Church in a Condo? You Bet!

Have you ever had church in a condo? We enjoyed just such a time a few years ago during our family vacation to beautiful Colorado.

That Sunday started off extra sweet as Kelli and Jake made cinnamon roll pancakes for us for breakfast. (And yes, they tasted every bit as good as they sound!) But what was even sweeter is what happened next. Church happened. Right in the midst of our family. Right at the dining room table.

While everyone chatted, I slipped away for a moment. When I returned with my Bible, I was pretty sure my girls knew what I was up to since they had grown up with good ole Mom trying to jumpstart some kind of family share time during holidays or vacations. During their teen years, protests or groans usually ensued but not anymore.

No, this time a slice of heaven on earth—at least to this mom’s heart—transpired. I began our share time by reading one of my favorite Bible passages and then suggested that everyone else either share their one of their favorite scriptures or tell what God had been doing in their lives lately.

Along with my husband, one by one our daughters and our sons-in-law shared scriptures and stories of how God was teaching them something or encouraging them in some way. Bottom line? We had church. What a blessing to sit back and listen to our adult kids talk about the Lord and his Word. What a blessing to see our kids walking in the truth.

Church in a condo? You bet. No greater joy . . . no greater joy.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4 NIV

*Where’s the most unusual place you’ve ever had church?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out Aug. 1st. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Hope this updated encore post from Aug. 2011 blessed you today!

*Flickr photo by ALM PortraitsCreative Commons License

Behind the Clouds the Sun Still Shines

One day when I stepped out my back door to enjoy an early morning drink of nature and to worship its Creator, a welcome sight caught my attention. I spotted a glimmer of light and hope for a brighter sky as the day progressed. I saw the sun shining behind the clouds.

On most dark and gloomy days, I don’t think of the sun at all, except for missing the light, the beauty, and the lifted spirits it brings to our world. On this day, however, the Lord parted the clouds at just the right moment and penetrated their melancholy presence with a reminder that no matter what the sky looks like from my vantage point, the sun still shines. The light is always there.

My thoughts soon went to friends and loved ones faced with dark and gloomy days of a different sort, far more serious than temporary cloud-covered skies. Several have been enduring life problems that hold no quick fix, and I wonder how long it’s been since they’ve spotted a glimmer of light and hope for brighter days. I wonder if they remember the sun is shining behind the clouds.

My prayers go up for them and others like them today—that even though all they may see right now are clouds of despair, disappointment, or discouragement, I pray the Lord will penetrate their darkness and allow them to see that he is there. I pray that they will be reminded that the Son always shines behind the clouds.

“…the LORD turns my darkness into light.” 2 Samuel 22:29 NIV

*How does the Lord make his presence known to you?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Vince Alongi, Creative Commons License

*I pray that this revised encore post from Sept. 2009 blesses you today!

The Power of Remembering God’s Faithfulness

“‘But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.’” Acts 26:22 NIV

Do you wonder how you can impact others for Christ or how you can strengthen your own faith?

One way to strengthen our faith is to recall God’s past faithfulness—to remember the times he’s been there for us or acted in our behalf. If we’ll then take it a step further and speak or write or sing of his faithfulness, we will undoubtedly point others to Christ as well and possibly impact their lives for eternity.

In the Bible one example of the apostle Paul remembering God’s faithfulness is found in the book of Acts. When Paul was imprisoned wrongfully while in Jerusalem, he testified before King Agrippa that “God has helped me to this very day. . .” While this particular statement is fairly broad, others he made were more specific. And I imagine that while he sat in his prison cell, he may have privately recalled all the times God had been faithful to him—either as a way to offer thanks to God for all he had done in the past and what he would certainly do in the present circumstance or as a way to bolster his faith when so much was hanging in the balance.

Likewise, when times are bad in our lives, we too can strengthen our faith by recalling God’s faithfulness to us. We too can impact others for the Lord as we testify how God has helped us throughout our lives, how he has helped us to this very day.

God has certainly helped me to this very day. He has strengthened me, comforted me, loved me, forgiven me, delivered me, guided me, empowered and used me, blessed me, and answered my prayers time and again.

Is this your testimony as well? If so, let it strengthen your faith as you remember God’s faithfulness to you. And let it impact others as you testify!

It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.” Daniel 4:2 NIV

*In what ways can you tell others about God’s faithfulness to you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by michael pollak, Creative Commons License

God Stands Near and Gives Courage

“. . . the Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Take courage!’” Acts 23:11 NIV

We’ve all been there—in situations where the stakes are immense and our courage has all but vanished. The life of a loved one may hang in the balance, a disaster may threaten to crush us, or a dream may be crumbling before our eyes. Fear grabs us by the throat and leaves us shaken in every way. We need courage and strength beyond our own.

We find in the Bible that the apostle Paul was no stranger to desperate and dangerous circumstances of his own. The instance from the passage above happened one time when Paul was in Jerusalem. A great uproar had broken out amongst the Jews over Paul and his teachings. He faced deadly mob violence until Roman soldiers took him prisoner. Then when the commander had Paul speak to the Sanhedrin—the supreme Jewish court—the circumstances turned violent again. And again, the Romans intervened and took Paul prisoner.

Just when Paul must have been wondering if he’d make it out of Jerusalem alive, the Lord came and imparted courage to him. Scripture tells us he stood near Paul and told him to take courage, that he had further work for him to do. Whether the Lord stood there physically or in spirit, he came to encourage Paul—in fact, to give him courage. And he drew near to do it.

Will not the Lord also come to us when we are in dire circumstances? Will he not also stand near us and speak courage and peace to our hearts when we desperately need it? Indeed he will. We can count on it. We can count on him. 

“say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come . . . he will come to save you.’” Isaiah 35:4 NIV

*When has the Lord drawn close and imparted courage, peace, or strength to you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Curtis Simmons, Creative Commons License

A Grandmother’s Prayer

Since we often think about both mothers and grandmothers during the Mother’s Day season, I’d like to share a bit of my heart as a grandmother with you today.

I became a grandmother a little over three years ago, first to a set of twin boys and then nineteen months later to another set of twin boys. Yes, you heard right. And yes, we are incredibly blessed!

As with any grandmother, my joy-factor skyrocketed to a new level when our little loves were born. I’ve thoroughly embraced my new status and want to be the best grandma I can be. And the best way to express my heart’s desires as a grandmother is to share what I’d like to say to the Lord about the new role he’s entrusted to me.

And so I give you “A Grandmother’s Prayer.” It’s not so much a prayer for grandmothers to pray for their grandchildren, rather it’s a prayer for grandmothers to pray for themselves. I hope it will bless you—and that even if you are not a grandmother, you will be able to make it your own in some way. May it inspire prayers from your own heart’s desires!

A Grandmother’s Prayer

Oh Lord, what a gift you’ve given to me, what a trust. The chance to be a loving grandmother to precious and dearly loved grandchildren. My heart leaps and sings for joy just thinking about it. Thank you for this awesome privilege.

I pray, Lord, that my sweet grandsons will never question my love for them. May they always know how crazy I am about them and that I’m in their corner. And more than that, I pray that my love for them will be a picture of your unconditional and unfailing love. May my love and presence in their lives be one of the things that draws them each one to faith in you.

Help me, Lord, to be a winsome example of how to live a life that honors you and encourages others. Whatever happens in my life, help me conduct myself in a manner worthy of you. (Philippians 1:27) And from that, Lord, may my grandsons see traits and qualities they adopt and develop in their own lives.

Finally, Lord, remind me continually that time is short and that these little ones will grow up in a flash. Help me to be an involved grandmother who invests my time, attention, and affection in the precious grandchildren you’ve given to me. Please bless me, Lord, with year upon year of making memories with them and with watching them become men who love and honor you.

All this I pray in your name, Lord. May it be so!

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.” Psalm 89:1 NIV

*How can you pray for one of your heart’s desires?

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*My daughter Kristin’s photo