New Beginnings

L’Abri

I recently visited L’Abri in Holland.  I confess to being a fan of reading Francis and Edith Schaeffer’s books.  Francis’ books guided me through secular university training grounding me in my faith.  Edith taught me hospitality through her writings.  Not having met them personally, I still felt their hand and foot prints on this unique place.   My son brought me into the chapel where he and Lori married, a peace filled place.  I could have stayed in the library forever.  It was and is truly a place of shelter, which is what the French word L’Abri means.   You […]

C.S. Lewis reminder

C.S. Lewis made a statement decades ago that is true today.  ‘People need to be reminded more than they need to be informed.”  He was referring to religious instruction.  How true.   Most of us as Christ followers know more of God’s design on our life than we follow.  We  know more of Jesus instructions for our behavior than we follow.  That’s why living as a Christ follower requires discipline:  practicing what we know.   Scripture repeats God’s instructions.  The10 commandments in the Old Testament are affirmed in the new.   Paul would state, ‘remember what I told you.’  And then […]

Cornelius moment

Do you realize that a day will come when God will call you by name?  Read Acts 10 and consider the experience of Cornelius.  He was a gentile known for helping people and he feared God.  God noticed and sent an angel with a message.  “Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. verse 31.   Do you realize that you will have a Cornelius moment?  It will be a memorial moment commending your sacrifice. Helping those nobody notices.   Others who honored God were not even named in Scripture. Yet the widow of Zarepath […]

What’s under the surface

I delighted in a canal boat ride through Amsterdam, Holland.  Amazing views of interesting ports, unique homes, boats from small to large to gargantuan.  However, my son told me an interesting fact about the canals.  Every year over 12,000 bicycles are dredged up from the canals.   12,000 unfortunate swerves, miscalculations, or whatever.  The fact was that these needed to be regularly removed or the canals could not function.   I was reminded that all of our lives have swerves, miscalculations and events we would prefer never happened.  Ignoring that is fatal.  Jesus is the perfect solution. 1 John 1:9 […]

Leadership success

It has been said that the best way to develop your leadership skill is to have a great role model.  Yes, a coach, a book might help.  But watching is best.  Leaders today are imperfect, even Christ following leaders.  We need to keep going back and looking intently at Jesus.  Perfect, personal, humble, sacrificial, He was and is every characteristic of every leadership quality we need today.   Study the word ‘authority’ in the New Testament.  Jesus possessed it, in humility. Hebrews 5:8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.   Rare, but the best leadership […]

A Dad’s description

I  recently comforted a man, a muslim,  whose Dad had been brutally murdered.  This man had been a diplomat, international representative of his country.  I’m sure many remembered his public accomplishments after his death.   But his son, fighting back tears, described him as a ‘happiness maker,’ a magical man, a man who could pull a rabbit from a hat.  And after a decade, that void was still painful, yet his presence still influencing his son.  His widowed mother still struggles. Our faiths are quite different.  Yet loss was our common bond. I Corinthians 9: 22. I could tell this man […]

Comforting others

I recently meet an arabic book store owner in Europe.  He was intrigued that I was a published author.  Lord, how can I connect meaningfully with this man?  I told him of my widow focus.  Immediately he poured out the story of his Dad’s murder in his home country and his Mom’s struggles today.   I was able to listen,  relate, and comfort this person, so different from me in many ways.   2 Corinthians 1: 3-4  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who […]

A harsh week

Have you experienced a harsh week recently?  Pick an area, relationships, regrets, unexpected bills, to do lists longer than the day?  How eager are you to carry on your Spiritual calling during those days?  Recently in my harsh week experience I did not even know how to pray, where to begin, even what to ask for.   Thankfully my pastor reminded us that’s OK.  The Holy Spirit takes our words, even just our heart sounds, intercedes and translates them to Jesus.  Romans 8: 27.  Jesus perfumes them, Revelation 8: 3 and 4,fills in the reality we do not see,  and […]

Acquaintances

What do acquaintances say about you when you’re not there?  In business and political circles, it is stated, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”  Harsh, but true in some cases.  I’m reading Paul’s letters and am touched by all he named personally, their relationship, his love and compassionate affirmation, their challenges and even disagreements.  Yes, they disagreed forcefully.   That level of transparency and relational connection is rare today.  As Christ followers we can be authentic speaking truth in love directly.  The Bible condemns gossip and slandering.  But instructs to go to the person first with […]

Tell your story

Do you want to communicate God’s love to people quite different from you.  I was invited to speak to widows in Ouagadougou Burkina Faso.  Several hundred young widows packed into an open air church.  My great desire as the speaker was for them to know how much God loved them and cared for them in their challenging circumstance.  I told them I did not know their lives, their culture, but I like they had buried my husband.  A hush was palpable.  We shared the look of knowing, of mutual compassion.   I taught from the stories of the widow of […]

Depression and Google

Google has a new response to people searching the topic of depression.  You can check on a validated screening questionnaire that takes you through a test doctors typically use to evaluate symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis. These include erratic sleep, weight changes, painful thinking, even delusional thinking,  anxiety, moodiness, and more.   We can also look at people in Scripture who were depressed like  Elijah hiding in a cave.  What was the solution for them?  God shows us ways to gain perspective in terrible times. God gives us tools: prayer, connecting in accountability with godly people.  Medication may […]

Depression

Depression is misunderstood.  Those suffering need not despair.  The future can be positive.  Statistics say 1 in 5 adults in our country suffer from depression and only 41% receive treatment.  Half of the widows experience this in that first year of their loss. The second year one fourth are still suffering.  Erratic sleep, weight change, grey thinking.   My definition of depression is different. Depression is the normal reaction to a crisis, a negative event in your life.  A clinical diagnosis typically means medication is an option.  Medication can numb pain temporarily, but not change the news.   The permanent […]