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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


This post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. Our theme is “august,” as in majestic, dignified, distinguished, solemn, imposing, grandeur. Please visit my Christian Writer friends by clicking on the links to the right.

If you missed any of my “august” posts, follow these links to find God’s majesty on the ocean floor [LIVING WATER], with the new life of a child [HOT AUGUST NIGHTS], in the starry heavens [THE HEAVENS DECLARE YOUR GLORY], and in the majesty of a California redwood [GROWING THE MAJESTY OF GOD].


On our first trip to Europe, hubby and I did “all things tourist.” And for Europe, that meant visiting every cathedral in every city in every country.

Some had flying buttresses and gargoyles; some had tall arches and candlelit altars. They had bell towers and catacombs, imposing stone walls, gem-sparkled windows, and hushed echoes of prayers and tour guides. And they were all built to honor God as an attempt to reflect his august majesty.

You’d think that after seeing one cathedral, we’d skip the next 72. But, we never tired of exploring and wondering at the human, physical workmanship that went into building a house of worship to honor our God. 

Back home, our little chapels, white steeples and church services held in school auditoriums and storefronts paled by comparison. Surely God couldn’t feel honored by this. Of course, I knew it wasn’t the building that represented God. It wasn’t the building He felt worshipped by. God simply wasn’t the building at all; nor was his church the building.

Still, the images of those imposing cathedrals kept me wishing I could worship there. Maybe then I could feel a deeper presence with God. Maybe I could experience Him better. Maybe I could worship Him more.

That understanding reversed when I returned to the place of a childhood vacation—in the Sequoia National Forest in California.

Sunday morning church service had been on the side of a mountain, sitting on a rock, overlooking the grandeur of a valley below, surrounded by towering trees that sprouted from seed before our Lord Jesus took human form. That was truly God’s cathedral. That was truly where God resided.

Only God could build a cathedral that reflected His own august majesty.
Unfortunately, we cannot always attend a worship service on a mountainside. And often we need the fellowship and teaching that a structured body of believers provides.  

The building where we attend church today is a brick and mortar structure. It is functional and comfortable. It is beautiful by human standards. More importantly it is also probably beautiful by God’s standards because His people are inside; not praising each other for the building; but praising Him for His glory.

A 300-year old cathedral of stone and stained glass and a 3-year old church of wood and stucco both reflect God’s glory when they are filled with His people who love and worship Him and seek to know Him.  

Just as we can seek and find Him in the majesty of a mountainside worship service, so can He be found in a cathedral built on the Seine, a church built on the corner lot downtown, or believers gathered inside a school lunchroom. He is ever present and He meets us wherever we are.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, show us your glory and show us ways to worship you more. Remind us that you are everywhere and that every place we are can be a place of worship. Remind us that your church is us; not a building. Help us be a reflection of your beauty to the world. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What “church” setting gives you the greatest sense of being in the presence of God?

Monday, August 29, 2011


We can learn a lot about God anywhere we go; because God is there with us. But here are three spiritual truths I’ve learned at the grocery store.

1. All the good stuff is in plain sight.

Have you noticed that all grocery stores are generally laid out the same? Sure they might have the canned veggies on aisle three in one store and on aisle 14 in another. But basically, the milk, eggs, cheese, meat and produce are located on the walls of the store. Everything else is in the middle. It makes those essential items easy to find.
There’s no hunting up and down aisles for the food you need every week. No banging your shopping cart into displays; no wondering whether the olives are with the pickles in aisle 4 or the canned vegetables in aisle 12—or both, but not the ones you’re looking for. Rather, the essential food items that everyone needs every week, are all right there at the perimeter of the store for us to find. 

God is easy to find, too. His teachings are all in one Bible. His presence is in every part of nature. He’s not hiding or trying to make it hard for us to find Him. He’s even standing at the door of our heart, knocking. If we want to find Him, all we have to do is open the door and there He is.

2. All the junk is in the middle. 

On the other hand, where in the grocery store do you go to find the chips? The ice cream? The soda and cookies? Not on the perimeter of the store where the healthy stuff sits. Nope. You find the junk in the center of the store.  

Sort of like where the junk and sin is located in us. Inside our heads and inside our hearts, blackening us to the core. Fortunately, the more time we spend shopping the perimeter of the store and the less time down the junk aisles, the healthier we become. So it is that the more time we spend with Jesus, and the less time we spend focusing on our sinful selves, the healthier our souls become and the stronger our relationship with Jesus.

3. Paper, plastic or green? 

Once you’ve picked out your healthy food items on the store’s perimeter and have avoided the junk lurking in the middle, you’re faced with one last question. Do you want a paper bag? A plastic bag? Or did you bring your own?

It used to be that choosing plastic bags meant saving a tree. Hey, that’s a good idea.

Then plastic bags meant filling up our landfills. Hey, that’s a bad idea. 

Now we bring our own bags and use them again and again. They’re “green” even if they’re red or blue. Hey, that’s a good idea.

God gave us choice when He gave us free will. To choose Him over the things of man. And then He gave us scripture that can guide our lives daily, again and again, every day and for every circumstance. Scripture is like the reusable life guide that’s green.  

Hey, that’s a VERY good idea!

Next time you’re at the grocery store, look for God. He’s on every aisle.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for being our ever present help. Thank you for guiding our lives and giving us free choice. Help us always choose you over the things of man. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What one junk item lurks in the midst of the grocery store that keeps calling your name?

Friday, August 26, 2011


Wednesday, I posted thoughts relating giant redwood trees to God’s personal Tower of Babel—they are a glorious reflection of His august majesty.
Man’s attempt to build that ancient Tower of Babel, on the other hand, was not for God’s glory but for their own honor. Let us ponder Genesis 11:1-4 and thank God for His reminder that true glory belongs to Him.
Genesis 11:1-4
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.  As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for being our august, holy, majestic, all-powerful, loving father. Thank you for the many things in nature, created by you, that remind us of your glory. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? What most captures the essence of the word “august” for you?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


This post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. The theme for this month is “august,” as in majestic, dignified, distinguished, solemn, imposing, grandeur. Please visit my Christian Writer friends by clicking on the links to the right.

If you missed any of my previous “august” posts, check out finding God’s majesty on the ocean floor [LIVING WATER], with the new life of a child [HOT AUGUST NIGHTS], and in the starry heavens [THE HEAVENS DECLARE YOUR GLORY]. Today's post continues the focus on God's august majesty.


Every year our family goes to the State Fair. In California, the State Fair doesn’t include jars of peach preserves sporting blue ribbons flapping in the hot summer breeze. 

The State Fair in California means that cows are judged in the shaded coolness of a multi-million dollar pavilion. It means the rides are bigger and faster than at most amusement parks. It means the food lineup not only includes corndogs and cotton candy; but also chocolate covered bacon, fried calamari and ostrich burgers.  

The California State Fair also means that each visitor receives a 12” live baby redwood to take home and plant. That’s reason enough to go to the fair. 

You have not really seen California until you have visited our redwood forests. These ancient giants have lived this earth for centuries. They tower hundreds of feet into the heavens. They are large enough that—when cut—the base provides space for a full-sized dance floor. For the thrill of tourists, at one time, redwoods were carved open to provide a tunnel for cars to drive through. ( for photos of drive-through trees and tree “houses”)

Redwoods are a miracle of longevity and grandeur. And they are a reflection of God’s majesty here on earth. 

But they do not grow easily. Every year we bring home our baby redwood trees from the fair. We tenderly plant them. We watch them and whisper to them. We nourish them and care for them every day, every week, every month, until finally…they die.

After nearly 30 years of attending the State Fair; 30 years of attempting to grow a redwood tree past infancy; 30 years of watching God’s tiny creation crumble to dust under my care, one thing is clear: these majestic creations can only be grown to maturity by God’s august hand.

Even if we could get our seedlings to survive our lifetime, still it is God who continues to care for them after we are gone. It is God who provides the soil and the water and the sunshine. It is God who created them and who continues to be reflected in them when they are 300 years old and 300 feet tall. 

As I look around God’s world, His august majesty is everywhere. It is in the small. It is in the average. And it is in the solemn, dignity of the California redwood.

The ancient people tried to build a tower to reach God. They need only to have traveled to the west coast of North America and stood in awe of the Giant Redwoods. The redwoods are California’s personal Tower of Babel, but created by God; reaching toward heaven; reflecting God; and praising Him like the rocks themselves that shout out God’s glory.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the reminders in this world of your majesty. Show us more of your glory. Help us to see you in everything around us. Let it be for your glory. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: Look around your world. Where do you see examples of God’s majesty?

Monday, August 22, 2011


California is known for being green—ecologically speaking. One of the best new ways to preserve our environment has been the arrival of the green mowing machines. Well, they’re not actually green in color. They’re white.

Because they’re sheep. 

The first time we got the phone call from our local fire department, I wondered if it might be a prank. “This is the fire department calling. A herd of sheep will be arriving in the field near your home.”

Sure enough, a few mornings later I awoke to the sound of a gentle baaaa filtering through my open window. A quick jog down the walking path led to the delightful sight of hundreds of sheep nibbling on the dried grass of our neighborhood field. 

A hastily set up, wire fence, attached to a single car battery surrounded the herd. Just enough of a jolt to keep a gentle lamb inside.

Outside of the fence stood most of our neighborhood—whispering, so as to not disturb our fleecy friends--a few taking photos, others pointing out which of the lambs were the cutest. All of us smiling. 

The scene reminded me of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

John 10:14-15: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Jesus surrounds us with his gentle fence to help us be obedient and stay where it is safe and good. He provides us with nourishing fields of His teachings and love, for our benefit. He organizes us in gatherings for our community of faith and encouragement. 

Then He places us in view of others, yet separate from the world. He expects that our presence will be a reflection of His love and a source of joy to others.  

The sheep left the next day to bless some other suburban neighborhood. But they will return another day, bringing us more smiles and more opportunities to think of Jesus. 

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for being the Good Shepherd. Thank you for caring for us, providing us with your guidance and protection; making sure we know your voice. Lead us today by your presence and your words in scripture. Amen. 

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you have pastoral opportunities to better understand the metaphor of Jesus, the Good Shepherd?

Friday, August 19, 2011


Ending our week considering our God in the heavens, Psalm 148:3 reminds us that all of heaven, not just the celestial choir and the saints, but creation itself, praises God:

Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars.

Let us praise him today and every day. Let us be like the stars and shine for Him!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This post is part of the Christian Writers blog chain on the theme  of “august,” as in majestic, awesome, inspiring, Check out what my Christian Writer friends have to say about “august” by clicking on the links to the right. 


Do you like to sit out at night—by the campfire perhaps—staring into the night sky? Counting stars? Wishing on meteorites? Spotting orbiting satellites? Imagining the possibilities?

For me, sky watching is the best part of every camping trip. We even have special reclining fold-up chairs that are perfect for stargazing. No strain on the neck. No twisting or slouching to get into proper viewing position. Just settle in, lean back and ahh…there’s one!

Although we have become familiar with our particular night sky and the constellations and star clusters it contains, once I get to looking seriously, my mind invariably wonders how the ancients ever decided those five stars resembled Cassiopeia. Or how those three stars possibly reminded them of Orion.  

Until one night when the ranger talk took us to a parking lot at Big Trees State Park. The  talk was star gazing. We were directed to one single point in the night sky, where, with simple binoculars and a whole lot of patient, minute-movement-by-minute movement, we were rewarded with the delight of finding  the coat hanger star cluster.

The coat hanger is not technically a constellation. Rather it is an asterism; a group of stars within a larger constellation. In this case, the coat hanger rests within the Northern Hemisphere’s Summer Triangle. The Summer Triangle itself includes the three constellations of Deneb, Vega and Altair. 

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. (Psalm 147:4)

It’s doubtful that God placed the stars in exactly those positions and named them “the coat hanger asterism.” But God did place those stars in exactly those positions for whatever purpose He had. And He made us modern folk want to look for patterns and find joy in the unexpected.

We can Google stars and nebulae; universes and black holes and find evidence of God’s majesty in the heavens photographed by telescope for our marvel.
For me, seeing a group of stars one night in a parking lot on a hilltop in California brought home the truth of God’s august majesty. The stars, seen through my 10-power binoculars appeared to be no bigger than a quarter. The realization that each star was unimaginably huge, immeasurable light years away and possibly surrounded by its own set of twirling planets, made the majesty even more august.

God is the God of the universe. The universe is august because He is august and it is a reflection of His glory. Everything points to His majesty—even the glory of a coat hanger precariously balanced in a dark summer sky.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father you are the author of creation and your creation is filled with your glory and majesty. Thank you for giving us august glimpses of who you are. Open our eyes to see the universe as you see it and as it is a reflection of you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Are you a stargazer? What’s the most spectacular scene you’ve witnessed in the night sky?

For more night sky fun go to:

Monday, August 15, 2011


This post is part of my ongoing ministry to help others pray for our loved ones by praying the meaning of their name. These are additions to my growing list. For the complete list to date, please click on the PRAYING NAMES page at the top of the page.

Kevin:  handsome; beautiful beloved 

Heavenly Father, I pray that Kevin will live his name. I pray that he will know that he is beautiful in your eyes. I pray also that he will know you and understand that he is your beloved child.  

Eric: eternal ruler 

Heavenly Father, I pray that Eric will live his name. I pray that he will understand that you are the true eternal ruler. I pray that he will surrender his life and all things to you and that you will rule his life according to your plan.

Mark: warlike 

Heavenly Father, I pray that Mark will live his name. I pray that he will understand the existence of the spiritual world. I pray that he will live his life in training as a soldier of Christ. I pray that he will be fervent in his obedience to you as the commander in chief of your army.

Luke: from Luciana; the Apostle Luke was the beloved physician 

Heavenly Father, I pray that Luke will live his name. I pray that he will live his life according to the example of the Apostle Luke; following Jesus’ example as a committed disciple. I pray that, like the Apostle Luke, Luke will be beloved of God and that his example of faith will be a source of spiritual health and healing to others.

Ray, Raymond: protection 

Heavenly Father, I pray that Ray will live his name. I pray that he will know your love and strength as protection for his soul. I pray also that he will be a source of strength and protection for others and that it will be for your glory.

Terri, Terrie, Theresa: harvester 

Heavenly Father, I pray that Theresa will live her name. I pray that she will be part of your harvest; that when you gather your followers, she will be first in line. I pray also that you will use her in your harvest—to share the gospel and your love to others so that as you called your disciples, you will call her to be a worker for the harvest.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Today is my son, Doug's 25th birthday. Birthdays are reminders that our lives are a gift from God and that each life is a gift to other people who our lives touch.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please keep us close to you today. Remind us that the people we love are your creations. Show us ways to be thankful for their lives today and always. Amen.

Happy birthday, dear Doug. You are my “sonshine”!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


This post is part of the CW blog chain. Our theme this month is “august.” Not August, the month; but “august” as in majestic, powerful, imposing, dignified, distinguished, solemn, stately. But here I’d like to combine the two meanings as I celebrate the life of my son.


Hot August Nights.

That phrase has a special meaning when you’re nine months pregnant and don’t have air conditioning. That was me 25 years ago, awaiting the birth of my firstborn—our awesome son, Doug.

Yep, I was miserable before his birth. But remember John 16:21?

“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”

I’m not sure being hot is the sort of pain John was talking about. But back to the topic of august, majestic, dignified, solemn…

Let’s face it. There’s nothing dignified or solemn about giving birth. But the new life a child brings with him into the world is nothing less than a real and powerful example of God’s majesty. A baby is new life; a perfect child; a precious gift to the world. 

A Perfect Child

Like every new parent, the first thing I did when Doug was born was count his fingers and toes and thank God for giving Doug ten of each. In every way, my tiny baby was physically perfect. He was a true miracle; made no less miraculous by the fact that perfect babies have been born every moment of every day of every century since the beginning of time.
No doubt, Jesus’ earthly mother did the same as I did and as every other mother does. She counted Jesus’ fingers and toes and thanked God for the perfection she held in her arms.

A Precious Gift to Us 
After the counting, I thanked God for the gift that baby Dougie was to hubby and I.

At the same moment, I was overcome with the responsibility—the deep understanding that God had entrusted this child to our care. As stewards of his life, we had better do a good job of it. Our son was a precious gift to us—a gift that needed care to ensure he was healthy and loved.

How much more must Mary have sensed her responsibility to care for the God of the universe?

A Precious Gift to the World

Doug was a gift to the world as well. A person couldn’t help but look at little Dougie and smile. As a young boy, he was perpetually joyful—singing, whistling and laughing nonstop.

As a teenager attempting to live with angst, we could effortlessly annoy him by simply telling him “not to smile,” at which, of course, he grinned helplessly.

As a young man, discerning how to make his mark on the world, we know that whatever path he chooses, he will be a gift to those he encounters.

Just like Jesus is a gift both to us personally and to the world.

God’s Majesty in the Form of a Babe

Jesus was God’s most majestic gift to the world. He came in the majestic form of a tiny baby. Perfect physically. Perfect spiritually. Loved by his mother and earthly father. Loved by his Heavenly Father. Loved by the children who would become his bride—the church.

How does God’s august gift have to do with the month of August other than it being the birth month of my son? It has to do with living with thankfulness.

My internal thermometer is perpetually set on “high.” That means I’m always hot—especially in August. Once God sent us our Doug, though, my focus for the month of August was changed forever.

No longer does August mean the hottest month of the year. Now August means joy because I celebrate the month God blessed this world with our son.

By being thankful amid all circumstances –even the 110 degree temperatures of August, God reminded me that August doesn’t have to stand for the last big heat of summer. Rather August reminds me that the coolness of autumn waits just around the corner. So does the cool serenity of God’s love and grace wait for me every moment of every day.

God bless you, Doug for the child you were and the man you have become. May God actively pursue your heart. May you seek and find Him. May you follow Him all the days of your life.


PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for showing us your majesty in this world. Thank you for your august nature, displaying it even as a tiny babe. Show us how to live with a happy heart, focusing on thankfulness in every situation. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you love the month of August? What about August do you think is most “august”?

Monday, August 8, 2011


Last month, Jason and Ervin, came to stay with us while they mentored fatherless young men as part of the Navigator's Shoulder to Shoulder summer program. Before they arrived, I wondered if they would turn out to be angels in disguise

Those seven weeks are over and the boys left our home this weekend. All four of them. 

Four? I thought you said “two.” Yes, midway through the seven weeks, Andrew and Noel moved in, too. All four of them uniquely blessed our home and the lives of the young men in Del Paso Heights.

Noel, Ervin, Andrew, Jason

To Jason: Thank you for your fatherly spirit, for your wit and for your willing attitude to “do whatever it takes.”

To Ervin: Thank you for your bright smile and the energy with which you fill a room.

To Andrew: Thank you for your example of generosity—taking the couch in the open space with no privacy and never a complaint.

To Noel: Thank you for your example of prayer and fasting, which was an encouragement to others.

And to Jason Jew one of the interns from two years ago: Thank you for visiting us and showing us the power of the Navigator team. 

To the girls who were part of Shoulder to Shoulder this year, Katie, Loraley and Amy: Thank you for the girl-ness you brought into this house when you visited. There were days I’d peer into the mirror wondering if that hair on my chin was a result of so much testosterone in the house. You were a gentle breeze filling my woman’s heart—and surely the hearts of the mothers you mentored at Shoulder to Shoulder.

Maybe these young men and women aren’t celestial angels. But surely they were the next best thing to the Del Paso young men and their mothers. I thank God for their lives and pray that they will be used by Him for His glory now and forever.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for instilling in our hearts a desire to share your love with others. Thank you for placing people in our lives who reflect your light and your love. Please encourage us, Lord, to be your hands and feet in the world and to go wherever we are needed or be a support to those who go where we cannot. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you had an opportunity to provide support for someone who is doing God’s work? How did that change you?

Friday, August 5, 2011


Remembering the fragile poppy from Monday’s post, meditate on Isaiah 40:6-8

“All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

PRAYER: Lord, help us not wither or fall in our faithfulness. Remind us of your word and help us live it today. Amen.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


This month's Christian Writer’s blog chain theme is “august,” as in majestic, dignified, solemn, imposing. Please click the links to the right to see what my friends have to say.

The world is filled with awesome grandeur—the majesty of snow-capped mountains; the Grand Canyon’s inspiring depths; the solemn forests of stately columned green, the delicate crystalline structures in caves. Even the world in miniature can fill us with awe as we observe the intricate structure of a flower, its petals, stamen and leaves—a miracle of beauty. 

The most majestic scene I have ever witnessed in this glory-filled earth however, lies on the ocean floor.  

Despite my post last month,  The Spiritual Truths I Learned in Swim Class, I am not a very good swimmer. In fact, I have a little understood condition known as oceandrainaphobia, or fear of the drain at the bottom of the ocean.  

Hey, writers are supposed to have an active imagination, right?  

Despite my imagined fear though, I try not to pass up an opportunity to explore the ocean depths with my snorkel, fins and as many layers of life jackets as I can tie around me and still fit inside a large rubber tube. 
The first time I snorkeled was at Captain Cook's monument on the “big island” of Hawaii. I expected to see a flurry of living color darting in and out of my vision, above an ocean floor of dark rocks and hidden places. 

When I finally braved the ocean and placed my goggles into the water, the scene made me gasp in disbelief and wonder.

Below me was a world of fantasy and imagination; color and texture, unlike any image I’d seen anywhere on the surface of the earth. It was a world within a world and a world separate from our world above. And for a moment, I forgot the world above; forgot the boat bobbing next to me just beyond my reach; forgot even the ocean drain lurking somewhere nearby.

Who but God could have created this majesty?

In the sun-touched reaches of the deep, the world was alight with color. The silence was alive with the whispers of life. The cool waters reflected and refracted the light reaching its depth from heaven above, oblivious even to the sun’s existence. There were no dark rocks and lurking shadows. There was only color and light as my vision was filled with living rock of a coral reef.

It was a surreal scene—an unknown world, ignorant that it was different; sublimely confident that it was simply another creation by the same God who created us all.  

That experience changed forever the way I looked at God’s world, understanding for the first time, that here—wherever we are—is not all there is. God shows us His august majesty throughout the earth—above and below.

Even in places mankind may never have been before and may never see, beauty is there because God created it. God is beauty and majesty and augustness and His creation reflects who He is.
I’ll still tie on my life jackets and hold tight to the big rubber tube. But to glimpse God’s majesty once more, not even the drain at the bottom of the ocean can keep me away.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you have filled this world with your glory. Help us take the time to see the beauty around us and to recognize that it is a reflection of your majesty. Show us ways to praise and glorify you more today. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you remember the first time you saw with your own eyes what existed at the bottom of the ocean? How did seeing that make you feel?

Monday, August 1, 2011


The two birth flowers for the month of August are the gladiola and the poppy. How different can two flowers be?


The gladiolus stands tall and straight, its blossoms in a row, announcing to all the world its symbolism of strength and sincerity. The gladiola is often the frame upon which the florist creates. The backdrop for the arrangement. The strength for the display of color and beauty. 

I always thought of gladiolus as flowers that made you glad. I assumed that was the root of the word. How surprised I was to learn they were named after warriors.

The gladiolus is the flower of the gladiator; named for those fierce warriors. Its Latin root, gladius literally means sword. The flower is even sometimes called the “sword lily.”

The gladiola reminds me of Jesus. We are called to be in Jesus’ army and to fight evil around us. To do so, Ephesians 6:11-17 reminds us to put on the full armor of God. One part of that armor is the sword of the Spirit; which is the word of God. The gladiola, the “sword lily,” reflects both the power and the beauty of scripture.

Gladiators were cast into a pit of evil. So are we. But we have Jesus with us. He will fight with and for us.


The poppy grows in fields, spreading out as far as the eye can see. Low to the ground, waving in the breeze. Fluid, gentle, tender. The poppy is the state flower of California. Despite the flower’s exuberant growth in the wild—covering meadows and poking out of beach grass—it is illegal to pick the flower. It is precious.
My favorite image of poppies is from the movie, The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and her friends climb a hill and look out into the valley ahead. “Poppies!” they exclaim before jogging, leaping and skipping into their midst.

Yes, the poppies were poisoned by the wicked witch, but their sight was joyful. And despite the poison, our stalwart friends didn’t gasp and choke. They simply lay down in the midst of the pleasant meadow and drifted off to sleep.

This image reminds me of Psalm 23:

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…

I wonder. When we walk through the darkest valley, is it possible that the valley floor is covered with spiritual poppies?

Has God provided a soft meadow for us to rest in during our journey through the dark valley?

Will Jesus wake us gently, when we are renewed and ready to complete the journey?


The gladiola is about strength, named for some of the fiercest warriors in history. The poppy is a gentle flower, growing wild and free. Taken together, perhaps we need both the strength of the warrior gladiola and the gentleness of the poppy in our lives. Both of which Jesus can provide.

What an unusual and beautiful bouquet they make when placed together and tied with the ribbon of faith.

Happy birthday to all you August babies.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help us to live strong and joyful lives for you. Remind us to put on the full armor of God each day, including the Sword which is your word. Remind us to be both warriors for you but to also have a glad and sincere heart for your plan and how to treat others with gentleness. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Which of these two flowers do you think best represents Jesus?

 See my posts on the flowers of the month for June and July.