What leaps to mind when you hear someone begin a sentence with, “If anyone asks you”?
Obviously, when someone starts a sentence with that series of words, more instructions are about to follow.
Back in 2009, I had just started my first day of a two-week temporary assignment as a receptionist at a church.
Within the first hour of my temporary assignment, the senior pastor called the staff into a meeting. Meanwhile, being a temp, I remained at my post. As the staff came out of this unexpected meeting, I realized they had received upsetting news. Many were crying as they walked past the reception area to return to their offices.
My manager came and shared with me the news that the person whose role I was covering had stage four cancer and would most likely not return to work. She then proceeded with a version of “if anyone asks you” instruction on how to respond to questions that might come from church members as word of this spread.
This was a tremendous help to me in that unexpected situation. She coached me to be truthful while still protecting the privacy of the person.
Jesus once coached two of his disciples to respond to an “if anyone asks you” question for a specific situation.
Continue reading “If Anyone Asks You“
Have you ever found yourself in a deceitful situation?
Sadly, most of us will probably say yes to that question.
Were you or someone else the one practicing the deceit?
Again, most of us, if we are truly honest, have experienced both being deceived and being the deceiver.
What motivated the deceit to occur?
Deceit occurs because we believe we have no other option to get or do something we want.
How can choosing God’s ways help us overcome deceitful situations?
Continue reading “Overcoming Deceit by Choosing God”
Have you ever experienced deception?
I have. More than once.
Ranging from practical jokes to outright cruelty, deception is something we all have or will encounter during our life journey.
How we react when a deception towards us is revealed often depends on the motives driving the deceiver.
If the deception was to keep us in the dark so that we can experience a surprise blessing from our family and friends, we might react with delight and joy.
When deception is dishonorable, though, our reaction might range from sadness to outright rage toward the deceiver.
Isaac, in Genesis 27, experienced deception by both his wife Rebekah and son Jacob.
Have you ever thought about Isaac’s reaction to this betrayal?
Continue reading “Too Dim to See Part Three”
One day near the end of my kindergarten days, my teacher had us write our answers on our own paper to questions that were on a chalkboard.
After reviewing my written answers, she called me to her desk and asked me all the questions verbally.
My written answers were incorrect, but my verbal responses were accurate.
My teacher then called my mother, saying, “I think your daughter has a vision problem.”
Thankfully, having spent several months with me in a classroom, my teacher was right to speculate that my performance with the written answers meant something was amiss.
Her decision to test me with a different sensory mode enabled her to encourage my parents to get my eyes checked.
Yep, except for a brief period in my teens, I have worn glasses ever since.
A few weeks ago, we studied Genesis 27:1-5, where Isaac could no longer see because of his old age.
Today, we will consider what other senses he relied on because of his physical blindness.
Continue reading “Too Dim to See Part Two”
Spring has sprung where I live.
Aside from dealing with the allergens that tackle my respiratory system, I love getting my container gardening started each spring.
I used to only want to plant vegetables so that there would be a harvest to enjoy. But when my husband and I moved into our current abode, there was simply too much shade for vegetables.
This challenged me to research shade gardening and develop a greater appreciation of ornamental plants.
A couple of years ago, a tree was removed from the backyard, which has enabled more sun on our postage stamp of a yard.
This year a neighbor gifted us with her extra lettuce seedlings, and I already have some sugar snap peas poking up through the dirt. In addition, there is rosemary, sage, parsley, and some lavender that has held on since last year.
I also potted up some pansies and petunias for their joyful colors this growing season.
For the spot that still does not get enough sun for vegetables, I planted some ferns, astilbe, and dicentra.
What does all my gardening talk have to do with God?
Continue reading “Are You Gardening with God?”
Confession time. I love books!
Since childhood I have enjoyed reading. In fact, the reason my mother and sister thought I would be either a teacher or a writer someday stemmed from me always reading a book and sharing what it was about with others.
Once year, my goal was to read through the entire library of my home town. I do not remember my age at the time.
The first week of this goal, I picked five books from the shelf of children’s books containing authors whose last name began with A.
To my surprise, when I came back to the library the next week there were more books on that same shelf. And again the following week.
Sadly, I gave up my goal, deeming it impossible to achieve!
Last year I participated in a reading challenge at Goodreads.com. I successfully completed my goal of reading 12 books in 2022. A much more reasonable goal.
I signed up again for a reading challenge at Goodreads.com for 2023.
This year my goal is to read 15 books and share with you my reviews and progress. I think this is still a reasonable goal.
Why am I doing this?
Continue reading “A Book Review: Discipleship That Fits”
Recently, my husband and I spent some time with extended family members taking a tour of the cave at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. During the cave tour, there was a point when the guide turned out all the lights so we could experience what the first explorers had.
When the guide turned the lights back on, one of the younger tour members asked in a frantic voice, “Are you going to do that again?”
The guide assured the young tour member that she would not be turning the lights out again.
We all understood the concern experienced by this youngster about not being able to see.
Unlike being in a cave with no light, many of us experience a gradual loss of physical sight as we age.
This forces us to rely on others and use our other senses to process our interactions with others in this world.
Genesis 27:1 starts by telling us Isaac was old and his eyes had grown too dim to see.
Continue reading “Too Dim to See Part One”
If I am remembering correctly, my sister was in high school on a morning we quarreled over a magazine.
I am four years younger than her, so I would have been somewhere between the 5th-8th grade at the time of this argument.
Our fight eventually engaged our mother as a referee between us.
Interestingly, when my mother handed me the magazine I had been fighting so hard for, I recall feeling strangely disappointed.
Why did reading James 4:1-6 prompt this memory?
Continue reading “Why You Want But Don’t Receive”
Recently, my husband and I were leaving a parking lot when another driver caught our attention significantly.
The driver appeared to wave their left hand in a motion that seemed to show they wanted us to hurry past them.
But after we took that action and were waiting to make a left turn from the lane we had chosen, we noticed the same driver appeared in the adjacent lane, still waving their left hand in what we now realized was a display of panic.
As we waited for the traffic light to change to green, we could hear the other driver yelling in an agitated manner. In addition, they kept attempting to go into the intersection to turn left, in front of us, even though the light was red and cars were traveling through.
The driver never looked at us to ask for a courtesy for them to take their obviously intended action. Instead, they were anxiously self-focused.
Aside from the practical tactics of waiting after the light turned green to allow this frantic drive to go ahead of us and maintaining a safe distance from them, how can scripture guide us in responding to this scenario?
Continue reading “Responding to Another’s Weakness”
Physically, I know how to recover from a joint injury. The acronym RICE is the standard protocol for sprains to more serious injuries: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Some injuries take a longer time to heal than expected, though.
Case in point, I tore my right ankle ligament back in 2018. Thankfully, the tear did not require surgery.
Yet, even now, in 2023, I still struggle with pain and mild swelling if I attempt to do over fifteen minutes of walking consecutively.
My goal for 2023 is to shore up this weakness in my ankle so that I can walk for thirty minutes consecutively by the time 2024 has dawned.
But how do we recover from other weaknesses, like selfishness?
Continue reading “After Our Weaknesses Are Revealed”