Rejoicing in the “Wilderness”

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””

Hope from the Ashes

Unshaken Hope Ministries banner

The background photo on our website speaks hope to me. The vibrant flowers catch your eye at first, but behind them in the distance towers the remains of Mount St. Helens, a volcano which erupted in May 1980, covering the area in lava and filling the air with ashes. I recall as a child witnessing on TV the devastation caused by its powerful eruption, and in 2017, my family visited the site to see it for ourselves. Continue reading “Hope from the Ashes”

From Worrier to Warrior

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”

A Love Note From God

It’s February and love is in the air! Red roses and heart-shaped boxes of candy greet shoppers as they enter the stores. Bright reds and pinks flood the aisles of greeting cards. Valentine’s Day is all about love, and about taking the time to express love to the special people in your life.

All of this reminds me of my childhood and the love notes that kids passed to each other in school. A scrap of notebook paper, folded into a tiny wad bore this simple message: “I love you. Do you love me? Check one box (yes or no).” The one writing the note was putting himself out there to be accepted or rejected. It took guts to put his name on a note like that and pass it to his beloved, watching with great anticipation or trepidation as she discreetly unfolded the note, read it, and checked one of the boxes. What would her answer be? Continue reading “A Love Note From God”

The Fear of God in You

fear of God Jamaica Sunset

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”

A Pleasing Aroma

Pleasing Aroma Cup of Coffee

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”

The Ultimate Journey

The Ultimate Journey

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”