Sunday, January 30, 2011


Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.
Luke 12:22 (NIV)

My day had not gotten off to a very good start. I'd inadvertently set my alarm clock for 5 p.m. instead of 5 a.m. and overslept. Everything seemed to simply go down hill from that point.

Guilt about our upcoming move had compelled me to commit to make a fresh batch of brownies that morning for my daughter's school bake sale. Because I was running behind schedule, I rushed the baking time so I could make an appointment to sign closing papers for the sale of our house before heading to the office. Chewy around the edge of the pan and gooey in the middle--a perfect "two-sensation" pan of brownies I reasoned through my daughter's disappointment. Besides, it was either that or showing up with nothing.

As I sat in traffic, I shouldered the blame from a phone call with my long-distance husband the evening before that ended on an angry note. At the same time I fretted about how another move would affect our family, particularly our kids.

When the yellow caution light began to blink on my SUV's dashboard, I was all but ready to yank out the annoying device. "Hey! We're really low on gas here. Are you trying to get stranded?" it seemed to scream at me. Willing myself to ignore the warning, I vacillated...stop and fill up the fuel tank? Take my chances and continue on to the office for a meeting for which I was late and was to deliver a presentation? What a day. And, it wasn't yet nine o'clock!

In the New Testament book of Luke, Jesus teaches about worry (Luke 12:22-34). Five times within this short passage of Holy Scripture He encourages us to not worry needlessly. He desires that we give Him our concerns and that we trust Him to take care of them. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God empowers us with wisdom to recognize and avoid unrealistic expectations. He also enables us through faith in Jesus to accomplish what He sets before us without burning out from stress.

Stress is a fact of life. However, when we carry guilt from the past, borrow fear about the future and live in worry of today, we'll become overloaded. We may exhaust our personal resources and ignore those that come from our relationship with God. Through His Word, God works to strengthen our faith so that we trust Him to provide for our needs and handle our concerns.

Dear friend, it's particularly on those days when we spell stress "l-i-f-e" that we need to seek first God's kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). He promises to strengthen our faith, enabling us to trust Him at all times and in all situations (Psalm 56:3).

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

Monday, January 24, 2011

How long?

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
Psalm 13:1 (NIV)

I'd arrived at our current location just eight months earlier when my husband's company decided to reorganize the executive staff. In other words, we were without a job.

After a six-month search, he landed a new position and had gone on to join his new company in another state. Our son and daughter were away at college in two other states, and I'd stayed behind to sell our house. With barely enough time to unpack from the previous move, much less develop any new friendships, I was never more lonely. I'd never felt more forgotten.

All believers go through difficult situations. Sometimes it's hard to see how God is working through them. In frustration we begin to feel forgotten, especially when it seems our prayers are going unanswered.

In Psalm 13 we get a sense of David's deep perplexity at God's silence to his prayers. Four times within two verses he asks "how long." In his misery it seems that God has forgotten him.

In his lament David comes to understand his perspective is not a divine one. He does not give up all hope and he prays for God's mercy and justice (vv.3-4). He then asks God to "give light to my eyes" so that he can have the strength to carry on and endure his enemy's opposition.

Dear friend, we are not forgotten. God's mercy is enduring and unfailing. Like David, let's direct our hearts to trust God's abiding mercy. Where hope despairs, as children of our Heavenly Father in that despair we always have Hope. With a new perspective, like David we can sing songs of praise for God's goodness (vv.5-6).

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Something new

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

As he headed into the laundry room with a hammer, crowbar, level and paint brush in hand, I thought about my husband's handyman skills. The guy is a pretty amazing fix-it man.

Skilled at gutting fireplaces, tearing down plaster ceilings, ripping out cabinets, and removing walls, he is equally accomplished at replacing drywall, laying brick, installing custom shelving, pouring concrete and putting in windows. Capable of repairing almost any item, large or small, he's a whiz with a tube of Crazy Glue, a tub of spackle, or a container of caulk. A ripper-upper, fixer-upper extraordinaire, he's left his mark on each house we've owned.

In this particular case, my husband's goal was to replace a wire shelving unit with custom cabinets. Now, before you think the tools a bit extreme for the job, stay with me here. Bob has the ability to look past the surface of things. He notices what's around him. Once he realizes something needs improving, he's compelled to get to the heart of the project. He's determined to go beyond a mere cosmetic fix.

The wire shelf in our laundry room is impractical. Everything on it is exposed--bottles of laundry detergents, containers of cleaning supplies, various size sponges and brushes. My husband envisioned a room with closed cabinets that would be much more effective for storing items. A fresh coat of paint would add to the room's appearance.

So, he started at the bottom, literally. He removed the washer, clothes dryer, utility sink, and wire shelf in order to have full access to the room. The original baseboards, which were poorly installed, were taken out. The light switch plate was removed and light fixture taken down in preparation to paint the ceiling and walls. Cabinets were ordered, paint colors were selected, and new baseboards were cut to size and painted to complete the project.

Dear friend, while we were still dead in our sins, God saw us. In His amazing love, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross that through His life-saving blood anyone who receives Him by faith can be cleansed and made new--God's own "workmanship" (Ephesians 1:3-5; 1 John 1:7).

Jesus, our Redeemer, is the expert who can replace the most broken, defiled, or discouraged heart with healing, strength, forgiveness and hope. Nothing is too hard for Him. Through the Holy Spirit when we ask God to help us live each day, He does a marvelous work. By His power, we can shed the old and embrace the new. As believers and new creations, we can live a joyful life. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10)

Let the Master Craftsman have His way with your heart. The effects will be fantastic!

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

Saturday, January 1, 2011

GPS for life

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

I became quite intrigued with our son's Global Positioning System (GPS) during our recent road trip to visit family for the Christmas holiday. Touted as working in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, I confidently attached the portable navigational device to the windshield of our SUV.

From my perch on the front passenger's seat, I had a bird's eye view as the 3-D photo gadget mapped our location in real time. The apparatus displayed the terrain and logged our vehicle's speed, miles traveled, hours of moving time, and expected time of arrival. Voice activated, we received turn-by-turn spoken directions with the actual name of streets, e.g., "In .3 miles turn right on Hambletonian Drive." When we inadvertently took a wrong turn or intentionally chose a different route, the satellite powered gadget quickly recalculated our location. And while appearing to be rather demanding at times, it called out directions to help us get back on course.

God's Word is the incredible navigational tool that helps us travel through each day of our life. Like no other book this world has ever known, the Holy Bible is completely trustworthy. It is the only book authored by God (2 Timothy 3:16-18; 2 Peter 1:20-21). It shows us how to know Him, how to live, and how to receive eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).

I am continually awed that we have direct access anytime day or night to the life-changing wisdom to help us safely steer through each day's obstacles and opportunities (Psalm 119:33-40). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Bible's messages of encouragement and hope and godly counsel help us make wise decisions. And complete with examples of those who experienced personal failures, turned back to God, and began to follow Him again, its reveals God's heart for mankind (Hebrews 11).

Thankfully, at just more than 1,993 miles and with only a few wrong turns, our holiday road trip across six states was without incident. As you move into 2011, dear friend, I pray your journey will take you into a deeper understanding of our loving Savior (Psalm 111:10). Through His Word may you stay on course with utmost confidence and discover how you can live a complete and joy-filled life.

Blessings dear friend. Happy New Year!
Faithfully Following