Wednesday, May 31, 2017

An Unexpected Treasure

There is a place not far from my home where I have found a treasure. Far from where you'd think it would be, it has been sitting there for years,  right in plain sight. I have probably walked right past it a dozen times and never noticed it the sun hit it just right one day, and there it was.

Lady Slippers are not supposed to grow around where I live. Yet there's one in my back yard. They are normally found in bogs, swamps or wet woods where there is an abundance of natural light. The one in our yard is growing high on a hill in a pine plantation where all the light is filtered. It shouldn't be here . . . but it is.

Have you ever found treasure in unusual places? Think about it. I bet you have.

When you have lost something, where do you usually find it? In the last place you looked, right? Why was it the last place you looked? Because you have already looked in all the places where you thought you would find it. Ironically, if your car keys were where you expected them to be, they wouldn't be lost.

Guess where I found my wife? I found her at a friend's house. I never expected to find my mate at a friends house. Why? Because I wasn't even looking! That's when we find lots of treasures. When we least expect them.

Where did you find Jesus? Some people find Jesus in an alley. Some people find Him at the bottom of a bottle or in a desperate cry for help. find Him in the death of a friend or a loved one. I found Him in a stained glass window. Jesus is never where we expect Him to be.

Two thousand years ago the Jewish leaders never thought they're find their promised Messiah eating and drinking with sinners but that's where He was. Jesus is found when and where we least expect Him and usually when we need Him the most.

The Bible tells us multiple times that is we seek Him with all our hearts we WILL find Him. So, if we haven't found Him yet, where should we start looking? Where would you expect to find Him?

If Jesus came to pay us a visit today where would He be? With the president? The Pope? Nope. He'd be with the poor, the sick, the dying, the sinners - He'd be with people who don't know Him yet.

"16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” - Mark 2:16-17

We can see Jesus today if we'd only look hard enough and in the right places. Are we seeking Him where we expect to find Him? Or will He be in the last place we look. Either way, He is our priceless and unexpected treasure. The most important place to find Him is in your heart.

Every Single One - Geoff Moore

Monday, May 29, 2017

And She'll Be Gone

I usually write about our country's service men and women on Memorial Day. They are the ones who stand up for our country and often, too often, sacrifice their lives for us, for our benefit. Today, however, I am going to write about a different kind of soldier - my friend Ali.

Ali died this past Saturday after an eight-year battle with cancer. She left behind a husband and three daughters. Ali was an amazing mom. She was always looking out for her daughters, wanting them to do what was right.

Her husband Dave was, and is, an amazing example of a Biblical husband - a leader in his family yet a sacrificial servant to all. I have known Dave for 40 years and I have never known him not to be anything but a devoted husband and father.

I first met Ali when she came to see just what kind leaders her youngest daughter Sky had in the youth group she was attending. Not enough parents care that deeply. We must have passed muster because Sky kept coming and Ali and I became good friends. But then came the cancer diagnosis and our relationship changed. It grew stronger.

Ali and I had many amazing conversations, usually lasting an hour or two. She'd talk about her daughters, her husband, the treatments she was receiving. Hmm, you know, I think Ali's doctors feared her. I think that was because she knew more about her treatments, what was right and what was wrong, than her doctors did. That's not saying they knew nothing. It's saying Ali knew a lot!

Our favorite topic though had to have been Jesus. We talked about Him a lot. Now I find myself a little envious of my friend because she has gotten to see Him face-to-face. I can only imagine.

I have prayed with many people in my life. Ali was both the toughest one to pray with and the most enjoyable at the same time. We would pray for each other and for our families. It was always a special time, but the time we prayed after she told me she wasn't going to pursue any more chemo or radiation treatments was probably . . . the best of times and the worst of times.

I have never prayed more deeply or more intentionally with anyone. There is something powerful in holding a friends hands and praying for them, knowing they are going to be dying. Even now, the tears are blurring these words I am typing.

Those who knew Ali were blessed by her. I am grateful and blessed to be called her friend, as are many others, and I am excited for the day when I will get to see her again.

A few weeks before Ali died she sent me a text. She told me that she had had a dream about an angel paying her a visit. "It was so real!" she told me. I believe it seemed real to her . . . because it was.

As we walk through this life God places a wide variety of people in our lives. Each one is placed there for a reason . .  a purpose. I believe Ali was placed in my life to deepen my faith and relationship with Jesus. Our friendship is an example of how ALL friendships should end. Never.

"5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.

So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him." - 2 Corinthians 5:1-9
I love you Ali. Can't wait to see you again, my friend. I don't know whether or not there are any hummingbirds in heaven but I'm sure there is at least one now. LOL! Miss you girl.

I Can Only Imagine - MercyMe 
Cinderella - Stephen Curtis Chapman

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Stand Alone

"Tank Man" in Tiananmen Square, China
Have you ever stood up for something, all by yourself? Have you ever risked it all to make a stand for or against something?

Think about it? Have you ever had the guts, determination or been frustrated enough to actually act?

The guy pictured at the left did. In 1989, a column of approaching tanks was on a mission to quell some government protestors in China. He single-handedly stopped an entire group of advancing tanks. To this day, no one knows his name or whether he is alive or dead.

Rosa Parks
Have you ever heard of a lady named Rosa Parks? She was tired of segregated busses and restaurants in the south back in 1956 so she took a stand . . . or rather, she sat down. Blacks were not allowed to ride on busses unless they sat WAY in the back. Rosa didn't like that so . . .

I was listening to a sermon on my way to work Friday and Chuck Swindoll was talking about Esther. She took a stand and risked her life for the sake of her people.

"12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish."

And then Mordecai delivered this line - a powerful statement in the form of a very pointed question.

"And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”


Appearing before the King without being summoned was an offense punishable by death. Yet Esther was willing to take that chance for the sake of her people.

"15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” - Esther 4:12-16

Are we willing, are we capable of making such a stand in OUR lives? During the sermon I listened to Pastor Swindoll said this . . .

"Not until you believe that one person can make a difference, will you be willing to stand alone." - Chuck Swindoll

Are we willing? Will we be willing to stand when the time to do so is upon us? We need to have more than just an "opinion" about something. We need to take action. If we perish, we perish.

What is your stand on abortion? Gay marriage? Religious freedom?

Jesus made a stand. He stood for His Father. May we make the same stand in a world where His Father is being  removed from schools and whose followers are being tortured and killed simply for believing in Him. On this Memorial Day weekend, let us pray.

Presidential Proclamation for Memorial Day Prayer
Man vs. Chinese Tank
Esther: For Such A Time As This - John MacArthur

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Found One!

When my sister and were young we didn't have the toys kids of today have strewn all over the house. We got hand-made gifts at Christmas and we were satisfied. Happy! We didn't know any different.

Entertainment was cheap back then too. I'd spend time hunting for frogs & turtles in the swamp but when Mom and Dad said they were taking us to the Rollways, "Let's go!"

The Rollways are pictured at the left. Old-time loggers used to roll logs down the sand slope and into the Manistee River where they'd float downstream to the sawmill. The hill never recovered from that and still looks pretty bare today. It was in that bare, gravely soil that we found the treasure of our childhood - Petosky Stones!

They were not very plentiful but someone would always yell out when they found one and we'd all go running to see it.

Reading the Bible can be like that. There are Petosky Stone verses scattered all throughout scripture. Here's one that caught my attention this week. It's from the Book of Nehemiah. Found one! :)

They were reading out of the Book of The Law . . .

"13 On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the teacher to give attention to the words of the Law. 14 They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month (The Festival of Tabernacles) 15 and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make temporary shelters”—as it is written." - Nehemiah 8:13-15

Temporary Shelters . . . Temporary Homes.

Let's move to the New Testament Book of 2nd Corinthians.

"5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." - 2 Corinthians 5:1

What is a tent? Well, it is "a temporary shelter." 2nd Corinthians says that our bodies are a temporary shelter - a temporary dwelling place. We are living on earth, our temporary home if you will. Our permanent home is with our Lord in heaven.

"14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come." - Hebrews 13:14

When I saw the words temporary shelters written in the Old Testament I immediately thought about the New Testament concept of this world being our temporary home. All of the Old Testament festivals have new testament meaning. Look closer. Can you find the "Petoskey Stones," hidden in plain sight in God's Word?

The seven "B.C." festivals were actually prophesied events. Four of the festival prophesies have already been fulfilled. Three have not - The festival of Trumpets (Christ's return), The Day of Atonement (The Great Judgement) and . . . the Festival of Tabernacles (A New Heaven and a New Earth). Our permanent dwelling place.

As we walk through this life, as we read the Bible, let us always be aware that there may be treasure to be found. The treasure of friends, of serving others. In the words we read in the Bible, take the time to search diligently as you read. You wouldn't want to miss a real gem of a verse that has the power to open up your heart even wider than it already is.

Take time this day to read God's Word. Search thoroughly like my mom taught us kids to search for Petoskey stones. You WILL be rewarded. Found one!!

"I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." - Isaiah 45:3

Tips For Finding Petoskey Stones

Monday, May 22, 2017

And Then Depression Set In

This past month hasn't been very enjoyable for me, personally. I have been in a car accident, totalled my car, injured my back and neck. It's been raining more often than not, I have been unable to lift anything, work on my Tiny Home, or find a replacement car. Oh, and I had a trip to the dentist just to round things out. What an amazing month! Not. But wait . . .

While it is true that there have been times when I have felt down, discouraged and depressed. I have hope and excited about the future. Why? Two simple words . . . But God . . .

God always finds ways to bring me out of what ever funk I find myself in. Usually the light in my heart begins to shine again when I stop thinking about myself and begin focusing on others. This time was no exception.

This past Saturday was Ruby's Pantry. Ruby's is a local food distribution for those in our community who have a need. Food is the main thing provided on the third Saturday of each month at Ruby's but prayer is also made available. And love. There is LOTS of love at Ruby's Pantry.

Saturday I saw an old Ruby's friend named Tom. A Vietnam veteran, Tom walks with a limp, has no teeth but always has a cheery disposition and a story to tell. I hadn't seen him for several months, making me concerned for his well being, so seeing his face lifted me up Saturday morning.

Then there was Patricia, another 60-something veteran of life. She too wasn't walking very well. She had a bad knee and a bad back. Doctors told her they could no longer help her, largely because she has no insurance and no money. She told me there are days when she struggles to find a reason to go on living.

I prayed for Patricia, standing right there in the line of people waiting to get their food.

And then there was "Red." I call her that because she had red hair. I never caught her name. She arrived at Ruby's with no coat on a 40-dgree morning. Her lips were blue as she stood outside in line shivering, so I gave her my coat to wear. No big deal.

All of these people showed me that my problems weren't really as bad as I thought they were. God lifted me up emotionally and spiritually by allowing me to speak into their lives, to pray for them and encourage them. But God was not done yet.

The lady I lent my coat eventually returned it to me that morning. Later, still at Ruby's, I was reaching in my coat pocket for some Kleenex and felt a small scrap of paper. That's funny. I don't remember putting a piece of paper . . .

I took it out and opened it up and there I found a hand-written note that said, "Thank you!"


So I sought her out and spoke with her about Jesus and how He had transformed my life.  What a blessing that was!

Gee. Where did my depression go? It was totally gone. I was feeling amazing. Why? Because I was thinking about others, not myself. It's that easy.

If you ever find yourself feeling down and depressed, remember those two little words . . . but God. He always has a way of turning a frown upside down and a cloudy day into one filled with sunshine. So rejoice! God is about to do something amazing!

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"

"Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand."

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:4-8

Do Something - Matthew West

Saturday, May 20, 2017

I Can Do All Things

Do you know this man? His name is Stephen Curry. Most people know him as a professional basketball player. But if you asked Stephen, I think he'd rather be known as being something else.

Stephen Curry is a Christian and he doesn't mind telling people so. After each basket he points to heaven. That is a minor thing but words accompany his actions. He wears a Bible verse on his shoes - Philippians 4:13. Even his shoe company has picked up on the verse, using it in their ads.

"13 I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13

When asked about the verse on his shoe Mr. Curry said, "There's more to me than just this jersey I wear, and that's Christ living inside of me. I try to use every game as an opportunity to witness . . . be a witness for Christ. When I step on the floor, people should know who I represent, who I believe in. Jesus is everything to me."


When was the last time you or I approached our jobs with THAT attitude? Do we walk down the aisles at work oozing Christ from every pore of our being? Or do we simply go through the motions, punching the clock, not wanting to get into the game?

I have heard people say, "Well, I can't really say stuff about my faith at work. I'll get fired."
To that I say, "Then get fired!"

"Choose this day whom you will serve" - Joshua 24:15

Who are we serving anyway? If we deny who we are in Christ in order to keep our jobs, who are we serving? Certainly not God!

As we walk around town today, as we meet people on the street or in the hallways at work, how will people know we are Christians? We have to be more than "nice." There are plenty of nice atheists in the world. We have to be more than a tee shirt or a cross around our neck. How will we look different than everybody else? The answer is simple. We have to love!!

Do we ooze the love of Christ? When people look at us, do they see Him? Do they think about Jesus when they think about us? They should.

The following link is to a video made by some teens. It's pretty good actually. It perfectly blends with the lyrics provided by Sidewalk Prophets. May it encourage us all to "live like that."

Live Like That - Sidewalk Prophets
Testimony: Stories of Active Faith: Stephen Curry

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

To Whom Do We Pray?

When we are desperate . . . when we are willing to try anything to get something we want . . . we can sometimes make a mistake. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is in doing something many Christians have done their lives. Pray.

Now, wait a second. Prayer is not wrong. Let's get that straight right off the bat. The ability to pray is a gift from God. You and I can "approach God's throne of grace with confidence" (Hebrews 4:16). But who should we pray to? Do we pray to God? To Jesus? Who?

Let's start with examining how Jesus Himself told His disciples they should pray. Matthew 6.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen." - Matthew 6:5-6

That seems pretty clear. We are to pray to God, our Father, who is in heaven. Let's keep reading.

"Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." - Matthew  6:6-8

Again, Jesus tells them to pray to The Father. Let's keep reading. It doesn't get any clearer than what you are about to read next.

This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven," - Matthew 6:9

That sounds pretty definitive to me! So how come I hear people saying they pray to others besides God? I'm confused. Why do some of us pray to Jesus or the Holy Spirit? How do we pray "in Jesus' name" if we are already praying to Jesus? Isn't that redundant?

I found this description at It seemed pretty reasonable to me.

"Perhaps the best way to understand the role of the Trinity in prayer is that we pray to the Father, through (or in the name of) the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. All three are active participants in the believer’s prayer. "

Seems reasonable to me. We pray to God, in the name of the Son, through the Holy Spirit.

I have Catholic friends who pray to Mary. These friends also pray to saints or anyone who can intercede on their behalf. Is that right? Isn't Jesus our intercessor?

Jesus is our high priest (Hebrews 4:14). There is no longer anyone who stands between us and God, behind the veil. Back in the day there was a high priest who went before God on our behalf, behind the curtain. He walked into the Holy of Holies and spoke directly to God.

When Jesus died the curtain was torn, top to bottom. Top to bottom - from heaven to earth. We no longer need anyone to intercede for us in our prayers to God. But we DO need an intercessor between us and God when it comes to our sins. The punishment for our sins should be death, but Jesus interceded for us on the cross, taking our punishment upon His shoulders.

"51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open." - Matthew 27:51

Who do we pray to? We pray to God, in the name of Jesus, through His Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us the God's Holy Spirit interprets out prayers and makes them presentable to God.

"26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." - Romans 8:26-27

Jesus intercedes for us. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us. Can we be in any better position when we come before God on our knees in prayer?

Yolanda Adams - The Lord's Prayer
Intercession - Eric Ludy

Monday, May 15, 2017

Uphill Battle?

Every once in a while I take a picture that tells a story. It may not be the best photo but, if it speaks volumes to the heart, it's a good picture. This is one such photo for me.

Obviously, the photo is of a young lady and and an even younger man. A mother and her son perhaps? What are they doing?

They are walking uphill. More on that in a moment. The young boy is full of energy. His eyes are looking forward, looking toward some distant destination or goal. And he is running towards it!

The mother's eyes are focused on her son. She follows behind him closely, keeping him safe from danger, safe from harm. There is a little less enthusiasm in her eyes - almost a tiredness. But she is also determined . . . devoted to her son.

There is something missing in this photo though. It is something that would make this photo an even better story. There is no father is in this picture. It's just a mother and her son.

Sometimes life can throw a curve ball at us - something totally unexpected. Unforeseen circumstances can change our life's plans in an instant. So what do we do? How can we cope with the unexpected, life altering things that happen to us?

The first thing we can do is look at and appreciate the things we still have. Look at what God has given us. The mom in this picture has her son. She treasures and appreciates the gift that he is in her life.

Second, this mom has her entire future stretching out in front of her. That's what her son is looking at in this picture I think. She should be encouraged in that she gets to watch him grow into an amazing young man - strong and courageous and ready to face the world.

But the most important thing we should remember when things go bad in our lives is our faith in God. When we place our trust in Jesus we become HIs children. "I will not leave you as orphans." Those were the words Jesus spoke to His disciples. We are never alone.

We may feel lost sometimes in life. We may feel unworthy or worthless. We may even feel like a failure. But we are actually none of those things. That's just Satan pushing our buttons. We are far more valuable in the eyes of God.

"11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29:11-13
A mother's loving embrace helps grows a child

The young lady in that picture is a friend of mine. I know the things she has gone through in this life. She is a fighter, wanting what is best for her child - a loving caring mom to be sure. There are many more such women in this world - moms raising kids on their own.

There is much to be learned from these amazing ladies. Lessons in courage, determination, perseverance, and love. When life changes for the worse it can be like walking into an airplane propeller. It is what we do AFTER that happens that defines us.

A Mother's Prayer - Celine Dione
I Am Second - Lauren Scruggs 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

What Mom's Can Do

I have been hearing a lot about somebody lately. Their name seems to pop up in conversations, I have been hearing this person mentioned in stories and sermons. But yesterday I heard a brand new take on this young man. And I became rather impressed . . . with his mom!

I'm nearing the end of 2nd Chronicles in my reading and I came across the story of Josiah. Josiah became king of Israel at the age of eight. But before I tell you about Josiah, let me tell you about his father, and his father's father.

Josiah's father was Amon. We can read about what kind of king he was in 2nd Chronicles 33, verse 22.

"33 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD."

Josiah's grandfather wasn't much better. We read about him in Chapter 33, verse 2.

"2 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD."

Things do not go well for you if that is how you are described. But Josiah was different. We read about him in Chapter 34, verse 2.

"He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left."

How could someone turn out like Josiah did when he had such an evil father and grandfather? If we learn by example from our parents, how come Josiah didn't do "evil in the eyes of the LORD?" The answer can be found in a completely different book of the Bible - 2nd Kings.

 The book of Second Kings tells pretty much the same story about Josiah only the 2nd Kings story has some additional information.

"22 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left." - 2 Kings 22:1-2

I'm just guessing now but I think Jedidah was a pretty good mom. Do you have a mom like Jedidah? I was blessed with an amazing set of parents but not everyone receives parents like mine. Some kids get maybe one good parent like Josiah. Others don't receive any.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day - a day our nation has set aside to honor our mothers. D0n't just run out a buy mom a card and some flowers. That's nice, but it's not the best we can do. Honor your mother they way Jesus honored His Father. Honor her with your lives. Do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Cards get discarded, flowers fade, but someone's life, if lived like a good mom teaches us, will honor her for the rest of her life.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." - Exodus 20:12

"20 My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching." - Proverbs 6:20

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." - Ephesians 6:2

Thanks To You - Richard Marx

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Forever Yours

Are you one of those people who highlights and underlines things in your Bible? I am. I have all kinds of things marked in one way or another. Apparently, yellow highlighter is my favorite.

I am reading through the book of Second Chronicles right now - not thee most exciting book as books of the Bible go but there is one chapter, Chapter 32, that is completely highlighted. The entire chapter. Good stuff to remember in there! It is the story of Hezekiah.

First let's get to know this king by reading Chapter 31, verse 21.

"20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. 21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered." - 2 Chronicles 31:21

There's lesson #1 and #2 for today.
  1. He did what was right in the eyes of The Lord.
  2. Whatever He did for God, he did with all His heart.
And what happened to Hezekiah because of his faithfulness and obedience?

He prospered.

There is a lesson there. God is amazing to those who love Him. He is also fiercely protective of His children. What do I mean? Read  Chapter 32. It is an amazing story of God's provision and the lengths God will go to to protect Hid children. Pay special attention to verse 21.

2 Chronicles 32

I was in a roll-over car accident 9 days ago. I walked away from it with no broken bones, no bruises, no cuts. Did God protect me because I was doing what was right in His eyes. I don't know. I try to do what is right in God's eyes, but I also fail at it every day.

The point of the Hezekiah story is, we need to be obedient in doing God's will in this world. He are the salt and light. But we have to do more than just talk about . . . or write about it . . . we need to accomplish it, in Jesus name.

Heavenly Father, we are sinning by living our lives for ourselves, thinking only of our selfish needs. You have commanded us to love You and to love others. May we do so without wavering. This world is in desperate need of You. May we change our focus away from the things of the world and may we be . . . forever yours. Faithfully.

Faithfully - Journey

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Most Beautiful Thing

It is said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Do you think that's true? I don't know. There are some pretty ugly people in the world. I see one in my mirror every morning. :O

Who decides what is beautiful and what is not. Is it us? Or is it the world we live in? And if someone is blind, is EVERYBODY beautiful? Or are they all ugly?

Why are only women called beautiful and not men? Men get to be called handsome? These are all questions whose answers are beyond me.

I have several friends at work, both men and women. They are all beautiful friends in MY eyes. It's not their outward beauty that makes me call them beautiful. Rather, it is what I see "inside" that radiates.

There can be danger in telling someone you think they are beautiful. I think that word is something best reserved for when two people know each other well. Then the recipient of the word knows the intention of the deliverer and things can be understood.

Did you know that God thinks we are beautiful? He does. Ecclesiastes 3 says, "He has made everything beautiful." Here's more "beautiful" evidence from First Peter.

"Do not let your adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." - 1 Peter 3:3-4

So to all of my friends and family members out there - you are all beautiful!!!

The following is a short video about something beautiful. I encourage you to watch it. I did. Twice.

The Most Beautiful Thing - A Cameron Covell Film

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tears of An Angel

As I reflect back on my roll-over car accident of this past Monday night, I can honestly say I learned a few things.

For one thing, there is an interesting view to be had throughout the entire process. Most of my evening was spent lying on my back - in the ambulance, in the ER, rolling down hospital hallways, in the CT machine. I spent a lot of time looking up.

I think there's a reason for that. I think it's so people, when they are hurt, can look up to heaven and pray more easily. But that's just MY theory.

Another thing I learned Monday night was never assume that other cars are going to obey the traffic laws. Always assume the worst. I assumed the oncoming driver would wait until AFTER I had passed the intersection before he turned left. I was wrong. And now I have no car.

But the biggest thing I learned through this whole ordeal was something I never ever want to repeat again. Something worse than the car accident. Making my wife cry.

There was one point just shortly after my wife arrived in the emergency room when she looked down at me with tears in her eyes and whispered "I love you" and then kissed me on the forehead.

I think it was at that moment I first thought about how close I had come to fulfilling my wife's worst fears. The death of her husband. So many "what ifs" must have run through her mind on the way to the hospital. So many frightening things. I never want to put her through that again.

We all think about, and fear, the worst possible things when we get bad news. We assume the worst. That's because things like car accidents and cancer actually do happen. They usually happen to other people though. But when they happen to us or someone close to us, the game changes.

I think about Jesus a lot - how he suffered and died for our sins on that cross. He went through a lot of physical pain on our behalf. But what about His mother Mary? The emotional pain for her must have been unbearable.

The question of the day for me is "Are we close enough to Jesus to REALLY mourn His death?" Or is He just a distant figure whose death carries little meaning?

That's a tough question to answer. It is tough in the sense that, when we truthfully answer, we find that Jesus is not as close to us as He should be.

The tears of my wife in the hospital were enough to make me want to be more cautious on the road. To come home to her each night, safe and sound.

The loss of a loved one is a terrible thing to endure under any circumstances but it CAN be made easier through faith in our risen Lord, Jesus.

"20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

Tears of An Angel - RyanDan

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

That Hurt

People have told me that I must have a guardian angel. Others have said I'm a "lucky guy". I prefer "blessed" because I am sure feeling that way today.

This is my car. Or should I say "was." Monday evening I was involved in a high-speed, nearly head-on, roll-over car accident. The airbags went off and I totalled my car. Yet I was able to walk away. Why?

I suppose one could talk about today's well-deigned cars. The steel frames, the airbags, the seat belts. All of those things contributed to my walking away from this accident to be sure. However, I prefer to say that God was watching over me.

I have heard it said in songs that there is "Beauty in Pain". I am here today testifying that those words are true. Yes, I have experienced pain in this accident, but all the love that has poured out from you in my general direction has been well worth it. 

There is great power in prayer. Many prayers have been sent up to God on my behalf. I feel like He has answered them. I could easily be hurting more than I am. I could be feeling less love than the massive amount I am feeling today. God is SO good!

So, what have I learned in all of this? First, don't trust ANYONE in another car. We all do stupid things. Turning in front of on-coming traffic is a stupid thing. I should know. I have done it myself when I was younger. At a much slower speed. The point is, cars contain humans. Be wary.

The second thing I have learned is that God hears our prayers. The prayers have been amazing as people I don't even know have told me they are praying for me. Incredible. I am sure God hears our prayers and is acting according to His will.

But the biggest "directive" I am getting out of this is to NEVER let anyone out of my sight without telling them I love them. So watch out. You have been warned! I love you all. :)

"5 The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand.

6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.

8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore."
- Psalm 121:5-8 

This past Monday, the morning of my accident, I wrote a story about God's many blessings. Today I have written about another such blessing. How can ANYONE see these things I have described both then and today, and not crave a relationship with such a loving, compassionate and merciful God! :)

Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Sara Groves


Monday, May 1, 2017

Seven Times Blessed

My wife and I were standing in the kitchen this past Saturday evening, updating each other on our day. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Neither of us was expecting anybody so I opened the door and there stood a lady with an envelope in her hand.

"Oh great," I thought to myself. Somebody's selling something neither one of us needs. But then the lady said something that made that thought vanish.

"Are you the one who stopped the other morning and gave me some gas?"

"Oh, yeah! Now I recognize you." I replied.

Three days earlier I had seen someone stopped on the roadside near our subdivision - emergency flashers flashing. I had stopped to offer help and learn that the lady had run out of gas."

"Neither of my kids are responding to my phone calls," she told me. That didn't surprise me. It was 5:30 AM. I returned to my home, got our gas can, and poured half of it into her car's empty tank.

As I was filling her tank she told me, "Thank you for stopping. You're an angel."

"I'm not an angel," I replied. "But I AM a Christian."

That was kind of a weird thing to say I guess, but it WAS 5:30 AM so that's my excuse. I followed her into town just in case she ran out of gas again. She did not.

Anyway, fast forward to the lady standing in our garage.

"I've been looking for you for days," she said and handed me the envelope she was carrying.

"I figured you were from this subdivision someplace. I stopped at another person's house because they also had a blue car but it wasn't them. Then, when I saw your car today, I had to stop."

In the envelope was a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

She thanked me again for stopping and said, "Take your wife out for a nice dinner," as she left.

As I reflected on what happened I came to the conclusion that I had been blessed, not once or twice, not thrice, but SEVEN times by my stopping to help that lady.
  1. I enjoy helping others so stopping to do so the other day was already a blessing for me.
  2. I got to share my faith with someone, albeit briefly. She knew that I was a Christian by the end of our encounter though.
  3. Finding out the lady had gone WAY out of her way to find me was a blessing. My small effort was truly appreciated. THAT was a blessing.
  4. I now get to take my wife out to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants - for free! Another blessing.
  5. My wife got to hear through the words of another person that I had exhibited kindness. It was a blessing to hear my wife tell me I had done a good thing.
  6. We now have a new friend in the neighborhood. We learned that she lives just a quarter mile down the road and that our sons went through high school together.
  7. The biggest blessing though had to be writing this story and discovering just how much God has blessed me. He truly is a great God who gives.
It is a joy serving others and serving God. He has never failed in His abundant blessings! He is generous to those called to be His children. Please, if you don't know Him, if you have never surrendered your heart to Him, please do so today. You will be blessed far more than just seven times. :)

"17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures." - James 1:17-18

"But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." - 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8 

Blessings - Laura Story