Rest in Him Today........

It's hard to move on to the next day when the last day was a hard one.

It's hard to take the next step when the last few have been painful.

Like a child trying to make it across a hot, sandy beach barefoot and exposed,

we must walk gently into the next few days.

Light steps keep the feet from burning as we try to make it to the cool waters nearby.

So, today, allow God to carry you over the scorching surfaces of this life, the places too painful to handle alone.

Rest in His arms and know that He is leading you still.

He is going to work in your life today.

Trust Him.

Rest in Him.

He is there.

Matt. 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,

along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;

I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.

These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

What Matters Most..............

Johnny's mom exemplifies a parent whose priorities in life leave her with no regrets in her grief.

Her words to me last night in the visitation line were precious,

"He was a gift.  I have no regrets."

What mom doesn't want to have those words on her lips in such a painful moment?

Praying we all reevaluate and get it right so that more children feel the love that so clearly

surrounds Johnny even in his passing on to the next life.

I'm so thankful for the witness of this precious mom this morning.

She comforted thousands last night with a smile and words of hope for all.

That's what God does for a mom whose life is centered on Him.




As we pray for the Fankell family and all of Johnny's classmates today,

let's take time to pray for a world full of hurt and pain.


What have you been called to do today?

What you do for Him is what matters most...........

END IT :: Shine a Light on Slavery

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Letting God Speak to our Brokenness...........

I've stumbled over words and thoughts this morning as I've moved through my daily routine.

Reading in the Old Testament about God's love for the Israelites and His desire for them to constantly draw near to Him,

Then moving on to the book of James and reading about how our faith in God's love should compel us to love others which in turn causes God's love to be perfected in us.......

The Bible, from beginning to end, is wrapped in one overriding theme -


Olivia has witnessed this Bible-based emotion over and over again in the past couple of days between her friends, classmates, and teachers.

Hugs, loving words, heartfelt notes, tears......

This world began because God loved us


at the end of everything,

the one thing we will always have is LOVE.

If we listen closely, we can hear love whisper in unexpected moments.........

I dropped my coffee cup Saturday morning as I was getting it out of the cupboard.

Being a broken person, I always wonder what God is trying to say through broken things.

Broken things often speak to my broken heart, and I never want to miss their message........even though sometimes I'm not sure what the message is until much later.

This morning, I know there's one thing  this photograph is saying to me, and I hope you hear it too.

We are broken people living in a broken world.

Truly, everything man has created within this world is  broken too.

It's hard to hold brokenness together.

This thought alone can seem overwhelmingly frightening, depressing, and hopeless.......

but here's where God comes in to the picture.

He is the cup.

He is the holder of life.

Not just this broken life,

but the next perfect, eternal life.

photo (35)

Our brokenness must be placed in the shadow of Him and His love.

photo (36)

We just can't hold on to something that is broken.

So, in our brokenness today (and everyday we have left in this world) we have to continue to draw near to the cup that is overflowing with Him......

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name's sake.

Even though I walk
through the darkest valley

I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

This morning, let's draw near to the cup and listen......


Romans 8:38-39

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 14:8

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.

John 14:1-4

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.

2 Corinthians 5:6-8

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Revelation 14:13

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Blessed indeed," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!"

Revelation 21:1-4

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

What Love Does When Life is Shattered.........

Everyone in our community can probably remember exactly where they were when they heard the news about the car accident this weekend.

I was in my living room talking to one of Olivia's friends, waiting for her to come downstairs to leave for a friend's birthday party.

I heard Olivia's voice on the stairs, and I could tell she was on her phone.

This alone seemed odd in our text-driven world,

but when I heard the tone of her voice, I knew something was terribly wrong.

Then she appeared on the stairs, telling us, "Johnny Fankell just died in a car wreck."


Time stops every time these words are heard......

because we all know that with those words families have been shattered permanently.


And when you know the family,

the stopping of time is coupled with an ache that runs so deep that everything you had on your to-do list suddenly becomes meaningless.


Facebook and Twitter became an outpouring of heartache and prayers from teenagers and parents across our county.


In the blink of an eye, the significance of everyone's status centered around this moment.

And somehow coming to grips with a nightmare became everyone's goal.


Sunday, several of Johnny's baseball teammates were in our church service, sitting together on the front left pew....

arms around each other, hearts broken, searching for answers to a question none of us can answer,

"Why did this happen?"


At 2 p.m. yesterday, a memorial service was held at our high school baseball field where hundreds gathered to hug, to cry, and

to somehow hold each other up at a time when the ground beneath everyone's feet felt incredibly incapable of doing its job.


There are no words at a time like this that make anyone feel better.

Especially for Johnny's parents who face not only a very painful week but also a lifetime filled with the void of Johnny's physical presence.


They don't need cliches right now.


They don't need reasons.


They just need love.


So, how does love show up when lives have been shattered?


I think love shows up through hugs, cards, hearts on baseball fields, writing out memories of Johnny to share later, thinking of ways to keep Johnny's memory alive, and most of all......

prayers for strength, peace, hope, and comfort.


heart of echs


Even if you don't know Tom and Rachel Fankell and all of Johnny's other relatives and close friends, God does.

He knows just what they need to make it through today.

And strength for today is what they need.


Tomorrow we can pray for tomorrow.


Psalm 84:7 says,

"They go from strength to strength, till

each appears before God in Zion."

I believe that's the only way to make it in this world.

From strength to strength.

One day at a time.

And love is what carries us along toward Zion.........

So, today, please pray for Johnny's family.

And know I'm praying for all of you who come here for a minute of your day.

I love you all so much, and I know that only by your prayers and the grace of God am I able to continue.......

from strength to strength toward Zion.

One glorious day, this is where God's Love will lead us all who claim Him as our Lord.........


Isaiah 51:11

 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing;

everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; 

they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

If you read this today and need to know more about God's love,

please talk to someone who can help you or email me at

I will help you or find someone who can.

God, Japan, and our son Todd..........

When you have a son who has feared crossing bridges from the time he was a young boy,

you realize that the declaration of his summer plans has to be from God when he announces that he wants to work in Japan with tsunami relief for the summer.


Todd, a sophomore in college, seems to be headed toward a life of mission work, and this summer he is going to jump in head first in a part of the world that needs God's love desperately.

Todd will be working in the town that was hardest hit by the tsunami of 2010,

helping with a ministry to widows and grieving moms who are being taught how to take the rubble from the destruction and create pottery and jewelry to sell in order to get their feet back on solid ground.

I especially love that they have the women name their creations after their loved ones whose lives were taken during the catastrophic event.

What a powerful way to teach the women to create legacies of love from the brokenness of this world in order to bring some sort of healing to their hearts.


I am writing today to ask you to pray for Todd and for all the people of Japan who are still climbing out emotionally and physically from this natural disaster.

I am also writing to thank everyone who has helped him so far with his fundraising efforts in order to cover his travel expenses and living expenses for two months in Japan.

He has reached the $3,000 mark of his $4,800 goal!!!!



If you watch this video and feel compelled to help Todd, please email me at, and I will send you the address for making a donation to Team Expansion in Todd's name.



Today, I am praying for all of you in  a very specific way.

Praying that as your day unfolds you will be fully aware of God's desire to be a part of every minute of your life.

I believe He is speaking all around us.

He speaks through children, nature, friends, events, and much more.......

He also speaks through His written Word.


Today, listen.

How is speaking to you?

What is He asking of you?

What is wanting you to know with confidence?


From me, I think He is wanting to say this to you,


I'm especially praying today that you will feel His overwhelming love for you all day long.

Embrace it.

Be thankful for it.

Acknowledge it.

When we experience God's love fully, we are able to share it freely.


I love you all much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for praying for my son and for Japan.

What Do You Celebrate???

I've been reading about all of the feasts God set in place for the Israelites as reminders their rescue from slavery, their time of wilderness wandering, His never-ending love, His unlimited forgiveness, His constant presence, and His call to times of rest...........

God knew that in order to never forget the past, there was a great need to celebrate memories in the present and the future.

I'm planning to attend a training Saturday entitled "Celebrate Recovery."

This Bible-based program helps people who are living with any sort of addiction.

This morning I'm thinking about things I need to celebrate more openly, and I'm wondering how I can become a person who is keenly aware and appreciative of all God has done for me throughout my lifetime.

Today, look back on your life and choose a few milestones that are significant and think of a way to celebrate what God has done for you through these milestones....some will be good memories, some will be difficult memories.

When I think back on Nick's journey through cancer, I see God's hand all along the way.

As I think of Nick's death, my heart breaks over and over again.

Yet, I know that God continues to step with me in every mile of my grief.

We have a God who longs to walk beside us, even carry us, on our happy days and on our sad ones.

Knowing this is true is reason alone to celebrate!

My prayer for you today is that you will look deep inside your soul and ask God to reveal reasons for celebration! 

I'd love to hear from you after you've given this some thought!   

Either by email or a comment below!

Know this!  YOU ARE LOVED!!

How Do We Keep God First????

God showed up in a burning bush one time, but He never beats around the bush about how He feels about His children worshiping other gods.

He makes it very clear that He is the One and Only Living God,


nothing in our lives should come before Him.


I'm still trying to figure out how to teach this truth to Olivia and to the young girls in my youth group and to the students at KCU where my husband teaches

without seeming like a "no-fun" kind-of person.


There are sooooooooooo many things distracting us today.










the list goes on and on and on.......



Maybe I struggle with helping them because I still struggle myself when it comes to figuring out how to live an undistracted life.


I want God to be number one.

I want pleasing Him to matter more than pleasing anyone on this planet........


and I want that same desire to rise up in Olivia, in my youth group girls, in KCU students.


I'm thinking a lot about this lately as I read about the Israelites' constant struggle to do just this in an era when it seems like God was so "present".


I'm thinking about this a lot as I study the book of James and realize that God calls us to be WAY different than the culture around us.


I'm thinking about this a lot as I read Beth Moore's book on insecurity and I realize more and more just how insecurely I have been living.


I'm thinking about this a lot lately as I continue to grieve and reach out to others who are grieving.


The devil robs us of so many blessings in this world,

and in the robbing he can easily convince us to look all kinds of wrong places for peace, security, hope, and purpose.


Today, I'm challenging myself and you to become painfully aware of every moment when our mind begins to fixate on anything other than pleasing Him who deserves our constant worship.


How do we keep God first in a world screaming with all sorts of distractions?


I'm still trying to figure this out.


Praying for you and hoping you'll whisper a prayer for me.


I love you all so much,

How Victory Changes Our View of Things.........



Saturday, I spent the entire day with the academic team I coach at our area high school.

Our Future Problem Solving team had made it to regionals, so it was an exciting day as we awaited the results of their hard work earlier in the week.


The first and second place teams at regionals get to advance to state competition, so all day long the kids said, "I hope we get first or second......or last place."

They didn't want to "almost" make it.


When they called the top four teams to the middle of the basketball court, there was no longer a last place option.

We had either "made it" or "almost made it."


Fourth place was called.

Not us.


One of the girls on our team said later that at that moment she thought, "Great, we got third and barely missed going to state."


Then third place was called.

Not us again.


The kids on our team began to scream as they realized they were moving on to the next level of competition.


Then second place was called, and suddenly they went from being happy to ecstatic as they realized they had not only made it to the state level but had beat everyone in the region!!


Tears came to my eyes as I watched the kids celebrate!


I hadn't been a part of all of their hard practices for this particular event, but I was fully aware of just how much time they had put in preparing for this moment.


They had earned this victory in every sense of the word.


On the way home on the bus, the sun was setting with a purple-orange glow.

One of the girls on the team looked out the window and said,

"The sky is beautiful tonight."


Immediately, another girl on the team replied,

"Everything is beautiful tonight."


I smiled as I thought to myself,

"Victory makes all things beautiful!"


Today, I'm hoping you see life as a race you long to finish victoriously.
Not only that, I hope you see every single day as an opportunity to walk in either victory or defeat.

I've had my fair share of defeated days.

I've chosen some.

I've been handed others.


But, I know that God longs to give me a life of victory.

I have to make the choice to look at life from His perspective.

He's already won the race for me.

He's conquered the greatest fear of mankind.......death.

He's overcome the devil eternally.

He's paved the way, promising to smooth rough roads ahead of me.


He's done all of this for you too.


Look up this morning and ask God to help you feel the victory He longs to hand you.

Imagine the trophy being placed in your hand.

Imagine the cheers of the witnesses surrounding you.

Determine today that you want to live victoriously,  not as someone who "almost" made it to the finish line.


You are a child of the King if you accept His Son as your Savior.

Nothing can separate you from  His love.



Phil. 3:13-14

Brothers and sisters,

I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do:

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

When you fully grasp the meaning of these verses,

I promise your view of life will change.

Somehow, e
verything becomes beautiful.


Moses knew his days were nearing an end.

He knew the Israelites would soon be following another leader,

entering the Promised Land without him;

and he knew that along the way they would lose sight of God.

The worship of wood and stone would become a norm for the people who had been led through the wilderness by the One and Only Living God.

And he knew they needed to know what to do in the midst of dark days when God would scatter them among people who did not share their faith.

So he gave a sort-of State of the Union address before saying goodbye to the people he loved so dearly.

And in his speech he used a phrase that caught my eye this morning......


But if from there you seek the

Lord your God,

you will find him if you seek him

with all your heart and with all your


Deut. 4:29

I'm just wondering this morning if you ever find yourself losing sight of God.

Do you ever get caught up in the worldly idol worship of materialism, sports, technology, friendships, and the list goes on and on??


I sure do.


I am so guilty of getting my

priorities all messed up,

and this morning God caught my

attention with four words.......





Seek Him.



I think that's what God asks of me today.

I think that's what He asks of you.


No matter what surrounds you today.

No matter how many things are competing for your attention.





If you do, He makes an amazing promise!!!





I'm seeking Him today.........from there.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Photo below is available when you CLICK HERE .


No matter how romantic or unromantic your day turns out to be,

I hope you'll remember just how much God loves you.


He is the Valentine who never leaves you or forsakes you.

He is the Valentine to whom you can give your entire self without fear of rejection.

He is the Valentine who loves with an everlasting, unconditional love.

He is the Valentine who will not force Himself into your life but who patiently waits for you to find Him and know Him.


I am thankful today for a Heavenly Father who offers ALL YEAR LONG the love expressed by many on Valentine's Day .

His gift to each of us surpasses flowers, chocolates, or jewelry.


JOHN 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Can you think of a gift better than this?


Because of Him we can all have an extremely

happy Valentine's Day!


Praying your day is filled with a constant awareness of His love for you,

What God Longs for in a Fast-Paced World, Cont.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

James 1:19-21

Yesterday, I thought a lot about being quick to listen.


I caught myself several times refocusing on a conversation, trying to be the kind of friend God wants me to be.


But there's more to the verse than just being quick to do something.

There's a couple things James says we should be slow to do.


Let me start by saying, James says SHOULD.

Not "it would be nice if you could," or "when you find it convenient," or "sometimes try."



He says we SHOULD be slow to speak and slow to become angry.



I have one friend who exemplifies this part of James 1 beautifully.

Sometimes when I spend time with her, I purposely try to be a little more on the quiet side.

It's an awkward thing for me, sit with a friend and soak in quietness.

I almost feel as if it's awkward for anyone around me to see me so quiet....

and typing that sentence is almost as embarrassing as realizing how true it is.


But, my point is this.


It's okay not to fill the air with our words.

And ..........

It's okay not to fill the Web with our constant status changes in life through Twitter and Facebook too.


Maybe if James were writing today he would say "slow to tweet and slow to become angry." Smile

It does seem sometimes like people love to share angry status updates when they are frustrated with traffic, friends, etc.



I wonder if anger is what causes us to stop listening and start sharing our opinion more often than anything else?


Today, I challenge you to slow down.

Not just in your speaking-words-part-of-life but in your every-kind-of action-part-of-life.


Slow down.

Be still.

Be calm.

Breathe deep.

Love life.


Be happy.



Consider it joy............

What God Longs for in a Fast-Paced World

I don't know about you, but I always have something on my mind, somewhere I need to be, someone I need to call...........

I love people, so I'm definitely not complaining.

I'm just keenly aware that my mind never stops spinning with the next thing.

This spinning in my mind often causes me to miss parts of conversations going on around me.

I think while people are talking, and sometimes I pretend I hear everything even when I don't.

I don't like this quality in me and neither does God.


James says we are suppose to be quick to listen and SLOW TO SPEAK.




If you know me, you know I love to talk.

I don't think I love to talk just to hear my own voice.

I just love a good conversation.

But this morning, I'm thinking God is speaking very personally to me about what can happen when I am not SLOW TO SPEAK.

When I am not slow to speak, I am definitely not quick to listen.



I am not all ears when I am all mouth.


And I'm just thinking that in this fast-paced world with tweets and Facebook statuses literally running out our ears, God would love some "quick to listen" people.


There's nothing like a conversation with someone who is quick to listen.


You feel their eye contact, you notice their expression as you share your hurt, your fear, your concerns, and your happy moments.

They are with you in every sense of the word.  No cell phone distraction.  No interruption of your thoughts.  No checking their watch to see when they can run the other way.


I want to be that kind of friend. 


My challenge today is for all of us to intentionally choose a person to whom we will become committed as a "quick listener."


Maybe it's someone you work with who needs your ear.  Maybe it's your spouse.  Maybe it's a child or a friend.


I post this with great fear and trembling, because I know that many of you who read this interact with me every, I'm sort-of putting myself "out there" in a way that says, "Hold me accountable, please."


In a fast-paced world, I believe God is looking for people who are "quick to listen."


I also believe He longs to see people who are slow to speak......and slow to become angry (I'm saving that for tomorrow!)

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

James 1:19-21

WINNERS of DVDs!!!!!!

I am excited to announce the winners of the drawing for a copy of the movie Abel's Field!


Congratulations goes to.........


Claire Carper

Susie Duncan

Amy Huffine Burton

Paula Varble


I will be emailing you this week to get your address.

Be watching for another drawing next week!

Thank you to everyone who entered the drawing either through Facebook or this blog. 

If you entered the drawing and happen to read this post, send me an email at and include your mailing address,

and I'll send you a little "something."

I love you all!



Monday, Monday...........

This morning I have a lot of different people on my mind...........

and today looks so differently for each of them.

Some are starting new chapters today. (Praying for you, Cy and Maura! It will be a great day!)

Some are wondering how they are going to make it financially.

Some are fighting cancer and some are living in the shadow of it.

Some are recovering from surgery or spending their days trying to help someone else recover.

Some are facing jobs that are really bringing them down.

Some are facing new grief, just trying to get out of bed.

Some have been walking in grief for a while and wonder how they have made it this far without the one they miss so much.

And some are just overwhelmed with life in general.........

Yet Monday comes as if everyone's calendar is unmarked, holding nothing more than the number "11."


If your day seems to hold more than you or your calendar can handle, remember this:

God holds you in the palm of His hand.

Not only that, He has engraved you there!

He walks your road with you personally.

He is omnipotent and omniscient.

He's got your Monday.

He's got you.


Today, that's more enough for me!

I want it to be more than enough for you too!!


Ps. 63:8

My soul clings to you; your right

hand upholds me.

Is. 49:16

See, I have engraved you on the

palms of my hands;

your walls are ever before me.

(I'll announce Abel's Field winners this evening.  Scroll down to the movie give-away post, if you still want to enter the drawing!)

Praying for you all,

The Meaning of the Equal Sign........


Life starts out pretty simple just like math class.......

equation six

Somewhere along the way, things get a little trickier.........

equation three

But we begin to "see" how things have to balanced for the equal sign to work it's magic.

Equal signs are really just a way of saying two sets of numbers are balanced.

We begin to see that whatever we do to the right side of an equation, we have to do to the left......

Eventually, our teachers begin to take out numbers and replace them with letters, but STILL, the balancing system is crucial for the equal sign to have meaning.

You give and take away in order to keep both sides even.

equation two

We're shocked to discover that even our chemistry teacher uses a balancing system to show how chemical reactions work.

I remember being so intrigued by the fact that nothing new is ever created.

It's just transformed from one thing to another.

Water becomes steam.  We don't "create" steam.

Water becomes ice. We don't "create" ice.

Life on this earth is a constant, on-going equation.

equation four

But sometimes we turn around and discover that one side of the equation fills our board.

We're overwhelmed.

We've had this happen and that and then this again and then that again......

and before we know it,

it's really difficult to understand how things will ever be balanced again.

It's as if one side of our life scale is pushed all the way to the ground and the other side is flopping around high up in the air!

equation five

What do we do then?????

How do we find the answer to this equation, so that our equal sign can do it's job of balancing both sides of our life equation.

I've been in math classes before where students have asked,

"When will I ever use this in real life?"

I've asked that question before many times in math classes throughout high school and college.

And if I think about it long enough, I could say the same thing as this guy.......

equation one

But here's what I tell students.

And here's what I'm telling myself today.

The biggest thing we can take away from difficult math problems is the gift of understanding how to break them down into solvable equations.

Math is about learning how to solve something.

Something difficult.

We may never use algebra II in our real-world experiences, but we will be called upon to face big problems and figure out how to combine and take away pieces of the problem until we have an answer.


The equal sign means "balanced."


Sometimes God is one thing we're missing on one side of an equation in order for it to level out and make sense.


Think about your life today.

Do you feel weighed down by this world.

Do you feel unbalanced?

What can you take away?

What can you add?


Ask God to join you on your side of the scale and allow the equal sign to do its job.

So Much to Learn in the Wilderness..........

Surely the Israelites were overcome with joy when they were released from bondage in Egypt and then witnessed the splitting of the Red Sea just so they reach safety from Pharoah and his army!

Seeing a cloud by day and fire by night, signifying God's presence, had to bring a sense of peace and assurance to their hearts as they journeyed towards the Promised Land.

In some ways, God seemed so much closer to them than He does to us.  Meeting Moses at Mt. Sinai to "talk," reacting immediately to things that enraged Him, lifting the cloud or fire when He was ready for the people to move on to the next spot in their journey.  There was no question about how God felt or where He was in those wilderness days.........

Yet, somehow, the Israelites had the nerve to complain all along the way.

They tried to replace God with a golden calf when they got tired of waiting for Moses to come down off the mountain.

They got tired of eating manna every day and whined for meat.

They had the nerve to long for their days of slavery again because in those days  they "at least were able to eat all different kinds of food."

They became so needy that Moses begged for God to take his life so he didn't have to listen to them anymore........

The Israelites had a lot to learn before they reached the Promised Land, and God decided to turn their 11-day journey into a 40- year experience.


I don't know about you, but I find a lot of similarities between me and the Israelites.


Years ago, I gave my life to that time I experienced.....


Freedom from slavery to sin

God's presence 24/7

A future in the Promised Land


Since then, there's been a lot of wandering in the wilderness.


Have I handled it beautifully?


Not always.


I tend to complain.


I tend to wonder where God is when things go wrong even though He has been there for me in the past and promises to never leave me or forsake me.


I'm learning along the way.


Learning to trust.


Learning to be still.


Learning to be quiet.


Learning to believe that the Promised Land is His time.


I still have some things to learn in the wilderness.


Today, I'm asking God to help me to be a more compliant student.


It's help so much when I remember that the Promised Land is coming!


It's coming for you too!


From one wandering Israelite to another.......


eat your manna thankfully,


don't put other gods before Him


and  have a super day!

What It Takes to Have Pure Joy..........

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,

whenever you face trials of many kinds, 

 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 

 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4



If I saw an infomercial offering me pure joy,

I'm not sure I'd be interested in calling  the 1-800 number if this is what the guy was trying to sell......

trials of many kinds.


I can just see the slick-backed hair and huge grin of the guy on the TV promising me "pure joy" for just $19.95 and the testing of my faith.

I can hear him talking about how this testing will produce in me some kind of perseverance....

And if I can just let this perseverance do what it's got to do to get me to the end of the trial,

I'll be mature and complete!


Yes, I will lack nothing!


I sometimes think this is how the world views the promises in the Bible.

Maybe that's why they often react by clicking the remote to another channel....


"No thanks, God."

"I'll just lack something instead."


And then they fill up that" lacking" with all kinds of empty things that end up leading them into all sorts of other messes.

Eventually, they end up right back on the once-not-so-enticing infomercial channel,

and hopefully the longing deep inside them is so intense that they see through the devil's attempts at making this offer sound like it's coming from someone who only wants to make a buck.


James isn't a slick-back TV personality.

He doesn't have a hidden agenda.


In fact, he is the earthly brother of Jesus, and he walked a long road of denial and shame and confusion before he finally accepted that Jesus was not just his crazy brother who thought He was the Son of God.


James finally got it.


James finally turned around one day and realized that Jesus was the real deal,

and in believing,

James had a choice to make.


Either follow his brother, the Savior,


walk away and reject salvation.


James chose to follow and the price was much more than $19.95.

His whole world turned upside down and he became one of the leaders of the early church.

He understood persecution firsthand.

He understood rejection firsthand.


He faced trials of many kinds and discovered that when he did,

God gave him something he'd never had before.

Pure joy.


Now, I don't know about you, but when I discover something that excites me, brings me happiness, makes my life easier,

I want to share it with all of my friends.

Whether it's a new recipe (please don't laugh - there are a few things I love to cook) or a book I've read,

I talk about things that I love or believe could help someone else.


And I want to say this today.


I believe James 1:2-4 promises something worth the cost.


I would offer to do this infomercial for God even if I had to slick back my hair (which would not be pretty....I promise).


I have endured some heart-wrenching trials.

If you have walked the road of life with me very long,

you have seen me cry until I can't stand on my own two feet.

I've been flat on my back with a rag over my eyes and friends all around me trying to offer some sense of encouragement when words were meaningless but their presence was desperately needed.

I've thrown things.
I've hit things (not people, but things like steering wheels, walls, doors....).

I've been at the end of it all time and time again when our neighbor confirmed that our daughter was not going to breathe again, when the doctor walked in and gave bad news time and time again, when the cancer overcame the treatments and we were forced to say bye to our son.


Yes, I've had my heart torn apart enough to make me wonder how it's still beating.


And I still cry.

I still question.

I still wonder why.


But, I also persevere and in this perseverance God has worked some sort of miracle.

Because, in spite of all I have been through,

I have pure joy.


Not that I wouldn't change everything if I could.

Believe me, I'd write a different story if I could write my own.


But, I can't.



here's the deal.


I either choose bitterness or joy every single day of my life,

and maybe it's pride, but I just can't let the devil win at this point.


He's not stealing my joy.


God has Adrienne.

God has Nick.


That's my prayer for all my kids when their time comes (And Lord, please let it be after me), so how can I be sad when I know that two of my children have run their race and won their prize??


This doesn't mean that I don't have days when I feel blue.

Just last night as I was working on a project that involved going back in time to reflect on words I wrote early in my grief,

I found old emotions stirring and I went to bed feeling sad.

I miss Nick so much that sometimes I can hardly stand it.


But, at the end of everything, I believe God has given me pure joy to fill every little crevice in my battered heart.


I laugh again.

I laugh sometimes until it hurts.

And I know that this laughter can only be a gift from a Father who loves me deeply.


If you find yourself in the  midst of a trial today,

here's what I want to say to you.




Allow your perseverance to finish its work.


I promise that one day you will turn around and discover something............

pure joy.


Joy that understands that there is more to this life than this life.

Joy that sees beyond the earthly to the eternal.

Joy that says, "I'm going to be better than okay one day, and until then, I'll keep on trusting Him."


I'm praying for you today.

Praying that you will keep on keeping step at a time.

Because every step forward with Him is also one step closer to Him.



Family Movie Give-Away

We're studying the book of James right now in Sunday school, and my lesson this morning centered around James 1:9-11.

These verses in James talk about how God views the poor in this world as well as how the rich must remember that their treasures are as fleeting as the flowers on a hot day.

My study led me to many other passages that share about what God expects from the church when it comes to the poor and needy,

and it seemed like a perfect morning to share about this movie, "Abel's Field."

In this movie, Seth, a typical teenage boy, is faced with the struggle of trying to juggle three jobs while caring for his two little sisters alone after the death of his mother.

Angry at God, church is a place he goes only to get food for his sisters.

Throughout the movie, Seth is faced with a series of tough situations, including conflict with his only brother who drinks away his pain and provides no support for Seth.

His life continues to unravel until he is left on his knees looking up...........

abels field


Click title below to watch a preview of the movie:

Abel's Field


If you find yourself at the bottom of everything, remember there is still one place to look.....and that is up.

If you would like to enter a drawing for this movie, please leave a comment below with your email address.

I have five copies to give away, so please enter!!!!


Thankful for all of you!


Help someone in need today......

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will reward them for what they have done.

Prov. 19:17

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