Sunday, October 30

Your Maker is Your Husband

Thousands of years ago, the Hebrews observed a betrothal of marriage custom that consisted of twelve steps. Much of this custom is still observed today.

According to the custom, a Hebrew father almost always chose the woman to be betrothed to his son. Only rarely did the parents allow their children to make their own choices.

After all the betrothal steps had been completed, the Law legally bound the man and woman together and regarded them as husband and wife, as one entity. Though considered married, the covenant forbade them to live together physically.

Most betrothal periods lasted about one year, as the bridegroom would leave to build a home for his bride. Before he departed to begin his project, the bridegroom made a statement to his bride: “I go to prepare a place for you; if I go, I will return again unto you.”

Throughout their relationship, they were entirely devoted to one another, even though distance separated them. Their commitment to each other was based on covenant and was not to be broken.

When the bridegroom was finished building the home, he still could not leave to snatch away his bride. He never knew the day or hour for he had to wait until his father gave his approval and said it was time to go. Then, the bridegroom would gather his friends and go get his bride, arriving around midnight, unannounced. The bride never knew the day nor the hour of his arrival and had to be ready at all times.

Throughout the Bible, God relates to His people in a closeness of companionship so intimate that He compares it to a marriage relationship. In the book of Isaiah, He said, “For your Maker is your Husband.” (Is. 54:5 NKJV)

As the father, in the tradition, arranged the marriage for his son, God the Father arranged the marriage between His Son and the church as the Bride.

Just as the Hebrew couple was considered as one unit, the same truth exists when believers accept Christ’s proposal, receiving Him as their Savior, for they become a part “of His body, of His flesh and of His bones,” (Eph. 5:30b NKJV) as a divine oneness.

As Paul said, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Eph. 5:32 NKJV) The mystery, the secret? “For this is the secret: Christ lives in you.” (Col. 1:27b NLT)

Even though the Father has chosen her, the Bride comes of her own free will, accepting the Bridegroom’s proposal and choosing to be betrothed to Christ - or not. If she accepts and says, “I do,” she is, as Paul said, “‘married,’ so to speak, to the One Who rose from the dead.” (Rom. 7:4b TLB)

When Christ died, He departed as the heavenly Bridegroom to prepare a dwelling place for His precious Bride. On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus essentially spoke the bridegroom’s statement to the disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2b-3 NKJV)

The Son knows not the day nor the hour of His return, as only the Father knows the time for the Son’s return for His precious Bride. As Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matt. 24:36 NKJV)

Neither does the Church Bride know the day nor the hour of her Beloved Bridegroom’s return for her, so she must be prepared at all times.

If Jesus died that His Bride might be without spot or wrinkle or any other defect, then, as part of the Bride, how will you be dressed when the heavenly Bridegroom arrives? Will you have a mopey face, hair covered in the ashes of doubt and worry, breath smelling of negative words, and wear a ratty old wedding gown of self-pity, ripped and stained, full of the filth of the world?

Or will you be “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev. 21:2b NIV) adorned with a smile on your face, joy in your heart, songs of worship and praise on your lips, dressed in a pure, white garment of salvation and righteousness, and crowned with the gift of the Bridegroom?

The Bridegroom is coming soon for His Bride. Have you made sure that you are in a holy covenant of betrothal with Him? While He’s away, are you totally devoted to Him? If you knew tomorrow was your last day on earth, would it affect your behavior today?

Are you ready for His return? Are you, as they say, good to go?


Thursday, October 27

Living Large

Today, I have another great offering for you, another sweet cyber-friend, Carol Peterson. I hope you’ll support her with a comment. Thanks!

Is God cleaning out His heavenly library? I only wonder, because several books have recently fallen into my lap—seemingly from heaven. When I open them, they all assert the same thing: God means us to live a large life for Him.

Angela Thomas, in her book, Do You Know Who I Am? And Other Brave Questions Women Ask, asserts that our “calling” in Christ is to live a big life for God. He wants us, she says, “to live like He is worthy.”

Do I?

Marianne Williamson, author of books about miracles, asserts that God created us to shine for Him. The more we shine, she says, the more God is glorified and the more other people feel free to shine as well.

Do I shine?

Henry T. Blackaby, in Experiencing God, explains that when we have a relationship with God, He will show us ways to join in with His big plans.

Am I joining in?

So many of us trip over the idea of dreaming big dreams because of fear. We fear we are incapable. We fear we will fail. We fear other people will laugh at our dreams. Or will laugh if we fail.

It’s hard sometimes to remember that God gave us our one and only lives on this side of eternity in order to love and obey Him. And in so doing, to bring Him glory—great big glory!

We can have big dreams for our lives—not for pride or personal accomplishment—but because succeeding in those big dreams brings glory to God. And He is worthy of every dab of glory we can pluck out of our lives.

God has equipped us to succeed in our big dreams by the talents He has provided or the circumstances and people He has placed in our lives.

Or He will equip us if our dreams are aligned with His plan.

We may not be able to succeed on our own. But Christ can. Christ can succeed through us. And we can succeed through Him. Like Paul: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

If we’re doing all things through Christ, what excuse do we have that we can’t dream big dreams and strive to achieve them? Not a one.

It’s time to live large lives for Christ.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you know we have dreams. Make Your dreams our dreams. Help us live a life that is large for You, praising You and thanking You for it. Amen.

Do you have dreams you are afraid to dream? What are they? What first step might you take today toward living large for God?

~Be sure to visit Carol’s site, From Carol’s Quill


Sunday, October 23

A Shared Heartbeat

As I listened the other day to FoxNews, I heard the most precious story of a couple married for 72 years. By now, you’ve probably heard about them. But I just couldn’t help writing about them.

Gordon Yeager proposed to his sweetheart the day before Norma graduated from high school. They were married the next day, the day she graduated, May 26, 1939.

They were always by each other’s side. Each saying they had to “stick around” for the other. They truly enjoyed being together, even though they had their arguments.

On October 12, 2011, Norma and Gordon suffered extensive injuries in a car accident. They were rushed to the hospital and put in ICU. The hospital workers knew not to separate them and pushed their beds together. They held hands even after the morphine took affect and they became unresponsive.

The injuries were more than their bodies could withstand or recover from and at 3:38 p.m., Gordon died.

The son noticed that his father had stopped breathing but his heart had continued to register on the heart monitor. Confused, he asked the nurse about it.

She told him that because the two were holding hands, Gordon’s machine was picking up Norma’s heartbeat...her heart was beating through him.

Exactly one hour later, at 4:38 p.m., Norma died.

Hand in hand in life; hand in hand in death.

Sharing one casket, they held hands. After cremation, their ashes were mixed together.

Such a sweet love story. They had their ups and downs but always wanted to be with each other.

The one thing that blew me away was...her heartbeat beating through him. One heartbeat beating as two. One heartbeat of a living one beating through one dead to this world.

Isn’t that what the Lord wants for us? To be dead to this world yet have His heart beating within us? To be connected to Him throughout life, walking hand in hand. And in death, still holding His hand.


Wednesday, October 19

And Another Thing...

Today, I present another sweet cyber-friend, Cecilia Marie Pulliam. I hope you’ll support Ceci and leave her a comment...

It wasn’t fair. How could they do this? (Fill in any situation – most would fit.) I was so angry I could barely wait to tell my bus mates and co-workers. I vented, I raved and I justified – until the next morning.

At 5:00 a.m., Jimmy Cricket extolled the virtues of When You Wish Upon A Star. I wasn't in the mood for a Pollyanna wake up call and wished I’d changed my alarm to something more like I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.

I rolled out of bed, shuffled out to the kitchen and made coffee. While it brewed, I stared out the window. Light was just showing in the eastern horizon. Clear sky, maybe we’d finally have a sunny, warm day.

The scene faded, receding behind a thin veil. I saw Jesus on the cross. As I watched, He transposed His face over my perceived enemy, for the second time, the first being right after my divorce. I was being reminded, once again, of God’s opinion of anger - even justified anger.

Justified. That was exactly what I had done - justified my action, my decisions, at the expense of another’s reputation. It didn’t matter that I had told the truth. It was wrong to broadcast the negative situation. My face reddened when I remembered a story I had recently told someone else.

A Christian missionary in China discovered a thief had stolen all of the mission’s blankets. The woman said nothing, demonstrated no outward anger, and went about her daily routine as if nothing had happened.

A Chinese solider staying with the missionaries questioned her behavior. “Why are you not angry with this thief?”

The woman replied, “First, God provided those blankets, and He will provide more when we need them. And secondly, the thief obviously needed them more than we did.”

Her words and behavior so impressed the solider he converted to Christianity, becoming a priest.

I sank to my knees, asking God to forgive my un-Christian-like behavior. I vowed to ask forgiveness from every person I had ranted to. Granted it would be hard to swallow my pride and admit I had been wrong, yet I had to somehow set the record straight.

My morning devotions confirmed my guilt. The Greatest Commandment was quoted in my first reading. “Love one another as I have loved you.” Remorse pounded my heart, crushing me into a black hole of shame.

The meditation continued with the gentle reminder that repentance, true repentance - coupled with the desire to change and not repeat the offense - wipes away our sin. There was no need to hang my head in shame or plot horrific punishments.

“He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Psalm 103: 10-12 NKJV

Halleluiah. Amen.

~Be sure to visit Cecilia’s wonderful site, Out of the Closet into the Light.


Sunday, October 16

Where I'm From

A sweet cyber-friend Sandra Heska King ( posted an article a few months ago as she linked up with Glynnis Whitwer ( entitled Where I'm From.

Then, I read a third one written by another sweet cyber-friend Erin Patrick (My Nuggets of Truth).

As I read them, the light bulb flashed! I remembered that I had worked on the same thing in a workshop some time ago. It was a fun assignment, so I decided to dig mine out. The students were to write where they were from, as their family heritage, using this template...

The WHERE I'M FROM Template

I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.
I am from the _______ (home description... adjective, adjective, sensory detail).
I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail)
I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).
I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).
From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).
I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.
I'm from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).
From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).
I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).

I didn’t exactly follow the template and I added to the original...

I am from the house historic, once nestled in vast acreage of farmland, where long-ago presidents came to visit and soldiers were stationed, where barn cats roamed and ducklings swam, where horses whinnied and peacocks unfurled their feathers, where fresh fruits and vegetables graced the family table alongside the farm delights of just-laid eggs and butter and milk from our dairy.

I’m from the precious grandmother, who allowed her granddaughter to decorate her hair and the grandfather that smoked those stinky cigars and snuck snacks for me that were a no-no. I am from the mother who loved to chew freshly ground coffee and eat raw potatoes with salt as she fixed dinner, and the dad who gave horsey rides until his back ached, who bought me a softball and bat, who played his trombone in duet as I attempted to play the piano.

I’m from drinking from the hose in the yard, jumping over the sprinkler, sun-blistered shoulders, and playing in the dirt, from the days of open windows and no air conditioning, and riding bicycles around the circle until the bugs of night hit our teeth, then lying in the grass to watch the wonders of the star-studded sky.

I’m from doctors who made house calls. I am from matching sibling pajamas on Christmas Eve. I am from the pear tree that skinned my elbow when I slid down its trunk. I’m from the club with my friends under the big pine tree.

I’m from antennae TV with two black and white stations, from Gumby and Pokey, Mighty Mouse, Howdy Doody, Hopalong Cassidy, Sky King, Ding Dong School, The Lone Ranger, Lassie, Pinky Lee, Roy Rogers, Cisco Kid, and Kukla, Fran, and Ollie.

I’m from American Bandstand in the mid ’50s with Dick Clark, vinyl LP and 45 records on the hi-fi, Wolfman Jack, and sock hops. I’m from itchy wool sweaters and dresses, knee socks and plaid, pleated skirts, because wearing pants to school was not allowed. I’m from come-home-when-you-hear-the-bell-ring-or-else to get cleaned up for Daddy and dinner at 5:30.

I am from the pages of long-forgotten albums of ancestry and heritage, with roots in England, Ireland, and Germany, from upstanding characters who believed in keeping their word, who sought the Lord and helped their neighbors.

I’m from salvation found at a Billy Graham crusade and standing in awe as I met him at my grandparents’ home. I am from Bibles, worn and frayed, marked and loved, from third-row, organ-side Baptist services on Sundays and Wednesdays, and choir practice, from kneebenders who sought the deep, abiding love of God and to serve in return.

~Thank You, Lord, for my wonderful heritage and these precious whiffs of memories!

~~I hope you’ll try it. It’s a great memory jogger.


Thursday, October 13

Ecclesiastes...Ever Studied It?

Stephanie Shott has! And she has written a book on it...

Ecclesiastes: Understanding What Matters Most

Stephanie is a gifted and passionate Bible teacher, speaker and author who inspires women to become who they were created to be in every area and season of their lives. Stephanie's transparent, practical, often funny and always biblical, messages present real life solutions to real life circumstances.

As the result of a rape, a decade of child abuse, and years of wandering in the wilderness of foolish choices, Stephanie loves to tell the story of God’s redeeming grace. Women’s ministry leaders trust Stephanie to inspire women to let God make beauty out of their own ashes, to call Christians to stand strong, live intentionally and believe God, and to challenge mothers to mentor other mothers.

Stephanie is the author of a new women’s Bible study entitled Ecclesiastes: Understanding What Matters Most. She also writes with a team of gifted women at Scripture Dig, an internet site dedicated to helping women know and grow in the Word of the Living God. She is also part of a ministry team called Speaker Chicks. Led by Kathi Lipp, Speaker Chicks is a team of qualified speakers who minister to hearts of women by ministering to those who lead them.

In case you're not familiar with what Stephanie’s study is about, here’s a brief summary:

Do you sense the need to live for eternity but find yourself living like this life is all there is? Do you long to make your life count for more than a vapor but can't seem to escape the dailies of each day?

This study will help you...

* sift through the gamut of life experiences
* learn to make everyday decisions and help you define your life on what truly matters most
* bring clarity to your circumstances
* learn to make your eternity intentional

Join Stephanie on a six week adventure through this often avoided and misunderstood book of the Bible. Learn why she calls it a “Heavenly Sieve” and how you find significance to these days you are given under the sun.

Join Stephanie on her site Stephanie Shott

You can get Stephanie's book through...
Barnes and Noble


Monday, October 10

What Are You Harvesting?

Maple trees stand ready to burst forth with golden-bronze highlights.
Beechnuts tickle the leaves as they fall to the ground.
Red tinges the leaves of the burning bushes.
Pumpkin patches set ablaze with orange, plump fruit.
Cornfields ripe for gathering.

My favorite time of year. Fall. It always brings to mind the seasonal word harvest.

Nature goes through its seasons, as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” (NKJV)

Just as nature, we, as Christians, have circumstances that bring rain, sunshine, heat, cold, storm, calm, dryness, fire, and flood. Our aim is to always work toward having a spiritual harvest, no matter what the circumstantial season.

But how do we produce the luscious harvest God desires for our lives?

God once whispered to my heart…

“If the ground is not turned, I cannot plant My seeds. A life as a lovely green meadow with its abundance of wild flowers is a fair picture of beauty. But there’s more to be had from the rich soil lying beneath the surface blanket of a lovely green pasture. Cultivating this meadow can produce a harvest of fruit, of nourishment, of good things for others.

“The Hand of the One tilling the soil is the One Who loves it the most and sees the greatest potential in it for a harvest. The roots of unwanted growth beneath the surface must be ripped out that the ground might be tilled and furrowed. This gives room to accept the seeds of new growth and eventually welcome a beautiful, golden field of harvest, waving its ripened grain in the breeze.

“A life in the Hands of the One guiding the plow will display a fruitful meadow. When it is uprooted and turned over, it welcomes the plantings of the Master Husbandman and gladdens the hearts of others with its lovely field of harvest.”

What is damaging the harvest in your life?
Hmmm. Do you have any roots of unwanted growth? I know I do.

Any roots of bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, jealousy, judging, gossip, complaining, doubt, worry, or hypocrisy, among other things, will destroy the possibility of an abundant, spiritual growth and harvest. The roots of unwanted growth must be ripped out in order to have good soil.

Jesus explained the good soil in the Parable of the Sower, “But the good soil represents the hearts of those who truly accept God’s message and produce a plentiful harvest for God - thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as was planted in their hearts.” (Mark 4:20 TLB)

What are you harvesting? Is the soil of your heart producing what it should? Or maybe you have a mixed crop, having planted negative seeds in with the positive seeds?

God told Israel, “Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.” (Deut. 22:9 NIV)

Reproducing the character of God in our lives requires the planting of His Seed-Word in our hearts, not the seeds the world spits at us. There can only be one Seed in our hearts!

Don’t like the crop you’re growing? Maybe its time to check those seed bags! Paul tells us, “Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds!” (Gal. 6:7-8a MSG)

If we want our lives to have an abundant harvest spilling over with ripe fruit, we need to rip out the old roots, weed, and plant God’s seeds. Then, we will see a bumper crop at harvest time, for “the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.” (Gal. 6:8b MSG)

“A life in the Hands of the One guiding the plow will display a fruitful meadow.”
May your life be cultivated by the Husbandman that it may “produce a harvest of fruit, of nourishment, of good things for others.” And may your harvest be plentiful!

Today's post is part of the blog chain on the topic of harvest. For other great posts, check out the list in the right sidebar.

Please join me over at LivingBetterat50+ for my new place of monthly devotionals.


Saturday, October 8

A Blog Award!

A sweet cyber-friend has graciously given me The Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you, Elizabeth Young at The Garden Gate.

There are rules for receiving the blog award, so here they are: thank the person who gave the award and link back to her/him, share seven things about myself, and forward the award to fifteen desiring people, which I will attempt to do.

My life has been rather dull. Funny or exciting things don’t usually happen in my life. So, here’s the boring stuff...

1) I once owned a motorcycle...and yes, I drove it myself!

2) I love old black and white movies, who-dun-its, Westerns, anything! Well, almost anything.

3) I was known as Choo-Choo (braces) and Bones.

4) A friend and groomsman at our wedding decided to play a joke on us and put tear gas in the air conditioning vents in our car. We got married in the middle of July! Ha-ha!

5) I grew up with the grandson of Mordecai Ham, the evangelist who led Billy Graham to Christ.

6) One of the first and largest apartment complexes was built by my father and grandfather in 1949 and was named after me...and so was the church!

7) I received an awesome endorsement for my upcoming book, Ready or Not...Here I Come! You’ll have to stay tuned to find out who it is! (he-he!)

Thanks again, Elizabeth!


Thursday, October 6

A Prison Without Walls guest post

Today, I am happy to bring you a post from another great cyber-friend, Nikole Hahn. I hope you will support her with a comment. Here’s Nikki...

“The Fall, the first human tragedy, became the mother of all subsequent ones. We should do nothing to minimize it or to pretend it mattered less than it did. Yet, the Fall did not end God's plan for humanity. God would ultimately use evil to accomplish a greater end of redemption in Christ: (Ephesians 1:9-11). God could hate evil and yet permit it in order to carry out an astounding, far-reaching redemptive plan in Christ, one that would forever overshadow the evil and sufferings of this present world.” - Randy Alcorn, If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, Pg. 57

His long, black hair fell past his shoulders. “Why does God allow bad things to happen?”

Have you ever felt woefully inadequate and your mind stutters as it seeks to give an answer to every question? We were asking different people for prayer requests out in the square before our church service began a block away. It's a part of what our church's prayer team does, and yet this man and his sincere questions managed to make me mute. My words might offend him.

The man held tightly to his sin, unwilling to repent and willing to pile the blame on God. With careful questions, I asked about his walk with Christ and asked if perhaps his choices may have brought on natural consequences. We shared our testimonies with him and he asked still more questions.

I asked questions, too. Why did he walk away from God? Is there something in his life he needs to repent of in order to make things right with God? I also impressed upon him the height and depth of Christ's love.

“How can I get into a right relationship with Christ?” He sat on the stone stairs and looked me directly in the eye.

His friend continually interrupted us and acted antagonistically towards the very thought of prayer and God. This didn't deter the conversation.

I said, “Get a Bible, pray for Christ to come into your life and to help you understand the Bible.”

“But I've read the Old and New Testaments.”

“I did, too, but I didn't really begin to understand them until I became saved. Suddenly...” But I was cut off as the man turned his attention to my prayer partner and asked about her testimony.

I tried to look for him—almost like an after thought—before our service began in order to invite him to sit with me, but he quickly vacated the plaza. The sermon would have helped to answer his questions and neither of us thought to invite him. Then again, the man gave the impression that he was in a hurry. During service, I sat and pondered our long visit.

In a month, he'll spend substantial time in prison. He confessed a fear of it. He couldn't love a God who allowed his brother to die. I wished that I could have found the right words to cut through his unrepentance and show him that it wasn't God who killed his brother, but the consequences of sin; of making wrong choices and hanging out with the wrong friends.

My friend impressed upon him the mercy of God and how God can turn all evil into something good, frustrating those that perpetrate evil. I thought of the 'me' I was over four years ago and thanked God he gave me the love in my heart to approach a person that I would have previously thought beneath me.

I would have looked at him in passing and spent a few minutes with a friend putting him down. Instead, God broke me. Stripped away of my pride, anger, and false ideas, I saw me in the mirror. My sin is the same as that man's sin in God's eyes. God didn't cause the bad things in my life; sin caused them. Some of the consequences I suffered came from my choices; some of the consequences came from other people's sins.

I don't know why my mind blanked that day, but I am glad my friend and I were able to speak with this man. His genuine questions came from a hurting and unforgiving heart. How can we live in our Christian bubble, loving the Christian culture, and forget that Christianity is not some hot, new trend with cool music and even cooler stuff but a real and difficult way to live?

Perhaps that's why so many people tire of the sappy nonsense our culture feeds them, leaving them empty, when the truth of the Bible leaves them filled? We all seek truth but not many of us wish to face the truth. We seek it though because this world leaves us feeling like one of those hollow, chocolate bunnies—empty, purposeless, unloved, devoured.

Isn't it time that we embraced the change knowing Christ brings, facing who we really are and repent of our sins to a holy, merciful, and loving God? Some of us live in a prison without walls. The iron bars keep us from living, but God didn't put those bars there; we did. He can set us free. Just ask.

***I know you’ll want to visit Nikki’s great site, The Hahn Hunting Lodge.


Sunday, October 2

Taken Aside for a Purpose

(I hope you don't mind another rerun!)

“He took him aside, away from the crowd.” (Mark 7:33a NIV)

Taken aside…In 1666, John Bunyan was imprisoned for unlicensed preaching. What came out of that dark, damp Bedford jail in England? Out of his captivity came Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners and the most famous of all Christian allegories Pilgrim’s Progress.

Taken aside…Out of years of service in Japan and China, as a missionary in the early 1900s, and out of the imprisonment of her husband’s sickness and subsequent death, came Mrs. Charles E. Cowman’s beautiful, classic devotional Streams in the Desert.

Taken aside…Catherine Marshall, at the age of 33, suffered two years of physical imprisonment with a life-threatening bout of tuberculosis. When her husband Peter died, she took care of their nine-year-old son Peter, Jr. Out of her suffering, she authored over 20 books, among them the well-loved Christy.

Taken aside…Paul, imprisoned. The most fruitful period of his ministry. What did he do? He praised God as a prisoner, not of disease or circumstance, but as a prisoner of the Lord. Out of those times came his letters of encouragement to the churches, giving untold generations the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, and possibly Hebrews.

Have you been taken aside by some life-shattering circumstance? Do you trust that God will be with you through it and use whatever imprisonment you might be suffering for the benefit of others?

Today, I'm hooking up with...