Good intentions …

“Can you detect anything false in what I say? Don’t you trust me to discern good from evil?” Job 6:28

Good intAfter Job lost his family and fortune, three friends came to him, one by one, to help him through his grief. However, because of their ignorance as to how to comfort Job, their poor choice of conversation resulted in even more pain for Job. Imagine a “friend” telling you that your sin caused your life to become a miserable failure.

Unfortunately, not everyone has been trained or given “filters” to screen out harmful conversation—especially to a parent grieving the loss of a child. I ran across a blog on a website that listed the six worst things one can say to a grieving parent: Time heals all wounds (how much time?).  Let go… Move on (how and to where?),  Have faith (in what?). Everything happens for a reason (tell me why!) At least ( uch as “you can have more children,” ) and  Be thankful (for what?)

Unless you have experienced a similar loss, and have come out “Still Standing,” and if you can’t trust yourself to say the “right thing,” experts say we should simply say, “I’m sorry,” offer a hug or handshake, and I add to that, let Hallmark cards do the talking.

Lord, help us discern what to say to someone who needs comforting. Amen.

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Who can we trust more than God?

charlesspurgeon105835“Hezekiah put his whole trust in the God of Israel… and obeyed to the letter everything God had commanded.” 2 Kings 18:5

In return  for Hezekiah’s strong faith, God took good care of him. After the Samaria fell to Assyria, the king of Assyria sent messengers to King Hezekiah to ask for retribution, But when they were unable to address the king, the spokesman, Rabshakeh, boldly told the guards,  “… don’t let Hezekiah give you that line about trusting in God …”

Stories in the Old Testament history parallel in many ways with the drama of the presidential campaign. Contestants use any method they can—rumors, slander, skewed facts, or lies, to try to make people distrust the views and promises made by other candidates.

Trust is the only way we can form a strong “relationship” with anyone—God, friends, family, and with any candidate we would vote for to become the new president. It is unfortunate we need to place little trust in what we hear and say and prepare for the true or false quiz of before going to the polls. Then, it takes trust in God that our country will survive whomever becomes the leader of our great nation for the next four years!

Dear Lord, help us form a strong relationship with you before we attach ourselves to anyone else. Amen.

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In God we trust?

“God handed the Hagrites and all their allies over to them, because they [The families of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh,44,760 men] cried out to him during the battle. God answered their prayers because they trusted him.” 1 Chronicles 5:20

Can you pay no attention to God?

Can you pay no attention to God?

In God We Trust has been the official motto of the U.S. since 1956, a tense time during the cold war, as a way to distinguish itself from the Soviet Union, who promoted state atheism. It took many people in congress to trust that it was the right thing to do to put In God we Trust on all U.S. coins since 1864 and paper money in 1957.

Every few years a small group of atheists file suit against the United States to get the word “God” removed from coins and currency. They claim it violates their First Amendment rights. One man interviewed on the radio said he found it offensive to have money in his pocket with the word “God” printed on it.

If I were an atheist, it wouldn’t be a big deal, as I don’t like to carry much cash. I’ve lost my wallet three times, and I’m not fond of giving anyone money. The words “In God we Trust” written on the coins and bills doesn’t keep them from being stolen. Perhaps the atheist who said it offended him to have “God” in his pocket, could do as I do and carry credit and debit cards. That works for me, but he people probably doesn’t trust plastic either.

Dear Lord, help us trust you in all things, including the decisions made by those we elect into office. Amen.

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Trust God … and learn to trust yourself!

trust but verify“David strengthened himself with trust in his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6); However, he slipped and began to trust people and statistics in lieu of God. With this “David was overwhelmed with guilt.” (2 Samuel 24:10a).

There once was a man (aka “Gullible”), who had wanted a certain vehicle for a long time and finally found one on Craig’s list. He was overjoyed with the find. The car shined like a new penny, had all the bells and whistles, low mileage, and better yet, within his price range.

The seller, (aka “Greed”) gave Gullible the sale’s pitch that would make anyone trust him. However, within a few days after the man bought it, the engine began to make noises and problems with the electronics made it stall out on the road. Gullible loved the car and saw the problems as fixable.

After several trips to the auto shop, Gullible decided to cut his losses and unload the lemon. He was overjoyed to find buyer (aka “Mr. Wise), who before handing over the cash checked the VIN information and found someone had skewed the mileage on the car by 100,000 miles. Gullible scratched his brow and said, “No wonder the car limps on all four tires.”

When we allow desire to trump discernment, we set ourselves up for failure and guilt. Someone once said, “If it looks too good to be true, it is.”

Dear God, help us trust our intuition and intellect before putting trust in anything or anyone, except you! Amen.


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Finder’s keepers and losers …

stealGod spoke to Moses: “When anyone sins by betraying trust with God… If he has found something lost and lies about it…, he must return what he stole…” Leviticus 6:1,3,5

Last summer while spending the day at the NJ shore, I watched Nate, my six-year-old grandson, find a sand pail and shovel. He looked at the pail and around him as if to see if anyone was watching him. Then, for the next few minutes he  approached everyone close to the “find” to see if it belonged to anyone. Finally, he returned, held the bucket up for us to see, and said, “I couldn’t find the kid who lost this.”

It took some talking to convince Nate it was okay to keep the dollar-store sand pail. Finally, when we suggested that the beach cleaners at the end of the day most likely would toss it into the garbage bin, he gave in. For the remainder of the day, he  filled the pail with water and made sand castles and forts.

As we packed up to go home, Nate wiped sand out of the pail and asked, “Can I keep it?” I shook my head and thought,  He’s a keeper!

Lord, help us live to never gloat, “Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers.” Amen.



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Trust me with your story!

“Moses objected, “They won’t trust me. They won’t listen to a word I say.” Exodus 4:1

Trust me with your story!

Trust me with your story!

Moses had problems getting the Israelites to listen to him?.I’ve come to believe people have not changed much since the days of Moses. People have become deaf to truth and wisdom or have a bad case of earwax buildup. And, there is the problem with listening with one ear while rehearsing the response.

If you know me well, you know I’m a talker. And, I’m sure some people don’t listen to what I say. However, as a writer, I’ve learned to become a good listener, such as when I’m interviewing someone for a story.

Living in an senior community has given me the opportunity to meet interesting people and hear great stories. With my body language and non-threatening questions, I assure the interviewee they can trust me with their story.  A couple of years ago I interviewed one of my husband’s friends from the metal shop who designed and built the tools for the first lunar exploration. As he shared his experience, I could see how much it meant to him to go back to 1969 in his mind and relive the thrill of sitting in a reserved chair at the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center to watch his tools “wing their way” to the moon. This friend now has early stages of Alzheimer disease, but his story will never fade away.

It is a privilege and blessing for me to have people trust me with their stories. In the case of Moses, it was a matter of survival that the people of Israel listened to him.

Lord, open our ears to those you send to guide us along our faith journey. Amen.

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Trust — from the bottom of your heart!

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.” Proverbs 3:5

 trustMy pride and stubborn determination to “do it by myself” often gets me into trouble. It is extremely humbling after messing around with my computer and then having to call the expert—my husband—to clean up the mess I created. Not long ago, I download a program that “Microsoft” said I needed, and yet all it did was add three programs I didn’t need. It took hours to get rid of the snake-like programs. I got the stern look from Glen that said, “Don’t try to figure out a computer unless you know what you are doing!”

Proverbs 3:5 has always been my “go to” verse to trust God. However, the hard part is trusting from the bottom of my heart. No doubt, if God had a face, he’d be wearing the same expression as my husband does when I screw up.

Verse 6 and 7 gives me even more advice: “Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil!”

Thank you, Lord, for the Proverbs which teach us trust you for everything. Amen.

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Pick a key …

“Don’t fear: I am First, I am Last, I’m Alive. I died, but I came to life, and my life is now forever.” Revelation 1:17

gateIt seems fitting that on this last day of the month of writing about the subject fear, I write from the Book of Revelation—the last book in the Bible. John wrote the words of Jesus to help us conquer fear of death. In verse 2, Jesus said, “See these keys in my hand? They open and lock Death’s doors, they open and lock Hell’s gates. Now write down everything you see: things that are, things about to be.”

I began writing by journaling my thoughts. As I think back to some of the intimate things I wrote in the journals, I am reminded of the jingle, “Now I lay me down to sleep. If I should die before I wake, someone throw my journals in the lake.”

I shudder to think that God knows everything I’ve written, but it gives me comfort to know it doesn’t matter in the eyes of God. It’s what I do to resolve my thought that is important. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. said, “Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and most easily of all, the gate of fear.”

When my life cycle on earth is complete, I’m hoping I’ll be given the key that will open the door to a new life without fear.

Thank you, Lord, thank you for the gift of fear that helps us grow in our faith. Amen.

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Enter the stormy sea …

Then he [Jesus] got in the boat, his disciples with him. The next thing they knew, they were in a severe storm. Waves were crashing into the boat—and he was sound asleep! They roused him, pleading, ‘Master, save us! We’re going down!’” Matthew 8:23-25

oceanMy husband and I had spent a long day at our computers—me writing, Glen programming. About 4:00 p.m. I suggested we go to a movie to relax. We picked the only movie showing in our timeframe: The Finest Hours—a true story about a Coast Guard rescue mission during one of the worst storms to ever hit the shore of Massachusetts. Believe me, there was little “relaxation” going on in the theater. Out of fear, I ate my whole bag of popcorn before the first hour passed.

Nowhere in the film was there dialogue of anyone asking Jesus to save the crews. However, the thought came to mind that Jesus had to have been in both boats. The takeaway from this amazing movie  was how much faith the crewmembers had in the “captain” of each boat. Both of these men gathered strength from their experience and knowledge to courageously dispel fear and proceed to the mission at hand. We need to have faith in our Captain–God–when our life comes crashing down on us.

(Note: If you plan to see this movie, you may wish to purchase the extra-large bag of popcorn.)

Dear Lord, give us courage to face, and give us courage to help rescue others. Amen.

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Fear of Failing …

“Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.” Psalm 23:4

EatRecently, I read a blog written as an open letter to a friend working on his PhD dissertation. His friend was going through what the blogger referred to as “the Valley of Sh_ _ ! His friend had lost perspective of the project, his confidence and belief in himself, and wanted to walk away from his PhD.

The article grabbed my attention because my youngest child is walking the “valley” now, a few months before graduating with her PhD. She has been wading to her knees in illness, mishaps, distractions, relationship concerns, etc. I do whatever I can to encourage her—you know the “I believe in you” crap. However, the article made one point that stuck: “No matter how many reassuring things people say, it can be hard to believe that the Valley of Sh_ _ actually does have an end.” He wrote that reassuring words might make their situation more oppressive with fear of disappointing the people who believe in them.

After reading this article, I promised myself I’d give up being a cheerleader mom and become a better  listening and prayer warrior mom. I might even send Susan a shepherd’s crook  to remind her she is not walking alone. God wades through the muck right by her side–ready to catch her before she falls.

Dear Lord, help us remember that all valleys lead to somewhere or something worth obtaining. Amen.

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