Monday, November 24, 2014



[Photo of pots of soup on the stove]

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being
watchful in it with thanksgiving; ”
—Colossians 4:2 RSV

How many pots do you have simmering at the moment? Oh, I don’t mean literal pots on your stove. I’m referring to the “spiritual pots” of your unanswered prayers.

On-line cooking professional, James Peterson, says this about simmering:

Unlike the French, who are gifted with a vocabulary that describes the stages of a liquid about to boil (such asfremir, which means to tremble or shake), we have no equivalent words to describe variations in simmering. But for most purposes, a simmer is the stage when the water is in motion but almost no bubbles break the surface; they’re trying to, but the water's surface tension holds them in place.

Some days, when we spend time in prayer, we feel that God will break through with an answer at any time. We can see the “bubbles” on the surface. Yet sometimes when we have laid our petitions before the Lord for many weeks and months, there comes a time when our simmering liquid seems at the point of “boiling dry.” We become tired of praying for the same things and have lost our zeal. We find ourselves at the point of giving up.

Yet God’s Word encourages us not to give up. Notice this instruction from Hebrews 6:12:

“…imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

We simply cannot rush God’s sovereign plan for us and His plan for those for whom we pray. He knows just how long the “simmering process” must continue.

The verse at the beginning of this blog post tells us to watch the “pot”—and be thankful while doing so—believing that God will answer according to His will and because of His incredibly all-knowing love for us. He has a feast planned for us that requires the long, slow-cooking process.

When you are tempted to feel that God isn’t listening to your prayers, know that He watches over you with pleasure as you “watch” for His answers and wait on Him. He smells the fragrance of your prayers. He sees and knows the best time to bring that “dish” to completion.

With great anticipation, thank Him for His amazingly wonderful answers, even before you see any indication of them!



Monday, November 17, 2014

Taste Test


[Photo of a woman tasting a spoonful of soup]

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed
is the man who takes refuge in him.”
—Psalm 34:8

I am always heartened to see the professional cooks on television taste their food to see if they like it. As a rather insecure cook myself, I must frequently use the taste test.

This Psalm 34, from which I quoted above, was written by David when he was in trouble. He had no one to trust but God Himself. Here David urges those who have difficulties like his to test the Lord and to find out that that the “taste” proves His goodness.

So, how are we to do this particular kind of “taste test”? We perform the test by putting our trust in God when we need protection or provision. David tells us we won’t be disappointed. The test of our faith will reveal so much more nourishment and enjoyment than we could even imagine or expect.

We can also “taste” the goodness of our God by the reminders of His power, grace, and love through His word. Another psalmist tells us in Psalm 119:103:

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”

Like a savory meal or a rich, satisfying dessert, we can dine on God’s revealed truth to us in His precious Word.

When I have guests coming for a meal, I am especially nervous about the right balance of the food. When we share our favorite dishes, we want those who we’ve invited to enjoy them as much as we do.

But, what about those who have never “tasted” our God through Jesus Christ, His Son? How should we prepare and season the food of God’s Word for those we hope to invite to the meal?

We want our feast filled with the zest of Christ. We desire those who have never tasted Him, to smell the aroma, to be drawn to the table prepared by the Holy Spirit. Even Jesus told us that, as Christians, we have the effect of presenting the world with His savory goodness. In Matthew 5:13, He said:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?”

Pray that God will allow you new bites of His goodness. Then pray that He will make your life and the “food” you present to those who need it, tasty indeed, full of flavor and fresh goodness.



Monday, November 10, 2014



[Photo of a woman collapsed on a very full suitcase]

“I the Lord do not change.”
—Malachi 3:6

Too much change makes me crazy! Over the years, I’ve learned in many things to “roll with the punches” but that has been a very long and painful process.

I tend to feel that the formation of any good work a person does takes an extended period of time. Solid relationships take time to develop and nurture. It takes time to learn to trust people and for them to get to know and trust me.

I see the damage that moving a child from school to school and home to home does. While they say children are resilient, I also know that most children need stability in order to learn and to be happy.

Although as an adult I have moved my residence from place to place with some regularity, for 26 of those years, I was able to maintain my teaching position and my church in the same place. I felt established and I put down deep roots.

However, in my maturity, God has seen to it that I more and more must begin to learn to trust Him when changes occur in my life. The stability I once knew, I can no longer rely upon. My jobs haven’t remained the same. Some family members once strong have become sick and weak or have died. Church cultures change and my place in those churches have changed. I have come to accept the saying, “The only thing that stays the same is change.”

Yet, as Christians, we can know for certain that God does not change. The Apostle James writes in James 1:17:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Though our knowledge of God changes as we get to know Him better and better, we can count on Him to always love us and always care for us no matter what changes we may face in life.

Henry Lyte, a pastor from a fishing village in England who lived in the early 19th century, wrote these words:

“Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”

God wants our security to come, not from maintaining a predictable life, but from trusting in His immovable and unchangeable love and care for us. I urge you to begin to learn, as I am trying to do, to let our unchangeable God be all that you need in this ever-changing life.



Monday, November 3, 2014

In Your Hand


[Photo of man playing the saw]

“Then the Lord said to him, ‘What is that
in your hand?’ ‘A staff,’ he replied.”
—Exodus 4:2

Sam Kressler played the saw. This older gentleman in my home church—a farmer and lover of God and His church—didn’t have musical training, but he had a handsaw and a desire to play music for the Lord.

Dorothy Anderson, a single woman in a church in which I was a member as an adult, nurtured fabulous flower gardens and carefully and lovingly decorated the communion table with her blooms every week.

Catherine Winkworth, a Nineteenth Century English woman, had an interest in German chorales. As a personal devotional exercise, she began translating hymns and chorales into English. By the time she had finished she had found and translated 400 hymns. “If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee,” “Jesus, Priceless Treasure,” “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” “Now Thank We All Our God,” are among those which we cherish in our congregational singing today.

Moses only had a staff to offer to the Lord. Oh, but how God used it! With that staff and the direction of the Lord, Moses brought about the plagues on the Egyptians, parted the Red Sea, brought water from the rock in the wilderness, and defeated the Amalekites.

Young David had a slingshot and five smooth stones. Yet God used those to defeat a giant and his mighty army.

What has God put into your hand? He can use it for His glory if He also has your willing heart. Never think anything is too small or too insignificant for Him to use for His glory.

As you give yourself to God today, let nothing seem out of reach of His mighty use. You will be surprised what He draws on for His purpose.

—Posted: Monday, November 3, 2014