Monday, May 30

Jehovah-rohi, the Lord My Shepherd

The name Jehovah-rohi comes from two Hebrew words meaning 1) Yahweh, the existing One, and 2) to shepherd, to tend a flock, to graze, to rule, to associate with, to be a friend, to be companions, and to be a special friend.

God has always shepherded His people. As an example, Jehovah-rohi (or Jehovah-ra`ah) watched over His people Israel, protecting them from the plagues He sent on Egypt, leading them out of Egypt and through the wilderness, and providing for their needs while in the wilderness.

Shepherds are more than watchdog-protectors for their flocks.

So, what distinguishes a good shepherd? He…

* disciplines and corrects them
* protects the sheep while they sleep
* goes ahead of sheep and prepares the path
* leads them to fresh pastures and fresh water
* comforts them when they are hurt or fearful
* knows the sheep’s needs better than they do
* keeps sheep moving so they don’t get into a rut
* keeps sheep from fighting, from hurting each other
* searches for a lost sheep and rejoices when finding it
* is pleased when sheep are contented, well-fed, and safe
* anoints them with oil to heal an injury or prevent disease
* always watchful for predators and defends sheep against them
* is gentle yet firm while shearing them, watching closely for injury or disease
* knows the things that make them sick or hurts them and guides them away from those things
* loves his sheep and continually encourages an intimate relationship with them so that
they will develop trust and know his voice
* sacrifices his life for them.

We find so much of this in Psalm 23. Adding in some of the definitions, we might look at it this way…

*The Lord is my Shepherd = The Lord is my guide, my companion
* I shall not want = I shall not lack; I am content
* He makes me to lie down = He causes me to be at rest
* in green pastures = giving me nourishment
* He leads me = He guides me with care
* beside still waters = alongside peaceful refreshment
* He restores my soul = He draws me in, to return me back to the point of my departure
* He leads me in paths of righteousness = He guides me in ways of rightness
* even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = even though I move through the narrow path of death’s dark shadow
* I will fear no evil = I will not be afraid of evil; I will have confidence and trust in my Shepherd
* for You are with me = because You are by my side
* Your rod = Your discipline and protection
* Your staff = Your guidance and support
* they comfort me = showing me compassion, bringing me to repentance, and giving me consolation
* You prepare a table before me = You arrange and spread out a feast of Your fellowship at Your table
* in the presence of mine enemies = in the face of the one that attempts to distress, oppress, and afflict me
* You anoint my head with oil = You soothe me and satisfy me with the oil of Your Spirit
* My cup runs over = You fill my life, saturating it to overflowing with provisions
* goodness and mercy shall follow me = Your kindness and favor pursue me
* and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever = and I will inhabit Your household for eternity.

Sheep must have a leader for they must be led and not driven.
They must be told what to do and where to go, otherwise, they will wander off and get lost. They need to be watched over and cared for constantly. Hence, the need for a shepherd.

Isaiah prophesied of One coming as the Good Shepherd, “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.” (Is. 40:11 NKJV)

When this Shepherd came, He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep,” (John 10:11 NKJV) and “I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me,” (John 10:14 Amp) and “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28 NKJV)

Do you know the Good Shepherd and all that this provides for you?
Do you know Him, recognizing His voice as He calls out your name? Do you know His peace, protection, provision, guidance, and comfort?

I pray you can often be found lingering at the feet of the Good Shepherd, awaiting His gentle touch and encouraging words that bring total trust and comfort.


Saturday, May 28

All the Empty Chairs

*This is a repost in honor of...

Memorial Day…

…originally known as Decoration Day as it was a day to honor the Civil War dead by decorating their graves. First observed on May 30, 1868 by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former sailors and soldiers.

Part of his proclamation says…

“What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foe? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their death a tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance.

“All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the Nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and found mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic…

“Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude,--the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”

Congress instituted Memorial Day by passing a law on May 11, 1950, intending it to be a national day of prayer for peace. Part of the White House Memorial Day Proclamation says:

Section 169g. Memorial Day as day of prayer for permanent peace...

“The President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each May 30, Memorial Day, by praying, each in accordance with his religious faith, for permanent peace; designating a period during such day in which all the people of the United States may unite in prayer for a permanent peace; calling upon all the people of the United States to unite in prayer at such time; and calling upon the newspapers, radio stations, and all other mediums of information to join in observing such day and period of prayer.”

Young people today probably do not know that Memorial Day used to be a solemn day, honoring those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Businesses closed for the day. Parades were held. Speeches and prayers were offered up at cemeteries. People took flowers and flags to the gravesites of those heroes who died in service for their country. In a few places, these things still take place out of respect and honor.

A hero is one who puts himself or herself in harm’s way to protect someone he/she doesn’t even know, who puts his/her life on the line that you and I can live in safety. And usually with little thanks.

The next time you see one of our nation’s heroes in uniform stand and applaud him or her. Give that one a big hug, a pat on the back, or a handshake. Give that one your heartfelt thanks for protecting your homeland.

Please pray for all the families of our fallen service men and women who leave behind empty chairs in their families. And pray for all those troops now deployed in harm’s way that they will return safely to their homes and sit once again with their loved ones.

I hope you will take time to view this video. I know you will be blessed…

Pray that there will be no more empty chairs.


Thursday, May 26

Thought to ponder...


Monday, May 23

An Interrupted Journey

In a single moment, a little boy’s world turned upside down; his life’s journey interrupted, taking a drastic detour.

Many years ago, an accident on a slippery, wet road ended the lives of a young couple while their young son was only shaken and bruised. A frightened Max went to live with an aunt who had never married and knew little of taking care of children, let alone a seven year-old boy.

Aunt Sylvia lived on several acres surrounded by woods with a creek meandering through it. Max quickly learned to love it and thought it magical. Room to run, yell, chase animals, climb trees, and catch frogs from the stream. A great place to bring the friends he would soon make.

Aunt Sylvy, as Max called her, loved making up stories to pique Max’s imagination. Her best stories came from the Bible as she taught Max about God and His love.

Over the years, Max learned to love Aunt Sylvy as if she were his own mother. The two of them always made the best of each circumstance and prayed over each one.

Max’s tour through his teen years collided with the normal bumps in the road. But because of Max’s hard work and good study habits, and Aunt Sylvy’s encouragement, he received many honors throughout his high school years.

One day, a decision halted his journey: which college to attend. He could not imagine leaving Aunt Sylvy and the cabin in the woods, so he chose a college close to home.

After graduation came another dilemma: which job offer to take. Max chose the job on the other side of the country due to Aunt Sylvy’s insistence. So, when the day came for him to leave, she sent him off with her best wishes, a hug, a sack of sandwiches, a bag full of money, and a prayer.

As the years passed, Max tried to return to the cabin in the woods as often as he could.

One day, Max received a phone call from Aunt Sylvy’s neighbor telling him Aunt Sylvy was dying and called for him constantly. He told the neighbor he would be there as soon as possible.

As some business deals with deadlines needed his attention, Max decided to write a quick letter to Aunt Sylvy, just in case he didn’t make it home in time. He wanted to tell her how much he loved her and appreciated all she had done for him.

He reminisced how, on the day he arrived at the train station to live with Aunt Sylvy, she was detained from meeting him and sent her hired hand to pick him up. As darkness set in, the two of them made the journey to Max’s new home.

On the way through the forest, Max asked all kinds of questions of the hired hand, like are there any kids to play with; what is his aunt like; and will she be waiting up for him to arrive?

After all the questions were appeased, the two of them finally drove out of the forest. At a distance in the clearing sat a glowing log cabin as light streamed out of every window. And there, on the front porch under the light, was Aunt Sylvia waiting for him with open arms.

He wrote how she hugged him, gave him a warm dinner, put him to bed, prayed with him, and told him everything would be all right. He recalled how she sat up with him that night and every night thereafter until he was no longer afraid to fall asleep by himself and his tears had eased.

In an effort to comfort her as she had comforted him, he wrote that, though she may be in the dark for a while, a light will glow in the clearing. At her journey’s end, she will be welcomed with open arms by the Lord to her new home.

~The journey Home differs for each child of God. Accidents, interruptions, detours, bumps, halts, dilemmas, and questions may impede our way. The world may crowd around us as a forest and darken our outlook. But we can be assured of this: the Lord is always waiting to receive us with open arms and will bring us out into His Light.

Wherever our journey takes us, it is up to us to make the best of it. And, at the end of our journey, we will be welcomed to our new Home with the Lord.

~~From my heart to yours, “I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while,” (Rom. 15:24b NKJV) and help you as well on your journey Home!

This post is part of the blog chain on the topic of journey. Please check out the other participants in the sidebar on the right.


Friday, May 20

Ready? Set! Jump!

“I’m going out to fish,” Peter calls over his shoulder to the other disciples.

“We’re coming, too!” came the unified response.

The sudden afternoon storm subsided. The roiling waters now stilled to a soothing pulse of gentle waves lap against the pebbly shoreline as if tapping a coded message, enticing the men to the secret bounty of the sea’s depth.

Jumping onboard the fishing boat, the men set out on the Sea of Tiberias.

As the sun slowly slides behind the western hills, it spins out threads of red, orange, and gold against the azure sky as the crystal blue waters glisten with mirrored hills.

While the dark hours pass, the men cast their nets over and over upon the water, each time coming up empty-netted. Disappointed, they head back.

As night bows to dawn, wisps of pink, blue, and violet blush across the sky as a pale haze hangs over the surface of the sea.

Just as their boat draws close to shore, a man’s voice calls out to the men, “Did you catch anything?”

“No,” is their discouraged reply.

“Throw out your net on the right side of the boat, and you’ll catch some!” yells the man.

Although somewhat baffled, the men throw out their net. It splashes on the water’s surface and sinks. Within minutes, they can barely draw in the net; it is filled to capacity with a multitude of fish.

As the impact of the miracle confronts them, John turns to Peter and blurts out, “It is the Lord!”

Hearing this, Peter whips around, puts on the outer garment he had removed earlier, steps onto the edge of the boat, and takes a flying leap into the water. Headstrong Peter, the waterboy!

The others jump into the skiff and head for shore, dragging the net-full of fish with them.

On the shore, bending over a bed of coals, Jesus pokes at the simmering fish and bread and says to them, “Come and have some breakfast.”

As the men gather around the fire, Jesus breaks the bread and shares it with the disciples; then passes out the fish. Once again, serving up the miracle of the loaves and fishes. A pleasant and loving surprise.

During a night of fruitless struggling, toiling under our own efforts, we will always come up empty-handed. When the Lord gives us a command, and we immediately obey, He meets us at the break of morn with a fresh supply of His unfailing love, as scripture says, “The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.” (Lam. 3:22-23 Good News Translation)

Doesn’t that bless you? God will always shower His love and mercy on us, filling our empty nets when we cast them upon the depths of His Word.

Become aware of the Lord’s voice and heed the Master’s call. When you dive out of the boat of self-effort, you will find provision ready and waiting, a foretaste of heaven’s table to fulfill your hunger, whether physical or spiritual...or both. He will break the bread and pass out the fish to you as rewards.

He waits on the shore for you to come to Him. As Bruce Wilkinson says in the Secrets of the Vine, “Are you standing precariously at a launching point in your life? Do you hear a voice calling? It is the Lord. I hope you jump.”

May you launch out and jump in the waters of obedience; Jesus is waiting for you with a sweet surprise!

Ready? Set! Jump!


Thursday, May 19

Inspired Women Succeed blog tour

Today, I bring you a blog tour for the new book Inspired Women Succeed. It features a story by my friend, Nina Newton, the Senior Editor of Ruby for Women. The book contains the accounts of amazing stories of how women have succeeded and authored by Diane Cunningham and Jo Ann Fore.

Diane Cunningham and Jo Ann Fore have crafted a “Chicken Soup for the Soul®-spirited book that takes readers on an inspirational journey; a journey which teaches women how to entrust the hard spots of life to a sovereign God who has a plan.”

From the back cover: “What scoreboard determines true success? Must we be famous? Rich? Well-credentialed experts? Whether we acknowledge it or not, the way we measure success greatly impacts our lives. Inspired Women Succeed cuts through the spoils of cultural expectations and uncovers genuine success.”

Inspired Women Succeed
( releases May 18th. Today, we talk with Diane and Jo Ann to get the story behind this life-transforming book.

What was the catalyst for Inspired Women Succeed?

Diane: We all face obstacles. And we wanted to share the true stories of women who overcame huge obstacles and uncovered success. As the founder of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs, I am honored to know many of the women featured in the book—I had a glimpse into their stories from what they shared with me in emails, conference calls, and our private forum. I felt called to invite them to share their stories of triumph with the world, to encourage them to help other women on a larger scale.

Jo Ann: Diane ignited the passion within me. When she initially approached me about writing the book, I declined because of the time involved. But anyone who knows Diane Cunningham knows she is persistent. And she returned—this time armed with examples of the stories that would be told. Like Diane, these stories sparked a flame.

In some ways, each of these stories is a piece of our own. Maybe the fallout or the circumstances aren’t quite the same, but the lessons learned are quite similar. As Christian women, our success is inspired from a sense of calling; measured by our loyalty to God in spite of life’s circumstances or outcome. This book would prove true success is defined by who we are, what we believe in, and our willingness to step out in faith. It was a story that deserved to be told.

What part did your personal story play in the creation of this book?

Diane: My story is an unfolding tapestry of inspired action steps. Readers see into my deep places of grief, challenge, and miracles that arise from showing up when God tells you to go. An amazing thing happened as we were finishing the book, and my story of survival is including in the afterward. Each of us have a story to share and I wanted to give women courage and hope by sharing some of my secrets; I wanted to offer them a blanket permission to step into and examine their own stories.

Jo Ann: Life is messy sometimes. Mine sure was. And all of our attempts at explanation eventually fall away, leaving us with the sole responsibility of right perspective. I learned the hard way that emotional healing is a choice. A choice of trust in a sovereign God. Much like Diane, I believe that when we tell our stories other women find the courage to face their own.

And I believe that as we invest in the lives of each other, we can redeem painful life experiences. I brought my story of transformation to the book as a pinion of hope and redemption. I’ve endured some horrific hurts. But over the years, redemption has become much more important to me than explanation.

What do you hope Inspired Women Succeed accomplishes? Do you have an “end goal” for the book?

Diane: My goal with this book is that it will show women that no matter what they are going through, God will take them to the other side. I hope women pass this book around as a gift, an inspiration that continues giving. I pray it provides much-needed healing and hope, and that each reader is willing to keep moving forward as God opens new doors.

Jo Ann: My hope is that women will truly learn to surrender to God. That they will, once and for all, release the hard patches of life to a God who loves them, who wants them whole and well, and successful. And that readers will never allow the pain of the past to block the purpose and joy of the future.

What was it like working with 40 other women to create this project?

Diane: What a wild adventure to connect with women from all over the United States and Canada on the writing process. This was a bigger challenge than we imagined it would be with the logistics and details. I am much more of a big picture thinker, and a visionary.

Jo Ann: (Grins sheepishly) I don’t know that the number of women involved was as much a challenge as the short amount of days we worked on the project. The women’s stories were inspirational. Heartfelt and life-changing. And everyone was receptive to the necessary edits and constructive feedback that it took to turn the project into a book that readers would use as a regular resource.

It was a demanding project, yes, but the heart of each brave-hearted woman who was willing to use her life experiences to sow into the lives of others made it worthwhile.

Why is your story, and the stories of contributors, special? Why should women look to you for inspiration?

Diane: My story is no more “special” than any other in the book, but it is mine. It is my gift from God, even the parts that caused me the greatest pain. I firmly believe that we need to find inspiration all around us. I am inspired by each story in the book, including my own. We are women of victory, overcomers, sharing how God has moved in our lives. Each woman in this book gifts us with authentic vulnerability, her heart, and a courage that comes from trusting God.

Jo Ann: I’ve heard it said that your passion often evolves from your greatest point of pain. I am passionate about helping hurting women because of what I have walked through. What happened in our past or the deep hurts we’ve experienced aren’t nearly as important as what God wants to do in our future. That’s hard theology for some.

And I believe as readers connect with my story, they will understand why I’ve earned the right to say that. The same with the other women featured in the book. Sometimes there are no answers for the rough patches of life, but these stories prove that God wants to redeem every ounce of our pain—if we will surrender it to Him.

For a free download of the first chapter, and a chance to win a FREE copy of Inspired Women Succeed visit Each person who downloads a copy of the first chapter during our release week (5/18-5/25) will be entered in a drawing to give away two free copies of the book.

About the Authors:

Diane Cunningham is a Business Therapist, whose calling is to help women grab hold of their dreams and make them happen. She is the founder and president of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs (, an organization with more than 165 members across the United States and Canada.

Jo Ann Fore ( is an inspirational author, Writing Coach, and certified Life Coach who is passionate about making a difference in the lives of women. Most noted for her faith-filled messages, Jo Ann mentors both emotionally-wounded women and budding writers.


Sunday, May 15

The Parable of the Prince and the Bridge

A long time ago in a faraway land lived a benevolent King who deeply loved his subjects. They loved him in return and praised him highly for his generosity.

Every day, the King enjoyed walking through the beautiful gardens of His kingdom, which ended at the river’s edge. He would sit beneath a large oak tree, look out to the other side of the river and dream of expanding his kingdom one day, that all the benefits of his kingdom might be shared with those across the great divide.

As he watched, the King noticed that the people on the other side came daily to the river, attempting to scrub the stains from their garments. Among them was a beautiful, young maiden. The King thought it was time for the Prince to marry, and, as the custom was for the father of the son to choose the bride, he thought she would be right for the Prince.

The King decided to send his son down to the river’s edge in the hope that he would notice the young maiden. Always obeying his father, the Prince went to the river’s edge, veiling himself from view. He watched as the people came to wash their garments and saw the young maiden. She captivated his heart.

Each morning thereafter, the Prince arose anticipating a glimpse of the fair maiden. Each day brought another of her characteristics to his attention.

One day, he noticed sadness in her eyes. Her shoulders drooped. A frown replaced her ready smile. Something seemed missing in her life. He wanted to console her, put her life back in order. He decided to ask the King for help.

Thrilled to hear the Prince had fallen in love with the bride he had chosen, the King told the Prince that it was time for him to cross over to the other side of the river.

As there was no way to get there, they agreed a bridge must be built to span the wide divide. The Prince worked alongside all the King’s carpenters to build the bridge, which had never been done before, but he was willing and determined to reach the other side.

He worked all hours to finish his task. His hands became bloody. His feet ached. His muscles became twisted, but he never complained.

Stories circulated among the people on the other side as to what this meant. Some were amazed at this coming thing. Some looked forward to this new connection with the other side, while others were apprehensive. Some thought it outrageous.

Finally, the day arrived when the bridge was finished and it was time for the Prince to prepare to cross over. He pondered how he should approach the young maiden.

Should he cross over as the Prince? Maybe she would be intimidated. Should he march across as the captain of his father’s army? That would impress her, but then again, it might frighten her.

Should he cross over as a beggar? She might not notice him, and after all, he would be lying to her. He finally decided to leave his royal throne and be as one of the people.

He crossed over at a time no one expected. As the dark of night approached, he made his way quietly across the bridge. Once on the other side, he found a place to sleep in a hollowed out tree.

That night was glorious. The stars were brighter than ever. All the throngs of heaven came to applaud him.

The next morning, he went into the village and found work as a carpenter. He was very generous, making tables, chairs, and building homes for the people. He did amazing things for them, just as his father had shown him.

He lived among them, learning their customs, their traditions, their dialect, everything. He did all he could to show his love for the people, desiring to bring all the benefits of his father’s kingdom into their lives.

Some of the villagers accepted him right away. Others were very skeptical of someone new and different, not trusting what he said. Others were offended.

One special day, he met the maiden, and, after some time passed, she decided he was the one missing in her life.

He proposed. When she accepted, he thought his heart would burst with joy. They became betrothed. As was the custom, he came at midnight and swept her away to their new home on the other side of the river.

~~This parable, of course, illustrates the kingdom of God and how He desired to bring its benefits to earth. I hope you caught the numerous allusions to Jesus’ life.

The Son remained hidden behind the shadow of the Old Testament until the Father revealed the time for Jesus to come, to be the bridge, crossing that great divide between heaven and earth.

“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:29 NKJV)

May you know the fullness of all God has promised and may you anticipate Jesus' coming with joy.


Friday, May 13

Thought to Ponder


Sunday, May 8

Out of the Unseen

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not being seen.”
(Heb. 11:1 Received Greek Text)

Do you ever take apart a verse by its Greek or Hebrew definitions? I love doing this. Brings such a deeper and broader meaning to the verse. This one is very interesting. Let’s see...

Now faith...

Faith is always now, in the present tense; we can’t have faith for yesterday. We can have expectant faith for tomorrow but our faith does not work in the future, except when we get there. It works right here and now. Except in one case: we have faith for our eternal home in heaven with the Lord.

However, that is not the meaning of the word now used in the above verse. It does not mean at this moment of time, though many good sermons have been based on that premise. It is a conjunction or connecting word between two thoughts, joining terms for repeated emphasis.

It means but, moreover, moreover also, even, and, also, and also, or but rather. It would be more appropriate to say, “Moreover faith is…” or “And also faith is…”

So, what is faith moreover or and also? The preceding verses in Hebrews 10:35-39 tell us not to cast away our confidence, that patience and endurance in doing the will of God receives what is promised, that the just shall live by faith, and not to draw back in timidity or unbelief to ruin, destruction, or loss. the substance...

The Greek word for substance means support, setting under, assurance, confidence, essence, person, a guarantee of reality, substantial quality or nature of a person, substructure or foundation, and is firm and has actual existence or real being.

This word is used in Hebrews 1:3 of Jesus as the “express image of His essence” (RGT), the image, character, or exact copy, as the actual reality or personification of God.

...of things hoped for...

The word for things hoped for means to expect, confide, trust, or confident expectation.

...the evidence...

Evidence also means that by which invisible things are tested or proved, conviction, proof, or test, as convincing proof.

...of things...

Pragma is the word for this use of the word things, which also means an object, business, matter, work, that which is an accomplished fact or is being accomplished, that which exists, and so on. From this, we get our English word pragmatic, which one definition means the testing of concepts to determine their validity by the practicality of their results.

...not being seen.

That which is not beheld with the eyes. The whole invisible, spiritual world.

Therefore, defined, we might reword this verse to say, “Moreover, faith guarantees reality to what is expected, as an accomplished fact, the confident anticipation of matters being accomplished, the validity being produced as visible proof of the invisible.”

So, moreover faith is...

* maintaining our confidence...rewarded
* continuing patience and endurance in doing the will of God
* what the just live by
* and not drawing back in timidity or unbelief to ruin, destruction, or loss.

And the result? We receive the reward of God’s promises.

“Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe,” so said St. Augustine. And Martin Luther said, “Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see.”

If “God...Who...speaks of the non-existent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed,” (Rom. 4:17b), then do we permit ourselves to be seized by the non-existent things that we cannot yet see? Don’t we usually want to see the evidence first and then we’ll believe? What would happen in our lives if we actually lived in faith to see what we believe?

Wouldn’t we see God’s promises substantiated, as the fulfillment of the things we hope for, making them present realities to us?

~~Oh, Lord, give me the faith to live expectantly in the unseen that I may see its rewards!

Oh, precious readers, may your faith explode with visible results out of the unseen!


Thursday, May 5

A Peculiar Mom

“I’m peculiar.”

If she said it once, she said it a million times.

That was my mom.

For a number of years, my sister and her son lived with our mom. Mom was always full of grace, class, and love. And, by today’s standards, she would be considered old-fashioned.

My nephew always lovingly told her she was “weird”! Her response? “I’m not weird; I’m peculiar!”

However, she wasn’t peculiar at all. She was a woman of faith and great strength. Though understandably shaken after my dad died suddenly on my birthday in 1996, her strength bolstered her to continue living.

She was not a fashionista. She could not have cared less about being “in fashion,” yet she was always well dressed. She hadn’t changed her hairstyle in maybe fifty years but it was always perfectly combed.

Everyone who knew her thought she was a true lady. Mom was known for her life in Christ. The qualities of generosity and caring were her distinguishing characteristics. Though she suffered with arthritis, back and breathing problems, and years of pain from a severe twisted ankle and a broken hip, she rarely complained.

Yet, she was peculiar, for she was scripturally correct. She was God’s treasured possession, as Exodus 19:5a says, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.” (KJV) Other versions define it as special treasure, treasured possession, or something similar.

God separated His people to be a peculiar bunch, to make known His Name, and to be a glory to Him among all people. And that was Mom.

Mom died two days before her eighty-fourth birthday in 2008.

Unfortunately, not every child is blessed to have a godly mother. Some mothers are negative, abusive, cold, or uncaring. Some even abandon their children, either by addictions, absence, or giving them up for adoption. Many adverse circumstances shape a mother’s life and contribute to her behavior.

Maybe you had or have a mom that behaved badly toward you, abandoned you, or did not fulfill all you needed from her. Maybe she was or is the farthest thing from the example of a godly mother.

Scripture says, “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you.” (Deut. 5:16a NKJV) I know, in some cases this is extremely difficult to do, but this verse comes with a promise. The rest of it says, “...that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” This not only applied to God’s people Israel but applies to us today as well.

If your mom is still alive, honor her this Mother’s Day. Love her. Hug her. If she has hurt you, forgive her; you might just see a change in her. God gave you life through her for a reason. Praise Him for that.

Oh, how I miss my Peculiar Mom. I wish I could tell her once more that I love her and give her one of those bear hugs she loved so much. She was my heritage, my Mother’s Day gift...the greatest gift she ever gave me besides physical life.

Don’t miss out on telling your mom that you love her. You never know when it might be your last time to tell her.

If you do not have a godly heritage from your mother, be the first to start it for your future family. Live out your life as one whose heart if filled with the love of God.

I pray that you become that Peculiar Mom.

This post is part of FaithBarista's Jamwithme Thursdays.



Monday, May 2

Pearl Girls Special Mother’s Day Post

I hope you will enjoy today’s special guest post in honor of Mother’s Day...

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother's Day!

Each Life is Unique by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

“God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. II Peter 1.3 (NIV)

Moms, God wants you to know that He has given you everything you need for life --- your unique life. He does not plan to give you what you might need to live the life of your best friend, or your neighbor, or even your favorite mother-model. No, God has called you to the life that He planned. I suspect that for most of us, it didn’t turn out to be the life we thought it might be… so long ago when we were young and dreaming of growing up.

On Mother’s Day, I often recall my own dreams to one day be a mother. I grew up playing with dolls and looking to my own Mama as a model for that particular role in life. However, by the time I reached my thirties, I was still not a mother! God did, however, have a plan. It just wasn’t what I imagined.

My own unique life would find me becoming a mother through the adoption of my first three children who were ages 9, 7 and 4; and then much later giving birth to our fourth child. Of course, I was shocked when God revealed this to me, but I was ecstatic as well. It’s as though I could hear Him saying, “Well, you’re not getting any younger so I’m just going to just give you a jump start with three at one time!”

A huge blessing! A huge adjustment! A joy and a struggle. Change is often like that, isn’t it? We finally get what we want, then we have to deal with it. May I just offer a bit of advice if you just got a great answer to prayer, but perhaps not in the way or form you imagined? Just receive it. Embrace it. And be willing to move forward into a new paradigm for your life. So what if you’re not like all the other mothers you know? So what if you’re not like your own mother? So what if your family unit is different? I guarantee God has a plan.

Not only did He want me to embrace my own story, but He called me as a mother to do perhaps one of the most important tasks of all --- to nurture my children to live their own unique lives. Not for me to try and squeeze them into what I hoped and dreamed they would be. Not for me to try and live my life through them. But to recognize how God made them, gifted them, and called them to their own special place.

All of my four kids are different from one another. Let’s take sports, for instance: I have one child who wins gold medals in international tennis competition, one who is a born equestrian, another who competes nationally in obstacle course shooting matches, and yet another who manages to dance onstage in three inch heels, do cartwheels and splits while singing at the same time. Now, honestly, I do none of these things. And yet they do.

I don’t remember placing my order with God for these things. . But I do remember when that tennis player turned nine years old and I enrolled him in Special Olympics for the first time and how it changed his life… and ours.

I remember getting a counselor job at an exclusive summer camp so that my daughter could take English riding classes. I remember being a Cub Scout leader (even though I knew nothing about boys) so that our son could one day become an Eagle scout and pursue his love of the great outdoors.

And yes, I remember enrolling my preschooler in dance lessons. Later, when all the little girls were scared to go on stage for the recital, she exclaimed that she had endured a whole year of lessons just so she could go on stage.

Don’t compare yourself to someone else. And don’t live vicariously through your favorite reality show star. Live your own story. And Moms, raise your kids to embrace the unique life God has for them.

Remember, He has given us everything we need for life!

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary, is the author of 10 books including “Role of a Lifetime,” “Amazed by Grace,” “Spa for the Soul” and the new Bible Study “Fit and Healthy Summer.” She is an international conference speaker and enjoys being a Pearl Girl from “Sunnyside” – her home in a New England village. Visit Cindy at

~~Hope you enjoyed Lucinda’s post.