“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1)
As a result of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, the world is no longer defined by our distinctive languages, cultures and customs. Now, we are inescapably united and unexpectedly battling an enemy that does not respect race, gender or age. The existence of every individual on earth is at risk, albeit some more vulnerable than others, but no one is immune to the looming peril.
The pandemic has revealed weaknesses within our democracy, our emergency medical preparedness, our fragile financial infrastructure and our social order. The quote attributed to Augusten Burroughs, “When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all,” is playing out in real time throughout the world.
This generation is inextricably gripped within the tentacles of a devastation that will forever change life having the potential to either leave us better or worse for the experience. The images of the multitudes of victims and the carnage that surrounds each impacted community will be etched in the human psyche given the intensity of this pandemic. The high level of anxiety and the plethora of repressed emotions that have been exhumed as a result of this shared experience will not be soon forgotten.
The pandemic has not only revealed societal weaknesses mentioned earlier, it has also brought the entire human race face to face with mortality. Young and old alike must consider the transient nature of humanity as covid-19 spreads insidiously throughout the land and the loss of life is exponentially mounting with each passing day.
Jesus prepared us for this day. Throughout Scripture He taught us how to view our earthly experience, He spoke of the inevitable difficulties we would face in this life (John 16:33), of the brevity of our days (James 4:14) and the perspective we need to cultivate in order to have joy and peace in spite of our circumstances (Colossians 3). He reminded us that this world is not our home (Hebrews 13), he spoke of the deceitfulness of riches (Mark 4) and he encouraged us to reexamine our priorities and identify in what or whom are we placing our trust (Psalm 20:7).
Continue reading An Ever-present Help in Trouble . . .
Matthew 10:27 reminds us, “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.”
If we were honest, the promises of God, although encouraging at all times, become increasingly more heartening during times of insurmountable difficulty.
The promises of God come alive in inexplicable ways when we are facing challenges that seem inescapable and enduring. The past year presented such challenges to me when my mortality was threatened and my life was commandeered by a cancer diagnosis. Never before had I the opportunity to experience God’s grace as so sufficient and all-encompassing as during this time.
My weakness provided Him with abundant opportunities to reveal His majestic supremacy while His strength fortified me moment by moment. My anxious heart was filled with serenity as I watched Him work in the smallest detail of my life. The months since my diagnosis served as a stage where God’s faithfulness was showcased and observed by myself and others. If my life was a play and the scenes unfolded in rapid succession, the discerning eye would see God in His glory and marvel at His tender care and compassion for me.
Continue reading The Sparrow
Photo by marie kelley photography
“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”
The summer months are quickly passing. It is as though life is playing out in fast-forward mode with each month advancing rapidly onward. The hands on the clock are spiraling out of control, its circular pattern ticking off days and marching them swiftly forward.
Summer is typically packed with activities and adventures specific to the season. Gatherings with family and friends are enjoyed and travels to locations near and far are often reserved for these warmer months. Continue reading The Hands on the Clock …
Photo by marie kelley photography
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. …And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, …But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” …
From the rising of the sun to its setting, life provides us with countless opportunities to make decisions. Some decisions seem mundane and inconsequential while others are potentially life-altering, character shaping and may affect not only our own life but the lives of others as well. Continue reading ‘. . .Have you still no faith?’
“Who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”
It is hard to remember when I’ve ever felt so cared for. Walking through my cancer diagnosis, the plethora of tests and the recent surgery gave me abundant opportunity to experience God’s promises first hand.
We are reminded in Isaiah 46:3,4 of God’s assurance to carry us throughout the course of our life. During this recent journey, I’ve felt like a child carried safely in her father’s arms, up and away from the flickering flames of life’s unavoidable challenges. I sensed Jesus had wrapped me in his arms, holding me close beginning with the first doctor visit and while my pain-filled, weary body was ushered into the surgical suite. Continue reading Carry Me . . .
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
After the initial shock of the cancer diagnosis wore off, the reality of God’s profound presence became increasingly apparent with each passing day. Despite blood work and scans that revealed a worrisome prognosis, God’s perfect peace prevails and serves as an anchor for my soul. Continue reading God’s Perfect Peace Prevails . . .
“Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
I entered the new year filling in the calendar with activities I enjoy. I have three trips planned for the year: a mother-daughter getaway, a family trip to the beach in the summer and a week in Florida with my husband in December. It’s always good to have things to look forward to so we begin charting our course in January. My husband always said, “Anticipating the adventure is as exciting as the adventure itself.” Continue reading A New Journey Is About to Begin . . .
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
He arrived fresh from God. After years of prayer, he made his grand entrance into the room, into our lives and ever into our hearts. His long awaited arrival was met with joy, laughter, tears and awe — so enmeshed were the raw emotions as to be indistinguishable one from the other. Continue reading Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
1 Corinthians 9:25
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
During an early morning walk on the beach, football players in training were observed. These young men were improving their athletic ability and body coordination with plyometric and conditioning drills. The training was intended to improve their footwork and quickness. Athletes understand that speed and agility are two skills that are essential for success. These young men sacrifice sleep, comfort and ease in order to hone their skills and condition their bodies. Continue reading The Forever Crown
Isaiah 1:18 & 19
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.”
The pronouncement was made with authority. His statement was clear, leaving no room for doubt, debate or discussion. His matter-of-fact approach in wanting to set the record straight clarifies the conversation about man’s sinfulness and his inability to shed the curse of his humanity. Jesus spoke and the matter was put to rest, or was it? Continue reading Willing and Obedient
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
There are times when life becomes overwhelming, times that remind us of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” During such periods, I cannot be comforted nor consoled by any other than the Wonderful Counselor. Only He can calm the agony of my heart. Continue reading Peace of God
1 Corinthians 1:18
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Life is filled with countless choices, some mindless and mechanical, some thoughtful and intentional. Regardless, each choice places us on a path that alters our life and affects our eternal future. Stephen R. Covey wrote, “We are free to choose our actions, but we are not free to choose the consequences of these actions.” Continue reading To Those Who Are Perishing . . . Foolishness
1 Peter 5:8
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
It’s not uncommon to walk the shoreline and hear gulls squawking to each other. Gulls are reportedly resourceful, inquisitive and intelligent birds, demonstrating complex methods of communication and a highly developed social structure. Most gulls are carnivores, taking live food and scavenging opportunistically. Continue reading Spiritual Warfare
Photo by Paula Kuzman
1 Samuel 1:27
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.”
The day was upon them. The much anticipated confirmation was received with joy and thankful adoration. God in His infinite mercy had graced them with life within. “You’re pregnant.” The words resounded in their hearts and they were warmed as they marveled at the child that would now capture their hearts and enrich their lives. They prayed for this child and thanked God for His precious gift. Continue reading Praying Parents
2 Samuel 7:18
“Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”
Family. “You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” Quotes about family relationships are plentiful. The topic of family life evokes emotions unlike any other subject. Whether these early relationships are viewed as healthy or dysfunctional, we are all influenced — to some degree — by the persons we define as family.
My sister, my only sibling, is younger by two years and 10 days. All of our extended family members have passed; she is the only link to my childhood. Our shared history enabled us to experience the most formative years of our lives together. We understand each other today because we were witnesses to each other’s yesterdays. We remember the joys and sorrows, the good and bad and everything in between though unaware of the long shadows that were being cast into our future. Continue reading The Gift of Another Day
3 John 1:4
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
We prayed for our children as infants. The prayers flowed out of us like rushing water bubbling up from the depths of our souls. We questioned our capacity to endure the rigors of parenthood: sleepless nights, continuous feedings and mounds of diapers. We marveled that our children survived to their first birthdays and we praised God for His grace to see us through these challenging, but oh so charming, days. “Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray,” (Psalm 5:2).
We prayed for them as toddlers. We were convinced that an entourage of angels had been assigned to each of our children while they learned to walk and run. There is no other rationale for the “near misses,” those “could have been serious” trips and falls that accompanied their playful antics and fearless capers. “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways,” (Psalm 91:1). Continue reading May Our Children Walk in Truth
Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Located in the charming resort of Mackinac Island, Michigan, is the Seabiscuit Café. Regrettably, our brief time on the island prevented us from enjoying a meal at this local eatery. The restaurant features an appropriate horse theme from the 1938 true story of the famous Thoroughbred racehorse, Seabiscuit. The release of the movie version of Seabiscuit runs continuously on one of the restaurant’s four televisions.
As I read the sign outside the café, I was reminded of the 2003 movie. This movie had the capacity to touch hearts in a very profound way as it depicted the life of the unlikely champion racehorse, which became a symbol of hope to many Americans during the Great Depression. Captivated viewers observed Seabiscuit, an improbable victor, rise to fame in this poignant and inspiring film. The undersized Thoroughbred was not considered champion material, but paired with an unorthodox trainer and a troubled but experienced jockey, Seabiscuit excelled against all odds. Continue reading A Life Transformed
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
There is indeed a time for everything. It is common for us to not understand the how or why of an event or situation, but in time we come to see God’s hand in it. When we are young, we worry about what our peers think of us not understanding that shortly their names and faces will fade from our mind. Their unkind words and deeds will not be easily forgotten, but time will help to minimize the acute pain of their careless and insensitive attitudes and slights. For those of us who suffered at the hands of arrogant and oblivious peers, God’s healing balm on our damaged emotions enables us to move past the pain and forgive the unwitting and ignorant perpetrators — God’s time has become a healer. Continue reading There Is A Season
“However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all.”
The gift of life becomes more precious with each passing year. It would seem that as one ages, the gratitude for life becomes more intense, possibly because the majority of ones days are behind not before, and as such, each day becomes more precious. Youth seems oblivious to the fact that life is fleeting and things will not always remain as they are. A quote attributed to Lady Mary Wortley articulates the attitude of those who have yet to face their inevitable mortality. She writes: “There is nothing can pay one for that invaluable ignorance which is the companion of youth, those sanguine groundless hopes, and that lively vanity which makes all the happiness of life.”
Wortley views the ignorance of youth as invaluable and describes their cheerful optimism as baseless. The problem with this kind of hopefulness is that it is quickly examined and found wanting when such pleasure is based on favorable situations and an expectant future. Many individuals tramp through decades of their lives clinging to things that have no substance, to people that will disappoint, and to philosophies that will evaporate in the face of life’s inevitable trials and tribulations. Continue reading Life is Fleeting, Seek God
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”
The Inn at Spanish Bay is nestled among majestic Monterey pines, fronted by a Scottish-style links golf course. The coastline is breathtaking. People gather around fire pits to anxiously await the arrival of the solitary bagpiper, as the sun sets in the western sky. Walking up the fairway, the haunting sound of his pipes mesmerizes and evocatively stirs ones emotions. The glorious sound drifts through the air while the ocean breeze carries the enchanting strains closer and closer. It is a spectacular sight that was made extraordinary because of the piper’s selection, “Amazing Grace,” John Newton’s timeless and most recognizable hymn.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now, I see.”
It was on a Sunday that I prayed to receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My physical birth and my spiritual birth occurred on the same day, 30 years apart. My friends and family did not believe that my newfound “faith” would last, as I was not a person that one would have identified as a candidate for salvation. Continue reading God Shaped Vacuum
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
The graceful and fluid bird soared in the winter sky, drawn toward the sun as a moth is to a flame. As it rose in ever increasing spirals it appeared as though it might will itself into the sun. Unfettered it flew through its vast domain with agility and ease. This is how God intended it to be. And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky,” (Genesis 1:20).
As I admired God’s handiwork in the creation of this beautiful bird, I thought about the words of Matthew 6:26: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” What do the birds intuitively know that we’ve yet to understand? I believe the lesson for us is to live in such a way that we are not held captive and enslaved by the cares of the world. We learn to be content in every situation and trust that our Father is willing and able to meet our every need. Continue reading My Peace I Leave You . . .
Hebrews 6:19, 20
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
While driving through California’s 17-mile scenic drive in Pebble Beach, our family stopped to photograph one of the most infamous trees in North America, the Lone Cypress. Standing proudly on the granite hillside, the Lone Cypress has long been a symbol of strength, grace and beauty. Morton Cathro wrote the following about the Lone Cypress in his June 7, 1987 article in the Los Angeles Times: “Ravaged by arsonists’ fire splattered with pranksters’ paint, stripped by vandals and whipped by relentless ocean winds, one of America’s sturdiest and most familiar natural landmarks still poses proudly for yet another generation of camera-carrying travelers.”
Generations have made a pilgrimage to pay homage to this hardy tree that is representative of survival and perseverance. Its presence reminds us of ourselves and others who have experienced the fire of adversity and the relentless assaults that come from living in a fallen world. Through respectful admiration we are reminded of the times that our human dignity has been stripped away and we have lain naked, bare and exposed as a result of uninvited and uncontrollable emotional or physical afflictions. Continue reading Our Soul’s Anchor
“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.”
It was one of those lessons that comes out of nowhere, catches you off guard and leaves you humbled and broken before God. It started off as a day of anticipation and excitement. We were sitting at the airport waiting to board the plane that would transport us from the east to the west coast. We were engaged in a favorite past time of travelers, people watching. Airports are a hub for exposed humanity. The human race is there on parade, raw and uncensored.
He approached the gate, worn and tattered. This tall, hobbling man was massive and unkempt. To my shame I thought, “Wouldn’t it be my luck to be seated next to that man during this long flight.” Once on board, I approached my seat with resignation and annoyance as my fears were realized. It would be a long flight. As I took my seat I didn’t speak to the man, as if my silence could eradicate his presence. Continue reading Pride, Arrogance, and Conceit
1 Corinthians 4:7
“For who makes you different from anyone else?”
Immediately noticeable in the midst of the herd of black cows was one that was white. This cow stood out from the rest, easily recognizable, clearly different.
In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul writing to the believers in Rome wrote, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
In our world where political correctness demands that all conform to the societal edicts of the day — we fear being different. We have witnessed the incalculable ramifications to those whose voice would not be silenced as they stood out, stood up and stood firm in faith, believing God and His Word. We have observed the professional, political and personal demise of brothers and sisters who dared to be different and we envision our own demise should we follow suit. Continue reading True and Proper Worship
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
For one week during the month of May, the French Riviera becomes a mecca for the rich and famous. Founded in 1946, The Cannes International Film Festival previews new films of all genres from around the world. The red carpet ushers the elite and hopeful elect into its doors at the Palais des Festivals, as tourists view the yacht-filled harbor and lie in wait for a glimpse of a favored celebrity.
The trip to Cannes was met with great anticipation and delight. It was exciting to have been afforded the opportunity to witness such a prestigious and publicized gathering. The harbored city was breathtaking, profuse with the magnificence one would expect of this beautiful European seaside. Continue reading I AM The Way
“Our end was near, our days were numbered, for our end had come.”
Despite our cultural diversity, political persuasion, economic status or religious preference, there is one commonality that humanity shares; none can escape the fact that one day we will no longer dwell on this earth. It has been said that the heritage we were given is not as important as the legacy we leave behind. As we reflect on the measure of our lives and ponder the inevitability of our departure, we can’t help but consider what will be our legacy. Although the Bible is filled with stories that provide us with role models to follow, there are lessons to be learned from the life of Jacob.
Jacob’s life teaches that we don’t need to be perfect to be blessed by God. We can identify with Jacob because in some ways his life echoes our own sinfulness. Jacob’s humanity was viewed throughout his life story, his human weaknesses and struggles with God are laid bare. However, as Jacob matured in his faith, his dependence upon God grew in increasing measure. After a lifetime of striving to control his own life, Jacob surrendered control to God who ultimately blesses greatly this imperfect person. Continue reading Bless Your Children With God’s Truth
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
The sun rising in the morning sky is magnificent as the golden orb makes its grand appearance. The sun’s ascent into the cerulean blue sky always inspires and reminds us of the majesty of God. As the brightness rises in the sky, the beautiful rays of golden light break through the clouds — its brilliance cannot be contained. Its consuming light absorbs the blue sky as the sun’s warmth blankets the earth. On this particular morning as the reflected light touches the ocean’s surface it gives the appearance of glittering jewels ushering a path back to the sun. Continue reading The Faithfulness of God
“The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided and all was calm.”
Have you been there? Has life ever dealt you a blow that made you feel as though you were drowning? It is that overwhelming sense of dread accompanied by fear and paralysis. The unsuspecting wife who is told she is no longer loved knows that feeling. She is overwhelmed at the prospect of facing her future without her beloved husband.
Your neighbor knows the feeling. He was the loyal employee with 27 years of dedicated service to his company; he rarely missed work and loved his job. When he was called to a meeting in Human Resources, he was stunned to learn that he would be joining the ranks of the unemployed. Continue reading Be Still And Know That I Am God
“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”
Sometimes it seems as though life is flying by. The fast paced existence that finds many of us barely keeping our head above water has become an unwelcome but established standard of living. We’ve become so habituated to the frenetic stride of our culture that we speed through life scarcely catching our breath, unconsciously and mindlessly racing through the activities of the day.
Many of us live in a state of perpetual anticipation, planning for some future event, all the while wishing or waiting our life away. We talk about just getting through the day’s events while balancing employment, extended family obligations and household responsibilities. The days turn into months and the months into years and we find ourselves living in a reactionary approach to life, putting out today’s fires and waking to do it all over again tomorrow. Continue reading Mary Was Not Distracted
“Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”
Easter is approaching and for those who love Jesus Christ, it is a day of unbridled celebration. Easter is after all, the foundation of the Christian faith. If Christ had not risen from the dead, then our faith would be in vain. But our faith is resolute because Christ is risen. Indeed He is risen!
The week leading up to Easter, known as Holy Week, is rich with stories that at once devastate and enrich the heart. We are amazed at the mingling of grief and joy while fully aware of the fact that the sorrowful Good Friday experience was essential to the Easter morning ecstasy. Our feelings span a spectrum of emotions as we consider the days beginning with Maundy Thursday and culminating with Resurrection Sunday. Continue reading He Is Risen!
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
The Cardinal, beautiful and resplendent in its red coat, stood out among the green pines. He sat perched and attentive on the branch, surveying his surroundings. I snapped the camera incessantly in an effort to capture the image of this stunning creature of God. He appeared in an instant, rested among the dense conifers, then abruptly took flight, disappearing from my sight.
God’s magnificent handiwork is often observed in such snapshot moments. Opportunities to recognize and appreciate the majesty of God are not infrequent but go largely unnoticed. It is not that God is obscure and illusive, but that our frenzied and perpetual activities preclude us from practicing and acknowledging the presence of God in our daily lives. As God-consciousness is prayerfully developed and intentionally pursued, ones senses are awakened and awesome wonder replaces mediocrity. Continue reading God ‘Sightings’
“May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!”
Photo by marie kelley photography
The children are adults now, blessed with children of their own. Amazingly, the births of our son and daughter are etched in our minds and hearts and replayed at will. Like videos that capture moments in time, these remembered film reels have not faded but are preserved and conditioned with each nostalgic journey back to those miraculous birth events and the succeeding joyful years of parenthood. Continue reading The Everlasting Child
“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.”
Photo by marie kelley photography
[full_width padding=”0px 15px 0px 15px”]We will be celebrating 35 years of marriage. We met when I was 17 years young and fresh out of high school. My first employment opportunity placed me in his setting and ultimately placed him in my heart.
I couldn’t have anticipated our future together for we had little in common but our uncanny ability to communicate on a level that permitted mutual understanding and unconditional acceptance. The unceasing flow of self-revelation, the unbridled exchange of intimate thoughts and feelings provided the fodder for a penetratingly cherished friendship. Continue reading Thirty-five Years of Marriage
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
The path was small, shrouded by halophytic foliage. A tangled canopy was created by the foliage obscuring the view of the vast ocean and never-ending blue sky. A trail sliced through the soft marble-white sand and footprints marked the way to the beach. The halophytic corridors served to keep one on the narrow way until at once the vast ocean appeared and unfolded like a fan. Continue reading God’s Path: The Way The Truth and The Life
“He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.”
For as long as I can remember, fear has been my constant companion. This distressing emotion reached a crescendo and accelerated into full blown panic attacks in the second decade of my life. Continue reading From Fear To Love
“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.”
It is early morning. The room is still darkened by the blanket of night, but ribbons of light will soon appear through the curtained windows. He awakens slowly, his stirrings becoming increasingly audible as he greets the new day. He begins his morning conversing with his fingers and toes. Inspecting his hands, he talks to them, tastes them and then talks some more. His parents, sleeping nearby, hear the unintelligible chatter of their first born and are stirred from slumber. They lay listening in rapt attention to their sweet baby’s voice. Continue reading The Voice of a Child
“Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.”
Photo by marie kelley photography
While traveling through Europe, love padlocks appear in unexpected places. The love padlocks shown above were observed in Rome, commonly an adornment to bridges. There are varied explanations for the origin of the love padlocks, but it is reported that love padlocks started appearing in Europe in the early 2000s. Typically the sweethearts’ names or initials are inscribed on the padlock, and its key is thrown away to symbolize unbreakable love. Continue reading Lovelocks
“And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, ‘You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.’”
Originally, the place was known as the “Garden of the Angels.” The Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater is a rock structure near Morrison, Colorado, 15 miles west of Denver where performances have been held for more than 100 years. It is reported that 9,450 people may be seated in the amphitheater and performers from every genre of music have graced the stage throughout its history. Continue reading Easter Morning at Red Rocks
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
I remember the days of old, when no one lived but me,
I sat at the window and cried to God, His face I longed to see.
I told Him of the sorrow deep, the scars that would not heal
He listened to me patiently, my anguish much too real.
I thought I was alone that day as I cried unto the sky,
And never did I dream that I had tempted Him to cry.
I lived a life of solitude, alone in my despair,
Not knowing He was watching all, that He was always there.
And when in love the years gone by, we sat alone we two,
I shared my hurts and told Him all that He already knew.
He understood as no one else, the hidden parts of me,
For all along there wasn’t one, but one and Holy Three.
Father God, It was good for me to be afflicted so I might learn your decrees (Psalm 119:71). In my alarm I said, ‘I am cut off from your sight!’ Yet You heard my cry for mercy when I called to You for help (Psalm 31:22). Your Word says, ‘If you seek Him with all of your heart and with all your soul, you will find Him’ (Deuteronomy 4:29). You were faithful to Your Word. Isaiah 34:17 reminds us, ‘He allots their portions; his hand distributes them by measure. They will possess it forever and dwell there from generation to generation.’ So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! (Proverbs 7:15). In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Psalm 121:8 “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.”
“Off Duty…Call 911.” How would we feel if we needed help and those who could help were “Off Duty.” Recently my deepest fears have been awakened. My husband and children have faced health issues that placed us in various states of emergency. As my family members faced their own unique trials, my faith was tested and my affections revealed; those affections were observed raw and unguarded.
As a wife, seeing my life-long friend suffering so seemed incomprehensible. It became readily apparent that regardless of the years spent together, in the end, it’s never enough. As a mother, protecting my children comes as natural as breathing. The innate response to shield and care for ones own is so strong that it cuts through communal mores and is obtuse to the boundaries one should follow when interacting with ones adult children. Continue reading Watching Over You
Matthew 26:40, 41
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before Jesus’ crucifixion.
It is in Gethsemane that the depth of Jesus’ distress is recorded. Speaking to three of his disciples Jesus says, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Anticipating his crucifixion and overwhelmed with sorrow, Jesus bears his soul and solicits the support of those in his inner circle. Jesus leaves to pray and upon his return, finds the disciples asleep. It is during Jesus’ darkest hour that those closest to him have succumbed to an unconscious state. We see the contrasting responses of our Lord and the disciples; Jesus is anguished and prayerful while the disciples succumb to sleep. Instead of berating the men for their failure, Jesus tenderly instructs them saying, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Continue reading In the Garden . . .