Monthly Archives: November 2021



Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

In the Beatitudes, Jesus calls us to the spirituality of peacemaking. What does that mean? It means that we as Christians are commissioned to mend divisions, reunite the opposed, and bind up the broken. There are so many warring factions in our world today, it is almost impossible to know where to start.

But what we learn from Jesus is to start small and start with what is closest to us. Jesus brought peace to his disciples when they were fighting over who was the greatest. He said the first will be last, making it clear that it is better to be humble (Mark 9:35). In squabbles within our circle of friends and family, we can be the voice of peace, by reminding all to be humble, as Christ was humble.

Another way of mediating between people at odds with one another is to interject love and compassion into the situation, as Jesus did when he embraced the children the disciples were wanting parents to send away (Mark 10:13-16). Simple expressions of care can calm people down and bring people together.

Pointing to the ways of God can change the atmosphere of a conflict too. Bringing to light the harmony God brought about through Jesus and speaking of the desire of God that all people dwell in peace can help people put their differences aside (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Psalm 133:1).

Not every dispute can be resolved, of course, but James puts it this way, “Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which bear fruit in holiness” (James 3:16). Start sowing seeds of peace today, and see what happens.

Deepening Gratitude


Happy Thanksgiving to you all! The concept of gratitude shifts as we grow older. As children, we are grateful, sure, for the things we see before us—our family, our friends, our home, our school, our toys, our clothes, our meals and snacks. But as the years go by, we start to look beneath the surface. We become more grateful for the power of healing at work within ourselves and one another. We become more grateful for the underlying faith and trust we have in our God to keep moving forward. We are grateful for the strength granted to us from above to make it through difficult circumstances of all kinds.

You may not know what is going on in the lives of others behind the scenes, but God does, and his grace is at work. Many people may not know everything that is going on in your life, but God’s grace is at work inside of you too. And this is a blessing, a gift, a reason to be grateful.

Our hearts are opened more than ever to the outpouring of God’s love into each one of us. Thanksgiving is not just about the turkey and the potatoes and the stuffing. It is about everything that fills us up spiritually with confidence and comfort and closeness to our Savior, Jesus, who died that we might live forever to sing his praises. Let that joy from within overflow into the expressions of thanksgiving that are truly from the heart and not just lip service. Our God is a God of great favor that is far richer than we could ever have imagined as a child. So let us let that richness be known in our conversations, prayers and acts. And let that endless supply of spiritual grace well up onto our smiling faces as we gather together around the tables of God’s goodness in our homes.

Holy Ground

holy ground

“Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” —Exodus 3:5

When Moses came to the brushing bush, God told him that he was on holy ground. He took off his sandals and he listened to what God had in mind for him—to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let God’s people go from Egypt. This was a special moment, a sacred space, a monumental experience for Moses. On that day heaven touched earth and God’s presence and will were made known.

We, too, stand on holy ground at significant times in our lives—at the birth of child, at the deathbed of a loved one, at the altar when we become a husband or wife, when a perfect job opportunity is placed before us, when we decide to move to a new location, when a Bible verse alters our approach to living. These times do not come along every day and that is why we savor them. While we do not need to take off our shoes when we recognize that we are on holy ground, this is an instance when we need to sense more deeply with our whole being what is happening, fully feeling God’s mighty presence come down to earth.

When we have stood on holy ground, our lives change forever. Our will and way tie in with God’s. Our purpose and plan take on a new form. Our dependence on God comes to the forefront. We know we cannot do the holy work before us on our own, so we put our trust in the Holy One who can empower us all with his strength. Stay grounded in the holiness of God, in which he has allowed us to stand.

Plugged In

plugged in

When I moved my computer from my home office to my work office, I plugged all the cables and cords back into their appropriate outlets and ports, or so I thought. When I was having trouble connecting to the internet, I finally discovered that one cable was plugged into the wrong port. Once I made the switch of the cable into the correct port, I was off and running on the internet.

The experience made me realize that it is often the smallest things that can keep us disconnected from God as well. When we plug into watching TV more often than plugging into prayer, it disconnects us from God. When we plug into caring more about ourselves and own personal stories instead of plugging into the story of salvation found in Scripture, we disengage from God.

Things may seem like they are running OK when we cut God out of our lives, but at some point our screens go blank and we cannot move forward with the work we were designed to accomplish in the kingdom of God. Reconnecting to God through prayer and Bible reading opens the floodgates to the free flow of information from his heavenly throne on high. We receive the wonderful messages of his love and care, his promises to be with us and his covenant to save us through the life, death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus.

God is someone you should not pull the plug on in your life or replace with something else. Staying plugged into God has eternal benefits that no media platform or personal power trip can supply. Staying connected to God makes our lives run better than the most highly powered computer. Staying connected to God means that our operating system is optimal on all levels.



There is a new way to use the word shook these days. It does not mean simply being a little startled. It means being incredibly shocked and very surprised by something. It means being taken aback in a major way. It means being rattled to your very core.

Before the term shook was even invented, the Bible describes people who were shook. Think of Mary when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. The Scriptures say she “was greatly troubled” and “tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be ” (Luke 1:29). Sounds like she was shook. And rightly so.

Think of the shepherds on Christmas night when the glory of Lord shone round about them. The Bible says they were “sore afraid” (Luke 2:9). That’s a clever way of saying they were shook.

Then on the day that Jesus rose from the dead, when the angel rolled back the stone of Christ’s tomb, the soldiers guarding the grave literally trembled, the Bible tells us. They truly were physically shaking because of what had happened. If that’s not shook, then I don’t know what is.

We often have similar times in our lives when we are shook. Perhaps it was upon learning of the upcoming birth of a child. It could have been when you had a moving spiritual moment at church, in prayer or in nature. Or maybe it was at the death of a loved one.

Being shook can start out as a frightening experience, but as is revealed in Scripture, when God is involved, you can come out on the other side of being shook feeling uplifted. Mary came to realize how blessed she was to be the mother of Jesus. The shepherds embraced their roles as messengers of the Good News, joyfully sharing about Jesus with others as the angel had told them. After the stone was rolled away, those who saw the empty tomb of Jesus were filled with great joy at his resurrection. knowing that death was defeated.

We, therefore, should not be afraid when shook, but should trust the plans of God to make things happen in his way and his time for our benefit. Always be prepared for God to shake things up that you might be lifted up by his love and care.



You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:16

We all like a good mystery now and then. There are many shows and podcasts that are devoted only to solving the mystery of who-dun-it. There is great satisfaction when we figure out what happened using the clues that we have been given.

One of the mysteries throughout the ages has been “Who is God?” People have searched high and low for the answer and come up empty. But we have been given the clues in the Old Testament. We have the evidence in the miracles and messages recorded in the Gospels. We have the cross and empty grave that bear witness to the truth. Jesus is God and he came to earth to save us through his death and resurrection. It is an open-and-shut case. No one can tell us otherwise. We can close the book on the issue and live our lives in the confidence that the God we seek has been found in the person of our Savior.

There may be other mysteries of life that we will never know the answer to until we see Jesus in heaven. But the mystery that matters, the identity of the divine, is determined for us and is something we treasure and can keep going back to whenever we are in doubt. I think of the serpent in the garden who said to Eve, “Did God really say…?” and planted false notions into her head. We need never let that happen to us because we can always go to the Word of God and know for sure that there is no question, no re-investigation needed. We know the truth in Jesus and the truth has set us free.