Monday, March 31, 2014

Responses to Trials

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery
trial when it comes upon you to test you..."

So, trials are a given in this life. But, how am I
as a Christian supposed to respond to them?

"...But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's 
sufferings that you may rejoice and be glad
when his glory is revealed. (1Peter 4:13)

"Count it all joy my brothers, when you meet
trials of various kinds."   (James 1:2)

"...give thanks in all circumstances for this is
the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1Thessalonians 5:18)

These scriptures are from the pen of three
writers: "Rejoice; count it all joy; give thanks
in everything."

This looks like a lot of surrender to me. I
cannot, absolutely cannot do this unless I
am consciously dwelling in Him as the branch
dwells in the vine. Otherwise, I kick against
any negative thing that comes into my life.
The flesh in me does not respond very well to
the negatives.

How about you, beloved, can you grasp
what God's will is for you when life crashes

Tune in tomorrow and see what God has
been up to just this past weekend. What a story!

Thankfulness Corner:
Low mountains in white, in brown, finally in green.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Algebra tests were a fiery trial for me. They tied me
in knots and I began to fail the tests. My homework
showed that I understood the problems, but fear of
failure immobilized me. My teacher recognized this
and after a tearful meeting in his office he told me
that on the next test he would give me a B no matter
what I did, and, if I got an A I could keep it. I got
a legitimate B on that test and an A on the following
one and ended the semester with a B average.

But this is not what God is talking about in the
verse I shared yesterday:

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when
it comes upon you, to test you..."

The trial in this verse indicates a sudden excruciating
event that pounces upon an unsuspecting individual
such as we saw with Daniel and his friends. There is
no time in the moment to prepare, but we are not to be
surprised. These trials are to be expected and God has
a purpose in sudden life changing events. My Algebra
teacher gave tests to see what we knew but perceived
that the test was not valid for me in this respect. God
has a different purpose. He wants to show me what He
all ready knows! He wants me to see whether my faith
in Him as a good, loving, compassionate Papa God, is
standing firm when everything in my life shouts: "NO!"

Thankfulness Corner:
The fullness of expectation for good
as I enter this new day.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gut Wrenching Trials

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial
when it comes upon you to test you, as though
some strange thing were happening to you. But 
rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings,
that you may rejoice and be glad when his 
glory is revealed. (1Peter 4:12) the fiery trial when it comes upon you--
not if it comes upon you. Shadrach, Mechach
and Abednego were at a place of worship when
the sickening thought rose, "that fire is going
to be our fire." Daniel hardly had time to think
as he was jerked out of his room and moved
swiftly towards hungry lions. In both cases these
men had to go through the fire, but both times
God miraculously rescued them. Sometimes
we sense that we are headed for a trial but God
suddenly intervenes and we escape. Then there
are the trials where we escape through death
into the arms of our Beloved and an eternity
without any trials at all.

Dear readers, it is not a question of if we are
going to find ourselves looking down the throat
of trouble, it is a given. Why does our God allow
so much pain into our lives? Good question!

Thanksgiving Corner
Fog against the mountains at dawn.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Big Lions have Sharp Teeth

The sixth chapter of Daniel has in it a very
familiar story. It is a story taught to us at an
early age and the words roll over our lips:
"Daniel and the lions den? Oh, yes I know
all about that!" But do we? What was it like
for an elderly Daniel who served as one of
the top leaders under King Darius, to suddenly
look in the face of death. His death.

"The king commanded, and Daniel was 
brought and cast immediately into the lions
den." (Daniel 6:16)

What was it that brought Daniel into the pit
of lion poop and sharp teeth? It was prayer.
He refused to change the habit of openly
praying to his God three times a day.
Daniel's open faithfulness to his God, and
to each king, got him into high places, but
also into to the lowest pit, where an ugly,
painful death awaited him. As I sit here
and ponder this story, I am asking God to
show you, dear reader, something new
about this story, something you have never
seen before.

Thankfulness corner:
The bathroom is toasty warm even at midnight.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Another Turning

Or should I say churning?

Immediately after the discussion, the she took dog
for a walk. Nothing like a good walk at sunset to
get a proper perspective on life! When she returned
she wrote down the story and then laughed through
her tears as she read it to the he. Both of them studied
the problem together. It did appear impossible but
they were now on the same side of impossible. The
landlord, the he's cousin and a farmer, was called for
advice. The farmer agreed to come over the next
morning with a tape measure for a consultation. The
verdict: The bed is in! It will make it up the stairs and
then take half of the room, but it fits. One hundred
years ago the people slept on narrow beds. Their
unheated bedrooms were only used for sleeping and
the parents slept downstairs!

Dear reader, do you not see the loving hand of
Papa God? He brought us to the end of our own
resources; brought us back into a right relationship
with each other; then brought in a willing third party
who had the answer we needed. Yes, indeed, the
grandson will have a proper bed to sleep in and
this marriage has certainly been saved!

Thankfulness Corner:
Ridges of wax as candle cooled.


Friday, March 21, 2014

As the Stomach Churns

A certain he and a certain she wanted a bed, a twin
bed, for the small, really small, third bedroom. She
had bought a brightly colored bed set for the bed.
The he, but mostly the she, searched for just the
right kind of bed. Everything seemed so expensive!
But wait, what about a platform bed with a foam
mattress? Soon she discovered just what she wanted,
only 12" high and 41 inches wide. A platform bed
with three little drawers. The bed was on sale and
came with free shipping. What a deal! She quickly
ordered the bed. 

He comes into the room with a tape measure.

He: "The twin bed won't fit."
She: "I just ordered the bed."
He: "What are those measurements again?"
She: (Grumble)--opens lap top and finds the info.
He: "We can take out the window and take it in that
She: "I have been talking about and looking for a twin
          bed for weeks now...."
He: "The hall upstairs is very narrow and the doorway
          to the room is very low."
She:  "Here"--she hands him the order #--"you find
            something suitable. What in the world have
            people been using for a bed for the last one
            hundred years!"

Dear reader, She is mad at he because the process
has been going on a long time and she thought she
had the perfect solution. She is also mad at the stupid
farmhouse for being so very small--as if one can be
mad at a thing! He is mad at she because she is
sounding so unreasonable.

What will be the outcome?
Will the grandson have a place to sleep?
Can this marriage be saved?

Tune in tomorrow for another episode of
"How the stomach churns."

Thankfulness Corner:
The lowing of the cattle in the distance--they don't
belong to me!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

In Captivity

Many Jews were taken into Babylon, only a remnant
remained behind. God told them to sow and plant,
and marry for this was not going to be a short deal.
So, what about the multitude, how did they fare?

"By the waters of Babylon,
there we sat down and wept,
when we remembered Zion.
On the willows' there
we hung up our lyres...
How shall we sing the Lord's song
in a foreign land?" (Psalm 137: 1,2,4)

It appears that these Jews stayed in the past and
stayed miserable. They stopped singing. They
refused to worship. They hung up their
instruments on the weeping willows along the
river. They were in captivity in their hearts not
just in their bodies.

Dear reader, when I live in the past of regret
and failure; when I live in a time of "better
then than now," I cannot be available to the
gifts and opportunities of the present--and I
stop singing. I am then in a captivity of my own

Thankfulness Corner:
Long dark shadows walking along at Sunset.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Aren't You Ready Yet?

Hurriedly I scribble the title to my blog. I write
a couple of sentences. What is all that noise in
the background? Never mind. I turn the page.
Two more sentences down. But what is this?
The sentences are mixed into an all ready full
sheet of paper. I flip back and can't find what
I had written. The noise increases as does the
pressure. Out of that background comes a
familiar Yolanda voice. "Jane, aren't you ready

Ah, it was only a dream. In a moment of waking I
fixed the title and fell back asleep. You see, I
don't have a blog ready for today. Each one takes
a couple of hours and we have to leave soon for an
appointment in Boise--75 miles away. I sit here
trying to be in this moment, when, even now I feel
the pressure to get this thing up! Well, I do have the
title for tomorrow's blog!

Thankfulness Corner:
Dawn. Full moon lights up the world.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Beast

Back to Daniel and chapter four! Don't quit, this is good!

In this chapter King Nebuchadnezzar is the writer. He
tells the dream and gives Daniel's interpretation along
with the outcome. In the interpretation Daniel tells the
king that unless he repents, horrible things are gonna'
happen to him. "He will be driven from men, and shall 
dwell with the beasts for seven years..." 

Fast forward one year. The King is on the roof of his
palace and boasting about all he has done. He takes all
the glory for this glorious sight; instantly he becomes
insane and is driven out of the castle and into the fields
where he lives like a beast for seven years. At the end of
this period, "He lifts up his eyes to heaven and his 
reason is restored, along with the glory of his kingdom, 
his majesty and splendor."

Dear reader,  Look what happened! God showed His
grace and mercy to one of the most vile of kings. It
took seven years, but the King humbled himself and
worshiped God, HIS God. Thirdly, he wrote out his
testimony for all to see. Talk about humility...

So, what is the point? If God can save this man, He can
save anyone. So, put away your fears and trust God.

Thanksgiving Corner:
the roar of the wind as it circles the house


Friday, March 14, 2014

Love this quote!

Three men in Babylon surrendered themselves to
to God and went into the fire. Yesterday I posted
the story of 27 villagers in North Korea who gave
up their lives willingly. Today I want to share what
surrender looks like from the pen of
Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy Graham.

"I am learning to rest. If my father goes to heaven
this week, this month, this year, or remains for a
long time; if my husband regains his health and
independence, or returns to the hospital in another
series of crises; if my relationships are gloriously
reconciled or remain broken; if my prayers are
answered the way I have prayed, or continue to
give no indication they have even been heard; if my
ministry dries up or flourishes; if my financial
resources remain sufficient for my needs or evaporate
in medical Habakkuk, I will rejoice
in the Lord as I let go of what I want, when I want it, 
and lie down in the arms of my heavenly Father. 
Turning the thought around, when Jesus prayed 
from the cross, 'Father, into Your hands I commit 
My spirit,' that's what He did--He lay down in the 
arms of His heavenly Father."
Anne Graham Lotz, 2014

Dear reader, I am not there yet, but I want to be.

Thanksgiving Corner:
early morning clouds, geese flying, patch of sun on

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Brown-eyed Girl

I read this story this morning and it caught my heart.

"The young brown-eyed girl looked up at her mother.
What would she decide?

Earlier that morning, the young girl's mother, their
pastor, and twenty-six others in her North Korean
village of GokSan were bound and taken before a
screaming crowd of Communists.

One of the guards ordered Pastor Kim and the other
Christians, "Deny Christ, or you will die." The
words chilled her. How could they ask her to deny
Jesus? She knew in her heart He was real. They all
quietly refused.

Then the Communist guard shouted directly at the
adult Christians, "Deny Christ or we will hang your
children." The young girl looked up at her mother.
She gripped her knowing how much her mom loved
her. Her mother then leaned down. With confidence
and peace she whispered, "Today, my love, I will
see you in heaven."

All of the children were hanged.

The remaining believers were then brought out onto
the pavement and forced to lie down in front of a
huge steamroller. The communists gave them one
last chance. "Deny this Jesus or you will be crushed."
The Christians had already given up their children;
there was no turning back.

As the driver started the heavy piece of equipment,
the singing from the villagers started softly. "More
love, O Christ, to thee, more love to thee."

I have no way to check this story but I do know
that last week, 33 believers were killed in
North Korea. I also know that the number of
Believers killed in the 20th century were more than
all of the centuries combined. Currently, eleven
Christians are martyred every hour of every day
around the world.

Dear reader, please take a moment to pray for
your brothers and sisters in hidden places who
are suffering for their faith in Jesus.

Thankfulness Corner:
Mountains outlined in the pink of sunset

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rainbows and Hail

Glen, Jake and I headed south for an early evening walk.
What a beautiful sky! Rain had fallen most of the day;
now white billowy clouds caught the light of the western
sun. A brisk wind blew but I had dressed well. After
walking some distance--we can see for miles--Glen
looked over his shoulder then turned around shocked.
Behind us was one big weeping cloud over our house, and
coming our way. We started walking back--and then
stopped for just ahead of us and to the right was the most
colorful rainbow I have ever witnessed. We could see the
end of it, then the other end, with us in the middle of the
high arch. A second rainbow showed itself against the
darkening sky. We moved forward with difficulty for a
strong wind was sending tiny particles of ice against our
faces. As we watched the sky we saw white seagulls soaring
against the clouds as both headed south. The rainbows
stayed with us until the storm was over.

Dear reader, may God give you encouragement so that you
may find joy in the midst of hail and wind. Look for the
rainbow in the clouds.

Thankfulness Corner:
A most beautiful sunset--after the storm

Monday, March 10, 2014

No Smell of Fire

Well, as you know the three men are cast into the
fiery furnace, and the king is amazed because he
sees four men walking around. I mean that really 
caught his attention!

His response caught my attention: "Servants of
the Most High God, come here!" The king gets
it right. As all gather around the three men, they
notice a few things:

The fire had no power over them
Their hair was not singed
Their cloaks were not harmed
There was no smell of fire upon them
The fourth man protected them

Dear reader, in this life we are either in the fire,
going into the fire, or we have just come through
the fire. It may not be a physical furnace, but we
can feel the heat. Peter says it very clearly:

"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, 
if necessary, you have been grieved by various 
trials so that the genuineness of your faith--more 
precious than gold that perishes though it is tested 
by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory 
and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 
(1Peter 1:6-8)

Hmm, we as Christians are not just dwelling in time,
but we dwell in eternity. We have to see suffering
from that perspective. Daniel's friends certainly did!
May God open my eyes today to this truth.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Is God Able?

Is not this always the question? The three men are
pondering it in their hearts as the King says: "Is your
God able to deliver you from the fire?"

They respond by saying, "Our God is able to deliver
us, O King, but if He doesn't choose to do so, we 
will not serve your god! We would rather die."

What courage! What boldness!

I heard all about Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego
in Sunday School when I was a child. But I did
not feel the heat of the noonday sun or the heat of
the Kings wrath, or the heat of the furnace. These
were men, ordinary men, who got dressed in the
morning, who went to work each day, who treasured
their friendships. But they saw into the invisible.
They knew it was a test between gods, and they were
certain their God would win--even if it cost them their

Dear reader, the scripture is full of such battles, and
you know what? Our God always wins.

New story up. The Ground Hog Feed

Thursday, March 6, 2014


There they are. Three men standing tall. Then,
"...certain Chaldeans came forward and
maliciously accused the Jews '...these men, O
King, pay no attention to you; they do not serve
your gods or the golden image you set up.'"

Well, at these words the king flew into a furious
rage, "...If you do not worship, you shall
immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.
And who is the god who will deliver you out of 
my hands?"

What would you say, dear reader, in such a life
and death situation? (And don't think you can
escape because of where you live!) Do you
notice where the battle lines are drawn? "Who
is your god who will deliver you out of my
hands." This is a battle between two kings!

The battle is fought and won by the little choices
we make on a daily basis. We think we wrestle
against the ordinary fleshy stuff, but the contest
is over allegiance, and the stakes are huge.

Thanksgiving Corner
The way the wax hardened, with dips and swirls.

New Story is up! Read it here:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Standing Alone

In the third chapter of Daniel, the scene changes.
King Nebuchadnezzar has built a statue that stands
480 feet high, of solid gold. He sets up the image on
the plains of Dura and invites all leaders and their people
from Babylon and all the surrounding provinces. Talk
about an ego trip! As they stand before the statue they
are told that when the band begins to play they must
fall down and worship. Moreover, to refuse to bow
would result in a fiery death. "Therefore, as soon as all 
the peoples heard the sound...of every kind of music, 
all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and 
worshiped the golden image..."  Well, not all fell down--
Three men stood upright and alone.

What was it like for these three men? Initially, did they
want to hide? Had there been rumors in the palace of
the statue? Did they ponder what was coming? Did they
decide ahead of time what they would do and what it
might cost them?

To stand alone against the grain of our culture makes
one clearly visible. There is no place to hide. There
are, will be consequences, for those who refuse to bow.
Dear reader, now is the moment to decide where you
stand; for Whom you stand.

A new story is up: The Ground Hog Feed

Monday, March 3, 2014

New Story is Up!

My dear readers,

This story has been in the pot, so to speak, for the past
four weeks. I am so excited to share our new
community with those of you who shared our life in
the DC, Northern Virginia area. So, sit back, relax,
and linger in Weiser for a few minutes. This is a short
story of a long tradition.