This chapter is filled with so much meat. It begins by discussing the Pharisees insistence on not working on the Sabbath. Such things as eating some gathered corn from the field or healing the sick from their infirmity were considered labor by the elders of the church. Jesus quickly set them straight by stating that He was the Lord of the Sabbath. Those words must’ve stung deeply, as they were seen as a threat to the church itself.

By this time, Jesus had chosen all twelve of His disciples. They indeed were helpful to His ministry, as many of our own church elders can be of help to our officiating pastors. Jesus was a man and because of that He got tired and hungry. He needed time to pray, to rest and take nourishment just like we do. On the other hand, He is also God and could’ve easily provided for those needs, but it wasn’t part of His mission on earth.

We see in this chapter that Jesus prayed a lot. As our example, we can glean much from this. God is available to hear our prayers at a moment’s notice. We don’t always take advantage of that.

Jesus and his band of disciples covered a lot of territory. The crowds were growing. People came to be healed, out of curiosity and because the message was one they had longed to hear.

The Beatitudes are listed in this chapter. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh,” was one of them. These were akin to the proverbs of old, but they carried an entirely new meaning. He said things like, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”  These words were foreign to them, but they certainly held their attention.

Jesus must’ve been an exemplary speaker. His voice would have to carry to great lengths to reach the many in His audience. Imagine the voice of God speaking directly to them and us. He was nothing extraordinary to look at, yet he commanded the crowds. When He told them not to judge others, but to forgive them as we will be forgiven. He told them to be good fruit and to build their lives on the foundation of God. By doing so they would not be shaken.

Jesus was bringing that foundation back to the people. He came to establish His kingdom in our hearts. Let us continually stay rooted in His Word so we continue to flourish and spread the Good News of salvation to all people.

We are definitely living in troubled times.  The church is being attacked on a daily basis.  The devil is using every tool in his toolbox to take advantage of us.  Don’t let Him in.

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The feminist movement did great things for women.  It allowed them to leave the ties of housekeeping behind and venture into a whole new world.  It was a world which challenged their abilities, their brain power, their industriousness, their ingenuity, their organizational skills, their talent and their compassion.

Yes, I said compassion.  Now where in the world does that word fit into the world of commerce?  Up until then, compassion was woven into the fabric of nursing or caring for others.  The corporate world was and still is, filled with money driven men who were trying to change the world.  Not a lot of compassion was necessary  When women became part of that world, things changed a lot.

In the beginning men said women’s place was in the home, raising a family, tending to the chores of the day and caring for her husband.  The game was on.  Women started attending colleges for things other than secretarial or medical skills.  They proved that they could work under pressure and handle the stress of corporate life.  It wasn’t an easy road, because these same women still had the responsibilities of running a home, but they managed to do both.

Today women are deeply imbedded into politics.  They hold positions of power in the medical field, the corporate world, high finance and industry.  They have proven to be equal to men, but still fight the battle of equal pay. I’m sure that day isn’t far off

In the process, families have become accustomed to both parents working.   The material things that were put on the back burner until they could be paid for are now staples in most homes.  The home fires still burn, but most of the management of that place is being carried out by hired workers.

In the meantime, women have become equal with men.  In my opinion, they always were in God’s eyes.  Woman was created to be a partner for man.  I’m sure there are statistics that prove that men are the hunter/gatherers and women, the caregivers, simply because of the way they are made up physically.  Women are sensitive, intuitive and have the ability to listen.  The tenderness of their hearts is something that continues to exist, even though they try to put on an armor of toughness.  Women cry.  Yes, so do men, but women seem to do it more often.

As women take on some of the roles of their counterparts, they’re expected to be tough,  put their emotions aside and act like a man.  However, even in a society that wishes to determine their own gender, men are men and women are women.  The differences were designed to compliment each other.

Women do have a softer side.  Our emotions are often worn on our sleeves.  Our compassion is evident in the way we work with others and live with them and should be considered a medal of honor.  It’s not an attack on your character to say you can cry if you need to.  There will be days when the pressure of work gets in the way of family – when the demands of travel take you from those you love – when the extra hours of work keep you from kissing your children goodnight.  It’s OK to feel bad about those things.

God made tears for a purpose.  They come out when we grieve, when we’re frustrated or angry and even when we’re happy. The silent tears you pour into your pillow each night do not go unnoticed.

There’s someone who understands those feelings.  Jesus wept.  He knows all about sorrow.  He understands our pain.  He is also our comforter.  He hears our prayers and dries our tears, but He allows us to  bring all our burdens to Him, so he can carry them for us.




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” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”  Proverbs 9:10

Dear, Lord,

You know all things.  Nothing is hidden from you. You are the only consistent in our lives.  I pray that you guide our leaders to proceed with dignity and fairness.  Two people have been dragged through the mud and may never recover from what’s happened over the past few weeks.  Please give the men and women in the position of passing judgment, the wisdom to do your will.  Help us all to accept what is happening and what will happen because of these events.  You are also with every one of us. You’ve judged each of us with fairness and abundance of grace, giving us a freedom we don’t deserve.  May your Word be upheld.  May your will be done, in Jesus name.  Amen!

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Where is the quiet place that you are longing for?
Is it in those empty times when waiting to do more?
Can you find contentment in the solitude of living?
Or does is come in simpler ways, like doing and forgiving.
God comes to us in many ways and most times when it’s silent,
But listen hard and you will hear His voice in every moment.
He whispers when we’re troubled, he soothes when we’re in pain,
You’ll see Him in creation, his voice is clear and plain.
He’s in the heat of summer and when the leaves do fall,
And in the cold of winter, you’ll hear His personal call.
When spring’s refreshing waters wash most everything in sight,
You’ll hear is voice assure you of His overpowering might.
Within the busy moments of life’s demanding pressures
He opens up His altar and He shares His greatest treasures.
Each moment He’s available to answer every prayer,
Just open up your heart to Him and He will be right there.

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Last night was the first in a trilogy about our first president, George Washington.  We knew nothing about it until our son-in-law, a real history buff, brought it to our attention.  I love the way the history channel gives us a different look at things from the past.

When I was a child, George Washington was revered as the father of our country.  He could not tell a lie, even when he was confronted about cutting down a cherry tree.  He was a great leader, an ethical man and a wealthy land owner.

In this retelling of his life, I learned that his father passed away when George was just a young boy.  He had to become the man of the house so wasn’t able to follow the educational venues of the day.  Instead he would manage the tobacco farm left to his mother.

George wanted to become an officer in the British army, serving in the colonies.  He was inexperienced in leading and in the art of war.  Both of those qualities led to some serious encounters and defeats.  In an attempt to cover up those embarrassments, he stretched the truth in letters he would later come to regret. So much for a flawless hero.

The pressures launched against the early colonials had to do with Britain not paying good prices for those items exported and taxation without representation.  Britain was ruling from afar and could do whatever they pleased with these new settlers.  At least that was the opinion of King George.

The series is well done.  It creates amazing pictures for us to lay our eyes on.  The glory of colonial America at its very beginning shines through.  The agricultural fields, the fancy ball gowns and superior manners – the mud filled battlefields, covered with dead and ravaged bodies.  We hear about the part the French played in this saga, along with the native people who aligned themselves with them.

Washington was a tall man for his time, standing at 6’4″ he was an impressive looking fellow.  He was also deemed quite handsome.  He fell in love with Martha and they were married, but George’s service to his country took him away from Mt. Vernon for much of their early years together.

We often place our founding fathers on pedestals.  It’s sometimes good for us to see that these heroes were mere men with flaws like everyone of us.  I look forward to the rest of the series and highly recommend it.

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Stage manager memes

Here we go again.  It’s opening week for “The Crucible,” with a group of very talented young people.  The real magic started this past Saturday as new light effects and sound were added along with costumes.  It seems each time something new is added, the brain atrophies.  Words which were firmly implanted there a few days ago have flown right out the window hopefully to be rescued before opening night.

The beauty of the teenaged mind is that it’s still not completely full.  It acts as a sponge at this time of life.  When you get to be my age, memorizing lines is like thirty five hours of brutal exercise.  It’s still funny that no matter what the age of the actor, we all wait until the last minute to memorize those bloody lines and if you’re a great improviser, that can help you to glide through, but it throws a monkey wrench at those waiting for the proper cue line.

I’ve gotten back into performing on stage again and can relate to the necessity of learning lines early.  However I often find myself re-writing the script from time to time.  Not only is this a disservice to fellow cast members, but to the playwright who struggled to find just the right mix of words to create his masterpiece.

I should’ve kept track of every theatre production I’ve ever been involved in, but that was just another piece of information taking up space in my ever overloading brain.  Instead, I keep on going.  Live theatre is so exciting because you never know what’s going to happen until it does.  Those are the moments you remember most when recalling your experience.

This has been a difficult script, because of its subject matter, along with a different kind of language style.  The use of early American dialect in the 1600s has been challenging, but the cast has been working hard to carry on.

Opening night is just a few days away.    We still have three days to tighten everything up.  We have a terrific director, who has also used this piece to teach the cast many interesting facts about the historical event of the Salem witch trials – mass hysteria – religious influence – superstition and the real life characters who were a part of this entire event.  I know I’ve learned a ton by being part of it.

I have also found a new niche in my continuing theatre career.  This is the fifth show I’ve stage managed.  It’s so exciting to watch someone else’s vision come to fruition.  Having sat in a director’s chair for so many years, I know all the elements involved in putting on a good show along with educating the cast in some way.  My age has taken its physical toll on me, but my brain still works (most of the time) so stage managing is the perfect job for me.

Now let’s go on with the show . . . .

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We are never too old to learn. Our journey on earth is usually a brief number of years, filled with discovery. Think of what it would be like to live for hundreds or thousands of them. Our brains would be filled to overflowing. Our accomplishments would surpass understanding.

Some might say there isn’t enough time in a person’s life to absorb it all. Fortunately, there is an eternity to loo k forward to. I know that when death does come, I will only be at the beginning of a perfect existence. My eyes will be opened. The patchwork of my life on earth will be filled with tiny stitches of gold and silver – patterns created by God Himself. The eternal tree of knowledge will have no bounds in heaven.

Psalm 111:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”

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As most parents will tell you, it’s hard to let go of our children. When God brings them into our lives, He also lays on us the responsibility of caring for them, teaching them the right things and giving them things that will help them prepare for their future. \

When they take their first steps, we are right behind them to catch them if they fall. When they learn to ride a bike, we add additional wheels to make it safe and walk behind to make sure they don’t crash to the ground. We provide helmets, safety gear, booster seats, hand sanitizer and a variety of other things to protect them. We basically don’t want them to experience some of the pain we did in growing up, so we do as much as we can to shelter them.

There does come a time when we have to let go of that protection and let them learn through experience. God does that with us every day. He allows challenges to come into our lives so that we learn how to deal with them. He knows the pain we feel. He has experienced the suffering of losing of a child. He knows what it’s like to be betrayed, rejected and scorned for no reason, but He is our loving Father and He let’s go of us so that we will return like prodigal sons and daughters to His loving arms for protection. Letting go isn’t easy, but letting God is.

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You beckon me before your throne. I have no plea to give.
My sins are far too many. I don’t deserve to live,
But still you call out to me, you tell me it’s all right,
You promise that you’ll carry me from darkness into light,
You gave your only Son to wash away my sin,
I don’t deserve this love that you have placed so deep within,
My soul is cleansed and free. You’ve done that with your love.
I now can look into your eyes when we meet up above.
How can I thank you, Lord, for all you’ve done for me,
I once was lost, but now am found. You set my spirit free.
I praise your Holy name, my brother and my friend,
For giving me perfection and life without an end.

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Poor old Charlie Brown. Every year it’s the same thing. He addresses enough Valentines for everyone in his class and doesn’t receive one in return. It has to be hard for a kid not to get even one Valentine.

Think of the many folks that don’t have a special someone in their life – those who are single by choice, those who have lost one they love, those who are facing years of caring for a disabled loved one. It has to be hard for them too.

Millions are spent each year on cards, flowers, chocolates and other special gifts, but why does it simply have to be one day only? Like Charlie Brown says, it’s almost like you’re singleness is being exploited at your expense.

It’s OK, Charlie. You have millions of fans in the world. You are loved by countless children and your words have touched adults as well. Of course that doesn’t mean much to a comic strip character. It doesn’t mean much to real live people either. We all long for someone to love and someone who will love us in return – someone we can share our lives with and build a life together.

Jesus gave us the best Valentine ever when He shed His blood to pay for our iniquities. This is called undeserved, unconditional love, but even that message doesn’t hold a lot of water for those who are looking for a relationship with another person.

Dear, God, I know that you have given us the best possible gift – eternal life, but I pray for those who have lost love in their lives – for those who have been separated by death from those they cherish – for those who have never experienced true love. Heal their hearts and let them know that they are loved in the best way possible, by You! Amen


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His love is like none we have ever experienced here on earth.
His love is beauty beyond our wildest dreams.
His love is precious, merciful, compassionate.
His love is given freely without question.
His love doesn’t look at our past mistakes.
He is blind to our transgressions.
He loves in times of anger, hatred, self-pity, depression.
He loves it when we love each other.
His love is a gift – more precious than diamonds or gold.
His love is the greatest love ever known or experienced by man.
No kiss or caress can compare with the touch of our Savior, God.
He cuddles us in His strong protective arms. He shields us with His strong wings.
He lifts us up when we fail.
He encourages us when we think we can’t go on.
He inspires us to go the extra mile.
He walks with us through all the joy, bliss and excitement of life.
He carries us through all the trials, burdens, hassles, fears and frustrations.
His love is like no other – it endures forever and ever!

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Days of endless winter capture the hearts and minds of many in my part of the country. All that remains are memories of a warm summer day as the sun beats relentlessly upon cool water and people go sleeveless and shoeless on the banks of the river. Dipping your toes into the refreshing water is now just a memory, but soon it will return again.

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Remember the Bible stories about David and his rise to power? As a young teenager, he killed the great giant, Goliath, with a single stone and slingshot. He had many occasions to take the life of King Saul, but knew that wasn’t in God’s plan – so he resisted. He came to power, danced in the streets of Jerusalem, lusted after the wife of one of his trusted soldiers, committed adultery, murder and had a life full of family difficulties.  Still he was a man after God’s own heart.

What exactly does it mean to be attached to such a label? Does it mean that God loved David more than others? Does it mean he was above transgression because of that love? I believe that to be a man after God’s own heart, indicates David’s need for God in his life. It was something of utmost importance to him.

This singer of beautifully crafted psalms, who could soothe the troubled soul, was also a ferocious warrior who fought valiantly for his country and got right in the trenches with his men, even when he became king.  He was one of the greatest warriors in the history of Israel.

David was a human being – not some marble icon created by Michaelangelo. He had the same faults as any other man. He was a sinner, like all of us. He was confronted by God, through His prophet, and repented. He suffered the loss of his first born – yes, God forgave David, but there were consequences to his actions.

As we look at our own lives and think of how we’ll be remembered by others when we leave this life – one of the first thing we hope for is acceptance by our peers. We also think of family members and those we love and how they will be taken care of when we’re no longer there.

David was about 70 when he died. He spent almost a year, hanging on to life, probably losing some of his memory as we do when we age. He had to be reminded of his promise to have his son, Solomon, follow him as king. His last memories undoubtedly included many of the same thoughts we experience when we die, but his final wishes for the continuance of God’s kingdom didn’t die with him. He was in constant pursuit of that relationship with his heavenly Father.

God had a plan for David’s life – just as He does for us. We can be confident, just as David was, that our lives won’t end at death. This is just the beginning of a new page in the adventure of those who are after God’s own heart.

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I thank God for placing just the right person in my life.  My husband Paul is 78 today and he’s given me more than I can possibly express in just a few words on a page.  We were only 17 when we fell in love – high school sweethearts – best friends.

Talk about trusting in God’s plan for our lives, He really knew just what I needed when it came to a life partner.  Our love has matured since those early days of our youth.  We’ve struggled through difficult times and extremely good times, but always with God as the head of our family.

Paul taught me about God’s wonderful grace.  Having grown up in a strict, conservative church, I rarely heard about God’s love for me, a sinner.  My husband has a strong faith and has exemplified that through his business dealings, his work ethic, his willingness to serve God and in raising a family.  To say our love has grown through the years would be an understatement.

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband.  You are a blessing beyond measure and I will treasure you until our dying day.

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February is a tough month in the frozen tundra.  We are confronted with thoughts of green grass, a little warmer sunshine and melting snow.  Yesterday surprised us with a blanket of white once more.  Cabin fever is getting to most of us.  We’re tired of being afraid to step outside and fall on the ice.  We can’t wait for those early buds to appear and spring to come again.

Each day is part of a perfectly drafted plan – an intricate mosaic of tiny pieces of shattered glass.
With each bump – stumble – crash – disappointment – goal reached – dream pursued, we grow.
Our character is being molded into a final masterpiece – a work of art created by God Himself.
He knows what needs to be reshaped, redefined, restored, revised, redeemed.
Only our perfect Artisan can create something out of nothing.


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“Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.”  Psalm 55:22

Some people have a hard time believing in a God who would permit suffering and pain to enter the lives of his followers.  Some even think that He does so because of the evil we do.  So what about those who live according to the law, are obedient to God, put their total trust in The Lord and study their Bibles?  Unfortunately this isn’t a game of us against God, for if it were, we certainly would lose.  We’re all sinners, every single one of us.  No matter what we do, we can never pay for our wrongdoings.  There is only One who can come up with the impossible ransom.

We not only are gifted with the promise of eternal life, but Jesus invites us to cast our burdens upon His shoulders.  He will make them much easier to bear.  It’s really hard for us to allow Him to do that, because we want so much to handle things ourselves. If we remember that His will for us is always for our good, it might give us an inkling of how He works.

When we face life threatening diseases, when our life hangs in the balance, when we wonder if our debts will overtake our assets and we will be left penniless – that is when we need Him most.  When anxiety and depression pursue us – when relationships fall apart – when our guilt overtakes us – that is when we need to turn it over to Him.

God doesn’t allow us to escape trouble in our lives.  Many times He will place challenges before us – not to harm us, but to make us stronger and more dependent on Him.  The one thing we can count on with the greatest certainty, is that God loves all of us equally and unconditionally.  The only thing He expects in return is that we follow Him. He loves a penitent heart – one that comes to Him and lays it all before Him with sincere sorrow.  A repentant heart will be forgiven and become joyful in serving the Lord.

My prayer list grows day by day.  People I love are facing difficult decisions, health issues, money issues and so much more.  Age is overtaking many of my friends, but there are so many who hurt and become desperate at any age.

Lord, Jesus, I ask that you stay close to those who are facing the tough challenges of life.  You’ve invited us to lay all or burdens upon you and you will give rest to those who ask.  Allow all of us to depend completely on you for anything we face today, tomorrow and into eternity.  You are our only awesome God and greatly to be praised, even in bad times.  In your holy name I commit myself and those I care about into your hands.  Amen!

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Dear, Holy, Father,

You have set before us a new day, filled with sunshine and hope.  As I think about the events of the past week, my heart has been slightly on a roller coaster trekking uphill one day and crashing down the next.  I know that you have purpose in all of it.

There are times when I simply don’t understand – my heart is troubled, broken, sad.  There are days when I see your magnificent glory in every corner of my life.  There is no hiding from you.  You know me inside and out.   You are aware of my weaknesses and my strengths and you have shown me how to make the best use of them. I still have so much to learn.  Your wisdom is beyond my learning, but still I know that you love me and all of mankind.  You don’t want us to suffer.  You don’t want us to lose hope.

Strengthen me this day as you carry me through the tough times as well as the good.  Support me through the shocks of life, the mysteries, the unknowns.  Hold me tightly as I continue this journey you have mapped out for me.  Be with those who are suffering – those who don’t know you yet – those broken and abused – those clinging to life.

My confidence is in you, Lord.  I will be quiet and let you do your will.


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I’ve always believed in God. I’ve known since an early age that I would some day go to heaven, but at the time I had no plans on doing so. It wasn’t brainwashed into me. I had plenty of questions as a child. I was influenced and even entangled by some intellectual, scientific peers in college who told me my beliefs were nothing more than a myth – a fairytale – something I should forget about if I wanted success.

I’ve heard comments that put this to the test again. “Raising children in the Christian faith is nothing more than child abuse.” or “How can you feel good about your parenting skills when you are doing nothing but indoctrinating your children?”

Of course, I feel I’m firmly planted in my faith, but it saddens me that someone would accuse me of brainwashing my children – subjecting them to a set of rules and regulations that can’t possibly keep – making them feel guilty for doing wrong. How terribly, horribly, uncaring I must’ve been as a parent – engraining all that responsibility and good citizenship into them.

I cannot tell you the number of times I thought there was no hope for me. I put on a happy face and appeared like the perfect mom, but I had no real peace. I was covering my own insecurities with a mask which belonged to someone I didn’t know.

Now that I’m drawing closer to the end of my life, I see many friends passing into heaven. I feel the pain of those they’re leaving behind, but I know the confidence they have in eternal life.  This gives me great joy. I know I’ll see all of them again. I realize that life here is merely temporary and the best is yet to be.

To those who have numbed their minds with scientific theories and unproven thoughts, I beg you to consider looking beyond the grave. Where will you be when you die? Will it all end there? I’m confident that I’ll have another chance once I die – it’s a gift from God and the place I’m going to is the original paradise designed for God’s creation.

You’ll find Him in science, because He created everything. He knows all about biology and every species of life. He knows about design, technology, space, art, nature, music – everything, because He made all of it. He is in the trees, the mountains, the depths of the seas. We can’t hide from Him, because He’s everywhere. He can place an army of angels at our disposal when danger attacks. He can protect us when we suffer, even though we may wonder where He is in that. He can heal broken hearts. He gives chance after chance to those who disobey Him.  He loves us  unconditionally. That sounds like perfection to me – not a myth.


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If trees could talk, I wonder what they’d say. A gnarly, burled, old tree might have a lot to talk about. It’s been part of the forest for a long time. It’s seen plenty of change over its own existence. Many of his friends have been torn and tossed about by the storms of life – cut down to make way for new inhabitants – or decayed and died of old age. Trees go through many of the same things we do and, if they could talk they’d have many tales of good as well as evil – joys and sorrows, – grief, pain, loss – overcoming all odds – goals achieved and so much more. I imagine the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil would have lots of advice about obedience – a word which is slowly fading from our vocabulary.

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Why do bad things happen to good people? It’s a hard question to answer in a world that’s full of ugliness, hunger, pain, inhumanity, brutal death or hardship. It’s especially hard to answer for a Christian, because it may be assumed that we go through life without any of that, or that we are oblivious to it.

I wonder why some people have it all and others just scrape by. I hurt inside when I think of all the blood shed in countries living under cruel oppression. My heart aches when I hear of acts of a deranged mind taking the lives of others. Tears fall when a young person dies. When undeserved pressures plague those who trust in God, I wonder where God is in all of this.

God is in control of everything that happens in our universe. He placed the stars in the heavens and created all life that exists here. He planted each seed to grow and nourish His children. He provides for our daily bread – even when it’s just a crumb.
On the other side of the coin – from the beginning of time, we’ve been disobedient to God. What we deserve is punishment, but God loves us and doesn’t want us to suffer. He provides a way for us. That WAY is Jesus, and the payment he made for our transgressions.

This world isn’t our permanent home. What’s waiting for us on the other side of eternity is where life begins. We’ve been given this time to grow our relationship with God. It’s a time for us to share our love for Him with others – to serve Him, by serving others – to face difficulties with Him as our counselor – to look forward to freedom from all the troubles of this world.

God is faithful and His love endures forever – even in times of trouble. That’s truth we can count on!

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Water can be a rushing creek, tumbling over rocks and tree limbs. It can be a raging sea tossing a small vessel in every direction. It can be a quiet lake with refreshment and coolness on a hot summer day. We cannot survive without it. God created the waters and then divided them, revealing the masses of land risen up out of them. He filled the water with life as well. He gives us life through water and keeps our bodies alive by abundantly supplying it for us to drink. Man has polluted much of the water over time, but God continues to replenish and cleanse it, just as He has washed away our sins through the gift of baptism. Without it, we would dry up and cease to exist. Praise God for water!


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