Thursday, April 28, 2011


     There is so much buzz this week over the royal wedding taking place in England.  I must admit that I enjoy the pomp and circumstance of such an occasion.  It takes me back to all the fairy tales I ever read about the common girl who finds the prince of her dreams.  Romance, the sounds of celebration and smiling faces - who couldn't be excited about an event like this?
     I remember getting ready for my own wedding with my heart and stomach doing the flutter dance before the ceremony began.  Would everything go smoothly?  How would I feel when I walked down that aisle with my father?  I need not have been concerned because when I walked through the doors into the church sanctuary and looked into the eyes of my groom all other thoughts vanished.  He was the love of my life, and we were going to have a life together.  But there was someone else present as we said those vows that has kept us together all these years.  Jesus Christ.  He is not only our Savior and Lord, but He is also the Royal Bridegroom that waits for us.
     A day will come, says the Scripture, when we will be presented before Him.  The picture of the bride in all her radiance is described in Ephesians 5:25-27:  "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing that she might be holy and without blemish."  Oh, what a beautiful picture, and one that Vera Wang nor any other designer could ever duplicate.  Christ not only saves us, but He cleans us up removing the stains of sin that desecrate our souls.  He takes our "Cinderella rags" and exchanges them for robes of righteousness that we can be presented to Him as a perfect bride.  What humbling words from the Bible.  It doesn't end there, though.
     A feast is being prepared in heaven that we cannot even imagine.  As outstanding as the royal reception in England might be, it will not hold a candle to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  Revelations 19:6-8 describes the occasion:  "Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
 'Hallelujah!  For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.  Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure' - for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.  And the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'  And he said to me, 'These are the true words of God.'"  This tremendous banquet is being prepared for those who believe.  Jesus, Himself, said:  "I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:29).  This is where we shall be united with our Lord and Savior forever, but when we see Him, what will His appearance be like?
      Revelation describes our Bridegroom in terms that dazzle.  Prince William is handsome and will look smart in his uniform, but nothing can compare with our Lord.  Chapter 19:11-16 describe in detail how He will be arrayed.  He will wear not a crown of thorns but many diadems.  He rides on a white horse instead of a donkey.  His robe will be dipped in blood and He is called "The Word of God."  Following Him are the armies of heaven also riding on white horses rather than the angry mobs crying for His crucifixion.   His eyes are like flames of fire and out of His mouth comes a sharp sword from which to strike down the nations.  Verse 16 says:  "On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords."  What a picture...a far cry from the scene we saw at Calvary.  Here, then, is our King, our Bridegroom, our Savior.
     Our weddings here on earth are just a shadow...a foretaste of what lies ahead for us as believers.  We need to embrace this and meditate on it for God has promised this inheritance to those who believe in His Son.  What a day it will be, and for all eternity, we will enjoy the presence of our Lord and King.  No other celebrations will be able to compare to the Royal Wedding that awaits us in Christ!  Selah!

How do you picture the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?  How are you preparing yourself as the Bride?

Photo courtesy of


Wednesday, April 27, 2011


     Having grown up in a family with a well-known criminal attorney for my grandfather, I was exposed to all things concerning the law from the time I was little.  My father would usually go and visit my grandparents every evening and I always begged to go along.  I would sit and listen to their discussions concerning various cases that were in the news and the evidence that had been gathered.  Whenever eyewitness testimony was mentioned, my grandfather would say "Case closed unless they can prove the witness to be less than reliable."  Without eyewitness testimony, many cases were on shaky grounds in those days unless there was enough other evidence present to bring a conviction.  However, when both eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence were present, it made the case a more solid one.
     With this in mind, I always find myself surprised when I hear people talk about their faith being built upon that "inner" feeling they have that God is speaking to them.  Perhaps they have been highly motivated by a great message or by the antiphonal music of a choir and instrumental group.  Certainly, there is nothing wrong with being moved in our hearts, but our faith can rest on far more than a "feeling".  We have eyewitnesses who testified to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Because of this, we can say, "Case closed."  Feelings come and go, but the Word of God stands forever!
     Two of the disciples, John and Peter, were eyewitnesses to what happened in the life of Christ and they wrote clearly about their experiences.  Peter said in his letter:  "For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16).  Likewise, the Apostle John wrote these words:  "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life, and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us" (1 John 1:1-2).  Both of these men walked, talked and lived with Jesus for three years.  They witnessed His crucifixion, His death and His resurrection.  Then, they boldly proclaimed His name after He ascended to the Father.  In fact, they ended up paying great penalties for what they preached.  Peter was crucified upside down as he felt unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as His Lord.  John was boiled in oil though he survived and was banished to the Isle of Patmos where he later wrote the book of Revelation.
     Matthew was also a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and recorded in detail the events of our Lord's life.  While Luke was not an original disciple, he spoke with many of those who were eyewitnesses to the life of the Lord.  He records in great detail the many events that occurred. As a physician, he would have been very driven to write things accurately and he states in the opening of his Gospel:  "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught"(Luke 1:1-4).   From this we know that Luke had first hand eyewitness accounts on which to base his writing.
     Jesus also appeared to His original disciples (with the exception of Judas who had taken his own life), Mary Magdalene, Salome, Mary the mother of James, Cleopus (Luke 24:13-34) and to over 500 during the 40 days following the resurrection.  Though Paul was not an eyewitness, we know that he had a dramatic encounter with the living Christ that turned him from persecuting Christians to believing in Him.  He also was brought to the disciples in Jerusalem by Barnabus and affirmed as a brother in the Lord  (Acts 9:26-30).  As a contemporary of the Apostle Peter, Paul wrote, preached and taught alongside these disciples.  His testimony of Christ was demonstrated by his life and death at the hands of Rome.
     I have only scratched the surface in pointing out the eyewitness testimony to the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it should be evident that we have radical legal evidence to stand on for our faith.  Most of the Gospel accounts were written either before 70 A.D. or within the first 100 years following the death and resurrection of the Lord.  This type of historical documentation lends even more credibility to the events that transpired.   In addition, many (if not most) of the original disciples were put to death for their faith.  These trembling, fearful fisherman who hid after the crucifixion became bold preachers.  They paid dearly for their stand.  Why would you do this if it was not true?  I do not think anyone would offer up his body to be crucified, beaten and beheaded for the sake of a false religion.  These were the eyewitnesses to the life of Christ who sealed their testimony in their own blood.
     Feelings are not a reliable source on which to base our beliefs.  Christianity is logical, reasonable and has stood the test of time.  In fact, more evidence to the veracity of what the Bible teaches is being turned up every day by archeologists.  Who is surprised?  God's Word is inspired, infallible, and the very foundation of our faith.  We could take it to court and find no better testimony offered there.
     After recounting the events surrounding the resurrection, John makes this powerful statement in his Gospel:  "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name"  (John 20:30-31).  This is why the Bible stands as a book filled with eyewitness accounts to the greatest events in history.  It is His-story!  Believe in the Lord, not as a result of feelings, great music, or a motivating message.  Believe in Him because of the testimony preserved for us in the written Word of God which guides us into all truth.  Selah!  

How has your faith been strengthened by the Word of God?  Share your thoughts on this important evidence we have for our belief in Jesus Christ.  

Photo of the Bible courtesy of Freefoto                                                                                            

Monday, April 25, 2011


     It happens after every holiday!  Leftovers.  For a busy mother, it is a blessing because she doesn't have to cook another meal.  However, there are times when the children cry, "Leftovers again!?"
     Growing up, this was common place in our home.  My mother was very thrifty with food, and never let any go to waste.  She told me that she had learned this from her parents who had weathered the storms of the Great Depression.  Food was expensive, so my grandparents had a large garden and several milk cows to provide for their needs.  My grandmother was the queen of "canning", and her entire basement was filled with shelves of canned vegetables and fruits.  I can remember marveling at the bounty in her basement.  The same was true in our home.  My mother learned how to can, grow a garden, and save pennies wherever she could.  While we did not suffer the severe hardships of the Great Depression, our family was supported by one income for many years, so we had to be good stewards of what we had.
     While leftovers can be a tasty time-saver, eating the same thing over and over again can become monotonous. Just as children complain about the repetition on their plates, I wonder how God feels about the leftover worship and faith we present Him with at times?  We all know how we sometimes just go through the motions at church.  Our bodies are present but our hearts are far from Him.  We smile, we nod and maybe we even say "Amen" during the message, but all we are giving to Him is our leftovers.
     Isaiah confronted leftover worship as he spoke prophecy to the people of Judah.  While they were outwardly obedient to the Lord, their hearts were far from Him.  In chapter 2 verses 11-15 Isaiah says: "What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts;  I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.  When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?  Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me.  New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations -I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.  Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.  when you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you, even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood."  What God desires from His children then and now is a heart of obedience.  One that delights itself in His presence.
     We could have perfect Sunday School attendance and be in church every time the door is open.  But if we just go through the motions and give God whatever is leftover from the busy week, then we are no better than the people of Judah or for that matter the Pharisees of Jesus' day.  Anybody can follow a cook book religion and look good outwardly, yet this is not what God desires.  He wants our true worship and obedience that comes from sincere love.  So, how can we prepare our hearts to offer fresh praise?
     Before we got to work each day (whether at home or in the office), we need to stop and read His Word.  It is our food for life, and we need to chew upon it throughout the day.  His Word will change our minds and our hearts so that our worship is genuine and fragrant before Him.
     We also need to find time for prayer.  Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing.  Talking to God about all the concerns of our life allows interaction that we desperately need.  Running to all our friends will not produce the answers we need for the critical decisions that are before us.  God tells us in James 1:5 that if we lack wisdom we should ask Him for it.  He will provide for us the direction we need.  I find myself praying as I go to work in the morning and throughout the day when situations arise.  It is a blessing to know that I can do this.  The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross tore the curtain that separated us from God.  Now we have access to the throne room itself.  Why would we not enter in and talk to the Lord of our lives?
     Finally, we need to sincerely spend time readying our hearts for worship services.  We must put aside the thoughts of what we need to accomplish in the next few days.  Park the golf cart, put away the fishing rod, shelve the projects, and empty our hearts of all the busyness.  Listen to songs that glorify Him, spend time in prayer and ask Him to speak to our hearts.  Then, we can go to worship ready to lift His name on high.  It is not about us receiving.  Worship is all about Him and as we lift Him up, we also will be lifted.  He dwells in the praises of His people.  This is how we can live Easter and Christmas every day of the year.  Then, our faith will be a fresh offering to the Lord rather than a stale leftover.
     Leftover food has its place especially in our current economy.  However, just as God's mercies are new every morning. so our worship, our faith and obedience need to be fresh every morning as well.  Let us be a living sacrifice that is pleasing and fragrant to the Lord who redeemed us rather than stale leftovers.  Selah!

How do you prepare yourself for worship?  What do you do to keep
your faith from becoming leftover?  Please share your thoughts on this
important topic.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


     Today is Easter.  It is a day of celebration and thanksgiving for the greatest miracle of all time.  Our Savior and Lord rose from the grave and conquered death and sin.  If we are found in Him, we have the promise of life eternal.  It is as simple as that.
     I am not writing much today because God has said and done it all for us.  What more needs to be said?  He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  Rest today.  Talk about Him when you rise up and when you lie down.  Know that, in Him, you have all you need for life and godliness.
     May God bless your family as you celebrate this resurrection day.  From the Thayer Family, we  pray
His peace be with you and fill you.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Jewish Jesus who died for our sins

I came upon this video of Jesus our Suffering Servant who died for our sins.  What an awesome act of devotion and love for us!  I hope you are blessed by this video and will watch it and remember.


Thursday, April 21, 2011


     Story telling is an art, but i believe that when you have lived the story it becomes even more powerful.  Our story (my husband's and mine) started on April 20, 1971.  This was the night that both of us had a divine appointment with the Lord.
     We had been raised attending Presbyterian churches in our respective communities.  Both of us had gone through catechism and confirmation as well, but neither of us were really believers.  We had head knowledge about Christ, but a full awakening to His call had not yet come into our lives.
     When we met, we were college students.  I was studying communications and English at a small college and he was studying engineering at a well known school.  In both of our lives, individually, we sensed an emptiness.  I tried different churches to find the answers and even went so far as to dabble with the occult never realizing any danger.  By God's grace, He protected me from all the things I could have fallen into.
     For my husband's part, he found during his scientific studies that there was wonderful order in the universe.  He felt that God had to have put it all together, but he also found himself wishing that God would come back to earth to stop the injustice, crime and pain.  Both of us were looking for answers.
     We became engaged in 1970, and went on with our education.  He began professional studies and I started post graduate work at Ohio State University.  During that time, we had met a married couple that we developed a friendship with.  On one visit to their home, we came in on a conversation they were having with a fellow from Campus Crusade for Christ.  He was telling them about Jesus Christ and how one day He would return again to the earth.  This captured our attention.  We listened until he was finished, and wanting to hear more, we set up a date to meet with him.
     Knowing we were planning to be married, we had visited several area churches, but found no real answers there.  Now, we would have an opportunity to meet with someone who had intrigued us.  He had a real relationship with Christ which we found attractive.
     On the appointed evening, he shared his testimony with us.  Then, he went through "The Four Spiritual Laws" booklet with us as well.  Along the way, he explained to us what sin was and how we were separated from God.  He, then, told us how Christ had been the perfect sacrifice that took away our sins.  We both heard that inner voice in our hearts that called us to repent and receive the gift of salvation.  God had awakened us from our death sleep and quickened our hearts to know Him in full relationship.  As we prayed, there was no emotional jolt or giddy high.  It was a solemn commitment of our lives to the only One who could really give us both peace.
     As our new brother in Christ got ready to leave, he gave us Bibles with the date and time of our commitment written on the front page.  He also invited us to a college Bible study for new believers.  We agreed to attend because we did want to learn more, and thus, began our 40 year adventure with Jesus Christ.
     We were married three months after our commitment to the Lord.  With this foundation, our marriage is about to enjoy a 40th anniversary in a few more months.  God has brought us through good times, bad times, and all the in between.  We have home educated our four children and taught them to follow hard after the Lord in their lives.  Now, He has allowed us to be blessed with four going on five grandchildren, and we could not be more content to walk with Him.
     My husband and I were living examples of two people who were church members, had been through catechism classes and attended on a regular basis, but we were not Christians.  There are many out there like us just waiting for someone to introduce them to the Lord.  We never know when someone has a divine appointment with the Lord, but we are commanded to go and tell and leave the rest to God.
     Coming to a place in your life where you realize you have a need that nothing or no one can meet could be the turning point for you.  I encourage you to seek the Lord while He may be found, and He will never disappoint you.  Confession of your sins, sincere repentance of them and complete commitment of your life to Him will open the door to a whole new life.  You will be a new creation as my husband and I were on that night in April.  Do not tarry.  Make that decision to hear His voice when He calls to you.  We are so glad that we answered Him when He knocked on the door of our hearts.  Selah!

I hope you will feel free to share your testimony here.  How did you come to Christ?  How long have you walked with Him?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


     I was listening to a podcast by Dr. R.C. Sproul the other day, and he mentioned the words "double imputation."  I had heard the term before but was not certain I really understood its meaning.  As he explained it, I began to grasp a truth that should make us all stand up and shout for joy.
     Looking at the meaning of this term, I found that there are actually three imputations mentioned in the Bible.  The word "imputation" itself means to "reckon over unto one's account" (Unger's Bible Dictionary pg 520).   With this in mind, the first imputation occurs in Adam's sin in the garden.  His sin was imputed or reckoned over to our account.  As the saying goes, "in Adam's fall, we sinned all."  Though we did not take a bite out of that apple, we were all infected from that moment on with a sin nature.  Romans 5:12 reads:  "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned..."  Perhaps the best way I can think of this is to take a pure glass of spring water.  If we put one drop of arsenic in this water, it all becomes polluted.  There is no part of the water that is not affected.  In the same manner, none of us has escaped the sin nature in our lives.  Isaiah the prophet said:  "We have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.  We all fade like a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away"(Isaiah 64:6).  No one, then, has escaped the sin nature.  We are like dead men/women.
     If this was the end of the news for us, it would be depressing.  But God sent His Son to have our sin imputed to Him.  Jesus was the perfect lamb of God.  He would be the perfect sacrifice that would carry our sin to the cross.   Paul's second letter to the church at Corinth says this:  "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Now comes the great exchange.
     God laid our sins upon His Son and gave to us the righteousness of Christ.  This is the meaning of double imputation.  This Gospel is a work of God.  He is the One who brings conversion.  It is not a work of man at all.  Furthermore, God calls those whom He has chosen before the foundation of the world to be His own.  When we hear that call, God takes the sin we carry and imputes to us the righteousness of Christ.  We are a new creation in Christ.
     In John MacArthur's Commentary of 2 Corinthians 5:21, he states it plainly:  "Christ was not a sinner, but was treated as if He were, so believers who have not yet been made righteous are treated as if they are righteous.  Christ bore their sins so that they might bear His righteousness.  God treated Him as if He committed believer's sins and treats believers as if they did only the righteous deeds of the sinless Son of God."
     This is what double imputation means to us.  As we contemplate what Jesus did for us this week, my prayer is that this will sink into our thought process.  What greater  friend could we have than Jesus?  He took our filthy rags and replaced them with robes of righteousness.  And we sometimes have the nerve to say, "Life isn't fair?"  With so great a salvation, we need to fall down and worship our Lord with thanksgiving on our lips.  May we begin to live like the righteousness of Christ that God may receive the glory each day for what He has accomplished for us.  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts on what Christ's sacrifice has meant to you.  Please feel free to leave comments as I am delighted to read and respond to them.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


     And so it begins.  This week of sorrows and the greatest triumph of all.  Today, we waved the palm branches and heard the children sing hosannas just as they did when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey.  At that time, the disciples had no concept of what lay ahead for their Lord though Jesus had tried to tell them many times.  Think with me for a moment what that day was like from Luke 19:28-44 .
     Jesus had told his disciples to go and bring back a young colt for Him to ride upon.  Everything happened just as the Lord had told them it would.  They returned with the colt and threw their cloaks on it for the Lord to sit upon.  Then, the disciples and crowd began to place their cloaks on the road that He might ride into the beloved City of David.  Amid cheers and shouts of rejoicing which would have made most of us feel confident, Jesus wept for Jerusalem.  He wept for the people who did not believe.  He knew the cheering would soon turn to jeering.  Instead of a golden crown worn by a king, He would wear the crown of thorns.  And in His sorrow He spoke what would happen to this city.  In verse 44b, He said:  "And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation."  This prophetic word was carried out when the Romans utterly destroyed the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
      Jesus knew what lay ahead of Him, and as He later told Pontius Pilate (recorded in John 18:37b), "For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world - to bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice."  But many would reject that truth and call for His destruction.  What emotions must have been stirred in His heart seeing the children and crowds welcoming Him in triumph.  Yet, Jesus knew the fickleness of the human heart.
     At an earlier Passover celebration after Jesus had done many signs, people also believed in Him but the scripture teaches us in John 2:24-25 that man was not to be trusted:  "But Jesus on His part did not entrust Himself to them because He knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for He Himself knew what was in man."  He knew our sin nature.  He knew that one minute we would sing hosanna and the next minute call for His death.  From the foundation of the world, man's innate wickedness had proven itself over and over again.  For this, Christ had come to set us free.  He came to remove the sin that Adam had brought upon the human race.  Those whom the Father would call would come and receive this amazing gift of salvation.  First, however, He would be offered up as a sacrifice.  This is what He knew would come to pass as He rode on the donkey into the gates of Jerusalem.  So what can we learn from this story in scripture?
     First, we must realize, as our Lord did, that momentary fame passes quickly as we walk in this world. We cannot entrust ourselves to the whims of man, but we can trust in the Lord who has a plan for our lives.  Our primary goal should be to find out what God's plan is for our life.  Serving Him and seeking His approval is what we must focus on.  He will never disappoint us, but people and society as a whole will let us down.
     Secondly, we must come to grips with the reality that the Christian life is not a smooth paved highway.  There will be bumps, dips, and yes, even sink holes that will permeate our lives from time to time.  If our Lord and Master had to face tribulation, we, His servants, will also have to walk through times of trial.  The difference is that we have Christ living within us who will give us the strength to face whatever comes our way.
     Finally, we know the end of this story that began with palm branches and hosannas.  It did not end on the cross.  The story continues with the resurrection and the defeat of death.  Our Lord is alive!  He is alive!  And we who believe will live with Him forever!  This is what our hosannas should be all about.  Now, we must tell the story to others who have not heard or do not know this Jesus our Messiah.
     And so it begins.  This week of reflection, repentance, and rejoicing.  Let us take each moment to thank God for the gift of His Son who died in our place to pay for our sins.  He has broken the chains of sin and death.  We are free to live for Him.  Selah!

What does Palm Sunday and holy week mean to you?  I would love to have your thoughts on what the Lord is showing you.  Please leave a comment.

Friday, April 15, 2011


     As I was sifting through some pictures the other day, I came across the photo of my parents on their 25th wedding anniversary.  It was a pleasant moment to once again look on their faces that I miss so often. My father was taken from our family much too soon.  He was only 62 when he developed a rare brain virus that could not be treated and within a year, he was gone.  Three of our children never got to meet and know him.  Little did I know, though, that several years later my mother would develop Alzheimer's Disease.  For ten long years, I looked out for her interests and cared for her as best I could while we were raising four young children and home schooling at the same time.  To be certain, it was exhausting and painful to watch someone who had been so capable and bright slowly deteriorate before our eyes.
     During those days, I often asked God why this had to happen to our family.  Watching her lose the ability to speak or care for herself was hard.  However, I also came to love her in a way I had never experienced before I entered this crucible of pain.  I believed then, and I believe now that God does "work all things together for good for those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).  We may not understand why we have to go through circumstances like these but we know that God is in the process of creating His masterpiece in each of us when we are faced with trials.
     When I chose the title for this meditation, I selected the word "crucible" because it best represents what the believer may face in his/her lifetime.  A crucible, according to Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, is a vessel usually made of porcelain or graphite, and used for melting materials at high temperatures.  It can also mean a severe trial.  Interestingly, the word is taken from the Latin word "crux" which means "cross".  Didn't our Lord tell us that we are to take up our cross and follow Him (Matt. 10:38)?  Indeed, He assured us that in this world we would face tribulations.  Anyone who has lived any time at all will admit that life is full of sorrow, sickness, death, pain and heartache.  However, the Good News is that Jesus Christ came to overcome both sin and death, so that if we believe in Him, we will not perish but have the promise of eternal life.  Further, He promised to be with us as we walk through this world.
     This faith is what helped me get through the crucible of pain I experienced.  God caused me to grow closer to Him, and ultimately led me to write a poem I would like to share with you.  It reflects some of what I had come to know about my mother during those days, and I hope you will share it with others who also might need encouragement with loved ones facing similar circumstances.  I entitled it "Love Without Words".
       As I look in her eyes,
       It's like looking in mine.
      We're so much alike
       That it's hard to to define.

     Though no words she speaks
     As she lies on her bed;
     Her eyes do the talking
     With a smile, instead.

     She caresses my face
     In a soft tender way;
     Her hands speak aloud
     What she cannot say.

     I recall as a child
     How she put me to sleep;
     With this same gentle touch
     And a love that was deep.

     Some say, "She's not there.
     It's not really her."
     But I do not believe them,
     Nor do I concur.

     For her spirit is present
     And her eyes shine with light;
     For she knows who I am,
     Though her words are not right.

     While her life's flow is ebbing,
     And she will soon slip away;
     She speaks love without words,
     So I'll cherish this day.

     My mother peacefully died in 2000.  She was a Christian who was raised in a Christian home and shared many wonderful verses that to this day I remember and ponder.  I know and have the assurance that I will see her one day in heaven because of what Christ has accomplished for both of us.  In light of what our Lord has done for us, we all can take courage as we face life's trials.  As the Apostle Paul has written, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).  If we live with this conviction, we too shall be able to overcome the crucible of pain.  Selah!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


     Recently, I had the privilege of babysitting two of our grandsons for a couple of days.  Our son and daughter in law needed a little get away time, and I am always  happy to keep our grandchildren.  I sat on the floor playing cars with them, reading books and building blocks.  The downside occurred when I tried to get off the floor quickly.  While I feel like I am young in my spirit, my body has begun to tell me otherwise especially when keeping up with two toddlers.  By the time my son and daughter in law returned,  I ached in places that I never knew I had, but the time was a blessing for me.  Quite simply, I refuse to buy into the idea that a person is either too young or too old to serve others and God.
     Unfortunately, I have met a number of retired people who feel as though their days of service are over.  They tell me, "It's time for someone else to get involved in this ministry.  However, when I search the Scriptures, I have yet to find an expiration date on service.  I realize there are some physical limitations that come with age, but there is also wisdom and experience that come from a walk with the Lord.  Our bodies may not be able to move as quickly, but we can offer hugs, a loving talk with a friend, prayer for someone who is in need, or a phone call to a shut-in.  A biblical instruction which speaks to this comes from Titus 2:3-4 where Paul encourages older women to be reverent and teach the younger women how to love their husbands and manage their homes.  How many marriages could be saved or strengthened if we had more older men and women intervene with godly counsel?
     On the other end of the spectrum, I know some young people who feel they are not qualified to serve the Lord due to their age.  Once again, I believe that Scripture contradicts that notion.  Paul admonished Timothy: "Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity" ( I Timothy 4:12).  The challenge for teens and young adults alike is to live a life which reflects a worldview that is foreign to our secular society.  Speech, conduct, love, faith and purity are character qualities that when demonstrated in a life can have a great impact on those around you.
    When I first moved to Florida, I was far from my family in Ohio.  I needed someone whom I could trust and share with.  God opened the door to a very special friendship with an older woman.  I remember she asked me one day why I wanted to hang around with her since there was such an age difference.  I told her that in the Lord there is no difference.  I needed to hear her wisdom.  I needed a shoulder to cry on and a mentor to guide me.  She provided that for me for many years.  I believe she also enjoyed hearing about the things which the Lord was teaching me.  We gave to one another a fresh perspective on walking in Christ.
     One day, when we cross into eternity, time will no longer exist.  Age will not matter.  What we need to remember here and now is that God wants to use us to glorify His name whether we are young or old.  Remember, Moses began leading the Children of Israel when he was eighty and David was anointed as Israel's next King when he was just a shepherd boy.  Age was not the factor here.  Our marching orders in Christ have never changed throughout the ages.  We have no excuse for refusing to serve Him.  Together we make up the body of Christ no matter where we are on this journey.  Lets remember that tomorrow brings fresh opportunities and we are never too young or too old to be used by God.  Selah!


Monday, April 11, 2011


     Have you ever wished that you could have the life that someone else has?  Maybe if you had their money, influence, fame, or job, you could finally be able to relax and enjoy life a little more.  Most of us at one time or another may have had that desire.  We look at our neighbor down the street who just bought a new car or went on a great vacation, and we find ourselves wanting what they have.  The Bible calls this covetousness.
      In Exodus 20:17, God gave this command:  "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's."    This is a pretty straight forward command which God has given to us, and of the the Ten Commandments, it is the only commandment that deals with the inward motivation of the heart.  This is where coveting begins as an inner longing to have what someone else has.  We cannot see someone's inner motives, but God can and does.
     Furthermore, covetousness can actually be said to be a sin that leads to many other sins for if we break this commandment, we have broken them all.  The book of James says:  "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then, desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death" (James 1:14-15).  Examples of this abound in our newspaper every day.  We read about people who feel they deserve more money so they embezzle funds from their employer.  Then, another person may steal something from an innocent victim because he/she feels they deserve it.  People have been killed because someone wanted to have their possessions.  Coveting, then, is very much like a cancer that needs to be removed from our very soul.  It is the height of ingratitude for what God has done in our lives.
     Jesus spoke these words as recorded in Luke 12:15:  "...Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."  Having more "toys" will not bring us happiness and being angry with God because our neighbor is prospering and we are not  does not change anything.  It is not for us to tell the Lord what we are to have in this life.  He is sovereign over us, our possessions and our days on earth.  Rather, we need a heart of gratitude and joy.  This leads to contentment which brings peace to our hearts.  The Apostle Paul learned this and we would do well to emulate his example:  "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need" (Phil. 4:11-12).
     I wish I could say that I never struggle with envy, and that I am very content at all times.  However, that would not be truthful.  There are times when I wonder why God allows someone else to have a certain opportunity and not me.  When the Spirit of God reveals how sinful my thinking is, I turn to the Lord and once again repent for having a covetous heart.  At this point, this is when I need to make a list of things for which I am grateful in my life.  Keeping an answered prayer journal as well as a gratitude journal would go a very long way to restoring our hearts to beat in rhythm with God's.  After all, He has given us life, provided us with salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, and He keeps us daily in His care.  How much more could we ever want?
      Instead of wishing that we had what our neighbor has, we need to develop a heart of contentment.  We need to thank God each day for all the things He has given to us,  If we would begin to live in this manner, we would find it easier to overcome the temptation to covet.  Paul learned how to be content, and this is what we must do.  Selah!

I welcome your comments on how God has taught you to overcome the sin of covetousness.  How do you find contentment?

Friday, April 8, 2011


     Each day when I arrive home from work, Roscoe P. Coltrain, our basset hound extraordinaire, greets me with his very best toy in mouth.  Then, he proceeds to carry it all the way to our back door so I can let him out in the yard.  Before I open the door, I take his toy out of his mouth, pat him on the head and tell him what a good dog he is.  This seems to satisfy his desire to please me so he trots outside to take care of his business.  I am amazed at this repeated behavior day after day.  Roscoe has an entire basket of toys, but he chooses one that is his most favorite to present to me.  I chuckle at this routine, but deep down I feel honored that he wants to bring me his best. However, this daily activity made me think about our relationship to God.  If my dog wants to please me and bring to me the best gift he has to offer, shouldn't I be doing the same on a daily basis with my Lord?
     Paul, the Apostle, wrote in his letter to the Roman believers that we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord (Romans 12:1) which is our spiritual worship.  We are to devote ourselves to Him using our talents, abilities and the gifts which He graciously gives to us.  Each one of us has something we can offer.  This is one reason I started writing nearly fifteen years ago.  I wanted to encourage others in their walk with Christ.  It is my offering unto the Father.  Some are gifted musicians who can play the most beautiful music for God.  Others can preach, sing, or render service to bless their neighbors.  It does not matter what the gift is as long as it is brought to our Lord with the right heart motive.
     Certainly, we cannot add to our salvation by offering our works to God.  Salvation, after all, is a gift and comes not as a result of anything which we do (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Our good works are to be done out of love as acts of worship to our heavenly Father.  Even our labor during the day is an opportunity to offer God our very best gifts.  When we stop and look at things from this vantage point, it makes everything we do seem much more important than we might think.
     I know I am delighted to be greeted every day by our faithful basset hound.  How much more then is God delighted when we seek Him out each day and bring to Him our very best gifts of time, talent, and resources?  No matter who we are or where we live, we all have something we can bring to God as our very best gift.  As unique individuals, no two gifts will be quite the same.  The chief end of our lives is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  We do this when we offer ourselves to Him as living sacrifices.  May we seek out avenues every day where we can serve the Lord by bringing Him our best.  Selah!

Father, teach us how to worship in our work, our talents, our resources.  We desire to please You and bring glory to Your name so we can hear You say at the end of our lives:  "Well, done thou good and faithful servant..."  For we ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord, Amen.

What gifts can you bring to God?  Please leave your comments here so we can share and enrich the lives of others.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


     I ran into a friend the other day who shared with me that she has been experiencing some physical and emotional struggles lately.  Her face showed the strain of trying to move forward in a normal fashion as her voice quivered while we talked.  The physical symptoms she was having seemed to ambush her out of no where, and it shook her to the core.  She had even made a trip to the ER recently thinking she might be having a heart attack.  How well I could identify with what she was saying because I, too, had walked through the dark valley of anxiety which eventually led me to the deep pit of depression.  I wanted her to know that she was not alone.  I wanted her to know that I cared about her and that she would get through this place of trial.
     As I prayed for her and remembered the anguished look on her face, I recalled how my own feet stumbled trying to find solid ground not so many years ago.  A series of events came together like a cataclysmic earthquake in my life.  A dear friend that I had shared so many Bible studies with moved away.  My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and came to Florida so I could care for her needs, and I was trying to care for our four young children whom I was home schooling.  The stress, the change, the heartache was more than I could handle.  Heart palpitations, panic attacks and a total feeling of darkness seemed to overwhelm me.  I cannot recall any physical pain as great as the pain of depression.
     Through the love of my family, a sound counselor and a wonderful family doctor, I was able to over come this dark night of the soul which I had experienced.  It took time, but glimmers of light broke through the shadows more and more every day as I studied the Bible looking for the answers I needed.  There was no instant cure for the fractures I had in my heart.  Only time and the love of Christ helped to bring light into that dark cave I was in.
     Perhaps the greatest scripture shared with me during this time comes from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5:  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too."  These words ministered to my soul as nothing else in scripture.  To know, that my pain would be comforted by God and that He would use it to one day help others gave me back the hope I had lost.
       When I pondered on this passage, I thought about the dark night of the soul that our Lord experienced in the garden before His arrest.  So great was His agony that he shed great drops of blood as he prayed.  He knew what lay ahead physically, but greater still was the crushing weight of carrying our sins in His sinless body.  Yet, our Lord Jesus yielded Himself to the Father's will.  He endured the cross for us, and no one can forget how He cried out in despair, "My God, My God why hast though forsaken me?"(Matt. 27:46).  As I thought about his, I knew in my own heart that what Hebrews says is true:  "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin."  It was at that moment that light bulbs illuminated the darkness for me!  Jesus knew how I felt, and He had over come all things.  Therefore, I could too.
      With new found understanding, and my feet once again firmly under me, I promised the Lord that I would take the comfort He had given to me and I would share it with others.  I knew there were many Christians out there that had suffered from depression/anxiety and felt like a failure.  They blamed themselves for not having enough faith to rise above the darkness; however, God does not waste any suffering we endure.  He takes what is meant for evil and turns it for good if we allow Him.  
     As believers, we need to be ready to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.  We need to be honest with one another instead of robotically saying, "I am fine" when life is NOT fine.
How can we pray for one another unless we do open up?  The fellowship of Christ's body along with the healing comfort of God the Father  will help to bring healing to those hurting hearts out there.  I would not share my own journey if this were not true.
     My prayer for my friend is that she will know that she will be all right.  She can open up.  Depression and anxiety are foes created by the Fall as surely as heart disease and cancer.  More importantly, God brings comfort when we seek His face.  Then, He allows us to pass the comfort along to one another.  If you or someone you love has been or is facing the dark night of the soul, they need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  That light is Jesus Christ and He will lead them out as surely as He has guided me.  Take His comfort and share it with others!  Selah!

Father, I pray for all who have traveled the dark path of depression and anxiety.  Bring comfort to their souls and set them on solid ground again.  Let them know that they are not alone and that You fully understand where they are at.  Help them to find and place their hope in You once more.  For we ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on what I have written.  Perhaps someone has helped you to overcome a dark night of the soul.  It is so helpful when we share with one another what God has done for us.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


     During my busy home school years, I asked a friend if I could borrow some history books for a project we were doing.  She happily said yes to my request, but asked that I  promptly return the books as soon as we were finished.  I had good intentions to do so; however, I got sidetracked with the demands of our busy household and  I could not even locate the books after we had completed our work.  I felt terrible about this oversight and while cleaning one day, I located them and returned them with apologies.  Luckily she was not upset with me.  While borrowing a book from a friend is one thing, we really should avoid borrowing trouble.
     Whenever we fall into the trap of "vain imaginations", worry, or concern over things we cannot change, we are borrowing trouble for ourselves.  I think I can honestly say that I have fallen into this trap a number of times.  Clearly, God does not want us to spend our time and energy living in anxiety or fear over things which may not even happen.  Jesus addressed this in Matthew 6:22-34.  He reminds us that we should not worry about what we are to eat or wear, and perhaps my favorite phrase is when He says:  "And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"  Now that is a good question isn't it?  Try as we might, we do not have the ability to increase our life span.  In fact, there are many things in our lives over which we have no control, and that is really the issue isn't it?
     Most of us want to be in control of our circumstances.  We would like to have things all neatly mapped out each day so we could feel secure.  But where is the need for faith in God if we have everything under control?  As I recall, it was God who created the world and all of us who live in this world.  Therefore, it would seem reasonable to assume that we are not in charge, but rather, God is the sovereign Lord over all creation.  Jesus made this case when He spoke of the fact that no sparrow can fall to the ground without God being aware of it.  He says clearly in this passage of Scripture that we are more valuable than that sparrow, so we need to stop worrying over every  issue in life.
     What happens to us when we get stressed out with worry and anxiety?  For one thing, it does not do our health any favors.  We often have trouble sleeping.  We are tense and  on edge with our loved ones or co-workers.  This is where Satan can take hold of us by building elaborate "vain imaginations" in our thinking.  Before we know it, we have a mountain where a mole hill existed two seconds ago.  Life becomes almost unbearable to face each day.  This is not how God meant for us to live.  Paul points this out in his letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:7):  "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control."  This is quite the opposite from wallowing in self pity and worry which does not bring glory to God nor provide a good witness to others.
     Our lives are meant to be a faith walk - an adventure of sorts.  We are to take one day at a time not living in the past or reaching ahead to the unknown future.  The only thing we can change with God's help is our outlook.  We cannot change others and often we cannot change our circumstances, but we can roll our cares onto Him.  Through prayer, we can turn loose all the tension and fear we have, but we must leave it there with God and not take it back again if we wish to be free.
     Borrowing trouble is the last thing we need in our lives.  If there is something over which we are worried or in fear, we need to write it down in a prayer journal or on a piece of paper and date it.  Then, we need to pray and give it to God.  Once we have done this, we must believe that He who knows when a sparrow falls will certainly be able to carry our concerns far better than we can.  Let us remember this word from Hebrews and stand on it (Hebrews 11:1):  "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."  Selah!

Father, worry is a sin.  We confess that we have allowed ourselves to worry and live in anxiety when we need to trust in You.  Forgive us and restore to us a sound mind.  Help us to take life one day at a time and to listen carefully to Your voice.  Thank You for Your tender care and the peace of mind that only comes from You.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

I would love to hear from you about how you have overcome worry in your life and been victorious over those vain imaginations that can hold us captive.