New Beginnings

Most popular verse

Amazon released the most read passages from its most popular books.  The Bible continues to be one of the most read books and Philippians 4: 6-7  the most popular passage.   That speaks to the need of us humans.  We are fearful, anxious and hunger for peace.   Philippians 4: 6-7.  “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”   What a paradox that we strive for peace by […]

Gratitude and simplicity

With Christmas ahead, we can get caught up in the ‘so much to do,’  ‘I want to do more,’ ‘should I add . . .’ to our to do list.   I remember visiting widows in the Mathare Valley of Nairobi.  We were preparing for training with sustainable skill tailoring.  In their 12 by 12 ‘home,’ corrugated metal roof, 8 occupants, kitchen in the corner, one large pot, a few bowls, fabric ‘wall’ to hide sleeping mats, these widows hugged their children, smiled at us, crowed nieces and nephews they were caring for beside them.  Their generosity overflowed to less […]

Emotional ruts

Holidays do crazy things with our emotions.  Past disappointments, fearful expectations can grab us and take us places we don’t want to go.   Here’s a helpful analogy.  Down hill skiing on fresh snow is exhilarating an offers many ways down the mountain.  One run creates path, then another in the same place a defined path.  Next time at the top your skis likely follow that packed path with little effort to steer elsewhere even if the views are better, and that rutted path is not the best place to be.   Emotional habits are like that.  We fall into […]

Prepare for the unexpected

I have some contradictory advice for you this month.  Expect the unexpected. Especially if you have experienced loss of someone important to you.  Shopping?  You may realize you don’t need to buy those socks for that stocking.  Menu planning?  You don’t need to make that special recipe.  Our loss can overwhelm us in the mall, the grocery store, or anyplace.   Be prepared for those moments you can’t prepare for.   What helps?  Intentionally add a new stop in your routine.  A new chocolate store has opened near me.  No memories, a pleasant new experience.   Remember, tears are OK […]

“I remember”

Do you have a friend who has experienced loss this year?  December, anticipating Christmas, will likely be hard for them.  What can you do?  Take a moment to tell them, “I remember.”  We love to hear tender, funny, and just interesting things from your perspective.   Tell your friend what you remember about the child she lost.  Tell my children one of the funny stories you remember about their bargain hunting, penny pinching Dad.  Like driving the lawn tractor along route 12 to avoid the pick up charge.   You might think, “but I don’t want to bring to their […]

God’s Surprises

I’m amazed that God chose shepherds to first hear Jesus’ birth announced.  They heard a heavenly choir trumpeting his birth.  Luke 2 says the shepherd’s  rushed to see Jesus and announced his arrival to the world.   God specializes in the unlikely.   A poor widow became the model of generosity from Jesus day through every generation.  Her sacrificial gift of dropping two coins revealed her generosity and resounded to claim that small matters to God.   People with little prominence matter to God. Widows who have little are noticed by the God of the Universe.   Men on the […]

Ruth’s road to Bethlehem

The road to Bethlehem was hard for Jesus’ mother Mary.  Another woman  traveled that same hard road.  The book of Ruth tells us that Ruth, the widow, the Moabite, CHOSE to travel that tough road.  Out of tragedy, loosing her husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law, she chose to become an immigrant,  turn her back on her culture, roots, family, her religious cult.   The walk and witness of another widow, her mother-in-law, Naomi, won Ruth’s heart, and became the Bible Ruth read to become a believer.   Do you wonder if anything good can come of your tragedy?  Are you afraid […]

Expectations

Are you looking forward to Christmas?  Expectations and joy mixed with concern and questions?  Let’s tackle what’s important.  Preparing for Jesus birth is a time to decide to accept him as he is, and for who he is.  God’s son.  Powerful at his right hand today.  Human, tender and humble, no respecter of persons.  Embracing just those two facts changes our anticipation of Christmas.  He has earned our obedience through his gift of life. earned for us on the cross.  We can speak the truth in love.  He would.   Serving others with a heart desiring Him to get glory, […]

What we know about Mary.

As we focus on Christmas, We think of Jesus mother.   What do we know about Mary?  Luke chapter 2 says she gave birth to her first born son, wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger. First births are usually the hardest, typically made harder by the fear of the unknown.  We know she was poor.  She understood at some level that this child would mean tumult in her world. Mary had every reason to despair.  But we read that she watched, pondered, and moved when safety required it.  You see, she had made an earlier […]

Choose life.

Has death of someone you cherish rocked your world this year?  Yes, grieve.  Yes, reorder your world.  Struggle through it all.  Precious memories, regrets, unfinished business, and unknowns.  But remember two precious words in Scripture.  “Choose life.”  We do not move on unchanged.  But we do move!  We don’t ‘get over it.’  But we do ‘get on with it’. Oh, my friend, that’s not dishonoring the one you’ve lost.  We honor our beloved person by choosing life.  Deuteronomy 30 tells us how. Choosing what to do with special days is hard, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve. Talk to […]

Little known stories # 9 Anna

We often marginalize ‘vintage’ people in our culture.  To be ‘senior’ is not to be cool, relevant, purposeful.  Not so in Scripture.  We learn priceless lessons from vintage people.  Here’s a quiz question to see if you can identify this widow.   I began to learn that the demands of the body should be subjected to God’s invitation to be satisfied with Him alone. Anna was widowed in her twenties–childless.  She chose not to remarry, but rather to fast and pray.  At 84 her calling meant she was in the temple to see the infant Jesus.  What a privilege for […]

Little known stories # 8 Mary

Mary the mother of Jesus inspires us in many ways.  She challenges us as well.  Blessed to be the mother of our Messiah, her life included pain beyond our imagination.  She would bare the babe Jesus whose life would divide many and  a sword would pierce her soul as well. Herod killing her friends children in order to kill Jesus.  Surely a sword pierce her soul at that news.  Joseph could comfort her. Her own community rejected, in fact tried to kill her son.  The sword again, and likely she was a widow by then.  No comforting arms of the […]