Friday, October 31, 2008



Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him, "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory." Mark 10:35-37

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Mark 35:41


When we moved here, there was a dry-erase board in the garage. I wrote a big WELCOME on it and thought that was good enough.

Apparently not! Kailyn wrote, "Kailyn was here." Then she dated her comment. Matthew, not to be outdone, wrote, "Matt was here." He dated his comment and added, "Now beat that."

Into the picture arrives our daughter Terri. She wrote, "Terri was here." She dated her comments and added, "Now beat that Kailyn."

Kailyn came back with, "Oh, I see how this is going. You two are teaming up against me. But I will win in the end." Again, a date was added.

Matthew was here the other day and he is now in the lead. I hate to tell him, but Kailyn will be here this weekend and he will be behind again.

Friendly competition. Fun? Yes. Two cousins leaving each other notes, with corners being filled in by Matthew's mother.

Friendly competition. Fun? Sometimes. Friendly competition can quickly turn into not-so-friendly competition. Even in church. Do you recognize any of these? -- The person who never misses a Sunday and makes sure everyone knows it. The person who knows all the books of the Bible, in order, and gives you that look (you know "the look") when you are not sure if the book is in the Old or New Testament? The one who learns Scriptures easily and then brags about their ability or worse teases about "your" lack of scripture knowledge. (This last one often happens in youth groups.) Friendly competition? Fun? Sometimes not. Not when competition hurts others. Not when you take the "friendly" out. (Yes, I know about sports and one team has to win, but that is not the kind of competition I am talking about.)

If you read the scripture, you see that even the disciples had this problem. James and John got into competition with the other disciples. They asked Jesus to allow them to "sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory." Depending on if you read this account in Mark 10:35-45 or Matthew 20:20-28, James and John's mother got into the act too.

Was their competition friendly? No. James and John caused the other disciples to feel indignant. I am sure they felt hurt. Jealous. Left out. Friendly competition? Fun? Sometimes not.


Do you enjoy competition? Is there a difference between playing to win and friendly competition? Can you do both?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Lord I ask you for so many things. Today I ask you to help me understand the difference between competition and crossing the line. You have given each of us talents, let me use mine as you direct. Let me never look upon my talent as better than another's. Let me never brag about how good I am at this or that. BUT also help me learn that my talents are important. Lord, You created me. You created me. Thank you for giving me the talent of … Amen

Friday, October 24, 2008



Jesus speaking - "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."


Sometimes I have to wait for an idea to come and other times it is as if ideas are flying around waiting for my mind to open. That is where I am right now. Do I write about Friendly Competition? The Early Morning Drive? Change? Patience?

So many neat things have happened lately. Out of the ordinary things? No. Just times when the ordinary turned into God saying, "Mary, look. I am right here. Do you see me?"

I have been working on our Sunday School Class trying to get them to see God in normal day-to-day activities and in unexpected places. Well, last week. Last Thursday to be exact. God was on the South Shore Train that runs between South Bend, Indiana and Chicago.

Our daughter, son-in-law, their four boys and I boarded the South Shore headed to Chicago. Our timing was perfect. We arrived in Chicago, walked two blocks to the Museum of Science and Industry and walked in the doors about 10 minutes after they opened.

We had a great day. I will admit my feet did not want to keep up with the flying feet of children, but I made it. We saw old planes and space shuttles. We saw old inventions and future ideas. Some toured a submarine. Two went down into a coalmine. We were here. We were there. Sometimes we were not sure where we were. But like all good things. This day came to an end and we had to catch the train back.

The train to Chicago had many open seats. The same was not true for the train home. When this very tired grandmother, less tired mother and father, three a-little-bit-tired boys and an extremely-exhausted-ready-for-a-nap four year old entered the train, there were no seats. Jon kept Noah. (They stood and Jon said Noah talked the whole way home.)

Terri and I took the other three boys and went to look for seats. This is where the random acts of kindness began.

One look would tell you that we were not your day-to-day train traveler. The busy conductor took one look at our daughter sitting on the floor with a sleepy boy and said, "I will find you seats. People just make it look like the seats are full so no one sits by them." She did find us seats, but they were not together.

Random act of kindness number two. Two businessmen, who were using four seats, took one look at these two women with three children and said, "Take our seats. We will stand." Bless their hearts. Terri and Joshua sat on one side of the aisle. I sat on the other side with Matthew and very-quickly-asleep Timothy.

But wait. The acts of kindness were not over. As we neared South Bend, the conductor informed us that we had to move to the front two cars. Picture two women trying to get three children back through six train cars with two doors at each end of the car. And those doors are awkward to open. Terri took the lead. Random act of kindness number three. A very nice young man - probably 18 - 22 - stepped up behind me and said, "Let me get the back doors for you."

Now, you could chalk this up to people just being nice. I prefer to picture God saying, "Mary, look. I am right here. Do you see me?"


As you go through your normal day-to-day activities, do you see God? Do you see Him in the face of the person that opens the doors? Or in the actions of someone who gives up their seat? Or in the assistance of a busy stranger. Have other people seen God in you?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Yes God, I see you. You are all around me. I see you in eyes that sparkle. I hear you in laughter. I feel you in a hug. Yes, God, I see you. Thank you for the person that helps me when they think they are only doing their job. Thank you for the person that sees when I am tired and offers me a place to rest. Thank you for the person that opens doors, so I can easily enter. Today I thank you for … Amen

Friday, October 17, 2008



On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee, Jesus' mother was there and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. John 2:1-2

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. Luke 10:38

They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. Luke 22:13-14


We didn't go to church Sunday. Instead, we had a family day. A day that took us from 2008 back to 1812. Six adults and seven children traveled back in time to "the largest living history of the Mississinewa Battle of 1812."

There was an Indian encampment, with exhibits of Indian food, clothing and games. The grandkids loved the game, even if it was a "woman's game." And they learned that hedge apples could be placed around a tent to keep bugs, spiders and snakes away. I thought the idea of keeping snakes away sounded great.

There were men and women dressed in wool and cooking over open fires. There were children dressed in funny looking clothes and selling birdcalls. They were selling them cheap. (Get it?)

Then there was the battle. I never realized that cannons and those old time muzzle loaders created so much smoke. And they were loud. The good guys came in from one end and the bad guys came in from the other. There was shooting. There were horses. There were soldiers on each side falling to the ground. It was exciting.

It was a good reason to miss church. It was time together with our children, grandchildren and new friends.

Jesus liked to get together with his friends. He went to a wedding. He ate at a friend's house. He ate the Passover with his disciples.

Sometimes we forget that Jesus did normal things. He ate with friends. I am sure he liked a good joke. I can almost see him as he reaches for dessert. I can picture him reclining at the table.


What do you like to do with your family and friends? For what activity would you skip church?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Dear Jesus, Thank you for time with family and friends. Thank you for opportunities to talk. To eat. To recline. To attend celebrations like weddings or birthday parties. Thank you for times shared in laughter. Thank you for … Amen

Friday, October 10, 2008



(Paul to the church of God, in Corinth) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.


My husband just came home (I am writing this Thursday evening) from a real estate auction. Not a big sale. 20+ wooded acres, with two ponds. It did not sell. He was hoping it would, because the owners are not only clients, but also friends.

Just a few weeks ago, real estate of this type would have sold. Hunters, fishermen and those wanting to build, in the woods just outside of town, would have filled the auction room. The bidding would have been very competitive. Tonight? Tonight was a no sale.

I think people are scared. We are all financially afraid. They might call it a bailout in Washington DC, but the normal person is still seeing their savings accounts dwindle and their IRA's and retirement plans crumbling. People do not know what tomorrow will bring. Tonight? Tonight was a no sale. People are putting their dreams on hold.

I pray that, if you are facing financial problems, you can find the resources to provide for yourself and your family. I pray that, if you have to put your dreams on hold, you put them where you can easily find them later. I pray that you face life realistically but that you will not lose hope.


Are you facing a rough time financially? Do you know where to turn for help?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.

LET US PRAY (This prayer is written using Psalm 27)

I lift my prayer to the Lord, my light and salvation. You are the stronghold of my life and I call upon your strength to protect me against the things I fear. Although I am suffering because of evil men and circumstances I could not control, I am confident that my heart will not fear. I ask only one thing of you Lord. I want to dwell in your house all the days of my life. If I dwell in your house, I will be safe when trouble comes. You will be my shelter and my rock. Hear my voice and be merciful. Lead me on a straight path. I am confident that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I will wait for the Lord. I will be strong and I will wait for the Lord. Amen

Friday, October 03, 2008



David asked, "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?"

"There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet."

When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, "Mephibosheth!"

"Your servant," he replied.

"Don't be afraid," David said to him, "for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat ay my table."

Mephibosheth bowed down and said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?"


Vacation is over and it is back to reality. Back to office work. Back to doing laundry. Back to sleeping in our own bed. (Oh, I love to travel but it sure is nice to find that comfortable spot, fix your pillow just so and pull the blanket up the first night home.) Back to Bible Study.

While we were away, we missed two weeks of a Bible Study. Beth Moore's study "A Heart Like His." This is the study of David and I am finding out that I am like David. And sometimes I am like Saul. If you have never read 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, try it. There are amazing parts. There are bloody parts. There are parts that are hard to understand, but these books do apply to our lives. Saul became jealous and worked to kill David. No one may be trying to take your physical life, but, as you read these books, realize that your spiritual and eternal life is always being threatened.

My blog this week will be comments I wrote in the margins as I have studied --

David was strong and tender. He could tend the sheep, play a harp and slay giants. A question was, "Do you think you possess both qualities of tenderness and strength?"

My answer: As a wife and mother, you have to be both. Actually, we all have to be both. I put on many Band-Aids, after softly cleaning the scrapes, and then demanded that jumping off the tree/the bike/or other non-safe activity would not be allowed. I did not shed a tear at my mother's funeral because I was tending our grown children and then cried when I no longer needed a "stiff upper lip." I think we use tenderness and strength as the situation demands. I can be strong during an emergency and cry at a Hallmark commercial. We just do what is required.

David and Jonathan, Saul's son, had become friends. They had a covenant between them and when Jonathan was killed, David grieved for his friend. He did not have a friend to turn to for comfort. The question was, "Have you ever experienced a loss only time could heal?"

My answer: My Grandma. I remember going to school and being told, "Why are you upset? You only lost your Grandma." What people failed to realize is that I lost my center - my guide. The one stable person in my life. Grandma led me to faith. She started me on my walk, even if she didn't realize it. Healing? I was a teenager. And a teenager in a house where emotions and feeling were NEVER discussed. The loss. The grief. They were never acknowledged.

David did grieve for Jonathan and he wanted to do something to honor him. First, he had to find someone of the house of Saul. He found Mephibosheth. A cripple. A nobody. A person of no worth since the house of Saul had lost everything. Then he told Mephibosheth that he would eat as his table. This cripple would eat at the table like one of the king's sons. (Verse 11)

This made me wonder how I will feel when called to the King's table. To sit with God.

My Dear Heavenly Father, I approach your table on feet that have walked on the path of sin. With hands that have stayed close to my sides instead of giving bread to the hungry and water to the thirsty. With eyes that have refused to see injustice and a tongue which has not defended your children. I bring ears that have not heard the cries of the needy. I come before you with a heart that reserved love for only a few. I bring a body racked with guilt over my actions. But when I arrive at your table, the only thing you see is your crippled child clean and whole. Forgiven. You see your daughter and you invite me to eat at your table. To eat at your table as the King's Daughter.

I know this is a long blog and different than most, but I have been so moved during this study. And there are four more weeks!! I wonder what we will find out about David next. We have seen David learn and grown. We have seen him run from God and turn to God. We have seen him dance in the streets and invite a cripple to his table. I know about Bathsheba, so I have a feeling we are going to see a new part of David's character.


There are three questions in this blog. Go back to them. How would you answer them?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


O Lord God Almighty, This is how David addressed you and he is correct. You are almighty. Sometimes that scares me. It makes me wonder why an Almighty God would want to make sure I come to His table. Thank you for Your Son. It is because of Jesus that I can come before you. Come before you clean and whole. Leaving my crippled self behind and taking my place at Your table. Sitting down as a child of the King. … Amen