Sunday, February 19, 2012


James 1:5 reads
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

So the scripture says that if I lack wisdom, I should ask God. So the first step in getting wisdom is to realize that I do not have it. When I realize I do not have it, I should ask the One who does. Makes sense to me. Seems real simple. So often though, it is not how we roll.

First of all, admitting that we do not have the wisdom to overcome our circumstances is a huge revelation. It is humbling even to those who name Christ as savior because we've been in the Book for years. Perhaps we feel that we understand wisdom because we read the Scriptures or know the Author.

Or it could be that we haven't (been in the Book)but we know better. Treading upon this ground now, we've neglected God and conclude He is very mad at us.

The answer to that issue is in the second part of the verse: who gives generously to all without finding fault. In the Amplified version this verse reads: If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.

He is a giving God. Not like humans, who when neglected may walk away. He is very different. He continually gives like John 3:16 says. So we are not dealing with human love at all, but divine. Unconditional. The kind that is very hard to understand with our minds. We understand with our heart.

So when we come to Him. [Finally] He doesn't reprimand or fold His arms in closed communication. He opens up and pours out what we need. In the KJV, it says that He “upraideth not.” So He gives liberally and does not remind us how we are responsible for the mess. He knew the mess would happen before the foundation of the world and is not surprised at all.

Very often, we side with the enemy. We upraid, condemn or judge ourselves too harshly. We rehash the mistakes of the day, forgetting to go to the One who waits to forgive and get us on the road to recovery. [1 John 1:9]

We may even congratulate another who receives wisdom from God but quietly think He will not give it to us. We believe every lie of the enemy. We forget to check the fine print of His love letter.

Every version of this verse I've read is that He gives to all. Not just to some but to everyone. All means all.

How do we receive this wisdom? By faith. We ask and receive, Jesus says so. Matthew 7:7.
In James 1:6, we are reminded of what Jesus said. We do not want to doubt but believe.

Someone recently spoke of a squirrel in the road. The car comes and the squirrel cannot decide what to do. It runs back and forth attempting to dodge deadly tires, never committing to dash straight ahead to other side.

Sometimes, we act like the squirrel in the road. When the answer of wisdom doesn't come in the way we expect, we doubt. Even then our God doesn't condemn [Romans 8:1)or upraid, but assures that the answer will come.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Did You Know Mary?

A young girl finds herself pregnant and not by the man she is betrothed to marry. She lives in a culture where the law demands she be stoned. She runs to an older aunt who understands what is going on but she may very well be the only one. When she returns home, her condition evident by now, the town is abuzz with the scandal. Her fiancĂ© considers putting her away quietly until he encounters a dream. Others thought him a fool and may have even taken their carpentry needs elsewhere. Fast-forward to Christ's birth, the proclamation in the temple and the flight into Egypt. Mary was far away from the scrutinizing neighbors but still had to ponder who this Child was. Her life would never be the same. Could she have struggled with what she may have expected from life? She and Joseph returned to Nazareth when Jesus was maybe 5 years old. By now, one or two brothers had been born. Her neighbors remember the circumstances of her first Son’s birth. Mary has to learn to live without their approval. Perhaps she was able to hang onto a close friend but the town never embraced her as their own.
There were probably many times she wondered at it all. She knew in her heart that Someone had orchestrated all of this and had a plan. The wondering came from what part she had to play. Who was this Jesus? How could this ordinary little boy be the Messiah? And was He? Had what happened those few years before been heartburn? In the dust and heat of the day, when it is so hard to believe, how do we? And does God forgive our doubts? Is the God they teach in synagogue the same One who allows His Son to be born in a stable?
Mary was never the same after the conception and birth of her firstborn. Nor did she ever escape the judgmental stares of her peers as her life progressed because no one really knew the miraculous mystery of His birth in her life before the Resurrection.
You and I find it easy to justify Mary's doubts. We find it hard to correlate her doubts to ours because her circumstances were thrust upon her by the Divine. He did ask, and she did say yes. In reality, He asks us every day. Will we allow the Savior of the World to take up residence within us and walk out our salvation in the Spirit? Things are never what they seem. Pharisees can always find something wrong because they think they can be saved by the law.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


“I am new.” I said to the angel standing by a gate covered in radiant pearls.
“I know,” said the angel.
He didn’t look like an angel. I just knew. We stood together on a street of transparent gold. Light emanated around and through everything. Buildings, streets, and flowers were awash in fresh color. Suddenly I knew things I’d never known before, old thoughts were fading.
“Happy Noel,” he said.
I looked at him puzzled.
“Is it Christmas?” I asked.
“Yes, for you it is,” he said. “Noel means birth and you have entered the next phase of eternal life. In a word, you’ve crossed the Jordan.”
“Alleluia,” I breathed almost to myself.
“Exactly,” said my new friend.
“So what do I do now?” I asked. He grinned.
“Fulfill the purpose for which you have been created,” he said. “All of your life has been a pursuit of this moment.” He waved me in as we walked through the gate.
My focus centered on his words as they washed over me. In the former world, I had believed lies so the truth was often blocked. Here it was amazingly clear. I felt a sense of awe that tingled throughout my whole body.
We walked toward the throne room and he took my hand. I felt the warmth of his friendship. I sensed his motive was to extend unconditional love. The same love he had known since the beginning of time. In this place, it was easy to receive it.
I circled around, aware of a refreshing fragrance. Jesus stood before me and embraced me with a love that fulfilled all of my heart’s desires.
“Come,” He said, “enter into the joy of the Lord.” The three of us entered together.
The room was full of hues that in the old world would be hard to describe. Colors so vivid they moved with the beautiful sounds that surrounded all who stood in awe of Him who sat on the throne. I wondered in awe remembering the times when my faith was so small. How could I have been so disbelieving?
Pictures of His life and my life flashed across a wall that wasn’t a wall. Somehow it did not take away from the focus of the One who presided over the center. He was mesmerizing and the pictures complimented the worship that unfolded before me.
“The First Noel,” said Jesus, “was when I chose to identify Myself with you. This Noel is your entering into Me.”
Jesus laughed, one that sparkled with new life. My new friend joined in and soon I was laughing too.
The pictures of His life and mine tied together in a musical symphony. So many things that had never made sense were perfectly clear. I had no questions, no doubts. I was at rest and at perfect peace.
I was home. NOEL.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I’ve decided to quit an endeavor like my little friend in kindergarten who wanted to give up on school after seven days. If you read my blog on Quitting, then you may know what I’m talking about. That event has turned out smoothly for the little guy and he is acclimating well. I received a picture the other day to hang on my fridge.
There are times, however, when quitting a project may be the wisest choice. Seasons end, for one; effectiveness is another. If we feel like we are pounding a square peg into a round hole. A new phrase that is buzzing around of late is “how’s that working out for ya?” The truth is, it may not be working out and walking away is the best option.
There are many reasons why we may hang on to something. A big motivator is money, or power. If you are like me with a strong dose of loyalty, hanging on is our best trait. It also could be our undoing if God is trying to get us to close shop. He never called us to hang onto worthless idols. Sometimes it is hard to tell if the thing needs more staying power or the courage to say, “Enough.” Let’s move on.
In 2 Kings 18:4, King Hezekiah smashes a sacred icon created by Moses. It happens in Numbers 21, where the Israelites complained about living conditions [again] so God sent venomous snakes into the camp. Moses crafts this bronze snake, so when bitten people look upon it, they are healed. Silly people attribute the healing to the icon rather than to God. As the years pass, they start burning incense to it and reverencing the created thing.
Hezekiah says “Enough.” He breaks it into pieces. Sometimes we need to walk away from a project we are working on because it has sucked all the life out of us. Other times, we may need to let go of the first thing, so that God can bring in the second. Either way it would be silly to continue to keep working for the sake of money, power or even loyalty if strife is the result.
Now in the first blog, I talked about starting a project where we may be tempted to give up too quickly. Today, I am talking about a project that needs to die. [John 12:24] Nor am I talking about marriage. That is a vow and needs real commitment, walking away is never the best option.
Some endeavors may need only a paradigm shift to reset the course. Others need more than an overhaul because they were never set on eternal values. Wisdom knows the difference. And that is why we pray.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I think the Humane Society miscalculated our dog’s age. Or she has found a fountain of youth in our backyard. Perhaps there is some magic in the kudzu after all? We adopted her almost 8 years ago. According to her “records”, she was 7 to 10 years old then. Her history included “years of neglect” and abandonment, escaping from a fenced-in yard with 3 other comrades. After the fourth escape, the family could no longer afford the fine so they gave them up for adoption. She sat alone in her cell, big brown eyes pleading for comfort. When I walked by, she stood up which was comical since her legs are so short. There isn’t much difference between her stand and sit.
She’s always been timid, frantic during thunderstorms. So I was surprised to find out from the vet, that she was the culprit for the escapes from her former family. Apparently, the marks on her teeth told the story of her holding up the bottom of the fence for her friends to go under. I was away when she escaped from our backyard a few years ago. It was the only time. My husband found her at the front door. She likes to be inside: on the sofa or under the bed.
A month after her adoption, a neighbor asked us to take in a puppy. We’re softies, so we did. Now eight years later, the “puppy” acts older than our supposed 15-year-old dog. She does this two step dance when we come home, with her tail bobbing like a plume [as my hubby calls it]. Have you ever seen a dog smile? This one does. Her whole face lights up. We can tell because her face falls when a storm is brewing.
So I’ve been contemplating what keeps her so young? Is it the short legs? Or could it be the grateful smile? As if we rescued her from death, which I suppose we did.
A bible teacher, who lived a century ago, says that Christians should become younger with age, more carefree. As we grow in Christ, our stressful lives should become less and less important as our eternal perspective expands. We become more and more grateful to the One who saved us. He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30 KJV

Saturday, August 14, 2010


“Mom, call my teacher and tell her I quit,” a kindergartner firmly stated after seven days of school. He had begun excited and eager, waking his mom on Saturday morning to head off to the bus stop.
His older brother had been going to school for “years,” his mom and dad were now home alone. Somebody had to keep an eye on them. And so the journey began, reasoning with a five-year-old that he could not “quit” going to school.
We laugh because we can relate. How often we have started a new job or project and wanted to quit because it was too hard, boring or just-not-what-we-expected. Maybe we just missed the old life. It was comfortable.
In the second book of the Bible, Exodus, the Israelis miraculous journey from Egyptian slavery to freedom is very similar to our resistance to change. This book recounts God’s intervention in their freedom and the reader wonders at the children of Israel’s stubbornness. They continually distort the truth to justify quitting the journey.
I wonder how many times you and I have done that?
Within the thread of this story is the truth of the Gospel. Christ came to save us from being afraid. Specifically, we are afraid of changing, the very thing that is key to our freedom.
Like our little friend who wanted to quit, we need to be reasoned with. God has that covered too. "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 NIV

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I’ve gone back in time this past few weeks. It’s as if, thirty years melted away. I had the privilege of helping our kids with their kids after the birth of their second son, Ansel William. What a ride. Young moms know what I am talking about. Diapers, naps, baths, toys, play-times, schedules, dishes, car seats, strollers, cribs, dirty clothes, clean clothes, lack of sleep, what-day-is-it? and what-is-my-name?
Ahh, he is a cutie though. One look into those big blue eyes: the tired muscles and frazzled nerves melt away into a big grin. You cannot help but laugh out loud as he puckers up his little mouth into what my husband calls a perfect “hens hole.”
What cannot be more beautiful than the serenity of a sleeping infant? One that is not sleeping serenely, that is for sure. And there is nothing wrong with Mr. Ansel’s lungs. It’s like the old saying, a bit revised: if Ansel ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. The good news is, he only “yells” between 6pm and 11pm. As the clock strikes an hour before midnight, he turns over and goes to sleep. Go figure.
Motherhood is not for wimps. Nor is fatherhood for that matter. I was grateful to enter baby-land again but knew that “my” time for this kind of marathon was finished. God in His wisdom speaks to us through our children and grandchildren, through times and seasons. We learn to be content in whatever circumstance we are in. I thank Him that He is sufficient.