Monday, November 26, 2018

Hurry Home


[Photo of headlights in falling snow]

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.”
—Proverbs 18:10

I found myself in a conference center in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 11, 2001. The news of the attacks shocked me to the core. Insecure and, with my husband in another part of the conference center teaching a seminar, I felt very alone. More than anything, I wanted to go home.

Another time, as I drove in a blizzard unable to see either side of the road that I knew was framed with deep ditches, I only wanted one thing—to see the familiar lights of home.

A little Preschooler in my school, insecure and afraid, often cried and declared, “I wanna go ’ome!”

Spiritually speaking, when we are afraid, lost, lonely, feeling abandoned, where do we first long to go? Job, in Chapter 23 of the Old Testament book that bears his name, spoke these words:

Oh, if I knew where I might find him!

For Job, his God represented “home” to him.

As Psalm 91:9 tells us:

If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

When disaster threatens us, God wants us to hide in Him and trust Him for our security.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, wrote:

God’s children run home when the storm comes on. It is the heaven-born instinct of a gracious soul to seek shelter from all ills beneath the wings of Jehovah. “He that hath made his refuge God,” might serve as the title of a true believer… Nothing teaches us so much the preciousness of the Creator, as when we learn the emptiness of all besides.1


1 Spurgeon, Charles Haddon, Morning and Evening. Mclean, VA: MacDonald Publishing Co., Public Domain. p. 649.



Monday, November 19, 2018



[Photo of a woman holding a Bible]

“I rejoice in following your statues as one
rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your
precepts and consider your ways. I delight
in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.”
—Psalm 119:14-16

The greatest joy I have as a teacher, other than the wonderful memories of a lifetime of classroom experiences, comes my way when students remember something I taught them.

  • In a department store one day, two little kindergarten girls followed me around the store singing some of the songs I had taught them.

  • One day, I saw a man of 35-ish on YouTube singing a song I had taught his class when he was about nine years old.

  • I received a message on Facebook from a mom of one of my former students. She included a short video clip of her little daughter playing by ear on her violin a song I had taught her singing class.

As I encountered every one of these precious remembrances, and many others, they absolutely made my day.

God must feel that way about us, His children, too. He takes special delight in knowing we savor times with Him in which He has shared His heart through His written Word. He, the Master Teacher, customizes our lessons to fit our unique needs. And, He experiences joy to hear us recognize His lovingkindness.

The Scriptures speak of a time in which most people thought God was most pleased when they gave Him their sacrifices of oxen and bulls. However, in Psalm 69:30-31, the Psalmist turns this idea upside down:

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.

At this Thanksgiving time, if they think about it at all, how foolish of humans to thank only each other for the things they appreciate. God bestows blessing after blessing on us, day after day, often answering our prayers, seeing our needs and meeting them, and teaching us from His written Word in remarkable, powerful ways.

How entirely selfish we have become when we don’t at least take the time to remember His goodness and His love. May God be at the top of the list of those we purposefully thank this season!



Monday, November 12, 2018

My Nice Brown Roll


[Cartoon of a mother giving a roll to your child]

“He makes grass grow for the cattle, and
plants for man to cultivate—bringing
forth food from the earth: wine that
gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his
face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.”
—Psalm 104:14-15

I still have one of my childhood books which didn’t get co-opted by my three younger siblings. The little stories were designed to teach children the attributes of God, and to teach them Christian behaviors.

The story I remember as my favorite from this book is titled, “Our Daily Bread.” The story tells about a little boy who thanks his mother for his nice brown roll. She rebukes him with the statement, “Don’t thank me, thank the miller.” When he runs to the miller, the miller tells him to thank the farmer. The farmer, in turn, sends the boy to thank the rain. The rain sends the boy to thank the sun. The sun sends the boy to thank God who made them. So, the little boy returns to the table and thanks God for his nice brown roll.1

As adults, we need these kind of reminders, too. We need to remember how God has made us dependent on Himself, as well as on other people and even the nature itself that God has created. If anything in the process fails its purpose, we would not have food to sustain us, and every other “good and perfect gift.” (James 1:17.)

God has created humans with specific abilities to to plant seeds, to harvest the crops, and to form businesses to process our foods. And, God provides the rain necessary to cause the crops to grow and enough sun to produce healthy foods. God has also created our bodies, which need the very good that He so graciously provides. Season after season, year after year, God’s hidden work blesses the soil, the seed, and the growth of our food.

Today, let me suggest that you pause for a moment, much as you might have done when learning this lesson as a child, and consider the magnificence of our loving, wonderful God who has made all things well. Thank Him for all the ways He sustains us and shows us His miraculous care.


1 Faris, Lillie. “Our Daily Bread.” Standard Bible Story Readers. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, ©1925. p. 18.



Monday, November 5, 2018

Take By Force


[Graphic of a charging centurion]

“From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully
advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.”
—Matthew 11:12

Scripture gives us plenty of vivid examples of how Christians should persevere (Hebrews 10:36), how we must hold on to truth (1 John 2:20-21), and how we have been equipped with the armor for warfare against evil. (Ephesians 6).

Our theme verse at the beginning of this blog post urges us to seriously fight to advance in our life of faith. Often, when we talk about spiritual warfare, we have mental pictures of Christians duking it out with one another (Unfortunately, we can probably all cite examples of this!) However, the Scripture in Ephesians 6:11-12 tells us:

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

This battle we wage to forcefully take the Kingdom remains far too powerful for us alone. Christ has told us that we have the Holy Spirit within us to fight these battles in prayer against the forces of evil, for the Kingdom of Light, and for those who belong to it.

And, how do we pray with this kind of power? According to Ephesians 6:17, we take the “sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” Praying portions from God’s written Word helps us forcefully take down the Enemy. In this Ephesians passage, the word “wrestle” occurs. Wrestling signifies perseverance and struggle.

In Genesis 32, we read the story of Jacob when he met God face to face. Jacob wrestled with Him all night long. This prevailing prayer allowed Jacob to receive the blessing of God and go on his way in victory.

All of us need the power in this present evil world to wrestle against sin and darkness, in our own lives, in the lives of our loved ones, in our churches, and in the greater culture. God wants us to forcefully claim the Kingdom He has purchased for us in His own battle against sin. Let us pray that we can take up the task and powerfully engage for Him.