Friday, May 27, 2016


Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer [Ebenezer means stone of help], saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.  (1Samuel 7:12 KJV)

In the United States of America it is Memorial Day weekend.  Originally, it was a time set aside to honor the men and women who gave their lives in various wars (as well as a time to decorate graves of loved ones who have passed away).  Sadly, this time has evolved into a huge party time—a time to kick off summer time. 

Many people will spend the weekend relaxing and hanging out with family and friends—not giving a second thought to what the day is really about.  However, there are places where those who have gone on are remembered.

Personal photo

In the United Methodist tradition, we honor those who have passed away since the previous Memorial Day by reading their names and lighting a candle.  In addition, memorials given to the church are used to buy items; such as, pictures, Bibles, and books—in memory of an individual—are dedicated.

Photo Credit: C. Meissner

With all of this in mind, I thought it would be interesting to look at memorials in the Scriptures.  In order to better grasp the idea of a memorial, let us consider the definition of memorial from Webster’s Dictionary of 1828

1. Preservative of memory.  There high in air memorial of my name, Fix the smooth oar, and bid me live to fame.  2. Contained in memory as memorial possession.  MEMO'RIAL, noun That which preserves the memory of something; any thing that serves to keep in memory. A monument is a memorial of a deceased person, or of an event. The Lord's supper is a memorial of the death and sufferings of Christ.  Churches have names; some as memorials of peace, some of wisdom, some of the Trinity.  1. Any note or hint to assist the memory.  Memorials written with king Edward's hand shall be the ground of this history.  2. A written representation of facts, made to a legislative or other body as the ground of a petition, or a representation of facts accompanied with a petition.[1]

Photo Credit: C. Meissner

We memorialize to honor; we honor people, we also honor God.  On the flip side, we also dishonor people and God by how we treat them and talk to and about them. 

Memorials have a long history; they have a solid biblical foundation.  Throughout God’s Word, we can find memorials to God’s power, might, help, and work on behalf of His people. 

In the Old Testament we see a memorial to the faithfulness of God being put up, by the prophet Samuel—the Ebenezer stone (1 Samuel 7:12). 

What does it mean to you to have a God Who helps? 

What can you do to help you remember how God helps you?

Photo Credit: P. Whitlach 

In the New Testament we see the establishment of Communion—a memorial to Jesus’ work on the cross (1 Corinthians 11:26-29).  (In the future, I plan to take a closer look at Communion.)

Obviously, there are many more memorials in the Scriptures, some will be considered later.

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord of All, Thank You for being our ever faithful “stone of help”.  We realize what a wretched state we would be in without You.  We praise and thank You for Your faithfulness towards us, especially when we have been less than faithful, at times, towards You.  We remember with gratitude all that You have done for Your children.  During this time, we lift up to You memories of loved ones who have died.  Thank You for the ways they have touched our lives.  We remember with gratitude, all that Jesus did for us.  Guide us to use this special time in a way that is honoring, rather than dishonoring.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


Friday, May 20, 2016


*Note: I am re-posting this from last year (original post date:  May 29, 2015) with some editing. 


“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  (Jeremiah 29:11 KJV)

Me on my high school graduation day (May 27, 1990)

Since commencement season is upon us once again; I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the imagery we can see in commencement ceremonies.

Commencement is defined as:  “an act, instance, or time of commencing; the ceremonies or the day for conferring degrees or diplomas”.  While commencement seems to indicate an end of something, such as high school or college, it really means a beginning of something, a new time of life.

My Uncle Carrol and me on my graduation day from William Penn (College) University (May 14 1995, Mother’s Day)

During our lives we have many beginnings and starts—the very first day of school, the first day of high school, the first day at a new job—the list is endless.  Many times a new beginning is the end of some thing that captured our attention for many years.  We grieve what we are leaving behind; while feeling a degree of anxiety and/or excitement about what our future holds.

What feelings did you experience at your high school and/or college graduation?

In what ways did your dreams come true after graduation?  If not, how were God’s plans and dreams different than yours?

My friend, Maud, and me after our college graduation ceremony

Have you ever considered how inviting Jesus into your heart is like a “commencement”?

We know there is much rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:7).  There is a turning from “idols” to the Lord (1Thessalonians 1:9); much like the turning of the tassel during the graduation ceremony, we have a new identity and a new set of responsibilities.  A totally new way of life is open to us.

To be sure, there is an adjustment period, not only for new graduates but also for those who receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.

What advice would you give to this year’s graduates?

What advice would you give to new Christians?

Me after graduate school graduation ceremonies at the University of Northern Iowa (May 8, 1999)

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for knowing Your plans for us—plans that will bring about positive things for us.  Help us to trust in You and the plans You have for each one of us.  Clearly reveal Your presence those who are beginning new chapters in their lives, whether it is through graduation or starting life anew as a Christian.  We pray for our graduates that they will correctly discern the plans You have for them.  May each one seek You and discern the dreams You have for them.  In Jesus’ precious name, we pray. Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,



Sunday, May 15, 2016


*Note: This is an edited post from last year (May 4, 2015).


“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4 KJV)

Sunday, May 15, is Pentecost, the day we celebrate the birth of the Church. It is a day of joy, a celebration of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to His children.  Without the Holy Spirit we could accomplish little—what little we did accomplish would be in our own power and/or strength. (As a side note: on May 15, 2005, I was water baptized. In the future, I will share more in a post dedicated to water baptism.)   

Pentecost is the fiftieth and last day of the Easter Season—when the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the church (see Acts 2). The Holy Spirit came to those who had been waiting and praying for the One promised by Jesus before His ascension.

Likewise, we too, may have to wait for the Holy Spirit to baptize us, to empower us to live a Christian life and to do the ministry God has equipped us to do. (Many times this is separate from the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in us at the moment of our conversion. At some point in the future, I will address this in an additional blog post or series of posts.)  Receiving the Holy Spirit baptism changed things for me in a very positive way.  

The color red, symbolizing the tongues of fire that came down upon the apostles and those gathered together, is the color of the church at this point in the year.

What else does the symbol of fire represent to you?

What comes to mind?

What does fire do (cleanse, purify, destroy)?   

Yet, Pentecost is much more than this.  Pentecost is when Jesus’ promise (see John 14:15-17) to send a Counselor, a Comforter to be with and empower those He left behind was fulfilled. It was at this point that the apostles had the power to preach, to heal, to speak in tongues (unlearned languages and spiritual languages), and to cast out demons.

Without this gift of the Holy Spirit, the disciples would have remained fearful (and stayed in hiding) of the religious and political authorities. We, likewise, without the Holy Spirit are weak, yet when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we can do great things! Consider the great men and women of faith who have done great things for the Lord (for some examples please see Believing God: Those Who Believed God).

I believe this gift—the baptism of the Holy Spirit—with the speaking of tongues and everything else received by those early followers of Jesus is still available to us today. It has not died out as some believe. Just because we do not see certain things much, if at all, today does not mean that the gift given at Pentecost is no longer available to us. More likely, it is due to us getting too smart for our own good! Fear gets in the way too. The Holy Spirit is not to be feared; He is a gentleman and will not come where He is not welcome, nor will He behave in ways that would cause fright.


What experiences have you had with the Holy Spirit?

Have you experienced Pentecost in your life?

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; It is expedient that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”
(John 16:7-8 KJV)


Please join me in prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank You for fulfilling Your promise of sending the Holy Spirit to us. Thank You for the work that the Holy Spirit does in our lives. We realize our need for the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to live as a Christian and to walk as You walked, Lord. Without the Holy Spirit baptizing us, we will rely on our flesh to live as we are to live and to fulfill the ministry that You have called us to; something that we cannot do for the long haul. Come Holy Spirit, fill us with Your presence and empower us to do what we cannot do on our own. In Your Name, we pray. Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


Come Holy Spirit, Come!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Worship Time: Pentecost

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (Acts 2:1-4 KJV)

Today, in lieu of a normal length post, I would like to worship the Lord, in preparation for Pentecost.

Please be watching for a post on Sunday on the topic of Pentecost.

Now let us worship the Lord!

There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit

Every Time I Feel the Spirit, I Will Pray

Blessed be Your Name

Spirit of the Living God

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord, we come to You humbly and in awe of You and Your amazing goodness towards us.  Send Your Holy Spirit to do His work within us; preparing our hearts to receive a Pentecostal outpouring of our own.  Like Your early followers, we wait and pray for the Promise and the empowerment the Holy Spirit brings.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


Friday, May 6, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
(2 Timothy 3:14-15 KJV)

*Note: This post is an edited post from last year (May 8, 2015).

This Sunday, May 8, we celebrate Mother’s Day. Therefore, it is a great time to reflect on the special women (our mom and others) in our lives who nurtured us; perhaps, they still nurture us, even if from afar. There are so many different types of mothers: those who give birth to and raise their child/children, those who are brave and allow their child to be adopted, there are adoptive mothers, foster mothers, and spiritual mothers. So many different ways to be a mom to many—great is the impact of moms on the lives of those they nurture.

At the outset, I realize some reading this post will have had a challenging relationship with their mom, or perhaps a dear mom has passed away, or a mom is no longer mom due to a variety of health issues and/or dementia. My prayer for you is that you will experience God’s comforting, healing presence in the days ahead.

Likewise, some women reading this post will struggle due to their longing to be a mom. My heart goes out to you, so many of us with “mommy hearts” (this includes me) know we are to nurture another person. In my case, I have found contentment in being a nurturing presence in the lives of my friends.


In thinking about some of the ladies who have nurtured me spiritually I recall a couple of dear ladies from my earliest years—both were apart of my life due to Sunday school and church attendance.

Many times, if it were not for our mom we would not be in church. It seems spiritual nurture, many times, is dependent on mom. As a little girl, I attended Sunday school and church faithfully, thanks to my mother. In fact, some of my earliest memories are of church and Sunday school.

Particularly, during the early years (pre-school-second grade), two ladies—Ruby and Clara—taught my peers and me a lot about Jesus and His love for us.  

For many of us, Sunday school and Vacation Bible school teachers have a huge impact on us and how we grew in our faith. What sort of impact did your Sunday school and Vacation Bible school teachers have on you?

How have you been nurtured by your mom or your spiritual mothers (teachers, aunts, cousins, friends of the family)?

How can you nurture someone in need? Look at how Paul encouraged Timothy regarding his faith that he learned from Lois and Eunice (his grandmother and mother) (see 2 Timothy 1:5). 

Therefore, in reflecting on this special day let us think about everything that moms do for their off-spring (this includes spiritual moms too!).

Moms do a lot for us.

They care for us when we are ill.

They comfort us after bad dreams.  

         They encourage us on difficult days.

It is clear that moms everywhere deserve this special day of remembrance.

How can we thank our moms (birth and spiritual) at this special time?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord of All, thank You for our mothers who gave us life and nurture. Thank You for the spiritual mothers in our lives who taught us about Jesus and His love for us and who influenced our growth in the faith. For those who long to be a mommy grant them a special sense of Your comforting presence. Bless our mothers today and always.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


Happy Mother’s Day!!