Monday, April 30, 2012


I have fallen in love with PicMonkey!  No, it’s not a cartoon, or quirky rock band, it’s an online photoshopping site, and  if you’re not familiar with the term, let me explain. Let’s say you take a picture of a tulip, it’s nice enough, but not great.  Upload the photo file to PicMonkey, and have some fun.  In the basic area you can improve the clarity, crop it, change the exposure, add or remove shadows etc.  Move on to the other levels and the options are limitless.  Add a border, pump up the colors, HDR it (which adds higher dimension), write a caption, add stickers, you name it, and this site has the tool to do it.  After a few minutes of tweaking, viola you have a masterpiece!!  The original is still there, it’s beauty is just enhanced, and best of all, it’s FREE!!  You know I love that aspect.  I got to thinking that God is like the quintessential photoshopper.  He has everything in his power to make us into those same kind of unique works of art. Where we have darkness or shadows of doubt, he brings light and bursts of color.  In the HDR mode he pumps up our understanding of him. Like a true artist, he never wants his work to look phony or contrived, merely a subtly refined reflection of himself, and it‘s FREE too!!  “…let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God--truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:23-24

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I was looking back in my prayer journal recently, and came upon an entry from January 2, 2009.  If you remember, there was a devastating ice storm that hit the south .  Much of the region, over one million people, were without power.  My parents, in Springfield, MO survived  for 2 weeks with heat from a wood stove. As I looked at the pictures and read the first-hand descriptions, God laid on my heart that much of the “church” had been operating without power for ages, and no one was complaining. Sadly, it was business as usual.   The early church was a “happening place”.  People being healed of all sorts of physical and mental illnesses; lives were changed in dramatic fashion; prisoners released while guards slept, and so on.  To top it off, people were excited, and happy to be working in the supernatural power of God.  They believed that the promise of Holy Spirit infilling was true, and it showed in everything they undertook.  The Greek word for miraculous power, dunamis, was used to explain this phenomenon.  Our English word dynamite is derived from it.  Authentic, supernatural power, available to all believers, at all time.  Today, people, even Christians, seem to think that this type of power is not available.  How wrong they are, and how weak it has made the body of Christ.  Nowhere can I find scripture stating that God will ever shut off the power.  Just the opposite…we need power now more than ever in this intellectually, technologically jaded world.   A showroom fresh Mercedes may look pretty sweet sitting in your driveway, but if it has no engine it’s useless.  That is what we have let the church become, pretty but not functional.  Jesus promised us this, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:8. I, for one, am holding him to it.  Please join me today in employing His power!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

On The Rock

Before visiting Spain, I checked a guide book, and saw a TV show on the town of Ronda.  The beauty and location intrigued me, I had to see it in person.  When we arrived, we planned the journey.  It was situated in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and took a 2 hour bus trip to reach, but it was well worth it.  A deep chasm separated the “old“ part of the city from the new, but one thing each side had in common was rock.  The task of building homes there must have been daunting, especially before the advent of mechanized cranes.  Anyway, build they did right smack into the rock.  Those houses weren’t going anywhere, even in the face of wind, rain, snow or hail, they stood and still stand proud and firm.  Not unlike those solidly built houses, our lives will be buffeted by all sorts of storms: disappointments, sorrows, losses, sickness and so on.  There are those who choose to erect their lives on sand, bogs or flood plains.  Perhaps they were told an untruth about the site, or simply fell in love with the location. Whatever the reason, the structural integrity of their lives are in jeopardy from the onset of construction. When the inclement weather hit, they will suffer major devastation. Christ is the solid rock, the sure foundation on which to build the structure that is our life.  Don’t let a cheaper price, or false advertising lure you into building anywhere else, your life depends on your choice. "Therefore, everyone who hears what I say and obeys it will be like a wise person who built a house on rock. ... The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25

Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Life

We complain about the weather here in Illinois, but I have to admit that despite oppressive humidity, ice storms and threats of tornadoes, I love the change of  seasons.  Spring is here, and even though I‘ve witnessed over 60 of them, the burst of new life, never ceases to astound me. Not surprisingly, after the monochromatic winter months, it is pure joy to behold color, once again.   With camera in tow, daily I scour the landscape for blossoms and buds.  Recently I came across this poppy, on the verge of popping, and couldn‘t wait to see it up close.  The “hairy“ pod was beginning to part, revealing the wrinkled crimson of the flower within.  A transparent membrane protectively held the delicate blossom in place, awaiting the day it would explode in dazzling glory. Spring after spring, we anticipate new life, but it’s only in personal, spiritual rebirth, through believer’s baptism, that we fully comprehend its fullness.   Christ gently opens our hard shells, lovingly bringing what’s inside us into beautiful, brand new life.  The flamboyant, flouncy poppy will only last a day or two, but hallelujah, our new life is eternal!!   “And with him you were raised to NEW LIFE because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.” Colossians 2:12.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guiding Hand

As a high school instructor, my husband taught young people how to weld.  He used to tell me, that when they began the course, he would stand behind the student, and place his guiding hand over theirs as they held the welding torch.   This hand on hand method proved most effective in demonstrating the perfect angle, and  the right contact that was necessary for a achieving a strong weld.  Over time, as the student gained confidence and skill, he would gradually remove his hand allowing them to work on their own.   Sometimes, as Christians, we are under the assumption that God just wants us to get out there and “weld”, without training to build our ministry skills. Nonsense, no one would send an unskilled person to perform a task that takes precision.  That’s not to say that people don’t rush ahead of God thinking they know exactly what he wants them to do.  Usually that is a sure recipe for disaster.  Stand still, allow him to place his hand on yours and guide them.  No one becomes a welder or craftsman immediately. It’s only after time, practice, and training from a professional that true effective skills develop.  “Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.” Luke 6:40.  Offer him your hands, and watch what happens.  “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak….” Hebrews 12:13

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Preach the Word

My son and daughter-in-law know that I love photography, so for Christmas they gave me a subscription to Popular Photography magazine.  I Love It!!  I also enjoy going on photo websites, viewing and commenting on other photographer’s work, and discussing my passion with fellow enthusiasts.  I’m not interested in fishing, NASCAR or bowling, and don’t hold any opinion on those who do pursue these hobbies.  My question is, why do people who claim to be agnostic or atheists, love to bash Christians?  They visit websites, or Christian gatherings just to criticize or belittle. Surely they have their own venues, wouldn‘t that be more effective?  Why would anyone want to spend valuable time demeaning what they have no interest in.  You won’t find me at a NASCAR race calling them names, or slandering fisherman on their websites!   Could it be that these folks have a desire to know more about God, but don’t want to admit it.  I, for one, see these “intrusions” as positive, and an occasion to share my faith. Just as I adore talking about photography, even with those who show no interest, my hope is that my enthusiasm for Christ will make them eager to find out more.  If you are ever confronted by a belligerent non-Christian, count it as an opportunity, but be prepared!  “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:2

Monday, April 23, 2012


I don’t subscribe to Twitter, but I did happen to notice an interesting Tweet recently.   While traveling in England, I attended a wonderful God-centered church, and later visited  their website. I found a tweet there that went something like this…“all churches do is spiritually manipulate people…“  I love words, and their origins, and from my Spanish background I remembered that manos meant hands.  From that point I looked up the dictionary definitions, one of which I found fascinating.  “Manipulate:  Medicine/Medical  to examine or treat by skillful use of the hands, as in palpation, reduction of dislocations, or changing the position of a fetus.”  Just about everything we encounter in life tries to manipulate us.  Advertising, books, TV shows, newspapers, etc., but that type of manipulation, while done skillfully, can be accomplished in an unfair manner.  With God, however, our lives and spirits are in skillful, loving hands.  Just as a medical Dr. will reposition broken bones, or an unborn baby to prepare it for safe delivery, so too, God’s hands form and move us in beneficial ways…yes we are manipulated!  “Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man's nostrils, and the man became a living person.” Genesis 2:7.  “And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.…” Isaiah 64:8  That kind of manipulation I want.  Go ahead Lord, mold me and make me in your own way!

Friday, April 20, 2012


If you remember your Old Testament, you may be familiar with the story of Moses when he returned to the people, for the second time, with the Ten Commandments.  He was all aglow, literally!  So much so that the people were afraid to approach him, so he covered his face with a veil. He hadn‘t even been aware of his own luminosity, and it was all because he had spoken with the Lord!  Nowadays, the only time we say a person glows is when they are pregnant or in love.  Personally, I think we should be shiny all the time.  What a wonderful conversation starter it would be….Someone to me, “My, Donna you sure are aglow today. New blusher?”  Me, “No, better, I’ve just been talking to God, and it rubs off.” I‘m sure there are those who will shake their heads, and roll their eyes, but those who are in the know, will understand. There should be something different about us.  Eventually, Moses’ glow faded, and out of embarrassment, he kept the veil on.  In the same way, the glory of the old covenant dimmed, as the brightness of the new one replaced it. So, get out there and bask in His “sonlight”, no Coppertone required! “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Down on Canal St., in New York City, vendors hawk “knock-off” versions of Prada, Dolce and Gabana, Louis Vuiton and many other designer purses.  To the untrained eye, they look just like the genuine article, even down to the embossed logos, but those in the know can spot a fake immediately.  When it comes to accessories, I’m not all that savvy, but if the item in question is salvation, well that’s another thing.  There are plenty of folks who will tell you that they know the way to God, enlightenment or Nirvana.  They want you to believe that it can be found in various religions or paths, and their claims can sound and appear very real.  I didn‘t “buy” into Christianity as if I were purchasing a knock-off, I studied, questioned really sought out the seal of authenticity, and I found it in Jesus. Authentic means conforming to fact, and therefore worthy of belief and trust.  Rather than shopping all over creation for the real thing, “buy” with confidence in God, He is verifiable. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.   

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


If you ever have the opportunity to visit New York city, be sure to take a tour of Central Park.  Within this beautiful green space you‘ll find castles, fountains, a lovely lake and the Imagine Memorial to John Lennon. John lived, and was murdered, just across the road in the famous Dakota building. I loved the Beatles, and at that time, cared very little about their politics or religious beliefs.  John was the most outspoken member, especially after he and Yoko Ono got together. His personal credo can be found in the words of his song, Imagine.  It is a beautiful ballad that makes us all contemplate how wonderful the world would be without hatred, war or God.  As I said, religion and a relationship with God was not to be found in my thinking, so I, in full agreement, sang along.  John even went as far as to declare that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ.  Adults, including my parents, were appalled, I thought it was true.  Thank God someone was praying for me to find the truth, and I did.  While I still love to listen to the old Beatle’s albums, including Imagine, I now sing a far different tune one whose lyrics express the fullness of life in Him. The apostle Paul, not McCartney, puts it this way,  “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or IMAGINE, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:21...Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Still Small Voice

“And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:12.

God reveals his awesome creative abilities in a myriad of forms; earthquakes, storms, oceans, trees and mountains, to name just a few.  Daily I marvel at delicate seed pods, blazing sunsets and grazing deer, his beauty surrounds us.  But, there are times when I, like Elijah in this passage,  long to really see God.  Elijah had been feeling depressed, so God decided to show himself to the weary prophet.  He almost missed it, wrongly assuming that God was in the big showy stuff.

 I had an opportunity, recently, to hear that still small voice, by witnessing a truly intimate glimpse of God.  After a church service, a young pastor called all the children, 19 and younger, to the front of the sanctuary.  He had just taught on our responsibility, as adults/parents, in helping  the next generation seek out and establish personal relationships with God, so I assumed we would all stand and pray for them.  God had another plan!  The parents were called forward,  the fathers positioning themselves facing their child, while the mothers stood behind.  The pastor then asked the fathers to pray a blessing over their child.  One father, in particular, held my rapt attention.  As he began to pray, guided by the Holy Spirit, he embraced his pre-teen daughter placing his hand protectively behind her head, as one would lovingly support an infant’s.  I never heard a word of the prayer, but his tear streaked face, and nurturing posture told the story.

When is the last time you prayed for your child like that?  God, in that still small voice, whispered to me, “I am your father, and this is how much I love and long to bless you”.  If you’ve never experienced this revealing look at God, ask him to show you, you will never be the same.

Monday, April 16, 2012


“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3.  I know that some of you have been church members for years.  Are you aware that God tells us that in the “last days” godlessness will abound?  You may be nodding your head in agreement as you envision Hollywood, pornography, and general widespread wickedness in every area of life.  While that is true, and always has been, the godlessness he was referring to is within the church itself!! What is sound doctrine?  The response, from many Christians, is the basic “God is love” theology.    Of course love is a solid answer, but love alone is not the whole picture.  By merely dwelling on God’s love, we miss out on all the essentials of who God is, and what he requires of us.  For centuries faithful followers were obedient to the teachings of Christ. As the church “evolved”, it became less god-centered, and more man made.  The faithful decided to pick and choose which of God’s directives to apply to themselves.  Today it has become a fluffy-doctrine church, where folks move from preacher to preacher looking for the one that best approves their lifestyle, and tickles their ears. Paul  goes so far as to say that the church has “a form of godliness, but denies the power.” Don’t be fooled, no matter how good a pastor makes you feel,  true doctrine is unchanged!  Sure God loves us, like any good parent, but like a good parent he wants us to grow in His wisdom and mature in faith. Do you want to know more about what this godless church, and its parishioners look like?  Read 2 Tim. 3:1-9, its an eye-opener!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Been With Jesus

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John, and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had “been with Jesus“. Acts 4:12-13.  John and Peter had been arrested, when this was written, because they had healed a crippled beggar at the temple gate.  Healing was not the main infraction, but the fact that they were preaching Jesus, and his resurrection, now that infuriated the Sanhedrin.  My question to you is, can people recognize a difference in your lifestyle and actions?  Are you  ordinary like Peter and John, but doing extraordinary things in the name of Jesus?  There should be a discernible difference in anyone who has “been with Jesus”.  The disciples spoke with  boldness and authority; a man who had been crippled since birth, walked; onlookers were amazed, and even the muckity muck Sanhedrin members knew something was peculiar. If, for example,  I told you I had bought an amazing anti-wrinkle cream, you’d be checking out my vanishing crow’s feet for proof. If we claim to be Christians, shouldn’t our lives be transformed, standing as proof of having been with him. If not, why not?  I think most Christian’s lives aren’t reflecting His power, because they don’t know they have it. Well, we do!   Please, learn all you can about the empowerment God offers, claim it for yourself, and start living like you’ve been with Jesus!  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Transformed by Scripture

A number of years ago, while visiting NYC, I attended a Vineyard church worship service.  The pastor was, and still is, Charles Park,  an MIT graduate with a PhD. in economics.  I recently read an interview he gave to Cutting Edge, the church planting magazine of the Vineyard.  It was entitled, Biblical Authority in a Postmodern World. The publication itself was centered around the theme, Transformed by Scripture.  He made some fascinating points, a few of which I’d like to pass along.  All of us bring our own thoughts and perceptions to the table when we try to understand scripture. The Bible is so much more than just history or stories,  it is, and must always be, higher than us.  He says, “it (the Bible) needs to act as a mirror to bring us to a better place, to correct us, to call us out on who we are..”.  He goes on to say, “We’re not pursuing a truth that is figured in historical facts and debates or questions of whether something happened or not.  We’re pursuing a truth that is a person: a living God.  We are not after right answers; we’re after the right person.  Our faith rests in Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”  “We’re not simply a text-based faith.  It’s Jesus who contains everything I need to do.  He never wrote anything down himself; only his disciples did”.  …it is not an answer book every single time.  But it is meant to point us to God.  If it provokes us, fine. If it makes us push into God, then it’s done it’s job.”  He concludes by saying, “Once I decided to believe it, I knew I must go with it; I must submit to it as a greater thing.”  What greater thing could there be to submit to? “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim. 3:17