Friday, December 21, 2012

Beyond the Frozen Forest!

My long awaited labor of love is born! Beyond the Frozen Forest is in print and I am overjoyed to be able to announce its arrival! Here's where you can catch a preview:

The birth of this baby has also resulted in the creation of a brand new nursery (site) for the blog--so please join me there from now on--and invite your friends if you'd be so kind. The address is:

I am grateful to every friend, family member and "yet to be met" friend who has visited this blog, prayed for my project, and/or taken time from your life to read anything I'd write.

You are the apple of God's eye and a blessing to me.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fear Not!

"Fear not!" Two words repeatedly uttered in the pages of the Holy Scriptures by a God well acquainted with every reason we have to be afraid.

He planned for us to be fearless. He planned to provide and protect, love and direct, but we didn't listen to the one requirement that would have guaranteed our permanent place under his sheltering umbrella. And so we fear.

With good reason. There is evil lurking. It kills children and lovers of children. It brings wars, pestilence, famine and disease. It offers us thousands of reasons to be afraid, very afraid.

But He wouldn't leave us this way--this God who still longed to protect and defend, love and relate--was not pleased to leave us desperate for hope and courage.

So he said it again, those incredible words, "fear not!" as he introduced the only remedy that exists for fears that can cripple.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2: 10-11

What greater gift is there than a Savior who redeems us from the hopeless place of faithless fear by offering us a path of return to the shelter of the Most High?

That's the gift of Christmas. Through Christ Jesus, God makes it possible for us to be fearless even when we walk through the valley of death's shadow.

When the evils of this world seem too much to bear, the message of Christmas's solace is a resounding "fear not," echoing peace to an earthbound heart so heavy with the weight of sin's sorrows.

Well acquainted with our grief and far too familiar with the results of our sin sickness, the baby of Christmas (Jesus Christ) has given us this gift:

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 

Priceless and treasured, his promise is peace when everything screams panic, faith when reason screams fear. This is the gift of Christmas, and I can't quite find an adequate way to say thank you.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

a HIGH way!

~Chronological Study, Isaiah 35 through 38 reflections~

Two years ago tomorrow my Dad left earth for his forever home in heaven.  This morning as I reflect on life, loss and legacies, the passages from my Bible study bring glimpses of a future hope that is peace giving and precious.

Just before turning out the lights on another day last night, I read the headlines. The leading stories included sad details about a thirteen year old local boy whose life seemed full of promise being shot--and killed--by his best friend. That was followed by several other tragic reports.  Every day's news is full of discouraging tales of a bad economy, unrest in the Middle East, political gaffes and attacks, and heaping helpings of other negativity heavy enough to weigh down the strongest shoulders.

God's children endured their own distressing reports as described in Isaiah 34, but in Isaiah 35 a page is turned that brings comforting reminders of a future day of peace and protection in the form of what is called the Highway of Holiness.

We've probably all imagined the streets of gold that are depicted in scripture, but this highway and its description is set apart. It's a route created by God for a specific group of people that will be revealed when he restores through Christ what the enemy has stolen.  I read these verses aloud and had chills:

And a great road will go through that once deserted land.  It will be named the Highway of Holiness.  Evil-minded people will never travel on it.  It will be only for those who walk in God's ways; fools will never walk there.  Lions will not lurk along its course, nor any other ferocious beasts.  There will be no other dangers.  Only the redeemed will walk on it.  Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return.  They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy.  Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness. Isaiah 35:8-10
Can you picture it?  Not just a path, a highway crafted specifically for those who have been ransomed and redeemed.  And my Dad was.  Far from perfect (and the first one to admit that) Dad surrendered his heart to Jesus Christ as forgiver and leader and never looked back. 

Because I have done the same, someday after I've seen Jesus face to face my redeemer will reunite me with Daddy (and all who've gone before me who placed their trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sin).  On that day, having left the bad news of this present world behind, we'll walk hand in hand on the Highway of Holiness--laughing, celebrating and experiencing real life the way it was meant to be before sin messed up God's beautiful plan.  

Recently, I heard someone say something that I think about every day:
For the follower of Christ, your very worst day on earth is as bad as things will EVER be!  Unbeliever, your very best day on earth is as good as you can ever hope for!
What better reason to trust Jesus could there be? My prayer is that one day every person who reads this will travel that highway. It's only promised to those who have a token for the toll at its entrance but the token, though priceless, is free. It was paid for in full by the precious blood of the Savior who died so that you and I (and my Dad) might live forever in a place where there is no bad news.  See you there? 


Friday, August 3, 2012

Going for Gold!

Olympic mania is upon us.  Some of my friends have stayed up so late watching their favorite events they could barely drag themselves out of bed this week.  This got me thinking about us watchers versus competitors.

I am athletically challenged.   I was on a swim team as a kid (you didn't have to qualify, you only had to show up and sign up) and I participated in a water ballet group as a preteen (yes, it's true and it was a beautiful thing--I could tread water for 30 minutes without making a ripple). Other than that, my only athletic endeavors of note included winning a blue (paper) ribbon (the same as a gold medal mind you) in an Accuracy Pitch competition (beating out everyone at Paw Creek Elementary including boys). Alas, we didn't have a girl's softball team back then, so I will never know if I was destined to be one of the sport's greats. Sigh.

This season that is so dripping wet with athletic intensity and displays of physical stamina, endurance and prowess has brought to mind recollections of some of my favorite Olympians in years gone by.  I remember images of a red, white and blue swimsuit donning, gold medal wearing Mark Spitz just before my tonsillectomy at age 13.  I clearly recall telling my doctor that his office would be less ugly if he replaced the posters of ear canals and sinuses with a framed print of America's best swimmer. He did not laugh.

Through the years, quotes from some of the best Olympic athletes have resonated with me.  Here are a few favorites:

"The first thing is to love your sport. Never do it to please someone else. It has to be yours." figure skater Miss Peggy Fleming, 1968
 "When anyone tells me I can't do anything, I'm just not listening anymore." 1988 gold medalist, 1988 and 1984 silver medalist Florence Griffith-Joyner
"I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match." Mia Hamm, 2004 gold medalist 
This sort of intensity and passion has to be present in order to get Olympic gold, which got me thinking,  what if there could be a "Christian Olympics"?  Not an athletic competition for Christians, but something that was just between us and God--where He was the giver of gold and we were the ones in training--each and every day doing what was necessary to be the best possible servant of His in the entire world?

I can only imagine the kind of world we'd live in if every time we were tempted to throw in the towel, or get mad at the coach, or blame somebody or something other than ourselves for missed training time, we did't succumb to temptation and instead focused like flint (Isaiah 50:7) on pursuing the gold for God's honor and glory.  What if I treated this journey with Jesus as seriously as an Olympic competitor treats his sport?  I am guessing my life would look and be quite different.

This morning, I'm just thinking about these things and praying that God will give me the kind of intensity, drive, determination and motivation needed to pursue spiritual gold.  In 1984, tiny Mary Lou Retton won gold, silver and bronze medals in gymnastics.  Here were her words: "Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something.  It's our goal in life to find it and keep it lit."  I've found my fire, have you?  Let's keep it lit living for Jesus!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Love Matters~

If every word I speak or write is seasoned with such gracious goodness that even the angels can't compete with my eloquence--but my heart and actions are unloving-- I may as well have remained silent for I offer nothing more than noise that mirrors that of this dying world. (1 Cor. 13:1; my interpretation)

Friday, March 23, 2012


Like living fireworks, God's magnificent spring display mirrors the picture of resurrection. Twigs flower, bulbs bloom, He lives!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Mighty Fortress...

Recently, my daughter and I have had fun remembering some of the old songs we sang at church many years ago--several silly children's songs with not-so-silly messages ("Lord's Army" anyone) and some packed with powerful  principle ("A Mighty Fortress") but a little challenging to interpret. 

What began as the creation of a "let's teach these forgotten oldies-but-goodies to her little ones," list, turned into a trip down melody memory lane that in some ways has felt reminiscent of an, "I'm going down to the creek just to stick my toes in the water," day, that ended with the discovery of gold in the stream!

I'd love to hear about special songs you remember or plan to teach your children or grandchildren, particularly if you'd be willing to share why the song is important to you.

Here are a few I've rediscovered, but I'm still mining-- so if you have ideas, do share them:

God is so Good

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Nothing but the Blood

Have Thine Own Way Lord

O How He Loves You and Me

Jesus, Name Above All Names

Jesus Loves the Little Children

I Surrender All

Wherever He Leads I'll Go

Blessed Assurance

Lord I Want to Be a Christian

The Joy of the Lord (will be my strength)

Savior, Like a Shepherd

The purpose of this post isn't to begin a dialog or start a debate on the merits or necessity of singing old hymns in modern church services, it's merely to point out that since we don't typically sing them, we have a great opportunity to introduce the children in our lives to melodies with messages that are timeless even if the style is no longer considered current.  Hopefully, when they are old(er) like their Nana~ these truths, like gleaming nuggets of gold, will serve to remind them of a faithful Father, who, "like a shepherd leads" all who place their trust in Him alone for salvation.  so...Praise Him, praise Him...all ye little children...