Monday, December 18, 2017

Naughty OR Nice?

Have you been naughty or extra nice this year? Will you receive a lump of coal in your stocking or everything you wished for? “You better watch out…Santa Claus is coming to town.” Remember, “He’s making a list; and checking it twice; gonna find out who’s naughty and nice…He sees you when you’re sleeping…knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”[1]

Aww, Christmas fun!  Interestingly, a few days ago I stumbled upon a website where you can actually ask Santa if you are on the “NAUGHTY oNICE” list. Yes indeedy, folks!  Step right up, because at: you will find Santa’s Nice-o-Meter. By typing in your name and then clicking the “ASK SANTA” button, you can see where you stand on Santa’s Naughty or Nice scale.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Thanksgiving Contemplation

So THANKFUL for my beautiful Mom (center) and Aunts.
Driving home from work Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, my eyes caught the McDonald’s restaurant signboard. They were advertising a “Big Breakfast Thanksgiving morning.” A question quickly came to mind. “Who would go to McDonald’s for this big breakfast Thanksgiving morning?” I answered myself almost immediately, with an envious reflection, “Probably anyone who doesn’t have a ton of cleaning, cooking and baking to do.”

I had worked late, I was tired, and a bit cranky. But then, my thoughts were on to something else. I think I reviewed all the ingredients I purchased earlier, making sure before I drove all the way home, I hadn’t forgotten anything.

To me, Thanksgiving has always been about thanking God for His blessings in my life the past year. However, this morning, I remembered McDonald’s sign and I got to thinking about the people who just might have attended the “Big Breakfast” feast. Were they people who were much more prepared for this “holiday” than I was? Could this have been their Thanksgiving tradition, to have breakfast out before beginning the day’s activities? Or, were they people without family and the “McDonald’s Gang” was their family? Maybe this was the only Thanksgiving celebration they would have that day.  Maybe it’s all they could afford.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Gray Days

Summer transitioning to fall gives me much more difficulty than any other seasonal change. I mean, winter to spring is a roller-coaster ride. I’m up when the air has warmed, but down when the skies darken and snow flurries return. Still, I know magnificent spring is only days away. Spring to summer is exciting and much easier. The warm weather just gets warmer. I bask the beauty of God’s handiwork enjoying intense sunlight and longer days. Fall to winter also doesn’t seem to affect me as much. I’ve already become accustomed to less daylight and cooler temps and, of course, holiday anticipation keeps me in high spirits.

Nevertheless, when the shorter, gray days of fall appear, I feel gloomy and down. I become very introspective, thinking things need to change in my life, but not sure what or how they should change. Sometimes, I seem to disengage, just going through the motions of living.

Maybe some of you are like me. And if so, what will it take for us to maintain lifted spirits and repel gray day effects? Should we jump on the world’s band wagon and start planning Hallowe’en parties; or should we do something to please and honor our Lord?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Living Stones

Pennsboro, West Virginia
When I was young and still, as I am old, I am amazed by God’s creation, not only flora and fauna i.e. trees, flowers, and animals, but the sky above and the earth beneath.  And I’ve always loved different and unique stones. Some stones I’d find on my hikes were the white or “lucky” stones and others furrowed with colors of tan, brown, and orange, peppered with golden sparkles.

Out the back door, through the pastures greeting curious cows as I walked, finally arriving in the small wooded area perfectly framed by our upstairs window. This was my special place. It was shaded, cool, and quiet. Yet, in spots, the sun broke through beaming its rays like lasers. There, some stones I found were green and almost appeared to be alive. But no, it was only moss. And rinsing them with pond water sometimes yielded treasures.
Northeast Ohio sky

It tickles me now when my grandchildren find stones and say, “Look, Grammy, isn’t is pretty?” For a moment, I’m their age, back in my special place, and again, in awe.

Have you ever noticed how many times God uses the word stone or stones in Scripture? Probably not, since it isn’t one of those words we readily associate with spiritual things. But recently, I’ve been intrigued by Scripture’s stones, ordinary or precious, used to represent people, tribes, and nations. Some are representative like pillar stones[1], memorial stones[2], covenant stones[3], gem stones[4], temple stones[5], and the one that has captured my heart, living stones[6].

Living stones? I thought stones were inanimate objects and even when they appear living, it’s only because they are covered in a living substance such as moss. True.  So, what does God mean by living stones?

Near Portland, Oregon
Let’s first think about the characteristics of a stone:  firm, strong, solid, and sometimes immovable. Stones can handle material piled upon them and not break. Yet a stone is not alive and cannot be moved unless someone moves it. So, how does this relate to us as living beings?

Speaking through Peter God tells us we, as newborn babies, are to desire the pure milk of Living Word of God – the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the foundation that has already been laid,[7] the Rock of our salvation,[8] the stone cut out of the mountain without hands,[9] the Chief Cornerstone[10] given to build the Temple of His Body.  He is the original Living Stone.[11] And if we have received Him as Savior and Lord, His Holy Spirit indwells us,[12] making us alive spiritually and physically. We are joint heirs with Christ – adopted sons of God – and we too, in Him, are living stones,[13] steadfast and immovable.[14]  Each of us with our uniqueness, are laid upon the foundation of Jesus and used by God to build the heavenly Jerusalem, the bride who has made herself ready adorned for her husband[15]. This city whose Builder and Maker is God.[16]  Once we were in darkness – a dead stone, but now alive in Christ.[17]
Multnomah Falls - Columbia River Gorge

Still, if you have never been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, yet consider yourself a Christian, you are like the stones I found in the woods – appearing alive – but dead just the same.  Let Jesus wash you with the water of His Word.[18]  Come to Him as to a Living Stone[19] and then you, along with us, will be a living stone adding to this cohesive TEMPLE.  Together we will wait to meet the Lord in the air[20] and not listen to date-setters, who disregard the Word of God.[21]

[1] Genesis 28:18-22
[2] Exodus 28:12; Joshua 4:5-7
[3] Genesis 31:44-48
[4] Exodus 28:17-21
[5] Mark 13:1-2
[6] I Peter 2:5
[7] I Corinthians 3:11
[8] 2 Samuel 22:47,  Psalm 89:26,  Psalm 95:1
[9] Daniel 2:45
[10] Psalm 118:22, I Peter 2:6-7
[11] I Peter 2:4
[12] Galatians 2:20
[13] I Peter 2:5
[14] I Corinthians 15:58
[15] Revelation 19:7-8, Revelation 21:2-3
[16] Hebrews 11:8-10
[17] Ephesians 5:8, Romans 6:11, Ephesians 2:5
[18] Ephesians 5:26
[19] I Peter 2:4
[20] 1 Thessalonians 4:17
[21] Matthew 24:36

Monday, August 7, 2017

Though The Waves Roar...

Have you read the book of Jeremiah lately?  Last month the Lord led me to Jeremiah chapter five. I don’t remember what I was studying at the time or even the reason I was reading Jeremiah five, but when I read verse 22, my breath caught. I’m sure I’ve read Jeremiah 5:22 hundred times in my 30 plus years of walking with God, but that day was different.

“Do you not fear Me?' says the Lord. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence, Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it.’”[1]

When I saw the portion, “…Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass over it?” my mind immediately pictured the ocean at Sunset Beach, North Carolina, with its soft, white sand. As I stood there gazing across the seemingly endless blue-green water, I remember the squawk of the seagulls and the hint of salt and fish misting my face.  Waves swelled, peaked, and then toppled over in frothy whitewater hurrying toward the sand.

That day, we probably stayed on the beach longer than we should have and by late afternoon, the tide began to come in with rowdy and boisterous waves. Although it was somewhat unsettling to see the water creeping ever closer to where we were sunbathing, after some time it calmed and came no further.

To my unscientific mind, I just chalked it up to gravity, the earth’s rotation, the pull of the moon, and all the other geological things I don’t understand. I really didn’t give it another thought until I read Jeremiah 5:22. Then it made perfect sense.

It’s not by some fluke that the ocean waves do not overtake the land. No, it’s by the Lord’s perpetual decree. The sand is the boundary He has placed and it must obey. Even in hurricanes, when the waves roar, tossing to and fro, they cannot prevail. They must return to their God-ordained place.

But, Jeremiah lived over 2,500 years ago. And, although I know God’s Word stands true no matter what, I began to think about global warming reports, the ozone layer holes and the polar ice caps melting. Where would all the water go if the ice converted to its liquid state? Should we be concerned?

How would global warming proponents view Jeremiah 5:22? Would they pass it off as ancient words without meaning?

So, I decided to do some research and of course, I found a YouTube video:  Earth Under Water Worldwide Flooding Sea Level Rise (SLR). The promo reads:  “Published on Aug 8, 2013:  Miami, New Orleans and New York City completely under water it's a very real possibility if sea levels continue to rise. In Earth Under Water we'll see these events unfold as leading experts forecast how mankind will be impacted if global warming continues. They'll break down the science behind these predictions and explore ways humanity could adapt, including engineering vast dams near San Francisco, or building floating cities outside of New York.” [2]

What they say is frightening and their video editing of a flooded earth caused me sudden trepidation. But, the Lord brought me back to Jeremiah 5:22 and reminded me of His Genesis covenant:

“Thus I establish My covenant with you:  Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth…I set My rainbow in the cloud and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”[3]

Then God asked, “Do you believe My Word?” Limply, I answered, yes, but quickly pleaded, “Lord, increase my faith!”

How do you feel? Are these words irrelevant in our time? Do they take a backseat to scientific predictions? Or, is the God of the whole universe still in control and His Word stands true until He says otherwise?

I’m holding to the latter. How about you?

[1] Jeremiah 5:22
[3] Genesis 9:11, 13

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?[1]

You would almost think these words are right out of newspaper headlines and television news, but they’re not. This question was penned by King David about three thousand years ago and then reiterated by Peter about one thousand years later. Yet, since then, things have not really changed. Nations still rage and people continue to plot and carry out vain things.

Case in point, the political lies coming out of the news media and specifically the three CNN employees who resigned on June 26, 2017, when an article they wrote had to be retracted. I’m sure this has always been the situation with the media, but no one, up until this point, has been brave enough to say it. Maybe others out there knew some in the media greatly embellish their stories with half-truths or fabrications, but what they had to hide, compelled them to stay silent.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Then You Shall Know

Are you facing something daunting? Something you know you can do, but one little bobble could thwart the whole thing and keep you from achieving your goal. Maybe it’s a task you need to complete or an ability test that will take you to the next level in accomplishment. Is it a speech, a project, or an idea to pitch? So many activities in life require excellence, a body honed to perfection, a focused mind, incredible speed, or years of study.

On the other hand, you know you are capable. You’ve done all the essential preparatory work. You’ll try your best, but nerves may spoil your performance, make your mind go blank, or worse, sweaty palms and a queasy stomach. You resolve to push through whatever happens, yet apprehension and anxiety consume your thoughts and you just need breathe.

But maybe your test is over and now you are waiting for the results. Your mind has reviewed every detail, every word uttered, and every move you made or didn’t make. I should have said or done this or that. Why didn’t I? I don’t know. Each minute that passes seems like days, and the days, well, like years. The wait is oppressive and normal function is almost impossible. Sleep is your only escape, but sometimes not even then. Bizarre dreams disturb you and if not dreams, then the moment your eyes open in the morning, it’s back.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

One Thing

  In 1991 the movie, City Slickers, premiered. Three city boys decided to spend their vacation driving cattle on an authentic cattle drive. The experience, they surmised, would end their mid-life crisis and in the process they’d become genuine cowboys. Their vacation commenced at a dude ranch in the southwest where they learned and prepared for the drive. It was here they met rugged, mean-looking, and very seasoned trail boss, Curly. The drive begins normally, yet as in all comedies and good stories, chaos quickly follows. Along the way, the main character, Mitch, played by Billy Crystal, learns from Curly, played by Jack Palance, the secret to life is one thing. When Mitch asks, “What’s the one thing?” Curly says, “That’s what you’ve got to figure out.” Mitch goes wild trying to discover what Curly means by one thing. In the end, Mitch seems to learn his one thing. Satisfied, he returns home to live the proverbial happily ever after.

According to the City Slickers movie review, this one thing is something we all must discover for ourselves and it is different for everyone.

So, what’s your one thing? Is it family, friends, relationships, work, lifestyle, location, a purpose in life, or something not listed? And, do you agree it’s different for everyone?

Back then, as a fairly new Christian, I did agree. But now, after many years walking with our Lord and Savior, I see differently.

In Luke, chapter 10, we read of a day Jesus visited three siblings, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Most likely, Martha was the eldest of the three, since she welcomed Jesus into her house. Martha is gracious, generous, organized, reliable, and under control. She is responsible for the smooth running of the home, serving her brother and any guests who come to call, usually with Mary’s help.

Mary must be younger as she doesn’t seem to possess the firstborn, older child, I need to take charge characteristics. Mary appears passionate, emotional, and a bit more carefree. No doubt, this combination of personalities caused frustration. So, peacemaker Lazarus, perhaps doused many emotional fires.

On the day Jesus visited, things were no different. Martha knew exactly how she wanted the day’s activities to go and expected Mary to comply. But Jesus was there. His words compelled Mary to listen. She sat at His feet as if glued to Him. Truth flowed from His lips. Love emanated from His being. And, nothing else mattered.

Even if you didn’t know the story from Scripture, you could have easily predicted what would happen next. Martha loved Jesus too. He was a friend and teacher, but there was work to do. So, Martha sought Jesus’ help with Mary’s lack of responsibility.

Please understand, it’s not that Jesus felt serving was unimportant. Of course serving is important – we can’t live without food. But, Jesus saw Martha’s heart. Her priorities were skewed. Jesus knew frustration with Mary and other distractions kept her bound and serving for all the wrong reasons. Martha, the perfect hostess, had the Son of God sitting in her living room and her focus was the kitchen.

Martha hadn’t yet understood the one thing that really mattered - the only thing that matters for every human being:  Jesus Christ. When He, The True One Thing, is found, all else falls into place.

Later Martha would see Jesus crucified for her sin, buried, and risen from the dead. Then she would fully understand He is the Resurrection and the Life, the Truth, and the only Way to the Father. But for now, Martha needed to let go of the many things concerning her and comprehend “…one thing is needed…” Mary found her one thing and Jesus said it “…will not be taken away from her."

So, this Resurrection Day, as the world searches, without satisfaction, for their one thing, please remember yours. He is The One and Only Thing needed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Doctrines of Demons


Are you grieved that our culture thinks so little of the God who created us and the world in which we live that they accept when our Sovereign, Holy God is reduced to a caricature or a joke in a monologue? I mean, where is their fear? Not just reverential fear, I’m talking real out and out fear of Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.[1]

Do you think it’s just a sign of the times and the prophesied falling away?[2]

In Luke 18:8, Jesus asked a question, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” You might think this is a rhetorical question, but it’s not. He’s telling of things to come and trying to make us think.

So, what type of thing would cause a believer to lose faith and possibly walk away from the TRUTH of the Holy Scriptures they may have known from childhood[3] or as an adult that brought us to Christ?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Explanation of The Shack Critique

I was first made aware of the 2007-2008 best-selling book, THE SHACK, by a co-worker, who stated, “This is the best book I have ever read.” I accepted the book and took it home to read because the cover listed raves reviews by Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message, and Michael W. Smith, Christian recording artist. Nevertheless, it sat on my nightstand for weeks and for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to read it. The day I decided to return the unread book to my co-worker, I received a letter and monthly catalog from Southwest Radio Church. The correspondence read, “The Shack” teaches New Age thought.

“Ah-ha!” I thought, “Now I know why I couldn’t read this book.”

The Holy Spirit had kept me from reading until I could be warned of the errors within. Then He gave me the desire to read as an exercise in discernment.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Love Like A Scarlet Carnation
On Valentine’s Day, the doctor for whom I work, purchases red carnations for every patient who comes that day for treatment. This affection towards his patients has always impressed me. From my first day on the job, November 17, 1999, I have admired this man. I never knew a doctor who not only bought flowers for his patients, but also made personal phone calls to each new patient following their initial treatment.

So last week, when I picked up the bouquet of carnations, I paused for a moment to consider the crinkly, sweet-scented, little flowers. I thought about our patients and the delight each flower would bring and then I reminisced about my high school days. If I remember correctly, our Tri-Hi-Y Club sold Valentine carnations. Any student could purchase a single carnation or more and club members would deliver them to their special someone. A white carnation meant friendship. The pink carnation indicated “I like you” and of course, the red carnation symbolized Love.

I wondered if the same color meanings held true for the outside high school world. According to, each carnation color carries its own meaning expressing love, care, or comfort.  If the receiver is feeling rejected or if the giver wants to express regret in some way, he or she sends a striped carnation. If the giver is feeling a bit playful or spontaneous, they should send purple carnations. Experiencing a great disappointment, then yellow carnations are best. Pink carnations express thankfulness for your mother’s love and the red or scarlet carnation usually conveys deep love and admiration.

Alliance, Ohio, where I work is known for the scarlet carnation. It was Alliance doctor, Levi L. Lamborn, who developed the scarlet-colored carnation around 1866. He was a friend and political opponent of William McKinley, to whom Dr. Lamborn presented one of his “Lamborn Red” carnations prior to an election. Since McKinley won the election, he adopted the scarlet carnation as his insignia. Later, in 1904, three years after President McKinley’s assassination, Ohio embraced the scarlet carnation as the official state flower.[1] And later Alliance was dubbed, “The Carnation City”.

Still, the flower name is of more interest to me than even the color. Although some scholars believe the name carnation “…comes from the word "corone" (flower garlands) or "coronation" because of its use in Greek ceremonial crowns, others propose that it's derived from the Latin "carnis" (flesh) referring to the flower's original pinkish-hued color or "incarnacyon" (incarnation), referring to the incarnation of God-made flesh.”[2]

Amazing. I’ve heard the word carnation all my life and I never, until this moment, saw its similarity to the word incarnation.  Of course, the flower speaks of Jesus. He created it on the third day.  “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” He is God, the Son, who became flesh, dwelt among us, and allowed us mere humans to behold His glory.[3]

Yet, we must jump back to the color – scarlet – the color of blood. Scarlet is mentioned throughout the Old Testament and in almost every instance it symbolizes Jesus. Scarlet is one of four colors of woven thread used to craft the gate[4], the door[5], and the veil[6] of the Tabernacle in Moses’ time and the Temple in Jerusalem[7]. Each entrance represents Jesus as does each color. Later, Isaiah speaks of our sin being as scarlet. To me, sin is black. But I now realize, when sin is covered by the Blood of Jesus, it becomes scarlet and then white as snow.[8]

Out of Love Jesus shed His blood and died in our place.

No wonder the scarlet carnation has, for all these years, symbolized Love.

[1] (accessed 2/14/17)
[2] (accessed 2/14/17)
[3] John 1:1-3, 14
[4] Exodus 27:16 and Luke 13:24
[5] Exodus 26:36 and John 10:9
[6] Exodus 26:31 and Hebrews 10:19-20
[7] Mark 15:38
[8] Isaiah 1:18

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