Love on Valentine's Day

Photo by Jesse Goll

Photo by Jesse Goll

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
— John 3:16

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard how Valentine’s Day started, but one on the things I read was that Valentine’s Day is a memorial of someone who was martyred for their love for another. That’s the really short version.

Well, that being said, Jesus laid down His life for those He loves. I can’t help but think of my Savior when I think of Valentine’s Day. Maybe you spent the day or part of the day with your sweetheart. Maybe you had other thoughts and feelings running rampant yesterday.

The Bible teaches us that “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

If you want to know love, you must know Jesus. He is love. He proved His love for us!

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us

Romans 5:8

Oh I know some people just think of Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark occasion, but is that really what love is? Love is an action; it’s a commitment. It’s unconditional. Do we really love like that? God does! He proved it by sending Jesus, His Son, to die for you and me when we could’ve cared less about Him.

Today, the day after Valentine’s Day, take a minute and think of the ONE who loves you more than you can fathom and revel in the fact that Jesus Loves You! He is ever faithful. He will never leave you. He loves you more than anyone!

Whether you received roses or chocolate (or a new set of dishes), celebrate the ONE who pledged His love for you with arms wide open.

May today and everyday be a day of celebration of LOVE… the love we receive from our Savior, Jesus, and the love we give to Him.

Dormant Life in the Dead of Winter

Photo by Aaron Wilson

Photo by Aaron Wilson

According to the dictionary, dormant means alive but not actively growing or temporarily inactive.

We all need times of being temporarily inactive. This allows us time to rest and rejuvenate. However, alive but not actively growing is not so good if for extended time periods. We know that when we are not moving forward, we are falling behind. Again, time for rest and rejuvenation is needed and a must, but to stay in an inactive state that leaves us alive but not actively growing can become detrimental to our state of well-being.

A state of being is more than just one’s mindset. It involves our physical, mental, emotion and spiritual health. We require rest for an optimal state of well-being. But to stop actively growing crushes our state of well-being.

Winter months, as depicted in the photo above, demonstrates dormant life. Trees still stand, but are bare of their leaves (unless an evergreen tree). Flowers “die” back to their roots. Nature demonstrates life that is temporarily inactive. God created nature this way - time for nature to rest and rejuvenate.

Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

John 6:27

I don’t know where you are in your journey with Jesus Christ. Maybe you are in the spring; budding out in new growth; excited to bloom where you’re planted. Maybe you are in the summer; marching along in full force following your Saviour. Maybe you are in the autumn: feeling tired and losing some of your luster. Or maybe you are in the winter; dormant; alive but not actively growing; temporarily inactive. So is the cycle of life;

spring-

summer-

autumn-

winter-

spring…

No matter where you are in your journey. Jesus is LIFE and He came to give you rest so you can let your light shine in all seasons of life. Even if you find yourself dormant right now, remember that you still have LIFE in the dead of winter through Jesus.

Rest. Rejuvenate. Because dormant life in the dead of winter is still LIFE. So let THE LIFE restore your vigor to serve Him. Before you know it, you’ll “spring” into action once more!

We are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made for Life

photo by janko ferlic

photo by janko ferlic

January is Sanctity of Life month. I was born in January. What a coincidence…maybe not a coincidence.

Today, I want to share a personal story, not so much about me but about two people who shaped the world for me. Mind you, this is a story as I know it. It may have slight variations if told by others from their perspectives.

But before I begin, I want to let every reader know that you are NOT a mistake regardless of the circumstance of your birth. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You were known by your Creator even before you were conceived. And best of all, Jesus loves you. Yep, Y O U.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139.14

Fifty-two years ago, modern medicine wasn’t quite so modern. My mother who was forty when she found out it wasn’t full blown menopause, it was a pregnancy. I can only imagine her reaction - panic - embarrassment - distress - or maybe blessed.

Let me set the stage… Mom and Dad already had six children with their eldest daughter pregnant with her second child. I can’t imagine being pregnant the same time as my DAUGHTER! Anyway, Mom then developed gestational diabetes. As I mentioned, medicine has come a long way since then. But fifty-two years ago gestational diabetes was bad news.

According to Mother’s doctor and his partner, there was only one option - terminate the pregnancy. My parents were livid that such a thought was actually voiced. Both doctors agreed that there was a one hundred percent chance that the baby would die and a greater than fifty percent change my mother would die in delivery.

The doctors told them it was okay since her life was endangered. Against all medical advice, my parents refuse to abort. In January, following their eldest daughter’s delivery of a healthy baby boy in November, my mother went into labor a month early.

The delivery went on for hours. Mom was beat and the baby was stuck in the birth canal. The doctor said they would have to stop and remove the baby by cesarean section. The baby would not survive the time it would take to get it out.

Mother would not have it! She begged her doctor to try a few more minutes. Just before all hope was lost, a ten-plus pound baby girl was delivered. She was snatched away immediately for intensive care.

My parents weren’t allowed to see her for quite some time. When they finally saw her and talked to the doctor the news was grim. The baby had a nurse with her around the clock. A surgeon was consulted because her left arm needed to be amputated. The doctors said her left arm was damaged so badly during the difficult delivery that it virtually died. It would never be of any use and would most likely never grow beyond the infant arm that it was.

Not to be deterred, my parents stood their ground. One of the nurses said she had seen the baby move a finger on her left hand. My parents pleaded for help to save the baby’s arm.

For the first couple of years, I wore a brace on my left arm and my mother wound exercise it every single day. My older siblings would leave the house during that time due to the painful screams and my mother’s tears.

I grew up to be a happy, healthy, SAVED adult. I’m so thankful to have been given life, especially with the poor prognosis for my mother. God has blessed me more than I can express and He started those blessings with Pro-life parents!

Do I have “scars” from that traumatic birth? Not really. My left arm is a couple of inches shorter than my right and I have limited use, but what’s that? I have life and through Jesus Christ, I have life to the full!

I urge you to choose life! It’s not too late.

I’m happy to share my story in person, and I’d love to hear your story of life. Leave a comment below about how God has given you life.

5 Easy Steps to Quality Time

photo by fredrik-ohlander

photo by fredrik-ohlander

One definition of ‘quality’ is the degree of excellence. So if you were to describe quality time as a degree of excellence, what would that be?

There may be as many answers to that question as there are people who read that question. But I’d like to share 5 easy steps to quality time:

  1. Be in the moment

    • be all there - don’t be worrying over things to do

  2. Focus on what’s going on

    • make eye contact

  3. Listen

    • really hear what is being said and not said

  4. Take your time

    • don’t be in a hurry

  5. Enjoy yourself

    • relax and let yourself experience this time

Does this sound too easy? Perhaps it does, but I’ve found the best things in life are not always as complicated as we make them.

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in a hurry to the next thing. That’s exhausting!

“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46:10

Our Heavenly Father tells us to be still. Quality time is a great form of worship. It’s being in the moment, resting in God’s mercy and grace; truly understanding that God is God and I am not.

Jesus gave us this example often in the gospels. He would pull away from busyness and rest. He would pull away from everyone and spend time with the Father. I believe He gave us this example for our benefit! We must stop and give attention to what’s the most important, not just what’s urgent.

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

So often, I am like Martha. I’m so busy doing that I miss the One for Whom I’m doing. Maybe it’s just me…

Whether your quality time is in your quiet time or with family or friends or just relaxing, practice these 5 easy steps and enjoy the time you have.

Share in the comments the ways you enjoy quality time.