My babies are gone. They left this morning to go back to their home ... to the place that Uncle Sam assigned after the birth of their fourth child, their first daughter (after three awesome, lively sons). This was the third time that the military transferred them immediately after the birth of a baby. Now that baby was celebrating her first birthday.Read More
Much of my life I lived under the "frown of God," or so I thought. I wasn't a bad kid; in fact, I was quite religious and moral. But I wasn't perfect for sure. (For one thing, I was a terrible big sister, mean and self-centered toward my siblings.) But I knew God required perfection, so I was always working my way down a spiritual "to do list" of some kind (depending on the Christian group I was with. They each had their own, you know).Read More
With every morn my life afresh must break
The crust of self, gathered about me fresh;
That thy wind-spirit may rush in and shake
The darkness out of me, and rend the mesh
The spider-devils spin out of the flesh—
Eager to net the soul before it wake.
That it may slumberous lie, and listen to the snake.
I had an interesting discussion with my daughter the other day. She asked me,
"Have you heard any messages about prayer that talk about how the Holy Spirit prays the prayers in us? Where in the Bible is that?"Read More
A few years ago, my husband and I were at some friends’ house. This couple liked to gather miscellaneous people who knew them but not each other. True to form, they asked a great icebreaker question. The particular question that evening was,
If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would that be? Your secret ambition?
Every year for the past several I have reflected here at A Branch in the Vine on our dependence as believers on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now more than ever we need to bow our knee before the One who has set us free indeed. I invite you to join me again, friends.
A wise person thinks a lot about death,
while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 NLT
The word puts terror in our bones! We know it's coming but we ignore it when we can, and we act like we will live on this earth forever. But then there's the health crisis, the loss of a loved one, the thoughts in the darkness of night, the day-mare or nightmare. And the realization of the truth of where we are all heading (some of us sooner than later) comes sneaking or crashing in. And then we have to face the inevitable or drown it all out with some artificial comfort.Read More
A question jumped out at me in my "catch up" chronological Bible reading this week. It was so simple yet profound, but it grabbed hold of my mind and heart.
Is there no God in Israel?
A curious question to just jump off the page and grab me, isn't it? Where did this question come from? And why now?Read More
This is scary. This is hard. But I have Jesus!
I was on my way to the hospital to pick up a CD and written report on my CT scan done several days ago. Something suspicious had showed up in a previous test. I wanted to find out, but I didn't want to know.
Walking from the parking lot, I sensed the Holy Spirit give me my "Jesus Prayer."Read More
My twelve year old grandson Kaden and I were chatting in the car the other day. Somehow the subject came up about those in the Bible who never died. And of course, I volunteered Elijah, and Kaden immediately remembered his chariot of fire.
I said, "I love Elijah." To which Kaden responded, "I love Elijah too."
The conversation kept on going with Enoch coming up next. And I'm not sure where it all went after that. Other people/kids were in the car so it may have gone to Fortnight or StarTrek or who knows what else.Read More
Have you ever been so exhausted, so overloaded, so overwhelmed (even with good things or a mixture of good and hard) that you are numb ... on the verge of tears one minute then totally blank the next? That's me right now.
Three weeks with "littles" (I love them to pieces, but the energy doesn't coincide), overlapped by my husband's medical procedure that cancelled out a looked-forward-to trip to visit siblings on my beloved Jersey shore, capped off with my own need for a CT scan of an unexpected abnormality found in a previous ultrasound -- all have contributed to my "blank" numbness.
I'm so thankful for the man that GOD chose to be my earthly father. I wish I had had more time to get to know him as a person. He died young ... just 60! Eleven years on earth less than I have had to this point.
Here are my reflections of my dad from a post 2 years ago. I hit a grief that caught me by surprise:
An Unexpected Grief, first posted November 2016…
There I was, sitting at the stop light. All of a sudden, an overwhelming grief ... not primarily for my mom who died an exact year before, almost to the day. No, for my dad ... who had died in 1983 right before Thanksgiving.
But why am I grieving now ... why this year, when I hadn't thought of him at this time other years?
I tried to track my train of thought and realized that my thoughts had gone from grieving over my mistakes in my parenting to the difficulties in my own childhood home.Read More
The parent-child metaphor is perhaps the most tender picture of our relationship with God as believers. This is so movingly expressed in the Scriptures by the Hebrew term for Father God "Abba," meaning "Daddy." As we approach Fathers' Day (though this is for moms & others also), let's take a break from the blog-type format. Let's do a little digging into the Scriptures. You may like this study for your own devotions or as a small group.Read More
I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. Somehow we ended up talking about mentoring. We marveled at how so many Christians we know, who have matured in the Lord through the help of a mentor, end up being rejected by that same mentor for not agreeing with them on minor points of doctrine or practice, or for moving on in a different direction in ministry, or for some other difference of opinion. How sad. But how common!
Well, there is good news! There is a gem of a spiritual father tucked away in the gospels, one of my heroes of the faith, John the Baptist! He shows us what a true mentor is like. John is not only a clear example of "letting go," but also a stellar model of attachment to his Lord Jesus Christ.Read More
We are not cowed into timidity by death and life. Were we forced to rely on our own shabby resources we would be pitiful people indeed. But the awareness of Christ's present risenness persuades us that we are buoyed up and carried on by a life greater than our own.
The Christ within who is our hope of glory is not a matter of theological debate or philosophical speculation. He is not a hobby, a part-time project, a good theme for a book, or a last resort when all human effort fails. He is our life, the most real fact about us. He is the power and wisdom of God dwelling within us.Read More
My husband John and I were students at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in the mid-1970's. It was during our student days at Moody that we were introduced to A.W. Tozer. My impression of Tozer at that time was that he was a somewhat controversial Chicago pastor of recent years who had a unique gift for being very sound biblically but at the same time shaking up the conservative evangelical "troops." I bought a set of his volumes entitled, The Tozer Pulpit and enjoyed his fiery words. He said such things as...
One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. . . .
How do I abide in Christ? How do I live the Christian life if it's by faith and not about "doing?" What is faith? These were questions that circled around, on and on in the midst of my confusion...that is until I "met" Andrew Murray. Actually, I had read him early in my Christian walk, but that was during the time that "faith formulas" and "to do lists" and "theological systems" were more the answers to my quests than was Christ Himself (although I didn't realize it at the time).
One of my spiritual fathers was still alive on this earth when I first "met" him. Henri J. M. Nouwen (January 24, 1932 – September 21, 1996) was a Dutch Catholic priest and writer who authored 40 books on the spiritual life.
Our "meeting" came in two ways. A mentor friend of mine pointed me to Nouwen's classic work, The Return of the Prodigal Son. This is an amazing book based on meditations on Rembrandt's painting by the same name. (See my previous post for a favorite quote).Read More
I am writing to you, fathers,because you know him who is from the beginning. 1 John 2:13,14 ESV
Since the month of June is Fathers Day month, I'm thinking about spiritual fathers. I've been blessed to have some. My life has been forever enriched by being "spiritually fathered" by these people of God.
So this month, I would like to share a few of them with you. But first, let's think together about "spiritual fathering."Read More