Tuesday, December 23, 2008


God comes like the sun in the morning - when it is time. We must assume an attitude of waiting, accepting the fact that we are creatures and not creator. We must do this because it is not our right to do anything else; the initiative is God's not ours. We are able to initiate nothing; we are only able to accept.
Carlo Carretto, The God Who Comes

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Tahoe Experiment

Our family travels at Christmas instead of buying expensive gifts for each other. For the past 20 years, this has mostly translated into trips to Maui, where the days are sunny, the water is warm, and the breezes are always balmy. A lovely destination.

This year, for several reasons, it was decided that Maui was not going to be our Christmas destination. A couple of family members have always want to do a ski vacation, so this year we rented a house in North Lake Tahoe. The house is beautiful, big enough that a person can find a spot to be alone if needed. There's quite a bit of snow, although I think west Michigan gets the prize for snow this year! We are perched on a mountain, that overlooks Lake Tahoe. On a clear day you can see the lake through the pine trees. Very beautiful.

I think the skiers are very happy. Some of us are happy for quiet days by the fire, but I don't know how everyone will feel after the week is over. Does anyone have suggestions for next year's travels?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thought for Today

"My friends, may I warn you from my own failures, that while you will be of immense help to the cause of Christ by being able to defend its intellectual position, you will be a thousand times more potent missionary if you exhibit a life that Christ has changed, if you show in your nature those fruits for which all people hunger, if you love the quiet serenity, that endless good will, that deep joy, and that passionate purpose which are among the important marks of a nature surrendered to our Lord." 
- Leslie Wetherhead, a British preacher

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

God is waiting! God is coming!

Luke 1:78 - Because of God's tender mercy, the morning light from Heaven is about to break upon us.

Celebrating Advent is a relatively new to me. But over the last few years I've enjoyed reading Advent devotionals. Today's devotion from The Christ of Christmas by Calvin Miller reminds me that God waits for us AND God comes to us. God never gives up - He patiently waits for us to come to Him. He never gives up on His plan for me or His plan for the world. He waits for for us to choose Him, to love Him and to obey Him. To help us do these things God also COMES to us. God came to earth as a baby, giving humans a living picture of who He is, and showing us how to live. The Holy Spirit comes to us too - sent by the Father to convict, to teach, to comfort. He pours His love into our hearts (Rom. 5:5).  God comes!

During Advent, we await the arrival of Jesus, and we celebrate His birth at Christmas. But we also look forward to His return. He is coming!

John 14:23 - If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with Him.

You keep us waiting.
You, the God of all time,
Want us to wait
For the right time in which to discover
Who we are, where we are to go,
Who will be with us, and what we must do.
So thank you ... for the waiting time.
        - John Bell

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


According to dictionary.com rest is "the refreshing quiet (or repose) of sleep." I have been having difficulty finding "the refreshing quiet (or respose) of sleep. Lately I lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, listening to the sounds in the room, in the house, outdoors. My mind is swirling with thoughts of today's activities, tomorrow's schedule, things I've read, things I've seen, things I've heard, my family - and the list goes on. I try praying, remembering the words of a song, reciting scripture - nothing helps. I recall Psalm 127:2b: "he grants sleep to those he loves." I know God loves me. Why can't I sleep? So I get up, make a cup of tea, and look at what the Bible says about sleep and/or rest. Psalm 91:1 says, "He who dwells (lingers) in the shelter of the Most High will rest in shadow of the Almighty." Maybe I should go back to bed and linger in His Presence....

Postscript:  A little "ha-ha" from the mail today. One of the cover articles on my new Discipleship Journal is" When Insomnia Strikes." Maybe it will help me sleep tonight :-)

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Help

Psalm 121 (HCSB)
I raise my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, 
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip'
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.
The LORD protects you;
the LORD is a shelter right by your side.
The sun will not strike you by ay,
or the moon by night.
The LORD will protect you from all harm;
He will protect your life.
The LORD will protect your coming and going
both now and forever.

This weekend I attended the leadership training meeting for Mission Trip Team Leaders. I can hardly believe that I am going to be the Team Leader for the spring trip to Mozambique. I sat in our meeting Saturday morning thinking, "Lord! How did I get here? I don't feel qualified. It's a huge responsibility!" As I went to bed Saturday night, I began to worry and fret. But God brought the words from this Psalm to my mind, and they were like a blanket of peace over me as I slept. And yesterday's sermon reminded me that God IS, and He is and will be all I need. So, today I begin the work, remembering the words of this Psalm. "My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth!"

"'Take courage and work, for I am with you,' says the Lord Almighty. 'My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid." Haggai 2:4-5 (NLT)

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin..." Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

God in Music

GOD IN MUSIC by Susan Palo Cherwien
Praise to the God in music;
Praise to the God of the morning stars' song
to the God of symphony
the God of sounding together:

Angels and archangels raise their ethereal voices to God,
Hymns and songs create a body for praise,
Stones and trees sing an earthly hosanna,
And the Christ himself sings and dances with his friends,

All in symphony, the great cosmic song

All in unity, the great universal choir.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Creation's Praise

 I love how Marilynne Robinson expresses this thought about creation's praise to God in her book, Home.  In this quote she is speaking of a giant oak tree: " ...if they could see as God can, in geological time, they would see it leap out of the ground and turn in the sun and spread its arms and bask in the joys of being an oak tree in Iowa."

"Praise the Lord from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths, fire and hail, snow and storm, wind and weather that obey him., mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all livestock, reptiles and birds, kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth, young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them all praise the name of the Lord, for his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven!" - Psalm 148:7-13

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

God's Word

In the book of Isaiah God says,  “My word will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I have sent it.”  Ken Gire writes in Windows of the Soul, “Like rain and snow, the word of God permeates the earth…everywhere we look there are traces of His Word. In history. In the circumstances of our lives. In every nook of humanity and every crannied flower of creation.” On a missions trip to Mozambique I learned that everything I do or say says something about who God is. I learned to be faithful to the tasks God called me to do. God is present in the village all the time – not just when a missions team  is there. I pray that His Word and His Light will shine brightly so many in the village will have a living relationship with Him. And I pray that His Light will shine brightly in me.

God's Happy Song

Zephaniah 3:17 - "For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song."

Over and over the Bible reminds me that God is near. Yet frequently I think of God as being very far away. This verse has been one of my favorites for a long time because of the imagery of God singing a song over me. Imagine that! An incredible picture! And how I need God's love that calms my fears. One of my greatest fears is the fear of failure. God's love can conquer that. His love for me doesn't depend on my performance. His song can quiet my soul. I pray that my life will sing God's song and not my own.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Bat Day

I think I have decided to write a book. I'm considering a couple of titles: "My Life with the Bats," "Living with Bats" "Close Encounters of the Bat Kind," or my favorite - "Going Batty." When we arrived home Monday, I noticed there were some dust balls in the living room - on the piano, on a couple of chairs, on the floor. My living room is always dusty, but this wasn't just normal dust. I dragged my husband into the living room, and said, "Something's going on here." He pooh-poohed it, of course, and said it was just dust and not a big deal. I tried to forget about it and I began to get to work. Later in the afternoon I decided to do the wash I brought home from the cottage. I picked up the pile of clothes from the floor in the bedroom and added a few items from the clothes hamper, threw them in the washer, and let the washer do it's work. Just before I went to bed, I quickly went to retrieve a couple of pieces of underwear so they could dry. I noticed something black on the bottom of the washer, and thought to myself, "What in the world did I throw in there?" As my hand went to retrieve it, I realized that what I saw was a bat! I screamed, pulled my hand back and ran to the bedroom and let my Prince Charming save me from the evil bat. I think it was dead. Prince Charming deposited the drowned bat in an appropriate place. When I woke up in the middle of the night, all I could think was, "That disgusting little creature was most likely hiding in my bedroom. I must have carried him in my arrms to the washer" Eeeeww!! So this morning, I am rewashing those clothes so that someday I can wear them again. I've had other encounters with these flying creatures. I wonder how many chapters I could write?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mozambique On My Mind

You'd think that coming home from Africa would make me happy to be home and thankful for everything I enjoy. You know - things like hot showers, electricity, computers - stuff like that. And I am very thankful for all those things. However, I've spent a lot of time the last few days organizing pictures and thinking about the 2 weeks I spent in Mozambique. I miss my friends in Chinhangane! I feel a tugging at my heart to go again. 

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mozambique Musings

On Wednesday I returned home from Mozambique. Seen from an airplane, Michigan's landscape was incredibly beautiful. The abundance of water and the many colors of green were a sharp contrast to the landscape of Mozambique.

The women of Chinhangane are beautiful - strong, joyful, friendly. They welcome us with open arms and are generous with their love and friendship. Their land is dusty, hot, dry and barren. There hasn't been a good crop for several years, so food is scarce.  Day to day to life is hard.

I don't find it easy to teach about God's goodness in a place where people are hungry, tired, and sick. I see the hardship and wonder how God's goodness allows such hardship. How can I tell them God cares for them when I have so much and they have so little? Do they see Jesus in us? Do they see a loving God in the beauty that does exist in the village? In the beautiful sunrise and sunset? In the beauty of each person? In the millions of stars in the night sky? 

"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1

Monday, March 17, 2008

Habakkuk 3:17-19

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strenght' he makes my feet like the feet of a deer."

In uncertain times, Habakkuk's words give me hope.  God will provide whatever I need for whatever challenges the future holds.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Failing Fast

I wanted a mocha. I ordered a mocha. I drank the mocha. It reawakened my desire, so a few days later I went back and had another one. One taste was all it took to rationalize it was okay to do it again. I told myself, "You didn't make a vow, you just thought you would TRY it" (the Lenten fast). 

How easy it is to fall back into old habits/sins. Craving what I can't have. My desire for more of Jesus was overridden by my desire for a physical comfort.  What's even worse, I didn't really care. I think I have a lot to learn about fasting and how to make it meaningful.

O Lord, help me to desire You above all else, to be faithful to You at all times. Teach me what it means to love You with ALL of my being.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Lenten Fast

This year I am doing a limited fast for Lent. I decided to fast from Starbucks mocha coffee drinks because most of my cravings resulted in a purchase at Starbucks. I expected that I would learn to crave Jesus instead of Starbucks. Well, maybe that is is the final result, but I realized it in an unexpected way. 

I thought it would be difficult to give up my Starbucks. After all, whenever I craved mocha,  I would go buy one. I figured after a few days I would be desparate for a Starbucks and it would be really hard to tell myself, "No!" Instead, the more days that pass, the less desire I have for a mocha.  The spiritual lesson for me is the more I fill myself with Jesus, the more I will crave him. And the less attention I pay to Jesus, the less I will want Him.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Prayer for Today

My sister sent me this prayer today. I think it comes from one of Phyllis Tickle's Books of the Hours. When she sends me the title, I'll post it.

O Lord my God, to you and to your service I devote myself, body, soul, and spirit. Fill my memory with the record of your mighty works; enlighten my understanding with the light of your Holy Spirit; and may all the desires of my heart and will center in what you would have me do. Make me an instrument of your salvation for the people entrusted to my care, and let me by my life and speaking set forth your true and living Word. Be always with me in carrying out the duties of my salvation; in praises heighten my love and gratitude; in speaking of You give me readiness of thought and expression; and grant that, by the clearness and brightness of your holy Word, all the world may be drawn to your blessed kingdom. All this i Ask for the sake of your Son, my Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mozambique Acrostic

I used this acrostic for the devotions for our first Mozambique team meeting. (I guess that means I am going to Mozambique in May) I started the acrostic last year when I was praying about the opportunity to go to Mozambique.

Making the Decision – Does God want me to do this?. My fears: how will I raise the money? Will I be able to do what I am asked to do? It’s so far away!

Offering Myself to God –  Romans 12:1-2MSG – So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. 

Zeroing in on the Mission – David Livermore:  “Missions – short term, long term, overseas, next door – is about giving people a living picture of who God is, what He cares about, and how He acts.”

 Colossians 2:2-3 – “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Amy Carmichael: “Can you show us the life of Jesus?”

Asking God to equip me – Pray Psalm 25:4-5  – Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Mirror Christ’s glory – 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT) – “….we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.”  Lord, I want to sparkle with the delight of knowing you and to brightly reflect your glory.

Believe God’s Promises – Make a list. Psalm 18:30-31 – As for God, His way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock?

Imitate Christ. Be humble, be a servant, be willing to receive. Philippians 2.

Quietly trust God  - Philippians 4:19 – “My God who takes care of me will supply ALL your needs from His glorious riches which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

Undergird Everything with Prayer – Philippians 4:6-7 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Expect God to Work – Praise the Lord that we don’t have to do it on our own. “The One Who calls you is faithful and He will do it.”

 I Thessalonians 5:25

Friday, January 18, 2008


The sun came out this morning! Sunny days in Michigan are a rarity. It was wonderful to feel the warmth of the sun and see the sparkling snow on the ground. The sunlight makes everything better.

"Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord." Psalm 4:6b

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I've been reflecting on last year's mission trip to Mozambique. Another trip is being planned for May and I've been invited. Trying to decide whether or not to go. I've been praying and asking God to show me if I should pursue this opportunity.