Monday, December 10, 2018

Loving and Giving

Note: Below is an excerpt from a newspaper column I wrote in 2001. I'm sharing it again since the idea it expresses remains true for today.

In a Christmas card I received last year, a friend had written, “Every year I like to sit down and re-read the cards I received the Christmas before.” I decided to do that, too.
After re-reading a card from one of my first employers, I paraphrased its message and used it as the introduction for this year’s annual Christmas letter. 

Throughout the year, 
but especially at Christmas, 
we remember the special people in our lives—
the wonderful people 
we’ve been privileged to know and love. 
The people with whom we’ve had good times. 
The people who’ve helped us during difficult times. 
The people who’ve been thoughtful and caring. 
The people who’ve touched our lives
in ways we will not forget… 

Following the writing of that introduction and the re-reading of all the cards, I realized anew this simple yet profound truth: 

A heart that loves, gives.

The special people in my life have done exactly that, as has God who “so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, New Living Translation, emphasis added).

Love—whether that of God's "love gift" of a Savior or the love of others expressed in diverse ways—is the perfect gift for everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thankful for Each Day

I may be a tad weird, but I think a foggy day, even at the beach, is beautiful. When clouds prevent the sun from shining through as it normally does, I love the muted blue/gray color that softly shrouds the landscape, hiding many of the surrounding landmarks. I know that the fog will lift, and I'll once again see what it concealed, especially structures in the distance. In the meantime, I'll enjoy the scene just as it is.

Life's like that, isn't it? At first glance, a day (or several) may seem dreary. Even if we long for all things to be bright and beautiful again, shouldn't we give thanks for whatever kind of day we've been given? After all, as the psalmist so rightly said, "This is the day the LORD has made; [Let us] rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24, NKJV).  

In addition to rejoicing in the gift itself, let's be sure we rejoice even more in the Giver who loves us enough to give us that gift--and myriads of others as well.

Monday, November 5, 2018

The one who made the Pleiades and Orion, 
who turns darkness into dawn
and darkens day into night,
who summons the water of the sea
and pours it out over the surface of the earth —
the LORD is his name.
—Amos 5:8, Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Floating Along?

By being stricter with yourself, you will begin to live life more deliberately, on your own terms rather than simply reacting to life the way a leaf floating in a stream drifts according to the flow of the current on a particular day.
~Robin Sharma (Who Will Cry When You Die? p.9)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Look up!

As I woke up one morning, I heard a beautiful song via the BBN Radio app on my cell phone. I loved the message it contained, so I got right out of bed and began to search the Internet for the lyrics (see below). 

John Bieri may have written them in the 1930s and 40s. Perhaps after reading what God said to Noah in Genesis 6:16 (“Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks."), Bieri then included in his song other words God might have spoken to Noah.

I want to share the lyrics with you because I believe they will encourage you, too. Although the wording varies slightly from source to source and from vocalist to vocalist, the meaning remains the same: When in difficult circumstances, look up and see God standing by—watching over you, ready to help you.


When God spoke unto Noah, and told him to build the ark,
The Lord knew well the vessel would be cheerless and dark,
So God said build a window with outlook toward the sky,
That's when it's dark and lonesome, you'll see Me standing by.

The storms will come, but fear not; oh, children, I am nigh,
And through the upper window, you'll see Me standing by.

It may be that affliction will rack and rend your frame
Until your mortal body is seared with fevered flame.
But do not be discouraged; just lift your tear-dimmed eye,
And through the upper window, you'll see Me standing by.

Perhaps you'll suffer losses, like houses, lands, and gold,
And you will feel you're homeless, and penniless, and old;
But sweetest peace and comfort will life your painful sigh,
When through the upper window, you'll see Me standing by.

It may be that bereavement will take a loved one dear,
A soul that brought you gladness, real happiness and cheer;
But it will cheer your sad heart, when loved ones from you fly,
When through the upper window, you'll see Me standing by.

If you'd like to listen to the song, please click here:

(Note: This is not the same rendition I heard over BBN Radio.)

Friday, October 5, 2018

Still Standing

Whenever I pass by a chimney, I wonder what kind of house was once attached to it. I wonder about the people who lived there and what happened to them. I wonder what life was like for them.

Whenever I pass by a chimney, I also think about people who’ve suffered many losses, especially losses levied by Alzheimer’s. Those ravaged ones are much like a chimney. They remain, though so much has been stripped away from them, leaving few clues as to what their “house” (their life) was once like.

Perhaps their house had once been a beautiful one having many “rooms” filled with happiness. Perhaps precious children had once romped through those rooms and played in the yard. But time and Alzheimer's (as well as other diseases) had destroyed the house, room by room and piece by piece, leaving only a rock-solid chimney to remind passersby of the house that was once there.

When people pass by such a person, it’s obvious the house has been stripped away. Gone are the memories, the abilities, the personality, the awareness...that were evident in days gone by. Yet, the chimney still stands, reminding passersby that once there was more, much more, attached to it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


Year after year, one season ends; another one begins. In books (and in life), one chapter closes; another one begins. People come into our lives; people leave. The tides flow in and out. Flowers bloom; flowers fade. 

Since changes surround us, you’d think we’d learn to accept them more easily, wouldn’t you? But we resist them; sometimes we run from them! However, we'll experience more peace and happiness if only we'll take the advice Jim Milligan (President/CEO of BlueLetter gave in that organization's Summer 2018 newsletter: 
“I pray that as the summer season winds to a close, you will continue to see Christ and what He has done for you. It may look different from what you had planned, but rest in the assurance it will ultimately be for His glory, and your good.”
He's right! And so is Amy Carmichael who said, "In acceptance lieth peace." 

Therefore, it's crucial that you and I not only ACCEPT changes—even those we had not planned, even those we never wanted, even those that terrify us—but that we also REST in the assurance that even those changes will result in God’s glory and our good. Even if we can’t see how that will ever happen, God can see, and He can—and will—make ALL the changes result in glory for Him and good for us.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Prayers of Praise

One day I heard Elisabeth Elliot quote a few words found in the Te Deum (tuh-DEE-um). Being unfamiliar with the Te Deum, I searched the Internet for information about it. I learned that it is an early Christian hymn of praise, possibly written by Saint Augustine or Saint Ambrose in AD 397. The words Elisabeth quoted are translated this way in the Book of Common Prayer:
Sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico--Gulf Shores, Alabama
We praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee: the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud: the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim: continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Hosts;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty: of thy glory.
I plan to memorize those words so that I can readily (and often!) offer them as a prayer of praise to God.  I also plan to read regularly Psalm 104, which is a beautiful hymn of praise. Would you like to do that too? 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

On Time—Always!

God is never too late, nor too early, but just on time.
~R. T. Kendall