is it really so scary?

I’ve been thinking about this whole area of ‘surrender’ to the Lord, and why many believers in Jesus feel it’s too scary to consider giving themselves entirely to Him. There seems to be a prevailing fear that God is going to bring about some life-changing direction in our lives or ‘test’ us with an impossibly painful trial. This fear is based on our desire to be in control of our circumstances.

Now I get the ‘fear’ thing when it comes to the idea of surrender. When I was a little girl, I liked to play in the lake but I always wanted to stay where my feet could touch. I felt safe and in control there. I remember one time we were at the lake and my dad challenged me to jump off the platform into the deeper water. I was nervous and afraid, but my dad stood there in the water ready to catch me in his arms. The water was too deep for me, but it wasn’t too deep for him. I knew I wouldn’t be in control, but my dad was there and he would hold me up. So keeping my eyes fixed on my dad, I jumped in.  

When it comes to surrender, our Heavenly Father knows how hard this is for us. In fact, it is impossible apart from the work of His Spirit within us. “It is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 

It is God who desires our surrender and He Himself works a willingness within our hearts.

The more we learn of our Heavenly Father’s character through our time spent with Him in His word, the more secure and confident will be our daily surrender. As we grow in faith, believing that God’s love for His children is perfect, flawless love, the power of our fears will soon give way to deeper trust. We’ll be willing to ‘jump’ into His sure, strong arms. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…” I John 4:11.

Jesus is the smartest, wisest, strongest Person in the entire universe and beyond!  No one else can do what He can do. If we are willing to receive Him as our Savior, trust His promise and power to take us to heaven some day, why are we reluctant to daily put ourselves in His hands? Even when the hard things in life do come our way, He tells us not to be afraid because we have His word that He will make every hard thing become a good thing for us.

Like looking into the deep water, I’ll admit surrender can feel scary. But knowing the One who calls us deeper, there is no valid reason for us to remain fearful or reluctant to surrender to Jesus that He might have His way with us.  Rather, I’d say we can consider it the best thing we could ever do!





This entry was posted on May 5, 2017. 6 Comments

a lot of talk these days….

There’s a lot of talk these days about the ‘love of Jesus’ and what that’s supposed to look like. Even though the Bible clearly defines the love of God in I Corinthians 13:4-8a, we find ways to spin it to fit the ‘look of love’ that suits us.  We like the sweet, sentimental sounds of love. But the thoughtful reader will go through the Bible’s list of love’s qualities and realize that truth runs like a thread through every word. The fact is that Love and Truth MUST go hand in hand or the results will be devastating.

The best way to see this Truth in Love is to look at Jesus Himself, the only One who truly lived it out. After all, He’s the Author of LOVE.   As Jesus walked the earth, He flawlessly modeled God’s love as described in the I Corinthians passage. He saw each and every person as one made in the image of God; He treated each one with respect and dignity.  It was precisely because of His love for mankind that He spoke the truth about sin.

To leave us without truth would have meant the opposite of love. Jesus came to “save” and “rescue”…that would have made no sense if men were doing just fine on their own.  

Sin condemns and that’s God’s truth.  But God’s love offers mercy and forgiveness instead.  To every group in His audience, Jesus held out the offer of reconciliation with God. That offer still stands today.   Jesus reaching outWhen received from Jesus’ hand, He won’t leave us to continue living as we were.  He gives us a new life, a true life, the life that each of us was created and designed to live.

I have much to learn about the vastness of God’s love. Reading the Bible plays a huge part in that learning.

One thing I do know is that Jesus’ love IS truth and it forever changes us in ways we could never change ourselves.



This entry was posted on April 8, 2017. 1 Comment

for just a little while…

It’s been five years now since my mom went home to heaven. I know she’s more alive now than she ever was here on earth.  She’s vibrant and perfectly free, able to look upon her Savior Jesus face to face, living in the pure joy of His presence.  And for that reason, I would never wish her back here. But I miss her.

I miss talking to her. I miss picking up the phone and hearing her voice. I miss our quiet early morning chats on her porch. I miss laughing together at silly things that made no sense. I miss the road trips my sisters and I took with her.

faces - Mom & SueI miss her smile and her hugs. I miss our talks about Jesus and reading the Bible with her…Mom loved to talk about Jesus.  I miss our overnight visits at Tee Lake and then at her apartment in Brentwood. I miss getting on the expressway heading toward Indiana for those visits, something I did for so many years.

I’m so grateful for the many ways my mom cared for me and showed me what love looks like. I’m thankful for her gentle, contented ways as she aged. She truly was a wise woman. My mom continues to bless my life with every memory of our time together.

Jesus said…”I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.”  John 11:25-26

Knowing Jesus assures me that our earthly ‘good-byes’ are not forever, but just for little while. I miss both my mom and my dad too, who went home to heaven in 2004, but because of Jesus, there is a great reunion coming soon and we’ll never have to say ‘goodbye’ again!

“For this is the will of My Father, that every one who beholds the Son, and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”   John 6:39






This entry was posted on March 15, 2017. 4 Comments

promise maker, promise keeper…

“Sad hearts have an unusual ability to discover the most disadvantageous point of view from which to gaze upon a trial.  If there were only one swamp in the world, they would soon be up to their necks in it; and if there were only one lion in the desert, they would hear it roar.”  Charles Spurgeon


I can relate to this, can’t you?   We’ve all been there, are there now, or will be there soon.

Negative thoughts are often our initial reaction to trials.   Fear and devastation enter in quickly and we’re in that swamp hearing the lion roar!

But thanks to Jesus, we don’t have to stay in that frame of mind for long.  If you know Jesus, you know He is the God of Hope, not just for eternity but for here and now.

Jesus is the Promise Maker and the Promise Keeper.  

We have God’s word in writing, in the Bible.   He has given us multiple promises that are meant to sustain us in our trials.  His promises give us strength to endure the hard times, and the assurance that He will bring us good as a result.  Instead of seeing trials as harmful to us, Jesus’ promises can enable us to look forward to what He will do for us in and through the trial; even to live in joyful anticipation because He is able to do something far greater than anything we could ever ask Him for or even imagine.

God doesn’t expect us to deny that trials are hard.   No one knows suffering better than Jesus.   For that very reason, we can trust that Jesus makes perfect use of every one of them.





what’s going on?….

“What’s going on?” That’s a question that’s been on my mind lately, especially as it relates to current events in our country and the world.   There’s no shortage of voices declaring the valid reasons for why we are where we are, and solutions to fix the problems.

This morning, I was reading in the book of Job. Most assuredly, this question was on his mind as well. “What’s going on?” As it turns out, neither Job nor his well-meaning friends, despite what their eyes could see and their knowledge surmise, could come up with the answer. That’s because only God knew what was going on.

This reminded me that what we ‘see and know,’ (or think we know) falls infinitely short of what God may be doing ‘behind the scenes.’ The truth is we can’t possibly know! Where we often see chaos and wrong doing, God sees purpose.   storm at sea

Considering the sovereignty of God, we can be certain that “no purpose of His can be thwarted.” This is not to say God’s sovereignty causes our troubles, or relieves us of our responsibilities as Christ-followers in this broken world.

It just serves as a reminder that, like Job and his friends, we often “declare that which we do not understand, things too great for us which we do not know.” (Job 42:2-3) For me, this reminder restores peace in the midst of all that’s wrong (and I admit there’s no shortage of that!) But even in all that’s wrong, God has a purpose, and He knows exactly what’s going on.

what do you have a taste for?

“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”   (Matthew 4:4)

Foods, like the clothes we wear, often run in seasons.   Although we can eat whatever and whenever we like, there are some dishes that have more appeal in spring and summer, like salads and no-bake desserts; whereas roasts and casseroles seem better suited for fall and winter when you welcome the warmth from your oven.   And we all have favorite foods we enjoy no matter what the season.   Good food is not only vital to sustaining a healthy life, it’s a gift from God that we are meant to partake of and enjoy.

The Bible is sometimes thought of as ‘food for the soul.’   Just as some dishes may seem to taste better depending on the season, we may be drawn to various passages or books in God’s word depending on our ever changing circumstances in life.   For example, when our situation causes us to sense a greater need for the Lord’s strength and comfort, we may crave a ‘meal’ from the Psalms.   When trials make us feel conflicted about our choices, we might want to bite into the book of

Just to continue this food analogy, we might consider the Old Testament to be like a warm, savory stew filled with ingredients and mixed with spices that stir our appetite, giving us a taste of the wonder of God’s  wisdom and sovereignty.  We might reach for the Gospels to satisfy our hunger for more of Jesus who is the Bread of Life; or the New Testament letters to chew on the prime meat of instruction.  The word of God is a true and satisfying feast for the soul – every day, every circumstance, in every season.

‘Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;” Jeremiah 15:16

God gave us this Book and He means for us to partake of it.   We are to ‘eat’ it, ingest it, chew on it, digest it; allowing His Holy Spirit to feed us every day with these  rich  nutrients, so that no matter what season we’re in, our soul is staying healthy and His fruit is being produced in our lives.


no substitutes, please…

“The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart…they are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.”   Ps.19:8a, 10

My husband and I have taken more than a few road trips over the years.   We’ve traveled as far south as Florida, west to California, east to the Atlantic shore, and north as far as Canada.    Along the way we have seen some spectacular scenery.   Many of those sights inspire awe in our amazing Creator who designed such a perfect planet to place His creatures on.

All that God created is evidence of His great power and infinite wisdom and knowledge.  It is what makes Him holy, separated from all created things.   And yet He is not a distant God.  His nature is to bless.   He want us to know Him.  And so He is a God who reveals – through nature and more importantly, through His Son, Jesus Christ.  How do we learn about these things?

Well, here’s the amazing thing…God gave us a Book!

It is His word to mankind.  Within its pages we learn of God’s goodness, His mercy and His love.   It’s where our faith in Christ is born and our relationship with God Bible

But the Bible isn’t meant just to introduce us to Jesus.   It’s the place we go to meet with Him and get to know Him.  The better we know Him, the deeper our love for Him grows.   Isn’t that what you want, dear one?     I know it is.

Worship songs are great; Christian books are important; walks in the woods are refreshing.  But there is no substitute for the Book.

Listen to His words, learn from His ways, linger in His presence.    I promise you there is no greater joy in all the world!







This entry was posted on September 2, 2016. 5 Comments

in everything, Lord?

“in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”                                                    (I Thessalonians 5:18)

Fanny Crosby was born in a village just outside of New York City in the year 1820.   As an infant, Fanny contracted an inflammation in both of her eyes which led to her becoming blind.   In spite of her blindness, she went on to become a prolific writer of beloved hymns and served throughout her life as a missionary to the poor.

Recently, I found this quote in her biography:  “For me, life has been short of many things that some people would probably rather die than be without.  This is their misfortune – not mine.  It is not the things I’ve missed, or never had, which make me sorrowful.  It is the things I have had in full measure in which I rejoice daily.”

Ms. Fanny knew how to ‘count her blessings.’   Many of us are quite the opposite.

We often focus on the things we don’t have rather than consider and be grateful for the many things we do have, many of which we simply take for granted.

The apostle Paul wrote in I Thessalonians 5:18, “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”      Does this mean it’s God’s will for us to give thanks even when things happen that are unfair?   Even when everything in life is turned upside down by grief?   Even when nothing makes any sense and God seems a million miles away?

Am I’m supposed to be thankful for the illness that takes my loved one’s life?  Or that my son lost his job, or that my car was stolen?    Well, it doesn’t say for everything give thanks…it says in everything give thanks.”   gratitude

Jesus has given us countless reasons to be grateful.  Our troubles, no matter how difficult, cannot change that. In Christ, we have a relationship with our Father in heaven who loves us; who sees what’s happening and inclines His ear to hear and answer our cries.  We can be thankful that we’re not alone in our trials for He is with us to strengthen, comfort and guide us.  We can be grateful for His many promises written in His word, grateful that He is faithful to keep every single one.

A verse in one of Fanny Crosby’s most familiar hymns goes like this:

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!  O, what a foretaste of glory divine!  Heir of salvation,   purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.” 

No trouble on earth has the power to change this truth.   It is this we can give thanks for, no matter what!


flying upside down?

In Dallas Willard’s book, The Divine Conspiracy, he writes…”Recently a pilot was practicing high-speed maneuvers in a jet fighter.  She turned the controls for what she thought was a steep ascent, and flew straight into the ground.  She was unaware that she had been flying upside down.”jet flying upside down

I’m reminded of what it says in the book of Proverbs: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”   (Proverbs 14:12)   The pilot in Willard’s story was doing what was right in her own eyes.  She didn’t realize her instrumentation was faulty and taking her in the wrong direction.   It cost her dearly.

For many years, I lived life my own way – according to my instrumentation and a course that seemed right to me.  Like the pilot in Willard’s story, I was flying upside down and didn’t know it.

A few really ‘hard landings’ got my attention, helping me realize that if I continued living life my way, it would ultimately cost me more than I’d be able to pay.

This pilot story is a good picture of what sin did to our hearts.  Sin turned us away from God.  It made us think we could fly using our own controls and reach our destination safely.   The harsh reality is quite the opposite, and unless we come to realize we’re flying upside down, we’re headed for a crash we won’t survive.

The good news is that God sent His Son into the world to change all that.   His death on the cross to forgive our sin made the way for us to turn back to God.    Jesus wants to open our heart to understand we’re in trouble and hear Him say, “I am the Way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”  (John 14:6)

He is alive today and He’s the One who can turn us right side up and set us on the only course that assures us of a safe landing.    Jesus said, “…Everyone who beholds the Son, and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”   (John 6:40)

Are you sure you’re flying right side up?















what marks a true friend?….

In today’s cyber world of social media, some people could say they have many, even hundreds of ‘friends.’   According to Facebook, we can be friends with people we don’t even have relationships with in real life.   Cyber space allows us to be someone’s ‘friend’  one day, and ‘unfriend’ them the next.   In reality, social media’s idea of friendship is not necessarily friendship at all, is it.

So what are the marks of a true friend?   What does real ‘friendship’ look like in the practical sense?

When Jesus was on the earth, He chose twelve men to be His close friends.   For three years they lived life together as Jesus taught them truth about Himself and the kingdom of God.   Jesus said to them,   “…I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”   (John 15:13-15)   Being a friend means we speak truth to others.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.  You are My friends.”    “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”    Jesus said this knowing He would be tortured and put to death by crucifixion in fulfillment of God’s plan to redeem all mankind.   Being a friend means we’re willing to serve and make sacrifices for others.    Jesus gave His very own life for us.

Proverbs 17:17 tells us, “A friend loves at all times.”      “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…(John 3:16a)     “…Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”   (John 13:1)

We learn from Jesus’ example that true friendship includes Love, Sacrifice, Service, and Truth.  To-have-friends-be-a-friend

Men who rejected Jesus’ claims and His teaching were offended by His friendship with those whom they deemed unworthy.  The religious leaders criticized Jesus because He spent time with people whose lifestyle or condition left them friendless, isolated and outcasts of society.   They looked down their prideful noses upon Jesus for accepting invitations into the homes of these ‘sinners’ to eat with them.  These religious folks condemned Jesus for being a “friend of sinners.”   (Matthew 11:19) 

I have to ask myself…what kind of a friend am I?     Am I a cyber-world kind of friend, quick to ‘unfriend’ others I don’t even know with my criticism and judgment of their language or lifestyle?   Do I despise those who are different from me without making any effort to understand where they’re coming from?   Do I let a prideful attitude pat me on the back, glad that I’m not like ‘that sinner’ over there?  

Or am I a friend like Jesus?   When He looked upon the people, He saw them as ‘distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd,’ lost and wandering aimlessly in the dark, and He “felt compassion for them.”  (Matthew 9:36)  

When I look at people in the world around me, what do I see?    

That’s something to think about…           












This entry was posted on July 25, 2016. 6 Comments