Memorial Day: A Day for Gratitude

    “I have not stopped giving thanks for you…” Ephesians 1: 16a     We often think of Memorial Day as: A day for loading up on hotdogs and funnel cake A day for camping and hiking A day to celebrate the launch of summer Instead, would you consider making it the following: A day to remember A day to acknowledge our freedom to work, play, hike, and, yes, eat more than we should. A day to remember those who died so we could live Our U.S. Constitution grants us freedom to speak, worship, bear arms, assemble, vote, own …

Write the Word This Is War

  Write the Word: This is War   We are at war. And I’m not talking about the war on terror or the war on drugs. (Those are important battles to fight, and I’m grateful for our men and women who devote their lives to fight those wars, as they serve at home and abroad.) The battle raging for us is a spiritual one: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 6: 12  I’ll use the …

Write the Word Righteousness

                  A focus on the Armor of God: The first piece of the armor mentioned in Ephesians 6 is the Belt of Truth.  The remaining pieces of the armor: the Breastplate of Righteousness the Gospel Shoes of Peace the Shield of Faith the Helmet of Salvation the Sword of the Spirit When we strap on the belt of truth first, it ensures that we know the truth. Knowing the truth helps us take our stand against the lies. But it’s not just enough for us to KNOW the truth, it must also change our …

Write the Word Peace

        “Stand firm then… with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6: 14-15       What comes to mind when you hear the word PEACE? A throwback to the sixties: A deserted beach sunset: A majestic view from a mountain top: Maybe for you, peace isn’t a symbol or a place, but just the absence of conflict. It’s a family reunion – or a church business meeting – where we “all just get along”… making it through dinner with no one spilling their milk … or perhaps it’s as simple as a clear …

Write the Word Faith

          “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6: 16        We are exploring the elements of the Armor of God as we Write the Word. You can access previous journaling plans for truth, righteousness, and peace. This post brings us to the shield of faith. Measuring approximately 4.5’ tall by 2’ wide, the Roman shield would completely cover a soldier as he advanced forward. It was designed and built to link together with the shields of his brothers-in-arms, enabling them to advance together, …

Write the Word One Another

Some of us may be too young to remember these popular 1967 lyrics from the Youngbloods: Come on people now Smile on your brother Everybody get together Try to love one another Right now* I have no idea if the Youngbloods were followers of Christ, but the sentiment expressed in these famous words seems to capture much of the focus of the one anothers in Scripture: love and unity. Clearly, this encouragement (or commandment) in the Bible is directed to those in the body of Christ. God uses these passages to provide guidance for how we are to treat each other and live in …

Praying Through the Pain

“In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD.…she kept on praying to the LORD…” I Samuel 1: 10, 12 Infertility is defined as the inability of a woman of reproductive age to conceive after trying for twelve months. It’s a painful experience for women today, and it was a painful experience for women in Old Testament times, as well. In I Samuel 1 we meet Hannah – a woman who experienced the pain of infertility – compounded by another wife of her husband who provoked and taunted her.  The cycle of hoping and waiting and being disappointed …

I’m Listening

“Speak, for your servant is listening.” I Samuel 3: 10 The book of I Samuel opens during the time of the Judges. Chapter 3 begins by letting us know a little about the spiritual climate: “…In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.” I Samuel 3: 1 Perhaps The people didn’t hear from God because they didn’t want to hear from God. It was a low time spiritually for God’s chosen people. They chose to go their own way.  When they found themselves in a jam, they came back to seek Him out and ask for His …

What’s Missing

  Sometimes what’s not there is even more telling than what is: Thanksgiving dinner with no turkey leaves a huge whole on the dinner table A car up on blocks with no wheels tells a sad story– you’ve been robbed. Did your kids try to play the “last puzzle piece game” at your house? Sneak out a piece and hide it just so they could be the one to put in the last piece? No matter how beautiful the rest of the scene, our eye is drawn to that gaping hole. In I Samuel Chapter 4, the Israelites go out …

What or Who is Your BAE?

  I learned that term BAE from my millennial daughter.  It’s an acronym representing the phrase, Before Anything Else. And it’s a good phrase to use when doing a little self-assessment on the topic of idolatry. As followers of Christ living in the 21st-century western world, we may assume idolatry is one sin we can cross off the list – we may readily acknowledge struggles with envy, pride, gluttony, etc, but since our home is free of statues and we don’t make trips to bow to graven images, we are okay – right? Perhaps not. In our study in I …

Monuments, Markers and Memories

Wedding rings: Visual reminders of vows made to each other. The American Flag: A marker to declare allegiance, victory, ownership. Monuments: Honor the service and sacrifice of those who gave all and help us remember the high price paid to purchase freedom for us all. Scrapbooks and photo albums: Capture special events and keep records for future generations. Monuments. Markers. Memories. Sometimes we need something tangible to help us remember –to keep us from forgetting.  Our family, our community, and even our country– all erect monuments and markers to commemorate important events, great sacrifices, and extraordinary people. Perhaps it’s even …

A Call to Be Holy

God’s plan for His people was that they be a light to the world. He called them out to send them out. When God established the nation of Israel, He  said to Abraham: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing…And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  Genesis 12: 2-3 Our Lord Jesus echoed these words in His Sermon on the Mount: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a …