Wednesday, August 23, 2023



Photo by William Daigneault on Unsplash


I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.

    -- Jeremiah 10:23

I’ve been enjoying the streaming availability of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Many of the episodes offer spiritual insights. One particular episode convicted me of my need to direct my own steps.

In this episode, Odo, the Changeling, has discovered his home planet in the Gamma quadrant of the galaxy. As he interacts with the Changelings inhabiting the planet, Odo learns that he was sent out as a “newly formed changeling” to discover and learn of other worlds with the hope he would someday return and bring back knowledge to share with his fellow Changelings in the “Great Link.”

 For those non-Star Trek folks, the Changelings can transform into a gelatinous state that provides the ability to link with each other in mass assembly. Odo was discovered by a Bajoran Scientist and raised in a laboratory. Eventually, he left the confines of that life and became head of security on the Cardassian space station known as Terok Nor. When the Bajorans won their freedom from Cardassia, the space station reverted to the authority of Bajor who then requested help from the Federation to oversee its operation. Odo then became Chief of Security for the space station now known as Deep Space Nine. With the discovery of the first stable wormhole, the Federation seeks to explore the Gamma quadrant, but they run into opposition from what the species call The Dominion.

The Changelings of Odo's home planet invite him to return to the “Great Link.” But there is much he wants to know before he comes to that decision. He considers the humanoid friends he has made on the station to be his personal “link.” He learns that the changelings are the mysterious  Dominion which controls most of the Gamma quadrant. 

 Odo asks the head Changeling, “Why do you control? Why should you need to control anything?”

Their answer is not one of benevolence. Instead, she says, “What you control can’t hurt you.” She claimed the need to control was because of the centuries of persecution the changelings received by humanoids. Their need to control resulted from hatred, fear, and self-service. Odo decides not to rejoin the link, preferring his humanoid link over that of his fellow Changelings.  

I thought, how true this need to control is for humans, our purposes similar to that of the Changelings. We have the natural tendency to want to control our environments and the people around us because what we can control won’t harm us. Our need comes from fear, hatred, and self-service.

God, however, asks us to give up control, to be submissive to his direction as he determines our steps. His control, unlike the Changelings, is for our good.

Better to follow his steps than to determine our own.    


Thursday, August 17, 2023



Photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash

Joshua 4:9

New King James Version (NKJV)

Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there to this day.


Perhaps your child has already asked, "What did you do when you were younger?" 

It is usually unhealthy to dwell in our past, but sometimes God wants us to have visual reminders of where we once were and where we are now ... perhaps even where he is leading us ... as a testament to His grace and sufficiency. Not to edify ourselves. 

A few months ago, my pastor asked me to make a display of my work in the church foyer. His sermon that day was on giving God our gifts. He mentioned me during the sermon, along with a woman who makes magnificent pastries, providing a few slides of both our offerings. In addition, we each shared our journey.  

Purely a display and not a book signing that featured my printed work ... articles, anthologies, novels, and nonfiction books ... my heart was gladdened to see a visual memory of the fruitfulness of my calling. 

I often feel as though I've accomplished nothing. But that display helped me to realize the enormity of my twenty-year journey in my endeavors for God and how much He had blessed me and continues to do so.  

Old Testament prophets, patriarchs, and leaders often constructed monuments after a victory or when God fulfilled a promise. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the promised land after their forty years of wandering, Joshua constructed a monument, as directed by God, a pillar of twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel.

How has God blessed you? What visual reminder do you have that helps you remember His goodness to you?  


Wednesday, August 9, 2023



Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain. Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request (1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NIV).

Jabez, though not explicitly included in the lineage, is implied to be an ancestor of the Kings of Judah.

I find it interesting that this prayer is included in the middle of the number of ancestral linkages. I also find it interesting that his prayer is prefaced with the notation, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. Thirdly, his birth apparently brought his mother great pain … perhaps more so than normal childbirth.

Should a prayer such as this be a model for today’s believer?

Jabez asks God to enlarge his territories. We can ask God to increase our perimeter of influence for His glory.  

We might think his asking to be kept free from pain was selfish or odd. But don’t we turn to God with our ailments? Just like a child runs to his mother when he scrabs a knee. He knows Mom can take away his pain with a simple kiss and a hug.

And God granted his request:

Because of Jabez’s faith, God heard and answered. He hears the prayers of those who have confidence and trust in Him. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2023



Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The fear of the Lord is pure,

    enduring forever. 

The decrees of the Lord are firm,

    and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb

Psalm 19:9-10 NIV

The psalm extols the blessings and the beauty of God’s word.

·       It is perfect because it converts the soul

·       It is sure because it makes the wise simple

·       It is right because it rejoices the heart

·       It is pure because it enlightens the eyes

·       It is clean because it endures forever

·       It is true and righteous because God is the author of the law

·       Following the law brings great rewards

Thursday, July 27, 2023




Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son

Judges 13:1-3 NKJV

Monoah's wife received the word that though she was barren, she'd have a son. This son was named Samson. And he'd be great. The angel told her not to drink wine or anything like wine. She was told that no razor would come upon his head ... he would be a Nazirite to God from the womb. His destiny would be to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. 

"The barren womb is often a starting place in the purposes of God. He calls life out of death and uses the things that are not to confound the things that are." *

Everyone experiences a time of barrenness. Perhaps we've been searching for a soulmate. Or perhaps we are struggling for a long time with financial worries. We may be feeling helpless and unproductive because of health issues. We may be grieving a loss and feel as though no relief from our sorrow is possible. 

God specializes in restoring our barren places in unexpected ways.

Are you feeling empty? 

Go to the Lord. Ask him to fill that barren place.

Wait for his answer. 

He will not disappoint.  

*The Believer's commentary, Matthew MacDonald, Thomas Nelson, 1995, 1992, 1990, 1989 p. 278

Tuesday, July 18, 2023



A few years ago, a friend and I went to a water park on a hot August day. We giggled like teenagers, because there we were, two women in our sixties, playing at Sun Splash with no kids in tow. We waited in the line that snaked up several flights of stairs to get to the top of the curvy slide that would whirl us around and around, then suck us through a dark tunnel, and eventually spit us out into a pool. An attendant would wait at the bottom to give us a hand.

That’s the feeling I had when I turned fifty-nine. I was circling the drain, but there was no attendant at the bottom to lift me up.

As I tearfully and prayerfully took my fear of aging before the Lord, He gave me hope. He helped me learn to embrace the change of the decade. The apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”

God clearly showed me I can be content in aging. But more than being content, I can thrive in this new era of my life.

You and I need companionship as we start out on this new old journey. I felt that as I sat across from a friend I’ve known since high school. Tears gathered in the corners of my eyes. It would be easy to blame the moisture on the bright June sunlight streaming through the restaurant windows, but my emotions boiled to the surface.

                   “I don’t want to turn sixty.”

The words spilled out of my mouth like I’d eaten rotten fish. I expected my friend to reach across the table and give me a sympathetic squeeze.

She didn’t. Instead, she laughed.

I suspected she laughed because she knew once I hit that milestone birthday, life as I knew it would be different. Not different good; different awful.

The next time we met for lunch, I’d be hunched over a walker with my reading glasses dangling around my neck on a jeweled chain. My trendy ankle boots would be replaced by athletic shoes, color-coordinated to my elastic waistband pants.

Her next words practically threw me back against the padded booth.

             “I’ve been sixty for a few months now,

                          Jane. It’s awesome.”

Awesome wasn’t the word I’d use for passing into my sixth decade. Terror gripped me at the thought of my birthday looming.

Truthfully, aging can be difficult on all levels: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Sure, I’m healthy now, but what happens if I become sick or incapacitated? How do I handle the gradual diminishing of my energy, my memory, and my looks?

God has shown Himself faithful as I settle into this sixth decade. Instead of heading to work every day, my husband and I have embarked on a ten-year dream of traveling full-time in our motor home. My life is rich in relationships.

I’ve learned to savor every day, knowing that with the Lord’s help, I will finish my race strong.


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Thursday, July 13, 2023



Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Romans 12:10-13 NIV

If ever there were a recipe for harmony among believers, the above fits the bill.

 First, be devoted to each other in love.

 If one is devoted, they are concerned to the point of absorption. They dote on the other and considers the needs of the other above their own need.

 What would churches be like if we were truly devoted to one another? If we were so absorbed with the needs of the others within the body, Satan would have no room to attack. Without devotion, there is room for division and judgment.

 Secondly, honor one another above ourselves

Webster's first definition of honor is reputation. When we honor someone we should make certain to present that individual in a way to support a good reputation. When we talk to outsiders from our church family, do we denigrate individuals who irritate us? Do we describe people within our congregation in a negative way?  

Never be lacking in zeal

How do you describe the fellowship in the church you attend? If our fellowship brings us joy, the same joy should spill over when we talk to others about our church. Our countenance and body language should reflect our enthusiasm.

When we come to church with an enthusiastic vibe, when our aura clearly proves we are happy to be in God's house, that enthusiasm spreads to those near us.  

Be joyful in hope

When a member of your church family is in pain or is suffering, how do you show encouragement for them? At the least, with a verbal acknowledgment of your prayers on their behalf. And when you say you'll pray for them, follow through. Write the need on a piece of paper and place the reminder where you will see it frequently.

Sometimes a simple smile will convey your concern and give hope. 

Patient in affliction

The way in which we endure our own difficulties will impact the church body. Our patience in our personal trials can generate hope within the body for many others. Our sisters and brothers in the Lord will see they are not alone in dealing with difficult circumstances. 

Faithful in prayer

Do you pray regularly for your church and the individuals who attend? Do you uplift your leaders in frequent prayer? The prayer of just one individual can accomplish much.

Share with those in need

An old adage is, "You can never outgive God." Some people use this as an excuse not to share. "Well, God knows that person's need so I don't have to give." How much better the church would be if we gave from our love rather than a sense of duty?

Our sharing with those in need may be physical rather than financial. Sometimes a hug can make all the difference. 

Sometimes we fail to give because we are unaware of a need. Join the church prayer chain. Keep an attentive ear. Sometimes we just need to ask, "What can I do to help?"

Practice hospitality

Invite a new attendee over for coffee or a meal. Go out to eat together or for some other mode of fellowship since has just going for a walk.

My brother's church often met for a meal after church. When someone new came, the church paid for their meal. Fellowship within the body is crucial. The foundation of learning to love someone is to get to know them and to appreciate their strengths. 

These are only a few suggestions on how we can put the words of Romans 12:10-13 into practice.

What other ways can you think of to put the verse above into practice? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

Oh for love that rises to this level of love in the church.


  Photo by  William Daigneault  on  Unsplash BY LINDA WOOD RONDEAU I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man t...