Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Pause Button

I have hit the pause button because this verse
is so critical to every Christian.

"Even though I walk through the valley of
      the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
For You are with me."

Yesterday I asked a question: Does God turn
His face away in disgust when you fail? Do
you turn your face away when your teenager
fails? Well, yes, that happens. But God is not
like us. He says very clearly in Hebrews:

"I will never leave you or forsake you."
(Hebrews 13:5)

Forsake: to quit, leave entirely, desert, abandon, 
depart from, renounce, reject.

Several years ago I met a woman who had just
moved into Assisted Living. She was confused
and bereft. But, her heart remembered that verse,
"only would someone show her where it was in
her Bible?" I just "happened" to have that
particular verse on a card.

David speaks of fleeing to the uttermost parts of
the sea, "If I say, surely the darkness shall cover 
me and the light about me, be night, even the 
darkness is not dark to You...for darkness is as 
light to You." (Ps 139:9-12)

So, you see, dear reader, you cannot hide from
God, and God will never hide from you! So many
believers think that God will not be with them,
rescue them, care for them, unless they get all
their ducks in a row. NO! His faithfulness, His
presence, is not dependent on us. Believe it--
and the darkness will begin to fade.

Thankfulness Corner:
The sunset began with gold, drifted into dazzling pink,
then outlined the clouds in salmon. Be still my heart...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Question

"Even though I walk through the valley of
         deepest darkness,
I will fear no evil--no harm."

Why? "For Thou art with me."

Several months ago I explored the deep dark
valleys of David's life. I do not believe that
David wrote this psalm early in his life. No,
he wrote it looking back on the faithfulness
of his God in every horrible situation. David
experienced the presence of his God by faith,
and the presence of his God without faith. It
was not his faith that kept God near, but
God's promise to David.

Dearest reader, is it not the fear of losing God
through unbelief that makes your valley's so
dark? What if you have been neglecting God,
do you think that He will reciprocate by
neglecting you? If you slip and slide down
into a dark pit through your own choices,
do you feel you deserve His back instead
of His face? Is that true? This brings me to
the question: Does God turn His face away in
disgust when you don't measure up?

Thankfulness Corner:
A dog who loves to play--even at age ten

Monday, July 28, 2014

Deepest Darkness

"Even though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death--or valley of deepest darkness..."

David speaks of the walk through a valley so dark
and so deep that it feels like death. Deepest
darkness: no light at all, can't see your hand in
front of your face, or the person standing next
to you. Separate and alone. Even if he can see
you, the darkness hides him. Who has not been
there? CS Lewis had something to say over the
death of his wife in A Grief Observed. He
called out to God and instead of an answer "he
heard the door slam and a bolt fall into place."
Sometimes the darkness falls suddenly but leaves
ever so slowly. These valleys sometimes seem
to run together, no light behind, and none ahead.
Every one of you reading this post has been there.
Where is God when you need Him the most?

Thankfulness Corner:
Shadows mixed with sunshine

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Indwelling

"He restores my soul and leads me in paths
of righteousness, for His Names sake."

His Names Sake? Yes! For His honor and
glory. But which or what Name is this?
Well, here are a just a few:

"Savior, Provider, Comforter, Peace, Redeemer,
Shepherd, Beautiful One, Righteous One, 
Faithful One, Holy One, Eternal One, Creator,

Now David knew God as the One who dwelt
near him, as the One he dwelt in. But he did
not know God as the One who dwelt in him.
How outrageous that God would live in him!
It was unheard of--before the cross. But, oh,
dear reader, since the cross, the Mighty God,
the Beautiful One, the Holy One--dwells in
us. He leads from within, and His righteous
Life flows out from each of us as we walk the
path given to us.

Oh, that I might grasp this and hold on. The
Faithful One abides in me even when I am
faithless. The wonder of it all. I am undone!

Thankfulness Corner:
Deep Blue Sky!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Initiator

"He leads me in paths of righteousness..."

As I ponder this sentence today, I am stopped by
one thing: God is the initiator. I am the responder.
It has been this way from the very beginning:

I did not choose God; He chose me. I did not
"accept Jesus as my Savior," no, He accepted me!
I only responded to what He had all ready done
for me. Don't you see, reader, we get it backwards
when we focus on what we are doing for God
instead of on what God has all ready done for us.

He leads me, but how?

Thankfulness Corner:
A low of 58.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


"He restores my soul."

Restore: To revive, to resuscitate, to renew,
               to bring back to life

David begins Psalm 23 by saying:
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I will not lack."

Why will I not lack? Because He provides
green pastures, and still water in the
darkest of times; in times of failure. God
initiates everything. I am the dumb sheep
and cannot turn to Him when needy. I
certainly cannot provide for my own lack,
though I tend to try--harder.

If I know Whose I am, I will stop trying
to figure out all the angles when life goes
south. He Himself is my restoration. He
restores my soul!

Dearest reader, hang out with Him besides
still waters and see if He will not restore
your soul.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


"He leads me beside still waters."

Refresh: To cool, give strength to, to revive
               what is drooping.

Sheep will not drink from fast moving water,
so the shepherd takes them to water that is
both shallow and still.

But, why does He lead me to quiet water?
I like the sound of a babbling brook and I
love to sit and watch the surf crash against
the rocks in the ocean.

Quiet, still, clean water reflects the sky, the
trees, the surroundings. As I wait on Him
His heart is reflected. As I sit beside Living
Water, the Living God refreshes my soul.

O, Living Water, refresh my soul today!

Monday, July 21, 2014


"He makes me to lie down in green pastures."

Rest: To pause, to cease, stop, be quiet, still,
          to be undisturbed. 

I recently came across a picture of a man lying
on his back in green grass, with his arms flung
out and his eyes closed. It was a picture of
perfect trust and surrender. He was resting.

How can I rest when my heart is anxious?
How can I rest when my schedule is full?
How can I rest when I have so many needs?

I used to think that God threw us on the ground
and pinned us down so we had to rest! But it is
not like that at all. The Gospel is a place of rest,
of abiding. I eat the green grass of His Word, and
meditate on it, and I receive Life. My schedule
can be full, but my heart can be at peace. Our
journey is an inward one, which means that we
can find ever increasing rest in the midst of an
increasingly chaotic world.

Papa, if You did not initiate the "pause that
refreshes," I would never rest.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Little Lamb

Well, today will be the last day of the
first verse of Psalm 23--maybe. I know
that I have only scratched the surface.
Surely the whole gospel is packed into
those nine words!

"The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want."

When I was a little girl I was enthralled
with the picture of a shepherd holding a
little lamb around his neck. The story told
was that the lamb refused to stay close to
the shepherd and was in danger. So, the
shepherd broke his leg and then carried
him until he was all better. From then on
the lamb stayed close to the shepherd and
was safe. It was such a comforting story
and the picture went right to my heart. I
very much wanted to be carried, to be
close to the shepherd's heart.

Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd,
the good shepherd lays down his life
for the sheep...I am the good shepherd,
I know my own and my own know Me."
(John 10)

So, you see, dear reader, I cannot read
the first verse of Psalm 23 without wanting
to jump into the arms of my Shepherd. His
Name is Jesus. What a place of safety!

Thankfulness Corner:
Incredibly cool mornings, before the 100 degree slam!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Lord Is

This verse keeps unfolding as I ponder these

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.

IS. Jehovah means "be"
Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I AM.
The Lord IS my shepherd. The "Be;" the
"always existing One;" the "I AM;" is.

I have to stop and step back from the
clamor and disfunction of this world,
otherwise I lose my balance; I lose
my connection with Him. I listen to hear
His voice.The I AM lives inside of me.
I catch this, then lose it, even as my fingers
close on the truth.
The Lord IS.

Thankfulness Corner:
Sun glinting off leaves of corn

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Name

The Lord is my Shepherd;
I shall not want.

What Lord?
What is He like?
Is He the only Lord?
Is He the top Lord?
What does this Name mean?

When I look into a verse instead of just at
a verse, I often have more questions than
answers and the questions become the basis
of my quest.

Lord=Jehovah: To be, to always exist,
self existent, eternal, unique, the only One.

This Name was so sacred to the Jews that
they neither pronounced it or wrote it out.
But David did both! He declared: "The
Lord (Jehovah) is my shepherd."

As a Jewish boy, David heard all the stories
about this God: how he created the heavens
and the earth; how He brought the flood on
the earth; how He came down upon Mt Sinai
with a trumpet, earthquake and fire! David
also heard how God saved Noah out of the
flood; how God called Abraham; how God
appeared to Moses out of the burning bush.

Yes, David knew all about the God of the
Jews, but one day, as David was tending
his sheep, God came and revealed Himself
to David as a shepherd. The shepherd David
had a revelation of an aspect of God that no
one had ever seen before.

Dearest reader, you can know all about God
in the same way you can know all about
George Washington, but it won't carry you
through the pain and inconsistencies of life.
May God reveal Himself to you personally.

Thankfulness Corner:
Grass, two chairs, two cups of coffee and Glen

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


The first line of Psalm 23 reads, "The Lord is my
shepherd, I shall not want."(lack) But, I feel the
lack of so many things. Little foxes of discontent
ruin my joy. Deep desire really has nothing to
do with things or circumstances. It has everything
to do with fundamental needs that God built into
me from the very beginning: I have a need for
love, security, value and worth, acceptance and
adequacy. Just like I cannot find the treasure of
wisdom in a quarry, I cannot find rest for my soul
in my relationships. Empty people cannot fill my
love tank!

I will visit this verse again tomorrow. It has been
water to my thirsty soul over the past week.

Thankfulness Corner:
Cool air flowing over my body at night.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Over So Soon?

The past two weeks I stepped out of the present and
into the past. It has been a full house here and at
"the place" where Glen's Mom lives. Numbers varied:
six, nine, twelve, thirteen, to twenty, then, back to
twelve, nine, six, and three. For the past twenty or so
years it has been the same. Mom puts out a list on the
kitchen table, and her son's come with the tools to fix,
trim, cut down--and food, lots of it! (This year it was
a new kitchen faucet, the clearing of the bank next to
the river; the hedge along the driveway cut back; built
in deck furniture taken apart and moved.) A puzzle
comes out. A niece arrives and bakes pies, cookies and
cinnamon rolls. Even so, brown cows are made nightly
with root beer and vanilla ice cream then served in large
beer mugs kept year round just for this purpose. As the
hot days melt into evenings, games appear, bedtimes are
pushed back. Mornings are never early! And so it goes.

Over? So Soon? Some things in life feel like they
should never end and times with family and good
friends are at the very top. I think it is because we
belong to eternity as well as to time. We "know"
deep inside that relationships are meant to be forever.

Thankfulness Corner:
The taste of cold tea on a hot day.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Forty two years ago, two unmarried and two married
brothers, and their brides, gathered over the 4th of
July to spend a week with Mom and Dad. A picture
was taken. Summers passed, sons married, babies
came, laughter flowed--and the double wide trailer
over a double wide basement, overflowed into the
house next door, an RV, a motel. Nine grandchildren
in all. Each summer a toy closet was unpacked by
eager hands; a pool table took on a life of its own
to the sounds of click, click. Outside, under large trees,
children squealed as they ran down the hill, as they
floated on a pond originally made for fish. The 4th
of July itself was one long picnic ending with a fire
works show in the backyard--serious stuff! And,
yes, each year a picture was taken.

The Dad/Granddad dies, the children grow up and
move away. Gone are the sounds of children's
laughter. But wait, not so fast! The Great Grands
come, pull out the toys, play on the pool table,
float on the pond, run the hill. A picture is taken.

Pictures pile up. Happy memories flow.

Thankfulness Corner:
For the moments of family and laughter

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Childlike Wonder

We have had almost one week of a three year old.
The weather has been cool with plenty of Idaho
sunshine, but threatens us with 100 degrees today.
The three year old finds joy in everything--well,
almost everything. Noah brings life to the adults who
have forgotten what childhood is all about. His little
hand came in contact with a one week old goat. That
same hand steered a John Deere Tractor working the
fork lift as he helped drive around the parking lot.
Those hands worked a tractor puzzle numerous times a
day, with the help several adults who rotated through.
The train was a continuous source of delight. He held
a fishing pole at the local fishing pond, but caught
nothing. Perhaps night crawlers would make a
better bait, than ham.

I hear him calling. "I'm awake now. I want to go
potty now." Ah, Glen answered the call.

Last evening we had some friends over and with
them came four little boys who ranged from 5-10.
Sarah told Noah that friends were coming to play with
him. They scattered to explore, leaving the littlest one
alone. There he stood on the step yelling, "Friends,