The Gift Of Time


Dear Friends,

The older I get the more I understand what it means to see time fly. I’m so glad God in His infinite wisdom chose not to give me the gift of foresight. I can’t imagine how much differently I’d live my life if I knew what tomorrow held in store. I can’t say all the choices I’ve made in life have prepared me well for my tomorrows, but I know one thing…God knows, God sees, and God holds my future in His hands. When life hands me the unexpected or fills me with surprises, when my flesh may fail or my heart grows weak, when my enemy comes against me or temptation knocks on my door, I can live my days knowing God is still on His Throne. He is still in control. He is still in charge of time.

Like a watch-maker, God has fashioned my life’s clock to fit me. Somehow, I don’t think I run on a battery. I think God takes great delight in winding me up with gentleness and a whole lot of love to keep me in time with Him. He knows when I’m off-balance. He doesn’t ever forget to wind me and He doesn’t wind too tight. I do that to myself. When I’m not on His time schedule I can be a real piece of work, but the Watch-Maker knows how He puts His time-pieces together. I think I can trust Him to keep me ticking in a way that honors Him when I let Him take care of my inward parts.

As 2014 comes to an end and I reflect on all that was good and right or bad and wrong, I’m reminded that time is a gift. For every day God sees fit to give me breath I want to live as if there’s a purpose for every minute of every day. When time seems to fly by I can rest secure that in God’s economy time never really changes. It doesn’t fly across the friendly skies at the speed of light. It doesn’t walk at a snail’s pace or race around a track like NASCAR. It doesn’t sail across the oceans like a speedboat or gallop across the plains like wild horses. And even when I wish time would stand still, it doesn’t. Time is just…well…it’s just time.

I think it’s time for me to experience time through the eyes of my Time-Keeper.

As I approach 2015 I want to learn to truly appreciate this gift from the One who holds the Kingdom Clock. I want to treasure it and use it well. This is my prayer. I don’t want to hoard it or throw it away. I don’t want to neglect it or worship it. I don’t want to wish I had more of it or less of it. I don’t want to lose my patience because it doesn’t move fast enough or lose my mind because it moves too slow. I want to make the most of the time God has given. I don’t know what that means for me. I don’t know what it means for you. I just know I don’t want it to pass me by. As of this moment, time no longer flies.

It lives…one day at a time.

So, my friends, here’s to a new year and, hopefully, a new attitude. I’d love it if you’d join me in treating Time as precious. May we see God move mountains, enlarge territories, and part rivers in the new year….in His time and in His way…for His Name’s Sake.

Jesus Joy,



“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere Him.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, 14

The Thing God Did For Love


Probably the most recognizable and most quoted Scripture in all of the Bible is John 3:16,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son; that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Gosh, I hate to say it, but I’ve been fighting for joy this Christmas season. The weather’s not helping. The clouds have been relentless, the rain horrendous. Yesterday it rained so hard and so much the streets flooded. And there I was in the middle of it.

Years ago I made a selfish rule: Don’t go anywhere on Christmas Eve (except to the Christmas Eve service at church).

For the first time in a long, long time I broke that rule. My Jazzy was sick. Very sick. So sick she could barely stand up. She could hardly walk. She quit eating. She quit drinking. She trembled. I had to carry her up and down the porch steps to go to the bathroom. I thought my dog was dying. When I called her veterinarian on Tuesday afternoon the only appointment he had was Christmas Eve. What else could I do?

So yesterday morning at 8:30, I picked Jazzy up and carried her to the car in the pouring down rain. As I was driving the 18 or so miles to the vet’s office I crept along the highway with a few other half-crazy drivers strong enough to brave the torrent, traveling along at 45 miles per hour because visibility was so poor, you wouldn’t believe how God spoke to me.

I was frustrated and because I believe in being honest with God about what I’m feeling in my heart I told Him so. I was sick of rain. I was sick of dark skies. I was sick about some things that hadn’t been going my way lately. Sick of battling fear and anxiety. Sick of worrying about my dog, for Pete’s sake. Oh, I admit, some of my rant was ridiculously petty and small in the grand scheme of things, but some of it was big. At least to me. And then….out of nowhere….I heard the melody and words from this really secular, completely UN-spiritual song,

The things we do for love….

Like walking in the rain and the snow

When there’s nowhere to go

And you’re feeling like a part of you is dying

And you’re looking for the answer in her eyes (The Things We Do For Love, Hit song by the British Band, 10cc, in 1976)

I was a teenager back in the 1970’s. I graduated in 1976, the year this song was a hit. Since I don’t hear well, I never knew all the words to this song. I didn’t listen to the radio or buy a lot of records. Most of the time I just learned words to songs as I heard my friends sing them. I longed to be able to join in with them, but to tell you the truth it’s probably better that I didn’t. Hearing impaired people don’t always sing on key. At least I don’t. I may think I do. My family has made it very clear that I don’t, but I think hearing impaired people are blessed in a special way. They often learn to be content with silence. Maybe that’s why God speaks to me in such unconventional ways. When the words to this song began to play in my mind, God shut my mouth and ended my rant.

The thing I did for love…

Like walking in the rain and the snow

When there’s nowhere to go

And you’re feeling like a part of you is dying

And you’re looking for the answer in My eyes. (God, 2014)

As the rain beat down on my car like a jackhammer and my windshield wipers swished back and forth in double-time, Jazzy kept her eyes on me, shaking and shivering, her eyes pleading with me to fix her, to make it better. She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t talk. She couldn’t tell me what was wrong, but she trusted me. I remember thinking I might let her down. I remember thinking she might not go back home. I remember thinking there’s only so much a vet can do for a dog or other beloved pet that’s reached the end of its days. And I started to cry.

There in the midst of my tears, in the middle of a downpour on Christmas Eve, God reminded me that when the rain is a torrent and roads are flooded and people I love are hurting He loves in a way that I can’t. He can go where I can’t. He can reach people I can’t. He can heal hurts I can’t. All because He loves. Not just a little. But a lot. Enough to fill a river.

I looked up the words to this song online and thought how appropriate…

Too  many broken hearts have fallen in the river

Too many lonely souls have drifted out to sea

You lay your bets and then you pay the price

The things we do for love, The things we do for love. (10cc, 1976)

God sent His Son. His name is Jesus and everything about Him is love. His love pulls broken hearts out of rivers and lonely souls out of seas. I can’t take love out of Him. I can think He doesn’t love, if I want to. I can say He doesn’t love, I can even believe in my heart that He doesn’t, but why would I? I know it wouldn’t be true. Not to me. There are just some things no one can take away from me. I can’t separate God’s love from Him and I can’t separate the Father from His Son. They are One.

“This is how God showed His love among us; He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:9

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

I can never, ever be separated from the love of God that I have in Christ Jesus. I can try, but I’d waste a lot of energy. I can try running like Jonah or hiding like Adam and Eve, but I’d waste a lot of time. I’d rather live in this love than live apart from it because I’ve found that the love of Jesus is an amazing thing. He was born to be the greatest gift I’ve ever known. He gave me His life. This love is a powerful thing…

For God so loved the world…For God loved to such a great extent….For God loved extremely…Like a downpour…Like a flood…that He sent His only Son. 

This is the thing God did for love.

So Jazzy stayed with the vet yesterday. He took some x-rays, gave her fluids through an IV, started her on some pain and anti-inflammatory medications and I’m happy to say she came back home. We’ll be monitoring her arthritis and learning to manage it over the next few years, I guess. She slept well and this morning she seems her usual, energetic self. She keeps coming to me, laying her head on my leg, nudging me for a hug and attention. She needs reassurance because the clouds are still looming outside and we’ll most likely see some more rain, but love is in the air.

And today is Christmas. The day God gave the world the greatest gift ever and Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving…and giving…and giving…and the greatest gift I can give to others is this love.  

The Star Still Beckons


I have a star on the very tip-top of my Christmas tree. I had an angel for many years, but for as long as I can remember I always wanted a star. One year I found one I loved. Maybe I’m partial to a star because I love that God used one to guide the Wise Men on their long journey to see the Christ-child. I love it when God meets us where we are. Only God knew how to draw the Wise Men to Him. He knew the Wise Men were looking up. So…He used a great light.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2

Blessed Light. 

The prophet Isaiah foretold of a Light that would dawn on the darkened hearts of men.

Don’t you ever wonder why God uses light in Scripture to symbolize His presence? Darkness can be oppressive. Depressing. Blinding. Frightening. God is none of those things.

I guess one of my most favorite names for Jesus is the “Bright Morning Star.”

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16

What a beautiful picture He gives us of Himself. How lovely. It’s the bright, morning star that heralds a new day. As the sun rises, I’m reminded that no matter how bad my day may be, I can start fresh every morning. There’s always the hope of a better tomorrow. The Morning Star that rises in my heart is Jesus. He’s my hope in a world still filled with much darkness.

It’s no wonder that when Jesus was born God chose to do something remarkable to herald His birth. He brought forth a supernatural, cosmic miracle in the heavens. Something rare. Something that would make the Wise Men stand up and take notice. God put a special star in the nighttime sky. And, behold, those men would never be the same.

Matthew 2:1-12 records for us the journey of the Magi. Wise Men from the East, possibly Persia, who dedicated their lives to educating themselves, to learning, to studying the ancient texts and Holy Scriptures. They studied prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel. They read about the coming Messiah and they read that He would be born in Bethlehem-Judah. They also read about a star in Numbers 24,

“I shall see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob…” 

I just love that the Wise Men believed what they read.

What was it about this star that caused these men to seek, to follow, to want to behold the promised Messiah? What was it about this baby? A baby born in a small, insignificant village…in a tiny, smelly stable…with dirty, stinky animals…lying in a hard, crude feeding trough…to a young, peasant girl who had journeyed far on the back of a donkey…who probably hadn’t bathed or changed her clothes in weeks. Why would anyone want to travel thousands of miles to a place like that?

Because darkness is oppressive. Depressing. Blinding. Frightening. But put Jesus in the hearts of men and everything changes. Moods. Sights. Fears. This once-in-a-lifetime heavenly phenomenon that lit up the nighttime sky shone on the One True Light and this world would never be the same.

To think…the Star shone on this dark, stinky, hard, dirty place. But isn’t that how Jesus still shines on us today? I don’t know about anyone else, but I know that Jesus came to me in a place like this. Just as He met the Wise Men of old, He met me where I was…A young girl who had journeyed far from home. It was this bright Morning Star that beckoned me. The Light of the World that called to me. And I followed, never to be the same again.

It scares me to think of what I would be like without Jesus. It scares me to think of the dark places without the Light that shines in the darkness. It scares me to think of how hard my heart would be, how dirty my soul. Now that I’ve seen this great Light I know why the Wise Men traveled so far. Sometimes you just have to see Jesus for yourself. Sometimes you just have to seek Him for yourself. Sometimes you just have to follow for yourself. There’s an urgency. A need that only Jesus can meet. Sometimes it’s in the darkness that His light shines the brightest. Sometimes…

I believe some of the greatest miracles God still performs today are the miracles of changed hearts. When hearts are softened by the power of His mighty love, when lives are washed clean by His saving grace, when stables become palaces and stars become beacons of hope.

This is the Jesus that still saves. This is the Messiah that still comes in darkness. This is the Star that still beckons the hearts of men today.

And me…I am a woman who still seeks. Looking up. Like the Wise Men I am captivated by the Light of the World. I may not be where I want to be yet, but that’s okay. I still follow because I know any other light will lead me astray. He is my bright Morning Star. Beautiful and lovely. I believe…I behold…

my Blessed Light. 

His Name Is Wonderful…


The season of the year when Christians everywhere celebrate the birth of Christ is upon us. For the past two days I’ve been thinking a lot about the prophet Isaiah’s description of the coming Messiah,

“For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder,

And His name will be called Wonderful,

Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

I memorized this verse in Sunday School when I was a child. I can remember reciting it exactly as it is written, with a pause after Wonderful because there’s a comma there. Modern translations of the Bible omit this comma and use one title, Wonderful Counselor. For some reason, though, I still want to separate the two because…well…I just can’t help it…I like to think of Jesus as just plain Wonderful.

I looked this word up in the Blue Letter Bible to get the exact Hebrew definition and it means simply this: extraordinary, hard to understand; or something admirable, a miracle of God. Another source claimed a deeper meaning: incomprehensible!

To compare this definition I checked my online dictionary and found the word to mean: inspiring delight, pleasure, or admiration; extremely good, marvelous.

I’ll be the first to admit, I throw this word around a lot. I’m just expressive that way. Most of my friends have heard me say at one time or another, “Oh my goodness, it was just wo-o-O-o-nderful!” But, truthfully, I can’t remember the last time I told someone, “I think Jesus is just W-o-O-o-NDERFUL!” I think it. I feel it in my heart, but I don’t proclaim it like I should. I’m going to change that. (I think I feel a bit of drama coming on…)

How does the song go? “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” I think Andy Williams made it popular back in the sixties, but I don’t think the song speaks at all of the birth of our Savior. It speaks of the merriment that accompanies the Christmas season, the parties, the food, friends and family. All these things are wonderful, yes, but somehow I think this word has been greatly downgraded in comparison with Isaiah’s description of Jesus.

Jesus is extraordinary. His heart is sometimes difficult to imitate. He’s a marvel of God. I wonder at His radical teaching and His remarkable testimony. I am blown away by His marvelous mercy and His matchless grace. I celebrate His abundant goodness and His abounding love. I am delighted in His exceptional forgiveness and His excellent kindness.

Jesus is incomprehensible. His ways are sometimes hard to understand. He’s a miracle of God. I wonder at His holy conception and His humble birth. I am blown away by His compassionate healing and His sympathetic helping. I celebrate His triumphant resurrection and His jubilant ascension. I am delighted in His powerful presence and His perfect guidance.

This is the Jesus I call Wonderful and I want to remember the wonder of Him in all that I do this Christmas season. 


For every party I may attend I’ll remember Jesus because He’s all about celebration.

For every person I may entertain I’ll remember Jesus because He’s all about relationship.

For every patch I may decorate in my home I’ll remember Jesus because He’s all about beauty.

For every place I may shop I’ll remember Jesus because He’s all about giving good gifts.

For every pie I may bake I’ll remember Jesus because He’s all about feeding the hungry.


And then I’ll remember that there’s a pause after Wonderful because the name of Jesus is the name above all names and wonderful isn’t just a word, it’s who He is and that’s something to celebrate.