Growing up, I recall the backyard of my parent’s home had several large oak trees and a maple tree. Also lining the edge of their property line and the start of the neighbor’s yard behind was a row of cottonwood trees.
I remember climbing both the maple tree and one of the cottonwood trees frequently.
Sometimes I climbed the trees to see how high I could get or as a hiding spot when playing hide and seek with neighboring kids.
I also recall times when I would go to the trees when I was hurting emotionally. Being hidden amongst the leaves and supported by the sturdy tree branches helped me feel safe in those moments.
Why all this talk about trees?
Today, we will study Psalm 1:3-4, which uses fruit tree imagery when describing a blessed or happy follower of God.
Continue reading “Do You Enjoy God? (Part Two)”
There was a period in my life when I was reading through a variety of self-help books.
Something was out of whack in my life, and I was trying to figure out what it was.
Then, two different people within the same week asked me to explain my faith to them.
I struggled to respond to their probing questions, which bothered me greatly.
I picked up a one-year bible and immersed myself in scripture. If I was going to claim to be a follower of Christ, I felt this was the right next step.
Making this one decision began a transformation in my faith life. Although not always easy, this decision has proven more powerful and encouraging than any other pursuit in my life.
What does this have to do with Genesis 18, Hebrews 11, and seeking God’s city?
Continue reading “Are You Seeking God’s City?”
You may have learned in previous posts of mine that I read through a chronologically arranged Bible every year.
I have several reasons for doing this, but the primary reason is to know the Lord and learn how to live a life that honors and glorifies my creator.
The characters referred to in Hebrews 11:1-12 lived in a time that did not have the benefit of the written word of God. Yet, they are all held up as heroes of the faith.
Join me as we take a brief look at each of their lives to discern how their examples inform us of not just how we can be encouraged to respond to God in faith, but God’s faithfulness to us.
Continue reading “God’s Faithfulness and Our Response”
Some of us know our biological fathers or grandfathers. Others do not.
Regardless of which camp you are in, would you describe your biological or other father figures as intentional?
An intention can simply be a determination to act in a certain way.
Intentions can be good or harmful.
Which end of the spectrum would you place your father or father figure on regarding their intentionality? Mostly good? Mostly harmful? Other?
Did your father figure receive their intentional traits from their own father figure?
Continue reading “Do You Have an Intentional Father?”
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”
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”
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”
A couple of years ago, my primary doctor was looking over my medical history and made the comment, “your primary issues are clearly orthopedic.”
We both laughed because, in the short time that she has known me, I have sprained an ankle or both frequently, torn an ankle ligament, sprained a thumb, pulled muscles in my low back, neck, and hip, and was currently being referred to a specialist for a shoulder injury. She even has in my history that I struggle with plantar fasciitis.
I wish I could say these are my only weaknesses. But, along with all other humans on this planet, I share the same weakness.
What is this shared weakness we are all prone towards?
Continue reading “When Our Weaknesses Are Revealed”