“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