Contact Me

If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Powerful Name of Jesus

The other day, my husband and I were waiting in line to purchase movie tickets. Some teens behind us were trying to impress each other with rude and dirty language. You've probably had your own experiences in public with these awful verbal displays.
The kids frequently used the name of Jesus as a swear word.

I know if the people who spew Jesus's name as a swear word suddenly encountered the Lord, in all His majesty and power, they'd be rendered speechless. They'd fall flat on their faces.
But most of these people have no idea whose Name they're abusing.

But the ones who really know about Jesus,
who've encountered Him in heaven,
who know that they are weak and subdued before Him,
who understand that they are mere created entities,
but HE IS alive from eternity past and into eternity,
who know Who has the power and authority to throw them into Hell for eternity...

they are the ones who recognize the Name of Jesus...
and tremble.
Demons know who Jesus is.
They hate Jesus! "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder." (James 2: 19)

I always thought it was strange...and utterly stupid for people to worship demons, the evil ones who curse Jesus's name.
They're conquered foes. Why would anyone worship them?

Jesus has far more power.
These former angels rebelled and God threw them out of heaven.
But they know the power of Jesus's name. After all, He's the one Who threw them out!

This all-powerful God, Jesus, is the same God who died on the cross to pay for our curses and our rebellions.

Any time His name is spoken, it should be with the utmost reverence and awe.
By His name, the earth and everything else was created.
In His name the sick were healed, and the dead were raised.
And by His name we are saved.

What a mighty God is Jesus! Praise His name.

"Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil 2:9-11 NIV Bible)

Thursday, October 25, 2012


This morning I began a reading of the book of Luke.
I like to sit in my office with the door closed and read scripture out loud.
When I got to verse 39—the part where the Angel, Gabriel comes to her to announce that she would be the mother Of God—I was struck by her response.
How many times have I read this passage?
Perhaps thousands of times.
And I've sung it, too.

When you receive incredibly good news, who do you focus on?
Probably yourself.
Just last week I signed a contract with my new literary agent.
Gosh, I was excited and filled with joy.
My happiness was mostly focused on myself.

But Mary's prophecy was entirely focused on God:
What He is doing and will do among those who love Him.
Perhaps this is why God highly favored her and chose her to fulfill this wonderful task.

Humility coupled with a tremendous love for her Lord.

May we all be so willing to complete whatever work God has called us to...
with the knowledge that everything that we do is all for Him and about HIM.

"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for He has been mindful of the humble estate of His servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is His name.
His mercy extends to those who fear Him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with His arm,
He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
remembering to be mercifiul
to Abraham and his descendants
even as He said to our fathers."( Luke 1:46-55 NIV Bible)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Christ is Offensive!

When my husband worked for a company in southern California, he had a small, private office. He put a picture on his wall that he's carried around since his college days. One of his friends—an artist— had done the ink drawing of Christ on the cross. At the bottom of the work are the words, "Paid in full."

None of the employees had a problem with the art work. In fact, when Bruce's work associates discovered that he was a Christian, and witnessed his integrity and kindness at the workplace, many of them came into his office to talk about their problems. Sometimes Bruce was able to pray with those who asked him to.

 But one day a woman who was party of a visiting team of speakers educating all the company's personnel about the governmental requirement for tolerance in the workplace, happened to glance inside Bruce's little office. When she saw the picture of Christ, she demanded that he take it down right away. It could be offensive to the other employees.

Bruce refused and told the woman that "This is a non-government office. No one is forced to come in here. If I can display pictures of my family in here, then I certainly can display a picture of Christ.  Show me where I'm not adhering to company policy. No one so far has ever complained about the picture."

The woman continued to insist that he take it down and warned of possible disciplinary measures if he didn't comply.

Bruce held firm.

I'm sure that the company he worked for had many employees who held different religious views.
But I doubt if one of them had put up a picture of Krishna, or Buddha, or Mohammad, or some Wiccan illustration that the woman from the government would have asked for the picture to be taken down.

No, because only Christ is offensive.
In Christ, we see God reach down to His highest creation, man, and call him to repentance and a restored relationship with Him.
How dare God ask men to repent!
Away with this Christian God. We want no part of Him.
We'll devise our own god, thank you very much.
One who fits our idea of a proper god.
We have no need of repentance.
We will not be accountable to God.
We are gods and we will have no other besides us!

I should note that after the government woman left, no one bothered Bruce about the picture of Christ.
But if they had, He would have collected his picture and walked out for good.

We should never let the world bully us into "taking down our pictures."

"For the message of the cross if foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God."( l Cor. 1:18 NIV Bible)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Leave the Results to God

Bobbe and John, and Chris, and Kathy and I got together Saturday morning to discuss our journey as writers.
I shared that, in writing my last three novels (all related to each other) I've had two ministry goals:
  1. to help those who struggle with fear
  2. to illustrate the fact that though we may feel God has turned His back on us in times of great trial, God never...never abandons His children. 
I said that, though I'm not a control freak, I do have very specific ideas about what my readers will glean from the stories I've written.
John shared that, as a former pastor, he's had many people come up to him after the church service and thank him for his sermon, then go on to say, "I particularly liked it when you said..."
Then the appreciative one would mention something that John is sure he never said in that sermon. He finally concluded that the listener must have been hearing the translation of God during his sermon.

Powerful words from John. And very humbling, too.

I'd like to control the effect of my stories and my messages.
But sometimes God will overrule.

Once my story has been published, it's up to God what each reader will take away.
I need to be okay with that.
Just as I need to let God do His work and not get in the way.

I suppose this is true for all Believers. We imagine, then anticipate the effect of our "doing."

  • We share our testimony and suppose that our words will convince our listeners.
  • We sing a beautiful song and wonder if our performance changed the hearts of those who heard it.
  • we raise our children the best we know how and imagine great things
  • We compose a sermon, 
  • we write a lesson,
  • we demonstrate kindness or charity,
  • we forgive,
  • we pray...
and anticipate.

Then we are disappointed when we do not see the hoped-for result.
But God knows what He intends to accomplish. It may not be at all what we imagine the result to be.

Just as the Apostle Paul said, "So neither he who plants, not he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." (l Cor. 3:7 NIV)

 Leave the result to the Lord.
After all, He is the Lord.
And we are not.

"Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than the heavens—what can you do?
They are deeper than the depths of the grave—what can you know?" (Job 11:7, 8 NIV)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

God's Night Chorus

I think the coyotes must have been having a party last night. About two o'clock in the morning, they began their revelry.
I've gotten to recognize their individual voices since they frequently pass right under our window.
And because I'm an insomniac.

One of the coyotes sounds like a train whistle.
Another has a song that rises high in pitch, then plummets.
The third coyote sounds like cross between a kookaburra bird and a woman who's just received a ten million dollar check from Publisher's Clearing House.
The fourth one just goes, "yip, yip."

I sure wish I spoke fluent coyote. I'm no animal expert, but it sounded to me like the coyotes waxed eloquent about the glories of the night and the anticipation of the hunt.
They carried on for at least ten minutes.
Then...dead silence.
An hour later, they reconvened under my window and sang another chorus or two.
I crept to the window and tried to lift the shade as quietly as possible.
But as soon as they heard the sound, the music ceased.

To some of you, the proximity of coyotes might feel a little creepy.
But when I wake up and hear their song, it reminds me that God never sleeps.
He has placed His hand over the earth, settling His creatures in their appropriate lands,
formed His mountains, His oceans and seas,
determined the force of the wind,
set the turning of the earth on its axis,
separated the night from the day.

None of God's ceaseless activity depends on my prayers, or my attention.
While I sleep, He is running the Universe.
As He has for eternity.
And will continue to do long after my body has run down and I join Him in heaven.

As the children's song goes: "Hes got the whole world in His hands."

"When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of You.
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, Your thundering breakers crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God's prayer." (Psalm 42: 6-8 The Message)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Your Church: Attractive or Repugnant?

A few years ago when we lived in Southern California, I used to take a daily three mile walk through several nearby neighborhoods.
Most of the houses attracted me, with their well-manicured lawns, rose gardens, and tall palms.
Occasionally I'd pass a house and hear children and mothers laughing and splashing in their backyard pools.
The sights and sounds in these neighborhoods filled me with a feeling of happiness and well being.
If one of those neighbors had invited me inside, I'd have gladly come.
But there was one house along my route that upset me almost every day. Southern California weather is usually warm so many owners had their windows open.
This one house should have had its windows closed. Angry voices, complete with the most profane language I've ever heard,  assaulted my ears.
I'd hurry past that house while plugging my ears.
What an unhappy house. Why were they always screaming at each other?
Boy, was I glad this house was a mile away from my own place.
I'm sure that the neighbors who lived nearby were well acquainted with the unhappiness and strife belonging to that family.
It got so each morning I'd cross the street and hurry past until I was out of earshot.

I thought about houses in general. Big and little houses.
Churches are houses.
Churches are large families.
Do you know of any churches in your locale that have a reputation for strife, division, political fighting, unhappy, oppressed members?

Just like the unhappy family near my neighborhood, I'll bet people know that church's reputation.
And I'll bet most people avoid that church.
Who'd be attracted to a church family like that?
Christian families looking for a place to worship would certainly hear about that  church's reputation and avoid it.
Seekers certainly would not be attracted to that church.
How can a church filled with strife attract people so that Christ's mandate—preach the gospel and make disciples—could be fulfilled?

The early church grew because her disciples offered something to people the world had never seen:  Supernatural love and Supernatural peace. This kind love, this kind of peace—peace with God and peace with others— could only originate from God.
Not from mere man. Not from a feckless idol.
 But if a church is behaving just like the world, what sets it apart as better than what the world has to offer? Why even exist if God's love, His healing, His counsel, His joy, His teaching cannot flow unhindered out to a needy world?

I love my own church. It is a place of wonderful worship, teaching, and fellowship, where members collectively and individually reach out to their community and extend God's mercy.

I wish more churches would poll their neighbors and community and ask them, "How are we doing? What have you heard about us? Do the people who worship here make you curious (in a good way) about what our church is all about? Would you come here if you felt an emotional, physical or spiritual need?"

Sometimes the only way to see yourself as you really are is to ask an outsider, someone with perspective. Someone who doesn't reside in your family.

Does your house and your church attract people who walk by everyday?

"...Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2: 45-47 NIV Bible)


Friday, October 5, 2012

Who to Vote For

Long-standing research about politicians holds that it is usually the taller, better-looking candidate that has a greater chance of winning an election.
I was watching a re-cap of the presidential debate late Wednesday night.
I thought to myself, "so if the research is true, how do the voters decide on a candidate when both Obama and Romney are tall and good-looking?"
Of course, this is not to say that a candidate's policies and track record do not figure in, also.
But I think people unconsciously make decisions based on externals: looks, charm, effective rhetoric and style.
Haven't we all observed that more attractive people seem to compete better in getting jobs, winning a more attractive or successful spouse, inspiring respect?

Saul: tall and attractive
Take King Saul, Israel's first king.
The people readily accepted him because he was tall and kingly in appearance.
Never mind that he was fearful, rebellious, vindictive, moody and superstitious.
He looked good.

But God later rejected him because of his disobedience.
(Wouldn't that be an amazing event nowadays if a president was removed from office for this reason?)
God planned to replace Saul with a man "after His own heart."

So God sent His prophet, Samuel, to anoint a new king.
Jesse's sons paraded before Samuel.
The prophet saw Jesse's first-born and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed stands here before the Lord."
But God told him, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him."
(I've always wondered why God rejected him.)

David, a man after God's own heart
Finally, the youngest (least) of Jesse's sons, David, was anointed king. David was so little thought of that Jesse hadn't even summoned him to present himself before Samuel.

David was young, hardly more than a boy. Nevertheless, God said to Samuel, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one."

After David was anointed, the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.
Shortly after this, David went into Saul's personal service. And not long after, David fought his famous brief battle with the giant, Goliath.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we'd search our political candidates, truly search, their hearts?
To look beyond mere height and pleasing physical features to the man or woman inside.
We do not have the edict of the Lord about who will be our next president.
So it is up to us to read, research, question, educate ourselves about the current issues in our country, indeed the world, and to get to know our candidates well.

How to choose
What is his track record?
What is his local and personal reputation?
What proven good (real, un-spun stats) has he accomplished?
Who are her friends and associates? Are they well thought of, too?
Did things get better—economically, morally, academically, under her term?
Are he and his friends constantly embroiled in scandals?
Does he disregard the God-given rights of the unborn, the weak, the very old?
Does she work to unite all citizens under the common love of country?
Does he love Israel and aid her?
Does she align herself with the principles found in God's Word?
Does he uphold the American Constitution as framed by its originators?

After all, if you were choosing a spouse or business partner, wouldn't you ask yourself similar questions? So why would you fail to ask these question when choosing the leader of the free world?

Any candidate who compromises God's righteous principles is not the right candidate for our country, no matter how attractive his appearance, no matter how smooth and inspiring his words. 

May our next leader say with sincerity the words that Solomon spoke when he became king after his father David:
"Your servant is here among the people You have chosen a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern Your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?"


Monday, October 1, 2012

Be Still And Know I Am God

After I returned from my four-day writer's conference in Dallas, I had just enough time to unpack, do laundry and then leave the next morning to drive to California for my father's memorial.
During the long drive, mostly on interstate 80 (you probably know how boring that route is) I talked my husband's ears off.
I told him about my experiences in Dallas,
The people I met and talked to,
The information I'd gleaned from the classes and agent/editor appointments.
We discussed what God has been teaching us from scripture reading and prayer.
We sang hymns and wondered if any of the hymnal publishers have thought to produce an e-hymnal so us traveling singers could sing hymns while we drive through Nevada.
We speculated on how the next few days would go, and how to juggle seeing my mother and siblings so that no one felt that we had ignored them.
We planned our daily agenda and which times and routes we would take into San Francisco, then San Jose, then Fremont, then back to Lafayette.
I practiced "playing" on my knees the piano pieces I would be playing for the memorial.

Then we arrived in the Bay Area.

During the  next four days leading up to the Friday morning memorial service Bruce and I tried to remain civil toward each other. The stress of the frenetic visit made us both snappy and on edge.

By Saturday, the day of our departure, Bruce and I both felt completely drained.
As we drove back east, I tried to revisit some of the subjects we'd discussed during our drive out to California.
No ideas came.
No scriptures.
No deep thoughts about life and death and mortality.
My mind felt completely drained of energy.

The only thing that ran through my head on that long trip back were the tunes and words from the hymns I'd played for Daddy's service.
Over and over the words played in my mind.

"Great is Thy Faithfulness, O God, my Father.
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not.
As Thou has been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness.
Great is Thy faithfulness.
Morning by morning, new mercies I see.
All I have needed, Thy had hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto to me."

I think sometimes God lets our minds run down so we can do nothing more but listen to Him.
Listen to Him as He reminds us about Himself.
It's so easy to shut God out when we're on auto-pilot.
I picture Him folding His arms over his chest and saying, "All right then, have it your way."
Then He waits for us to crash.
And when we've got our faces in the dirt, He speaks quietly.
"Are you ready to listen to Me?"

"Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me.
See, on the portal He's watching and waiting, waiting for you and for me.
Come home, come home, ye who are weary, come home.
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me."