The Ignorant Battle Cry of Christians

shutterstock_148970525Recently, people of faith all over the world celebrated the resurrection of their Lord and Savior.  They celebrated the God who loved us all so much that He was willing to take on a human body, suffer more than anyone has ever suffered, and die the most horrible, unspeakable death for us because He loved us and wanted us to be free.   You’d think this would inspire these same people of faith to try to live more closely to the teachings of the One in which they have put their faith, but that doesn’t always happen.

Recently, I listened to a member of the clergy speak publicly with such venom and hatred for people who were different, believed differently, or God forbid, were “them old sinners.”  When it started, it was almost humorous, because it seemed almost like a caricature of what the media portrays Christians to be.  But as I continued to listen, humor turned to surprise, then to disappointment and finally to disgust.  All I wanted to do was to shout out, “You are the problem!”  Because the truth is that God loves ALL the world and every single person in it.  He loves those we would classify as “good” as well as those we would say are “bad” (eg. Hitler, Bin Laden, Manson, etc.).  It makes no difference who you are, because in God’s eyes we are all the same.  No matter what we do or engage in, or how we choose to live our lives, He loves us with everything He has.  In John 3:16, we are told that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him, will not die, but have everlasting life.”  And then it also tells us that  “God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8).  He loved everyone while we were still rejecting Him.  He loves  us before we are “cleaned up.”  He loves us so much that He died for us WHILE we were rejecting Him.  That’s pretty amazing!

In today’s society, there seem to be more attacks on Christianity, but the truth is we bring much of that on ourselves.  If we weren’t so bitter and mean, maybe it would be a little different.  If we discussed our beliefs from a heart of love and lived the way Christ wants us to live, maybe so many people wouldn’t be so angry.  Make no mistake, Jesus told His followers that the world hated Him and as a result, they would also be hated at times.  (John 15:18-25).  So rest assured there will always be opposition to Christ and those who follow His teachings, but my point is that Jesus was about inclusion, not exclusion.  Jesus was about love not hate.  He never spoke with venom.  He never screamed at people.  He wasn’t about pride;  He was about humility.  He wasn’t about condemnation.  He wasn’t about prejudice of any kind.  He was about love.  shutterstock_247287523And yet I sat there listening to this clergyman shouting loudly and passionately how proud he was that he was raised knowing that abortion is sin and that “homosexuality is an “abomination!”  (Yes, that is a quote!)  He shouted about how we all need to “hold fast to the doctrines of our fathers!”  And inside, I was screaming, “NO, we don’t!!”  What we need to do is to hold fast to the truth of God’s word, not simply what our fathers or grandfathers taught us, or even what we have heard out of the mouths of pastors.  We are to hold fast, true and strong to the truth of God’s word, not man’s.  God has promised that if you seek the truth, you will find it, and you may even do so without a preacher.  I know that statement will be considered heretical to some people, but it is God who reveals the truth to you.  A preacher (or anyone else) can only share scripture and live an example before others, but if you are seeking the truth and you ask God to reveal to you what His word means, then He will.  We must study His word to gain knowledge, but the wisdom and revelation associated with it is a gift.   “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all generously and without reproach.”  (James 1:5)

Every person’s relationship is between that person, God and no one else.  Do our spiritual relationships affect other people?  They most certainly do, and to hear such passionate ignorance delivered in such an unloving attitude – and  to hear people actually cheer out loud – was one of the most disturbing things I have ever witnessed.  God is love, and to sit there listening to someone who claims to be one of His representatives shout in ways that declared certain types of sinners were less holy than him, made me sick to my stomach.  We are ALL sinners and equally guilty and I kept thinking of the story in the Bible (Luke 18:9-14) of a very religious man that was similar.  In a nutshell, this religious, faithful, church-going man prayed out loud so everyone could hear him, “Oh thank you God that I’m not like these other people!  I thank you that I’m faithful.  I thank you that I follow you.  I thank you I’m not like these robbers, evildoers or other terrible people like this man over here!”  The other man he referred to had been standing a distance away by himself and wouldn’t even lift his head and look up toward Heaven.  He beat on his chest and cried out, “Oh God be merciful to me because I’m a sinner!”   Jesus said it was the SECOND man that was justified and honored.  It was the terrible sinner (in the eyes of the religious man) who GOD recognized and honored.   Every time I hear a Christian speaking from a place of prejudice and anger or hate, I think, “How is it possible that people can’t see why their churches are dying?”  People wonder what’s wrong and wonder what they can do or what program they can start to get people to come.  We try all kinds of things.  We keep trying to make people want to come and worship with us, and the biggest thing we are missing in all of it is love.

shutterstock_63532855Why are our churches dying?  They are dying because of US!  They are dying because we don’t love and forgive as God loves and forgives.  They are dying because of men like this who stand up and scream against one particular sin or another.   They’re quick to shout about homosexuality, abortion, drunkenness or drugs, but they don’t shout about gluttony or selfishness.  They don’t shout about the person who overeats or is a workaholic.   They don’t shout about the person that gossips, which to me is one of the most divisive and damaging sins of all.  They  only shout about the things they haven’t done as if that somehow makes them holier than those who have done them.  And then they look down on those people as if to say, “If you will come crawling over broken glass and hot coals to Christ, then you can be saved,  but you’ll never be as good as me.”  Like the mob in the Disney movie, the battle cry of many Christians is, “Kill the beast!” when our battle cry should be, “Love them to death.  Love them above all.  Prefer them above all.  Love as God loved!”

We hear all the time, “Hate the sin but love the sinner,” but God does not give us permission to hate anything or anyone.  We are supposed to forgive the sin and love the sinner.  THAT is what Christ does.   As people of faith, there are certainly things and behaviors we should not engage in, but there isn’t one perfect person on this earth.  And the moment you start thinking more highly of yourself than you ought (Romans 12:3), you will fall.   If someone is engaged in something that is wrong or harmful, then it is our duty to talk with them to help them understand God’s word and the forgiveness in it, but not out of condemnation.  We are to do it (and everything else) out of genuine love.   I can think of nothing more wonderful than a church where everyone is truly welcome.  We need places where anyone and everyone are welcome to come and learn the truth of God’s word.  We need places steeped in neither legalism nor emotionalism, but steeped in truth – truth spoken from the most loving hearts.   Apathy is not killing our churches, hate is.  Apathy is not what is causing former Christians to turn away and say they want no more of church as an organized religion.  It is hate and meanness that is causing it, because no one has experienced more Christian hatred than those sitting in the very same pews of the very same churches.

As I sat in that room recently, listening to hatred and condemnation being spewed, I saw in my mind’s eye, picket signs, megaphones and people shouting “Onward Christian soldiers marching to war!”  When what I really longed for was a very different battle cry – one that says, “Come to me.  Love your neighbor.  Love as I have loved you.  Forgive as I’ve forgiven you.”  We must remember the battle is not between people of faith and atheists.   It is not a war between good people and bad people.  It is not a war between us and “them old sinners,” because you see, WE are “them old sinners.”  It is a war between me and myself.  It is a war between who we are and who we should be.  We must stop spending so much time crucifying everyone who is different or those who may disagree with us.  shutterstock_235743286We must start tending our own garden and pulling our own weeds instead of mowing down crops we don’t think should exist.  We need to simply turn our own hearts to God instead of trying to turn someone else’s, because we CAN’T turn someone else’s heart to God.  Only GOD can do that.  All I can do is to live my life the way Christ would have me to live, and that means to love and forgive above all else.  It means to stand firm on the truth of His word and not just what my parents taught me or what preachers have said from the pulpit.  I must stand on what God himself has revealed to me through prayer and study, by verifying for myself those things that someone else has said.

There is a Christian battle cry today and it is ignorant and idiotic.  It is bitter, hurtful and mean.  It is condemning, and Jesus was never any of those things.  We need to start loving more.  We need to stop hating the sin but loving the sinner.  It is time to forgive the sin and love the sinner.  That’s what we are called to do.  That should be our true battle cry.

I pray that all of us, especially people of faith, will have our eyes and hearts opened to the truth that love builds bridges.  Love tears down walls.  Love allows people to listen and softens them so it is easier for that “still, small voice” to touch them.  I pray that we will finally stop trying to scream the truth and just simply start living it.

Blessings!

I Like Big “Buts”…

And I cannot lie.  If you’re truthful with yourself, you could probably say the same thing.   Most of us have heard things like “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas!”  Boy, isn’t that the truth?  But where “ifs” come as a result of speculation and wishing, “buts” come from a very different place.  “Buts” come from a place of excuses and self-deception.  For example, we all like to sit around and wish and dream of things being different in our life or in our world (“IF I could just save more money, I’d be less stressed”), but we seldom do anything about it (“BUT I just love to shop.”)  The first part of that sentence is a factual statement about what you would like to do.  The second part, though also factual, is your way of rationalizing behavior that will always prevent your dream from coming true.

shutterstock_211760386“Buts” steal our joy and strength in every area:  emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually and cause us to waste our time always stuck in the world of “ifs.”  I have news for you; that doesn’t make you a “dreamer,” it simply makes you lazy.  Am I a dreamer? Absolutely!  I love to think about possibilities and ways to make the world better, but if I never take steps to actually make the world better, then I am no longer a dreamer;  I am an “iffer.”  A dreamer can stretch out into the land of possibilities and come back with amazing ways to do accomplish those things; an “iffer” simply lives in the land of possibilities with no intention of coming back and making things different.  We should never degrade the term “dreamer” by making it a costume for our “ifs.”  True dreamers seek ways to bring their dreams to life, where “ffers” simply seek dreams as a way of escaping life, and that’s where the “buts” come in.

“But” is a conjunction that is used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned.  From a spiritual standpoint, it can often be said that whatever comes after the “but” is sin.  That’s because we use it in the following mindset (fill in your own blanks):  “I know I should do _____ but ______.”  We make statements regarding things that God has put in black and white (or red and white) that He wants us to do.  How many times have you heard these types of statements come out of your (or someone else’s) mouth?

  • I know I should serve God, but I don’t have the time.
  • I know God wants me to have a relationship with Him but it takes too much energy.
  • I know I should give, but I don’t have enough money.
  • I know I should love my enemies, but they don’t deserve it.

And then there are statements around things that we feel called to do, but cannot get a direct answer written in black and white in God’s word:

  • I believe God wants me to teach, but I don’t speak well.
  • I feel called to join the choir or worship team, but I just don’t have time to practice.
  • I believe God is moving me into another line of work, but I’ll make less money.

There are so many things that we miss out on in life because of the word “but.”   As a person of faith, it is one of the most damaging words we can ever utter.   It is far more damaging than other words we use because it neutralizes us.  It neutralizes our relationship with God, and it neutralizes our witness to others.  It keeps us confined and holds us captive, and yet I have to admit far too often that I like big “buts.”

shutterstock_189351380The truth is, “buts” make me feel better about myself, or at least create the illusion for me that I feel better.  They put a nice-looking coat over the rags of disobedience, unfaithfulness or even fear.  They make me feel better about acting wrongly or making improper decisions.   “Buts” also make me feel validated about things I fear.  Instead of admitting I’m scared to step out on faith, I use the word “but.”  For me personally, I have felt called to preach, teach and minister to others since I was about 10 years old.  Being a woman, there are some (maybe even many) who would try to tell me God reserves the call of any kind of public ministry only to men.  I, however, believe it is up to God to call whoever HE chooses to the service He has actually created them to undertake.  I have believed for over 37 years that God was calling me to a greater depth of service to Him in these areas, but I might lose friends over forging ahead especially when the opportunities may be scarce to do so.  People might criticize my choices, even if I believe I am following God’s call.  Actually there is no “might” about it; people WILL criticize my choices when it doesn’t align with their opinion of what I should do or be.  So instead of leaping completely into what I feel called to do, I dabble in it.  I go through stages of full commitment until the thought of what I might lose by going further scares me.  And that’s when my stutter returns.   “But…but…but…”

We use “but” like some kind of expensive perfume that we can pour over our fears, anger, disobedience, etc. to try and make it smell better.  I say expensive, because it really does cost us so much when we use it.  The truth is if we didn’t like “buts” so much, we wouldn’t use them so often.  It just goes on and on, and then we complain that our lives are full of stress, debt, poor health or poor relationships.  If we could remove the negative use of that word from our vocabulary – if I could remove it from mine –my life would start changing, because what we say becomes reality for us.  We need to start owning our decisions, including the thought process that leads up to them!  Quit making excuses, and start putting a period after the first half of your statements.   If you say, “I believe I need to do ____,” then put a period at the end of that phrase and consider how you can accomplish what you believe you need to do.  If you don’t feel strong enough to move forward yet, then at least call it what it is after the word “but.”  Say “I believe I need to do ____, but I’m too scared” or “but I choose not to.”

shutterstock_199190972I’ll leave you with this: there is a way to redeem the word and use it to EMPOWER you!  Change your thinking.  Start using the word “but” to contrast your negative statements instead of your positive ones.

  • I’m afraid to step out on faith, but God said He would always be with me.
  • I’m worried about my finances, but He has promised to take care of me if I seek Him first.
  • Someone hurt me, but I will not let them keep me from loving others.
  • I have wasted so much of my life, but today is a new day.
  • I haven’t fulfilled my dreams yet, BUT nothing is going to stop me now!

“But,” in itself, is neutral.  It’s what we do with it that makes it positive or negative.   It’s my prayer that we can all start living the life of which we’ve always dreamed.   It’s time to let go of the past and move forward.  It’s time to get off our “buts!”

Blessings!

Living in the Center of His Wheel

shutterstock_164791247Many people of faith are familiar with the story of the potter and the clay found in the Bible (Jeremiah chapter 18).  We’ve heard the account of how the potter was working to create something, but the clay became marred.  Instead of thinking the clay was ruined or worthless, or instead of getting frustrated and giving up, the potter simply started over remaking the clay into a useful vessel.   Often this story is used as an example of how God never gives up on us, and that is a good and proper picture, but I was thinking about a more specific aspect of the work of the potter that stands out for me.  Pressure.

If you’ve ever worked with pottery (and I have), you understand that it takes complete and total focus.  You also understand that one of the most frustrating things is when the clay gets off-center and becomes out of balance.  You are going along, trying to create something beautiful, but the moment it is out of balance, everything starts falling apart.  Sometimes it happens so quickly, and you find yourself with nothing but a lump that is unrecognizable.  Or maybe as the wheel spins, you find a rock or some other hard substance that can’t just be worked around, and you have to stop everything to remove it and then start over from the beginning.  Either of these things can be disappointing or downright maddening because you only have two choices: 1) Get mad, give up and throw the clay away, or 2) form the clay back into a lump, put it back on the wheel and start over.

shutterstock_97981301It is interesting to consider the change in the amount of pressure a potter must use in order to make the clay into something recognizable, useful and beautiful.  In the beginning, even if the clay has been placed in the very center of the wheel, it starts to become out of balance when the spinning begins.  The potter uses water to make the clay easier to mold, then wraps his hands around it and puts strong pressure in a confined manner to guide it into balance.  A vessel cannot be created until the clay is balanced and centered, but once that happens, the true artwork begins.  Throughout the process, pressure is continually applied in one way or another or to one degree or another.  It is pressure that creates the beautiful intricacies or restores the balance.  But this one thing is for certain: the potter must keep working until the vessel is complete.  There is no stopping in the middle and coming back to it later.  It must either be completed or abandoned.  And the pressure, whether great or barely noticeable, is continually necessary because even with the most masterful artist, the clay can become out of balance at the slightest touch.  When that happens, he must stop creating and spend a little time applying just the right pressure in just the right way to bring everything back into balance.  The same is so true in our lives.

We all endure pressure in life.  It may come in the form of circumstances beyond our control or as a result of poor decisions we make, but it WILL come.  When we feel the pressure, our human nature causes us to become out of balance.  We worry and fret over what we should do.  We get angry over how we have been mistreated.  We get depressed over our lack of ability to change or fix something.  We spin and spin and eventually realize how out of balance we really are.  If only we would realize that God is the master potter and we really are the clay.  He isn’t some mean ogre who is trying to make things difficult for us or punish us.  He actually said He came so that we could have life abundantly!  This world is full of situations and circumstances that will wear us down if we focus on them, but God has promised over and over that if we will simply seek Him first, He will take care of everything else.  That doesn’t mean our lives will be free of trouble, but it means we have a loving Father who is masterfully, patiently and continually creating something amazing, no matter how many times He has to start over.

shutterstock_130134731Pressure in our lives never feels good.  We try to avoid it any time we can but maybe we just need to change the way we think about it.  When we start feeling pressure in our lives, it isn’t time for us to stiffen up and fight against it.  It’s time for us to relax into the potter’s hands and let Him use that pressure for our good.   The most difficult and challenging times for us may be exactly the pressure we need to restore our balance.  The bad decisions we may have made in our lives don’t render us useless or of no value.  Our circumstances don’t destroy us because the Potter has promised to never abandon us.  (“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5) He has also promised to finish what He starts!  (“He who began a good work in you is faithful and just to complete it.”  Philippians 1:6).

It is important for us to remember God doesn’t cause problems or imbalance in our lives; He simply applies loving pressure when necessary to RESTORE balance.  He continually has us in His loving hands, purposely working all things out for our ultimate good.  Whatever any of us are going through right now may not feel good.  The pressure may feel unbearable and no matter how we try, we can’t seem to find a way to make things work out. We spend our energy focusing on all that’s wrong or what we don’t have and then wonder why we are fatigued and depressed.  If only we could realize the only job of the clay is to be moldable. If only we were more willing to relax, the pressure wouldn’t seem so unbearable.  If only we would spend more of our time being grateful for the fact we are in our Father’s hands, and realize He is working to make our lives amazing and abundant, we would find it so much easier to breathe.   After all, being in the center of His will really means being in the center of His “wheel.”

And the sooner we soften under the Potter’s touch, the sooner our lives shift from becoming a work of restoration to becoming a work of art.

Blessings!

Summertime and the Livin’ is…

shutterstock_125617796It’s hard to believe we are already heading into the traditional months of summer, yet here we are!   As a singer, I can’t help but think of the song “Summertime” when we reach this time of the year, though I’m not always sure we can all say the livin’ is easy.  Regardless of what actual season we are in, we have seasons to our lives as well.  Sometimes those seasons bring great times of abundance, and sometimes the seasons bring times of want/need.   In spite of this reality, we actually can live above our circumstances or in spite of our “seasons.”

Summertime is traditionally viewed as a time filled with fun and relaxation.  The daylight lasts longer, people take vacations, kids are out of school and there is an abundance of activities in which we can engage and enjoy.  Aside from the heat in some places, there’s not much to keep us from doing anything we want.  Wintertime, on the other hand, often prevents us from feeling quite as free to enjoy life.  shutterstock_182019791The weather is cold or wet, and it gets dark early so there’s less time for being outside, even if you can stand the elements.  Life is much the same way.  When the “weather” of life’s circumstances turns dark and cold, we have a choice in how we react to it.  We can bundle up and trudge out into it, determined to get where we are going, or we can snuggle up inside our homes and ride out the storm.  What we do NOT need to do is run out into the elements without any protection!  As children of God, we have the ability to lay back and rest in His arms and trust Him to take care of us no matter how the circumstances may appear.  He is our protection and has promised to work everything out for our good.  Sometimes the winters of our lives exist to help us reduce the frenetic pace of our lives and slow down.  In the “winter” of life, we are faced with difficulties that remind us our true power lies in letting go of our need to control everything.  Winter takes us down, sometimes against our will, but it sets the stage for the eventual summer that is just around the corner.

shutterstock_116510107Summer is, in fact, a wonderful time for most people.  I actually prefer the dreariness of storms and winter, but I love the longer days of summer and all that comes with them.  That being said, just because summer is here doesn’t guarantee the “livin’ is easy.”   When things are going well in our lives, we tend to be happier, more peaceful and even more content.  We are quick to praise God for His blessings and our faith seems to be stronger than ever, but as time goes on it becomes easier and easier to forget that all we have is a blessing from our Heavenly Father.  We start relying on our own abilities and strengths and even forfeit our time with God because we feel less and less need for Him.  After all, things are going great, right?  I don’t say this to pass judgment but to point out that we are ALL human and we ALL fall into these same patterns as believers.  And when we reach the point where we begin to think more highly of ourselves than we ought (Romans 12:3), we will quickly find ourselves in the midst of another storm that brings us back to our knees.

Like the apostle Paul, we need to learn how to live in times of plenty and abundance just as much (or even more so) than living in times of need.  In our times of need, we cling to God.  We refocus our priorities and get back to what is important.  We simplify our world as much as possible because we don’t have much of a choice.  Times of need have a tendency to bring us back to our true center much more than times of plenty.  In times of abundance, our human nature is to become complacent and comfortable.  We rely on our own self-sufficiency and lean less and less on God.  We are blessed with material gain but that gain soon becomes the reason we don’t have time to spend in study and prayer with the One who created us.  There is nothing wrong with material gain and it is not bad to abound!  God WANTS us to have a truly abundant life but that abundance comes through our faith and trust in Him and not in ourselves.   It comes in the peace and joy of knowing God is in control and is working everything out for our good, whether our circumstances seem “good” or “bad” to us.  If we can learn, like the apostle Paul, how to be constant and stable whether in times of plenty or of need, THAT is when our lives become filled with abundance.

shutterstock_150252494The actual season of summer is upon us and I pray it is a beautiful time for everyone.  But more than that, I pray it becomes a reminder that just because the sun is shining, doesn’t mean we should forget the storms we have weathered or the “winter” storms those around us may be trudging through.  Let us open our hearts and allow the summertime to remind us that even when the livin’ seems easy, the difficulties and pain our Heavenly Father endured for us to enjoy the warmth of the good times in life, cost Him more than we can comprehend.

Blessings!

A Special Request

shutterstock_176623409Sometimes life can really throw us curveballs…and these days I often feel like I am definitely having trouble with the curve!  We all have times when it seems as if the challenges keeps pouring down over our heads to the point we truly think we might drown. When these times hit us, it is easy to lose sight in the storms and start thinking there’s just no way we can make it through.  We get frustrated, overwhelmed or just downright depressed.  Even if we try to keep ourselves going in public, we privately find it hard to even catch a breath.  Trouble and challenges find us no matter how much we try to avoid them.  We can certainly make ourselves vulnerable to more difficulties through our choices, but sometimes all the things we see as difficulties are really a chance for us to grow.  Yeah, I know.  I don’t like the fact that’s the truth either!

Many of you have read my most recent book titled “How We Said Goodbye.”  Though it was the story of the journey I made with my friend Annette, in it I also shared the circumstances surrounding my dear friend Sandy and how cancer reared its ugly head in her world a couple of years ago.  It has been an amazing journey with all kinds of treatments since that time, but she has done better than I think most of us expected.  With each new round of treatments there was potential for all kinds of negative and debilitating effects and yet she sailed through with relatively minor issues.  It has been an unspeakable blessing to have seen the progress she has made over the past couple of years.  In January, Sandy was pronounced to be “radiologically” cancer free.  You can imagine the excitement we all felt at such great news after such a difficult journey!  And then it happened….

Sandy had a scan in April that revealed recurrence of her cancer that is necessitating yet another, potentially very extensive, surgery.  In addition to the surgery, the doctors will be performing an IORT procedure (Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy) while she is in the operating room.  It is an amazing procedure where they are able to move vital organs aside while the surgical wound is still open and pinpoint the radiation therapy directly on the site of the cancer.  This may turn out to be a great help to her prognosis.  We are certainly hoping so.

d sandyBecause Sandy really hates the limelight, I realize I might get slapped by her for what I’m about to say, but right now she has no control over my fingers so…here I go.  Anyone who knows Sandy or has been around her at all over the past couple of years will tell you she really is one “tough old broad!”  I’ve always known and seen what an amazingly strong person she is, but this journey has proved just how right I was.  But with Sandy, it’s more than just strength…it’s grace.  I’m not saying she doesn’t have moments now and then when things get to her, but to listen to her talk, she has a faith that surpasses that of what most of us claim to have – especially in times of trouble.  She may be human, but she continually looks at the blessings her Heavenly Father has given to her or provided for her during this very difficult time instead of looking at all the things she has to deal with.  It isn’t platitudes or clichés; it is a palpable, authentic trust and gratitude for God’s  love and care for her and her family.  She doesn’t wear rose-colored glasses and she knows exactly what she has been (and is) up against, but she truly lives what she believes…even when she thinks she is caving just a little bit.

Sandy and her family are a family of true faith.  She and her husband (who happens to be a Pastor) have raised their four daughters with great love.  They’ve not had to use words to teach their children (or those around them) what it means to live according to God’s word because they’ve taught them (and us) through their actions.  It is this very rational, logical faith and trust in God that is continuing to sustain them now just as it always has.  To me, that is a beautiful example of what it means to have peace in the midst of the storm.

shutterstock_192108185So speaking of storms and the ones raging around me right now, I suppose it’s time for me to take note of all the blessings in my own life instead of getting so distracted by the wind and waves that seem like they will overtake me.  If Sandy can raise the sails in her storm and harness the wind, I can certainly do better at doing the same in my own.   And as she approaches surgery this Friday, May 23rd at 7:30 a.m., I am asking those of you who are willing, to join us in prayer for Sandy, her family and her medical team (Dr. Nakakura, Dr. Gottschalk and their staff).   Anything is possible and we choose to believe that our Father truly is working things out for His glory and our ultimate good.  The short path is not always what we want to travel, but the reality is we can all breathe easier knowing we are resting in the palm of His hand.

Blessings…and thank you.