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Friday, June 29, 2012


And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

It doesn’t matter how many times characters in a book mess up; how many people disappoint them; how many of their dreams crash and burn. If there’s a happy ending to the story, it’s a good book.

God’s library has many books. They all fit inside one binding we call the Bible.

It is filled with characters who mess up; people whose loved ones disappointed them; whose dreams crashed and burned. They were all people who loved God and were loved by Him. People just like us.

It’s comforting to know that the people God chose to imortalize in His books are mess ups; with disappointments and dreams gone bad. It’s comforting to know God loved them anyway and never gave up on bringing their hearts back to Him. It’s comforting to know that He included them in His happy ending. 

And that He then included us.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please remind me that I’m just like the characters in the Bible. Just like them, I’m imperfect and I mess up. Remind me though that you love me enough to have written me into your Book of Life and have included me in your happily ever after. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Who’s your favorite biblical mess-up? What lesson have you learned from him?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


The theme for the blog chain this month is “pursuit.” Please click on the links in the right hand column to see what my friends have to say about our theme.


We know God wants us to have a love relationship with Him. But I used to think of God as a gentleman, who “stands at the door and knocks;” not as Lord of Heaven and Earth who takes the time to actively pursue me.  

I hung my thinking on the verse: Draw close to God and He will draw close to you. In other words, I had to do the first drawing. 

And I still believe that when you take a step toward God, He takes a step toward you—a giant step even though mine are tippy toes. 

One of my friends taught me to readjust my thinking. She regularly requests prayer that God pursue the hearts of her loved ones.  

When I first started praying that, it felt unnatural. Our loved ones, I thought, had to take the first step. 

But I’ve come to realize that God, as in all things, is proactive. Yes, He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. But He doesn’t just knock once and leave. He stays there and taps lightly and whispers. Sometimes He pounds and shouts. Other times he rings the doorbell. 

Because the Lord of Heaven and Earth pursues our hearts in every way He can. 

So now I too pray for my loved ones who do not know Jesus; for people I know casually; and for myself as well—that God will pursue our hearts. 

As much as I already know and love Jesus, I want to know and love him more. I want Him to pursue me in ways He never has before.  

God, please pursue my heart and the hearts of us all. 

God, please open my ears to hear your knocking. 

God, please strengthen my hands to open the door and let you in to the deepest parts of me.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we want to know and love you more. We know also that you want us to know and love you more. Please pursue our hearts every day for eternity. Amen. 

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How have you felt God pursuing your heart?

Monday, June 25, 2012


Every month I create prayers based on the names of people we love. This ongoing list of names and prayers can be found at the top of this blog, on the tab titled, “PRAYING NAMES.”  

If you would like me to create a prayer based on a specific name, please leave a comment below. I’ll research the name and include it in a future month.  

Dillon; Dylan: son of the sea; born from the ocean 

Heavenly Father, I pray that Dillon will live the meaning of his name. I pray that he will recognize the vastness and depth of the ocean and be reminded that you, Jesus, are the true living water. I pray that he will accept that gift of living water so that he will never thirst for anything but you. Amen. 

Dustin: Brave warrior  

Heavenly Father, I pray that Dustin will live the meaning of his name. I pray that he will be a brave and mighty warrior in your army; that he will live his life as a soldier for your truth; your salvation and your glory. Amen.

Jenna: Heaven

Heavenly Father, I pray that Jenna will live the meaning of her name. I pray she will live her life with a view to eternity; that she will remember that Heaven is her true and eventual home. I pray also that through her life, others will get a glimpse of your glory and a taste of the heavenly realm. Amen.

Zoe; Zoey: life

Heavenly Father, I pray that Zoe will live the meaning of her name. I pray that she will embrace this one and only earthly life you have given her and will use her time on earth to glorify you. I pray also that she will accept your gift of eternal life and encourage others to come to salvation through you. Amen.

Friday, June 22, 2012


He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna…to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:3) 
Each morning, I drag my feet toward the coffee pot, wishing I’d bought one with the automatic timer. But once I’ve got steamy cup in hand, it’s time for coffee with Jesus. Not coffee and croissant, donut or bran muffin. Coffee and manna.

Nothing was ever good enough for the Jews wandering the desert with Moses. But God loved them anyway—the patient provider of all their needs. The divine manna God sent each morning was only good for the day intended. No sense packing it away for tomorrow. God wanted them trusting Him daily. 

Scripture, like manna, provides divine nourishment. It feeds our minds, renews our hearts and refreshes our souls. It prepares us for whatever God has planned today. Unlike manna, scripture never “goes bad.” Still—like hot bread from the oven—it’s better fresh each day. 

Coffee with Jesus. Reading God’s Word. Communing in prayer. Opening to the possibilities of what He has planned. God’s Word is always fresh; always nourishing. Always the best way to start the day. 

PRAYER: Father, thank you for being our provider for our physical and our spiritual needs. Holy Spirit, attune our hearts to your leading and help us, Jesus, follow your example. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? When is your favorite time to read scripture?

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you read the Bible first thing in the morning? Last thing at night?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The theme for the blog chain this month is “pursuit.” Please click on the links in the right hand column to see what my friends have to say about our theme.


In our back yard, we have 3 tortoise statuaries—a 4-foot tortoise “mamma” and two “babies.” I adore them because they remind me of Jesus.

1. Aesop was an ancient Greek who created stories to teach children life lessons. You remember some of them from your own childhood—handed down through the centuries and across continents, to end up in North American children’s books.

The Fox and the Grapes
The Ant and the Grasshopper
The Fox and the Crow

And my favorite…The Tortoise and the Hare.

Each of Aesop’s fables ends with a lesson—a moral; something learned to take away and apply to life. For The Tortoise and the Hare, the moral is: Slow and steady wins the race.

Jesus also told stories to teach. He also created parables that left people with something to take away and apply to life.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31)
The Parable of the Yeast (Matthew 13:33)
The Parable of the Pearl (Matthew 13:44)
The Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:3)
…to name a few.

2. The Apostle Paul filled his epistles with metaphors that compared a life in Christ to running a race. He talks about running the race with discipline (1 Corinthians 9:4); running the race for a purpose and with a goal (Galatians 2:2); running a good race (Galatians 5:7); and running with perseverance a race marked out for us (Hebrews 12: 1).

It is Hebrews that reminds me most of The Tortoise and the Hare. The tortoise ran with perseverance—plodding; one step after the other; not taking shortcuts; not making detours or following the easy or the scenic route. He continued along the course, from beginning to end; without stopping or becoming discouraged.

In our walk with Jesus, sometimes Jesus carries us forward; sometimes he slows us down. But never does he help us detour from our course; never does he hinder our forward movement toward our goal of heaven with Him.

3. Now that I am on the second half of my life here on earth, I realize how quickly the first half flew by; how much I’ve accomplished; how much is left to do. Our earthly instinct is to do everything quickly; get it done…before. Make time for the next project; the next idea; the next race to be run.

The hard thing to remember is that life is not a series of track meets. It is not a sprint or 20 times around the  football field before heading to the showers.

Life—both here on earth and life eternal—is a long-distance marathon. He who finishes first doesn’t win the one and only prize. Rather, like true marathon races, everyone who finishes is a winner. So, everyone who spends eternity with Jesus wins.

We can run the good race like turtles; because when it comes to living a life for Christ, slow and steady truly does win the race.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for this earthly life and for our promised eternal life with you. Please help us stay the course; help us run and not grow weary; help us be turtles for you, remembering that we carry our eternal home in our hearts. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What’s your favorite Aesop’s fable and why? What’s your favorite parable?

Monday, June 18, 2012


Welcome again to my guest Chris Vonada. Chris begins the meat of his series on the building blocks of relationships. Go to his blog and become a regular reader. 

The 10 building blocks are delivered in alphabetical order (with the exception of "+1", it is last for a reason, more on that later...)...  however, there is no coincidence that Acceptance is up first.

Acceptance, to me, is the most fundamental building block of any relationship.

There are different levels of acceptance, or favorable reception, for sure, depending on the relationship that we're talking about. Certainly we would maybe feel the need to unconditionally accept one of our children more than a co-worker. And, depending on their behavior, we may find certain actions of other people more or less acceptable, depending on how close we are to a specific individual. But is that really right? Certainly I can and should choose who to let into my life, in close proximity. That would be a very wise thing to do. But I do believe one of the two greatest commandments is to "love your neighbor as yourself", right? And yes, that would be unconditional love... and acceptance, for sure. That's acceptance on a pure level, not judging or saying what's right or wrong, but just that it is. Accepting the God-given beauty in another individual is a blessing that you can give them. That's seeing everyone exactly as Jesus would.

In a closer, more intimate relationship, for two people to accept one another something else has to happen even before acceptance...

We have to be real... we have to be ourselves. We have to be comfortable in our own skin.

If I don't really get to see who you are how can I accept you? That works both ways :-)

Here's the kicker... the buy-in, if you will...

If we're going to open up to someone we have to have trust... but how do I know if I can trust you?
"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." - Hemingway
Basically this is it: You have a choice to make... and then you have to take a chance.

For the sake of this post, I would like to use the example of building a close, intimate relationship with someone... remember, baby steps are fine when it comes to building a relationship.

And if we're going to be real we may have to review or think about the concept of self-acceptance as well, another pretty deep thought... the jist of this one... I have to be real with me in order to be real with you.

Acceptance, in a close relationship... here's the bottom line: I HAVE TO BE ABLE TO ACCEPT YOU EXACTLY AS YOU ARE. There is no point in me trying to change you for my sake. That's just silly. If you want to make positive changes yourself, that's excellent! You can count on me for encouragement and support (like how I threw these 2 other building blocks in here... hee hee!).

Once we get real... and we see the real person on the other side of the candlelit table... or the conference room table, if we're talking about a co-worker here... we have to be willing and able to accept the other person.

We can look to God's word to find wisdom here...

In Hebrews Chapter 6, verses 13 through 20, God is showing himself to Abraham... that His very nature is the truth and the promise of unconditional acceptance, or approval, of us... exactly as we are. If He is OK with me just being me... the one who knows everything about me... how many hairs I have on my head... down to my every thought and what is really in the depths of my heart and soul... yep, if God is OK with accepting me just as I am, knowing everything about me... why wouldn't I want to be real... open, honest and sincere... and just be myself so you can really see who I am... and then make your own decision about accepting me?

"Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Hebrews 6: 17-19.

God's promise gives us truth and acceptance. We don't have to worry that they may one day be a change in plans. It's not going to happen. Acceptance really gets down to the core... the truth... building a significant bond... in the most significant way... when we're real.

So if I'm on board with this relationship... and you're being yourself... you don't have to worry... you are accepted. It's a done deal... just that simple!

How do you express acceptance to someone close to you in your daily life?

(Read more of Chris' posts at )

Friday, June 15, 2012


I love the Bible. It is so real—not only with examples of how to live; but also with examples of how not to live. Some of the Bible’s biggest characters were horrible fathers.

Samuel had no control over his sons who took bribes as leaders of Israel. Lot wanted to give his daughters to the men of the town to rape. Abraham, Isaac and David were all heads of seriously dysfunctional families. Israel showed so much favoritism to his son, Joseph that Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery.  

The point is that even though they made mistakes—lots of them—terrible ones—ultimately they were saved because God loved them and they loved God. 

Fortunately, the Bible also gives us examples of good fathers. One of the greatest examples is Jesus’ earthly stepfather. Joseph married Mary in spite of her being a pregnant, unwed young girl. He gave her and Jesus a home; gave him stepbrothers and a stable family life.  

Jesus would have still been God in human form if Mary had been a single mother. But no doubt, God intended Jesus to be part of an intact family with an earthly father-caregiver for a purpose. And one purpose might have been to show the importance of fathers in children’s lives. As an example to us. 

I had a wonderful earthly father. But not everyone had kind, loving earthly fathers who loved God. Some of us have stumbled our way through life, grasping onto Jesus’ hand when we finally met him in a dark place in our lives. How much better might it have been to have been raised as a Christian, knowing Jesus as a child; led to Him by our earthly mother and father who loved Him, too?

This Sunday, as we celebrate the fathers we had and the legacy they leave through us, we are grateful for the creation of family; for the example of Jesus' earthly family and even more for our Heavenly Father who loves us eternally.

Happy Father's Day to all of you fathers.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for placing us in families and for the legacies you provide through our parents and through us. Thank you for being our eternal Heavenly Father. Help us celebrate Heavenly Father's Day every day for you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How will you observe Father's Day this weekend?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


This post is part of the Christian Writer's blog chain. Our theme this month is "pursue" in honor of Father's Day and graduations. Please click on the links to the right to see what my friends have to say about this theme.


We often think of the word "pursue" as involving a lofty endeavor. We pursue a goal, an achievement, a prize.

But the origin of the word pursue in 13th century Anglo French meant "to follow with hostile intent." Although we sometimes still use the word pursue to follow and track in order to overtake ("the kidnapper pursued his victim"), more often today the word is used to imply a higher purpose.

That original meaning though lends its sense of depth to the way we use the term pursue in the modern world.

As we pursue something of great meaning and value today, do we hold fast to the passion and depth of emotion behind our pursuit? Do we consciously allow that passion and depth of emotion to push us forward, urge us onward, following a path in order to overtake and then claim the prize?

In all areas of life, whatever we pursue, do we do so with deep intent? Do we pursue happiness to overtake it and claim it with passion? Do we do the same with everything that is important to us?

Do we, in fact, pursue life with the passion it is worthy of? Do we live each day according to the gift of grace and mercy given us by the Lord of Life? Do we follow the calling He has set out for us with the determination and persistence needed?

I confess I do not always live with passion. But I always live with direction, pursuing the life God has laid out for me--IF I FIRST seek His guidance. And then remain open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in me.

In fact, a much loftier and better thing to pursue would be to perfect the perpetual habit of seeking Him first.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we so want to live for you. Please show us the callings you desire for us. Open our hearts to your leading. Help us follow you as we pursue your goals for us. Let it be for your glory. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What do you pursue with the depth of passion that hearkens to the 13th century definition? In what pursuit do you need more passion?

Monday, June 11, 2012


I’m writing this post from the Dolphin Hotel, at Epcot Center, Florida—a tag-along at my Jim’s conference. The first night we were here we watched the Disney Hollywood fireworks from our hotel room. They sparkled and fizzled. We oohed and ahhed.

The second night we watched the Epcot fireworks from the World Showcase—up close and in person. The fireworks sparkled and fizzled, boomed and soared. We oohed and ahhed, cheered and shouted.

Last night we watched the fireworks again from our hotel room. This fireworks display lasted more than two hours and it was spectacular. The sky was bright as daytime. The flashes and booms exploded in the night, filling the entire sky over all the Disney theme parks with fireworks.

This display of lightning and thunder was put on by God.

Living in California we have sunshine most months; rain in a few; snow in mountain regions. Our Yahoo WEATHER ALERTS read: mostly sunny with winds up to 20 mph.

Hold on to your sun bonnet.

Last night we were treated to an example of God’s power and majesty in nature through the miracle of weather; God’s way to transfer energy, heat and water across this amazing planet. It was a breathtaking reminder of God’s majesty and power; a not-so-subtle reminder that our God is big and we are small.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for reminders that—as master of the universe—you are in charge. Show us more examples today of your awesome glory. Help us worship your power more every day. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? When was the last time God knocked your socks off with His awesome power?

Friday, June 8, 2012


Yesterday I spent the morning at the dentist.

Again. Receiving my fifth crown. <sigh>

I have so many crowns I should be queen by now. 

But, in fact, I’m a princess. The adopted daughter of King Jesus.  

That’s a mighty high station to have attained for someone not of noble birth. It’s also a reputation I need to seek daily to live up to.  

I’m grateful for our medical technology that has advanced to the point where a tooth can be saved; a smile preserved; function restored. Now, every time I brush and floss; gargle and check, I will have one more reminder that I am the daughter of the King of the universe.  

One more reminder that Jesus died to make it so.  

One more reminder that I have the best reason in heaven and on earth to smile. I am loved and treasured. 

And so are you.

PRAYER: Thank you Father God for adopting me into your family. Thank you for giving me real and eternal reason to smile. Help me live this one and only earthly life for your purpose and for your glory—today and every day. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What daily reminder do you look to that you have been adopted into the family of God?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


The theme for the blog chain this month is “pursuit.” Please click on the links in the right hand column to see what my friends have to say about our theme.

When I was thinking about what to write about, I hit Google and typed in the word pursuit. I was surprised at things that fit musically into the Christian Writers blog chain. 

1. Pursuit, a Christian progressive rock band 

I love contemporary Christian music but had no idea what “progressive rock” was. Wikipedia describes progressive rock as music that "explores extended musical structures which involved intricate instrumental patterns and textures and often esoteric subject matter."  

Pursuit’s website describes their music as: “Christian Progressive Rock. Music that fills the soul and lyrics that edify the spirit!”  

Google them and you can sample their music. I like it. And it’s definitely loud enough that God can hear it all the way in heaven. (yeah, I’m old)

2. United Pursuit Band 

This is another Christian band, but their music is more like what you’d hear in many churches today. Here’s a YouTube video of their song, “Let Me in.”

3. Kim Walker-Smith, singing the contemporary Christian song “Pursuit.”  

I love the lyrics of this song about us pursuing the heart of God. Here’s a link:

Whether you’re a fan of contemporary Christian music or not, I found these three links encouraging to see a generation of kids hungry for God.

4. If you’re more into the good old hymns, head to and click on any of a dozen hymns with the word “pursue” – this’ll get you started: 

Come, Let Us Anew Our Journey Pursue
Jesus, My All, to Heaven Is Gone 
I When All Thy Mercies, O My God
And Can It Be That I Should Gain?
Sometimes a Light Surprises
How Happy Is the Pilgrim’s Lot 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for music. We love singing and listening to music that praises and worships you. Open our hearts—pursue our hearts—and show us ways to pursue your heart, Oh God! Amen. 

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What is your favorite type of Christian music? Contemporary, progressive, hymns, gospel, country, classical?

Monday, June 4, 2012


He hops at 55 seconds and 1.32 seconds--wait for it!

There’s a bird that sits on our neighbor’s chimney and sings. He doesn’t just occasionally “tweet” or “chirp” or “trill.” He sings continuously, changing tunes and styles—as if he’s so filled with joy he can’t decide how to express it best.

Then, after he has sung for a few minutes, he pops into the air—straight up, lands back where he started and begins his aria once again.

It’s as if he is filled with so much happiness, he suddenly realizes he can no longer sit still. He must not only sing for joy, but dance for joy, too.

I have started sitting on my patio each morning with Bible and coffee just so I can begin my day with his example: to start each day praising God; filled with so much joy and thanksgiving that I can no longer contain myself.

I want learn to pop up; grasp a bit of the heavenly realm and return to this beautiful earth and continue singing for joy; all day; every day.

Luke 19:38-40 tells us of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem with the disciples and all the people crying out:

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet the stones will cry out!

Maybe God didn’t place this birdie in our neighborhood just to give me an example of how to live with joy. But that is what it is teaching me. Thank you, Jesus!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we are reminded that all of your creatures sing of your glory; even the rocks cry out. How much more should we sing of your glory, your love and our joy in you! Help us live that joy and sing it for everyone to hear. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Is there a creation that God set in your neighborhood that reminds you of His glory?

Friday, June 1, 2012


This begins a year-long series on birthstones and how they remind me of Jesus. Since I’m cross-posting with my geologist friend, Chris Vonada (,  I figured the topic of gemstones would be a terrific match.

But when I sat down to write this very first post, I realized I’m beginning with the one month of the year whose birth “stone”—the pearl—isn’t a stone at all.

Still, throughout history, society has considered pearls to be rare, beautiful and valuable.  And they remind me of Jesus.

The Gospel

In scripture, pearls are symbols of the priceless Gospel. Matthew 13:45-46 compares the Gospel to pearls of great value:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

Jesus’ parable reminds us that our salvation through Him, is priceless and deepening our faith and relationship with Him, should be our number one priority.


Pearls also remind me of Jesus because of how they’re made. Pearls are the oyster’s way of protecting itself from a harsh and painful grain of sand. It does so by laying down calcium carbonate in concentric rings.

Similarly, Jesus protects us from harsh and painful things in life—if we but lean on Him. In fact, just like an oyster, God can create layers of soothing protection from the irritants of life. Those layers become our ever-deeper faith; a faith that is beautiful, rare and valuable. So valuable that we should do everything we can to own it; because it results in our being part of God’s kingdom of heaven.

And we know what the gates of heaven are made of.

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. (Revelation 21:21)

June’s birthstone can’t be found in any underground mine on earth. Pearls are created by living creatures; much like the foundation of our faith is based on trust in a living God.

Pearls require no faceting or polishing to reveal their natural beauty. Just like our faith in Jesus requires nothing but to believe—and then trust and obey. That’s a beautiful thing.

Happy birthday to everyone born in June.

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus for showing us your truth in the parables you spoke so long ago. Thank you for your good news. Please remind us each day of the Gospel’s incomparable value and help us find new ways to make it a deeper part of our lives. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? In what way do you see characteristics of Jesus in a pearl?

Don't forget to follow my friend, Chris at