Before we get too far removed from all those vacation voices, the beachy bliss, the freedom of fun in the summer months, I'd like to tell you about the visual the Lord gave me to show my heart and soul what true surrender does for me and yes, even for Him!Read More
After a summer riddled with surgeries, sickness, scans, and being stuck at home for "recoveries," we are "getting outa Dodge" and heading east ... to my beloved beach. So I am revisiting my blog posts written over the past 7 years that speak of sand and surf and sunrises at my favorite place. The beach early in the morning is a special place where I meet God in the Glory of His Creation and in the Peace of His Presence.
May you be vicariously refreshed as you "visit" with me there...Read More
In worship on Sunday, we sang a song I haven't thought of in years. I've always really liked the song. But this time, I heard the lyrics as if for the first time. And my heart cried out, "NO!"
In the song, we are basically asking the Lord to do what He has already done through our faith in Christ. I thought, "We need to be thanking Him instead of asking."Read More
You cannot impart what you do not possess!
This was a favorite saying of Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological Seminary.
John & I had the privilege of sitting under Dr. Hendricks' teaching in the 1980's at DTS. No matter the class, whether it was "Bible Study Methods" or the "Christian Home," this profound little truth would punctuate the "Prof's" lectures.
In my last post, we talked about Teaching from a Reservoir. If Dr. Hendricks' statement is true, then teaching (or whatever we are doing) from a reservoir presupposes LIVING FROM THE RESERVOIR -- the reservoir of truth in relationship with Him who is the TRUTH.Read More
…Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38
In the early fall of 2000, John & I were blessed by a visit from Dr Marvin Mayer and his wife Shirley. Dr. Mayer had just retired from many years of teaching Bible and Theology at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. John & I were students at MBI in the 1970′s. Dr. Mayer fast became one of my favorite professors and “spiritual father,” with a continuing relationship over the years.
On this particular visit, I got up early so I could walk with Dr M in the morning before he and Shirley left to return home to Illinois. As we walked and talked, he spoke of his years of teaching and made a statement that grabbed my attention: “I teach from a reservoir.”Read More
Bullies don't often give up. They just look for another opportunity in a different place of vulnerability, changing tactics and catching the victim off-guard.
And so true to form, the Bully didn't take long to regroup and sneak up on me in another situation. (See the previous post) It sent me into a tailspin of emotion...trying to choke back tears and keep on doing life. But thankfully, my Hero, the Holy Spirit of Christ broke through the emotional cloud I was churning in.
"Ok Jan. Resist! Stand! Say NO! Remember that? Now look at the entire passage and park yourself there."Read More
The devil and his demons are bullies. But in the presence of Christ, they become wimps.
I'm wearing down, feeling low, on the edge. The past few months have taken an emotional toll on my soul. In the midst of it all, the Lord reminded me of another time I was feeling this way (though very different circumstances). So I am revisiting the truths surrounding His past deliverance from the Bully of my soul. Because truth like this is never learned one time and then "set in concrete." (Oh how I wish it were!) No, it is learned and embraced in each and every today. And so today, here I am again ...Read More
"This is getting old" was my early morning greeting to my husband the other day. John agreed. Waiting on surgeries and recoveries and at the same time being sick and relapsing were wearing on us.
I'm not bored, not even discontent [OK, just a little] but what can I say? It all was getting OLD! Why? Well for me it just isn't fun not to be able to do my usual stuff or go where I want to go (like to New Jersey to visit my sister on the beach before she moves to Florida!) or accomplish my long list of projects. Did you notice the "operative words" here -- do, go, accomplish?
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7 KJV
Ah! How to care for our soul, our inner person? We so often neglect our inside self until we are ready to go over the edge with anxiety, exhaustion, depletion, hole-ness ... often caused by failing to read the signals in and around us.
So my friend and guest branch Mary Petzinger returns today with her helpful insights into this very issue.Read More
In his book The Way of the Heart, Henri Nouwen spoke of silence as a portable cell or sanctuary, a place of transformation that can be carried into ministry. Yet true as that is in active ministry, my ministry now is mainly to family and those that God brings across my path. Even when I’m with family, my heart longs for a quiet place in the midst of chaos. In my oldest daughter Karen’s home it is her sunroom, decorated in a nautical theme. I search for things in the beach painting in front of me – the shapes of the clouds, the rocks at the edge of the water that soothe my soul and help clear my mind.Read More
Here I am again. I got up too soon from a "sick bed" to start my usual "moving & shaking." I can't help but remember (and probably misinterpret) verse 2 from the beloved Psalm 23:
He MAKES me lie down in green pastures...
And my "green pastures" is again my big, soft green couch, for yet another week.Read More
Today my dear grandson Carter turned 10. 10! Double digits, a full decade! Oh how time passes too quickly and here we are.
As I've thought of this precious life, I had been been asking the Lord to give me a verse to pass on to Carter from HIM. First I went one way in my thoughts, and then I went another. But nothing felt totally right, totally it. I was trying too hard instead of letting my heart receive it from the Spirit.
Then it came ... and it was totally perfect!Read More
Are you a futuring-type person? Or as a friend of mine says, a future-think? In other words, do you constantly project into the future?
For this NON-procrastinator, it is very difficult to live in the moment, in the today! My mind is always racing ahead...to the next responsibility, the next event, the next idea.Read More
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