My blog has moved!

You will be automatically redirected to the new address. If that does not occur, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Each month I create prayers for people we love based on the meaning of their names. These additional names are then added to the ongoing list at the tab to the right titled, "PRAYING NAMES."

If you don’t find the name of your loved one listed, please leave a comment below. I’ll research it and create a prayer for a future month.

Arnold: eagle strength

Heavenly Father, I pray that Arnold will live the meaning of his name. I pray that he will cling to your promise that he will be like Isaiah 40:31, hoping in you, Lord, that you will renew his strength, soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint. Amen.

Daisy: eye of the day

Heavenly Father, I pray that Daisy will live the meaning of her name. I pray that your eye will be on her throughout each day, just as your eye is on the sparrow and the lilies of the field. Amen.

Darius: upholder of the good

Heavenly Father, I pray that Darius will live the meaning of his name. I pray that he will hold fast to your goodness and will raise your salvation and glory like a banner in his life so that others will see you through him. Amen.

Sandra: defender of mankind

Heavenly Father, I pray that Sandra will live the meaning of her name. I pray that throughout her life she will lean on you as her defender and that she will lift up others to you in prayer that you may defend all of mankind against evil here on earth. Amen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I first started reading Oswald Chamber’s devotional, My Utmost for His Highest nine years ago. Because someone said I should.

I faithfully read it through for one year. Then I tucked it away in a box, taped the box shut and shoved the whole thing in the back of the closet.

During that year, a few things made me nod my head. But more things made me scratch my head. In other words, I wasn’t ready to hear what Oz had to say because God hadn’t grown my heart big enough yet to make room for those understandings.

Fast forward nine years. This year, as I read through his devotionals, I agree with more of his interpretations and preaching. Evidently, though long dead, Oz is still growing spiritually.

Or perhaps I am.

It seems that the larger my heart is for Jesus, the more willing I am to see what God may be telling me through the written words of a brother in Christ.

PRAYER: Give me another 9 years or 90, God—all in your timing. But please keep growing my heart to understand and praise you more. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Are you ever surprised when you gain new understanding of scripture you always thought you understood?

NOTE: For more in this series, click on the page “OZ AND I” to the right.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

This year, my one word focus is courage. It’s fine to have such a focus. It’s great to want to obtain courage. It’s awesome when God blesses you with it.

But let’s face it. Just because we want something and even if God wants us to have it, that doesn’t mean we get it right now, right here, just like we hope.

But that’s OK too, because it teaches us to wait on the Lord and keep praying and keep working at what we know to do. It teaches us to trust.

And it gives us an opportunity to let God use other people to help with His work in our lives.

Have you ever been at a place in your life where darkness, crisis, despair or worry has caused you to nearly shut down spiritually? When you didn’t know how to pray over a situation? Didn’t know even if you could pray?

In those times, we know one of the loving benefits of being part of a community of believers. Remember Paul? He prayed for God’s churches in all kinds of circumstances.

When we ask others for prayer, we know that we haven’t abandoned our faith; or that God has abandoned us. Believers can cover us in prayer and can stand in the gap for us until we are able once again to focus our prayer life and our faith in the direction God has been all the while.

Courage is like that.

Sometimes we can find courage within ourselves to do what we fear, to face what we feel incapable of facing, to mount up and accomplish the un-accomplishable.

Other times, we miraculously set aside our own efforts and ask God to work through us. And He does, accomplishing what we never thought possible; doing through us what we felt unable to do on our own.

And folks, there are other times when we can gain courage from others. Inspirational books can show us how other people have done things. Flawed characters in scripture show us how God used even them to accomplish His purpose. And we can rely on real-life, real-time courage from others in our lives today.

If we have not the courage ourselves, we can borrow some from others.

Do we not know how to do something we need to do? We can rely on knowledge and expertise of others.

Do we not feel capable of doing something God is calling us to do? We can rely on the truth of what others have done or the capabilities they see in us that we are blind to.

When we gain knowledge, we are enlightened.
When we receive vitality, we are invigorated.
When we borrow courage, we become encouraged.

You've seen the power of encouragement in others. You can receive it yourself. It’s hard for some of us to ask for help. But encouragement we can accept. By understanding that encouragement comes in many forms: prayer, time, effort, words and actions—it makes it easier to borrow the courage we need so that we can remain encouraged until true courage is becomes a part of who we are.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the encouragement you send our way; either directly through your Holy Spirit, through examples in scripture and through people in our lives. Help us also be an encouragement to others in your name. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Are you an encourager of others? Are you able to say or do just the right thing at the right time to the right person to help them over a hump or a slump in their lives?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Knock knock.

Who’s there?

It's opportunity knocking.  

Left ventricles. Right ventricles. Aortas. Pumps and arteries. Our hearts are miraculous little machines. Pumping and beating. Bringing blood in; pushing it out. Red blood. Blue blood. Filled with life-bringing oxygen; sending empty blood on to be replenished.

With all its many parts, it’s hard to remember that our heart also has another important piece in its amazing construction—a tiny door. The most important part of our heart machine is that doorthe door where Jesus stands knocking.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)

That little door on our heart provides a way to give us new life now and eternal life forever. Jesus stands and knocks. Let’s open the door. We only have one opportunity in our earthly life to do so.

Lub-dub. Lub-dub. Lub-dub. That’s not just the sound of your heart beating. It’s the sound of Jesus knocking.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for seeking us out and making it easy to find us. Please attune our ears to your knocking at our heart's door. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you have a horrible knock-knock joke to share?

Today's post is part of the Christian Writers' Blog Chain. Our theme for February is "opportunity." Please click on the links at the right to see what my friends have to say about our theme.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


There are many stories surrounding St. Valentine. But most agree that—like St. Patrick—St. Valentine was a real person, whose life we celebrate today. According to the Roman Catholic Church, Valentine was a Roman Catholic priest—a Christian martyr who died for his faith and was since canonized by the church to honor and remember him.

In 496 AD Pope Gelasius set February 14th as the date to celebrate St. Valentine’s martyrdom. He was known to have married and assisted Christians in the name of his love for Jesus, giving rise to our practice of focusing on love each February 14.

Now stores sell lacy cards, pink streamers and heart-shaped candies. Florists double the price of flowers and wives fix special dinners for husbands with candles lit and children sent to bed early. Lovers everywhere use the day as an excuse to broadcast their affection to the world.

But the day originally was set aside as a holy day of God’s church.

Getting past the greeting cards that display flying babies with wings, trays filled with chocolate dipped strawberries and tiny hearts munched by the mouthful, St. Valentine’s Day reminds me of Jesus.

Because Jesus is the true author and giver of love. In fact, for those who know Jesus, every day is Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Especially to my very own Valentine, Jim.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for your love. Thank you also for the people you place in our lives. Help us love all of them in your name. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Any special Valentine's Day plans?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

10 + 1 Building Blocks Of Relationships: Security

So many times in relationships we get stuck in a rut. We keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again. This has a lot to do with personality, but also with our sense of security. Having a sense of security is the most important factor in taking a ho hum life filled with every day ok relationships to one overflowing with extraordinary vitality. Understanding security and where to correctly focus its sense of fulfillment that will take your personal growth and development to a higher level.

Generally, when we think of security in a relationship it can be represent by one of two factors, emotional or financial security. While we find both of these as factors in any successful relationship, their relevance is accentuated in our closest relationships. We find both of these in our closest relationship, the one we share with God. Unfortunately, when we look to other people to satisfy a need that can only be achieved by having a close, personal relationship with God we set ourselves and our relationships up for difficulty and even failure.

There is one key assumption to extraordinary relationships: Our strong, close and healthy personal interactions are at their best when we are compatible with the other people that we surround ourselves with.

If we are compatible with the other people in our close circles, and our lives are centered on the Lord, won't have to look too far to identify the key issues with security. At that point, it would boil down to our own insecurities, the topic of a complex psychological discussion that might be based on a number of factors including personality and events of our past. These insecurities can cause us to latch on to the wrong people for the wrong reasons, and away from extraordinary relationships.

How do I know if I have extraordinary relationships? Here's some insight:

According to clinical psychologist Craig Malkin, Ph.D., "people who feel more securely attached (comfortable being close to and depending on someone) aren’t just happier, but more likely to seek thrills like rock-climbing and parachute jumping and throw themselves into new situations and challenges, like meeting strangers and traveling overseas. And now, new research suggests that their sense of adventure may stem from a lust for life that security, itself, imparts."

I thought that was pretty revealing and refreshing.

Feeling safe and secure in our relationships is a key factor to leading a fulfilling life. (Click To Tweet)

A while back I wrote about some rules of the road for interaction in relationships that we shared at church. These are ideas that would help guard your marriage. While I continue to believe these are good, I also believe that in our closest relationship, in marriage or a committed relationship, if you are truly compatible with your significant other you don't need a bunch of rules to live by... other than maybe this list:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

There is an excellent book that we're reading together right now called The Love Dare. I would highly recommend it to any married couple or those in a long-term committed relationship. You will find out a lot about your significant other, and this book will help you build a rock solid relationship based on Biblical foundation.

Here are three factors that help provide a sense of security in a relationship:

- Time. It takes lots of time to really get to know someone well. Be patient and enjoy the adventure of exploration.
- Trust. I'm a firm believer that the only way to find out if you can trust someone is by trusting them. Maybe think of this as taking baby steps in learning to walk... slowly... steadily... listening and learning along the way.
- Authentic Communication. Eventually the real me is going to show up. We can avoid a whole lot of drama if we're just being down to earth... unless we're really just looking for something other than extraordinary relationships. Then, by all means, Bon Appetit!!

Where do you find security in your close, personal relationships?

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Every month has a birthstone. The birthstone for the month of February is the amethyst.

And it reminds me of Jesus.

Amethyst is one of my very favorite minerals. This photograph shows the gigantic pile of amethyst sitting in my kitchen window, catching the morning sunlight and casting sparkles about the room.

Amethyst is just quartz—like what you find most everywhere. But as quartz goes, amethyst is the most precious of the varieties of quartz. And the loveliest.

Symbolism of the Amethyst Stone

Amethyst symbolizes heavenly understanding, spiritual contentment, and the unity between mind, body and spirit. Can you say Holy Spirit? God, through the Spirit lives in us—our bodies, its temple.

One of the 12 foundations of heaven is amethyst. Heaven—founded on lovely amethyst—is gonna be amazing in its heavenly beauty!

The Color Purple

Lydia, one of the New Testament women mentioned in Acts had a business selling purple cloth to rich people. Most people couldn’t afford to wear purple, because the die used came from one specific type of clam, found in the Middle East—a costly process to achieve.
One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. (Acts 16:14)

Purple cloth eventually became so expensive that in medieval times, no one but royalty wore purple. To this day, purple is considered to be the color of nobility. Jesus, the King of Kings, is most worthy of all to wear the purple color of royalty.

And in fact, he did.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face. (John 19:1-3)

The Science of Purple

Purple is a combination of the colors red and blue. In color symbolism, red is associated with war, blood and judgment. Blue is associated with law and commandment.

Jesus—as God incarnate—represents both judgment and the commandments, made new and made possible through his blood sacrifice.

Purple is the color of Jesus.

Happy birthday to everyone born in February!

PRAYER: Jesus, as the King of Glory, you have the ultimate right to wear the purple robes of majesty. Please remind us that in your creation of the beautiful amethyst, you have hidden a tiny glimpse of the glory waiting for us with you in heaven. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Know anyone who needs to hear about the amethyst?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


As many of you know, reading Oswald Chambers’ daily devotional generally doesn’t lull a person into a happy, peaceful mode of solemnity. Rather, his words charge forth within your brain, moving at locomotive speed into your heart and causing painful bouts of "OK, I’ll work on that. . . . Help!"

But this morning's devotional hit a happy chord in me because it resonated with a refrigerator prayer I had up all last year. A refrigerator prayer? You know. The ones that are so weighty they are set in place of utmost importance in our home—the door of our fridge.

I had taken down that prayer at the first of the year—thinking perhaps I knew it well enough no longer to need its reminder.

But several blog posts and scriptures and now Oswald have brought it back to mind. My refrigerator prayer was this:

God, please fill me with excited expectation for what you have planned. Amen.

Today, Oswald reminded us to "live in expectancy that God will show up" but not necessarily as you would assume He would.

Recently a Yiddish axiom on Facebook got me thinking: If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans.

Too often we make plans and ask God to bless them. Sometimes He does because—coincidentally—our plans also happen to be His plans. But often, we make plans and struggle when obstacles thwart them. 

Our plan may be good. Our plan may be well designed. We may work hard to achieve it. Our plan may even be godly and intended to glorify God.

But it just may not be His plan.

Much better to let God do the planning and then jump on His train as He chug-a-chugs forward to successful completion.

And while we’re on the train, we need to expect God to show up. He may not be the engineer. He may not be the conductor. He might be the little old lady sitting in seat 12 B of car 15.

Or the guy swinging the lantern in the caboose.

Or the man on the platform selling snacks as we wait for the rest of the passengers to board.

"Live in expectancy that God will show up."

I think I’ll stick my prayer back up on the fridge.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please fill me with excited expectation at what you have planned. Amen.  

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you recall a time when your best plans—plans you created to glorify God—turned out not to be God’s plan after all?