Living for Christ

I have heard this short phrase most of my Christian life (over five decades), but it has only become more real to me recently as I have pondered what it really means to live for Christ. Does it mean that I cease to exist and that all that matters to me is no longer important? God is slowly revealing to me that He wants all of me dedicated to Him but He does not want me to be a Christ-figure. He wants me to be walking around, doing what I do and be Christlike in my attitude, words and choices. Christ died for me, so the least that I can do is live for Him.

In other words, I should not be making choices to gain something for me, but to expand the Kingdom of God. My own happiness matters to God so I need to let go of trying to make myself happy and start trying to do and say what would please the Lord and lead others to Him so that they can find true fulfillment in a relationship with Him. It’s frustrating being around people who don’t serve or worship God. Imagine how difficult it must be for God, our Creator, to constantly deal with people who refuse to acknowledge Him in spite of all of His blessings to them! I don’t lose anything by serving and living for Christ, but I lose everything if I just choose to live for myself.

I don’t know if I want length added to my years or not unless it is for God’s benefit. I just want to do what pleases Him and to stay here on earth for as long as he wants me to. Sometimes, I get weary…bone-weary, spiritually exhausted. Then God tells me to get up and keep going because He isn’t finished with me yet. If I am living for Christ, I need to be willing to keep on keeping on until God tells me that my race is done.

This is a prayer I say often and not just as a thing to say to appease God. I say it because I truly want to please the Lord. He is all to me, my reason for being, so I want my life to reflect His. My prayer for you is that you will grasp hold of the concept of living for Christ and know that it means turning over your words and your heart to Him completely. He is worthy and capable of giving you the words to speak and a changed heart to show others.

May your day be filled with the wisdom that comes only from the Father, the joy and comfort from the Holy Spirit and the compassion and love of the Son.

His Wonderful Deeds

I have been living in a very busy household for the last few weeks. The oldest child has an activity daily after school, and sometimes she has more than one. The youngest daughter had two activities this week. My only “activity” was to watch the toddler each time there was an activity that required the parents to be elsewhere. Meanwhile, about ten days ago, I got sick. It started with a sore throat, then nasal congestion and finally, the inevitable bronchial cough. I talked to my son about getting me to the doctor but there never seemed to be a good time to go. Well, yesterday was like a day planned by God. My son had to pick up groceries, so he dropped me at the clinic, went to do his errands and I called him when I was done. (Diagnosed with acute bronchitis and sinus, but I have meds now, so I hope to get better soon,) When I called my son to pick me up, he said that he was putting the groceries in the fridge and would be there soon. The baby had fallen asleep. The end of the matter is that I got to go to the doctor, get my meds and not totally upend the family’s schedule. I figure that’s one of the things that God does for me all the time, frequently without my noticing. He just works things out for me, even when I am discouraged or not as hopeful and filled with faith as I should be.

So, what wonderful deeds has God accomplished in your life? That is your testimony for others, so share and proclaim your thankfulness!

May the Lord who richly blesses His children bless you “real good” today and throughout the week!

The Gifts Are Opened…Now What?

So, the day after Christmas and all of the gifts have been opened, exclaimed over and thanks given (I hope, at least) for the time and effort that the giver put into choosing the gift for you. In order to truly appreciate a gift, one needs to be aware of the effort and time that the giver put into the package that he/she gave you. Now, take that thought and apply it to the gift that God has given each of us.

The time God put into offering His Only Son as a sacrifice for our sins…well, He planned it since the beginning. So, more time than I have ever put into a gift, for sure! The effort God put into the gift…well, He gave up His Only Son for each of us to be able to have an eternal relationship with Him. Jesus left His home in Heaven and came to earth, suffered and did. That’s a lot of effort for sinful man, many of whom don’t accept or appreciate the gift. The gift of Jesus was costly and showed an unbelievable amount of love from the Father for each of us, His children.

So, now what? With gifts from family and friends, we express our thanks, sometimes write a thank you note and may or may not actually use the gift. With God, the gift is so wonderful that we need to spend time on our knees thanking Him for it and then we need to spend the rest of our lives dedicated to serving the One who made it possible for us to even exist, much less in a relationship with the Sovereign God and Creator of all. The what next part is giving our lives to Him so that He can then reach out to others who need to know about the gift that they were given but may not have received yet. It’s important that we carry through with sharing the testimony that God has given us so that others can know the same freedom, joy, hope, love, mercy and grace that we have. God sent His Son for all…an indescribable gift that should never be taken for granted but should always stir up thanksgiving and the urge to tell others about what God has done.

May you always know the peace and love that come with the gift of the birth and sacrifice of Christ! Have a blessed day, my friends.

The Steps We Take

Wherever we walk, there is someone looking at us and perhaps following in our footsteps. Jesus followed His Father in Heaven and His guidance in the steps He took on earth, leading Him ultimately to the cross. It’s hard to fathom, but Jesus was born to die for us. His destiny was established from the beginning of the world because God always had a plan to save mankind. Thus, His steps were ordered. So should ours be and we should always be fully cognizant of the fact that others are watching. Some scoffers watch and are gleeful when we fall. Some of the faithful are watching, praying for us to make it to the end and giving them the hope that they, too, can end this life in victory. Whatever steps we take should lead us closer to our Heavenly Father and should leave no doubt in the minds of others about our dedication to the Lord. Thus, we leave a good witness in the path behind us and forge a witness of faith for others to follow.

Note that the author of this verse is Job. The same Job who lost everything and sat in a pile of ashes afterwards, but he never lost sight of the One in whom he had complete faith. He can say that he never turned aside. It’s like setting your compass for a particular destination and following it to the end. Our one true compass who always leads in the right way is God and when we are following Him, we don’t have to worry about getting lost along the way during all of the hazards that life throws at us.

Have a blessed day and may your feet tread steadfastly in the path that God has established for you, without hesitation or wavering, but with full confidence that God goes before you.

Thankful That I’m Not Lonely

When I graduated from college almost five decades ago, I was able to find a teaching job about five hours away from my hometown. For the first time ever, I was going to be living on my own! I was thrilled, filled with adrenaline spikes and scared. That was for about the first week or so. Then, I was lonely. Not at school, of course, because there was plenty of action and lots of other people there. No, I was lonely at night, alone where I was living. At first, I lived with an elderly lady who was very kind but she was also an alcoholic so she spent her evenings imbibing while I spent mine alone. After a few months there, an apartment became available and I moved in, happy to have my own very small space but taking my loneliness with me. My fiancé was stationed a couple of hours away, so we saw each other on weekends when he could get away. But the weeknights were dark and I was totally alone. I was delighted when the neighbor next door introduced herself and started a short conversation daily. She is the one who told me about Jesus, gave me a Bible to read (“THE WAY”) and who once and for all offered a solution to my loneliness. I read the Book of John as she suggested, confessed my sins, repented and started going to church with my new friend. I became part of the family of God, a family more loving and kind than I thought was possible.

Not only did God give me fellow believers as brothers and sisters, he also led me to get married a few months after Harry and I became Christians. Again, more reason not to be lonely. Except my new spouse traveled with the military a lot and I stayed behind. Once more, God showed me the importance of my church family. We moved a lot while Harry was on active duty (25 times in 23 years), so I got accustomed to finding a new church each time we moved and plugging myself into the fellowship and camaraderie there. I’m so thankful that after years of being lonely and feeling like there was no place that I felt accepted and as though I never belonged, I found a family with the people of God and have been with my family ever since. God sent that neighbor to me and He established me in His loving family. He saw my heart and reached out to me before I even knew what I needed.

God is always one step ahead of us if we allow Him to take the lead. I’m thankful that before I knew Him, He knew me and extended His mercy, grace, forgiveness and love to a lonely young woman in a new place. I am so thankful for Verna, the kind neighbor, who was obedient to the Lord and befriended me. I was never truly alone because God was there, but I didn’t know that. Now I do, and because I know that, I have never been really alone since that night in February, 1973 when the Lord became my Savior and my best friend forever.

May the Lord bless you with friendships, love, peace and joy. He is only a prayer away.


There are commercials frequently about how refreshing certain beverages are. But there is also spiritual refreshing. What is refreshing? According to the online dictionary, it means stimulating, reviving and to give rest. How do we as Christians get that refreshing?

Going to the throne of God once is not enough. We have to keep prayed up and consistently repentant. God forgives us each time we fall, but our responsibility is to be alert to sin and when we notice it encroaching into our lives, we have to repent and turn away from it. Then, we can experience the refreshing that comes from being in God’s presence.

Once we are refreshed, we don’t just sit back and wait for the next blessing to come. It is our duty to then go out and refresh the hearts of others. We can do that by sharing our testimony or by sharing truth from God’s word. It is refreshing to me to write my thoughts on scripture verses here in this blog. It is equally refreshing to read blogs of other believers who encourage me to continue in the faith.

May you truly be blessed today with a refreshing of your soul, mind and spirit.

Holding Onto Hope

I don’t get on scary rides at theme parks very often, but I have a couple of times, once when I was assured that it was a “mild rollercoaster.” Well, mild is not the word I would have used as the ride slung me from one side of the seat to another as I tightly grasped the bar in front of me. My hope was that the bar would hold me in my seat so that I didn’t tumble out into an unknown abyss.

Isn’t that what our hope in the Lord is all about? We hold tightly onto the hope that we have in Him, the sure knowledge that He is bigger than all our problems and that He will be with us through everything we face?

God is always faithful and always keeps His promises. We can count on Him not to move away from us and leave us hanging over the challenges that life tosses at us.

But there is another reason to hold onto hope. Others are watching us and how we react when the storms of life assail us. Do we behave like those around us, kicking and screaming about the unfairness of life? Or do we quietly pray and ask for God’s help to get through the situation or to remove it, whatever is best for us in the long run?

I want others to be glad to see me because they know that I put my hope in the Lord. How do they know that unless I have shown them through the faith that I live out daily? We are a walking testimony, either showing others the faith and hope that God has instilled in us or the fear and anger that man daily inputs into our lives. I choose faith and hope and pray that each of you does the same, knowing that others are always watching.

I screamed on the roller coaster and I even have a photo record of my terror. What would it be like if each time I face a new test in life, a photographer were to capture my reactions? That is certainly food for thought, isn’t it? May my reactions be consistently Godly, representing the Christ whom I serve!

Have a blessed day as you hope in the Lord and give those around you reason to rejoice!

Thankful Every Day

Who is the “them” in this verse? We, the ones the Lord has redeemed by His blood, are the ones who are to give our testimony to others. This is a sacred responsibility that we should not take lightly. We are able to be thankful because He already showed us His love that never fails and does wonderful things for us daily.

Who is this foe that God has redeemed us from? Sin and its consequences, death. Telling our story may plant a seed so another person can be redeemed by God, set free from sin and ready to receive His love and forgiveness.

So, today and every day is a day to be thankful, a day to lift up the name of God and to bless His name before others. No matter what our current circumstances are, there is always something to be thankful for, not the least of which is that He has counted us among the redeemed.

Ready or Not!

Remember the old game we played as children called Hide ‘n’ seek? Some hid and one child would count and then call out loudly, “Ready or not, here I come!” As Christians, we are supposed to always be ready for Christ to return. But there is more to that statement because as the Bible reveals, we also have to always be ready to tell others about Him, the hope who lives within us.

It’s easy to converse with others and not bring up God because we are very self-centered. Recently, I spent a week with my sister and got to give the testimony of God’s grace and goodness in my life, particularly when I had my stroke. I found myself veering off topic and talking about how quickly the ambulance arrived, how I got the clot-busting shot just in time and how my beloved husband slept on the floor alongside my bed in the ICU. Almost as an after-thought, I found myself saying that God was good to me and set everything up perfectly for me to be saved and alive. An after-thought! After all that He has done for me? What was I thinking? The truth is that I wasn’t. I was just telling the story and forgot to make God the center of it when He has been the center of my life for years. Apparently, though, I was not ready to give an answer that included Him until the end of the story. I’m resolving from now on to make Him the beginning, middle and end of the story and the rest of the story (the “fluff”) can go wherever it fits, if it fits. I don’t want to miss out on other opportunities to give God all of the glory!

How about you? Have you missed out on opportunities like the one I described? Good thing that God is the God of second chances (and third, and fourth, etc.). I have no doubt that He will remind me of this incident and help me the next time that I am giving this testimony to give the answer that is the real reason that I’m alive and recovered from a massive stroke. God was right there with me, from the ambulance ride, to the ER, in the ICU and in rehab. Every step I took and every skill I had to learn, He was there with me, encouraging me with His love. He is certainly always patient with me and wants me to get better at giving an answer. Thus, I have started my answer on this page. I’m ready now!

I hope that your day is blessed with opportunities to point to God and give the only answer to the hope that lives within you.

The Soil of Uncertainty

In my “Mornings with Jesus” devotional this morning, Jeanne Blackmer’s theme was faith or fear. She presented an interesting analogy, saying that uncertainty is the soil that either grows faith or fear. Think about it. We have that choice, to face uncertainty with growing fear or with growing faith.

With our oldest granddaughter just out of ICU, my faith was sorely tested this past weekend. We were visiting our other son in Maryland and I strongly felt that we needed to head to Virginia right away and be with Scott and his family. Praying before we left, I felt a calm peace wash over me. Of course, I cried a lot as we left because it meant I would miss the birthday of little Nathan, our youngest grandson who just turned one. Nevertheless, God’s Spirit was telling me strongly that we needed to go see Iris. We prayed as we traveled, for traveling mercies and for Iris to be okay. When we got to the hospital after almost an eight-hour trip, Harry and I were both running on adrenaline and a lot of faith. Melissa, our daughter-in-law said that Iris was doing well except she wouldn’t eat. Melissa couldn’t leave the hospital to get Iris some of the food she likes because Iris would pull out or bite her IV. So, we took Iris chicken, fries and hot sauce along with her favorite tubes of yogurt. She gobbled up all of the yogurt and ate the chicken and fries eventually. Of course, we also took Melissa some food. This seems small but it was confirmation that we were needed in Virginia to help out, particularly since our son Scott was flying back from Kansas City that day and would not return home until about 8 or so that night. We were filling the gap of his presence and being there for family. The uncertainty of what we might find when we got to the hospital was overwhelming at times, but we chose faith, praying and believing that God was going to touch and heal Iris’s lungs. For those who missed my earlier post, Iris is nonverbal autistic. The activity that she loves the most is going to the gym to swim and on Friday night, she had a seizure while swimming and sank quickly to the bottom of the pool. Her mom always watches her carefully in the water even though Iris swims like a fish. She saw her sink to the bottom, quickly got to her and lifted her out of the water, getting her onto the deck and on her side with the help of another patron who was swimming at the time. The ambulance came and whisked Iris away to the ER where she was evaluated with water in her lungs, sedated and put on oxygen and into the ICU. Now, for the amazing “God is good” part of the story. During her seizure, Iris’s windpipe contracted so she did not inhale as much water as she would have. Instead, the water went down her esophagus and into her stomach, so she had an upset stomach but not lungs filled with water. Yes, she had some water in her lungs, but not enough to cause a great deal of damage. She is home now and is taking a larger dose of seizure meds and an antibiotic for a possible lung infection. We are so blessed that she is okay. The fear that gripped me when I heard the word ICU was replaced with faith as we prayed and traveled. God heard and answered our cries for help for Iris. The nurse at the ICU, when she was discharging Iris, said that she was their youngest patient ever in that ward. Iris is eighteen, but I’m guessing that the ICU is filled with the elderly after strokes or cardiac events. After all, that is where I ended up after my stroke seven years ago. I’m so thankful that Melissa got to Iris quickly, that the man was there to help lift her onto the deck, that the ambulance arrived right away, that the ER doctors treated her quickly and thoroughly and that she now has a new neurologist who will see her more often than once a year. Uncertainty in this case provided the soil for faith, but it could just as easily have been fear. We had a choice and we chose faith and prayer, trusting God to take care of the situation.

Iris and her daddy Scott when he made it to her ICU room later Saturday night. The O2 was gone and she was much more comfortable and thrilled to see her daddy who had been away all week.

I pray for each of you to face the uncertainty of the future with faith. As someone said: “I don’t know what the future may hold, but I know Who holds the future.”

Have a blessed day, my friends. I hope that this testimony encouraged you.