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Friday, January 29, 2016

Divine Appointments

Traveling is always an interesting experience, and this trip was no different. On the first flight, in a small plane, my husband and I were separated. I found myself next to an athlete who is trying to make the national team for the Rio Olympics. We chatted and shared, and the inevitable question came, “Why are you living in Spain?” So, I shared about our church ministry and left him with a gospel tract.

On arrival at our first layover, a young woman was confused about how to do something, and my husband helped her. In the exchange, they talked about values, and my husband was able to give a word of testimony. He gave her a gospel tract.

By the time we arrived at our destination late that night, we’d given out four tracts to people we were able to speak to directly about the Lord—wide open opportunities for a witness.

Later in our trip, we missed a flight due to a storm, and we ended up in a long, long line at the airport customer service. In a second line, I was talking to the family behind me, and it turned out they are Christians. The woman said, “I get so involved in my own church community, that I sometimes forget about the great needs in other parts of the world.” While we were talking, I noticed the young man in front of us in line was listening to the whole conversation, sometimes leaning over to hear what we were saying.

We were with a family who had coupons for a certain restaurant. Almost on the spur-of-the-moment, they invited us to share dinner with them. Waiting for a table, we noticed a large family of well-behaved children who were also in the waiting area. After dinner, in the parking lot, I saw a woman walking around in the parking lot. When she paused, I could hardly believe my eyes: she was a high school friend from several states away. You can imagine the reunion! While we were talking excitedly, the family with many children walked by, and my friend exclaimed, “They’re missionaries, too!” We met the husband, and he mentioned his wife wasn’t feeling well. When I asked what her name was, I knew her—though we’d never met personally—from an online missionary fellowship and her very excellent mommy blog. Through another series of “coincidences,” she and I met later.

My sister and I were walking in a mall—my first time out shopping—and we ran into one of my best friends and her daughter.

As a Christian, I don’t believe in coincidences. The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way (Psalm 37:23). Proverbs 3:6 says, In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Now, I don’t claim to be good, since only God is good. But my position as a forgiven sinner in Jesus gives me His righteousness. I’m far from a “perfect Christian.” In fact, I’m just a struggling person, trying to exercise the little faith that I have.

So, I’m amazed how God puts us in just the right place on the right day and at the right moment to watch Him do something special. In fact, although on this trip, we saw it happen quite a few times, it is not unusual to see God put us right next to someone who needs Him. I could tell so many stories!

Once, the whole plane’s seating got mixed up, since they changed planes and packed one instead of taking two. I was next to a married woman, whose husband was seated in the back—as was mine—and a man whose wife was somewhere else on the plane. The flight was something over four hours, and the woman next to me had so many questions about faith in Jesus. We talked the whole four hours. Anytime I got quiet, she asked another question. The man behind her seat leaned forward the whole flight and listened to the entire conversation. It was amazing how natural and flowing it was to share Christ with a woman from an entirely different religious background!

Another time, I was in an airport and noticed a striking couple. They were beautiful, tall people with the air of being wealthy. All their luggage matched. Oddly enough, they flew economy class, and the wife “coincidentally” ended up next to me. Again, it was such an amazing witnessing opportunity, and she kept asking more questions. (Her husband, being a very tall man, wasn’t seated with her.)

I believe God does this ordering of our steps more than we realize. (It’s not only in airports; I guarantee you!) We need to be open to the opportunities and ready to share words of witness to those around us.
  • Pray that God will put you in the right place at the right time, today.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will alert you to open doors—when He is working in hearts.
  • Don’t be afraid to open your mouth for God. Be bold.
  • Look at others through Christ’s eyes. Learn to be sensitive to people’s needs, and be compassionate. Look for bridges, so that you can identify with others and reach them for Jesus.
  • Enjoy divine appointments—watching God use you to share your faith with others. 

God bless you!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


A snowstorm is expected, and everyone is in the grocery stores, stocking up on milk, bread, and eggs. No one wants to be caught unprepared. The sky is already gray, and they say the snow won’t start for a day or two.

I started thinking about the verses about snow in the Bible. They are so different, and they’re full of meaning. Let’s look at them:

  • Snow describes the white color of leprosy. (Exodus 4:6; Numbers 12:10; 2 Kings 5:27)
  • Snow refers to winter. (2 Samuel 23:20)
  • Snow is used literally. (Job 6:16; 37:6; Psalm 147:16; 148:8; Proverbs 25:13; 26:1; 31:21; Isaiah 55:10; Jeremiah 18:14)
  • Snow water or melting snow (Job 9:30; 24:19)
  • Treasures of the snow (Job 38:22)
  • Whiteness of snow (Psalm 51:7; 68:14; Isaiah 1:18)
  • Pure like snow (Isaiah 1:18; Lamentations 4:7)
  • Jesus/God’s garment is compared to snow (Daniel 7:9; Matthew 28:3; Mark 9:3)
  • Jesus’ hair as white as snow (Revelation 1:14)

Besides whiteness, water, and real snow, there are lots of spiritual lessons to be learned. Let’s examine these biblical lessons:

  • God used leprosy as a special sign of His power, when Moses went before Pharaoh. (Exodus 4:6)
  • Leprosy was God’s judgment on Miriam (Numbers 12:10) and on Gehazi (2 Kings 5:27).
  • Snow and snow water speak of cleansing from sin. (Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18; Lamentations 4:7)
  • Snow speaks of God’s provision and power. (Psalm 147:16; 148:8; Proverbs 26:1; Isaiah 55:10)
  • Snow in harvest time is like a faithful messenger. He refreshes the soul of those who send him. (Proverbs 25:13)
  • Snow in the wrong season is used to describe how absurd it is to honor a fool: As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool (Proverbs 26:1).
  • Snow describes the amazing purity and light that characterizes God. (Daniel 7:9; Matthew 28:3; Mark 9:3; Revelation 1:14)

I used to read a book to our children. It asks the question, “Snow, snow, do you like snow?” The answer is an emphatic “Yes!”

Whether you really appreciate the white stuff or not, when you see the next snowfall, think about what God meant when He referred to the treasures in the snow. Are they the gorgeous forms of the snowflakes—the patterns, no two exactly alike?

Or you can view snow and snow melt as God’s provision of water.

Look at the dazzling white and appreciate God’s wonderful salvation. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (from Isaiah 1:18). Forgiveness. What an amazing gift!

Or, snow can remind you of God’s holiness and purity.

The next time it snows, turn your thoughts heavenward.  

. . . And get out your shovel, or make some hot chocolate and enjoy being indoors.

God bless you!

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Tea Bag and Hot Water

The old story goes something like this: you don’t know what a person is made of until he gets into hot water. Then, it’s revealed—exactly like a tea bag infuses its unique flavor after the hot water surrounds it.

I’m afraid my “flavor” is much too evident when:
  • People act silly around me. I mean, they try my patience. They make me wait. They treat me like I’m stupid. And, the water gets murky because it reveals my impatience, my tendency to be easily frustrated, and my pride.
  • Things don’t go my way. I like my way. I like it when everyone else’s plans line up with mine. And, the water gets infused by the brown color of selfishness and superiority.
  • I don’t know how to do something. Recently, I’ve been learning some new technologies, but it’s been a painfully slow, trial and (mostly) error process, and I get frustrated. The hot water reveals discontent, a tendency to get easily frustrated, and impatience.
  • Life gets too busy. Time crunches and multiple responsibilities are the hot water that brings out a short fuse, frustration, and yes, again—impatience.

The tea is made, but it has an ugly taste. Indeed, if I tried to market my new blend, no one would desire it. My tea is: impatient, frustrated, prideful, selfish, discontent, and a little bit angry.

My tea would be a lot better if it were spiced and fruity.

But the boiling water reveals all.

My spirituality got pretty poor marks when the water splashed down upon it.

The Bible says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). That’s what my life should look like day by day.

Peter instructed his fellow Christians not to be shocked that they would be submerged in hot water: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy (1 Peter 4:12). Notice what their reaction should be: rejoice, be glad, have joy.

That frankly doesn’t sound like my “hot water” reactions.

Hot water reveals what’s in the tea bag. I need to check up on my contents. I want to make a savory brew.

How about you? Have you experienced some boiling water moments recently? How was your tea?

The good news is that Jesus understands and can help us with our attitudes, frustrations, and reactions. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).

“Dear Lord, help me to live through the difficult times with your grace.
I ask you to help me today to be joyful and to honor you.
In Your Name I pray, Amen.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Focusing on God When Life Gets Crazy

Did you miss me? I’m sorry not to have kept up with In the Way, but life got hectic, and so, I thought I’d make my return with some thoughts about things I’ve learned during these past few weeks. 

Does your life get crazy sometimes? Do you often feel like you’re running to keep up with yourself? Do you work full-time, have small children, or did your schedule—like ours—suddenly go into turbo gear?

You’re not alone.

Hebrews 12:1-2, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The question is how? How can we focus on Jesus as we run this rat race? How can we concentrate on the Lord in our heart when life goes into overdrive?

Here are a few ideas I’ve needed over these past few weeks. Maybe they’ll help you:
  • Use the time you have, even if it’s just a few minutes. For example, you can review Scripture in your mind as you drive, stand in line, cook supper, or clean up the kitchen. Use time when you are doing something else with your hands to think about the Lord. Use that time to pray. Go down your mental prayer list. Praise the Lord. Be thankful.
  • Listen to good Christian music. I always love the old hymns. They are doctrinally sound and full of praise. Holy, Holy, Holy; Blessed Assurance; Amazing Grace; Crown Him With Many Crowns; Sing the Wondrous Love of Jesus, How Great Thou Art, and others will warm your heart and encourage your soul. Listen while you’re driving or cleaning house.
  • Mini-devotions. Read the Bible as you munch your lunch. Take time to think about what you’re reading. Don’t rush it. It’s okay if it’s only a few verses instead of chapters. Read and heed. Then, put into practice what you learned.
  • When life gets hectic, limit your online time, especially on social media. Nothing is more important than your relationship with God. Reserve your scarce time for communicating with your Lord and for being with your family. There is no way you can be scrolling through social media and meditating on God’s Word. There’s no way you’re strengthening your relationship with your spouse or children if you’re online. Use discretion, and discipline yourself, especially when your schedule is packed.
  • Forget extra reading. I am an avid reader, so this one’s especially for me. When you’re pressed for time, do the needful things.* Listen at Jesus’ feet first and foremost. Take time for family, and forget your new novel, how-to, or whatever kind of reading tempts you. Use the scant time you have wisely. You can always read the book later, when life calms down.
  • Remember biblical priorities: 1. your relationship with God, 2. your relationship with your husband (if you’re married), 3. your children, and 4. ministry, work, and others. If you have a doubt about which things are most important, review your priorities in your mind before committing to anything new.

Learning to take your mini-moments and use them to enrich your soul’s relationship with the Lord will help you get through those crazy weeks.

May God bless you!


*Allusion to Luke 10:42, when Jesus said, one thing is needful, referring to Mary of Bethany, who sat at His feet and listened to His Words.

Friday, January 8, 2016

My Favorite Bible Verse

Faithful is he that calleth you, 
who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

I chose this verse as my “life verse” back in high school, probably because it reminded me of what I needed most at the time. And ever since, it’s been the verse that encourages me and gives me strength.

I love that the whole emphasis is on God doing it. He’s the One with the power. He’s the Doer. He’s faithful. I’m sure you’re familiar with the old hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” It’s based on the truth found in Lamentations 3:22-23, It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

God’s calling. At the time I chose 1 Thessalonians 5:24, my calling was to be the best daughter and student I could be. A few short years later, when I was seventeen, I gave my life to the Lord completely. I surrendered my will and my plans to the amazing God of the universe. And, I asked God to send me.

He did. He sent me to Spain, where our family has served for over 31 years. But my calling was more than a missionary calling. It was a calling to do God’s will, to learn about Him, to walk with Him, to love Him. It has been amazing!

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it means that whatever God sets before me, He is able to do for me. It has been so true. I remember times when I needed to teach or speak, and I was very sick that day. Sometimes, I didn’t even have a voice. I would pray to the Lord, “You know I can’t do this, so if you want anything done, please do it.” I can’t describe how wonderful it is to begin to speak and watch God do something “impossible” using you. When the task was totally beyond me, He did it. When I was asked to do hard things, God enabled me to do them. He is faithful. He gets the glory. Afterwards, I worshipped and praised Him in awe.

Has God called you? If you know Him, He has.

Has God shown you His strength in your weakness? The Apostle Paul said, And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

What’s your favorite Bible verse? How has it encouraged you? Please share!

Faithful is he that calleth you, 
who also will do it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Lightsaber

The little boy got a lightsaber for Christmas. He was thrilled! It lights up, makes a wha-wha noise, and looks cool. And, it’s a sword! What’s better than a sword that lights up lime green? The neatest gift ever.

As I watched this particular child showing off his sword, I thought about a sword that lights up.

Light and sword.

Biblical words.

  • On the very first day of creation, God created light and separated it from darkness. (Genesis 1:3-4)
  • God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).
  • Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105).
  • That was the true Light (Jesus), which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9).

  • For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
  • And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

I think of swords and light together, and the first time it comes to mind is when Gideon’s small army, in the power of God, went up against the huge host of the Midianites and Amalekites. They had a torch in a pitcher in one hand and a trumpet in the other. Light and a sword . . . but this sword was the Lord’s! And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath (Judges 7:20-22).

The Bible says that God gave victories to Israel through the sword and the light from His face: For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them (Psalm 44:3).

So, the next time we see a child playing with a lightsaber, we can think about God’s Word, the victory we have in His power, and the sword of the Spirit. Let’s hold His light high!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Why Do Marriages Break Up? A Four-Letter Word

You’ve probably heard that there are several basic reasons why marriages fail. The main issues: 
  • Finances
  • In-laws
  • Lack of communication
  • Infidelity
  • Abuse
  • Addictions

While these are certainly factors in many break-ups, they don’t need to be.
  • Can we work through this?
  • Can we come to an understanding?
  • Is a compromise necessary?
  • Does anyone—or do both—need counseling?
  • Can we change the way we relate to each other?
  • Can we take steps to correct the problem?

The Bible gives clear instructions for marriage. Let’s look at Ephesians 5, “The Family Chapter.” Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:21-33).

This passage begins with mutual submission, distinct roles, and the beautiful parallel between the marriage relationship and Christ with His church. (I wonder how many marriages look like Christ and the church.) So, what’s our problem? It’s not in not knowing how to do it right. The Bible clearly says:
  • The wife—Puts herself under the authority of her husband and responds to him. She respects him.
  • The husband—Loves his wife and gives himself for her. He nourishes and cherishes her.

The problem with marriages is a problem with the human heart.
It’s a very bad, four-letter word: S-E-L-F.

When the wife only thinks of herself—her desires, how her husband doesn’t meet her needs, how unhappy she is, how she wants to use her time, how she wants to spend her money, how her parents are great and his aren’t, what she wants to read, and what she wants to look at—she becomes discontent.

When the husband only thinks of his own needs, his own body, his own desires and lusts, his own gadgets and toys, his own wanting power and needing to be the boss, he becomes a demanding, manipulative tyrant.

SELF . . .
The ugliest word in marriage.

Would you like to hear a much better word?

When the wife pleases her husband, and the husband looks out for his wife’s interests, the marriage goes well.

Simple? No. Only through Christ living in us, our commitment to our marriage, and obedience to the Bible can we ever come close to being selfless. Let me share a couple of helpful verses with you.
  • For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith (Romans 12:3).
  • Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).

How can you make this practical?  Maybe you need to spend less time online, focus on your spouse’s needs, and show love when you don’t feel love or when you’re tired. What would make your husband or wife happy? Do it. What will please your husband/wife? Do it. Is there something you do that drives your spouse crazy? Quit doing it. Think of him more than you think of yourself.


Now that’s a better word!