Gabriel’s Soliloquy

“In the word of God, names are important. My name is Gabriel which means ‘The Lord is my strength.” In ancient days I and my brother Michael—his name means ‘there is no one like God’, but he is also known as a warrior angel—we appeared separately to the prophet Daniel, both as messengers of God. Daniel’s name means ‘God is my judge.’

Scrolls have a place of prominence in the Bible, not just that they are mentioned in many places in it, but that much of the Word of God was originally written on them. The book of the prophet Isaiah was written on a scroll, a scroll containing many prophesies of He Who is celebrated on this night.

A scroll has been placed before the representation of the manger throne and the Lamb scrollwho lies within. Soon the pastor, and others participating in the worship service, will be using it to transport this congregation back to Bible times.



Now for my story, which it thrills me to share:

But first, a brief word about Michael. Part of his assignment was to deliver a different, very special scroll to Daniel which the prophet was to roll up and seal until the end of time.

The message I was instructed to deliver, though cryptic in that day and this, spoke of the coming Messiah. Daniel recorded my message to all who would hear throughout the remainder of earth’s history.

A few hundred years later, I was blessed indeed to visit the priest Zechariah to deliver good news that he, in his old age, would shortly become a father. He did not believe my gabriel and zechariah.pngmessage and, as a consequence, was stricken with temporary muteness which would end with the naming of his son. His wife Elizabeth, though also advanced in years, did conceive. The child within her was so special he would be the first, even in his preborn state, to rejoice in being in the presence of the Lord.

Just a few months later, I was again blessed—why, my Lord God Almighty, should you choose to so bless me?—with the honor of being sent to Nazareth a town in Galilee to deliver the good news to its very first recipient. I would be telling Mary, a girl living there, that she was to be the mother of the Savior of the world. I must admit, I was a bit nervous about the message. Mary was so young! She was engaged but not yet married. What would be the ramifications of this with her espoused, indeed, with all who knew her?

But the Lord God Almighty sent me, giving me his strength.gabriel and mary.png

Mary was at first troubled, not so much by my appearance, but by my greeting—that she was highly favored and the Lord was with her.

She questioned the logic of my message to her, not understanding how such a thing as conceiving the Savior of the world should be possible to her, a virgin.

I explained to her how this would be accomplished by the Holy Spirit.

She had no further questions. She, as was her manner, quietly accepted the will of God. She was not, at this time, told of the things Jesus, and because of the intimacy of their relationship she, would suffer. When it was clear that Mary accepted this assignment, I departed.

In the fullness of time, first Elizabeth and then Mary delivered their babies, babies who had communed with joy in utero. A host of my brothers filled the heavens the night of the Savior’s birth testifying to the lowly shepherds below of his birth and its significance to all people and praising God the Father, saying angelws and shepherds                                                 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’

This was the beginning of grace, that unearned gift available to every human, the means to deliverance from sin, sickness, and death. And I got to witness it!

Finally, in the fullness of time (and no one knows the exact date), one of us will be the angel who goes before He who sits on the throne. The King will have within His right hand a scroll with 7 seals. Could this be the same scroll that my brother Michael instructed the prophet Daniel to seal? The seals are such that no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth will be able to open them or even look inside the scroll. The angel will weep in despair.

lamb and scrollBut alas, the Lamb who appeared as though He had been slain, will take the scroll from He who sits on the throne. And it is revealed: only Jesus, Messiah, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll revealing all that is written within.

Tonight, we angels celebrate with the humans, made in God’s own image, the birth of Messiah.

Glory to God in the highest heaven. Messiah reign forever and ever amen.”

Verses Referenced:

Genesis 1:26                                             Luke 2:8-14

Genesis 17:5                                             Ephesians 2:8

Daniel 9:21-27                                          Revelation 5:1-10

Daniel 12:4                                               Revelation 13:8

Luke 1:11-20, 26-38, 44



Precious Memories

Memories of Rod

10 years ago, almost to the day, I was enjoying friends and family who had just helped celebrate my wedding to Roderick Lloyd McDougall. Although we were married on October 24, 2009, it was a Saturday. Today is a Saturday, so I went by the church where we celebrated to revisit some memories.

It rained today. fainIt was raining when I woke this morning, and it is still raining now, well into the evening hours. A steady rain, not a storm, but heavy enough that streets were passing from the unexpected puddle stage to the full-blown flooded stage. A similar rain was falling my soul.

Returning from a meeting in another town I took the long way home so I could stop at the church. assemblyofgodAlthough my memories of that day are nearly all good, I anticipated having a good cry when I arrived.

Once there, though, there were no tears.

Only the memories. Precious memories, how they linger. . .

It is a song that was one popular at funerals.

Remembering what I wore as Rod and I started our journey to Pigeon Forge that evening. It was a gift from the pastor’s wife, a purple sweater knitted out of some scrumptiously soft yarn, and I think I was wearing jeans. Rod was dressed comfortably, too. He had not at all enjoyed the feel of his tux and was happy to dress back down to his more casual—ladder.jpgmuch more casual—customary attire.

Precious sacred scenes unfold. . .

As I sat in the parking lot tonight parked in a handicapped spot (no one else was there to see my infraction or to need the spot) just a dozen feet or truckso from where Rod’s truck was parked that night when I climbed into the passenger seat next to my new husband who was old-fashioned enough to insist on driving the whole way, I allowed the memories full reign.

As I travel on life’s highway. . .

I remembered a time several hours earlier in the day, early afternoon, getting ready in the small apartment in the church with my daughter and my best friend, maid of honor and bridesmaid respectively. One thing weighed heavily on my mind.

Would he show?

I sent my daughter out into the church more than once to check on him. He was late, but. . . finally he was there.getting-ready.jpg I could breathe a little easier.

Knowing not what the years may hold. . .

Why was I so worried? Didn’t I trust the man I was about to marry?

Life had given me reasons, many of them, to not trust. I trusted God, but I had a little more difficulty with his most precious creations. trust.jpgEven this one, the one I was about to marry, had let me down 5 years earlier by breaking my heart when he came to realize it was too soon after his wife’s death to be involved with another woman; he wasn’t ready.

What if he still wasn’t ready?

This time he was, and it was such a good thing. We had 6 years, 3 months, and 19 days together. At the end of that time, God determined that Rod’s purpose on earth (and I believe those last 6 years were mainly the restoration of my wounded soul) was complete. Did you know another word for complete is perfect? Rod’s work was both complete and perfect, and he got to go home. He was 1 week short of his 56th birthday.Rod FFD 2014

As I ponder, hope grows fonder. . .

My work is not done. I am still here. I don’t have a complete picture of what that work will be. Except for this. When I became Rod’s wife, my name changed from Jacqueline Lisa Stauffer-Taylor to Jacqueline Lisa McDougall (initials JLM which also stand for Jesus Loves Me). Rod is no longer with me, but JLM remains. Jesus Loves Me. What an identify, one which had always been mine, which Rod helped me understand and which remains.

Unseen angels from somewhere to my soul. . .

For those of you who like math and dates (as I do) you have probably figured out that Rod was a Valentine’s baby, born February 14, 1960.

Love and miss you, my seen angel.bass

What is My Purpose!

What is My Purpose?

From July 14 through July 25, 19 students of ages between 21 and 64 listened, talked, participated, wrote, conferenced, laughed, cried, argued, and probably a couple of other verbs the variety of methods used to learn the subject matter the instructors were trying to teach.


Not too long after Rod died, God revealed that there were individuals who had spent the decades of their earthly lives on a church pew without understanding the most important reasons why.

How could they be helped?

Who would help them?

So began the journey to Licensed Local Pastor School.

Was every one of those 19 people there because they felt a similar, strong directive from God to be there?

Did everyone know the journey might be in vain—there was a chance licensing to pastor a small church, the chief reason for enrolling in the school, would not be the end result?

How many of them started with the initial mark against them of a faith journey thus far walked closely with and wholly trusting in Jesus alone that was different from that expected by the school?

Were any of them “different/weirdly wired” in the way they thought?

What did they each learn? Did they further their education in things for which they already had an elementary knowledge?

This would include the 9 spiritual disciplines:

  1. Prayer
  2. Worship
  3. Fasting
  4. Scripture (Bible reading)
  5. Study (Bible with supplementary resources)
  6. Stewardship (tithing—not just money but talent)
  7. Solitude
  8. Fellowship
  9. Service

Did they learn that the 9 spiritual disciplines don’t just “happen” to a believer; rather they should be “intentional” acts on the part of the believer? Most of these intentional acts can and should be practiced frequently. Some are easier than others, and some will need constant vigilance and reinforcement to be fully engaged.

Did they befriend those with whom they might not ever have otherwise crossed paths? The love of Jesus was clearly and deeply experienced both through other people and through the work of Holy Spirit when human frailty raged within and without. Did they feel that? True, faith isn’t based on feelings, but God gave us feelings.

Did they learn about communication? When one speaks, it is not the words alone which are important; indeed, they are of minimal importance. The tone with which the words are spoken bears more weight, and some would say body language is of the utmost importance! Body language is difficult to alter (for reasons fully addressed in previous posts and implied in this one). Learning to speak with a tone which conveys kindness, encouragement, and the love of Jesus is an achievable goal. Although this is not one of the spiritual disciplines, in this writer’s case, it will be made so.

On the original draft of this blog, the word “I” appeared more than 40 times with other words such as “my” not even counted but present. Since not using personal pronouns is grammatically unwieldy (see above reference to “this writer”), the rest will include the to-be-avoided-at-all-costs pronouns.

The previously mentioned end result? Mom, sister, son, daughter-in-law, 2 granddaughters and Pastor Dave all came to the ceremony Thursday evening to cheer encouragement as I received my graduation certificate.graduation

I was told more than once that the certificate was just a paper saying the classes had all been completed with a passing grade (one of them barely), but it would be strongly recommended a license not be issued to me at the time the other students receive theirs in one to two months. In part, this was due to belief differences which I admittedly didn’t wish to change, and I believe God would have been displeased with me if I had. The major hindrance was, of course, the ASC which many don’t even believe exists because of adroit masking practiced and nearly perfected over the past 50 years. It was the black and white thinking, however, which was my downfall.

God had me take the schooling for a reason. Of course, I tried to figure out just what that reason might be. Could it be that it was to encourage one of the other students in some way? That happened, so possibly that was the correct answer. Did one of the other students need to see a fellow student “on the edge” most of the time and “over the edge” a couple times, but by the grace of God getting back up every single time? That happened, too.

It is about God. It’s not about me. It’s really not even about other people, although some would disagree.

He told me long ago my purpose in life is to glorify him (confirmed in Isaiah 43:7), a fait accompli in my own unique way with regard to Licensed Local Pastor School. I am, as always, grateful to him for his greatly needed assistance.

Now waiting patiently for his next direction, I will continue to learn about the love with which he has loved me so that the love can be given back to him and to others.

Reader greatly loved by our Heavenly Father, God Almighty, may he bless you in all you say and do and in everything your hands touch. In the precious name of Jesus Christ.

7500 + 8600 + 6200 = 22,000

NO     IT     DOESN’T!

I’m working on reading through my Bible in 3 months. I did this once before, the first 3 months of 2014. There was great benefit to it that year, even though as I was doing the actual reading I recognized I wasn’t getting too much out of my speed read. . . other than the supernatural benefit God undoubtedly bestowed on me for this act of worship. And it WAS an act of worship because I was surrendering my time (1/2 to 1 hour each day) to learning about Him. The external benefits were seen throughout the rest of that year.

In July of 2017, another time I was reading through the Bible, albeit at a more leisurely pace, I came across some verses that gave me pause.

Any time I read “through the Bible” from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22, I struggle with the last 3 books of the Pentateuch. I enjoy Genesis and Exodus, but when I hit Leviticus I experience more than a bit of trepidation.

Well, last week, I had made it to the 4th book of the Pentateuch, Numbers, and I was in chapter 3. Where I noticed my own notes from July of 2017. I hope you can read my chicken scratch.numbers 3


In case you can’t, I’ll summarize. 7500 (v22) + 8600 (v28) + 6200 (v34) = 22,300 . . . not 22,000 (v39)!

God created everything. He created numbers. He created arithmetic. He certainly would have no trouble adding up a group of three 4-digit numbers. Would he? Maybe he was rounding off? But no, He didn’t do that a couple pages later in Numbers 4:34-48. So what was going on in chapter 3?

In 2017, after reading this and making my chicken-scratch notes, I moved on, chalking the addition mistake up to something I wasn’t supposed to understand. See Psalm 131. You know, like why did God create the devil?

As an aside, I will sometimes use this question as a way to rate preachers who come across my path. If they answer this question when put to them with “I don’t know,” my respect for them increases exponentially. How could anyone possibly know the answer to that question? Pastor Gary, you are the first one to come to mind. Thank you, and God bless you, for answering this way. You and your wife are tremendous blessings to me and everyone who has the pleasure of knowing you.

So, for whatever reason, God allowed a mathematic mistake to appear in the New Living Translation of the Bible. (It is also present in the NIV and even the KJV and OJB).

This time (2019) though, I noticed in my footnotes regarding verse 28 the statement “Some Greek manuscripts read 8300; see total in 3:39”.

An explanation! One I didn’t even notice during my speed read in 2014.

Although this appeared in the footnotes and not in the actual text of the Word of God, in some ancient Greek manuscript, the addition was correct!

Okay, that’s enough of the Aspie moment. . body soul spirit


1 Thessalonians 5:23 I am a spirit. I live in a body. I have a soul (of which the brain part sometimes goes off on weird tangents as seen above). God generously fed all three this morning!


I heard 2 great sermons by 2 wonderful ladies. It was during the 2nd that the germ of the idea for this blog started growing in my mind.

The first sermon was practical, addressing how to worship God in one’s body. The phrase bodythat stood out to me was “don’t react; respond.” Since I heard that same phrase recently from my counselor, it jumped out at me.

My mouth is a part of my body. When the stressor hits, my mouth almost always reacts rather than responding. This doesn’t just hurt the person with whom I’m engaging; it inflicts a deep wound on me. There are enough people and things to wound us in this world; God help me not be another!

It was suggested that before responding (not reacting), one engages the brain (soul) and think “What would Jesus do?”

When do I actually take the time to do this? Practically never. No, actually never. That has to stop.

Father, I pray right now, no matter the situation, help me to respond rather than react.

The whole sermon, even the Children’s Moment, focused on how to worship God in practical ways. Thank you, Barbara, for allowing yourself to be used by the Lord in an act of worship.

The 2nd sermon was a spiritual feast, focusing spiriton worshiping the Lord in spirit and in truth and some ways this might look. Some of these ways are more difficult for me than others; but if we boil it down to its lowest common denominator “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) it becomes very clear what type of worship God desires from me, from you, from anyone who loves Him and seeks to honor and glorify Him. Since we were each uniquely created (Psalm 139:13-14—although this verse does not use the word “unique” if you read it carefully, I think you’ll agree it must mean that. God is Creator and supremely creative. Why would He create any two of us exactly the same?)

Thank you, Wendy, for allowing yourself to be used by the Lord in an act of worship.

The 3rd experience was a ministry to my soul, but it was not a sermon. It was God soulspeaking to me directly in several different ways. Don’t you love it when he does that? He certainly doesn’t have to, but He does it because He loves us so much and desires intimate communion with us.

There was an altar call at the end of the service, the first part of which was for those desiring salvation.

The 2nd was for those whose repeated prayers for a specific need were seeming to go unanswered.

Anyone who knows me at all knows the vast majority of my prayers focus on one thing. It may not be the right thing for them to focus on, but God created me to be this way. Who am I to go against that?

There were already elders and deacons waiting at the altar to pray for people, but I felt God telling me to ask my beloved sister, Paula, to go forward and pray for me. She said yes, I grabbed her hand, and away we went.

We both started crying almost immediately, but the words she prayed were exactly what I needed. . . AND . . . I suspect they may have benefited her as well.

When we returned to our seats, she told me that while we were at the altar she had heard these words from the Lord.

“They are yours.”

They are yours?

Why would God tell me that? They are not mine. They are/were only on loan to me; they belong to God.

I asked her to clarify; was “yours” the pronoun He used? Are you sure it wasn’t “Mine”? (meaning God’s)

No, it was “yours”.

I pondered this as I drove home from church, and the germ of this blog grew into a small seedling.

And I realized those words were truly for me. The issue/need doesn’t belong to me. The need itself belongs to God. Whenever I’m feeling stress concerning this need; in other words, just about every day if not every waking moment, I am to remind God (like He needs reminding) “They are Yours!” How freeing! This burden it much too great for me to bear. It is not too great for my Father!

Of course, I’m not really reminding God of a thing!

Thank you, Paula, for allowing yourself to be used by the Lord in an act of worship.

I’m reminding myself. I’m renewing my mind (incidentally, the title of Barbara’s sermon was “Renewal”).

So, I’ve now come full circle. Which means it’s time to close. By close, I mean proofread, edit, add some stuff, take away some other stuff, re proofread, re edit, and in maybe an hour (it actually wound up being about an hour and a half) or so submit this for someone to read. . . and . . . hopefully benefit from &/or be inspired by.

God bless you.


Last night was my granddaughter’s 5th birthday party. After the birthday festivities concluded, the oldsters congregated around the dining table for some games and laughter.

One of the games was called Quidditch (but that couldn’t have been the name because I just looked it up and that is a sport in the Harry Potter movies, but it was something like that) and involves making sentences out of word cards you are dealt. Like in the more familiar game of Scrabble, word choices can be challenged.

My son played the word “failer” of which another player and I were skeptical with me commenting on it after the play. He gave a definition of “one who failed”.  I reminded him the correct word (according to current grammar dictates) is “failure”. I didn’t challenge the play since it was late and I was tired, but his step-mother did. She won the challenge as the word “failer” does not appear in the Webster online dictionary she used.


But I was thinking about these words this morning as I was driving home from church having just heard 2 exceptional sermons. The main point I got from the first, at the Methodist Church, was that we should follow God’s plan for us–even if it may not appear logical, or even if we don’t feel like the logical person for such a plan–especially if God himself has told us this is his plan for us. The second sermon, at OACF, had several main points, but the one I took home was that when our hearts are troubled we can crawl up in God’s lap.

Well, my heart was troubled over something that happened recently. As an Aspie, it is difficult for me to envision myself being on God’s lap held securely in his arms of limitless strength and gentleness. But I know he created us in his image, so he has a lap and his arms have unlimited strength; and, like always when this scenario is mentioned, and I need it, I tried to envision it and even feel it, with modest success.

Then I remembered (or more likely he reminded me) of a time shortly after my dad’s death when the pastor of the church I attended at the time enfolded me in what I can only describe as a “bear” hug. It is what I refer to as a “squeezy” hug to my grandchildren. It’s my favorite kind of hug, but it is the sort most men, or women, for that matter, will not give to a woman; and in today’s world, I can certainly understand why. I later found out his wife had told him I needed one of the hugs like he gave his children and grandchildren. I was so grateful to both of them because it had been at the time something essential to my soul.

This is the kind of hug I think God gives. It is not a sideways hug. It is not a perfunctory placement of arms around another person in a half-hearted embrace. It is not a cautious hug given with a fear of being rejected by the recipient. It is not something that lasts a fraction of a second and not a fraction of a second longer.


It is a perfect hug.


I cannot feel it physically, but I have learned to feel it in my heart. It is especially necessary that I receive these hugs on occasions when I feel like a failure.

I was feeling a bit that way this morning. Yes, even after just having heard/received two life-affirming, soul-refreshing sermons.

Then, while still in my mind picturing being on God’s lap and in his arms, I realized. . .

. . .even though it may seem like my mind was skipping around like a feather tossed by a wind. . .

I like the word failer much better than failure.

As Rory put it, failer is simply someone who fails; in other words, everyone.

Whereas failure could be applied to a situation, it is a word which should never be applied to a human being’s character.

Sometimes I could be called a failer; but I am not a failure, never have been, and God has never called me this.

Nor are you a failure, dear brother or sister. According to Revelation 12:11, you are an overcomer. Most of the time to achieve an overcomation (another word I made up several years ago but like a lot), one must experience failures (not a person, just an experience) sometimes a lot of them, before success/victory.

Do you think I can request a new word be added to the dictionary?

Why Do You Believe?


1 Kings 10:1, 6-9 & John 20:24-29

In the story of the Queen of Sheba, the queen comes to a belief in God because of the biblesmighty works He had performed in Solomon’s life and the immense wealth with which Solomon had been blessed.

In the story about Thomas, first Jesus miraculously appears in a locked room, inviting Thomas to touch his marked body (so he wasn’t a ghost!), The scene concludes with Jesus saying, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

I have neither achievements nor great wisdom like Solomon. Neither do I have wealth and all the things it can buy. And, unlike Thomas, I have never been in the presence of the crucified and risen Jesus in the flesh. So I am one of those people who have not seen and yet have believed. So are you. Jesus tells us we are blessed!

Why can we believe this quote of Jesus, spoken 2000 years ago? How do we know anything, much less everything in the Bible is true? How do we know that upon which our faith is based is worth that faith? If we don’t know the answers to these questions, how reliable will others consider our testimony, or our story of our faith walk thus far?

Listen to these quotes from a couple guys with far more wisdom and education than I.

C S Lewis said: “Nearly everyone I know who has embraced Christianity in adult life has been influenced by what seemed to him to be at least a probable argument for theism.”

A W Tozer: “The Bible is not addressed to just anybody. Its message is directed to a chosen few…Some believe and some do not; some are morally receptive and some are not; some have spiritual capacity and some have not. It is to those who do and are and have that the Bible is addressed. Those who do not and are not and have not will read it in vain…As the pillar of fire gave light to Israel but was cloud and darkness to the Egyptians, so our Lord’s words shine in the hearts of His people but leave the self-confident unbeliever in the obscurity of moral night.”

Some come to Jesus through the heart. The heart has two extremes: love and fear. Contrary to popular belief, I do not believe that hate is the opposite of love; fear is.heart From those 2 opposite ends of the heart, Jesus reaches in. I came to Jesus because I had a desire to know and show love the way I saw in believers I met in a tiny store-front church in 1978; I know of others who came because of fear of judgment and hell.

brainOthers come to Christ through an intellectual experience. Most of those are people who could be called apologists or those who make reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine. People like C. S. Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia.

All ultimately come to experience faith in both theirs heads and hearts after saying “yes” to the promptings of the Holy Spirit at which point the spirit within them, dormant to this point, springs to life and they are “born again”.

How does anyone reach the point of accepting Jesus? 1 Thessalonians 1:4 “God chose you”. You may feel like you chose him, either via one end of your heart or the other or through your head, but. . . He chose YOU.


How does this make you feel?

It makes me feel really special, even when I read elsewhere in Scripture that he “chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, (I especially like that one because that pretty much sums up all the others) so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God”

If you’ve ever experienced bullying, chances are it was by someone considered by society to be “smart”, “strong”, “elevated”, or “popular.” But don’t start thinking here is your chance to get revenge. God loves those people, too, yes, even bullies, and should they choose to accept His invitation into His kingdom, they, too, will be considered chosen.

1 Peter 2:9 states that in addition to being a chosen people, “we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, so that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

That all perhaps explains the “how” of why you believe; but what is the why? Have you ever thought about it? How do you know that you know that you know Jesus lived 2000 years ago, died a torturous death, rose from the dead after 3 days, and is alive today just waiting for the Father to give Him permission to come take his believers to the wedding feast?

There are many reasons I know he is real.

  1. There was the time he stayed in the chair by my bed when I was in the middle of my 2nd hospital stay for colon cancer.
  2. Another time I was crying to him desperately wanting an answer to the question “what is my purpose in life?” His answer: “Your purpose is to glorify me.” This was about 15 years ago during a time in my life I didn’t see there was any way I could do that. Now, not only do I know it’s possible, I’ve received confirmation of this being my purpose over and over again. Indeed, I’m attempting to do that through the words you are reading.
  3. Another great example is him allowing me have Rod McDougall in my life as my husband for 6 years. Through that human man, God did a great deal toward restoring me to the person he originally created me to be. Do you think I would’ve been able to speak in front of groups of people of varying sizes at the end of 2008 (10 years ago)? Would I have been brave enough to write this very intimate blog to whomever chooses to read it? Neither was at all likely.

Why is it important you know why you believe?

Our country in the year 2018 is not just a post-Christian country, it is now clearly a divided country as well. The reasons for this are varied, and I doubt anyone could ever begin to explain all of them, but they all boil down to one major fact – we made the choice to take God out of our country, in some cases, even out of our churches!

The pastor at the church my husband and I attended was (and is) driven by a passion for evangelism, both here and abroad. The church takes several missions trips each year. But two of the biggest functions are here in America. Family Fun Day is in July, an event to which the community is invited for free food, games, and entertainment along with some fairly valuable giveaways. The caveat? To win the prizes, individuals must stay for the sermon which is the last event of the day. And in November, just last Sunday in fact, they hosted the community Thanksgiving dinner to which everyone is invited, free of charge, not just the destitute, but everyone because really, everyone, if they don’t know Jesus, is destitute in the worst way.

I raised my children in church. They know who God and Jesus are and it would be impossible for them to ever forget. As my son frequently reminds me, I had them in church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. His statement that we were in church for 4 hours on Sunday mornings, though, is a slight exaggeration.

Do you know that there are people, principally millennials (a group into which both my children fall), who don’t have a clue who God or Jesus is and believe that the Bible is akin to Grimm’s Faerie Tales?

grimmUnbelievable. But shockingly true. I’ve heard of missionaries from other countries saying that America is now their mission field and it is one of the most difficult to harvest.

If you were to engage in conversation with one of these 20 to 30 year olds and causally mention God, Jesus, or the Bible in the conversation and they were to respond in a way indicative of their complete lack of knowledge, what would you do? Could you explain, in a way that would make sense to them, why you believe?

The easiest way is by simply sharing your own testimony.

How has God worked in your life?

I’ve given three of my reasons above. There are many more. Your reasons will not be the same as mine. You will have many, too. Many people like to journal. This blog (and the sermon from which it was derived) are simply “cleaned-up” versions of ideas in my journal.

Why don’t you make a list of the reasons you believe? Put it somewhere prominent, where you’ll see it frequently. Memorize it. Yes, it’s your life and you know it well; but can you relate your life story in a way that will be interesting and understandable to others? Practice. Practice. Practice.

What if you’re one of those rare and incredibly blessed individuals whose life has never gone off the rails and you think your story is too dull? If that’s the case—and I doubt it—God can use you to help others who are just like you, except they don’t yet know Him.

What do you do if you feel like your faith isn’t strong enough for you to be able to present a convincing argument? There are several verses that address this. Check out Matthew 17:20 and Mark 9:24.

In the latter we (and Jesus) encounter a man who has both faith and unbelief. Can you relate?

But listen! Jesus didn’t rebuke the man. He healed the child.

Neither does he rebuke or reject us for our unbelief. AND, he will still meet the need regardless of the quantity/quality of our faith.

1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

There are many good books out there on apologetics. Check with Amazon, Good Reads, or CBD and find one you think will best answer your questions.

Of course, your best resource is always going to be the Bible. The other books were written by men and are therefore subject to human interpretation and human error.

Bible Reading Plans

For the past 2 ½ years at the end of each month, I’ve placed a Bible reading plan in the bulletins used by the 3 churches. I know of at least 2 ladies who followed it religiously, even commenting if I was ever delayed getting it to them.

Starting in January I will discontinue this and instead post it to the churches’ website which is Even if you know you’ve probably read the Bible in its entirety at least once due to sermon and Bible study notes, it is sooo beneficial to read it through from beginning to end

If you really want a challenge, and a great start to 2019, I’m going to suggest something I’ve only managed to accomplish once in my life, in 2014, reading through it in the first 3 months.

Such an endeavor does not allow for much in-depth study, but I believe God supernaturally increases the knowledge of one who commits to this.

If you’d like to join me on this journey (it requires a time commitment of ½ to 1 hour each day, depending on how fast you can read), I’ll post that plan to the website as well. One suggestion I would make: each time you begin to read, before you begin ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the Truth to you and enable the Rhema word to become Logos word for you. I can’t think of a single reason he would say no to such a request.


1. Write out your why. This would be your testimony. Memorize it so you can easily share it whenever the occasion presents itself. Ideally that would be every day.

2. Read your Bible beginning to end.

3. Add to your testimony (your why) as God does new miracles in your life.


Father God, Help me stick to my commitment to figure out my why. I pray You will honor that commitment by making your Word come alive to me in such a way that sharing my faith-walk story with others won’t be something fearsome but rather something joyful, that it will turn from a chore into one of my favorite things to do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Falling Up

high tree top

Psalm 139:16

You saw who you created me to be before I became me!

Before I’d ever seen the light of day,

the number of days you planned for me

were already recorded in your book.



Today after breakfast I was sitting at the kitchen table, just relaxing and daydreaming before starting my day. Every few seconds a leaf would flutter gently to the ground. Some of the leaves were large, some small, some brightly colored, others more muted. I thought about how precious each was, how wondrously alive it had been just a few seconds earlier. I realized God saw each of them fall. Not just that, but he knew it would happen before it happened! God knows everything after all. Next, I wondered about the leaf itself as though it had the capacity for conscious thought. And I wondered, was the leaf clinging soooo tightly to the branch on which it lived its life only releasing its tenacious hold when it no longer had the strength to hang on?

Is that how we are as regards our earthly life? Are we clinging soooo tightly to that which holds us to this earth? Consider especially the weights, those things that hold us down emotionally and spiritually but for whatever reason we refuse to release.

And life itself. . . what of that?

Before I faced cancer, I would have said yes, I’m clinging to this earthly life with a choke-hold grip. I wasn’t afraid of death, but I was a bit afraid of the process of dying. Would it hurt? Would it be scary to be unable to draw a breath sufficient to maintain life?

No longer. I gave my book the title Fearless in Euroclydon for a reason

At the beginning of 2017, my first full year without Rod, I believe God gave me the idea of falling up. Of course, since then I see He’s given several others the same idea. Or maybe I’d seen it in someone else’s writing to start with. I choose to believe he gave it to me, and somehow the others copied me!

In my journal for 2017 (the one I lost last year—I hope someone is enjoying my weird musings!), at the front, I drew a picture of a large tree losing its leaves, but they were falling up! Toward the heavens.

And I realized that’s what God wants each of us to do. When we let go of the weak (because that’s what it actually is!) hold we have on our life here—its dreams and nightmares, blessings and curses, loves and fears, all fleeting in nature—we have nowhere to fall but up. Into his arms.

Into the dreams, blessings, and love that He gives.

Into the eternal. . .

The verse with which I started this post was taken from The Passion Translation of the Bible which is poetically written and quite beautiful. I had to literally fight my typing fingers not to replace the word “were” in the last line with the grammatically correct “was” since the subject of the sentence is the singular “number”.