Friday, December 31


Read Psalm 37

Long ago, little girls were very good at pretend. Plastic dolls and dress-up clothes and microphone spoons were their props as they rocked and twirled and sang, dreaming of what was to come. Time marched on, and the little girls grew. The props fell away and new ones took over–diapers and blankets and pacifiers, only the babies weren’t plastic this time.

The mommy-girls smiled as their babies grew, and one day they noticed their little baby-girls rocking and twirling and singing, practicing their future. And the mommies remembered their own dreams. Some smiled at the power of a dream, recognizing their former toys as their current tools, and whispered, “Dream on, sweet child.” Other mommies suddenly remembered a tucked away dream and dusted it off with excitement. But some mommies barely breathed, surprised that forgotten dreams now remembered hovered with the scent of unrealized longing.

Wednesday, December 29

Seeing the Fog Lift

Read Psalm 121

This morning I have a cold. The fog is rolling over the hills and just now at noonish the sun is just hardly coming through the mist. I've had the regular morning of pulling two toddlers out of a billion different disasters and instructing older children in chores and homework. It's emotionally exhausting.


My second born son was going through the typical second born syndrome of saying life isn't fair and how come the first born gets to do things he doesn't do and how come life is just generally unfair. . . Robert very graciously took him to work with him today.

Not sure that is a second born syndrome after all. But maybe a human syndrome.

Tuesday, December 28


Read James 1:19-27

You can't fool them, you know.

Two pudgy hands cup left cheek and right, turn your face to demand your eyes laser lock onto hers, and she whisper-stomps "Mama, you're not listening...!"

Technically, you’re right when you coo, “Yes I am, honey, I can just do two things at once,” because you did hear her; but she’s right because you weren’t listening.

Monday, December 27

Silent Night

The phrase repeats itself over and over again in his mind:

Silent night, holy night,
Stille nacht, heilige nacht.

Father Joseph Mohr, Parish Priest

It's the first line from a poem this young Austrian priest had written two years before. Now he can't get the phrase out of his mind. "Silent night, holy night."

Saturday, December 25

The Christmas Guest (Saturday Special)

Holiday Joy

It happened one day near December's end
Two neighbors called on an old friend
And they found his shop so meager and lame
Made gay with a thousand bows of green

Friday, December 24

Merry Christmas!

 1-5About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancĂ©e, who was pregnant.

Thursday, December 23

Light of the Whole World: The Shepherds' Story

Posted by Andrea from The Jesus Story Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones

Read Luke 2

God was like a new daddy--he couldn't keep the good news to himself. He'd been waiting all these long years for this moment, and now he wanted to tell everyone.

...Now he was going to send a big choir of angels to sing his happy song to the world: He's here! He's come! Go and see him. My little boy.

Now where would you send your splendid choir? To a big concert hall maybe? Or a palace perhaps?

God sent his to a little hillside, outside a little town, in the middle of the night. He sent all those angels to sing to a raggedy bunch of shepherds watching their sheep outside Bethlehem.

...God must have thought the shepherds were very important indeed, because they were the ones he chose to share the good news with first.

Monday, December 20

The Gold and Ivory Tablecloth

Read Matthew 1:17-24

by Howard C. Schade
Reader's Digest Article, 1954

At Christmas time men and women everywhere gather in their churches to wonder anew at the greatest miracle the world has ever known. But the story I like best to recall was not a miracle -- not exactly.

It happened to a pastor who was very young. His church was very old. Once, long ago, it had flourished. Famous men had preached from its pulpit, prayed before its altar. Rich and poor alike had worshipped there and built it beautifully. Now the good days had passed from the section of town where it stood. But the pastor and his young wife believed in their run-down church. They felt that with paint, hammer, and faith they could get it in shape. Together they went to work.

Saturday, December 18

Saturday Special: A Social Network Christmas

This video is an artistic take on how the story of the nativity might have read had a social network existed at the time of Jesus's birth. Follow this historical period as it unfolds as a digital narrative. This vignette is great for highlighting the truths and circumstances of our Savior's birth in a fresh, unique way. 

Friday, December 17

Blessed Be the Name of The Lord

This is an oldie from my personal blog. I wrote it back in 2008 when I had two children. I can really see how time has flown since the baby I was snuggling fresh from her crib is a non-stop talking 3 year old now. The days can seem long and it's easy to think that time isn't passing at all. Perspective is good and I am thrilled to see the blessings as I look back through the years. God gives and takes away. Please read Ecclesiates 3 about a time and purpose for everything. “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).

-- Alysun

A Time To Rock

The baby was squawking from her crib and I entered her room to get her. Mandy is a very loving girl and I always expect a hug after her rests. As usual, she wrapped her chubby, baby arms around my neck and laid her head on my shoulder. It had been a busy and frustrating day, so I sat down to enjoy the love in the funny colored, peach rocking chair with ink on the arm in the corner of her room. Even as she lay on me, I observed many different things I should be doing: there was the bottle of milk that lay upside down on the floor dripping hours old milk, 2 boxes of baby clothes begging to be organized and put back in the closet, a laundry basket full of folded sweet girl clothes needing to be put into drawers, and there was Emma who burst into the room with a look on her face that said, "What are you doing giving love away to my sibling and not me?"

Thursday, December 16

Love so Amazing, so Divine

Read 1 Corinthians 13

Someone asked a talk-show hostess if she thought God loved her. She was taken aback by the question. It came at her out of left field, even though as a well known conservative, she was accustomed to being asked shocking questions. She answered the question as honestly as she knew how. The question is meaningless, she said, because that’s not enough.

Not enough? The way I read the Bible says not only is it enough, but it is the foundation upon what everything else is built.

“We love,” 1 John 4:19 says, “because he first loved us.”

She said love must be reciprocal or it is not love at all. The Word of God contends the truest form of love is that which is not returned. “Love you enemies” (Luke 6:27).

There is no such thing as unconditional love, she argues. But the Bible tells us the way we love isn’t enough. Showing love for the sake of being a good person gets us exactly nowhere in the eyes of God the Father. Our righteous acts are like filthy rags.

Jesus did not wait until he was in a symbiotic, mutually fulfilling love relationship with every person on the planet before he sacrificed his life to save us. “While we were still sinners--incapable of the heavenly idea of love--Christ died for us.”

Love. As they say in The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

While she officers some good advice, this woman has it all wrong when it comes to love.

Real Love offered all in exchange for nothing.

Of course God desires our love and our devotion. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:27). Not out of duty, obligation or to be a good person and productive member of society should we love. We love because we were first loved and for the sake of love alone.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Three hundred years ago, Isaac Watts penned those words. God has shown unimaginable love for us from the moment he formed Adam from dust and Eve at his side. We should feel compelled to love and adore the One responsible for the very breath we breathe. He delights in the praises of his people. But our relationship will never be reciprocal. We cannot love him enough (even through loving others, as the interviewed woman suggests) to deserve his love.

Unconditional love is an absurd concept. I’ll give her that one. “If you love me, obey my commandments,” Jesus says (John 14:15). His commandments were simple in theory: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:27-28).

As often occurs, the instructions on page 1487 of the New Testament turns out more difficult in practice than theory. Impossible. It’s a good thing then “His Divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

“Through our knowledge of him who called us according to his own glory and goodness,” we are capable of the impossible. Unreciprocated, selfless love.

Tuesday, December 14

An Experiment in Joy

Read Psalm 96

Normally I speed around in my mini-van.

I mean, not really speed {after several speeding tickets about seven years ago I average about 2 miles above or under the posted limit. True story.}

As the holiday season advances, my life speeds and gets continually faster and faster. I spend more and more time in my car, especially as December gets eaten away by Christmas programs and Holiday Parties and making extra sure I have everyone’s gift and plate of cookies ready to go and by the end of it I’m exhausted and spent.

Finally December 24 comes and I stuff little girl legs into tights as we pull the tags off of Christmas dresses together. We rush down the stairs, frantically look for shoes and get everyone in the mini-van {again} to speed off to church.

Where has my December gone? The joy? The slowness of enjoying things and relishing in the quietness in a heart that December should bring?

I decided that this year would be different. 2009 made me want to pack up the kids, get in the car and go anywhere but here for Christmas 2010.

We aren’t jetting off to an undisclosed location to celebrate our holidays {like I wished 11 and a half months ago} but I am figuring out how to celebrate Christmas in a slower, more deliberate way.

Even among the millions of details.
And the Christmas programs,
the nights that are just as busy as the days.

And the Advent calendar candy candy candy every morning for the kids.
I’m looking for JOY.

November was a particularly difficult month for me. I got some bad news. I had some relationship-fractures.

And then I let it all take me down. But, on a day that you prayed for me, I had an idea.

I decided that I would offer up my own self as an experiment. Would intentionally looking for the JOY that is already beneath my fingertips change me? Would spending the entire month of December searching, photographing and watching my life {and the lives of others} for JOY, would that create JOY in my own heart?

I wondered.

It’s called the 100 Joys project. Every day I am intentionally searching for simple but noteworthy joys in my life. I’m photographing them. And I’m counting.

And almost from the beginning the experiment seems to be working.

I’ve had to force myself to stop. And watch. And look. And note the things that make me smile. And if nothing shows its face, I don’t give up. My heart is different than it was 14 days ago.

I’d like to invite you to come along too. It’s not too late: You can slow down. You can rest, even now. And if you look you can find the joy that’s right beneath your fingertips.

Today's post is borrowed from Sarah Markley, a contributor at (in)courage and keeper of a blog called The Best Days of my Life.
Read Isaiah 54

Another post from Molly at Brittle, Crazy Glass. Home recovering after giving birth less than a week ago and already finding the time to be reflective and articulate. The following is actually two posts; separated by about a year. The first post is titled There is a Redeemer, the second is Sweetly Broken. The poem at the end was included in the most recent post.

There is a Redeemer

What a wild week: last Monday I awoke to the news of a friend's death. On Tuesday I checked into the hospital and on Wednesday we welcomed a healthy, beautiful, big (for me) baby boy into the world. We spent the rest of the week acclimating and falling in love with him. On Saturday morning, my mom received word that her ailing father had been taken to the hospital and was being removed from his oxygen, which meant it was only a matter of time before he died. He hung on until early this morning.

Later this morning, HH left me at home with our little guy (we're not supposed to be out in public yet for the sake of both of our health) to attend our friend's memorial service. I wish I could have been there -- it sounds like it was a beautiful service celebrating Christ's beauty as reflected through one of his people. Of course, I would have cried through the whole thing -- I cried through it anyway from home as I sat and held our son and grieved with a woman who had to say goodbye to her own son way too soon.

Death, new life, death. This is the second December in a row that I find myself contemplating death at Christmas.

The poem below speaks to what the Incarnation represents: God himself entering our messy world and beginning the messy and painful process of redeeming all that is broken and painful. As long as we remain here on earth, our griefs will remain; but our grief is sanctified, and we can rest in knowing that the day is coming when all of our tears will be wiped away.

Sweetly Broken

There is a certain rightness about a funeral at Christmas.

Not that a funeral seems right at any time of the year; indeed, it is a jarring reminder of all that is not right. But that is precisely why it felt appropriate to pause on the Saturday before Christmas, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of shopping and baking and mailing and cleaning, to mourn.

It is the close juxtaposition of the two events that brought to light for me this year the "reason for the season."

What does the little baby in my nativity scene signify?

He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isa 9:14).

Wonderful Counselor. Who needs a counselor but the troubled, the vexed, the pained? Her family, her friends, you, me; he is our Wonderful Counselor.

Mighty God. What better demonstration of the need for a Mighty God than the apparent victory of the strongest foe we face in our earthly lives; and who but our Mighty God could have swallowed death in victory?

Everlasting Father. He is unchanging, he is gently caring, and he welcomed our sister -- his beloved daughter -- into eternity.

Prince of Peace. The sermon for the funeral was entitled "Great is Your Peace," after verse 13 of Isaiah 54, a verse specifically selected by M for her own funeral. The chapter is a promise of the joy and shalom that the Messiah will bring. Because of Christmas, we now have peace with God, and we will enjoy a fullness of all-encompassing peace in eternity that we can't even begin to imagine now. Read Isaiah 54 and see if your heart doesn't sing and yearn for that day.

Irenaeus believed that by living through all stages of life -- infanthood, teen years, adult, being born, dying, Christ redeemed each of those stages of life. He is not only with us, but he identifies deeply and personally with each of our sufferings.

I asked a friend at the funeral reception how she was doing? "I'm a mess," she said.

Aren't we all?

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel has come to thee,
O Israel.

 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There is no flock, however watched and tended,
But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside, howsoe’er defended,
But has one vacant chair!

The air is full of farewells to the dying,
And mournings for the dead;
The heart of Rachel, for her children crying,
Will not be comforted!

Let us be patient! These severe afflictions
Not from the ground arise,
But oftentimes celestial benedictions
Assume this dark disguise.

We see but dimly through the mists and vapors;
Amid these earthly damps
What seem to us but sad, funereal tapers
May be heaven’s distant lamps.

There is no Death! What seems so is transition;
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
Whose portal we call Death.

She is not dead,–the child of our affection,–
But gone unto that school
Where she no longer needs our poor protection,
And Christ himself doth rule.

In that great cloister’s stillness and seclusion,
By guardian angels led,
Safe from temptation, safe from sin’s pollution,
She lives, whom we call dead.

Day after day we think what she is doing
In those bright realms of air;
Year after year, her tender steps pursuing,
Behold her grown more fair.

Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken
The bond which nature gives,
Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken,
May reach her where she lives.

Not as a child shall we again behold her;
For when with raptures wild
In our embraces we again enfold her,
She will not be a child;

But a fair maiden, in her Father’s mansion,
Clothed with celestial grace;
And beautiful with all the soul’s expansion
Shall we behold her face.

And though at times impetuous with emotion
And anguish long suppressed,
The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean,
That cannot be at rest,–

We will be patient, and assuage the feeling
We may not wholly stay;
By silence sanctifying, not concealing,
The grief that must have way.

Monday, December 13

Ceaseless Outpourers of Worship

Read Psalm 5

Written by Alyssa, mother of 7, devoted wife to one, who blogs at Resolved2Worship. Borrowed with permission from her candid spiritual journal.

I woke in a fit of self pity this morning. Honestly, I don't like to type that. But honestly, I want to be honest.

But I can't deny the truth - yes, I too am affected by PMS. Ha, I can try super hard and do pretty well covering the affects of my undeniable womanhood but for some reason this time of the month there are two things I struggle most with for just a few days: feeling unappreciated and eating chocolate.

My stomach was cramping, because shoot, after over a decade of pregnancy and nursing... guess what? I actually have a normal cycle. I'm not a moody person, not even much during, ya know, this time of the month. But this morning, for crying out loud (I didn't, but felt like it, crying out loud I mean) I was feeling that unappreciated mommy syndrome.

We women blame a lot of sin on premenstrual tension. Frankly, I think that's lame. I don't like to believe that I could really be affected all that much by something that defines my womanhood so clearly. Not one little bit. That's just a bit humbling to admit or believe.

The first being more difficult to handle.

The second being kind of humorous to me because the rest of the month I don't crave it one little bit, in fact I usually avoid it.

I personally think though that the unappreciated mommy syndrome, though may have something to do with my hormones right now, has a lot more to do with my heart. When I am weaker hormonally I find out sometimes what is really going on deeper below the surface.

"Why do I do what I do?" That's the question I found coming back to me this morning as I was trying to convince myself that getting out of bed was a good idea for today. "For whom do you do it?" That was question number two.

There is something that drives everyone. What is it that drives me? Is there something inside that is merely motivated out of wanting that pat on the back? "Oh Alyssa, you are doin' such a good job!" I'm not saying God hasn't put within each of us to desire appreciation, but is it what drives me and runs my day? Is it what I look for to make my work worth it?

Do I give and do what I do to get something back from my husband and children? Or does unconditional love drive me?

If Jesus and His love isn't what is driving me, then something else is. If it isn't Jesus, then what I am doing is worthless. If Jesus isn't the reason I do what I do as wife and mother, than I'm gonna lose it. I'll have self-pity. I'll be mad. I'll be impatient. I'll be a dork of a mom. And be the kind of wife that drives away her man emotionally, if not in other ways.

What is it that gets me out of bed each morning? It's passion.
But passion for what? Passion for Jesus?

That's what should be getting me out of bed each morning.

It really comes down to what is my idol. What is it that I worship in life? My pastor made a comment that has been going 'round and 'round in my head.

He said, "We're all incurable, ceaseless outpourers of worship. The question is, what is it that we are worshipping? Because if we aren't worshipping God, we will be ceaseless worshippers of someone or something else."

This really hit me. How true! We really are incurable, ceaseless worshippers our whole life long! We're "resolved2worship" alright, but WHAT is it we resolve ourselves to worship... even at times unknowingly, worship? We WILL worship something. But what is it we will choose to worship?

We say as christians that we worship God, but seriously, what is it that drives us? Because what drives us and what we look to for fulfillment is what we worship.

-Is it ourselves?
-our mate?
-our children?
-our reputation and image - what others think of us?
-our good works and what we do and how we live for God?
-money? materialism? shopping?

Here is test to see what drives us, what we worship: What is it that we run to when we feel empty?

I know that's the best test for me. If I wake up on empty, or even just plain PMSin' it, what and who do I run to to fill that feeling of empty? What and who do I ceaselessly worship day and day out?

I want it to be God.

I want it to be the Creator instead of the created. I don't want to idolize my husband or my children or anything else. If I idolize my husband or children I will ceaselessly pour myself into controlling them to give me a good image and or make me happy.

Since we are all incurable, ceaseless outpourers of worship, may we cry out to God that we be an incurable, ceaseless outpourer of worship to HIM alone. Then there is unconditional love pouring out on those around us.

But, oh heart of mine, God is enough! He alone can take away self-pity on an early Monday morning when I have unappreciated mommy syndrome. He alone can fill the empty. He alone should be the ONE that I have an incurable, ceaseless outpouring of worship towards.

So good morning here on Real Life Monday. God, I come as a incurable, ceaseless worshipper. I am empty. I am moody and I want chocolate fudge. I need You. You alone can satisfy me. You are enough.

Friday, December 10

A Victorious Marriage: Little Moments of Win (Part 2 of 2)

Read Romans 7:7-25 (If you read it yesterday, read it again).

Today’s post picks up where yesterday’s left off. If you missed it, read part one here.

Victory in Desires. I struggle here... I suspect that we all do. The progression of an idol shows us that we can have good, innocuous or bad desires. If you have a good or neutral desire but you escalate it to a demand, you are on the path to conflict. The desires can be small; in my teaching during my former life at PM, I would illustrate this with my desire for back rubs from my husband. He was so eager (and good!) to give me back rubs while we were dating and during the first 3 months of our marriage. Then the thrill wore off for him... but not my desire for them. Do I demand backrubs from him and punish him when he doesn't fulfill my demands? Or do I do battle with my desires and recognize where they are leading me? There are little desires like this (I pretty much desire that HH do anything that makes my life easier), and there are big desires that affect major life decisions. As the song says, "You can't always get what you want." I like to think that by training my soul to be victorious over my smaller desires, I am preparing my heart to be victorious over bigger desires/demands as well.

Victory in Asking Nicely. This is a bit of a follow-up to the "desires" bit ... there's nothing wrong with giving my husband the opportunity to meet my desires or to help/serve me. HH is a foot taller than I am; I asked him nicely the other day if he would change some lightbulbs for me -- it's a lot easier for him to reach up to do it than for me to climb perilously on a chair (even more perilous now that I'm 38 weeks pregnant!), and he was happy to comply. What if he hadn't done it right away? Be patient, ask again nicely, or overlook and do it myself. No biggie. Another part of being 38 weeks pregnant is that everything on my body aches, so I now ask him more for the massages that I desire. Nicely, without expectation, and grateful when he finds joy in serving me in this way.

Victory in Gratitude. HH does a lot of things that make my life easier. I haven't had to worry about caring for the outside of our house since we got married (and this after being the sole lawn-mower for 3 years!). He washes my car and puts gas in it. He carries heavy bags for me. He does the dishes that have been building up in the sink for two days while I'm still in bed in the morning! I could go on and on ... I think that the point at which I begin to take these things for granted or expect them is a defeat. To live in gratitude is victory.

Victory in Serving. This is the last one that comes to mind for me right now; I count it a small victory when I get out of my self-centered shell and ask myself, "How can I serve or bless my husband today?" Sometimes it's just being excited to see him and spending time doing what he wants to do; sometimes it's giving him permission to be busy with work or other friends. Sometimes it's writing him a love note or telling him that I'm proud of him; sometimes it's making him lunch. Sometimes it's asking him, "How can I bless you today?" I am living in defeat when my world shrinks to the size of my world (a Paul Tripp-ism, I think); I am living in victory when I reach outside of myself to serve others in love. And that service begins with my nearest neighbor.

Find the little victories in your relationship with your closest neighbor. Live in resurrection power today.

Molly writes for Brittle, Crazy Glass and is a lover of her husband, travel, dogs, mountains, photography, reading, movies, gardening, white chocolate mochas, theology, history, languages and cooking. And she is learning more and more how to be a lover of my Lord and His people.

Thursday, December 9

A Victorious Marriage: Little Moments of Win (Part 1 of 2)

Read Romans 7:7-25

Today’s post is part one of a two part series borrowed from a blog called Brittle Crazy Glass by Molly. Come back tomorrow for a few more victories.

Doesn't the post title "A Victorious Marriage" sound so Joel-Osteen-esque? Don't worry; I'm not channeling my inner-prosperity-gospel-preacher; that's why I added the subtitle, "Little Moments of Win"!

Here's what I mean: I've just been thinking about times in my marriage when I would consider myself "victorious." I'm not talking about times when I "win" (not really) a fight through cruel words or outlasting HH in the silent treatment. I'm talking about spiritual victories, even though they might generally seem so small as to be insignificant. In his book What Did You Expect, one of Paul Tripp's major theses is that marriages are made or broken in the little moments, not the big ones. To that end, I want to celebrate a couple of times when I've consciously thought to myself, "I am so thankful that God has given me the grace to conquer my selfish desires for the sake of my marriage."

Here are a few of those examples:

Victory in the Insignificant. Ken Sande has a great chapter title in The Peacemaker called, "Is this really worth fighting over?" It's a great question. There are a lot of things that I could spend a lot of time getting worked up about. Sometimes I do get worked up, and sometimes I'm more victorious ... I'm talking about the times when HH does or doesn't do something that's a minor inconvenience to me. Maybe he left a dirty napkin or dish sitting on the counter after eating breakfast and I have to throw it away. Maybe he didn't leave his cell phone on and I can't get a hold of him for a few minutes. Maybe he left something sitting in my way in the garage and I have to move it before I can put something else away. It takes me all of five seconds to serve him by taking care of it and not bringing it up to him later (which is essentially a form of punishment). My goal is to not even let these occasions phase me; if they do, my goal is to have the grace to say, "Is this worth getting worked up about" and to serve my husband by taking care of it and moving on without him ever knowing about it.

Victory in Apology. Call me crazy or overly sinful, but every time I work up the nerve to say, "I'm sorry, I was wrong," or "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have spoken to you like that," I count it as a spiritual victory. Because it's hard. Because it still doesn't come naturally. Because it's a conscious choice to live by the fruit of the Spirit rather than the fruit of my flesh. Because it's dying to myself ... and by that death, I promote the life of my soul and the life of my marriage. Don't take it lightly when you apologize to your spouse or when they apologize to you: God's victorious reign in your life is powerfully displayed in those two simple words!

Molly writes for Brittle, Crazy Glass and is a lover of her husband, travel, dogs, mountains, photography, reading, movies, gardening, white chocolate mochas, theology, history, languages and cooking. And she is learning more and more how to be a lover of her Lord and His people. She is also expecting baby #1 any minute now.

Wednesday, December 8

The Same God.

Read: Exodus 14:1-27

While reading from the Storybook Bible to my kids, I was reminded that the God I worship today is the same God in the well-loved Old Testament stories: Noah, Jonah, David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lions Den, and Moses and the Red Sea. Impressive to children, but I need to be impressed too. How could I think for even a moment that God is not up to any of the challenges in my little life?

“In front of them was a big sea. It was so big there was no way around it. But there was no way through it – it was too deep. They didn’t have any boats so they couldn’t sail across. And they couldn’t swim across because it was too far and they would drown. And they couldn’t turn back because Pharaoh was chasing them. They could see the flashing swords now, glinting in the baking sun, and the dust clouds, and chariot after scary chariot surging towards them. So they did the only things there was left to do – PANIC!

Monday, December 6

Monday's Mantra

Read Psalm 91

You know it is going to be a long day when you are woken up by a child wearing a tiger mask and asking you where the scissors are. The sharp ones, specifically. So you pull yourself out of bed and your foot lands directly in a mysterious wet spot. Of course it does. It's Monday after all.

Head to the bathroom to find your one year old playing trucks on the toilet seat and laughing like a crazy person every time one falls in.

Friday, December 3


Pluto got bumped. Cut from the first team, demoted from the top nine. According to a committee in Prague, this outpost planet fails to meet solar system standards. They downgraded the globe to asteroid #134340. Believe me, Pluto was not happy… Can’t fault Pluto for being ticked. One day he’s in, the next he’s out; one day on the squad, the next day off. We can understand his frustration. Some of us understand it all too well. We know what it’s like to be voted off. Wrong size. Wrong color. Wrong address.


Thursday, December 2


Read Psalm 91 

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Have you ever read a passage of scripture only to wonder how it could possibly be true? This week as I read through Psalm 91, a passage that generally offers comfort, I wondered.

Wednesday, December 1

On Being Forgotten

Read Isaiah 49

Destination: The Lost Forty. I hadn’t been there for twenty years, but I remembered a trail a few miles from the cabin that I wanted to rediscover. I missed a turn or two, but we soon found our way to the untouched forest. It was as beautiful as I remembered.

What I didn’t remember was the story behind the forest’s name. “The Lost Forty” is a forty acre piece of land that was never surveyed when the government was mapping out this region. Here’s the short story: In the 1880’s, Josiah A. King and his three person crew were living off of a dwindling food supply as they surveyed the region around Grand Rapids, MN. They weren’t quite done with their job, but winter was setting in. In his haste, Josiah marked a section of his map as a lake. In actuality it was a virgin forest. Lumber barons of the time were cutting down massive swaths of such forests. In fact today, only 2 percent of the old growth forests are left in MN. Since the “lost forty” land was marked as a lake, the saws of the barons were never sent to cut it down. As a result, 300-400 year old trees still stand. Josiah’s mistake became our blessing. Because it was forgotten, this forest of trees survived that are older than our nation.

Evidently there are times that being forgotten isn’t all bad.

Yet, after this week’s travels, I’ll say that I’m grateful to be remembered.

Through the prophet Isaiah God asked a vivid question to add emphasis to his point, "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands" (49:15-16).

I assure you today, by the authority of the Word of God, that you are not forgotten. Your Father’s love for you is as fresh, alive, powerful and rich as it has ever been. He will never love you less and could not love you more.

He knows. He remembers. He sees.

And, if it feels somehow like you are overlooked or forgotten in this season—the soul’s equivalent to the “Lost Forty” forest—even that experience will turn out for good. Roots are growing deeper, old growth is being preserved, dangers averted and His plan being carried forward.

His memory is good. Really good. Rest in that assurance today.

This post is borrowed from John Stumbo's blog. He has a remarkable story as a pastor of large Salem, Oregon church who was stricken with a mysterious illness that nearly killed him. His story of healing and faith is amazing. Check out his blog at