In a Ditch?


When my niece was out on her own and my sister hadn’t heard from her in a while, she would call and ask her daughter if she was in a ditch. I can just hear her saying it! Thankfully we can laugh about it now because my niece was always found to be safe and well.

I’ve posed that same question to my students in the classroom many times over the years since. It seems each concept builds on the one before it. By missing class or not asking questions when they don’t understand, my students put themselves at risk of falling behind or getting lost. When that happens, they find themselves in a proverbial ditch! The more time that passes before they get the help they need, the deeper the ditch becomes. Without help, they find they can’t claw their way out. And so it is with life.

God has good plans for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11). If we stay close, He’ll show us the way. (I can just hear Pastor Dave saying “it’s simple, but it ain’t easy!” after writing that sentence.) God has no trouble keeping His end of the bargain. The problem is on my end. Perhaps you can relate.  Life is full of distractions and temptations that take my focus off Him. When I look down, I veer off the path. Without intervention, it isn’t long before I find myself in a ditch. The longer my focus is on the things of this world, the further I sink.

Are you in a ditch? I have good news to share from the Apostle PaulI am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NLT)

I have this picture etched in my mind—I look up from the ditch and have to shield my eyes from the light radiating from Jesus. He’s standing at the edge of the ditch with an outstretched, loving hand, just longing to pull me out and put me back on the path to the hope and future that He has planned for me (Jeremiah 29:11). I just need to look up, fix my gaze on Him and reach for His hand. Can you see it too? He wants to do the same for you! If you, like me, are struggling to stay on the path, just look up. And then reach for Him.  NOTHING can separate us from His love.

May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. (Ephesians 3:18 NLT)


Jesus – The Ultimate Gift


Have you heard??

“The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” ‭‭           Luke‬ ‭2:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Just as the prophet Isaiah foretold…

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ‭‭        Isaiah‬ ‭9:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Unto you. Unto me. Unto Us. A Son. Is. Given.

God gave us the Ultimate Gift when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, from heaven in the form of a baby. May each of you savor the Savior and the hope, love, joy and peace that He came to give.

Merry Christmas

Advent: The Candle of Joy

joy to the world

Can I be honest? As I sit down to write a post about joy, I’m not feeling all that happy. You see, I’ve fallen victim to everything I’d hoped to avoid this advent season. Sure, my day gets off to a good start as I spend time with Him. But then life happens and Martha springs into action!  She gets busy preparing for the Lord’s arrival. Mary, on the other hand, sees no reason to stress over the Christmas “to do” list. After all, Jesus’ presence is the only thing that truly matters.

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”     Luke‬ ‭10:41-42‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Who cares if the cards get sent? Do we really need cookies? So what if there are no special touches given to our decor? And what about gifts? I guess the response depends on who you ask. (Especially regarding the cookies…right, Mom?) Though I know deep down these “things” are non-essential for celebrating Christmas, they have become tradition and it’s difficult to part with that. Jesus wasn’t necessarily condemning Martha, but rather, affirming Mary. So, for all you fellow Marthas reading this, don’t beat yourself up, BUT also don’t lose sight of the one thing worth being concerned about.

Imagine the shepherds watching and waiting for days, weeks, months and years on end for the promised Messiah. Then. It. Happened. An angel delivered the news…

“but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”     Luke‬ ‭2:10-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The Savior that we ALL desperately need had arrived, perhaps not quite as expected though.

“And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” ‭‭    Luke‬ ‭2:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The King came to us as a baby. And, oh boy (pun intended), did He bring joy! As believers we have 24/7 access to the joy that comes from living in His presence for the Holy Spirit dwells within each of us. No one or nothing can steal that joy, not even life’s difficulties here on earth. I’ve often heard this differentiation made between happiness and joy: happiness is a circumstance-based feeling, but joy is not. Feelings change with the wind, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews‬ ‭13:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬) and our joy is found in Him!

As Christmas draws near, may we each remain focused on that one thing worthy of our concern—Jesus, the baby boy who brought us joy!

As the popular Christmas carol begins…

Joy to the World! The Lord has come

Let earth receive her King!

Let every heart prepare Him room


Advent: The Candle of Love


This past weekend, we lit the 2nd candle on the Advent wreath, the candle of love. The first verse that comes to mind when I think of God’s love for us is the all-familiar John 3:16….

‭‭For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 

For further explanation, let’s continue reading the next verse…

“God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17 NLT

That’s some serious love, perfect even! I can’t speak for you, but I find it quite humbling to think He would go to such great lengths for me. Without the shed blood of Jesus, we are dead in our sin. As I mentioned in my last post, God knew all along that His people had a sin problem and were in need of a savior. His answer…

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” ‭‭    2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” ‭‭     1 John‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

That’s quite a solution, don’t you think? It’s one that demonstrates that His love knows no bounds. As a parent myself, there is nothing that touches my heart quite like the thought of God sacrificing His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us, His broken people, from our sin.

Only Love would give something priceless in exchange for something worthless. He did it for me. He did it for you. He did it for ALL who believe. Unto you. Unto me. Unto us. A Son was given.