Friday, February 22, 2013


NOTE:  The Travel Bug has hit us, so – unless another snow storm hits – we are going to do a bit traveling.  I will not be posting any blogs during March.  So, during March, look around your world.  Find reminders of God around your home.  At work.  As you look out the window. God is always there.  -- Celebrate each day,  Mary


Our church is doing a study on the book Soul Shift, by Steve DeNeff and David Drury. Last week’s chapter was titled Slave To Child and it made for some good discussion. There was a sentence that said, “We don’t need others to tell us our identity.” What I wrote in the margin was, “Or do we become what people tell us we are?”

As I was preparing the lesson, I really thought about this. Do we live our lives based on how others describe us? On what other people think of us? Do we remember the good things people tell us? Or do we get a death grip on the negative and allow it to shape our whole lives?

If someone calls you dumb, do you quit trying to learn? If someone tells you to shut up, do you decide you will never try to express your opinion again? If someone says your child is not good enough, do you feel like a failure as a parent?

Not to boast but my margin drawings during a Bible Study are rather famous. Oh, not because they are good! But because I am brave enough to show them. This is my drawing of things we might hear.


How would you feel if these things had been said to you? Were any of these said to you? Do you say them to others? If so, how will they feel?

Do you think it matters who we listen to? What if you were told you are chosen? Or that you are confident. What if you were called a saint?



Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God


Wow --- If you grew up hearing that you are loved. That you are special. That you are a Child of God. You are one lucky person!!

But wait (just like the infomercial there is a bonus coming) -- It is not too late! You have a choice. You can listen to the world. OR You can choose to listen to a Father that loves you.

LET US PRAY: Please read the following as your prayer. This is from Soul Shift but I have reworded so it will be personal.

O Lord,

I don’t think I am worth much. I don’t value the body You have given me, but You call my body a temple where the Holy Spirit lives.

I say I cannot ask for much, that I should be as humble as slaves in a throne room; You say I can approach the throne of grace with confidence.

I feel empty; You say I am given all the fullness.

I feel condemned for my sin and figure I am stuck with my sins and dirty little habits; You say I am free -- no longer condemned. You chose me to be holy and blameless in Your sight.

You say I am a saint.

You say I am Your child.

O Lord, help me listen to you and become who I really am.


Friday, February 15, 2013



Ash Wednesday: February 13

Palm Sunday: March 24

Good Friday: March 29

Easter: March 31

As you read that list, did you think ashes, palm branches, cross and Easter Bunny? Easter brings to mind so many things but everything, except the Easter Bunny, can be summed up with one word: SURRENDER.


>> To give up into the power of another

>> Declare yourself defeated: to declare to an opponent that he or she has won so that fighting or conflict can cease

>> To restore before expiration of the term

>> To give up or give back (something that has been granted)

Jesus surrendered his life so we could surrender ours, but we sure do fight that surrender. We want to hold back. We don’t want to give in.

Give up into the power of another: It is so hard to admit we cannot accomplish everything on our own. What relief we receive when we surrender to the power of God.

Declare yourself defeated so fighting/conflict can cease: God has a special plan just for you. He has one for me too. The conflict comes in when we (that would be you and me) try to make our plan more important than His. Listen close because I am going to whisper a secret to you. Ready? God’s plan is better! When we surrender our plan our conflict with God will end. (Now that doesn’t mean His plan will be easy for us. It just means we surrender and know God will help us get through.)

Restore before expiration: Well that one is easy. Surrender before we die, because then it is too late.

To give up or give back something that has been granted: God granted us life but to receive eternal life, we must surrender this life.


Yup. Easter is all about surrender. Think about that as you prepare for Easter Sunday when we celebrate the surrender on the cross and the resurrection that followed.

God surrendered His Son. Jesus surrendered His life. Are you ready to surrender?


All to Jesus, I surrender;

Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;

Let me feel the Holy Spirit,

Truly know that Thou art mine.

I surrender all, I surrender all,

All to Thee, my bless'd Savior,

I surrender all.


Judson W. Van DeVenter (1855-1939) wrote the words to the hymn I Surrender All. You can go to this link to read about this man.

Friday, February 08, 2013


Do you ever drive down a road you travel a lot and say, “When did that house get there?” Then you realize it is probably 50 years old. Why hadn’t you seen the house last week? Or the week before that? Or yesterday?

The answer: Familiarity. As you drove down that road, time after time after time, the house became familiar and blended in with everything around it. You also quit noticing the pond that sparkles when the sun hits it. And the beautiful garden with tall corn and red peppers. And you drive right by that house because you are used to seeing it.

Until that day when all of a sudden, “When did that house get there?” Something just a bit different caught your eye. Maybe the sun was shining on the windows or maybe there was a car pulling out of the drive. For whatever reason, you saw it.

Familiarity can be good. It makes us feel safe. It sets the norm. Familiarity means we know what to expect.

But familiarity can be bad. We can stay where it is safe and never grow. The norm can become boring. And we take the expected for granted.

Familiarity can be dangerous. The road becomes so familiar that we quit paying attention and could have a wreck. A safe, familiar life can mean missed opportunities. Familiarity with our family/friends/home/church -- with our God -- can mean we take them for granted. We become so familiar with family/friends/home/church -- with God --


We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.


Do not drift away. Yes, this verse says to pay careful attention to what we have heard but it does apply to familiar things in our lives. We need to pay careful attention to our family/friends/home/church -- to our God -- so they do not become so familiar that they blend in with everything around us. If that happens, one day we will say, “Where did they go? I don’t remember when I quit seeing them.”


Open your heart. Talk to God.

Friday, February 01, 2013


One of my pet peeves is that everyone calls to remind you of your appointment.

  • “Hello, this is the dentist office and I am calling to remind you of your 7:45 appointment tomorrow morning.”
  • “This is a courtesy call to remind you that your prescription is ready to be filled.”

I want to tell them, “I am an adult. I have a calendar. I know!”

I received one of those calls yesterday. Bill said, “The lady from Timbercrest called to remind you about speaking the 12th and to see if you have a choice of hymns.” The 12th? I am to speak the 15th. I have it on my calendar. And I did.

But when I called back, they had me down for the 12th, so the 12th it will be. My bad? I don’t know. I am just glad I was called and reminded or I would have been a few days late. And they would have wondered why I wasn’t there.


John 10:3-4 -- The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.


Okay, so some calls keep us from missing out. One call I know I do not want to miss -- When the gate is opened, when the Shepherd calls me by name -- I want to receive that call!

What about you? The Shepherd knows your name. Do you know the Shepherd’s voice?

LET US PRAY (Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.)

Dear Shepherd, I pray I am never too busy or too far away to hear my named called. I pray my Spirit will always recognize Your voice. Amen