Monday, February 25, 2013


Psalm 47:2
How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth.

OK , is that a question or a statement , or a bit of both.
Because the word "how" is there, I believe it is a question, but there is not a  question mark in my bible-so maybe it just really is a statement.

But what a statement it is!! How AWESOME is the LORD Most High.
Incredibly awesome!! Beyond words, awesome. I can't even really adequately describe the awesomeness of God but immediately upon reading that I wrote down words that for me described His awesomeness.

                                     Peace Giving

Those are the words that came to me in the first minute.
I know there are countless more.
It was just a tremendous reminder for me-again-of what a Wonderful God we have. How often do I dwell on the Majesty of my God? Reflect on just WHO HE IS? I realized today; not often enough.

Most likely I go to Our LORD with prayers and petitions. Other times I ask for His Wisdom and guidance. Occasionally I go just to cry and sit in the lap of THE ONE who knows me and understands me, to find comfort in His love.

Today though, I am reminded and convicted that I need to go to my LORD and just tell Him how awesome He is. To remind myself of how blessed I am to know the King of the Universe and the Lover of my soul.

I challenge myself and I challenge you to dwell on the Awesome God we know.



Saturday, February 23, 2013


Words. It is how we communicate.
Words can be subtle; they can have power. Words can be misleading, but also can be life-giving. Words are how one can let others know what we are thinking; they can express our ideas, our dreams, our desires, our fears. 
Words can be meaningful and they can be harmful.

Watching an infant try to speak the words we want them to speak can be wonderful, yet also frustrating. As parents, we so want to be able to understand what they need and want from us. It is our responsibility to teach them how to talk. From their earliest babbles: baba ba ba ba, comes their first word. How exciting it is to hear that first word uttered! From that moment on, we are constantly trying to teach them words so that this little human can communicate with us. We are so anxious for them to talk that lately young parents have taken to teaching sign language so that baby can express himself to mommy and daddy.

I have a two and a half lively grandson, who is not talking completely clearly -yet. Jax is a bundle of energy and is constantly on the move. He is way ahead in physical and motor skills than 90% of kids his same age. Verbally, he is a bit challenged. He is making progress and I delight in hearing his newest words. I had tried countless times. "Jax, can you say Grammy?" and get absolutely NOTHING. About six weeks ago, I walked into my daughter's home where Jax was playing . He looked up and saw me and came running to me saying "Gammy! Gammy!"  Oh this grammy's heart burst with joy as I picked him up to give hugs and kisses.

The written word is one of my very favorite things in life. I have loved to read since I learned how to read. One of the very first books I could ever read was ' Sammy the Seal'. I still have the book and have read it to my own children and now their children.
I love that thru books I can explore things I could never imagine on my own. I love spy thrillers, legal and medical mysteries, am a sucker for some romance novels (Nicholas Sparks and Debbie MacComber). I love autobiographies and non-fiction. As an English major in college, I don't go for the latest trends- have not read a Harry Potter book, or Twilight or the Hunger Games. Maybe someday, but am glad that others find them enjoyable. I love the Classics and Jane Austin is my literary hero. I have read books about Nelson Mandela and because of them, he has become my modern day hero.  If you were to observe me on vacation, you would most likely see me reading a wide variety of books. I am just a voracious reader and am glad this is a trait passed on to me by my dear dad.

I have learned so much from books. I have been to places that I have dreamt about. I have been challenged and encouraged. I am so thankful for the pure joy I get in reading. Reading is all about words. How an author puts together concepts and ideas so that the reader can understand amazes me.   

The spoken word has incredible power.
One pastor's sermon can inspire, enlighten and challenge many to seek truth, seek God, do something, change for the better, relinguish a nasty habit.
I heard Barak Obama speak at an AIDS conference at Saddleback Church about seven years ago and his words struck me to the core. However you may feel about him as president, does not negate the powerful orator he is.
I heard Jane Fonda speak once, and was so inspired by her words.  

My words can be an encouragement to some. But I also am aware of how I have used them to deeply hurt -even damage - some people. The words I have spoken that I wish I could take back; oh, if only I had contemplated first how  my words  might impact the person I was saying them too. To think I might have permanently lost a relationship with my sons, or two of my closest friends because of my careless words, makes me shudder.
I have learned my lesson. I know now that I really do try to think before I speak.

Recently a friends words brought pain into my life that I am sure she has no idea that it even happened. But the hurt that it caused me and someone I love, those words cannot be undone; the harm has been done. It was in my time this morning of reading the Bible that I read these words from Psalm 39:1

"I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth..."

Once again, I am asking God to help me. To remind me of the power of my words-whether they are spoken or written. I want to really live out the words of James 1:19 

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. For man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires".

And I ask you to forgive me if my words have hurt you. I am truly sorry for any pain, hurt or anger I might have caused.
May we all really see the power of our own words.        

Friday, February 22, 2013

Desires of the Heart

What is it that you want MOST in life?
At different seasons of our journey thru life, we have different wants and desires.

I remember being 16 having a heart felt discussion with my friends at a slumber party (aka sleepover). We were imagining with our best teen hormonal minds what we wanted in the guy we would marry. I seriously proclaimed that I desired a tall blond guy who played baseball for the San Francisco Giants. (even then I was a die hard Giants fan). The thought of his values never really crossed my mind except for the fact that I wanted to have alot of kids. I remember saying I wanted 8 kids. My best friend Mikey had 8 kids in her family and I thought that was the greatest thing ever-and her mom always welcomed us into their home.
Fast forward six years and I remember putting a picture of a tall shaggy haired blond guy dressed in a crazy outfit in my bible. I had just read in my bible the thirty seventh Psalm. There are a number of verses that stuck out to me, but the reason I put the picture of this silly guy in my bible was because 
Psalm 37:4 said:

"Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart".

Ah ha!! I found the secret of getting what I wanted!!!
I was content having 2 of my 3 sixteen year old requirements for a husband: Scud was tall and blond. Fortunately for his sake, he became a San Francisco Giants fan too!!

But I remember trying to figure out what it meant to Delight yourself in the LORD. I was a fairly new believer and a friend suggested I look up the word in a bible dictionary. Hmmm, I didn't have one so I went out and bought my first Bible help; the Ungers Bible dictionary. It is a book I have used thru the years but unfortunately it didn't help me find out how to delight in the LORD. Mind you in those days there was no internet. I couldn't google the phrase.
So I went to the next best thing: Webster's dictionary which told me that the meaning of delight as a verb was to take pleasure in something

I absolutely took pleasure in getting to know the LORD. Something seemed off tho even in my immaturity as a new follower of Jesus. If I took pleasure in being with Jesus, He then would give me the desires of my heart?? Sounded more like a coin I would rub or a genie granting my wish.

It was then that a friend who was in bible college suggested I look up the original language definition of delight. Hebrew is the original language for the Old Testament. So I borrowed Bruce's book and found the Hebrew word for delight was:
'anag meant to be soft and pliable. I took this to mean if I was soft and pliable in the Lord's hands-just like clay, He could mold me into the person He envisioned me to be. If I let God be the One who who was in control, then He would give me the desires of my heart.
If I let Jesus have the reins of my life, wouldn't it make sense that His desires and mine were aligned? That we would want the same things?
By the age of 22 my requirements for my future spouse had vastly changed. I had begun my day to day relationship with Christ my sophmore year of college. Now I knew that whoever I married must have the same beliefs as me. Altho I couldn't say it like this then, I wanted this man to pursue Jesus as much as I did. I wanted him to be honest and a man of integrity. I wanted him to be able to make me laugh and do silly crazy things like I did. It was such a much more polished list.
I believe that God knew Scud fit those requirements and gave me the desire of my heart, because His desire too, was for me to marry someone just as passionate about Jesus as I was.

Years later, I clearly remember a deep desire and longing of my heart. I had caused a MAJOR rift between my sons. So much so that they both ran away. Ryan wasn't truly our "son " yet, but was well on his way to becoming our second son. Todd, on the other hand , was my son and he really couldn't stand me. He did not even want to see me or talk to me. I remember crying out to Jesus: "Just let him come back to You". I wanted desperately to reconcile our relationship but what I wanted even more was that Todd would know that GOD was not like his mother, He didn't fly off the handle in anger.
During that time, quietly and with full assurance the LORD told me Todd would return to Him. I believed that . I knew it was true and without a doubt, I knew that Todd would become a follower of Christ again whether I would be alive to see it or not.
That was a desire of my heart that aligned with God's desire. Not only was I privileged to see that transpire, but God miraculously healed my relationship with both sons.

If delighting myself in the Lord means being soft and pliable-allowing Him to be "the captain of my life's ship" then I believed the desire I had on waking up on my 50th birthday might coincide with something He desired for my life. I vividly remember thinking, " I'm 50 now, I want the rest of my life to count. I want to do whatever it is that would further the kingdom of God on this earth."
Not that I didn't want other things, but making a difference for Christ became my biggest desire-something I longed to do and probably was made to do.
I haven't written any best sellers leading people to a deeper relationship with Jesus. I am not on a speaking tour challenging you to make a difference too. What I am doing is being very intentional in seeing things in others that will encourage them to become the man or woman that GOD envisions them being. Its a small step, and I truly believe God is allowing me to make a difference for Him-not to give me any medals but to bring Him the glory He is due.

If your heart's desire is to make more money, or to climb the corporate ladder quickly, to find a life partner so you won't have to be alone, I would challenge you to first become soft and pliable in the hands of God. Perhaps then , your hearts desires will be ones that really matter.        



Thursday, February 21, 2013


We all have them. Whether we will admit to them or not.
Sometimes we can't even verbalize what they are, but they are hidden in the deep recesses of our minds.
Sometimes they are legitimate and rational and othertimes we have allowed those fears to paralyze us with worry and anxiety. It has been said that 98% of what we worry about will never happen.

What can separate our good friends from those who are categorically our BEST friends is the fact that we might feel safe enough to share our fear with someone we absolutely trust.

I have had plenty of fears throughout my life.

One fear that haunted me for years was the fear of being alone in our home when my husband needed to be away for a night or a week doing some Young Life thing.
I was so afraid that I would not be able to protect our children. I slept fitfully. The normal house noises at night would cause anxiety. I memorized Scripture and would recite it to myself in the middle of the night. I prayed and prayed that God would take this fear away. I felt embarrassed that I couldn't trust God.
I even conned a few of our male Young Life leaders to sleep over in our guest bedroom to allay my anxiety. Thanks Jack Daley and Kevin Wood for helping this scared mom out.
One day I was alone at home in the daytime and a burglar(s) tried to enter our home. I had just returned from being gone for ten days caring for my dad who had a stroke. Our van had sat unmoved in the driveway for those ten days. They must have thought it was a safe place to rob.
I immediately called 911 and crouched behind the desk frightened out of my mind. The police arrived within one minute with sirens and the would be burglars took off running.
It was then I realized that God had been with me the whole time.
What might have happened? That's a scarey thought but nothing did.
I am not naive enough to believe nothing would have happened. There are atrocities committed every single day in our world that are evil and senseless. There are evil deranged people who think harming someone or killing them is OK.

Is God there when it happens? Absolutely.
Why doesn't He stop it? I don't know.
What I do know is that He is there. 
His heart breaks when our hearts break. He cries when we are hurt. He knows our pain. And He never leaves us-even if we think He isn't with us, His Word tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us.

A legitimate fear that I had occurred one day when I took our 2 labs for a walk in the forest by our house at Woodleaf. We were hiking a trail that I had been on many times with these pups. All of a sudden both dogs stopped still, the hairs on both of their bodies was raised and then in the bushes I heard lots of rumblings and deep thuds. I looked over and there were 2 bears sauntering by. I knew what could happen and managed to get out of there pronto. Some fears are very real. They warn us of impending danger. Heed those fears.

What about other fears?
Are you fearful of getting some disease? Like Cancer?
Are you fearful that even worse, one of your children will get cancer?
Are you afraid that you will never get married?
Are you afraid that you will lose your job?
Are you just fearful that someone you love will die? 
Are you fearful that those you love the most will die without knowing the love of Jesus?   
Are you fearful thinking that God will ask you to do something that you don't want to do?
Are you afraid you won't have enough money to pay your bills?
Afraid that you won't have enough money to pay for college?

I know those type of fears.
I remember being so afraid when I was younger that something would happen and one of my parents would die.
I was just 21 years old when my mom died unexpectedly-without any warning. I was devastated and my worst fear was realized. My life was shattered at that moment. I grieved long and hard. Eventually I learned to live and laugh and love and not be afraid of someone else I loved dying; because I knew the faithfulness of Jesus. He upheld me, comforted me and gave me strength to go on.
Perhaps you too know that faithfulness that almost defies explanation. You too have lost a parent, your beloved spouse or probably worse, your own child.

What I want you to know is that these fears we have and experience are NOT FROM GOD. They are from His enemy, the devil-who is known as the father of lies. This devil tries to fill our mind with fears and doubts and all kinds of untruth. I don't know why we fall for it, but unfortunately we do.

Another fear that stopped me in my tracks over the years was that I would deny Christ if it meant losing my life. Satan had me feel incredibly guilty and un-worthy that if a gun was put to my head-that I would deny THE ONE who had given my life its true purpose. 
Finally, one day I realized that if a gun was put to my head or aimed at any other part of my body, I WOULD NOT DENY MY LORD-if I was killed, I would immediately be with Him!! Fear eliminated .

There are times when our fears really get the best of us. We need help. That is the time to get help; whether it be from a friend, a pastor or a professional counselor. It is OK to admit we need help. Our fears are not meant to de-rail our lives.

Psalm 34:4 says:
"I sought the LORD, and He answered me; 
He delivered me from ALL my fears."  

That is what we MUST do. We need to go to the LORD. He is the ONE who can deliver us from ALL our fears.
Nothing that is scaring you is beyond His reach. He longs for us to know that He will always be with us. Even in the worst of our moments; that we are never alone.  
God's enemy uses fears to immobilize us, to cause us undo anxiety, to paralyze us from moving forward. DON'T let him.
Go to the LORD. I promise He will eventually deliver you from your fears-if only you will ask Him.