Sunday, December 25, 2011

Jesus The Great Light

"The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine." (Isaiah 9:2)
     Is the light of Christ shining from within you this Christmas holiday season? Are those walking in darkness seeing the light of our Savior burning bright within your heart?
     The Christmas season is always a great time to share the love of Christ with others who don't know Him by feeding and clothing the homeless, giving toys to children who wouldn't otherwise have them, and sharing the gospel.
     Christmas is also a wonderful time to reflect not only on the birth of Jesus, but on who Jesus is, what He has done, and what He is doing in our lives right now. He's the Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. He's loving us, blessing us, working within us, and working everything together for our good as we love Him. He's shining His light upon us to lead, guide, and direct our way. He's a lamp unto our feet and a light for our path. Jesus said "Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).
     So as we look at the lights on our Christmas trees, and the lights wrapped around our bushes and shrubs in front of our homes, let us be reminded that Jesus is the light who came into the world to save us from our sins, and celebrate His birth now and into the new year. I hope you all had a wonderful, blessed Christmas in the Lord. Merry Christmas!

* This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Demise of Dr. Conrad Murray

“He who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sins will obtain mercy.” (Proverbs 28:12-14)

     I gasped as I heard the verdict read concerning Dr. Conrad Murray. As you know, he was found guilty of manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. Shortly after the verdict was read, he was handcuffed. I shook my head in disbelief. I felt so sorry for him. Instantly, his life was in ruins. His sentencing is scheduled for November 29. He faces four years in prison, the loss of his medical license, and a wrongful death suit the Jackson family threatens to file. Everything he’s worked so hard for all of his life has gone up in smoke!
     While a large part of me feels great compassion for Dr. Murray and hopes he doesn’t go to prison, I can’t ignore the evidence that was stacked against him. He was involved in egregious malpractice. Michael was addicted to narcotics and Dr. Murray ordered a great deal of these drugs to give to him, and he administered propofol, a powerful anesthetic that’s to be used only in a hospital surgical setting, so Michael could sleep. Propofol isn’t a sleep aid. It’s absolutely unheard of for a doctor to administer such a drug in the home setting, and Dr. Murray ordered four gallons of the stuff to give to Michael over time. He left Michael unattended while he was on propofol; he didn’t have the appropriate equipment necessary to keep Michael’s airway open in case of an emergency; and he failed to call 911 in a timely manner to save Michael’s life. This was considered criminal negligence, and for this, among other things, Dr. Murray was found guilty of manslaughter. 
     Throughout the trial, Dr. Murray wore a perpetual frown. His eyes were puffy and bloodshot from lack of sleep, and he cried on several occasions. It was during those moments that my heart broke for him. He didn’t mean to kill Michael. He believed Michael was his friend, and that he was trying to help him.

Chance to Make Different Choices
     Instead of walking down such a destructive path, Dr. Murray could’ve made other choices. The moment Michael asked him to be his private doctor and get him the drugs and propofol he needed to sleep, Dr. Murray could’ve said “No.” Secondly, Dr. Murray could’ve contacted Michael’s family to tell them about the state Michael was in and what Michael asked him to do. Thirdly, he could’ve worked with Michael’s family to stage another intervention to get Michael the help he needed—if he really wanted to help him. But that didn’t happen.
     Michael shopped around for a doctor who would do anything he asked—even the unthinkable. And he found that doctor in Dr. Murray. Dr. Murray named his price, and Michael agreed. Or, maybe Michael offered the high price, and Dr. Murray agreed. Whichever scenario occurred, Dr. Murray was having financial difficulties, and he saw this as an opportunity to get out of debt and get back on his financial feet. Unfortunately for Dr. Murray, and Michael, their plans didn’t work out.

Michael’s Culpability
     I’m a big fan of Michael Jackson. I grew up listening and dancing to his music. He and his brothers were woven into the fabric of my daily life. I own every album of his. I still listen to his music: Every chance I get I listen to his oldies but goodies and his more recent hits. In fact, I listen to his music now more than ever since he died. I dedicated a page to Michael on this blog, called Remembering Michael, in which I wrote a heartfelt article about him. He will always have a special place in my heart. 
     But No matter how much I love and miss him, I believe that Michael had a huge hand in his own death. Despite how many times his friends and family pleaded with him to get help, he refused. He went into rehab for his addiction to painkillers some years ago at the urging of Elizabeth Taylor, and he ended up taking those same drugs again. He shopped for doctors who’d write him ongoing prescriptions, and when some refused to do it any longer, he used fake names to get those prescriptions renewed. His drug habit was out of control, and he went to great lengths to sustain it. I, and millions of others, wish he’d gotten the help he so desperately needed. I wish he’d spent $150,000 a month on seeking help instead of on dishonest, greedy doctors to take part in his dark world of addiction. Maybe Michael would be alive today, and he’d be well, or at least on the road to wellness had he taken that path.
     Here’s an unfortunate but sobering truth: If Dr. Murray had said no to Michael, Michael would’ve found another doctor to agree to his proposal, and that doctor would be behind bars today for his death instead of Dr. Murray.
     As Christians, let’s pray for Dr. Murray's mind, soul, and well being as he awaits sentencing, and for God to do a miracle in his life. In Jesus’ Name.

** This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays and Brag on God Friday.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stopping to Smell the Roses

"How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming!" (Song of Songs 1:16)
     The sun is shining; the sky is blue; and it's 81 degrees!
     I couldn't imagine letting this weekend whiz by without enjoying the last of the beautiful, Indian summer weather. So I asked my husband if he'd like to go to the park, eat lunch picnic style and indulge in some picture taking. He said yes, so we headed out with my camera and tripod in tow.
     We needed to spend some time together. For a week I kept saying we should plan a weekend getaway, just the two of us so we can relax and have some fun. You see, we've been working really hard on our jobs. And while having a job these days is truly a blessing, we've been stressed, exhausted and just going through the motions of life just to survive. I felt like it was taking a toll, so I insisted we carve out some time together and stop to smell the roses. When we got to the park, we ate our lunch; I assembled my tripod with my husband's help, and set the timer on my camera to take some pics. I hurried to get into the frame before the camera snapped the picture. I did this several times until I got the perfect shot. Thank you Mike for being so patient. I think this shot came out pretty good, don't you?
     Afterward, we walked along one of the trails. As the sun beamed down on us, I took some photos of the beautiful fall leaves. Great exercise but boy was it hot. I looked for the deer who usually graze on the sides of the roads in abundance, but for some reason they weren't out today. Nonetheless, we had a great afternoon together. Something all married couples need to do — and often. To relax, talk, laugh, get reacquainted, stop and smell the roses and enjoy all that God has blessed them with.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for this beautiful day you have made. May we all rejoice and be glad in it. In His name I pray, Amen!

* This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays and Brag on God Friday.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Michael Jackson

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered — how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath. We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it”
(Psalm 39:4-6 / NLT).

     It’s been two years since Michael Jackson’s shocking, untimely death. He would’ve been 53 years old on Monday, August 29, had he still been alive. In memory of Michael, I’ve played his music quite a bit over the past two years — his oldies but goodies, and his more current hits from the 80s and 90s.
     In the video above, during a rare interview, Michael talks briefly about the creative process. Actually he never explained his creative process. He says his creativity is a gift from God, something the interviewer didn't even touch upon; she was stumped actually so she asked a different question.
     I can relate to Michael on some level with regard to the creative process. He said he puts his heart into his music, that there's no formula, no set of rules he follows. He says his creativity and ideas come from God. As an editor and writer who's in Christ, I know my creative ideas come from God as well. Many will come at one time, or one will come here and one there. They come when I pray and need them most.
     Like many people, I grew up listening and dancing to Michael's music. To pay tribute to him, I’m posting these videos and the following link to an article I wrote about him from a spiritual perspective the week he died. (Click here to read the article.) I’d like for you to take the time to read it and let me know what you think. Also, please enjoy the videos below, featuring a younger, more vibrant Michael — the way I want to always remember him. Thank you!

** Linking up with Spiritual Sundays here.
** Also linking up with Brag On God Fridays here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Losing My Spiritual Mother

“These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” (Titus 2:4-5)

       “My mother passed this morning,” Vernesha said sorrowfully. It was 7:30 am Sunday, July 10.
       “Oh my gosh,” I gasped. “I’m so sorry.” “I know. I’ll be in touch to give you the details about the services later this week OK? “OK,” I replied.
       Tears spilled down my face.
       My spiritual mother Dorothy was gone.
       On Friday, just two days before, I rushed to see her after learning she had slipped into a coma after suffering a stroke earlier in the week. During my visit, I talked to her, sung to her with her grandchildren, and held her hand. She responded to my voice, but she couldn’t open her eyes or speak. I trust she knew I was there, because I had prayed that she would. After visiting with her and her family for about 3 hours, I planted a kiss goodbye on her forehead and headed home.
       Deep down I knew this would probably be the last time I’d see Dorothy. And I was right. 

Gift from God
       Dorothy had been a tremendous blessing to me since the day I met her in church. She came into my life when I was in the midst of tumultuous family issues that left me longing — even desperate — to talk to someone who could relate to what I was going through. (She was an answer to my prayers.) Dorothy sensed I was going through great difficulty based on a few conversations we had, so she gave me her phone number one evening at church and said, “If you ever need to talk, don’t hesitate to call me.” I took her up on her offer. That was 13 years ago. And we were in touch ever since — talking, laughing, and praying together. We sent each other Christmas, birthday and Mothers’ Day cards and called each other often. So many times I’d called her sobbing, wanting to give up. And she was always there for me with a listening ear. “Stay encouraged,” she always said. “Pray and never give up.” Every morning at 5 am Dorothy got up to pray for her family and friends. And she suggested I do the same. “I’ve seen God move in awesome ways,” she’d say. “There’s power in prayer.”
       Power indeed. Dorothy was a prayer warrior. She prayed faithfully for several people each day. “I call the names of all of your family members every day,” she’d say. “Your husband, son, your brother and his family. Your mother and father. I pray for them continuously. Oh yes.”
       Dorothy firmly believed and lived according to Titus 2:4-5. She taught the younger women how to love their husbands and families and use godly wisdom. Often, she gave me wise advice concerning my husband and family; wise counsel that to this day is probably responsible for my family remaining intact.

 Incredible Homegoing
       My spiritual mother’s homegoing service was beautiful. Her family and I couldn’t have asked for anything more wonderful. The Pastors and many who served in ministry with her said very loving things about her. The Senior Pastor preached a powerful sermon that uplifted our sorrowful hearts. He preached about how Dorothy “fought the good fight of faith”; he talked about the resurrection and that we’d see her again, and that she was now in glory in the presence of the Heavenly Father. After the sermon, I felt so much peace. That’s the awesome power of our Lord. In the midst of great sorrow and despair, He’s able to bring peace to our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit.
       Don’t you just love that about God? “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26) These are comforting words from a Lord who loves us and looks forward to dwelling with us forever.

Dear Dorothy,

I love you, and I miss you. But I’m at peace knowing you’re with the Lord, and Ill see you again. You were wonderful to me. You loved me and treated me like a daughter, and I loved and honored you as a mother. I’ll miss your voice, our phone conversations, and our prayer times. You’ll always be in my thoughts, and you will hold a special place in my heart.

Love Your Spiritual Daughter,

** This post is linked to Brag on God Fridays here.
** This post is also linked to Spiritual Sundays here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Major Testimony!

“Now to him Who, by the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]. (Ephesians 3:20)

       Just last week a miracle happened!
       After almost two years of prayer, I was offered a leading Editor position at a business-to-business healthcare publisher of print and online magazines. I am in awe of what God has done.
       The journey I was on to search for this dream job was painstaking at times as some of you know, but along the way God enabled me to learn much about the changing landscape of my profession and reconnect with many of my former colleagues from years past. He also introduced me to new colleagues who encouraged and counseled me.
New Role
       In my role as Editor, I will be considered the face of a leading healthcare magazine, responsible for developing story ideas, assigning articles to junior staff and freelance writers, helping to create design concepts with graphic artists, communicating with readers on Facebook and Twitter, as well as editing and writing online content — everything I want to be doing in magazine publishing.
       God has truly answered my prayers. He gave me every single desire and secret petition of my heart (Psalm 37:3-4)!

God's Schooling
       Not only did I learn more about my profession, but the Lord taught me more about Himself, how He works, and that He never left me for a second even though at times it felt like He had. Each step of my journey, He placed many people in my path who helped me revise my resume, gave me jobs leads and great encouragement. All along God had the perfect job all picked out for me. He kept telling me to wait, be patient. And when the job became available, He led me right to it. All I had to do was apply and go through the interview process. From the moment I applied for the job to the day I received the offer was 7 days. God worked quickly. And I'm so thankful for it. 

Busy as a Bee
       During the first week of June the Lord gave me the incredible idea to create my own Website — an online portfolio of my writing and editing samples from previous journalism jobs. And guess what? I did it. For the past four weeks, I've been diligently scanning and uploading articles and supplements, launching another blog, and organizing the site. Which explains why I haven't had time to write articles for this blog or post new photos on my photo blog. I'm so thrilled with the way my Website has turned out. Please visit the site at and my new blog, and let me know what you think.

Back in the Saddle
       Now that things have calmed down a bit, I'll be able to kick back, relax, post more articles and photos, visit your blogs, and leave comments again. I miss you guys. To God be the glory for all He has done. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you so much for your awesome love and power in our lives. When our faith wavers, you are still faithful. Thank you for your patience, compassion, mercy and grace. Where would we be without it? In your Name I pray, Amen!

** This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays here. 
** It is also linked to Brag on God Fridays here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Devotional Blog Makeover!

Hi Everyone!

       Notice anything different? Yep, I gave my blog a facelift. I don't know about you, but as a woman who thrives on creativity I get bored with the same 'ol same 'ol. I wanted to give my blog a new look to kick off the spring and summer. A template with lighter, brighter colors, a departure from the darker hues of fall and winter — and a new photo — this time without holding my camera. (Even thinking about changing the name of my blog.) So here it is.
       Let me know what you think. But please be kind. :-)
       Hopefully, I'll post a new article soon. Not sure what to write about next. May the Lord inspire me this holiday weekend.
       I have a slew of photos I took of cows, llamas, donkeys, and turkeys at a nearby farm I visited recently that I want to put on my photo blog. Just don't know how to package it yet. The photo above was taken the day I took the farm pictures. Yeah, that's me holding a branch of yellow forsythias.
       The picture to the right also was taken that day. I stood on a bridge to get that shot as cars and trucks whizzed by going 40 mph. A little scary — and risky to say the least. But I had to get that shot. Only a seasoned, diehard photographer could understand. Not that I'm a seasoned photographer, but I aspire to be.
       Well, if I don't get to speak with any of you in the next couple of days, please have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with your family and friends, and write about it so I can get inspired.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fallout from Harold Camping's Doomsday Prediction

       When the clock struck 6:01 pm this past Saturday, May 21, 2011, many Christians and non-Christians alike breathed a sigh of relief. The church wasn’t raptured, and a massive earthquake didn’t occur.
       Most of the day Saturday I joked around about Harold Camping’s false prophecy with my mom, my hairstylist, and a fellow patron while getting our hair done at a neighborhood beauty salon.
       “I’m getting my hair done for Jesus,” I quipped.
       “I want to have all of my errands done before 6 pm,” a woman giggled, “so I’ll be ready.”
       Don Lemon, a CNN news anchor, even joked a bit. “Well, it’s 5:52 pm, 8 minutes before the world is supposed to come to an end. I’ll hang around for a couple of seconds after 6 to see if we’re still here.” When it was 6 pm, Lemon said, “Well, looks like we’re still here. Now let’s go to The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” My son and I chuckled as I turned off the television.

Not so Funny
       While some poked fun of the doomsday prediction, because they simply didn’t believe it, at least one of Camping’s followers didn’t think it was so funny. In a news segment on ABC World News Weekend Edition filmed in Times Square New York City, Good Morning America anchor Ron Claiborne interviewed Robert Fitzpatrick, a Camping follower and retiree who allegedly spent a sizeable chunk of his $140,000 life savings on poster advertisements in the New York City subways. Claiborne reported that Fitzpatrick was clearly shaken, shocked, and saddened when nothing happened at 6 pm.

Interrogation Time
       News reporters, cameramen, photographers, and irate New Yorkers surrounded Fitzpatrick in Times Square and peppered him with questions. “We’re still here! We’re still here!” exclaimed an onlooker. “Why didn’t the earthquake happen?” “Why are we still here?” demanded a man in the crowd. Fitzpatrick tried to explain from the bible how Camping arrived at his doomsday prediction. “That’s God Word,” shouted another man. “You shouldn’t play around with God’s Word.” “I want my money back,” demanded a woman. “Are those people who spent money on buses to travel around going to get their money back?” “Are they going to get their money back?”
       My burning question is: What does Camping have to say about all of this? One news report said Camping was in seclusion in Oakland, Calif., and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Can Anything Good Come From This?
       The travesty behind this false prophecy is that many of Camping’s followers spent their hard earned money, left their jobs, left their families, and wasted time traveling the country to spread the news that the world was going to end on May 21, 2011. The false prediction made people nervous at the very least and almost caused a panic. The good news is that this false prediction got people talking about the bible, the gospel, who Jesus is, the fact you must be saved to go to Heaven, and that there will come a time when God’s judgment will come upon the earth. So if it takes an event such as this, even a duplicitous one, to spread the gospel and encourage people to begin thinking about their salvation and spiritual lives, it can’t be all that bad (Philippians 1:18). 

** This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Is Christ Coming Back May 21, 2011?

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come." (Mark 13:32-33)
       By now, you've probably seen newscasts, YouTube videos, Tweets, Facebook chatter, and billboards, declaring the message that Christ is going to return tomorrow, Saturday, May 21, 2011. You've probably heard that there's going to be a tremendous earthquake that will kill millions of people, and that the church is going to be raptured, and escape God's wrath; and five months later on October 21, 2011, God is going to completely destroy the earth and the universe.
       Well according to the Bible, these proclamations are simply not true. No one knows the day or the hour when the Lord will come back to this earth to take those who believe in Him to Heaven. There are signs of His imminent return (i.e., war in the Middle East, false prophets, earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc.), but we cannot know the actual day — no matter how clever our mathematical calculations.
       This false prophecy came from Harold Camping, a Christian radio broadcaster and president of Family Radio, a California-based broadcasting network. Mr. Camping has been known to use so-called Bible-based numerology to predict dates for the end of the world. He miscalculated that Christ would return September 1994. When he realized he was wrong, he recalculated and came up with a new date: May 21, 2011.
       The mention of Christ returning May 21, 2011, has caused quite a stir.
       Many of Mr. Camping's followers have left their jobs and families to stand on street corners and travel from town to town and state to state to tell people the news. I know they mean well, because Jesus said we should share the gospel and warn people of the coming judgment of God, because unless a person is born again, he or she will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
       Just as earthquakes, wars, and rumors of wars are signs of the end times and of Christ's return, so are false prophets spreading false information. "... many false prophets will appear and deceive many people" (Matthew 24:11). So let us be informed — not deceived.
       Everything we need to know about the truth of Christ's return is in our bibles. All we have to do is open it up and read it. Yes, Christ will return, and God's judgment will take place, but only according to His timing, not ours. "Jesus said to them [his disciples]: It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority" (Acts 1:7).

** This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Experience God's Resurrection Power

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength.” (Ephesians 1:17-19)

Three weeks have whizzed by since we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. And while some of us may have moved on with our lives and placed the significance of that day behind us, it’s important to reflect on the impact and the difference the resurrection should make in our daily lives.
Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we can have intimate fellowship with our Heavenly Father and get to know Him better. And we need the Spirit of Wisdom and revelation to accomplish this.
God wants us to get to know Him better and experience His resurrection power in every aspect of our lives — His incomparably great power for us who believe. Just the idea of being able to experience God’s power in every facet of my life gives me goose bumps. Hope. And great joy.
My Pastor said we can miss God’s power if we’re not in tune with Him, which is why we must have the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to discern when His power is at work.
However, my Pastor did say that even though we believe in God’s power, that doesn’t mean that everything is always going work out exactly the way we want it to. That grabbed my attention, especially since I’ve been praying and praying and praying for a successful career move for more than a year and not much, if any, fruit has resulted. “Why isn’t God answering my prayers?” I complain. “Is He not listening? Am I doing something wrong? Is God mad at me? How long, O Lord?” 
My Pastor reassured that God’s power is at work in our lives even though we don’t see it. “Whew! That’s a relief,” I thought. For a while, I’ve been wrestling with the horrible, unwarranted thought that God has abandoned me. I know He promises to never leave me nor forsake me, but lately I’ve just been feeling distant from God — as though I’ve entered a dry spell. My faith had been wavering back and forth.
“God’s incomparably great power is available today, right now for those who believe,” my Pastor asserted. I do believe. I believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and I want to experience His great power in my life every day. I’ve experienced it plenty of times before, so why not now?
Shameful question.
I know God has blessed me immensely and continues to do so. I have a great husband, son, and family, wonderful friends, and all of my needs are met — and then some. So yes, God’s mighty power is at work in my life indeed. Because Jesus is alive, I have great hope; you have great hope; and our world has great hope.
May we ask the Lord to give us His Spirit of wisdom and revelation to get to know Him better. May we come to know the hope to which He has called us, and experience His incomparably great power as we daily believe and put our trust in Him.

* This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Celebrating Our Risen Lord!

“I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever!” (Revelation 1:18)

       Whenever the Easter holiday draws near, I often reflect on this passage of scripture more than any other that speaks of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and His miraculous resurrection. Certainly there are other wonderful, riveting passages such as in the gospels that chronicle his death, burial, and resurrection, and in the Old Testament prophecies.
       These poignant words of Christ in Revelation 1:18, however, give me special comfort, because He emphatically declares that He is the Living One. He is alive today and forevermore through His spirit living inside of me, in other believers, and in the world at large. He is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, and He is coming back a second time to take all who know and love him to the promised heavenly home.
       Because of Jesus’ shed blood and death on the cross, my sins are forgiven. And because He rose from the dead, I have everlasting life. I love the fact He is alive, working in my life, working in the lives of other believers, and working powerfully in the world.
       After a busy week, with much on my mind, I pray that I will be able to focus on my Lord and Savior, on what He’s done for me, on how much He loves me, and on the promises I have in Him because He is alive. Amen!

Prayer: Lord, may I set aside all of my worries to focus only on you, to focus on the blood you shed for the forgiveness of my sins, to focus on your sacrificial death, and your resurrection that ensures my life eternal. In Your Name I pray, amen.

** This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays here. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

God’s Unexpected Surprises!

“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another” (John 1:16)

       “You listen to Joyce Meyer?” my coworker asked me after opening my glove compartment to hand me my sunglasses, which was filled with Michael Jackson and gospel CDs and cassettes. We were headed to the Baltimore Inner Harbor to attend a continuing medical education seminar.
       “My sister listens to Joyce Meyer all the time,” she continued. “Yeah I really like her,” I replied. “Do you listen to Charles Stanley?” I asked. “Yeah I listen to him,” she said. “I love Charles Stanley.”
       Now, I was curious.
       “If she was familiar with Joyce Meyer and listened to Charles Stanley, she must be a Christian,” I thought.
       “I didn’t know you were a Christian Gwen*,” I said. “Oh yeah, I’ve been saved for years.”
       “Really?” I replied.
       Gwen had always been so private about her faith, but not in this moment. She told me how she met the Lord, and how He changed her life. We spent most of the drive to Baltimore talking about how God has worked in each of our lives. It was incredible. “What a blessing,” I thought. God was definitely with us, and He answered my prayers in ways I didn’t expect.
       After we arrived at the hotel where we were staying, we decided to walk along the harbor with our cameras in tow to take in the sites and snap some pictures. (See more photos of the harbor here.) It was sunny, windy, and hot.
       After our hour-long walk and photo session, we freshened up and attended the seminar. While the seminar wasn’t as successful as we’d hoped, I still felt God’s presence.
       The next morning, I ate a delicious buffet breakfast that included hot tea, eggs, grits, bacon, and a bagel with butter and strawberry jam. Yum!
       On the drive back home, Gwen and I continued to talk about the Lord. God’s presence and blessing were still with us. It almost felt euphoric, like I was on a spiritual high.
       When I got home and turned on my computer to check my email and do some work, I received an email from another coworker about how she had received Christ, met with her Pastor to talk about what was going on in her heart, and how excited she was to begin a bible study for the first time. She said she knew I was a Christian, so she felt comfortable sharing her experience with me. I was shocked. “This must be the week God wants me to know who my Christian coworkers are,” I thought.
       Just a few weeks ago, the Lord gave me the opportunity to pray with a coworker who I knew was a Christian about an extremely difficult project we were working on. And when we prayed, God’s presence enveloped us.
       Work has not been pleasant lately, but God surely has brightened things up when I least expected it?  He has a way of doing that, doesn’t he?
May we praise His holy name!

Prayer: Thank you Lord for your mesmerizing presence, the blessing of your people, and your strengthening power. In Jesus’ name, amen.

** This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cross in the Sky

“Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?” (Job 37:16)
     I wiped away my tears following a misunderstanding with my husband. I called my best friend for prayer and encouragement. She asked the Lord to give me strength, fill my home with peace, soften my husband’s heart as well as my own, and protect my marriage. Then my friend asked the Lord to please give me a sign to let me know He was there. The next morning, I hopped in my car and ... 
Read full post

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

7 Steps to Fitting Prayer Into Your Busy Life

     Think you're too busy to pray? Think again. Here's how to grab a few moments of quiet time with the Lord and develop a more fruitful prayer life.

     1. Pray in the shower. People often sing in the shower, but why not talk to God while you lather up. It's the perfect time to tell the Lord what's on your mind, thank Him for your blessings — and yes, sing His praises.
     2. Pray while you dress. Don't stop talking to God once you exit the shower — or get out of the bathtub. Continue your dialogue. ...
Read full post

Friday, March 4, 2011

Are You Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired?

     “The Lord is my Strength and my [impenetrable] Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him.” (Psalm 28:7)

     “I’m so tired. I don’t think I’m going to go to church tomorrow,” I whispered to the Lord last Saturday. “I have to go grocery shopping. Wash, blow dry, and curl my hair. And cook dinner,” I reasoned. “If I go to church, I’ll have no energy to do everything I need to do, so I’ll just stay home.”
     Ever feel so tired and weary that you just want to drive your car out of the fast lane, pull over, and put it in park indefinitely? That’s the way I’ve been feeling lately. Worn out from the heavy workload on my job that zaps all of my strength during the week coupled with the tiresome errands I run on the weekends. I got up Sunday morning and decided not to go to church.
      I cooked bacon, eggs, and toast, and made hot tea for my husband and son. We all sat down and ate together and enjoyed each other’s company. All the while, I felt God nudging me to go to church — to the later service. After wrestling with the idea for an hour or so, I changed my mind and got ready to go.
     “Lord, please prepare my heart for your Word this morning,” I prayed. “Minister to me through the worship songs and through your Word, and give me the strength I need to do all that I need to do today, amen.”
     Within minutes after arriving in the sanctuary, God started answering my prayers. He began speaking to me through the worship songs, and when my Pastor preached the Word. He brought additional scripture to mind for me to meditate on all week to renew my strength, and He gave me a great sense of peace. 
      If I hadn’t gone to church, I would have missed these blessings that God had stored up for me. The blessings of His presence, power, comfort, renewed strength, and the peace I so desperately needed to begin a very busy, challenging week. I probably would have gotten everything done that I wanted to get done, but I would have felt empty and even more depleted. Turns out, I didn’t get everything done, but I was able to complete it all by the middle of the week. A small sacrifice, considering the blessings I received from the Lord.
     What I’ve learned is that life will continue to tire you out. But the Lord promises to renew your strength if you trust in, rely on and wait on Him. You can wait on Him anywhere and anyplace, and He’ll be there for you with open arms. Of course, the key to receiving what He has for you is to seek Him with all your heart. In doing so, He will be found.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, when we find ourselves tired and weary from our busy lives, put a desire in our hearts to seek your face, so you can renew our strength, give us your presence, and fill us with peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.

** This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Beyond Scared Straight' Where is Jesus in our prisons? Part 2

“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” (Malachi 4:6)
       Last week, I was reminded of the horrors of prison life from a spectator’s perspective as I watched Beyond Scared Straight, the critically acclaimed hour-long documentary series on A&E that follows inmate-run intervention programs that expose at-risk teens to the realities of life behind bars.
       The prison environment is hostile, violent and chaotic at best. Fear, anxiety, anger, wrath, and rage are the predominant emotions. Inmates scream and yell obscenities within their cells. You can be killed, beaten, stabbed, raped, and assaulted any minute of the day.
       My question was why? Why? I just didn’t understand it.
       Why is there so much hate and violence among the prisoners? Where is Jesus in the midst of this hell? I know prison ministries exist, but from the looks of things the kingdom of darkness seemed to be winning the war against the Kingdom of Light.
       Not so at Louisiana State Penitentiary, better known as Angola State Prison — a maximum-security facility that won a reputation for being one of the most bloodiest, violent jails in the country. Reason: Jesus stepped into the picture through the Awana® Lifeline™ prison ministry. Many inmates have received Christ, and as a result, the entire prison environment has changed. The Lord walked in, and the violence walked out. The prisoners were set free from the rage, violence, and other besetting sins that plagued them.
      Lifeline is touching the hearts of these inmates through its ground-breaking prison program Returning Hearts Celebration™ and Malachi Dads™. Returning Hearts Celebration is a carnival-style event that allows day-long interaction between inmate fathers and children. Inmates have the opportunity to reconcile with children they may not have seen for years. The program debuted at Angola and has expanded to 17 other prisons and jails across the country.
       Malachi Dads is a yearlong program that trains and equips inmates to become better fathers and spiritual leaders to their children. Last year, 119 men graduated from the program at Angola (Source: Christian NewsWire).
       This is great news that should bring us infinite hope as Christians. That there is power in the gospel to change lives, even the lives of those who seem to be eternally lost. Take a few moments to watch this powerfully inspiring video. As one of my friends warned: It will bring tears to your eyes. Enjoy!

** This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays where you can visit Charlotte and Ginger's incredible blog that gives glory to God. Enjoy! **

Sunday, February 13, 2011

'Beyond Scared Straight' Where is Jesus in our Prisons? Part 1

“I, the Lord have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:6-7)

“Line up right here!” Get in a straight line!” “Do what I tell you to do!” “When you hear the code 2 alarm, crouch down on the ground, and don’t move!” screamed a prison guard to about 10 teenage boys who were visiting San Quentin State Prison in California, a historic prison known for housing the most violent criminals in the country.
       In horror, I watched Beyond Scared Straight, the hour-long documentary series on A&E that follows inmate-run intervention programs that exposes at-risk teens to the realities of life behind bars. 
       These particular teens were participating in the Squires program, a juvenile delinquency deterrence program that brings delinquent youth to San Quentin Prison to speak to inmates and witness firsthand the horrors of life in jail.
       The teens were there because they’ve disrespected authority at home and in school, sold drugs, robbed and assaulted innocent people, stole cars, and used drugs.
       My heart went out to them because many came from broken homes, were simply misguided, and were seemingly without hope. But what was even more shocking were the conditions at San Quentin State Prison.
       The prison environment at San Quentin is hostile, violent and chaotic at best. Fear, anxiety, anger, wrath, and rage are the predominant emotions. Inmates scream and yell obscenities for sport within their cells. You can be killed, beaten, and maimed any minute of the day. Rape, murder, and assault are commonplace.
       My question is why? Why? A naive question I know. But I just don’t understand it.
       I know prison ministries exist, but from the looks of things they don’t seem to have as big of an impact as the Kingdom of God should have on the kingdom of darkness. I’ve heard that people get saved in prison and turn their lives around, but it seems as though Satan and his kingdom rule and reign. So I ask, “Where is Jesus in the prison system? Where is He? The prisoners, guards, and the administrators need the Lord of Glory badly.

Prayer: Lord, please have mercy on those young teens who are witnessing firsthand the harsh realities of prison life, and help them turn their lives around before it’s too late. And may your powerful Holy Spirit permeate the hearts, minds, and souls of all the prison inmates, guards and administrators in America and abroad, in your Name we pray, amen!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stop Being a Worrywart!

 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life  —whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)

       In this day and age, there is so much to worry about. If you lost your job, you worry if you’ll find a new one — fast! If your company downsized and moved you into a job you despise, you worry if you’ll ever find a new position you’ll love. If you’re a student, you worry about homework, exams, and keeping up with all of your assignments. If you’re a mom or dad, you worry about your children. If you’re a daughter or son of elderly parents, you worry about their welfare. If you’re in your late 40s or 50s, you worry if you’ll have enough money for retirement. Then, there’s the terrorism, wars, and the rising crime rate.
       The list can go on and on.
       It’s in these times that it’s so crucial to know the Lord and to be in constant communication with him. Not only for the salvation of our souls, but to have an almighty, all-powerful God to lean on and trust in. Jesus simply tells us not to worry about anything, because He loves and cares about us more than we could ever imagine, and He’s got everything in our lives under control. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like He’s got everything under control when it seems as though many aspects of our lives are out of control.
       I’ve been worried and anxious lately about a particular aspect of my life. And I haven’t been in the best of moods. In fact, I’ve been in a real funk. But recently, the Lord reminded me of the passage in Matthew. Just weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised by a large flock of Robin Red Breasts that descended on one of my trees in my front yard.
       They came to eat the crab apples on the branches and those that fell on my snow-covered lawn. They didn’t seem to have a worry in the world as they pecked and ate the hard-shelled fruit, perched on the branches to rest, and chirped with one another. And it was freezing outside. It was an unusual site for a snowy January.
       But it was during this time that this passage came to life. Birds don’t have a worry in the world because our heavenly Father feeds and takes care of them — even in the dead of winter. And since we’re more valuable than they are, we’re not to worry about anything either. Why? Because God promises to take even better care of us than He does of them. He promises to sustain us, protect us, and look out for us no matter what.
       Knowing this brings me great peace. And I hope it gives you peace as well as you navigate the often rough terrain of life.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we watch the birds build their nests, forage for food, and fly through the air carefree, may we be reminded that we are more valuable than they are, and that you’ll continue to feed, cloth, and provide for us even more so. In Jesus name, Amen!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Hi Everyone!

Please read my new devotional that is now being published at is a true story that happened to my son and I. I believe you'll get a kick out of the story. And please let me know what you think. Thanks much!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Let Your Light Shine!

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

       Remember this song? Many of us sang this in the choir when we were children or witnessed our own children sing this well-known hymn. As you already know, the light this song refers to is the light of Christ.

       As Christians, we have a high calling that sometimes seems unattainable. We’re called to live as Jesus lived and to have His same attitude. To develop His character and let His light shine from within us — a tall order when we’re going through a tough time, when we’re in a bad mood, or in the heat of conflict with a loved one, friend, or coworker.
       But believe it or not, it’s during these challenging times when we have an amazing opportunity to exude Christ-like character. We can speak kindly when someone is rude to us. We can show mercy when someone steals from us or deeply hurts us. We can pray for someone who threatens us, abuses us, slanders us, or undermines us.
       Just the other day, by God’s grace, I slipped away to a quiet place to pray instead of raising my voice with hands on hips to scold someone for spewing hurtful words that weren’t warranted. And it made a world of difference.
       God answered my prayers that very evening, and He continues to do so at this writing.
       When we choose to do things God’s way, He intervenes and the enemy flees. As we mature in Christ and ask to be filled afresh with His Holy Spirit each day, we realize that He is on the throne and in full control of all that concerns us. And knowing this makes it easier to respond God’s way in difficult situations when our flesh wants to take over and ruin the outcome. My prayer is that God will continue to give us the desire and power to walk in the Spirit and not according to our flesh, so that we will be blessed in all we do. May your light shine!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ring in the New Year With Prayer, Fasting

“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6)

       Did you do anything special to bring in the New Year? Two days ago, I visited my friend Pam to meet with two of her friends, so we could dedicate the morning to fasting and prayer. Pam and I have done this before, and it has yielded powerful results.
       We worshiped the Lord in song while holding hands in a circle; we prayed; we read scripture, and we shared how the Lord had worked and was presently working in our lives.
       An hour or so into our time of fellowship, another friend of Pam’s stopped by who was in need of prayer for her mother-in-law and a family relationship. Her prayer group was on hiatus for the holiday, so we prayed for her and encouraged her. We were amazed at how God met her needs despite the fact her prayer group didn’t meet this past week.

Sharing in God’s Presence 
       I truly felt God’s presence, which made our time together in the Lord powerful — and precious. We shared certain aspects of our lives with one another as if we knew each other for years. It was a different kind of sharing because we talked about how the Lord spoke to us personally from His Word in our specific circumstances that helped us get through those difficult times. God got the glory.
       After our prayer time, Pam served a delicious Caesar salad, collard greens, and a spinach pasta dish made with shrimp and chicken. We had lemon cake and ginger bread cookies. It was delish!

Continued Prayer
       When her girlfriends left, Pam and I continued to pray for our husbands, marriages, children, parents, careers, our relationship with God, our ability to hear God more clearly, more of a hunger and thirst for Him, to get to know Him better, and for guidance and direction in 2011. We made sure we covered everything.

Enjoying His Creation
       Afterward, we headed to a nearby park that had wooded trails and a beautiful pond running alongside of it. We walked along the snow-covered trail, flanked by tall trees and flocks of Canadian geese, which swooped down from the sky to rest in the pond. It was an amazing sight. (Visit to view photos of the park.)
       The day was incredibly blessed by the Lord. I’ve always wanted to bring in the New Year in prayer. Of course praying together with other women of God surely beats praying alone. It’s a powerful experience like none other. I look forward to what the Lord is going to do in our lives and in the lives of our families and friends this year. He promises to untie the bonds of wickedness holding us and our families from serving Him, lift our burdens that worry us, save the lost, draw us closer to Him, speak to us in more exciting ways, give us fresh, new encounters with Him, and lead us down paths of righteousness. We thank you, Lord for all of these promises that we pray will come to pass in the new year. In Jesus’ name, amen!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...