At this time of year, nearly everywhere we go we see signs of Christmas. We like to drive through our community, turn on some Christmas music, and enjoy the decorations that adorn the yards and houses. Twinkling lights of various colors hang on bushes and trees and outline the houses. There are evergreen wreaths embellished with red and gold ribbons, candles glowing in the windows, and Christmas trees overflowing with gifts of all sizes and shapes. Yards are filled with large plastic or inflatable characters, from Santa and snowmen to the Nativity with Baby Jesus at the center – the baby who was also known as the King of the Jews.
Food will put our willpower to the test. As soon as we hear that we should not eat something because it’s bad for us, we begin to crave it! Food was given to us for our nourishment and to enjoy, but God also uses it to test us and to teach us. Continue reading “The Bread of Life”
It was our last night of vacation in Jamaica. We wanted a picture of the sun setting over the water, so we lingered on the beach long after most of the tourists had called it a day. As we waited there, we noticed a lone security guard nearby. We knew nothing about this woman, but we felt prompted to strike up a conversation with her. Continue reading “The Fear of God in You”
What’s that smell? Cookies baking in the oven? Popcorn popping in the microwave? Burgers on the grill? Those aromas can create a hunger in me even if it isn’t mealtime! But while these scents can make my mouth water, there are other food-smells that have the opposite effect. I’m not a fan of collards. They give off a distinctive, strong odor while cooking. It is such a strong smell that I’ve heard some people cook them outside so that the odor will not permeate the whole house. I wouldn’t want my house to smell like collards, but you may love the way collards smell. The way we evaluate scents depends on our own preferences – it is very subjective.
Like foods emit aromas to us, if we are Christians, “we are the aroma of Christ to God” (2 Corinthians 2:15). Continue reading “A Pleasing Aroma”
Food is an important part of our daily lives. We need it to survive. I do most of the cooking in my home, which means I plan the meals, buy the ingredients, prepare the food, serve it, and finally, eat it. It takes time to do all these things, so food and all the tasks around it occupy my thoughts on a daily basis.
From the very beginning, God provided food in the Garden of Eden for man to eat. It was “pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:9). The purpose of food is to nourish our bodies, but in addition to that, God made it pleasant. He wanted man to enjoy that which was good for him. Continue reading “Food for Thought”
At this time of year, many people start thinking about summer vacations. It pays to plan ahead because you can save money and ensure that you stay where you want to stay when you want to stay there. If you don’t like to plan all the details, maybe you would prefer to do what we did recently: pick your destination and let someone else do all the planning.
My dad and I chose our destination: Israel. That’s the only thing we did. Continue reading “The Ultimate Journey”
Traveling to Israel, “the Holy Land,” was life-changing in ways I had never imagined. In the middle of our 10-day journey, we found ourselves at a lovely hotel at the Dead Sea. This was a much-needed respite from all the walking we had done and still had ahead of us later in the week. I thought it would be like any other day at the beach, but I was wrong. Continue reading “Dead Sea, Living Water”
On October 2, 2017, our family was struck by tragedy when my husband’s only brother was murdered – shot and killed in his own driveway while heading out to work. In the days that followed, the Lord clearly called us to share our story and our hope with others. It started with my mother-in-law sharing at his funeral. From there, my mother-in-law, niece, and I have been walking through every door the Lord has opened to us to offer His hope to others.
Sensing that our call was not just to a particular church or denomination, but rather to the entire community, we sought the Lord about where to go and how to start. Continue reading “Answering His Call”
The Olympics: The torch, the ceremonies, the medals, and the athletes. Night after night, we are engaged by the competition and by the inspiring background stories of the competitors. They have trained for years, investing endless hours in the gym, on the slopes or on the ice, just to compete here. Each one has a unique story, some of which are full of adversity along their paths to the Olympics – injuries, the deaths of family members, financial distress, etc. We are inspired by their ability to overcome their circumstances and to focus on the end goal: a medal.
Every person faces adversity at some point, and like these athletes, we must focus on the end goal.
One of my own challenges came in the form of my cancer diagnosis a few years ago. Continue reading “Eyes on the Prize”
It was about a year ago that we had our last “normal” family meal to celebrate a family birthday. On January 21, 2017, our extended family came together to watch a church basketball game coached by my two college-aged sons, and then we went out for lunch to celebrate one of their birthdays. Birthdays were never missed in our family. My parents would call, usually early in the morning, to sing “Happy Birthday” to the one celebrating, and we always tried to have a family meal sometime around the birthday. Family time is important to us, and we have been incredibly blessed to live close to our extended family so that we could be together for these fun occasions.
Within four weeks, we celebrate three birthdays each year in January and February. So, when the next birthday came on February 16, 2017, we had planned a family dinner on Friday the 17th. But everything changed on February 16th. Continue reading “New morning, new mercies!”