A tree firmly planted by streams of water

A tree firmly planted by streams of water

I have always loved Psalm One. Like a promise for good and not evil, it has wooed me to righteousness:   How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.  (Psalm 1:1-3)     Trouble is, sometimes I forget the over-arching reality of a sin-stressed world, and feel sucker-punched and surprised when difficulties come:   I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33b, NLT)   Trials and sorrows. Other translations promise troubles and tribulation, distress and disease, and suffering, but through it all… He offers us peace.   Peace.   Peace is not what I imagine when I think of prospering. The prosperity Gospel I’ve heard preached, promises wealth and health.  But what if our prosperity is Peace?  Peace with God eternally and His Peace here and now, though the storms rage.  Peace, because of the nourishing streams that our roots drink up as we abide in Him. Peace, rather than blown chaff. Peace. So we take heart, time and again, each hard day, driving roots of faith down deep into streams of living water, believing that God overcomes it...
It is absolutely time to talk about friendship – A lesson from Job

It is absolutely time to talk about friendship – A lesson from Job

Friendship – reaching across tables  – girlfriends calling long distances to cry over one another – pray over one another – Friendship – encouraging words – heart-felt silence – compassion buying a plane ticket – hugging sagging shoulders – wet collars from shared tears – Friendship – bringing meals when there is illness – emptied pockets – emptied calendars – emptied agenda – Emptied tear ducts – Friendship   It all started when I was reading through the Bible and found myself in Job, thinking about friendship, asking myself if I am like Job’s friends, with all my Religiosity and opinions about fault. And then McKinney… and now 88 more people of the cross… and I don’t want to be a Christian talker anymore! My brand of Friendship is too small, too self-absorbed.   It’s time for Global Friendship – where neighborhood boundary lines stretch wide and far into the Muslim world, and into Texas, because people are hurting, and “Why can’t we all just get along?”   There I was, smack dab in the book of Job, with all the unmerited suffering and spiritual attacks. Friendship, in light of global gaping wounds. Friendship. The sort that holds a woman up under the enormity of life, raises her again from the sidewalk to her full stature, lifts her when she’s been bent low for a month of sorrowful Sundays. I don’t care who’s at fault. We all need to lift one another up. Friendship   Friendship is a great big word, sort of like “Neighbors.” Religious people always want that word defined.  “Who exactly are my neighbors? Who are my friends? Who must I love as well as myself?”...
In the beginning God created…

In the beginning God created…

In the beginning God created…   The heavens and the earth, the sun and moon, the seas that teem with living things, and the mammals with their furry pelt that feed upon grass and berries. Filling the atmosphere with every winged creature, and star-speckled space beyond our skies, gravity miraculously holding it all together.  He caused the moon to move a steady pathway around the globe, creating the tide pull and the ocean’s yielding response, lapping upon the shoreline, caressing each grain of intentionally designed sand.   All this God created – And it was very good.   And yet more vast than creation is the creative nature of God Himself – The One who spoke everything into existence, including mankind in His image.   So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)   Halfway home my middle child confessed, “I didn’t bring my spelling book home and I have a test tomorrow.” We turned around and drove to school again.  Walking together toward his class we passed the art room with the door ajar, and I saw the sign hanging, pronouncing,   In the beginning God created…   That dear woman who teaches my children art saw me then, and I looked into her eyes and told her what I had just learned, what I’m now tell you: We were made in the image of this Creator God. She nodded back. “That’s what I tell the children.”   There is a movement abreast in the Christian community, specifically among women, where God’s created people are opening up His Word...
Reading through the Bible – from the Beginning

Reading through the Bible – from the Beginning

After reading through the Action Bible two full times, and his favorite stories countless more, my eleven year old son ceremoniously passed down his worn, frayed-edged friend to his nine year old brother.  This morning I found that middle boy embarking on the journey “in the beginning…” as our firstborn read a more mature translation from his Bible App to the seven year old beside him on the couch.  Then I turned down the hall, and painted in my new ESV Journaling Bible with watercolors.   Non-traditional, wouldn’t you say?  A comic strip for a Bible, a phone with God’s Words, and Old Testament pages splattered with paint?  Yet it is all alive – every bit of it growing and dividing, convicting and transforming hearts within our home.     And I’m inviting you to join the journey, however the Spirit prompts, beginning Monday, June 1st, 2015.  We will use this blog page to chronicle our Bible Reading posts.  Don’t forget to print up your chronological reading plan here, or download this comprehensive Bible App that will help you check off each day’s God-breathed assignment.  If you would like do this as a family at the dinner table, I absolutely adore The Jesus Story Book Bible for young families, and The Children’s Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos for Elementary – Jr. High aged kids. Young boys all love The Action Bible or Adventure Bible for Early Readers, and the NIV Faithgirlz Bible is an engaging read for your daughters.  Looking to splatter a little paint into the pages of a Bible by yourself, or with the kids, along the way?  Try the ESV Journaling Bible. Or...
Why Summertime is the perfect time to begin reading through the Bible

Why Summertime is the perfect time to begin reading through the Bible

I can feel the scratchy rub of Sunday school carpet on the bottom of my feet each time I think about reading through the bible again. That first time through, a small group of newly married women met together on Tuesday mornings in one of the empty classrooms at church.  A woman named Ann, 20 years our senior had encouraged us to read it all.  “There’s no better time than right now, before you have children.  Your lives will never again be as simple as they are today.  Read it together, do it in a year, and don’t ask me to lead you.  All you need is a Bible and the Holy Spirit.”   So we read it! And the Bible came alive.   During those Tuesday mornings together, as we took turns sharing all that the Holy Spirit was speaking into our lives individually, I would slip off my sandals, plant my feet firmly on the rough floor, and inhale, thinking, “This is holy ground.”   From Eden to Canaan to Egypt through the Wilderness to Plano, Texas… all of it holy ground.   By the time we reached the end of that barefoot journey through thin pages, I wanted to go again.  Like a child at the end of a ride, a ride they had been too frighten to go on for years and years, then finally they threw their hands up into the atmosphere and begged to go again. So I decided then and there to read it every other year.  One year on, one year off.  One year on, one year off.  One year on, one year off. That was...
Reading through the Bible – an invitation

Reading through the Bible – an invitation

She sat it down between us, beside the rosebud on the white linen tablecloth, a small silver pitcher of hot fudge. Then the waitress gave us each our own scoop of ice cream.  This was our tradition, ever since Grandma had passed away, how I’d come for lunch and we’d end our time together with two bowls of chocolate mocha swirl and that ample portion of melted fudge to share. And he was so good at sharing it with me, before liberally applying it to his own bowl. But Grandpa shared more than dessert. Passed down more than a sweet tooth. The stories he’d tell and the listening I’d do, then the dreams I’d confess and the prayers he’d pray. Back and forth, sharing this way. This one afternoon, leaning back between bites, I told him how I’d just begun reading through the Bible with a small group of friends. “I can’t believe I’ve never done this before,” I confessed. “Twenty years a Christian and I’ve never read the whole thing.  It’s a little embarrassing, because I say that I believe the Gospel message more than anything else, but I’ve never read the whole story.” Grandpa pushed his empty bowl aside then scraped his spoon along the inside cavity of the delicate pitcher.  “I read the Bible cover to cover four times before I was a Christian.”  That’s all he said, then licked his spoon clean. I knew most of the story, that he was raised by a Christian woman and acted the part, then in college he only went to the church because that’s where the pretty girls were. Even saved his money to buy a 1920 Model T, so that he could...