Monday, January 31, 2005

God Pause

I’ve been home taking care of a very sick little girl this weekend and today. Whenever one of the children is like this - so still, so weak - something moves in my heart. When I check on them during the night, touch their brows, and listen for their breathing, I’m reminded anew how precious they are. Gifts sent from heaven. It’s a sort of “God Pause” – to steal a phrase from David Wilkerson of World Challenge.

I think most of us don’t take God Pauses often enough. Pastor Wilkerson’s latest ministry letter discusses how quickly people have moved on from the tsunami disaster. Around our house, we have. Right after it happened, we (and most of America) spent a good bit of time watching the news reports. Our church jumped into action as I’ve
discussed before. Millions of individuals wrote checks and sent aid.

How much time did we, as believers or not, spend asking God what He is doing through this event? I confess not enough on my part.

Wilkerson reminds his readers of the sheer magnitude of the earthquake and resulting devastation. Remember, one island was moved nearly 100 feet! Then he continues:

“...when power is unleashed that was one million times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima . . . when thinking men everywhere have an intuition that “somebody is tinkering with nature, something is happening that cannot be explained away” . . . when society moves on without a single “God pause,” without even a thought that God will not be mocked. THAT IS WHEN I SAY WE HAVE COME NEAR OR CROSSED OVER A LINE INTO A SPIRITUAL STUPOR THAT NO AMOUNT OF DIVINE MERCY CAN AWAKEN.”

Spiritual stupor. Let’s not be caught. Whether reflecting on a natural disaster, watching events unfold in the Middle East or facing a personal “tsunami” at school or at home, take some time to seek God in the middle of it. Take a God pause.

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” Proverbs 2:13, 14


Friday, January 28, 2005

No Greater Love

One morning recently, I awoke before dawn to howling wind and driving rain pelting the window. I knew my husband had left just minutes earlier to drive several hours away for work. Flipping on the radio, I heard news of a tornado sighting 9 miles away. Seemed so odd to me in the dead of winter.

Naturally, sleep wouldn't come as worry pressed in. I didn’t call him. It’s hard enough to drive in such weather without fumbling for a cell phone. And I knew he could have easily avoided all the trouble. You see, he had been in the same town the day before and could have simply stayed for the next day’s business. But he likes to come home when feasible, eat dinner with us, hear about the children’s days. Lead family devotions. Tuck us all in. Even at the price of foul weather, extra hours of driving, and predawn alarms.

I have a small, framed picture on my dresser. Love is inseparable from sacrifice, it says. All I could do was lie there in the dark and pray for my husband’s safety. And I thanked God for this man whose silent sacrifices speak volumes about his love for our family. It reminds me of Jesus, who gave his very life for the ones he loved.

The little picture has a drawing of nails and a crown of thorns. Jesus loved us so much he left the beauty and peace of heaven to come to earth, to spend time with us and teach us about the kingdom of heaven. And he paid a heavy price, essentially a ransom, through his death, nailed to a cross. He could have called down a legion of angels to rescue him, but he didn’t. Love is inseparable from sacrifice. Do you know how much he loves you?


“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Thursday, January 27, 2005

One Body and One Spirit

I have been disturbed today as I’ve pondered recent incidents within the Christian community. In one instance, a high profile Christian leader’s views on a couple of issues have been misquoted and misrepresented by the news media. I’m not too concerned about the response of Non-Christians. The Bible says their minds are “darkened” anyway.

But these godless reporters have been able to create quite a ruckus within the family of faith. Some believers have jumped to conclusions and caused great disunity by being quick to publicly criticize, condemn, and fault this leader – without getting their facts straight.

Many verses in the Bible refer to all those who are in Christ as one Body. And just as Christ extended grace to us as sinners, so should we extend grace to one another. Too often gatherings of believers, ministries and churches have been torn apart by rumors, public criticism and the mishandling of disagreements.

The New Testament has some good pointers to keep in mind for such difficult situations. I suggest you read the fourth chapter of Ephesians for starters and search other places for how to handle conflict and disagreement in a kind and godly way.

Are you at odds with a brother or sister in Christ? Are you angry with anyone at home or at school? Carefully consider how you should approach the situation. And don’t be too quick to judge. How you react can make a huge difference in the outcome for yourself, for the other person, and for the Non-Christians around you who may be watching how Christians treat each other.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2, 3

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Shepherd in the Shadows

One paragraph from Wead's column reminded me of a classic Bible story. Wead wrote:

“When Augustine Washington lay dying, all his hopes were on the shoulders of his son, Lawrence, who had been given the best education, trips to London, the estate of Mount Vernon and most of the money. But it was the little, unnoticed, uneducated, 11-year-old George, who stood in the shadows by his father’s side, who would achieve glory beyond anything his father could have ever imagined.”

Are you familiar with King David’s origins? I Samuel 16 describes how, long ago, the prophet Samuel was sent by God to anoint a new king for Israel. The Lord directed him to meet a man named Jesse and his family and told him to anoint the one He indicates. When he saw the son named Eliab, Samuel assumed this tall, handsome lad must be the one.

But here’s what God said: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7) After Samuel nixed Eliab, Jesse brought out seven more sons, one by one. Each time, Samuel rejected them.

Finally Samuel asks, “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse had not bothered to fetch his youngest son, who had the lowly job of tending sheep. Jesse failed to see anything particularly winsome or kingly about the boy. However, God did. Samuel anointed him immediately, although it would be many years, many hardships and heartaches later before David would take the throne.

As a woman, I know we spend a lot of time worrying about our looks – fixing our hair, choosing our clothes, applying makeup and selecting just the right earrings. But do you realize the Lord is most concerned about our inner beauty? Are we taking time to develop and cultivate an inward spirit that will equip us to carry out the work God has planned for us? And are we encouraging our friends to be as inwardly attractive as they are outwardly? Try to read the first 13 verses of I Samuel 16.

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Into the Light

Did you read the column from yesterday’s post? In it, Wead describes how various U.S. Presidents were actually the underdogs of their respective families. For instance, Joe Kennedy was the one expected to go far, but it was his “sickly,” nonacademic, younger brother who won the nation’s hearts and gained a foothold in history books. And George W. Bush was viewed as the “family clown,” and yet now he is beginning a second term as our President.

Whether you are fourteen or forty, it’s easy to feel pressured by expectations – real or perceived. Television and movies conspire to make us feel inadequate. We think we aren’t smart enough, or thin enough, or athletic enough or popular enough. Sometimes the damage to our self-esteem comes from the very people we love the most.


Though we may feel like we are living in the shadows, no one knows what life has in store.

God has a plan and a purpose just for you. As long as you are doing your best, keeping your eyes on Jesus and seeking His will, you can live a fulfilled life. The Bible calls it “abundant” life. You may never find fame in this world or you may end up President one day. Either way, God's plan is perfect and every day with Him can be an adventure. After all, he is called the Light of the world. He is the one who brings us out of the shadows.

“You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light." Psalm 18:28

Monday, January 24, 2005

For Shadow Dwellers

Today’s post may seem a bit ironic in that we have spent several days praising the value of reading the Bible, and today, for the first time in this blog’s [short] history, I’m not giving you a Bible verse or passage to read. No. This should be as easy for you as the click of a mouse or tap on the touchpad.

Last week with the inauguration approaching, USA Today ran an interesting
column by Doug Wead, entitled Bush Comes Out of the Shadows. Click on it and read it. Set politics aside for a couple minutes – they don’t matter. I had everyone in our family read it, too. Every teen should take its basic message to heart. Wead puts it this way:

“The bright sunshine of excessive expectations can sometimes scorch and kill,
while the shadows offer room for maneuver, mistake, learning and healing. “

I hope you find his words encouraging. We’ll talk more about it tomorrow.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Freedom

Our family enjoyed watching the inauguration yesterday. Like World Series games that air too late for school children to watch, this piece of history would have been missed, too, except for the kindness of snow in our area, closing schools and workplaces. As the President’s speech went along, we found ourselves asking, “How many times has he said the word freedom?”

Freedom is a transcendent value. However for freedom to enjoy its greatest promise in a political sense is dependent upon the inherent morality of the people governed. As with raising children, the more a parent can trust them to do the right thing, the more freedom we can give. Or, conversely, the greater the immorality, the more legislation is needed to direct actions. That’s why laws in our communities are becoming increasingly intrusive. One California city is even considering an ordinance mandating the particulars of pet care.

Spiritual freedom, on the other hand, is a personal matter, mostly independent of those around you and apart from your circumstances. The apostle Paul was imprisoned for his work preaching the gospel. In a political sense, he was literally in chains and closely watched by guards. But the letters he wrote to his friends were full of joy. Read the first chapter of Philippians, for example. His satisfaction and fulfillment came from his relationship to Christ and serving as God called him – no matter the circumstances.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” II Corinthians 3:17

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Glomerulonephritis and Such

When our son was three years old, he began having some disturbing symptoms. We took him to the pediatrician who quickly referred us to a nephrologist, that is, a kidney doctor. Some tests were done. Then the doctor called us into his office to discuss the results.

It was not good. He suspected a possibly fatal disease. And as he talked, I was struggling, fogged somewhat by emotion, but also in an academic sense, straining to understand. You see, he was droning on about proteinuria, glomerulonephritis, nephropathy and the like. And I was still back on first base, trying to recall from basic health class whether we have one kidney or two! If I had had some more sophisticated schooling, a medical degree, for instance, I’m sure we could have connected. My mind would have been more prepared to absorb what he was saying.

Studying the Bible can be like that. It can sound strange and hard to understand. But Jesus offers us help in the form of the Holy Spirit. Without delving too far into theological issues, I believe the Bible is clear that those who receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior also receive the Holy Spirit. Like having an M.D. would have helped me eight years ago, so having the Holy Spirit helps your mind decipher the Bible. One of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Jesus to us and to reveal truth.

But don’t sweat it if you’re not a Christian and don’t have this divine helper. Many people, famous, infamous and unknown, have come to faith by reading the Bible. And others - such as Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ - came to faith even as they set out to disprove and discredit the Bible. And I eventually did grasp what the doctor was saying. It just took a bit more effort on my part - studying the Merck Manual, talking to relatives with medical backgrounds and asking lots of questions. So don’t give up. Keep reading and ask God for help as you go along.

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13



Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Diving In

As with any skill – swimming, for instance - you can learn a lot by being around a pool: by watching others swim; reading a book on swimming; talking to instructors; and admiring the skills of Olympic racers. But you won’t really learn all that much until you take the plunge and start flapping those arms.

Bible study can be like this. Going to church, talking with others, listening to pastors and reading about the Bible can all be informative and encouraging. But to really benefit, you need to dive in. It may be difficult at first. The language is sometimes complicated, sometimes not. The Bible is filled with wonderful stories about a wide array of men and women and, yes, children. Then there are all those “begats,” unusual rituals, and vague prophecies, too. If you’ll persevere, though, it will get easier and more enjoyable. If we all stopped trying to swim the first time we got water up our nose, few of us would be strokin’ today.

If you’re just starting to have quiet times, teachers recommend you start with the book of John or one of the other gospels that begin the New Testament, basically the second half of the Bible. These books – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – describe events in the life of Jesus. It’s also helpful to read in small “chunks,” just a few verses or one chapter at a time.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about some help you have available for understanding what you read. For now, let’s just get started. Here’s the first verse of John:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Quiet Time

Here’s some advice. If you aren’t a Christian, but want to know more about the faith ... read the Bible. If you are a Christian, and want to know more about your faith ... read the Bible.

Although there are many excellent books about Christianity and the Christian life, there is no substitute for simply reading the Bible itself. Millions and millions of people read and study this bestseller, the world’s all-time bestselling book. The Bible has been translated into more languages than any other book. And people of faith believe it presents God’s words for humans, a primary mode of communication from heaven to earth.

Josh McDowell, author of Evidence that Demands a Verdict, points out some amazing facts about the Bible, which make it unique and different from any other book ever published. It was:

written over a 1,500-year span
written over 40 generations
written by more than 40 authors
written in different places, on three continents,
in three different languages

And yet there is "one unfolding story: God's redemption of man."

When I first committed my life to Christ as a high schooler, a mentor taught me to schedule a daily “quiet time.” She said to set aside time every day – alone, if possible – to read the Bible and pray. Now, more than 20 years later, I am thankful I took her advice; however imperfectly I’ve carried it out, I have no regrets for the time spent searching for truth, encouragement and help in its pages.

“. . . and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

II Timothy 3:15

Monday, January 17, 2005

Relaxing . . .

Holiday today!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Intelligent Designer?

I’ve watched some interesting DVDs lately in which renowned scientists discuss evolution versus creationism – a hot topic recently if you’ve been watching television, reading the papers or listening to talk radio. The DVDs include a wide spectrum of experts from physicists to archaeologists to biochemists, who have identified major flaws in evolutionary theory and have come to support the view that an “intelligent designer” must exist. Some had a religious faith; others did not.

These increasingly vocal researchers have created quite a stir in the scientific community. Moreover, their ideas and opinions have such credibility and weight they are causing crises far outside the scientific realm - in education and politics, for example.

Then, last month, famed 81-year-old atheist Antony Flew made international headlines by declaring his belief in some sort of god. Now Flew is not just any ol’ atheist. He is a highly respected British professor of philosophy, who has been an outspoken, worldwide champion of atheism for 50 years. He was quoted in major media as saying that biologists’ investigation of DNA “has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce [life], that intelligence must have been involved.”

I’m no expert in these matters, but I do find it an interesting debate. So must the evolutionists who are working overtime to muzzle their colleagues on the other side. But ask yourself this: would you rather believe that there is a God who created you and has a purpose for your life or that you are just a freak protoplasmic accident biding your time until death?

Your answer to this is more important than you might think. Remember the question we discussed last week: Why Did you Get Up This Morning? What you believe about such a fundamental question of life will influence how you live. What a society believes will, to some extent, determine how it is governed and how it functions. Think about it.

“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Who Taught the Sun?

Yesterday we were discussing how looking at creation – in this case the stars in the sky – testifies to a Creator, a God who made everything and put the world in order. One of the great weaknesses of evolutionary theory is that it offers no explanation for the incredible order of the universe in view of a supposedly chaotic origin. As humans, we know our tendency is toward disorder, whether it is keeping a locker straight or a bedroom or a hairstyle; we must exert effort to put things in order. And most of us have an innate desire for significant order in our lives. We tend to eat on a schedule, sleep on a schedule, and, hopefully, study regularly if we’re to thrive.

Nicole C. Mullen sings Redeemer, one of my favorite songs. The lyrics pose these questions:

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
Who taught the ocean you can only come this far?
Who showed the moon where to hide till evening?

The chorus concludes: “I know my Redeemer lives. All of creation testifies there’s life within the Christ.” I’ll ask my more-computer-savvy-than-I-am teenager later if she can find an audio link to this song, and I’ll add it here. I'd love for you to hear the whole song.

The Bible says that people who reject God are without excuse because “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” (Romans 1) In other words, God’s presence in our world is evident, and from the beginning of history, the vast majority of humanity has believed in God, although not in total agreement about who he is and how he operates.

Maybe you are wondering whether God is real. Maybe when I stated yesterday that he knows your name, maybe you doubted. Try looking for him, for evidence of his work on earth. You might be surprised what you find.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:20

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

When You Wish Upon a Star

A friend was telling me recently of a vivid memory she has from her childhood in which she was crossing a field near her home. She clearly remembers looking up at a bright star in the night sky and aching to know about God and to know God. She was spurred to ask questions, even at her church, and no one really gave her satisfactory answers. It wasn’t until she was in her thirties that her search ended, her soul’s yearnings quenched, when she came to know God as her Father through giving her life to his Son Jesus.

Her story reminds me of a passage in Isaiah, which says: “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.” (Isaiah 40:26) Not only does the Creator of the universe know your name and my name, but He also knows the name of each star. I wonder if one day, when we get to heaven, Jesus will tell my friend the name of the star that called to her heart.

Today’s challenge is to read all of Psalm 19. I’ll get you started with the first verse .... “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

In the Wake of the Wave

The international response to the tsunami disaster has been heartwarming. I hope you are careful, though, to give only to organizations you can trust to use resources well. As soon as possible, our church sent a pastor, George, to an afflicted area of India, a place where we already had ties. Working alongside a native pastor, George has helped load trucks, transport goods, and distribute "survival" packages. Even better, God gave these leaders a vision to help in a way that would provide ongoing, not just temporary, benefits.

Here's what they're doing, in George's own words, as posted on New Directions:
"Sure we can give them food, etc., but what if we gave them a means to go back to work. So, we're starting a new business. It will be called the Simon Peter Fishing Company. So far we bought two boats at $3,000 apiece, which includes nets and a motor."

They figure they'll need 200 boats to support the entire village that had been washed away and will work through the local church there. George adds:

"This village is on an island. You have to cross over a large concrete bridge to get there. When the wave hit, mothers and fathers picked up their children and ran for the bridge, which carried hundreds to safety. I was asked to share a word at the distribution of the food, and I told the people that Jesus is the only bridge between us and God. He is the only one that can rescue us from our sin."

Jesus is the bridge, the way to God and our passage into the family of heaven.

"For there is one God and Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men . . ." I Timothy 2:5-6


Monday, January 10, 2005

More on Word Power

On the flip side of Friday’s post about the negative power of words, we need to consider the great potential our words have for good. A brief exchange years ago brought this to life for me. Our son, barely out of diapers, had done something - I don’t even remember what – something noteworthy. And I praised him for it. I’ll never forget how he looked up at me and matter-of-factly explained, “I’m a quick learner.”

I was astonished. Toddlers don’t naturally think that way. He was simply parroting back to me something he had been told and which had obviously taken root in his brain. And what a great thing for a child to believe about himself at a time when everything in his world is new. Every day at that age is filled with learning experiences.

I wish all of you were growing up in affirming homes. Many are not. If you’re American, you are certainly growing up in a culture that hammers you with negative messages – ideas that are in direct conflict with what the Bible says. Here you are on the cusp of manhood and womanhood. What will you believe about yourself to help you cope with a challenging time of life? What words of encouragement and confidence can you speak to a friend today? Your kind words and sincere compliments could make a big difference in someone's day, maybe in someone's life.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up ....”
I Thessalonians 5:11

Friday, January 07, 2005

Word Power

When I was a child, we recited a chant: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Is that still around? I hope not, because we all know it is ludicrously untrue, isn’t it?! Of course words hurt. And sometimes they hurt more than a broken bone.

A relative of mine recalls an aunt who told her she was the ugliest child ever born. This beautiful woman, now a grandmother, still remembers those stinging words from her childhood and still finds it hard to believe she is attractive. (The truth is all children are beautiful; they are all created in the image of God, but that's a topic for another day.)

We need to be cautious with our words, cautious about voicing criticism. A speaker once described our words as arrows shot at a fence. We can try to take them back, but they still leave holes behind. Undoing the damage of careless words is difficult. I know; I’ve tried. And I have many regrets in this area. Let’s resolve during this new year to watch our words.

“He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.” Proverbs 22:11

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Going the Extra Mile

If you read the Gospels - the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – you might notice that very often people don’t come to Jesus by their own initiative. Unlike the woman who touched the hem of his robe or the blind man who called loudly from the side of the road, many are helped by the actions of their families or friends.

One striking account in Mark 2 tells of four friends who brought a paralyzed man to a home where Jesus was teaching. Unfortunately, the place was jammed to overflowing, and they couldn’t get near him. They went to great lengths as they carried this needy friend on a mat, hauled him to the rooftop, created a hole in the roof and lowered him down. The fifth chapter of Luke adds that they set him down “into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.”

They didn’t let embarrassment or obstacles or a busy social calendar stop them from delivering their friend to the One who could heal him. Sometimes when I am praying, I mentally place my friends or family members on a metaphorical mat and bring them to the feet of Jesus, asking for His touch in their lives.

Perhaps you remember reading the Amber Brown series of books in elementary school. We’re reading them with our youngest daughter. And though we chuckle at Amber’s antics, I find myself fighting tears as she confronts the breakup of her parents’ marriage, rides an emotional rollercoaster, and deals with their new dating relationships. To me, young people are often paralyzed by divorce. Much, if not all, of what is happening is out of their control. Experts say it can take years, even a lifetime, for some to overcome this kind of trauma.

Can you think of a classmate or someone in your life who has been wounded by divorce? Maybe it’s you. Would you take a minute right now in your mind and heart to go before Jesus and ask for His healing and His help for your sibling, your friend, yourself or whomever comes to mind?

“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” I John 4:15,16

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Why Did You Get Up This Morning?

Dr. Chris Leland of the Focus on the Family Institute says one of the most important questions we can ask is “Why did you get up this morning?” Have you ever thought about that? Most people’s first instinct is to say something like “because I have to.” Well, why do you have to? “Because I have to go to school.” Why do you have to go to school? “Because my Mom makes me” or “It’s the law.” We could go on, but you get the picture. I encourage you to think through this question, to peel away the flip answers and really think about your motivations in life.

Today, I got an email from our school system announcing a new suicide hotline. Suicide, it said, is the 3rd leading cause of death among students aged 15-19. Seems to me a lot of you are having trouble answering the important question: Why did you get up this morning?

Dr. Leland says your generation struggles with three things:

  • A lack of Hope
  • A lack of Direction
  • A lack of Truth

Such high suicide statistics would seem to back this up. What about you? Do you lack hope? Jesus says He offers life. Do you lack direction? Jesus says He is the Way. Are you searching for truth? Jesus says He IS the Truth.

Take some time soon to skim the book of John. See how the touch of Jesus transforms lives from a blind man to a promiscuous woman to a scholar to a fisherman. . . He loves you and wants to touch your life, too.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Life's Tsunamis

The tsunami coverage has certainly captivated our national conscience. Why do you think that is? I think that every once in a while life throws a curveball that reminds us essentially that our existence on this earth is fragile and that our general assumption that we are in the driver’s seat is merely an illusion. It’s not like these afflicted people were tempting fate. They weren’t racing NASCARS or living under Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime or playing Xtreme sports. They were reading books, nursing babies, walking the beaches.

In May of 2001, I went for a jog. I liked to circle our neighborhood park and run home on a dirt path, just to the side of the street, parallel to the curbing. On that particular day, a young man driving a Honda happened to run off the road, jumping the curb, at just the wrong spot and wrong time. He hit me from behind at about 30 miles per hour and stopped by crashing into some trees.

The car hit my legs first. Passersby also said they could see the imprint of my head in his broken windshield. Then I was thrown a few yards, landing on my back on the pathway. And my jogging shoes, interestingly enough, landed another 30 feet or so farther down the road than my body did. That I survived and survived so well is simply a miracle. It just wasn’t my day to go to the other side. But it was a wakeup call.

No one really knows whether they will have another year, another day or even another breath on this earth. Only God knows the length of days we have. The question is: are you ready? Are you ready to meet Your Maker? If you haven’t made things right with God yet, now would be a good time. Just talk to Him in your heart and give Him your life. Ask Him to show Himself to you and to be your Father and Friend forever.

"Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6


Monday, January 03, 2005

Happy New Year 2005

At our traditional New Year's Eve dinner, my husband asked what we were all thankful for during the last year. Our seven-year-old's hand shot up. "For the new friends we made," she said. She was thinking of a girl in her class, who had moved into the area and started at her school in the fall. They had become fast friends immediately. The new girl is half Scandinavian and half Chinese, with her Asian features dominating.

CNN's tsunami coverage included a piece on how the crisis is breaking down barriers. Hindus and Muslims, Buddhists and Christians, are all helping each other, disregarding their customary tensions - at least in this one locale. As our daughter seems to understand intuitively and as the terrible disaster has made abundantly clear, relationships are our real treasures in life. If we overinvest in things, in achievements, in ourselves, we crowd out what is truly important and lose on the scale of eternity. This year, may we resolve to work on our relationships. First, the backbone of them all: our relationship with Jesus. And after that, may we seek to love and care for the others He has placed in our paths.

"If I .... can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." I Corinthians 13: 2-3

What are Grace Notes?

Musically speaking, a grace note is often referred to as an embellishment or ornament. It's a short note, usually in small print, played just before the main beat. It's my hope that these blogs will function as grace notes in your life, tiny enhancements to the music you are making as you journey onward day by day. And, by His grace, these notes will help tune your ear to the Maestro, to seek His melody and to participate fully in the grandest Symphony of all.

"From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him, we live and move and have our being." Acts 17:26-28