Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Christmas!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.
Hmmm.... seems like the last time I posted was.... almost 6 weeks ago. And, it's not because I didn't want to, but it's been a very busy season around here.

About this time last year, I had a posting about a message I had heard, based upon a book I had read (and re-read), by Jack Hayford (The Mary Miracle*). I heard the broadcast again this morning. And I thought back to 'where' I was last year and I truly marvel at how God's Divine Design has played out in my life over the past year.

Hayford recounted that several years ago, he was very 'busy' and it came to Christmas Eve, and he didn't have his sermon prepared for the church service. He says he was praying and asked God for a 'word', and God spoke to him saying... "Tell them I wish them a Mary Christmas", ... and the sermon, and subsequent short book, was birthed.

I can't adequately capture the essence of Hayford's message, but it is certainly one of encouragement, hope and joy. In Luke 1:37, the angel tells Mary,... "For nothing is impossible with God." Hayford says that the implication is that no word of God is absent of the power to bring it to pass. He emphasizes that what God did for, in, and through Mary, He will do for, in and through you and me.

It's significant that the miracle isn't only about a virgin conceiving a child. It's about God Himself entering into the midst of our situation, to bring whatever salvation we need to us. Right here, right now. Like a pregnancy, His plan may take a while to grow and develop. For a while, you don't see any 'evidence' of the miracle, and as time passes, you get stretched to the limit. The process of giving birth is hard work, and often intense, seeming to 'take forever'. Yet, God rhetorically says, " Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" (Isaiah 66:9). He will 'deliver the goods', again.

So, as I extend my most sincere wishes for a blessed and happy Christmas season, this year I once again wish you a Mary Christmas.

*The book is published under two titles: The Mary Miracle and The Christmas Miracle.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Crazy For Samantha

I never grow weary of watching my kids use their God-given talents!! This past weekend, we had another opportunity to be delighted, as we watched Samantha sing and dance and make the audience laugh as part of the cast of Grove City College's musical production of Crazy For You.

It always blows me away to hear her sing! She has such a unique and beautiful voice. In this production, she played the part of Irene, and really showed off her acting ability as well. Her character personna was very different from the real Sam, and she really pulled it off exceptionally well! I marvel at how Samantha has blossomed into such a lovely, muti-faceted, talented young woman.

The musical was high-energy, funny, and clever. Everyone was superb! Samantha's roommate, Kaitlin did an amazing job choreographing the entire show. And, there was a LOT of dancing!! This photo is of Samantha (in her red dress) and Kaitlin, after Friday evening's performance!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Weddings, Part Deux

I've read that our bodies are comprised of about 75% water (give or take, depending on body fat). I've also read that our bodies were fashioned from the earth... around our house, that's mostly clay. So, is it much of a stretch to say that we are big clay pots filled with water??

I'm still thinking about weddings, and still pondering that one so long ago at Cana, at which Jesus and his friends were guests. This is the first of many stories that suggest Jesus was welcome in the midst of people having a fun time. I'll bet he loved weddings!!

However, the 'good time' at this particular wedding was in jeopardy. They ran out of wine. I've read that wine was a rabbinical symbol of joy, and also scripturally symbolic of the influence of the Holy Spirit. So, they weren't just concerned with washing down that dry cake with something. Joy was gone. Spiritual life had taken a hit. So, it is particularly significant that Jesus was the One to fix it.

John 2:6-8 says, Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.

Jesus took the clay jars full of water (us), and transformed them into vessels of joy. In the midst of the wedding celebration, He symbolically gave new life, better life, filled with His Spirit. The old ceremonial washing water was somehow transposed into good wine. The old way of doing things, the old covenant, was made into a new covenant. This event marked the onset of His public ministry, of the path set for our Salvation, and the ultimate Wedding Supper written about in Revelation 19:9.

The wedding master of ceremony tasted the new wine, and he proclaimed... you've kept the good wine until now! God's timing often escapes our understanding. But it's always worth the wait.

John also says that his pals saw this, and they believed. If they were wondering what was so special about this guy, they now had some inside information. It's my guess that the symbolism may have been evident to them as well. God does something great in our lives, and our faith, and joy, is renewed.

I love weddings!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Weddings

With the upcoming wedding of our daughter, and also due to the fact that Bruce & I are leading a weekly class on marriage enrichment at our church, I've been digging through the Bible, reading passages concerning marriage... seeing what I might be able to midrash.

One of my favorites is in the Gospel of John (2:1-11), the wedding feast at Cana. This is reported to be the first public miracle Jesus performed. John says that it occurred 'on the third day', giving it an almost unspoken spiritual significance. We're told right off the bat the wine was gone, which was a serious social disgrace in a society known to value hospitality.

Jesus' mother told Him about the problem (a prayer). And she left it up to Him how to fix the problem. He cared about it because it was important to her, and to the wedding host. I even speculate that the wedding involved a family member or someone close the the family, because Mary not only was in on the 'secret', but had the authority to instruct the servants to do whatever He tells you to do. Jesus didn't make a big deal about it, and while He could've done it, like..."Poof! Oh, look, here's more wine!"... He instead used men as vessels to connect Heavenly resources to Earthly needs. He didn't pray any eloquent speech or even touch anything. Somehow, beyond understanding, He just provided.

Jesus told the servants, who likely knew of the problem, to take some of the stone pots which were used for ceremonial washing and fill them with water. Wash water! They must have had some expectation, because it says they filled them to the brim... as much as they could fit. Then, He told them to take a cup of it to the master of ceremony... probably a risky thing if the cup still contained water.

But somewhere between their obedience, and the taste test, something suddenly happened. Jesus miraculously turned the wash water into good wine. I've heard it said, "Obey God, and leave the consequences to Him." I've been telling myself that a lot lately as I pondered this passage. Mary surely knew Jesus could do something... He even said to her, "... you know my time has not yet come...". Yet, regardless of what she knew, she trusted that He was compassionate, generous, and willing and able to help.

As I am involved in helping with the planning of this upcoming wedding celebration, I've been doing a lot of praying. I am intentionally not telling God how to answer my prayers. Small acts of obedience and faith have been leading us step-by-step to men and women whom He has tapped to fill the pots with water. And I have been blessed out of my socks, time and again, to witness His provision as we obey, and we see Heavenly resources meet our needs.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Driving Force

When someone greets me, and says... "Hey, howzitgoin'??", I often answer, "Good!" , usually meaning something like, "Oh, it's Ok, you know.... could be better, could be worse". It kind of becomes a patterned response.

I like to drive. And when I drive on highways, where I have opportunity to put my mind on cruise control, my car becomes many things... a think tank, a prayer closet, or where I blog in my head. As I was driving this morning, I was thinking about the word, good. And I realized I really don't have a clue how good good really is. My notion of good has become somewhat generic.

And then, I remembered that good is a word from God's vocabulary.

When God created everything there is, He said it was good. In Hebrew, the word used is towb,and means pleasant, valuable in estimation, and happy. It also stands for excellent, better, and best. While we seemingly have the need to qualify 'good' by degrees -- good, better, best -- God's word for 'good' included them all. Jesus said, "No one is good -- but God alone." That makes being good a pretty high calling, and wishing someone good, a great blessing. In fact, the original Old English word for 'good' was 'god' (lower case g).

So, I am more thoughtful now of what I call good. Telling someone to 'have a good day' takes on greater implications. The term good-looking is even a greater complement; a good-natured person is someone I really want to hang around; good-to-go is a confidence builder.

But, I got tripped up on this one... good-bye. I don't like good-byes. They mostly make me cry and usually don't leave me feeling very, ... good. Except that I've learned the word's origin comes from the Old English phrase, "God be with ye", which eventually became... good-bye. It helps a little.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Risky Business

I've often found myself in situations that really stretch my comfort zone. There are times when I'd rather say 'no' to the offer of doing something that challenges my perceptions of my abilities, or requires me to trust in God's provision, or is just plain hard to accomplish. But when I take a deep breath, give myself a pep-talk, and assure myself it's God's will for me, I'll be like Gumby and streeeeeeeetttttttcccccch.

For example, the first time I was invited to lead a small group at our church, I actually prayed that no one would come, so I'd be 'off the hook'. But some came, and we joined in a lasting and fulfilling relationship for many years to follow. Long story short, I'm glad I did it for many reasons.

So, when I was reading in my Bible this morning, and a parable I've read many times hit me in a 'new' way, I got to thinking... uh, oh. Now what?? The story I read was in the Gospel of Matthew, 25:14-30. Nestled between the parables of the Ten Virgins (some of whom weren't ready) and the Sheep and Goats (some of whom weren't willing), is the account of the man who takes a journey and entrusts his property to some of his servants (all of whom were able).

The guy gives 5 talents (about $10,000) to one servant, 2 talents ($4,000) to another and 1 talent ($2,000) to a third, according to their ability. This means it wasn't a flippant distribution; the man knew something about his servants'... talents... and he gave them what would challenge them, but not overwhelm them. Then, he left them for a long time.

The first 2 fellas took what they were given, and used it. In fact, the effectiveness of the resources doubled when combined with their ability. And even though the first guy had a bigger ROI, the master praised both of them equally and identically, invited them to celebrate with him, rewarded them, and... gave them more to do.

The third guy, who claimed to be afraid of losing the investment, played it safe and buried it. He apparently didn't trust his master's assessment of his ability. His boss berated his reluctance to take a risk. He called him wicked, and lazy. Then he took away what he had given him, and had him thrown off his property, into the darkness where there will be weeping and 'gnashing of teeth'. In New Testament times, the idiom 'gnashing of teeth' signified disappointment and agony of spirit. Kind of what you feel when you realize you missed your chance, and there's no going back.

I know this parable speaks of many things, but to me, today, it was a call to be ready, and willing to take a risk, as I am able. Though I'm tempted at times to dig a hole and crawl in it, thinking I'll be comfortable, or safe, I realize that's being lazy. It's actually wicked to not use what He's given me, and to not trust that He knows what He's up to.

I think Gumby is a bit goofy looking. But, he's always smiling.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Maggie

I really struggled with writing this post.
I hate that I even have to.
But sometimes we do hard things, even when we don't want to.

Some of my previous postings have mentioned our dog, Maggie. I've told some funny stories about her, and how she was impacting my daily routine and life. So, it only seems appropriate, now, to tell that this past week, Maggie died. And I've been very sad, and I miss her much. I confess that I never imagined that losing a dog would impact me the way it has, or that after 5 days, I'd still be tearful about it.

Maggie was 14 years old, ...I'm told that's an equivalent to 98 human years for a dog. And, she was struggling getting around, and needed our help to even get up. At least she struggles no more.

Earlier this year our pastor answered a child's question about pets going to heaven. It made me feel a little better. Can you guess what my prayer is?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Matters of the Heart

WOW! It's been such a long time since I've 'blogged'. Time flies when you're having fun, ... or swamped with work (which is a good thing). I purpose to get back into my blogging on a more regular basis.

But the primary purpose of this blog is to give an update on the health of my mother-in-law, for those of you who know her, and have been asking about her. She had a heart attack over the past weekend, and had angioplasty/stint placement this morning to correct the problem.


She had a blockage in one of her arteries, but that has been successfully cleared and her prognosis is very good. Bruce and I actually got to see the video footage of the procedure showing the inside her heart, and it truly was amazing. Having seen that, I am encouraged that the problem is fixed, and that, indeed, God had His hand upon her to sustain her until the physicians could do their thing. AND that He still has a good purpose to keep her with us, and to keep her thriving. I have no doubt that she'll be back to her vivacious-self very soon.


Thanks, too for prayers on her behalf!!


More to come later.




Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The A Team??

In the early 80's, one of my favorite TV shows was The A-Team. It was about a team of guys trained as US Army Special Forces, who used unconventional tactics to right wrongs and overturn evil, while overcoming incredible odds and keeping a good sense of humor. Whew! The show usually ended with Hannibal Smith sticking a stogie in his mouth, smiling a contented smile, and saying... "I love it when a plan comes together!" I felt that way this past Friday evening as I was sitting in our family room, (minus the stogie), observing and sharing in the joy of plans coming together.

Friday evening, after weeks of thoughtful and creative planning, Brad Leach proposed to our daughter, Leah. Because he knows she loves surprises, he arranged a delightful evening of one surprise after the other, beginning with... him! They hadn't 'planned' to see each other that weekend ;) Brad secretly enlisted the help of a few close friends and family to keep the secret and get her where she needed to be, and truly, it was PERFECT! In fact, it was 'over the top'!

As a mom, I can't express how special it was to me to watch Brad cook (really!) and create a romantic atmosphere for a moment in time which would set the course of a lifetime. His desire and his mission was to delight Leah, and watching him prepare and bring that to pass blessed me beyond words.

Brad secretly gathered Bruce and me, his parents, Samantha, Ashley and Nate to all be here as a surprise when he and Leah returned to our home Friday evening, and it was so much fun!! I honestly have never seen my daughter so happy.

But I think the best part is knowing beyond a shadow of doubt that this is all part of a bigger plan coming together. I know that God sovereignly aligned their paths to meet and fall in love, and the 'backstory' is full of heartfelt prayers, incredible odds, and uncoincidental coincidences. I've been so thrilled to watch it unfold, and I'm so in awe to witness God's handiwork and planning bear lovely and good fruit. The more I know Brad, the more I know that he is an incredible, talented, gifted, charming young man. He's the Ephesians 3:20* answer to 28 years of praying for my daughter's life partner. He's clever and funny, and you can see from this picture, he's a real 'looker', too!

When Bruce, Samantha and I met with Brad's parents for dinner Friday evening, his dad greeted us with a smile and said, "Will you marry us?" It was such a fun moment! God's plan includes a wonderful extended family for Leah and for all of us. Could be the beginning of a new A-Team. I love it when a plan comes together!!

*Ephesians 3:20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Far Far Away

I was reading on CNN this morning about the discovery of a new planet. I am interested in things astronomical, and often visit the Hubble Telescope site to see what's cookin' in deep space. I love to look at the photos taken by the Hubble and other orbiting telescopes. Some of them look like something you might see under a microscope and I am humbled when I realize how huge they really are, and how far away they are. I really can't adequately wrap my little mind around it.

This CNN article is about a new planet, just 'discovered' in a solar system far, far away. It always makes me... chortle... when 'objective' articles make it sound like mankind should take some kind of credit for the discovery, and minimize the magnitude and plan of creation. It kind of has the sense that, if we don't know it's there, then it isn't. Here's a quote from one authority on the sighting: "It's just letting us know that nature has some surprises for us ... a much wider range of possibility than we could imagine." Astronomer, Alan Boss

While it's daunting to even try to imagine the realm of 'outer space', I take comfort that it's way beyond my ability to grasp. Because I know The Creator, and the heavens are just another bullet point on His résumé. It just reinforces to me the value of faith over sight.

Here's a quote from another authority: "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you." Jeremiah (32:17)

Friday, July 27, 2007

There's a Name for It


I like mysteries. I like to read mystery novels, and watch mystery movies. I like to pick up on the subtle 'clues' along the way to try to determine 'who dunnit' before the plot is actually revealed. I knew that Dr. Nichols murdered Richard Kimble's wife in the first 5 minutes of the movie, way before Tommy Lee Jones did.*


I do that sometimes, too, when reading my Bible. Something I read will strike me as obscure, or unusual, like a 'clue' to something I need to know. And so I'll do a little 'digging' to try to learn more, and sometimes I uncover a nuance that speaks directly to me and/or a situation I am dealing with.

I read the other day that there's actually a name for that! Midrash. In Hebrew, it means to search out, and it's a Jewish tradition that invites deeper exploration of Scripture. Judith Kunst (The Burning Word) describes it as reading the Bible "not for what is familiar, but for what is unfamiliar, not for what's clear but for what's unclear... Midrash views the Bible as one side of a conversation, started by God, containing an implicit invitation... to keep the conversation going." Nothing in the Bible is there by accident, so Midrash motivates us to take the oddball verses or inconsistencies and, with God's help, to try to discover why they are included in His Word. Often, I take my queries to Bruce, or to our kids, and we continue the conversation, bouncing ideas off one another or sharing our thoughts.

Proverbs 25:2 says, It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. Sounds like Midrash to me.


*(Uh, hope you've already seenThe Fugitive; if not, sorry I spoiled the ending)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Good Readings

I've read some good books lately, two of which are noteworthy and so I thought I'd share...

Leaper, The Misadventures of a Not-Necessarily-Super Hero, by Geoffrey Wood, is a very funny and yet introspective novel about a journey of faith. The hero one day discovers he has a super-power of 'leaping', and this is the vehicle to help him learn about relationships... with other people and with God. Sounds trite; it's anything but. It begins with the ending, and then the pieces are filled in via a combination of laugh-out-loud and 'ah, gee' moments.

I'm going to read it again, not just because I liked it, but because the ending isn't the ending, and I'm not sure what it all means. And, I don't want to just 'jump' to conclusions.


Another good book, which I read much more slowly, with lots of time to reflect, is the organic God, by Margaret Feinberg. She takes a look at God's character in a fresh way and in her words... is seeking a relationship with God... that is stripped of all pollutants and additives of this world. Not sure that's entirely possible, but there were moments I was reading, and I thought... I've never thought of that :-)
It's kind of like a king-sized blog, and she blends stories of her Jewish heritage with her unconventional upbringing and her Christian faith. Some of the attributes she ascribes to God are: bighearted, outrageously generous, surprisingly talkative, and deeply mysterious. My favorite... wildly infallible.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Peace, Out

In the movie, Miss Congeniality, the character of Gracie mocks the contestants in a beauty pageant for what she perceives as an airhead answer to a deep question. When asked, "What is the one most important thing our society needs?, the contestants all reply, "World peace." And the audience cheers.
When I was a little girl, I remember one day sitting next to my mom on our couch as she was handling some correspondence. She was actually sending a contribution to a missionary organization, which had also invited people to send them prayer requests which they would undertake in prayer. The reply card invited people to list their one most heartfelt prayer (if you could ask God for one thing, what would it be?). As a child, I had witnessed the power of prayer, so I was very excited about this prospect, and asked her... what did you ask for??? I had visions of millions of dollars, or a baby sister, or a puppy. So, I was disappointed when she told me that she had already written her request.... Peace.

Peace? Huh? You sure about that, Mom?? And I remember the peaceful look she gave me, as she said something like, if we have the Peace of God, everything else will fall into place. Puzzled, I figured that my mom blew the chance to be rich, and I ran off to play.

I realize now that my mother was wiser than I knew.

I was reading in my Bible this morning about peace. The first thing Jesus said to his disciples when He appeared to them after His resurrection was, "Peace be with you!" They were together, with the doors locked, in fear for their lives. And He said, "Peace". Having a 'dead' person appear before them might have added a bit to their fear, but He didn't say, "Don't be afraid". He offered them peace. His friend, Thomas, wasn't around that day, and for whatever reason, he doubted it. So, Jesus repeated the scene about a week later, when Thomas was there. Again the first thing He said was, "Peace be with you!"

Sometimes, when Jesus healed someone, he told them, "Go in peace". (Mark 5:34, Luke 7:50, 8:48). And when the angels declared the birth of the savior, they annnounced..."Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." The reason we need a savior was because sin alienated us from our Creator, Jesus's sacrifice on the cross reconciled us to Him, and brings ... peace. God's intended world was not one of sin, destruction, sickness and death. Reconcilliation with Him, the Prince (and source) of Peace, brings the promise of restoration of His original intention for us.

Jesus's answer to fear, doubt, sickness, and death was ... peace. His peace. The Hebrew word shalom (peace) conveys tranquility, wholeness and completion. To enjoy shalom is to enjoy health, satisfaction, success, safety, well-being and prosperity.*

This is significant to me, because something was troubling me this morning. I needed peace. I prayed, and His peace became the answer to my fear and doubt. One of the last things Jesus said to his friends on earth, the thing He wanted them to remember was this: "All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

World peace? Maybe it's not such an airhead answer afterall.


* Ann Spangler, Praying the Names of Jesus

Friday, July 20, 2007

"Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?"*

I was baptized as a baby, and subsequently publicly 'confirmed' years later what was said on my behalf as an infant. However, having fully committed my life to follow Christ as an adult, I came to believe that I needed to be baptized again, intentionally and of my own volition. At that time, baptisms at our church were part of the church services, and each person being baptized gave a brief testimony of why they were being baptized. While I truly wanted to be baptized, the thought of doing that in front of all the people in the actual service terrified me, and that fear was winning the internal battle I fought each time the Baptism services were announced.

One summer, years ago, we were vacationing at Heritage, USA, and they happened to have Baptisms in one of their swimming pools one afternoon each week. I decided to take the plunge while we were there. Although I thought the relaxed 'pool atmosphere' was the answer to my 'fear factor' and somewhat of a 'comfort zone', I nonetheless was sincere in my heartfelt desire to be baptized, and like the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:36-38)*, I didn't think it was a 'cop out' to not have a 'crowd'. Afterall, who would bother to hang around the indoor pool on a sunny, uneventful, Tuesday afternoon???

The venue was a large indoor pool in the main lobby of the hotel. I arrived at the appointed time for the pre-Baptism teaching and preparation, about 1 hour prior to the actual event. The pastor talked with each of us to be sure we knew what we were doing and why. There were about 20 of us sharing our 'testimonies' with each other in the little gazebo next to the pool, and while I was a bit nervous, I was very glad to be getting baptized, and happy that courage finally kicked in and suppressed my fear.

I knew that Bruce and our 3 daughters were going to 'watch' from one of the 4 balconies which surrounded the hotel atrium/lobby and pool, so I looked up to try to locate them, and realized that ...a rather large crowd was assembling. And over the next 20 minutes or so, it grew to a gathering much larger than I would have faced at one of our church services (it was a big lobby). So much for my desire to avoid attention! I could picture in my mind, God smiling at me, and saying, "GOT YA!" And I smiled and thought, "Yes, you did!" He gave me the opportunity to do something which He wanted me to do, and I wanted to do, but needed a gentle push.

Surprisingly enough, as the crowd grew ... and grew, ...my anxiety dwindled. I blocked out the people, and focused on my Baptizer. It was a special moment, and a cherished memory.

I was thinking about this today, because in a few weeks, our church is having a group Baptism, in a big swimming pool, in our church lobby! It's part of our Take a Stand Weekend, and will provide a wonderful opportunity, and maybe a gentle push, for many people to take this important step right then and there!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Hawk and the Crows

The other day, Bruce and I were sitting on our deck watching a hawk soaring above our backyard. Suddenly, a bunch of crows started harassing the hawk, diving at it, making that annoying noise that they make. The hawk flew around a bit, trying to avoid the harangue of the black birds. And after just a few minutes, I was surprised to watch the hawk give up, and fly like crazy, leaving its territory for the crows to settle.

Hawks are 'raptors', bird of prey, ...with powerful wings, sharp beaks, and powerful deadly talons. They can spot their prey from a lofty perch, or often catch it while flying. With a wingspan of 4 to 4.5 feet, and a body of almost 2 feet in length, the average Red-Tailed Hawk is a tusker compared to the crow. I wondered why the hawk, turned-tail and fled, rather than just fight them off.

Maybe, the hawk was having an identity crisis.

Occasionally, so do I. Sometimes, it seems like I am being 'ambushed' by a proverbial bunch of lousy crows (I'm the majestic hawk ). Expectations flee to doubt, hopes fade to disappointment, and fears settle my territory. I may fly around a bit, thinking they'll leave, but sometimes they are so noisy.

Neil Anderson (Victory Over the Darkness) says, that an individual will never consistently perform or behave higher than he perceives himself to be. At our church, we have a Spiritual Breakthrough Retreat every three months. The key to spiritual breakthrough is knowing our identity. As a believer in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, my identity is in Him; His victory and authority are my victory and authority. When confronted by my enemy, I need to act like a 'raptor'.

The Bible says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7). The Word of God is a tool to that end. Often, specific scripture verses have become my weapon for chasing away the crows and holding the territory God gives me*.

Hawks are a protected species. Crow are pests. And in most states, there's no bag limit on how many crows hunters may kill. I am protected by God Almighty; there's no limit to the power He wields on my behalf.

"...I will throw my net over them; I will pull them down like the birds in the sky. When I hear them flocking together, I will catch them. Hosea 7:12

*Psalm 5:11-12, Psalm 124:7, Eph. 1:19, Luke 10:19, 20, Malachi 3:17, 4:2

Athlete in Action

A long time family friend, Rachel Frederick, recently returned from a three week trip to Brazil with Athletes In Action. We've had the pleasure of knowing the Fredericks for many years and watching Rachel blossom into a lovely young woman, and a very gifted athlete.

Rachel is a member of the Ohio University women's basketball team, and has received numerous accolades and awards for her athletic ability. She took that talent, along with her faith in Christ, to kids in Brazil, where she was part of a team that played some exhibition games, and ran basketball camps for younger athletes.

She's featured in an article online at Ohiobobcats.com .

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In Case You Missed It

Every now and then I'll come across a story on cnn.com that makes me smile. This is one of them. It's not about someone doing a good deed, doesn't contain any drama, and probably has no intrinsic value. It's about a guy who, as a child, imagined he could fly, and did.

Unconventional, yes. Silly, maybe. Certainly dangerous,... but nobody got hurt except for a few rope burns. And while it may seem that this guy doesn't aim very high in his 'dreams', at least he lived his (twice, actually).

Last weekend, Kent Couch ... kissed his wife goodbye, petted his Chihuahua, "settled down in his lawn chair with some snacks..." and then flew 193 miles, aloft for 9 hours until he decided to land just outside of Hells Canyon in Oregon! He concocted a 'flying machine' using 105 helium balloons, some plastic bags filled with water (for ballast) and a GPS in his pocket. He said, "When you're a little kid and you're holding a helium balloon, it has to cross your mind." It crossed mine, a few times, I must admit.

The part of the story that made me smile, though, had to do with a previous 'flight' of another balloon-man, who rose 3 miles above Los Angeles in 1982. A surprised airline pilot radioed the control tower that he had "just passed a guy in a lawn chair." Imagine being in a window seat on that plane :)

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/07/10/flying.lawn.chair.ap/index.html

Thursday, July 5, 2007

It Came From Beneath the Earth

Today, I was a husband. Well, I guess technically, the term is 'husbandman'. The definition is "one whose business it is to cultivate the ground. It was one of the first occupations, and was esteemed most honourable ." I'm probably still stretching it a bit, because I wasn't really 'cultivating the ground', I was gardening. Pulling weeds, digging, clipping dead leaves/flowers, feeding the plants, and spreading mulch is more like it. My husband was a husbandman, too. We didn't realize how old we are until at the end of the day, we could hardly move.

Anyhow, one of the things I dislike the most about gardening is worms. I don't like to see them, touch them, or even imagine them crawling around in the ground as I'm digging. I recently read an article about the Jamestown settlement, which said that originally, there were no earthworms in North America, and they likely arrived with the Jamestown colonists, who dumped ballast (European dirt and rocks) from their ships to make room for their tobacco exports. Over the centuries, the little buggers have multiplied and drastically altered the ecosystem.

The colonists brought honeybees, too. The fussy 'American' bees would only pollinate a few species of plants, but European honeybees, it seems, would pollinate anything. While the colonists brought the bees for their honey, the plants they brought with them wouldn't have proliferated without them, and Georgia probably wouldn't be called the Peach State.

Funny how little things can worm their way in unnoticed, but given a chance to grow, can change a whole landscape.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Troubled

I've not been online for a while, because, well, ...I've been off-line. Our ISP had some 'issues' and for almost 48 hours, we couldn't access email or connect to the Internet. A friend of mine sent me this cartoon, which of course I couldn't read till we were back on line, but it seems appropriate nonetheless. It was troubling to me how disturbed I was being 'disconnected'.

The problem started, so they say, with some storms we had last week which damaged phone lines, etc. We have DSL service which is through the phone line. After several hours , outwardly it seemed to be fixed... flashing lights stopped flashing, and unlit lights lit up. But, we still had no connectivity.

After having spent an hour on the phone with Tech support, resetting settings and rebooting and rebooting, it still wasn't resolved. So, my account was flagged as 'trouble'. That word must have great significance in cyber-repair, because I started getting phone calls from 'field technicians' who were replacing equipment on my behalf. And then, suddenly, the 'trouble' was corrected and it was working again. When the 'issues' were resolved, I had lots of catching up to do. Still doin' it.

Final thoughts from a commentary on Life Before The Computer... remember when memory was something that you lost with age, a program was a TV show, a cursor used profanity, a web was a spider's home, a virus was the flu, a hard drive was a long road trip, and a mouse pad was where a mouse lived :-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bread of Life

When our daughter, Samantha, was 4 years old, she had Whooping Cough. As an infant she'd had a bad reaction to the first dose of the vaccine, so she couldn't be innoculated with the susequent doses necessary for immunization. It was a very frightening time and took six months for the disease to be completely resolved. It wasn't medically treatable either.

We fervently prayed and prayed that she would be healed, but day after day and night after night she was beseiged with frequent, horrific coughing episodes. I vividly remember asking God, "Where are you? Do something!" I vividly remember His response to me... "I'm right here. And I Am doing something. You just can't see it." As I thought about that, I acknowledged that while I wanted her to be all better right then, she was progressively getting better, week by week. And she didn't die from the disease, which could have happened. I could even picture in my mind's eye, Jesus holding Samantha and gently pushing on her chest as she was gasping for breath.

My attitude changed from disheartened to thankful. My prayers changed from pleas to praise as I recognized I had much to thank Him for.

I was reading a devotional guide this morning which Samantha had reommended to me. The book is Praying the Names of Jesus by Ann Spangler, and today's message was centered in Luke 24:30-32. It's the account of two men who had met Jesus on the road to Emmaus, after He had risen from the dead. They were telling Him the disheartening tale... of His death... and didn't realize that He was right there with them. They felt abandoned and bewildered, until they recognized the "Bread of Life" in the breaking of the bread. They had an attitude change, too.

Ann Spangler says,
"We long for tangible evidence of God's love, but we fail to see it, in part because we have not learned to be thankful. It's not just that God likes to be thanked. It's that we need to thank him... Thankfulness opens our eyes to God's faithfulness, which in turn nourishes our faith. No wonder the word "Eucharist," a common name for the Christian commemoration of the Last Supper, comes from a Greek word meaning "thanksgiving". Skipping gratitude is like skipping the meal God has prepared for us. Without it, we merely move on to the next need, felling hungry and empty without the faith to believe that God will sustain us."
When I'm full of gratitude, I see things so differently. It's a pleasant state of mind.

I used to have a little decorative plaque that sat on my desk. It said, "If we pause to think, we'll have cause to thank." Wonder where I put that?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Antiques R Us

In our family room, we have a desk that had been in Bruce's family since he was a little boy. It is a lovely desk, but the surface is marked with some gashes and pock-marks. Bruce told me that as a young boy, he remembers his mom fervently pounding on the desk with a big garden claw. She also performed this same ritual with other wooden furnishings in their home. She wasn't angry or taking out her frustration on the furniture, but purposefully marking the furniture to give it the appearance of an 'antique'.

Antiques are valuable for different reasons. Some are worth money. Some are worth memories.
I redeemed a mirror from the dark corner of my grandma's garage several years ago. It was earmarked to be thrown out because she hadn't used it in years and had replaced it with a new one. However, it was part of the first furniture she had when she was married as a young girl of 17, and it became special to me because of what it had 'been'. It connected me somehow to her, though she had been dead for several years. It now hangs in our foyer, and tho' not pretty to look at, it is a treasure to me.

Antiques are not valuable because they are old, they are valuable because of what they've been through. Furniture that has been 'beaten up' can have scars of character. It's lasted, endured, and remained. There's a testimony that is hidden beneath the marks... a story worth remembering.

Most of us have scars... physical reminders of a wound. We may look at our scars and remember what caused them (usually some sort of pain); but we can also look at our scars and remember that they are wounds that are healed, pain that has been covered over. Some scars are unseen, written on our soul. My scars remind me of specific moments that God intervened in my pain, brought me through a hard situation, comforted me, taught me, and gave me character.

I believe that scars make us valuable. We've all 'gone through' things, perhaps even spent moments feeling abandoned in the dark corners of the garage, perhaps been beaten up with a garden claw... wondering how God was going to redeem the pain. When He does, He leaves us with a reminder that healing, restoration and redemption are part of His nature and His gift to us. HE has them, too.

I saw a desk once, in Williamsburg, VA, that was 'valuable' because George Washington had written upon it. How much more valuable are you and I when God has written upon us, given us a testimony, and left His mark on us?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Blue Bicycles and Other Delights

Sometimes I like to re-read books I read a while ago, not just to refresh my memory, but to get things I may have missed the first time. The second (or third) time around, I'm reading it with a different perspective. Sometimes, re-reading a phrase, but putting the emphasis on a different word gives a new meaning or a fresh insight.

Such a moment occurred many years ago, when I was reading Psalm 37:4 which says, "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires." I had once taken that to mean that if I 'delighted' in Him, He'd give me what I wanted. However, as I re-read the verse that day, I understood it to say that He would place His desires in my heart if I let Him. I felt great delight in that, because I trust that His will for me is surely better than mine and greater than I can imagine.

Henry Blackaby (Experiencing God) gives a great example of this. He tells of the time he wanted to give his son a bicycle for his sixth birthday, and found a blue Schwinn which he thought would be perfect. He bought it and hid it the garage, because the boy's birthday was yet a few weeks away. Then, over the next week or two, he found subtle ways to influence his son to think that a bike was a great idea, even suggesting a blue bicycle was the ultimate.
Soon, his son wanted a blue bike more than anything. And it was already in the garage! Blackaby just had to convince his son to ask for it; he did; he got it, and he was delighted! ...Not just because he 'wanted' it, but also because it was a great gift which his dad knew he'd love. His dad didn't trick him into wanting something he'd bought on a whim. His dad knew about six year old boys, he knew about HIS six year old boy, and he knew what would ultimately delight him and be good for him.

Romans 8:26-27 says, "And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will." Blackaby explains it this:

"What happens when you pray? The Holy Spirit knows what God has "in the garage." It's already there. The Holy Spirit's task is to get you to want it -- to get you to ask for it. What will happen when you ask for things God already wants to give or do? You will always receive it... Because you have asked according to the will of God. When God answers your prayer, He gets the glory and your faith is increased."

I just know my Father has a BIG garage.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fish and Bread

Sometimes, when reading about people who did extraordinary things, I forget that they are just ordinary people who took a risk or extra-sized their faith. When I read about the heroes of the Bible, I sometimes forget that they were challenged by the same doubts and limitations then, as I am today.
For example, in Psalm 103:1-2, David says, "Praise the LORD, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me." It's as if he's saying that sometimes he forgets... and he has to remind himself who God is and what He has done. And then he recollects God's faithfulness and he remembers His sovereignty.

A while ago, I was reading Mark 6:52. He is referring to Jesus' close friends, who had been with Him for a while and had already witnessed so many extraordinary things that He had done. Mark says, "They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened." The "loaves" referred to an event earlier that day, when He fed 5,000+ people with five loaves and two fish. And, I thought, ... how could these guys not understand? Are they dense, or what?? Then a still, small voice in my head said... "YOU do not understand." See, I had just been praying about some things and I was whining... I was doubting that He would intevene in my situations, I was forgetting about the extraordinary things He'd done so many times before in my life... my loaves. I needed to remind myself of them, and remind myself that what he did before, He'd do again. I needed to praise Him. My heart was hardened by discouragement, and my understanding was flawed.

I mention this now, because I found myself in a similar snit this morning. I was fretting over some things which I've fervently taken to prayer, which have not yet been resolved. And that still, small voice reminded me He's the same yesterday, today and forever. He's not a man, that He should lie, and I can trust Him.

Just as David's reflection led him, ...me, too! "As for me -- I, too, will praise the Lord." (Ps. 103:22b)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Butterfly Birthday

I had a wonderful time in St. Louis with Samantha to celebrate her 21st birthday! We spent the afternoon in Historic St. Charles, and had a yummy lunch at along the Missouri River at a small café.

Later that evening, Samantha, Kristen (her co-worker) and I went to dinner and then walked around a nearby mall. They seem to have a fascination in St. Louis with Carousels... every mall we went to had one... not the little coin operated kiddie type, but full-sized, double-decker Merry-Go-Rounds in the middle of the malls!

The next morning, Samantha humored me, and we went to the Butterfly House, located in Faust Park which also featured a Historic Village with restored 19th century buildings, and... a Merry-Go-Round.

The Butterfly House, part of the Botanical Gardens, is a conservatory with literally thousands of butterflies fluttering about. I was fascinated; Samantha was terrified! It was reminiscent of the Hitchcock movie, The Birds, but instead of aggressive birds pecking your eyes out, a myriad of delicate, colorful, gentle butterflies permeate the air and land on your head. There are flowering plants and trees everywhere, and closer inspection reveals that half of the 'flowers' are actually resting butterflies! What a great way to hide from your enemies, ...act like a flower! Or disguise yourself as a scary monster (or a cabbage patch doll).

As we walked the garden path, I repeatedly commented on the exotic colors and variety of the butterflies. Samantha said,... "I feel itchy!" Our perceptions were different, I guess, but I was grateful that she indulged my whim to go there.

The butterfly is symbolic of being 'born again'. It begins life as it hatches from an egg, eats everything it can get its hands on ;-), sheds its skin a few times as it grows, and then is encased in a chrysalis, in which it is transformed. It emerges in glorious freedom as a majestic butterfly... totally changed and looking nothing like the former ground-hugging catapillar. It only takes a minute for the butterfly to emerge from its cocoon, and in a few hours, it can take flight, find a mate, and the whole cycle begins again.

"He supplied... new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the king's presence for the rest of his life." Jeremiah 52:33

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bird's Eye View

I grew up within walking distance of Greater Pittsburgh Airport (it wasn’t “International” then). As kids, we would often walk over on summer days to people-watch. I wasn’t overly impressed by watching planes take off and land… I could do that from my front yard. I remember when I was little, an aunt was visiting us for a week, and the first night of her stay, she came running out of her bedroom in the middle of the night screaming, “A plane is crashing into the house!!! Can’t you hear it?” She was alarmed by the noise of a plane landing nearby and thought surely it would hit the house. I was puzzled, because, well, I didn’t “hear” anything, and wondered what she was yelling about. Funny, how you can get used to the roar of a jet engine, and it doesn’t even startle anymore. What we 'get used to' affects our perspective

There was a cemetery near our home, right under the flight path of the aircraft. My dad would always say, ‘Bury me there, so when you fly in and out of Pittsburgh, you can wave at me ;) “. I know he was kidding, but I just waved...

I’m writing this entry from US Airways Express flight 3507, en route to St. Louis, MO to visit Samantha for her 21st birthday! I won’t be able to post it till I get home, and can access the Internet, but felt like sharing the perspective from ‘up here’. I always look for my childhood home and familiar landmarks, to get my bearings, as I fly over the area in and out of GPIA.

I just saw a FedEx truck travel down a road and stop in front of someone’s house; I know they are about to get a delivery before they do. This got me to thinking that, often times, we are in a situation, and we’re struggling or feeling discouraged, and God’s got the answer on the way… we just can’t see it yet. But soon, the questions are answered, the provision is made, the guidance is delivered, and we breathe again. Soon I’ll be landing, and my perspective will be more limited to what I can ‘see’, but I hope I’ll remember this ‘bird’s eye’ view. There’s always so much more going on in any given situation than I can know.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Singing Prayers

After two weeks in Estes Park, CO, Samantha and her co-worker travelled to St. Louis, MO to get their camp established. The time in Colorado was jam packed with training, but Sam had a chance to perform at the camp 'talent show' with another camp coordinator, Nicole, as the training came to a close. They performed "The Prayer", with a unique arrangement. One of their friends caught it on video, and I uploaded it to YouTube. The video portion quality is a little dark at times, but the sound comes through well. If you'd like you can click the link to watch the Video.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Names

My husband has lots of names for me. Some of them I like. The good ones, the ones that generate a positive reaction from me, reflect admiration or point out my good qualities. Even the silly ones are good because they often evoke a pleasant memory of something we shared, like an inside joke.

I spent some time talking with a friend today who is going through some difficult days. She told me that in the midst of her situation, she's learning more of God as she experiences Him in an area she hadn't walked before, and it's like knowing Him by a new name.

In the Bible, there are many 'names' of God. Some of the names, He called Himself identifying what He wants to be to us (ex: God Almighty in Gen. 17:1). And some of the names identify what He's done, often expressions of how He's met someone in a significant way at a specific time and place.

One that comes to mind is recounted in Genesis 16:13. El-Roeh, the One Who Sees, is a name attributed to God by Hagar, Sarai's slave. She had run away from Sarai, who was making her life somewhat difficult, and she was alone in the desert when God spoke to her. His attention to her gave her the impetus to trust Him enough to obey Him. Hagar's name for God declared gratitude and confidence in a god who saw her, and her plight.

I was reading the book of Ezra in my Bible this morning... Chapter 5 describes some of the opposition the Israelites met when they were trying to rebuild their temple. Near Eastern kings were noted for using spys... men referred to as the "king's eyes" and the "king's ears", and the guys who were making things difficult for the Israelites likely served those roles. However, verse 5 says, "But the eye of their God was watching over...the Jews, and they weren't stopped...", drawing a contrast between the limitations of the earthly kings who depended on men's eyes and ears, and the omniscience of the Heavenly King, who always sees and watches over His people.

My friend told me that she can't see how her situation will be resolved, but she has confidence that the One Who Sees, sees her. Her relationship with God takes on a new dimension, as she knows Him by a new name.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fleurissant in Florissant

Well, Samantha, arrived in Colorado on Sunday, and in spite of spotty cell phone coverage, we've been able to talk a little bit. For the next 2 weeks, she's in Estes Park, CO training for her summer job as a camp Program Coordinator with Group Workcamps Foundation. And while we're having temperatures in the 80's here, she's been frolicing in the snow for the past 2 days.

It would seem that my previous posting about 'blossoming' was more appropriate than I'd imagined. Her camp assignment for the summer is in Florissant, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis). "Florissant" was originally named by French settlers as "Fleurissant" which means, blossoming flowers! One of the town's original nicknames was Valley of Flowers. Florissant also means 'flourishing' in French, so here's hoping it's even prophetic!!

And speaking of flourishing... my computer's working much better with my new hard drive, and I'm loving my new iPod Nano... both gifts from my darling daughters/sil for Mother's Day!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

American Beauties

The roses have 'blossomed', and their lovely fragrance attests to their presence even before you notice them in the room. I love roses. These 'beauties' were from my daughter, Leah, given to me on Mother's Day and they are still picture-perfect almost a week later.

One of the most special things of my life has been watching our daughters 'blossom'. I don't take any of it for granted, and know that God has a great and special adventure plannned for each of them. Sometimes, it's actually breath-taking to witness them stepping out into unknown territory, and watch them draw from deep within and 'open up' just like a lovely rose.

Samantha leaves tomorrow to go to Colorado for two weeks, and then to parts yet unknown for the rest of the summer, as a Program Coordinator for Group Workcamps Foundation. She's stepping way out of her comfort zone, and trusting in His plan for her personal growth and her personal ministry. I'll miss her lots... but I'm so very, very proud of her and her willingness to expand her horizons.

We were talking at breakfast yesterday about that ambiguous area between a word or promise from God, and its fulfillment. That time between the 'exodus' from Egypt and the planting of our feet in the Promised Land is a precarious place because sometimes the notion of going back to the 'comfortable' fools us into fretting, or settling, and missing the exhilaration of the expedition.

It likely wasn't pleasant camping in the desert, especially without an idea of how long it would last. Why stay here?... let's get going! And why do we have to keep all our livestock for the daily sacrifices... why can't we barbecue some steaks??? It likely wasn't a cruise ship mentality on the ark, either, ...with smelly animals, the same companions day in/day out, constantly bobbing up and down, and yearning to put down roots somewhere on dry land. Playing "I See Something... brown" had to get old! And yet, those scenes were the backdrops of His will, and the fulfillment of His promise was worth the wait!

When God says, "Go", but doesn't throw in a lot of detail, I think He's boasting in us and enjoys the adventure right along with us. There's always something good to focus on and wisdom to glean with a little effort on our part. I think it makes Him smile, to watch his kids 'blossom' into whom and what He's fashioned them/us to be.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sheerah



I often need to remind myself to put things into proper perspective, and I find that my current mindset taints my perceptions. For example, when you look at this drawing, do you see an old hag with a big nose, or a lovely young woman?



'Additonal information' could help with your perspective.

If you see this picture first, you will likely see in the lovely young woman.





However, if you see this one first, your perception will be very different.


I noted this issue of perspective when reading the books of 1 & 2 Chronicles, which cover the same material as previously written in 1 & 2 Kings, but with a different spin. Chronicles was written (likely 425-400 B.C.) to provide encouragement and also exhortation to the remnant who had returned to rebuild Jerusalem, after having lived as captives in another land. They needed to be exhorted not to repeat the mistakes of the past, they needed to be reminded of their heritage and their covenant with God, and they needed encouragement to stimulate their faith and hope for their future.

Some 'addtional information' is thrown in, often seeming obsure, but by digging a little deeper, we learn that it is an intentional means of providing perspective. A prime example is the mention of Jabez, which seems to be an aside, but you could actually write a book on him ;-)

So that's why I did a little digging after reading 1 Chronicles 7:21-24. The first 9 chapters of 1 Chronicles are somewhat boring geneologies which trace the exiles's heritage. Then this passage throws in some of that 'additional information'. Ephraim (one of Joseph's sons) had lost sons in a skirmish with some Philistines. He mourned deeply for his dead sons. Then God gave him another son, whom he named Beriah (misfortune), because while he was happy for the new son, he still grieved his loss. Beriah's birth is symbolic of God's restoration, another chance at a new start after hard times.

Verse 24 says, "He had a daughter named Sheerah. She built the towns of Lower and Upper Beth-horon and Uzzen-sheerah." It's rare that a woman is mentioned in Jewish geneologies, so this bit of information stands out as being important. Sheerah, one of Ephraim's descendants, built cities! And, her name means remnant. So the remnant returning was being encouraged with the perspective that their heritage included city-builders, women of honor... and they too, were to rebuild, and not give up. What's more they had God's promise that He would restore them, and give them a new beginning.

Jabez, make room on the book shelves for Sheerah.

Free WiFi

Wow... it's been a while since I have posted. It's not that I haven't tried. Really. I've been battling computer issues for the past few weeks, and losing, it would seem. I'm not even sure this posting will actually get published, ... I've lost a few of them already due to a problematic PC. I've literally spent hours talking with help desk techs, chatting online with computer service personnel, installing, uninstalling and re-installing software, rebooting and rebooting, and holding my breath. I think I'm whining, too.

One of the computer issues involved having to replace our printer and it seemed to make sense to get one that could be networked via our wireless router. The router is connected to the Internet, and enables other computers in the network to share the connection. The wireless router can also receive input from networked computers, allowing them to share the printer. If the connections are correct, and the hardware and software are functioning properly, it can be a beautiful thing.

We attended a retreat this past weekend, and one of the speakers, Johannes Amritzer, gave a teaching on the ministry of healing, which I found to be profound, and yet simple. He referenced the scripture verses Matthew 10: 7,8, "As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." He challenged us, as followers of Christ, to give to others what we have from Him, to pass it on. He said that our function is not to "heal", but to announce that it's already been done ... by Jesus on the Cross (Isaiah 53:5). Faith releases the supernatural and changes the atmosphere. Johannes commented that if we carry His anointing, we will be a "lead wire" to God, a conduit meant to share the connection.

Kind of like a wireless router.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Proud Parents Day

This past weekend was Parent's Weekend at our daughter's college. We went to Grove City College early on Saturday morning to attend a recognition breakfast in honor of this Spring's new inductees to Mortar Board, a distinguished national honor society for college seniors. Samantha was one of those chosen from her campus, and we were so proud of her and delighted to share in the recognition convocation. Only 50 rising seniors are selected for membership each year at GCC. Here is a photo taken Saturday morning of Samantha and her once/future roommate and friend Kaitlin.

It's been a special year for Samantha and we've watched her 'bloom', as she's had opportunity to use talents we always knew she had, and to discover others, stepping out of her comfort zone into the adventure zone! She's grown into a beautiful and charming young woman of exemplary character and integrity, with a compassion for people, and a passion for the things of God.

AND... to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, we had lunch at Compadres Mexican restaurant. It was a wonderful and fun day, spent with some of my favorite people! Olé!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Walkin' the Talk

Our daughter Ashley sent us this article that she read recently on TechSideline.com (Virginia Tech Sports). It's not about Virginia Tech, but it is about recovering from tragedy. It's an inspirational account about living out a faith message and using life's experiences to help others. Here's the link : http://www.techsideline.com/message_board/coverage/2007/May/2/1270793.php

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Monday in the Park with Roger

When our kids were little, we often went to Pirates games, at Three Rivers Stadium. We liked the baseball, but Leah and Ashley were also fascinated with the Pirate Parrot. After Samantha was born, we'd take her, too, but she usually slept through it all.



Last night, Bruce and I went to a Pirates game, but now they play at PNC Park. It's a great park, and they say there's not a bad seat. I'm sure that's true, but of course, some are better than others. Our seats were really high, but at least we could see everything, and had a really pretty view of the river and the city as well. They also have added a mascot... a Pirate, named Jolly Roger. Clever.


There was a decent crowd for a Monday night. Oliver Onion won the Pirogi Race. Jason Bay hit his 100th homer, getting the go ahead run in the bottom of the 8th to come from behind and beat the Cubs 3-2!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Perspective

A friend of ours sent us these photos recently in an email.

This is the size of our earth compared to the other planets in Solar System (except forget poor Pluto)



This is the size of our planets in relation to the sun.

This is the size of our sun in relation to the star, Arcturus.









This is Arcturus compared to Antares and to its campanion star, Betelgeuse, which is part of the constellation Orion.













God said to Job and his pals (38: 31-33), “Can you direct the movement of the stars, binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? Can you direct the sequence of the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?"

I don't think He was bragging, just trying to lend some perspective.

Kryptonite and Computers

I spent a good part of the day today doing battle with a goofy computer, and finally cleaning out files and folders to try to help it function better. While waiting for some of the files to transfer to a CD, I was browsing some headline news.

I read the shocking headline today on Pittsburgh.com.... Miners Find Real-Life Kryptonite. At first, I thought, uh ohhh. And then, I remembered that 'kryptonite' is make-believe.

So, I read the article, and found out that some miners in Serbia found a mineral they sent to the British Museum, and it is white, powdery and not radioactive, unlike the glowing green crystals which rob Supeman of his powers.

Whew! Just in case, tho', I'm steering clear of Serbia.


It's been a long day.