"Godliness with contentment is great gain." - 1 Timothy 6:6

“I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.” – Philippians 4:11 (Amplified Bible)

“Dear God, it seems I am never satisfied. Instead I always have a new goal to pursue or want one more thing to change – a relationship, a habit, or an attitude. I am getting tired of always reaching. Instead, I sense You calling me to contentment, to quit looking for more or better. Sometimes just to stop and enjoy what is.”

“My child, My desire is that you live free of worries about appearances, clothing, finances, and food. Live, instead, close to the earth, close to Me, My name easily on your lips and always in your heart.

Slow down.






And always give thanks.

Oh, and one more thing: Just for today, put down your notepad, stop making lists, and simply enjoy being in My presence and walking wherever I take you. Contentment always follows when you are on the path with Me.”

“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking.” – George Macdonald


“Because he loves me. . .”


Because he loves me says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” (Psalm 91:14-15 – emphasis added)

Our Father in Heaven wants to give us good gifts. Really. Though we are never promised trouble-free lives, I can’t help noticing all the times God promises to do amazingly nice things for those who stay close to Him.

Psalm 91 is just one example. In it, God promises to deliver, protect, send angels, answer prayer, rescue, honor, give long life, and save. When we are stressed or attacked or feeling trapped, we’d like to see Him come to our rescue, right?

In this psalm, there are two things we must do to be able to receive God’s great blessings: First, we need to love Him (v. 14) and second, we are to “dwell” with Him (vv. 1 and 9). In other words, we are to make God an intimate part of lives.

Why is that important? Because we were created to be in an all-encompassing relationship with Him.  So when we live as He has designed us to live, hanging on to Him in love and living in sync with Him day-by-day, He promises to take good care of us. Whatever may happen, (and it will!) we will not be alone, we will not be powerless.

When we love and trust Him, He treats us as a Father treats His dearly loved children: responding, protecting, providing, and guiding. He wants to give us good things!

“We love God because He alone promises to fill our soul’s potential.” – Lewis Smedes

Frightened by Faith



“Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” – Galatians 3:3

When I was growing up, we measured spirituality by the things a “good Christian” did not do. At some point along the way, I discovered grace: God’s acceptance of me no matter how I was doing with “the list”. God’s forgiveness of anything I have ever done or will do that dishonors Him. I like grace a lot better than rules, don’t you?

So, then why do I sometimes revert to measuring my relationship with God by how “good” I am being? If I am kind and loving during the day, I feel somehow worthy to go into his presence. If I have been irritable or have made a bad decision, I just want to avoid God all together until I can get my act together.

Then I heard something that gave me great insight: People return to the rules when they are frightened by faith. Frightened by faith? Yup. I realized, then, that there is perceived safety in those old rules. I know when I measure up and when I don’t. I can set self-improvement goals so I can feel good about myself.

Walking by faith is not that easy. It is about relationship, about learning to know what pleases God, about getting into His Word to know His will, to listen for His voice before running to the next thing. It’s about living with mystery when we long for clarity. That can be scary, but the better we know Him, the less afraid we are. There’s no better way to live.

“The reason why we so readily accept his (Satan’s) accusations is that we are still hoping to have some righteousness of our own.” – Watchman Nee

Boring Prayers?


“He meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His smile.” – A. W. Tozer

It’s OK to admit it: Sometimes we are tired of hearing our own prayers. We have a routine of thanking God, asking Him for general blessings in our lives, and praying for specific requests, some of which we have been praying about for years. Important stuff, but maybe getting boring.

The writer of Psalm 92 has an idea that can change all that. He says, “It it good to praise the Lord . . . to proclaim Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness by night.” (Psalm 92:1-2). See the pattern? One prayer emphasis in the morning and a different one at night.

In the morning, it’s all about God’s love. When we get up (or even before) we can think about God, become aware of how much He loves us and, then invite Him into our day. As we carry His loving presence with us, we move with confidence, realizing all the good that comes our way just because He loves us.

At night, we prayerfully think back on all that happened that day: appointments, meetings, conversations, projects. Do we see how He was with us in everything we did? Even when we knew we let Him down? The response that will become natural in our nighttime prayers is to thank God for His grace, mercy, and faithfulness. Recognizing His faithfulness today makes it easier for us to trust Him again tomorrow.

With the psalmist’s morning and evening rhythm, our prayers will be fresh and new every day. And God will be both pleased and praised!

“It is good to praise the Lord . . . to proclaim Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night.” – Psalm 92:1-2

“Come, talk to me.”

Once in awhile Warren will offer me a cup of coffee with the invitation, “Come, talk to me.”

"The Lord takes pleasure in His people." - Psalm 149:4

“The Lord takes pleasure in His people.”Psalm 149:4

And we do talk. Sometimes an hour can go by as we share our lives, thoughts, ideas, plans, and concerns. When we are ready to get up, he often says, “Thanks for sitting with me. Sometimes I just like having your attention.”

Isn’t that how we build relationship? We spend time together – often in the company of others. But the best times of connection are when we shut out the outside world and focus for awhile on one another. That’s how love grows.

That understanding has taught me a lot about building relationship with God. He, too, likes having our focused attention – the special times when we shut out distractions and sit alone with Him.

When we sit with Him, we get to know Him.

When we get to know Him, we realize how much He loves us.

When we receive His love, we can’t help loving Him in return.

When we love Him, we are most blessed because that is exactly what He created us to do.

Our time with God might be in praying or just thinking about Him. At other times we give thanks, present our needs, sing, or listen. What is most important is that we are there: Alone with God.

I have found that when we get to the end of that quiet conversation, He seems to whisper, “Thank you for sitting with Me. Sometimes I just like having your attention.”

“I simply want to be in touch with the Divine Lover . . . the closer I get to Him, the gentler His voice becomes.” – James W. Goll


Two Ways to Pray

We don’t have to wait until we are better people before we go to God. He invites us to come, dirt and all. In fact, it is our recognition of the failure of all our self-improvement programs that humbles us enough to pray the prayer that God is just waiting to hear. Only then can He forgive, restore, and set us on the path to purity and true freedom.

"It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy." Romans 9:16

“It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Romans 9:16

Jesus tells the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. They both went to the Temple to pray.

The Pharisee stood up and prayed boldly.
The tax collector bowed his head and would not even look up to heaven.

The Pharisee spent his prayer time telling God how good he was.
The tax collector told God how sinful he was.

The Pharisee was looking for God’s approval.
The tax collector was looking for God’s mercy.

Only one of them had his prayer answered.

When it comes to our relationship with God, it is never about our being better or about trying harder. It is always about His mercy. He is just waiting for us to see our need and ask for it.  “Have mercy on me a sinner” is a prayer He always answers.

“Our conscious need for daily mercy is our only real boarding pass for heaven. The ego does not like that very much, but the soul fully understands.” – Richard Rohr

Heavenly Daydream


“Send forth Your light and Your truth. Let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where You dwell.” – Psalm 43:3

I was greeted at heaven’s border and told I had to leave everything at the gate. “Don’t need your purse – it just holds money (everything’s paid for here) and i.d. (we know who you are). Don’t need your clothes – you need to forget about whether you’re dressed right. Here’s a robe. You’ll fit right in. No shoes.” I took them off.

All possessions, worries, and responsibilities had to be dropped on the ground.

I left it all, and then, unburdened, moved with complete freedom toward where I sensed the Throne would be. I could hear flowing water and music. There were uncrowded crowds of people, many worshiping with faces to the ground. Angels moving, singing. Joy, peace, love, excitement, contentment.

The group opened to accommodate my unspoken (and very earthly) desire to be “up front.” Then I realized position/place didn’t matter. He was everywhere, encompassing time, space, everyone.

The overpowering feeling was one of belonging. My thoughts ran like this: I belong to God. I belong to these people. I belong in Heaven. I fit in. I am accepted, loved, valued. Not for what I do or only if I behave correctly. Just because I am me, as He made me, as He wants me to be.

You belong, too. Let Him reach you, forgive you, love you, and encompass you in His earthly embrace and then, someday, in the wide circle of heavenly belonging. It will be great to see you there!

“Life on earth matters not because it’s the only life we have, but precisely because it isn’t – it’s the beginning of a life that will continue without end.” –  Randy Alcorn




Afraid or Amazed?

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“They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed and those who followed were afraid.” – Mark 10:32 (ESV)

As we look at the road ahead of us in life, we can sometimes be afraid – afraid of the “what ifs” and even of the demands that will be made of us. Just think of how much more exciting and interesting life would be if, instead of being afraid, we could be amazed.

Jesus’ followers give us a hint as to how we can live so that confidence overtakes fear. In Mark 10, the disciples and many others were following Jesus on His final journey to Jerusalem. On the way, He told about His coming arrest and death, and there were two distinct reactions to what He was saying. One group was afraid and the other was amazed. Why such opposite responses? The text seems to indicate that the disciples, who were walking up close to Jesus, were amazed. The crowds, who were following further behind, were afraid.

What a wonderful picture of how to overcome our fears: Stay close to Jesus. He will never fail to amaze us. When we’re feeling afraid, maybe we need to assess where we are walking. Jesus will always invite us to come nearer. In fact, that’s exactly where He wants us to be so He can guide our steps as we walk along. When we are close to Him, amazement happens!

“A close, intimate relationship to Christ should always be your soul’s only purpose.” – Gene Edwards

10 Surprising Truths About Jesus: A Response

This is not a standard post for me, but there is something I want to share with those of you who may be interested.

"Send forth Your light and truth, let them guide me." - Psalm 43:3a

“Send forth Your light and truth, let them guide me.” – Psalm 43:3a

Every now and then I read something that I can’t quite let go of. It gnaws at me until I respond in some way. That happened last week with a blog I read titled “Ten Surprising Truths About Jesus”. Much of what was labeled as truth was misleading and incomplete. I did respond to the post yesterday and am sharing the link with you just in case you’d like to read the blog and also my fairly lengthy comment.

You may want to add a response of your own. Sometimes it is important to speak up lovingly and convincingly so sincere questioners are not led away from our faith, but, instead, can become aware of the validity of its message. May God’s name be glorified as we live out the faith we have been given.

10 surprising truths about Jesus.


How’s Your Day Going?

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“Praise be to His glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory.” – Psalm 72:19

Early one morning I asked God, “How is Your day going?” Here’s what I thought He might be saying:

“Oh, Bev, I am so sad at the unrest on Earth. These problems (killings, racial conflict, riots, wars, poverty, deceit, sickness, death) are all a result of generations of sinfulness. The centuries-long threads of mistakes, unforgiveness, and attitudes are weaving together a tapestry that becomes darker and uglier as time goes by. Someday I will untangle it all and recreate the picture as it was meant to be, but not yet.

“In other ways, it’s a great day. The sun is shining, the rivers are flowing, the oceans are waving, and trees are growing. And that’s only the Earth. There is a huge universe you don’t even know of. I can’t tell you about it in ways you would understand, so someday I will show it to you!”

Did you ever wonder how God’s day is going? It’s OK to ask Him. He loves to share His heart with us Earthlings!

“If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face.” – A. W. Tozer

Just What I Needed to Hear

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“Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 31:24

God is always ready to talk to us. Sometimes He just has to wait until we slow down enough to listen. Then He whispers to our hearts words especially suited for whatever situation we face. I have found that, most often, His messages are variations of one of these:

• I love you.
• I will never leave you.
• Don’t be afraid.

Which do you need today? To know how much He loves you? To be secure in His faithfulness? Or to experience the peace that comes by trusting Him?

You can start the conversation by praying with honesty and sincerity about your need. You could even ask Him to awaken your heart to be ready to hear what He wants to say in response. Then just wait in quietness. His message will be perfect to meet what the ancients called your “pressing necessity”. He always knows just what we need to hear. Sh-h-h. Listen.

“He hath never failed thee yet.
Never will His love forget.
O fret not thyself nor let
Thy heart be troubled,
Neither let it be afraid.” 

 – Amy Carmichael




Just an Ordinary Day?

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“He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11

It is impossible for us to have an ordinary day. God has plans for us and for the people around us. He is at work whether we see it or not. Remember Abraham? He welcomed three strangers into his tent and then found out that two were angels and one was Jesus Himself! They were presenting themselves, at least at first, as ordinary travelers. But they were anything but ordinary.

In fact, C. S. Lewis said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. . .” He goes on to explain that we see only the surface of people.  If we could actually see their eternal natures, Lewis says we would be tempted either to worship them or run from them. There is much more to every human being than we can possibly imagine.

Because of that, there is unseen value in our moments and our days. We cannot understand the impact of each personal engagement or individual circumstance we will face today, but, in light of eternity, each has the possibility of being extraordinary in some unseen way.

Our encounters are a unique part of God’s plan for this world and the one to come. There are no ordinary people. There are no ordinary days. Let’s fully engage the one in front of us!

“Life would be easy if providential hours declared themselves, if they met us radiant and with uplifted look and crying ‘I am one of thy great hours’. But they never meet us in a guise like that – never betray their greatness by their bearing. We hear no sound of approaching footsteps. Thy footsteps are unknown.” – George Herbert Morris

Change Me

“Be the penetrating light which illumines my intellect,

the gentle motion which attracts and directs my will,

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“. . . a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12

the supernatural power which gives energy to my body.

Complete in me Your work of sanctification and love. Make me

and burning with charity toward God and my neighbor.


This prayer (written by a woman known simply as Sr. Carmela of the Holy Spirit) touched me because it describes so much that I, too, want to pray.

Look at those words of peace, freedom, and calm, resulting, at the end, in loving God and others. Do they resonate with you, too? If so, I invite you to join with me in praying this borrowed plea often and sincerely. Only God can make the changes in us that we so desperately need.

He’s First

Do you ever wish God would just write His will across the sky so you can understand it clearly? Something like that happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Actually, it wasn’t the sky He wrote on, it was a mountain.


“My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning, my spirit longs for You.” – Isaiah 26:9a

I got up, started the coffee in preparation for my early morning time with God, and began a conversation with Him as the coffee began to brew. As I waited, I looked out the kitchen window toward the mountains to the southwest. A prominent snowfield was visible on one of them and had melted into the shape of a giant “1”. I looked again thinking I must be seeing it wrong. But, no, it was really a “1”. God had written His will on the side of a mountain for me to see: He wants to be first in my life!

As I prayed, I realized He wants to be the first one I think of when I wake up in the morning, the first one I turn to when I need help, the first one I recognize when something good happens in my life, and the only one I ever worship.

The snowy “1” remained there for the rest of our stay in the mountains and was a many-times-a-day reminder of God’s perfect will for me – and for all of us who are His children. When we make Him first, we are less afraid, worried, and frustrated and more often filled with love, joy, and peace. It’s the best way to live!

“Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.” ~Malcolm Muggeridge

There’s So Much More!

What do we really know about God? All we can know is what He reveals: first, through creation, the Bible, and Jesus’ life and teaching. But there’s more: He seems to keep revealing Himself as we keep wanting to know Him better.

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:9

“If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You.” – Moses to God in Exodus 33:13

It’s a great adventure to experience God’s ongoing revelation of who He is. For example, He shows us His

  • . . . pleasure when He knows we are turning our hearts toward Him.
  • . . . joy when we discover something in His creation we never saw before.
  • . . . love when He answers a prayer way beyond what we even dared to ask.
  • . . . guidance when He brings wisdom from an unexpected source.
  • . . . grace when we try to overcome a sinful habit and fail yet again.

None of this revelation is predictable, manageable, or even made clear in Scripture, but it seems God is constantly showing us more about who He is and how He wants to relate to us. Because He never changes, we can be sure that what we have yet to learn will be consistent with what we already know. We can count on Him always to be loving, merciful, holy, just, faithful, and gracious.

We will never know all there is to know about God and what we do know is filtered through a dimly-lit mirror, but sometimes He shows us a little more. Mysterious? Yes. But also exciting. And the best part: He’s not hiding. If we want to know Him, He will never disappoint. Every time He shows us more of Himself, our response will be  amazement and thanks!

“The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.” – Thomas Merton

The Peacock


“Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever?” – C. S. Lewis

Last week I met a woman who told me about her daughter Kristy who was diagnosed with cancer at age 31. When the severity of the situation was known and she realized she had only a few months to live, Kristy sat in the backyard of her Georgia home asking God to walk with her through this frightening journey.

As she sat there, a peacock strutted out, opened wide his astounding tail feathers, and just stood there. Kristy immediately knew this peacock was a gift from her heavenly Father who wanted her to know how much He loved her. But it wasn’t until later that she discovered what it really meant.

You see, early Christian tombs were often decorated with symbols showing the deceased’s commitment to Christ. The cross did not come to be the accepted symbol of Christianity until the third century. So, at the Catacombs in Rome, the most common symbols were the fish (ichthus) and the peacock. Why a peacock? In the ancient world the peacock represented eternal life.

God had, indeed, given Kristy a great message. I imagine when she arrived in Heaven a few months later, she said something like “Oh, now I understand.” And it wouldn’t have been just about peacocks – it would have been about her whole life:  the pain, the joys, the brevity, and the promise of eternal life that the peacock represented in her backyard that day.

Sometimes when we need it most, God pulls back the curtain and gives us a peek into His heart and His eternal plan. When He does, we love Him even more!

“I love the Lord because He heard my plea for mercy and listened to me.” – Psalm 116:1-2b (NET)


Why Not Tell Him?

"Come close to God and He will come close to you." - James 4:

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.” – Psalm 18:2a

Who is the first person you call or text when you face a crisis? I hope we all have someone we can turn to when we need a listening ear or a helping hand.

I recently read about John the Baptist who was unfairly imprisoned because his theology clashed with King Herod’s lifestyle. Then, at a party when Herod had had too much alcohol and was enamored with his stepdaughter’s dancing, he suddenly ordered John’s execution. John’s disciples were notified of the beheading, so they sadly came and buried his body.

What to do now? Their leader was gone and they had taken care of handling the immediate crisis. They could have gone home in despair, but instead, Matthew tells us “Then they went and told Jesus.” (Mt. 14:12).

Why Jesus? Maybe because they knew . . .

  • He would want to know.
  • He would comfort them.
  • He would have a plan for what to do next.

I can’t think of a better way to handle any crisis, big or small, that might come into our lives. Jesus wants us to express our anxiety, grief, or loss to Him – in detail. He doesn’t start yawning halfway through our stories. More than than that, He will meet us at the point of our deepest need, the need we may not even know we have. Then He will guide us into the next right steps.

Now is a really good time to talk to Him.

“If we draw near to Him, then He will make His presence tangible in our lives.” – Henry Blackaby


Some of His Best Work

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“I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”Psalm 146:2b

My husband and I are in Colorado at this writing, having arrived a few days ago from our home in Michigan. It is an amazing retreat for us to come here surrounded by several Fourteeners, (14,000+ foot mountain peaks), adjacent to the Arkansas River (known here as the “Mighty Ark”), and under a canopy of sky that is sunny and blue most days.

So why was I so bummed out yesterday? I kind of got on a downward spiral of “If only”s.

• If only it were warmer.
• If only the storm hadn’t rained on the outdoor concert we had planned to attend.
• If only my email account hadn’t jammed.
• If only . . .

For no good reason, I ended the day feeling dissatisfied.

Then this morning, I opened my day with this prayer, as I usually do, “Good morning, heavenly Father. I worship You as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.”

It was as if He said in return, “Do you mean that? Creator? Have you looked around lately? You are sitting here among some of My best work saying ‘if only’. Really?”

Busted! Immediately something came into my mind I could say “thank You” for and I did that. Then another and another and another until a deep sense of satisfaction came over me. From frowns to smiles in about two minutes! God’s way is much better than my way.

And there’s nothing like seeing, really seeing, His creation to remind us of how great our God is. I bet there is some of His best work around you, too. Take a look!

“It’s not happy people who are thankful. It’s thankful people who are happy.” (Anonymous source)


Stormy Weather


“In the end I chose to let Him love me and then chose to trust that love.”  – Peter *

Sometimes life is stormy. And when the storm comes, we usually struggle for awhile, then we pray, asking God to stop the wind and relieve our pain.

Instead, maybe the scenario should be more like this:

Think of yourself in a big wooden boat with Jesus – just the two of you. He looks at the sky and tells you a storm is coming, it’s time to go down into the hold. You remember that He did that when He was with the disciples, so you follow Him gladly.

Once there, a ferocious storm breaks out. You are afraid and are being thrown from one side of the boat to the other. Panicking, you ask Him to calm the storm like He did before. He doesn’t seem to respond. But He reaches out, pulls you gently toward Him and holds you so you are no longer being tossed about.

Then He speaks quietly, “The storm will pass, but I am not going to stop it from running its course. Instead, we’re going to stay here together. With Me you will be safe. And when it’s all over, you will trust Me more. The kind of trust I want you to have can grow only in the storm.”

Can we trust Him to take us through the storm? To hold us close when it’s darkest? To love us enough to do the right thing for us at the right time? We can. We learn that in the storm.

“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.” – Psalm 33:20-21

 *From The Fisherman by Larry Huntsperger

Keeping it Simple

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“The most important thing in life is knowing the most important things in life.” ― David F. Jakielo

One of Thoreau’s most-quoted sayings is “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” That message goes right to the core of what following Jesus is all about. For us, the simple life means serving God and God alone.

As we think about putting this into practice, most of us need to live more simply in several areas:

Speech: Sometimes our words tumble over one another in their hurry to get out of our mouths. For me, at least, I know I should speak less and listen more.

Clothes: My closet overfloweth. How about yours? Think how much simpler life would be if we spent less time thinking about, buying, cleaning, and storing clothes!

Possessions: Most of us own things we don’t use. Let’s pack up a carload and take it to our local charitable resale shop. It’s a great way to streamline our lives and to share with those who will treasure what we don’t need.

Activity: Maybe we need to clean up our calendars. What can we stop doing that no longer is helpful to us? Where can we create spaces in our week that provide room for making life less hectic and more meaningful?

Why simplify? One reason stands out: Making room for God to be the one and only intention in our lives. We cannot do that when we are surrounded by physical, emotional, or relational clutter. Maybe it would be a good idea this week to ask God to show us where we need to begin to live more simply – like Jesus did.

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” – 1 Timothy 6:16

Just Call My Name

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“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually.” – Psalm 105:4

My husband and I recently returned from a two-week trip that required adhering to a pretty demanding schedule. As a result, I found it hard to maintain a regular quiet time with God and, halfway through the trip, I began to miss Him.

One day, when we were in a large cathedral, Warren and I sought out a side chapel where we were able to spend some individual time in prayer. After I calmed my hurry and began to focus on God, I expressed my loneliness for Him. Then I simply sat in His presence. After a few minutes, this thought came to my mind:

“I will never leave you. I am always with you wherever you are on My earth. So, even when we don’t have specific time together, you don’t ever need to miss Me. Instead, just call My name. If you say ‘Jesus’, you will become aware of My presence. I am right there – all the time.”

Starting at that very hour, I began to practice saying softly or just thinking “Jesus” throughout the remaining days of our trip. Every time I did, I felt Him with me and knowledge of His presence brought, as it always does, peace, contentment, and satisfaction.

Jesus really wants to be found by us. So much so, that He makes it easy. “Just call My name.

“A close, intimate relationship to Christ should always  be your soul’s only purpose.” – Gene Edwards


Photo: Taken at the ancient city of Ephesus (in Turkey)

“Go to” Prayers


“How blessed all those in whom You live, whose lives become roads You travel . . . God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!”–  from Psalm 84:5-7 (MSG)

We fall far short of God’s command to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We want to love Him more, but don’t know how. The truth is only God can grow that kind of love in our hearts. We just have to invite Him in.

Christians through the ages have given God that invitation by adopting a “go to” prayer to open their hearts to Him. For example, when I find my mind wrapped up in something distracting or disturbing, I mentally or quietly pray what is known as the Jesus Prayer: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”  Others use the first sentence of The Lord’s Prayer, a short verse or phrase, or sometimes just Jesus’ name.

Over time, we will find ourselves saying our chosen words many times each day. These “go to” prayers become sincere invitations to God to walk with us along life’s path even if our minds are not fully engaged at the time.

It is a simple practice, but profound in its power to change us. How?

  • God is thrilled to hear from His children, so whenever we turn to Him, He responds.
  • We begin to realize that His response is always loving.
  • His love feels so good, we can’t help loving Him in return.

Being loved and loving. It’s ours when we turn toward Him – always.

“Give me only a love for You, and the gift of Your grace; then I am rich enough, and ask for nothing more.” – St. Ignatius of Loyola

A Very Short Prayer


“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16b

Lazarus was sick. His sisters were worried, maybe even frantic. They sent word to the One they knew could help – a simple message, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

Why is this such a great prayer?

First, it relied on Jesus’ relationship with their brother. They didn’t doubt Jesus’ deep love for Lazarus.

Second, they didn’t tell Him how to answer. They seemed to know He would do the right thing. They grew anxious waiting, but when Jesus did respond, His action in raising Lazarus from the dead was beyond their wildest imaginations.

Do you have a friend or family member you want to pray for today? I do.

What if we simply picture that person in our minds and say something like this: “Lord, this one whom You love is sick” (or depressed, angry, lonely, in need, hurting).

Then let’s pause for a few minutes in God’s presence reflecting on the pain of the person we are praying for and consciously trusting God’s extravagant love for him/her.

Allow God to assure you that He will answer in a way that will meet this person’s deepest, perhaps unexpressed, needs.

A prayer like this is effective for these reasons:

  • Empathy:  We enter into the suffering of the people we pray for by holding them in our minds as we call to Jesus on their behalf.
  • Belief: We exercise open-ended faith by entrusting them to Jesus’ care without telling Him how we think He should answer.
  • Expectancy: We enjoy time in God’s presence and then walk in anticipation as we wait for Him to respond.

“Make me so obedient to Your Spirit that my life may become a living prayer, and a witness to Your unfailing presence.” – Martin Israel  

Peace Carriers

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” I used to think this was about dignitaries who negotiated ends to wars, counselors who sought conflict resolution between fighting parties, or mothers who settled arguments between their children.

But I am beginning to see peacemaking in an entirely different way. Maybe it means, in part, carrying such a deep quietness within ourselves, that an atmosphere of peace is with us wherever we go.

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You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

How can we carry peace in our demeanor, our conversations, and our relationships? Only one way: By being totally, completely connected to God. By living in a trust relationship with Him, letting Him carry our burdens and direct our steps. By talking to Him, listening for direction, then calmly doing the next right thing.

If we become peace carriers, we will find these things to be true over time:

  • We project a quiet confidence.
  • The room becomes calmer when we enter it.
  • People feel emotionally safe with us.
  • Our peace draws others to Christ, the Prince of Peace.

Peace carriers stand out in the stressful world around us. Many people we know live in a constant state of anxiety. Maybe we can show them, even if just a little bit, the unexplainable, but amazing, peace that comes from knowing and following God.

“Live and abide in My words so others will feel safe in My presence.” – Macrina Wiederkehr

God Started It


“Keep your eyes on Jesus who both began and finished this race we are in.” – Hebrews 12:2a (MSG)

Nothing significant in our lives is started by us. Everything of value is initiated by God. He initiated salvation by sending Jesus. It is our role to respond by accepting the payment He made for us on the cross.

The Holy Spirit initiates our service by giving various spiritual gifts. Our job is to respond to His gifts and use them for building up the church.

See the pattern? He initiates, we respond. When we start projects or ministries or relationships on our own, we will fail. If we wait for God to start what He wants to grow, it will succeed. So how does that look in our daily lives?

  • We ask what His will is before we pray. Then we pray His will back to Him.
  • We ask Him before we put an event on our calendar. That way, our days will be ordered by Him.
  • We pray throughout the day for direction, so our individual steps, too, can be directed by Him.

Result: Success. We will never fail in a plan that God initiates. What He begins, He completes and we can share joy in accomplishing His will on our patch of the earth.

What to do next? Wait for it. . . He will show you!

“Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!” – Andrew Murray