As far back as I can remember, I longed to know God. At my mother's knee, I would sit and listen to stories she would tell me from our big gilded Bible. You know the one...with the records of births and deaths, marriages and first communions. But it wasn't until later, in my young adulthood, that I became aware that I could hear God's voice speak to me...not audibly, but in the still, small voice of His sweet Spirit dwelling within.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
Are you a child of God (John 1:12)? Have you been born anew by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God (John 3:3ff)? Then there is good news for you ... you are flawless like the best diamond, yes totally forgiven, clothed in the rightness of God Himself (2 Cor 5:21).
You are not a "sinner saved by grace." (I hate that term!) You are a "saint," a holy one, a person set apart by God. And He loves you ... not because of your performance or lack thereof. No, because of HIS performance on the cross and His amazing grace on your behalf (Ephesians 2:8-10).Read More
I have been amazed over the past almost four years at what has been my most popular blog post on A Branch in the Vine. Day after day, there are visits to this post, most likely hastily shared one day back in February 2014. But I love these thoughts, because they are based in God's word, and they take me back to a time when I was a brand new mama, wanting God's best for my sweet little son and then later, my darling daughter. And nothing has changed except they are grown with children of their own ... and I have grown older and, by God's grace, deeper in Him.
So since fall Bible studies are starting afresh, I decided to share this as a current post. May you be blessed, as I always am, to revisit where God has taken me and is still taking me as I journey on with Him. Amen.Read More
All grandmas love to tell stories of their grandkids, and I'm no exception. And so I do have a number of my blogs tagged as grandson stories. (But now I do need to broaden the category to "grandchildren" because of our darling Claire Elizabeth.) But I have always had a rule for myself: I only share on A Branch in the Vine what God teaches me through their little lives. And so this post is no exception.Read More
Do you have an Amazon ECHO...amazing, isn't it? This summer, I had watched as my grandson Kaden gave their Alexa (ECHO's female name) directions, asked for definitions, requested songs, etc.
So guess what I recently received for my late birthday gift? Yes, Alexa herself! So my engineer husband John read the directions and "hooked it up" for me. Then of course, we started "playing" with it. Songs, miscellaneous directions, etc.
Then a serendipity ... a totally unexpected, shockingly delightful surprise! Would you believe Alexa reads many books that you have on your Kindle! So I thought the ones she reads would probably only be the "best sellers, etc. But NO! Alexa even reads MY book The With-ness of our God: Relationship in Every Dimension. I could hardly believe it, as I heard those familiar words read in Alexa's female voice on our ECHO .Read More
Embracing my life today ... my now life ... my today life ... not the one I wish I had, but rather the one I have been given ... I want to do that, don't you? Otherwise, I end up fighting my own reality.
And if God is I AM, the Eternal Present Tense Person,then the place I will experience Him is in my real, now, today life. So today is mine, but it's above all HIS! Because each day is a gift from God, my I AM.
I don't know about you, but I need to constantly revisit this truth. I'm so prone to project into the future and occasionally into the nostalgic days of the past.Read More
I was chatting recently with a fellow senior citizen (OK, old lady like me). We had both been at the same social situation recently. Interestingly, as we compared notes, it turns out that each of us had the same experience there. We both marveled at how unfriendly many of the younger women were toward us. Neither of us were unknown to them, so it was confusing.
Then I remembered words that I had heard out of the mouth of an older man in a movie years ago. (I wish I could remember which movie):
The older you get the more invisible you become.Read More
My grandson Kaden just received his first smart phone. He is so excited! And so we have been having some fun texting back and forth. One of the topics that has come up is memes and how much he loves memes. What is a meme, you might ask? (I had to look it up myself). My original impression was that it was a visual with a superimposed verbal message. However, it turned out to be a too limiting definition.Read More
For several years before my mom went to Jesus, I spent lots of precious time with her on the coast in New Jersey. I remembered this blog I wrote after a sweet summer with her at my sister's house in Belmar. One of the highlights has always been my early morning walks along the beach at sunrise. So maybe you need some peaceful reflection today. Why not join me as I "go to the beach" and enjoy the glory of our great Creator in pictures, Scriptures and song. Blessings, my friend.Read More
I swore off marriage books a long time ago!
Getting married in the early 1970's kind of ruined it for me as far as Christian marriage books. It was all about the submissive wife stuff, not much about the sacrificial love and leadership of the husband -- a reaction I think to the Christian feminism coming into the church ... But recently "by accident," I came across a quote that really grabbed me. And this quote expresses the truth of what life on this earth as a believer is and must be, not just for those of us who are married...
Are you in the midst of a long stretch of life when you feel like you have nothing? It has been survival day after day. Maybe you are a mother of multiple preschoolers; a person in chronic pain; a cancer patient going through chemo; a husband or wife, a son or daughter, a sister or brother grieving the sudden death of your loved one; or maybe a caregiver of some kind. You don't have enough time or energy or mental clarity to replenish your own resources. And yet, somehow you are making it!Read More
This will be short, but I want to share how convicted I feel.
In the past I've taken it for granted when hearing about military families getting transferred by Uncle Sam. Yes, I've thought it must be hard ... and what an adjustment it must be for the kids to change schools etc. But since my personality has always loved change and new opportunities, I haven't paid much attention to the possible hardship of it all. Yet many, if not most, of our career military go through incredible change and hardship multiple times in the life of their growing families.Read More
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.
Do you ever feel like there are holes in your soul? I do. In fact, right now I feel a bit like a piece of Swiss cheese. And I don't mean "baby swiss." No, the real holes kind.
The interesting thing is that nothing bad is going on right now in my life. It's all good stuff! But the constancy of the schedule with a newborn (darling first granddaughter!), a two year old (energetic boy, I might add!), two older boys (awesome, each one!), plus sleep deprived young parents (getting ready for a military move next month, I might add), and two aged, also sleep-deprived, grandparents (John & me!) has been hard and delightful at the same time. But to be honest, we adults are all living "on the edge" of something (I just drew a blank as to what).Read More
Why is it easier to weep with others in their suffering than rejoice with them in their success?
Disappointment with my own life?
Scarcity mentality (that there's not enough "good stuff" out there for me too)?
Back when we were in our late thirties, John & I moved our young family from Dallas to Dayton, Ohio because of a job change. At that time we became a part of a fellowship called "Believers' Assembly." In those days, we were among the older folks because the congregation had been formed of college kids who had come to Christ and were spiritually growing under the ministry of young Rennes Bowers. So there was lots of life in that congregation.
I'll never forget the songs in the "blue songbook."** I'm not sure where these songs came from ... whether original to the group or not. But I do remember them being enthusiastically sung to guitar music.Read More
Facing my mortality is good for my soul.
And my "decade-turning birthday" does give me pause, unlike any other. I don't care that they say that 70 is the new 60. Who are the "they" anyway? It's wishful thinking ... just like all the other decade-turning birthdays were. For some reason in our culture, we think we should be above aging!
Yes, there are amazing advances in medical and health sciences that keep pushing the survival rate higher and higher. But what about the "soul's survival rate"? What about the quality of the inner life that transcends the outer?Read More
Lately, there has been a lot of talk in Christian circles (at least the ones that I'm involved in) about mentoring ... in particular, older women mentoring younger; older men mentoring younger.
And hasn't that always been true, no matter the term used? Discipling, spiritual parenting, sharing the Lord ... Of course, we think of Jesus with His disciples, then Paul with his Timothy (and not to forget, Mom & Grandma with their Timothy), also Naomi with her Ruth, etc. You get the picture.
But as we transition from May the month of moms, to June the month of dads, I would like to share about my all time favorite Biblical example when it comes to mentoring.Read More
If you have been following my last few blogs, you know that I have become more aware of the enemy around us as we walk out our life in Christ. He and his minions are not so thrilled when we are walking in peace and rest. And so, there are those dark forces around us that seize any and every opportunity to distract us, discourage us, disturb us and cause us to distrust the Lover of our Souls.
This week, our beloved son Jeremy told us that he was scheduled for a biopsy in the area where he had thyroid cancer almost 20 years ago.