I love to take long walks on the beach, especially at sunrise. I love the quietness of the morning, the warmth of the ocean breeze, and the time talking with Jesus. This year while our family were vacationing at the beach, I went out several mornings for these special quiet walks with Jesus, reflecting on His abundant blessings in my life, asking Him for guidance for difficult situations, thanking Him in advance for the wisdom He is sure to give. Prayer-walking is a great way to start the day, and sometimes the Lord speaks to me in memorable ways. He taught me about walking by faith, keeping in step with Him, and taking time to pause along the way to enjoy His presence.
As I was walking and praying one morning, I noticed footprints ahead of me in the damp sand. There weren’t many people on the beach yet, so more than likely they were left there the night before. At times, the sand was cluttered with numerous footprints going in various directions while other places displayed only a few sets of prints. It was in one of these scantily trodden places that I noticed a particular set of footprints. The impression left in the sand by someone else’s sandals matched mine, almost exactly! (My footprint is the one on the left in the photo.) Continue reading “Walking by Faith”
How easily shocked are you by the lives of others who are different from you?
When we continually surround ourselves only with people who have similar belief systems and values, it can result in fear, judgment, and distancing ourselves from others who are different. But this is not Christ-like. In fact, it is more like the Pharisees in the Bible. The Pharisees were the religious ones, the rule-enforcers, the ones who lived a separate life. They judged and condemned others while being blind to their own sinful ways. In contrast, Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), He ate with sinners (Matthew 9:11) and touched untouchable lepers (Matthew 8:3). He didn’t withdraw from them. He drew near to them. John Burke, the author of Unshockable Love: How Jesus Changes the World through Imperfect People, challenges us to examine our hearts to see whether we are more like Jesus or more like the Pharisees.
Why should we accept this challenge?
Continue reading “Recommended Reading: Unshockable Love How Jesus Changes the World through Imperfect People”
Our family’s Christmas decorations include trees and lights, candles and wreaths, and several nativity sets scattered throughout the house. This year, I thought it would be fun to have my two-year-old grandson, James, help me set up the manger scenes, partly because he enjoys animals so much. While we worked, he named the animals and the sounds they made, but one thing that surprised me was his fascination with Baby Jesus, not only then, but also during the days leading up to Christmas. Continue reading “Captivated by Christ”
I grew up going to church practically every time the doors were opened. In fact, my dad was one of the holders of the church keys, so we were often the first ones there or the last ones to leave. I have many fond memories of that church building. It was there I heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was there I made my public profession of faith in Jesus as a child and was subsequently baptized by the pastor and my dad (a deacon) in a local pond on a church member’s farm. It was there I was asked to serve as the church pianist at age 15 because there was no one else to play. It was in that little building I committed to live the rest of my life with my husband at age 22.
Church. A place where a congregation of about 120 felt like a big extended family. A place where I learned about Jesus and His Word. A place around which our entire lives seemed to revolve. We didn’t belong to a country club or civic group. We had family and we had church. But is “church” merely a place to attend? Or is it more than that?
Recently, I had the opportunity to read The Jesus Paradigm by David Alan Black. In his book, Dr. Black challenges us to take a hard look at the way we “do church” and compare it with the example Jesus gives us in the Bible. Continue reading “Recommended Reading: The Jesus Paradigm”
When I was growing up, summertime promised a break from school and homework, but it also meant separation from most of my school friends who I didn’t see otherwise. I could be excited about the summer break, or find reasons to be sad. It’s all about perspective: Would I view it as an adventure to enjoy or as a desolate wilderness to muddle through?
As Christians, we have very great and precious promises available to us (2 Peter 1:3). Jesus offers forgiveness, everlasting love, reconciliation to God, a coming restoration of all things. But He also promised we will have troubles (John 16:33), seasons in the “wilderness,” so to speak. Like my attitude toward childhood summers, we must choose whether we will view these challenging times as an adventure to enjoy or as a desolate wilderness to muddle through. Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10) and full joy (John 15:11), so we don’t need to settle for “muddling through” anything. Continue reading “Rejoicing in the “Wilderness””
Consider this a book review. My personal opinion.
I just read Vance Pitman’s book: Unburdened: Stop Living for Jesus So Jesus Can Live Through You and it is a life-changing read! So many of us, as followers of Christ, feel that we have to follow rules and be perfect to be sure of our salvation. In essence we say we are saved by faith but kept by works, saved by grace, but sanctified by works. We can get caught in the trap of focusing on the works we do as Believers, rather than focusing on Christ Himself.
In his book, Pitman challenges us to abide in Jesus through simple and pure devotion to Him. He teaches that the life of a Jesus-follower ought to look like the life of Christ because as we abide in Him, He lives through us. Pitman’s study of the Gospels of the Bible revealed that Jesus’ life was centered on relationships with God the Father, with His disciples, and with the world. Relationships, not religion. Continue reading “Recommended Reading: Unburdened: Stop Living for Jesus So Jesus Can Live Through You”
Recently, a friend said to me, “You’re such a warrior.” Maybe it was her Southern accent, or maybe it was my poor hearing, but I didn’t hear “warrior.” I heard “worrier.” So, my response to her was, “Well, I used to be, but I’m not any more. God rescued me from the pit of worry.” She was puzzled by my response and spelled it out for me: “W-a-r-r-i-o-r, not worrier!”
Me? A warrior?
I’ve shared before about my struggles with worrying (read more in “The War with Worry”), and the Lord has done a great work in me. He has rewired the way I think. No longer do I jump headfirst into the deep end of the pool of worries and woes. No longer do I let my thoughts run over the cliff like a runaway train with no bridge ahead. How did He do it? It was a process, for sure, but the final blow to my habit of worrying came through the gift of cancer. Continue reading “From Worrier to Warrior”
I was driving in the rain and noticed flashes of light out of the corner of my eye. At first, I thought there was lightning accompanying the rain, but then I realized there was no thunder. The flashes of light were always in the same spot, and they continued even after I was back at home and inside the house. These flashes were happening within my right eye. The eye doctor confirmed that this is quite common among people my age, and so far my eyesight has not been impaired.
Eyesight is something we can take for granted. If we lose it, our lifestyle is impacted in every way – no more driving, and we have to learn new ways of doing practically everything from reading to cooking to walking without injuring ourselves or someone else. Eyesight is precious for our physical lives, but also vital to our spiritual lives.