people have a wonderful Mother’s Day: You and Her.

Father, You have called out the best in Mothers, and given us guidelines to have life, and have it abundantly. Forgive us when we stray, when we are impatient, unloving, and place ourselves before those we love. Help us to remember that in serving others, we serve You. Bring this all to our minds next year, so that we can learn from the lessons of yesterdays. Thank You for grace, Lord. We love You.


You may not have been raised “old school” where the hymns were the basic doctrine for almost all of one’s theology, but if you were, you know there was (is) a hymn for every situation! My son once said, “No matter what I do, you have a Bible verse for it!” Believe me, that was not meant as a compliment! But there truly seemed to be an old hymn for however one was feeling and you would find yourself humming or singing the one that fit your mood! “What A Friend,” “The Old Rugged Cross..” so many great hymns. This week God reinforced the beautiful one that said “just when I need Him most!”

My son-in-law posted that he had had a week of four Mondays… someone else said he was about the fourth person they had heard that from–and I made a fifth! Do you have those weeks, when it seems as if every day brings a crisis, an unexpected bill, a sickness, or worse, a dry, spiritual river bottom, rather than a flowing stream? Your prayers don’t seem to go through the ceiling, and God seems silent. Not a good week.

But He knows our weakness, and oh! the reassurance in the reminder that “He knows our frame; He remembers that we are but dust!” (Psalm  103:14). He hasn’t moved one inch… He’s just waiting for–well, what? Us to get quiet? To draw near to Him? To get to the end of our frayed rope? To call upon Him in the day of trouble? Yes, these and more!

One Monday after another for four days, and then suddenly, like a flower opening in the sunshine, He sends down some blessings to remind me–and you–how special we are to Him. Like a child who comes to you in loving obedience, and suddenly you forget the misdemeanors for the love, just as suddenly you forget the faithlessness of wondering if He really cares as you bask in the love that He’s showing. Problems that were stressing me all week disappeared as He acted: sending answers to prayers that had been fervent all week. And I wonder, why did I doubt that He would? I am so often truly a “double-minded man [woman], unstable..” in so many ways! And yet He remains faithful. Again I rest in the Scripture: just because I am faithless, does not make HIM unfaithful! (2 Tim 2:13.)

We serve an Awesome God! One Who has our best interests at heart, but is not persuaded to act when it’s too early, just because we are stressed. His answers come “just when we need Him most!” And when they do, we forget the pain, for the gift of life that has come again to us! (John 16:21, with apologies to John for taking it slightly out of context!) He has answered with love and kindness, miracles that are so special they show me they are “Love Notes” directly from the heart of God–straight to my path.

Forgive me when I waver, Lord! Keep me on the straight and narrow path, even when the world tempts me to get busy and forget my first responsibility is to hunger and thirst for You, O Lord! Thank You for Your love, Lord, and thank You for the Cross! Amen