Sunday, August 31, 2014

Are You Clinging to the Rock?

I am excited to have a sweet friend, Mary Denman, as my Final Friday Friends guest today. She is a skilled photographer and has a heart for expressing the Lord's truth through her  talents. If you are interested in photo tips, even for cell phones, check out her blog.
Mary is a wife, mom of five, writer, photographer, and all around busy lady. She combines her love of teaching, writing and photography on her blog –
Mary has had articles published in several national magazines including WHOA Magazine and Focus on Your Child. She has been the conference photographer for Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and loves to do head shots for fellow authors.  Contact Mary at
TWITTER: @MaryDenman

When I was in Italy last year at Lake Como, I noticed a beautiful clump of flowers growing out of a rock wall. Of course I took pictures.

Then a boat went speeding by, kicking up a strong wake.

The waves started.

They washed over the flowers.
Again and again. 

Covering the plants.
Soaking the plants.
Drenching the plants.
It looked like they should drown. Or at least be washed away.
But they clung to the wall.
Ready for the next onslaught.
They exhibited tenacity. Perseverance. Quiet strength.

I marveled at the lesson there.

I’ve been like those plants. It’s been the most difficult year of my life by far, burying my mom and father-in-law two weeks apart.
Then, two major surgeries four weeks later. Months of recovery.

Waves of grief and loss have washed over me. When I don’t expect them.
Threatening to make me feel like I’m drowning.
Again and again.

But the flowers cling to the rock.

Why? Because their roots are deep. They dig into the crevices.

The waves crash over them, but they don’t break. They bend. They cling. They remain.

There are days when I feel like I might break. But I haven’t.

Why? Because my roots are deep. They dig into the solid Rock. The immovable Rock.

It isn’t always easy to cling. But I do. I know that God has gotten me this far. I trust him to walk me all the way through. No matter what waves crash over me.

I can’t say this is easy. It’s not. I long for relief some days.

God gives me breaks in between the waves. For that, I am grateful. Very grateful.

But I also know that what I’m going through can be used by God.

To comfort others with the comfort I have received.

To deepen my roots.

And so I think of 2 Cor. 4:8 - We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed: perplexed, but not driven to despair;

And I cling to the Rock.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Can You Bear It 10 Times?


It was going to be nice and simple.

I already had my verse chosen.


How many times can that be a significant idea in Scripture?

Not thinking clearly, I decided to do a word search on bear.

Oh My Gosh!!!

As I read them, I found that Bear relates to every facet of Christian life!

Could I choose just one?


So here we go: the first bear

Genesis 17:19 Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.
A seemingly impossible promise.

Abraham was 100 years old; Sarah was 90.

How did Abraham react to this amazing news?

He laughed!

“Even God can’t do that!” he said

God answered Abraham’s lack of faith with, “Yes, but…”

How many times have I been an Abraham?

I pray so hard for an answer in a difficult situation.

Yet, deep in my heart, I whisper, “Even God can’t do that!”

Praise the Lord, He is a God of mercy and grace!

His answer to my weak faith?

“Yes, but…”

The seemingly impossible became possible.

Sometimes, in the face of my most sincere prayers, God said,

“No, but…”

My ears hear the “no” but ignore the “but”
  • But, I am sovereign and My purpose will be accomplished.
  • But, I will walk with you and draw close to you.
  • But, I will answer when the time is perfect.
  • But, I will answer beyond your wildest dreams.

He knows our weak faith and yet He loves us.
He hears us whisper, “God can’t…” but He can.
He sees our doubt and yet He answers.
Trust your Almighty Father!

He loves you beyond your wildest dreams.


When have you gone to God with an impossible request?

How has He blessed you when a “No, but…” became a “Yes, but…”?




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Only Did It ONCE!

The guy who mows our walking park must be on vacation.

He hasn't mowed for a couple weeks.

If he sees all these weeds, he might say,

"Look at that! It's impossible!"

Isn't it amazing how fast things get out of sorts?

How about that diet?

"Well, I blew it last night. surely another day won't hurt."

Second day, "Oh, what's the use! I'll feel better after some brownies."

Cleaning house?

Why dust the coffee table? I need to leave hubby a message anyway.

Every time we come up with a good excuse to skip something, it gets easier the next time.

That's particularly true for me and my quiet time.

First day:

Oh dear, the time got away from me and I need to get ready to go.

I'll skip it just this once.

I'll only do it this once.

Next day:

It's so nice outside. I'm going to take a walk before it gets too hot.

I'll do it after lunch.

Just this once.

The evening of the next day:

Oh, shoot, I forgot all about you, God.

I'll be back at it tomorrow.

And the days roll on.

It all started with

"I'll do it later."

Isn't it amazing, staggering that Jesus didn't say

"I'll do it later."

He faced the cross and said

"I'll do it now."
  • I'll suffer to heal.
  • I'll shed my blood to redeem.
  • I'll die to save

Praise the Lord for His mercy and grace!

Photo credit Cross: DesignPicsInc via

Friday, August 15, 2014

Grab a Gift!

I [Lord] am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Numbers 18:7

Gift – we all know what a gift is and we love to get them.

Pretty wrapping paper, big bow, anticipation, excitement.

How often have you been given a birthday gift, thanked the giver profusely, put it in the closet, and never open it?

I thought so.

But we each have a birthday gift* from God we seldom open:
  • Teacher
  • Helper
  • Administration
  • Encourager
  • Giver
  • Leadership
  • Mercy
  • Wisdom
  • Discernment
Gee, what a list! Kind of intimidating, isn’t it?

Like it or not, we all have one of these.

Now, let’s apply them to Numbers:
  • I [Lord] am giving you the service of teaching as a gift.
  • I [Lord] am giving you the service of encouragement as a gift.
  • I [Lord] am giving you the service of mercy as a gift.
  • I [Lord] am giving you the service of wisdom as a gift.
Get the point?

The spiritual gift you have is a gift from your Father to be used in service to Him.

Your gift is not a mandate or compulsion.

You have the option to serve God.

Or not.

But can you imagine there being no teachers in your church?

No encouragers?

No leaders?

No wise members?

 How would your church function without them?

How does the church function without your gift?

Let me challenge you: Open your gift and serve God!

Do you know your spiritual gift?

How are you using your gift in your church, in your family, with your friends?


* Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28
Photo Credit: gifts: amarosy via Depositphotos
Open gift: jurisam via depositphotos

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!

Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. Micah 7:8

I'm in a season of falling. Actually, that's kind of normal for me.

I'm known for tripping over curbs, falling down stairs...

I even fell over a tombstone once. But that's a story for another time.

Mom says I was born upside down and backwards, so it's her fault. 

But that's not the kind of falling I'm talking about.

I stub my toe on disappointment.

I trip over discouragement.

Frustration is as slippery as a banana peel.
But, as I sit here, on derriere, I remember this truth:

Yes, I've fallen, but I will get up!

God's presence gives my life stability.

I'm not very good at watching where I'm going.
I just skip along, falling over any emotion the enemy throws in my path.
But, every time, God reaches out His hand and says, "Let Me help you up."
As hard as I try to pull down the shades and sit in the dark, His light bursts through.
When I allow darkness to pour down around me, God says, "I'm here and there is no darkness in Me."
Hope, peace, joy...these things flood my life with the Light of God's presence.
Praise Him! He's not only the Light of the world, He's the Light of my heart.

Have you fallen lately? How did God reach down and pick you up?
When did you last praise Him for His light?
 Photo credit: Falling down cteconsulting via depositphotos
 Candle light kuzmafoto via depositphoto


Friday, August 8, 2014

Know Any Aliens?

And they admitted that they were
aliens and strangers on earth... 
Instead, they were longing for a
better country - a heavenly one. 
Hebrews 11:13b, 16

"Are we there yet?"

How often have you heard that from the back seat of your car?

"When will we be home?"

My heavenly home.


But I kind of like this world.
  • I've got a great husband
  • A nice house.
  • Two beautiful daughters 
  • Two perfect grandchildren.

But home has streets of gold.

And a mansion with my name on it.

I'll have a transformed body
        I've already ordered mine:
        5'6" 110 lbs 

And, best of all, I won't need to read God's Word,

I'll be with the Word, Jesus.

I'll see my Savior

I'll praise Him and serve Him for eternity.

You know, going home sounds pretty good, after all.

Are you eager to be home with your Lord?
What do you imagine Heaven to be like?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Do You Know Him?


"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18

When my husband and I took the train from Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh in February,  the fields of freshly fallen snow reminded me of this verse in Isaiah. 
God promises us that
  • Jesus’s death,
  • His burial, and
  • His return to life
will cleanse us of our sins and we make us white as snow.
If we ask!
We all sin, deny God, and disobey His laws. Scripture says that the penalty for sin is death.
Not just physical death but eternal death. 
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Jesus' death was brutal.
  • Suffering,
  • Agony,
  • Bloody.
This is the death we deserve. But, Jesus chose to die in my place - in your place.
We all face death unless…
I recognize that I am guilty of sin, believe that He paid my penalty, and ask for forgiveness.
You recognize your guilt, believe that He paid your penalty, and ask for forgiveness.
No one can do it for us . We must each make that personal decision.
There is no way Jesus will turn you down.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done.
No sin is too big for Him to forgive.
Let me repeat that – No sin is too big!
I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Jeremiah 33:8
Look at that word: All
Not some
Not Everything except...
If you ask Jesus, He will forgive all your sin and you will be white as snow.
Three days after He was buried, Jesus was resurrected - He rose from the dead.
He is Alive
Eternally Alive
For we know that since Christ [Jesus] was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.    Romans 6:9
When you believe His death cleansed you from sin, He offers you the gift of eternal life.
Jesus wants you to live with Him forever.
Each one who asks Him for forgiveness.
Complete forgiveness, eternal life in Heaven with Jesus.
Too good to be true.
But it is true.
If you refuse to turn to Jesus, you will die unforgiven and face eternal death.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. John 3:18
If you haven't come to Him in prayer and asked for His forgiveness, please do so. He’s waiting for you. Once you have, find a Christian friend or a church and begin to follow Jesus.
If you are a believer, what does that confidence in His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life mean to you?  
How does it affect your daily life?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Got Your Pouty Face On?

I’m studying Numbers – rumored to be one of the most boring books in the Bible.

Actually, I think Leviticus might win that honor. I’ll tell you later – I’m reading it next.

Surprisingly, I found a few gems in Numbers.

I know, shocked me, too.

I never thought about this too much but, every time Israel packed up to move during their time in the desert, they had to pack up the Tabernacle, too.

As you might imagine, this was a kind of complicated process. 

It took bunches of men from three different families to get it done.

Here you are in a nutshell, straight from Chapter 3:
(Don't worry - I'm not going to bore you.)

The Kohaths got to pack up the ark and all the other holy things and carry them to the next place.

The Gershons loaded up the tent itself, with all its curtains and doors. Don’t you know that was a bundle!

The Meraris were responsible for all the support stuff – poles, bars, pillars, sockets. All the stuff that kept the Tabernacle from falling down,

Now, I think I can safely say that the Israelites were a whiney, jealous people. I’m kind of veering away from Scripture here but I don’t think I’m too far off the path.

Can’t you just hear the Gershons

"Why do the Kohaths get to carry the ark? All we get are these heavy curtains!" (Insert pouty face.)

How about the Meraris?

"All the other guys get to carry cool things. We’re stuck carrying a bunch of poles. (More pouting)

Do you think the Kohaths were a bit puffed up?

We all get a good laugh out of that until we look in the mirror.

We see a little pride and whining staring back at us.
  • Singing in the choir
  • Helping to take up the offering
  • Teaching a class
  • Rocking babies in the nursery.

These are the cool jobs.
  • But who wants to stand by the copier and watch it spit out tons of church bulletins?
  • What about going to each classroom and making sure the chairs and tables are where they should be?
  • Getting to church early on Sunday to make coffee.
  • Checking to see if there are Bibles and hymnals (if you use them) in the pews.
  • Putting a bottle of water by the podium for the pastor.
 No one notices these things unless they’re NOT done.
(Especially the coffee.)
 Let’s face it guys.

Where would the ark go if no one carried the coverings?

 How would the coverings work with no poles to hold them up?
 Tons of jobs.
 Each one equally important.

Does that sound familiar?
If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?
If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 
If they were all one part, where would the body be? 
As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Corinthians 12:17-20
So, let’s get up and see where we are needed.
 There’s no such thing as unimportant work in the body of Christ!
Look around your church, office, or school. What are the "non-cool" jobs?
How can you help?