Mar 23

FOR FAITH: Matthew 11:28

Matthew 11 28 cp

 

Right this minute I’m probably lying on a lounge chair on the beach in Hawaii. It’s one way I’m living Matthew 11:28.

Jesus created this glorious world and allows us to enjoy it. One way to enjoy it is leaving behind the everyday and relishing time alone with that special person—praising God all the while.

But even when we can’t get away to a beach in the tropics, this verse reminds us that we can always take time away from the burden and weariness of every day and spend time with Jesus.

Mar 20

FOR FAITH: Thank God for Springtime

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Here in Northern California, we’ve had spring pretty much since January. That’s good in that it’s been glorious to watch the trees bloom and fill the world with beauty. That’s bad in that we generally get a few major rainstorms in February. This year we’ve needed a good drenching that never came.

But today it is officially spring—not only here in Northern California but in the rest of the northern hemisphere as well. It’s a time when the world on this side of the equator renews itself. It’s a time when that physical renewal has a subtle power to encourage us to renew our spirits as well.

So here’s to springtime and the renewal it brings to us all. Thank you, Jesus for the beauty and variety you created when you created this world!

 

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What’s your favorite part of springtime?

 

Mar 16

FOR FAITH; FOR WRITERS: Second Step

nike

Last month (here) I wrote about my one word in faith for 2015—Nike. That one word reminds me to “just do it.” I wrote, that part of “just doing it” is taking that first step out. 

After that first step, then what happens? It’s then time to evaluate.

  • Did I survive?

  • Did I make forward movement?

  • Is forward the actual direction I should be going?

  • Or is going left or right where I should head?

  • Or—could it actually be that God wants me right here where I am for a bit longer?

Just as we step out in obedience and faith, we have to keep stepping in the direction God intends. Or stay put and wait for His leading.

When setting those goals each year, many of us focus on taking that first step forward. It’s a little scary. But more often it’s exciting, looking toward achieving our goals.

But ultimately we need to take a look at where we are. Did we lose our way? Is the goal still the one we desire to reach? Is it closer or has our stepping out taken us away from where we want to be?

Each quarter I reevaluate those lofty goals I set in January. Am I making progress? What is hindering me? What have I done that I should continue to do? What haven’t I done? Or what should I stop doing?

And—equally valid—does that goal still have meaning? Or have situations changed? Or has something more important or more urgent come into my life that I need to focus on?

As I look over my own writing goals, I see that I’m making forward progress on some. Others I haven’t even begun to address and I still need to do so. And others have popped up calling out for attention.

It’s all good. And all of them require that I just do it—whatever “it” might have become.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Are there things you wanted to accomplish in 2015? Are you making progress toward them? Have other things popped up, calling for your attention?

Mar 09

OZ AND I: Uncertainties

OZ AND I image copy

It began last October.

Our hopeful relocation to Idaho. First our daughter and son-in-law bought their own home and moved out of this one. Then our son moved out and trying to sell this house began in earnest.

Clean the house. Wait. Hope the folks love the house. Wait for an offer.

Repeat.

Offers have come. Offers have been promised. But ultimately we’re still here. And still waiting.

We began the process with excitement. “What are you planning to do when the house sells?” people would ask.

“Embrace the chaos,” we would lightheartedly respond.

We thought things would move quickly. We thought there would be delightful chaos.

But as we lean into the sixth month of the process, the adventure has stalled. The delightful chaos hasn’t occurred. The resulting stress isn’t based on too much busyness. It’s based on too much stagnation.

This morning, though Oswald Chambers encouraged me, saying, “showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead” is the secret of walking with Jesus.

I haven’t been worried. I haven’t been afraid. I haven’t not trusted Jesus with the future plans He has for us.

But I have focused on the uncertainties as if they were a dark hole of emptiness, rather than a future chock full of good things that Jesus will illuminate in His timing.

Thank you Jesus for your plan and your timing, whatever it is. Thank you Oz for the reminder that Jesus is walking beside me.

 

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What uncertainties do you have in your life that you need to stop focusing on?

♦♦♦

This post is based on the devotional for March 9 from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest.

 

Mar 06

PRAYING NAMES: Penelope, Jacob

Penelope Jacob

 

I love the meaning of names. I also love praying that people will live the meaning of their own name. Here are two more names, their meanings and prayers that they would live that meaning.

If you would like me to create a prayer for someone you love, please leave me a comment below. If you like this idea as much as I do, head over to HonorBoundBooks.com. There you can look into purchasing a prayer plaque with the name, meaning and a prayer for someone you love.

 

PENELOPE (Penny): dream weaver

Heavenly Father, we pray that Penelope will live the meaning of her name. We pray that she will be an encourager and supporter to others in the pursuit of their dreams. We pray also that her own dreams will be the dreams of your heart in all things, understanding that you can weave together all things for good. Amen.

 

JACOB (Jake): he who supplants; he takes the place of

Heavenly Father, we pray that Jacob will live the meaning of his name. We pray that he will live a life in which he actively and consciously supplants your will for his own, understanding and believing in confidence that your will is perfect. Amen.

 

Mar 02

Apologizing for tests

John 6 35 CPTo my Facebook and Linked-in friends, I apologize for flooding social media. I’m struggling (again) with technology and need to keep testing potential fixes.

 

Thanks for your patience and grace as I fumble my way through.

Mar 02

Thinking

Thinking of you 1

 

And also testing out my technical expertise (and lack of) on my website.

Mar 02

FOR FAITH: John 6:35

John 6 35 CP

 

…because the hunger and thirst is for righteousness.

…which we can’t provide for ourselves.

…fortunately Jesus declares us righteous

…when we come to Him.

 

♦♦♦

 

Feel free to copy and paste this image anywhere and everywhere. Send copies to all your friends. Paste it on your refrigerator. Most of all, remember what it says and that Jesus is everything you need.

Feb 27

JUST DO IT: The First Step

nikeObedience. It’s sometimes tough. Sometimes we don’t want to do something. Sometimes we don’t think we are capable. Sometimes we just want God to take over and make it happen.

Sure, God could do it for us or to us or instead of us. But if we’re talking about obedience, then God requires something from us. Usually He requires it first.

In other words, God may give you strength, courage, skill, people, or opportunity. But first you have to step forward in faith.

 

  • Jesus healed the man’s withered hand, but first the man had to stretch it out. (Matthew 12:13; Luke 6:10)

 

  • When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, God divided the water, but first Moses had to raise his staff and stretch out his hand over it. (Exodus 14:16)

 

  • Paul said he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him, but first he had to begin to do. (Philippians 4:13)

 

My one word focus for 2015 is Nike—as in the sports shoes—because their slogan is “just do it.” Part of “just doing it” is taking that first step. And then the next. In obedience and trust, relying on Jesus.

 

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Is there something you feel incapable of doing or are dragging your feet over? What first step might help you just do it?

Feb 23

FOR READERS: The Testimonium

testimoniumAlthough faith has to do with believing in the heart, a great thing about Christianity is the amazing amount of historical facts and archaeology that supports it. That’s the basis behind The Testimonium by Ben Lewis Smith.

Smith did a fabulous job of proposing an archaeological find that—while not proving Christ’s resurrection—lent strong historical support to the Gospel account. Smith’s historical and scientific research made the basic premise of an archaeological find feel true to life. I especially enjoyed the description of the documentation and scientific process involved in preserving archaeological finds. Smith used those descriptive moments to educate us readers but also to move the story forward and deepen our understanding of the characters involved.

Smith’s characters were well developed and their personal growth was well thought through. The reactions from various segments of the world community felt real and probable as he dealt with the question of how religious communities would react to either a confirmation or change in our understanding of the historical Jesus of Nazareth.

I reviewed this book previously here, but wanted to take the opportunity to plug it again since our book club is now reading it. Additionally, it occurred to me that the book would be an especially interesting Lenten read as we look forward to celebrating Easter.

The story moved quickly with strong writing and a page-turning plot. In all, The Testimonium was a great read. I recommended it to my book club. Today we’ll be meeting to discuss it. Can’t wait to hear what they have to say.

Have you read this book? What did you think? What did you love? What did you question? Head over to “Carol’s Book Club” (above) and leave a comment.

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