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Friday, September 30, 2011


The month of September has been filled with wonderful posts by my friends at on the topic of “Coming Home.”

To finish up the theme, we can meditate on Joshua 14:15:

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

In what ways can your neighbors see that you live this verse? In what ways could you do better at letting your light shine in your neighborhood for Christ?

Join us in October when we, as part of the Christian Writers blog chain, share our thoughts on the theme of “harvest.” Follow the links to the right and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


This post is part of the September blog chain with Our theme for the month of September is “Coming Home.” Please visit the links in the right column to see what my friends have to say about “Coming Home.”


Excuse me for bragging, but my home is awesome! Some would call it a mansion.

From years of living in earthquake-prone California, you’ll understand how reassuring it is that my home’s sturdy foundation is built in 12 layers. I can’t explain how it was constructed, only that it is the firmest foundation a home can have. 

When you enter my home, one thing you’ll notice is the wonderful scent. There is incense burning at all times. Not the heavy musk that causes headaches. This incense is light and sweet-smelling. 

You’ll also notice that my home is filled with color. The red walls are striking against the golden floors. There’s a feeling of vibrancy in my home. Yet there’s also a unique sense of peace.

As a writer, it’s important to mention the library in my home. It’s filled with all kinds of books. Not written by me, but they all clearly show that they were written by the hand of God.

The main room in my home is a gathering place. It holds—not a couch—but 25 enormous chairs—so grand and lovely, they’re almost like thrones. There is one very large one and 24 smaller ones. The 24 are reserved for elders. The large one is white. It’s really great!

Did I mention that my home is on waterfront property? It has a view of the sea—not the wildly crashing, violent ocean so typical of Northern California. The panoramic view below my home is of a clear sea, calm as glass.

In the other direction, you’ll see a beautiful river winding through the city. On each side of the river are fruit trees. The trees provide delicious fruit throughout the year. The leaves themselves have healing properties. 

My home has 12 gates for entry to the property. Even the gates are beautiful—pearly in appearance—yet clear enough not obstruct the view. But the gates are mostly decorative, since they’re always open and welcoming people into my home. 

It might sound funny, but I keep palm branches handy. From time to time it seems like a multitude of people are in my home. Everybody likes to wear white robes and wave their palm branches toward the large throne-like chair. They sing, too. The acoustics in my home are so wonderful that somehow, everyone’s craggy voices sound almost angelic. 

But it’s not just people who enjoy my home. There are also an unbelievable number of horses, a lamb, an ox, an eagle, and even a lion. It’s the Lamb, though that everyone loves most. He gets the very best seat in the house, next to his father. People surround the Lamb and the Father and are forever, singing:

“To him who sits on the throne
and to the Lamb
be praise and honor

and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

 Before you know it, angels join in with their harps and trumpets. And it’s a heavenly sing-along!


No, this is not the home I live in now. It is my heavenly home; my eternal home; the home promised to me, because I first believed.

Jesus said: “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2

The mansion in heaven is huge. There’s room enough for all of us. I’ll be coming home before I know it. I’m not in a hurry, but I’d sure love for you to join me there.

I’ll bring the palm branches. You bring the incense.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for your promise of spending eternity with you. Thank you, Jesus for going ahead to prepare a place for us. Thank you, Holy Spirit for keeping us on the narrow path that leads to the gate of our eternal home. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What aspects of John’s vision of heaven set out in the Book of Revelation call loudest to you?

Monday, September 26, 2011


Little girls can run just as enthusiastically as little boys. But when the running is over and the boys are still jumping up and down, the little girls are twirling. 

This fact of nature was documented in the movie, “You’ve Got Mail.” There hanging on the wall of Meg Ryan’s bookshop was a faded photograph of her and her mother.  

“What are you doing?” asked Tom Hanks.  

“Twirling,” she responded, as if that was the only explanation needed when it comes to little girls. 

But at some point in our lives, we little girls grow up. And when that happens, we want to share the dance. First with our best girlfriend. Then with a boyfriend; then a husband. But even when we’re alone, we still long to dance. 

Because God has placed in our hearts a desire to dance with Him. 

We women struggle to remember that Jesus is waiting to dance with us. To hold us and twirl us. And remind us that we are His little girl.  

I try to hold on to Jesus’ hand all day, every day. But sometimes I worry. That makes my hands sweat. So my fingers slip out. 

Sometimes fear makes me grasp and clutch, holding on to Jesus for dear life. That makes me squeeze Jesus’ hand so hard I can’t twirl no matter how hard he’s trying to lead me. 

Sometimes I have stopped seeking Jesus and He takes my limp hand, trying to lead me to the dance floor only to find myself lost in a shuffle rather than a dance.  

Sometimes I let Jesus lead me out there, but I haven’t given Him my trust. So I spend the dance staring down at my feet, instead of gazing into His eyes filled with love. 

Sometimes I feel Jesus dragging me into a dance when all I want to do is sit in the corner alone. Only later do I understand He was dragging me to the only safe place that existed—the dance floor with Him.  

Will there ever be a time when my palm isn’t sweaty; my grip is steady; when I no longer have to grasp or slip or be dragged?   

Every time I take a dance lesson with Him, set out in scripture; every time I listen to His sweet music and sing along; every time my pulse and His beat in unison, I’m one dance step closer to twirling forever with Him; relaxing in the arms of Jesus; being led across the dance floor of life with the dancer of the universe. 

And boys, if you’re still running and jumping and hopping alone, Jesus is there for you, too, running that race Paul keeps talking about.  

Or you could try twirling…

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you are the Lord of the Dance. If life is a dance, then we want to dance with you. Show us your dance and help us live it for you. Show us how to twirl in delight and abandon for you. Let our dancing be a joyful blessing to you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you dance? 

Friday, September 23, 2011


Today is the first day of autumn. Fall. The season of harvest and home.

Don’t you love that our God is the God of variety? He could have positioned the earth and the sun “just so” and made life on earth an eternal spring. But then we might have grown used to the blossoms and buds and newness of it all. 

God could have made life on earth an eternal summer. But then some of us might have wilted into nothing.

He could have made life on earth an enduring winter or fall. But some of us might have despaired over the lack of new life.

So our God of variety gave us seasons.

Today, we in the Northern Hemisphere enter autumn. Witness the return of the earth to its time of resting before its winter sleep. It is time to bring in the harvest; return home and light the hearth fire of companionship and peace.

Welcome, autumn!

PRAYER: Thank you Father for seasons--both in this world and in our life. As we enter this new season of autumn, guide us into a new season of stronger love for you and faith in your plan. Amen.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


This post is part of the September blog chain with Our theme for the month of September is “Coming Home.” Please visit the links in the right column to see what my friends have to say about “Coming Home.”


Do you have a mezuzah?

A mezuzah is a small case that Jews secured to the doorframes of their homes. Inside were passages from the Torah (and the Christian Old Testament), most particularly:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. ... Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-6, 9)

 When a Jew would enter his home, he would see the mezuzah and be reminded of how to act in the home. When he left, it would remind him of how to act in the world.

Our family doesn’t have a mezuzah on our doorframe. Our mezuzah is part of the very foundation of our house.

Before we moved into our home, we decided to pull out the downstairs carpeting and replace it with tile. Having 2 dogs, a cat and a houseful of our teens’ friends made this an attractive addition. It was also a great “Jesus” opportunity.
After the carpet was up and out, I grabbed my Bible and thick-tip permanent marker. All throughout the downstairs, in every room where the concrete foundation was exposed, I wrote scripture, calling on the name of Jesus to bless our home, our family and everyone who crossed the threshold. With that permanent marker, I consecrated our home to Jesus.

Literally, the foundation of our home was reinforced by the strong foundation of God’s Word. 

Those verses are now covered up with tile. We walk and sit and relax on our lovely tiled floors. But the verses are still there; still part of the foundation of our home; a hidden, yet ever present reminder that:

“…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 25:15)

A house that serves the Lord, makes coming home that much sweeter.

HEAVENLY FATHER: We do want to serve you in all we do. Remind us that we are to be a light for you to everyone inside the walls of our homes as well as to the world. Help us to be that light. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you know anyone who has a mezuzah on their doorframe? Are you now thinking about getting one?

Monday, September 19, 2011


As part of my ongoing ministry to provide a way for us to pray for our loved ones, today I offer you four more names, their meaning and ways you can pray for people who have those names.

These names will be added to the burgeoning list of names and prayers, found on the PRAYING NAMES page of this blog. Go to the tab, titled “PRAYING NAMES” to find prayers for your loved ones.

If a name is not there, please leave a comment here with names you would like me to research and create prayers for.


Deborah, Debra, Debbie: bee

Heavenly Father, I pray that Deborah will live her name. I pray that just as the bees pollinate the flowers of the field, that Deborah will share her faith in you to others; that they may be fed and enriched by you through her. I pray also that her faith will produce sweet honey; a nectar that will feed and delight others in you.

Gail, Gayle, Abigail: joy of the Father

Heavenly Father, I pray that Gail will live her name. I pray that in all things she will bring joy to you. I pray that it will be your joy also to pursue her heart and draw her close to you. Father, please also show her ways to be a joy to others and a recipient of joy that passes from you to those around her.

Kirk, Kyrk: church

Heavenly Father, I pray that Kirk will live his name. I pray that Kirk will be one of your people all the days of his life. I pray that he will be a strong part of your church. I pray that he will be an example to others of his faith in you and will bring others to understand your love and promises.

Stewart, Stuart:  steward of the estate or castle

Heavenly Father, I pray that Stewart will live his name. I pray that he will be a righteous steward of all that you have provided to him in this life. I pray also that he will be a God-honoring steward of the eternal estate you have offered him as your child; an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. I pray that as a steward, he will be a light and an example of your inheritance to others.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Thinking back to Wednesday’s post on how God might watch a town grow and see the gathering of His church, meditate on Acts 16:5 referencing the early church:

So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

How might we work to strengthen our own faith and that of our family and friends so that our church might be strengthened in faith and grow in numbers?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


When we moved to Rocklin 20 years ago, I could count the number of churches on one hand: Roman Catholic, Baptist, Adventist, and Assemblies of God. Hmm…I even had a finger left over on that hand.  

Twenty years ago there were probably a few other churches held in school cafeterias and store fronts. But to drive down the streets in Rocklin, there weren’t many churches to be seen. Not many in the neighboring towns either.

With a limited choice within our geographical range, our family began attending the closest church to our house—making it easier to gather everyone together and allowing fewer reasons to skip corporate worship.

We attended that church for seven years and watched the congregation grow to three overly-crowded services each weekend. Then, at almost exactly the same time that our church relocated into a 5000-seat location, a new church began construction on the other side of our back fence.

It didn’t take us long to figure out that if God planted a church in our back yard, we should probably see what it was all about. As soon as we walked in the door, we felt like we had come home.

Today, the streets of Rocklin are lined with sturdy church buildings. New churches continue to sprout up in the same school cafeterias and store fronts that sprouted churches 20 years ago. Fledglings become mega churches and thousands of believers continue each week to worship God and seek His face.

We humans marvel as a town grows from a few buildings and several hundred residents to a sprawling suburban city. Hopefully God has the better view though as he watches the gathering of His people, joining together to build lives based on His truth and promises.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing together your body of believers and helping us form communities so that we can worship and grow together in you. Keep our churches strong. Keep them filled with your teachings. Keep them praising and glorifying you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How have the churches in your area changed in the last 20 years?

Monday, September 12, 2011


In keeping with the Christian Writer theme this month of "Coming Home," this post is in sympathy of the thousands of people affected each year by fire.


“There’s gold in them, thar hills!” That was the thrill of the 1800’s gold miners who flocked to California.

We call California, “the Golden State.” Why? Because gold may still be in them thar hills? Or is it called the Golden State because of the abundance of sunshine that blankets most of the state for most of the year?

At the end of every summer, California may called the Golden State because our hot, dry summers have parched the earth and turned the springtime hills yellow and brittle, becoming easy fodder for wildfires to spark and spread their golden flames into the sky.

Recently the fires in Texas have reignited this issue. Three million acres of Texas have been burned just this month. Is the entire State of Texas on fire, we wonder?

The Texas Forest Service reported yesterday that it responded to fires covering 2,795,097 acres of Texas this year, in addition to local department responses of 875,958 acres. That’s more than 3,600,000 acres in less than 9 months. link

Fire is terrifying, destructive and violent. But after the fire is out; after the rains have come, the animals have returned and the people have recovered, God starts over. There is renewal of the earth; renewal of lives.

God can make good come from every situation for those people who love Him. If only we can survive the burning.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we pray today for the people in fire-ravaged Texas. We pray also for people who live daily with destructive spiritual fires. We pray that you will quench the fires and bring renewal to their lives. Lord, help us survive the burning. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you ever been affected by a fire? What got you through?

SPECIAL NOTE: Tonight the sky will be filled with this year’s “harvest moon”—the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (September 23 this year). Step outside tonight and look for it. Then return next month for my post about the science and the faith behind the harvest moon.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Thinking back to Wednesday’s post about signs from God, meditate on the contrast between John 4:48 and the many other passages that refer to them. Do you believe God still gives us signs? Or does He no longer do so, relying instead on our faith in Jesus?

“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” (John 4:48) 

Before our eyes the LORD sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. (Deuteronomy 6:22)

You performed signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours. (Jeremiah 32:20)

It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. (Daniel 4:2)

“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. (Acts 2:22) 

Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. (Acts 2:43)

The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. (Acts 15:12)

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help us not to “need” signs in order to be obedient. But if you do send us signs, please open our eyes to see them clearly and understand your guidance without question. Amen.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


This post is part of the September blog chain with Our theme for the month of September is “Coming Home.” Please visit the links in the right column to see what my friends have to say about “Coming Home.”


Twenty years ago we left our home in New York, packed up a house and two young children and headed west. Jim and I had lived in California when we first married, but since then we had acquired 13 years of marriage and two small New Yorkers.  

We had no idea where we would land in California; only that we wanted to return and begin the process of once again making a home, closer this time, to our family members we had left on the west coast. 

We soon found that—amid a declining real estate market—a group of new homes were being auctioned for sale. That seemed like a novelty. No real estate agents; no dragging young children through endless homes, keeping their hands off the tantalizing possessions of home owners.

Eleven empty, brand new homes were available to look at, bid on and move into. All were in a neighborhood in the small town of Rocklin—barely important enough for an exit off the freeway between Sacramento and Reno.

But was Rocklin where God wanted us to be? Was Rocklin where God wanted us to raise little Douglas James and Nicole Taylor? 

Amid the anxiety of moving small children cross-country; looking at homes in a town we knew nothing about; and having to make a decision within a few days, I was a wreck! I stressed and stewed; fretted, frowned, and ground my teeth. Then, the night before the auction, I did something novel.

I prayed…leaving it all to God; asking that He would make His desires completely clear to us.

The next morning, we left for the auction. I was at ease. We didn’t have clear direction. Rather, we headed for the auction not knowing if we would even bid on a house; much less get one. But I was at ease because I had released the worry to God.

In the car, I told Jim that I had prayed over the decision. Then I confessed I had also asked God to give me a “sign;” something to indicate His will in the matter.  Jim proceeded to tease me about wanting signs from God, but I could tell he was relieved to see me so relaxed after my uncertainty of the previous days.  

We decided to drive past the homes one more time before heading to the auction. As we neared our turnoff, I began to pay attention to the freeway exits. 

“Atlantic Avenue,” I read aloud. 

“Hey, it’s a sign!” said Jim. 

Still hoping for a clear indication from God, I asked, “You mean, it’s a sign from God because we’re moving here from the Atlantic coast?”  

“No,” Jim answered. “I just meant that it’s a sign—you know—a freeway sign.” 

I laughed and decided not to take things so seriously. 

Then we saw the next freeway exit sign before our exit. The enormous green sign declared:  

Douglas Boulevard

Taylor Road.

Jim and I stopped laughing abruptly. These two exits reflected the names of our two children: Douglas James and Nicole Taylor. 

God didn’t give us a sign. Rather, He threw freeway exit signs in front of us at 65 miles per hour.

When we arrived at the auction, we purchased a home within 45 seconds of bidding, never hesitating, never worrying that we had made a horrible mistake.

We lived in that home for 12 years before moving three-quarters of a mile away to our present home in Rocklin. This year we celebrate 20 years as Rocklin-ites and thank God for bringing us to this place, filled with lifelong friendships, a church filled with faithful believers and two decades of joyful living. 

Jesus told us that “Unless you people see signs and wonders…you will never believe.” (John 4:48)

But throughout the Bible God does show His people signs and wonders. Did God give me a “sign” or were those freeway exits a coincidence?

It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I gave up my worry and asked God to guide our decision. He did.

And it was good.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for guiding us. Thank you for providing us with the strength and understanding to see where you want us to go—whether by signs and wonders or the gentle leading of our hearts. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you ever felt that God had given you a clear sign directing your life?

Monday, September 5, 2011


Every month has a birthstone. The birthstone for September is the sapphire. But did you know that every month also has a birth flower; usually two? The birth flowers for September are the aster and the morning glory. 

And they both remind me of Jesus.


The word aster comes from the Greek word for “star.” The aster flowers are the shape of a star. But not just a 5-pointed star. The aster resembles a lush, brilliant star. And there was no more brilliant star than the one that shone over Bethlehem during Jesus’ birth. The aster reminds me of Jesus. 

In ancient times, folks believed that burning the leaves of the aster flower would drive away serpents. In Christianity, the serpent represents the evil one. And biblically, Christ stomped his heel on the serpent and conquered the evil one. The aster reminds me of Jesus

The aster is a symbol of love, faith, wisdom, patience and light. Jesus is love, faith, wisdom, patience and light.


The morning glory is the alternative birth flower for September. Its name refers to the fact that it that blooms in the morning.  It thus reminds me of that one glorious morning on Easter Sunday when Jesus’ empty grave proved His power over death.  

Because of its large saucer shape, the morning glory allows bees to pollinate it easily. As a result, new flowers bloom each day. Morning glories are therefore a powerful symbol of the resurrection. Jesus is the resurrection; and the life.

The morning glory grows in vines. It reminds me of  John 15: 5-8 where Jesus said:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

It is fitting for the month of September, that the primary birth flower is the aster. Asters are traditionally placed on graves as a symbol of remembrance. This is especially poignant in the United States as we remember the citizens who died on  September 11, 2001.

And as the morning glory reminds us of Jesus’ promise of eternal life, this second Setpember birth flower gives us hope for us still living that we will spend glory with Him.

Happy birthday to everyone born in September.

[Read my posts on the flowers for JUNEJULY and AUGUST to see how those flowers remind me of Jesus, too.]

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the beauty you placed in this world for our enjoyment. Help us look at the beauty and think of you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Who do you know born in September? Which flower might they prefer? Why?

Friday, September 2, 2011


The month of August, the Christian Writers blog chain took the word “august” and discussed things majestic, distinguished, epic, glorious, magnificent. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have.  

One of the words related to “august” is “grand.” That brings to mind the Grand Canyon, Grande Jette, Grand Champion, and Grand Ballroom. My favorite “grand” though are grandparents and grandkids. I’m not yet a grandmother, but I had two awesome grandmothers and two amazing grandfathers.

Here are a few synonyms and related words for “august.” Which would describe your grandparents? When you become a grandparent, which word will your grandkids think best captures “you”?  

Distinguished, imposing, portly, solemn, staid, stately, baronial, epic, gallant, glorious, grandiose, heroic, imperial, magnificent, majestic, massive, monumental, noble, proud, regal, royal, splendid, grand, decorous, proper, seemly, grave, somber, aristocratic, elegant, elevated, lordly, magisterial, colossal, prodigious, cosmic, sublime, wondrous, formidable, impressive, marvelous, extravagant, lavish, opulent, palatial, resplendant, splendiferous, celestial, divine, heavenly

Now we leave the month of August and the theme of “august.” Join the Christian Writers this month of September for our blog chain theme, “Coming Home.”