All posts by admin

About admin

I was born and raised in the Columbus,Ohio area. Met my husband and married while in college (we have been married 36 years). I graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor's in English Literature. Over the years I have been very active in the church and have lead Bible studies, have been an AWANA leader and am currently a Stephen Minister. I love to write. I write non-fiction and fiction.

God’s Love

Several years ago, I was at an after-Christmas sale at Macy’s. My wardrobe for work needed a new influx of items. I found quite a few things I liked or needed that were on sale. As I got in the line to check out, I noticed that people were handing things to the cashier as they checked out. At first, I thought these customers were using gift cards. But as I got closer, I noticed that it was coupons. I wondered where they had gotten them.

As I moved closer to the cashier, I heard the cashier and a customer discussing the coupon. It was for another 25% off your purchase. As the woman checked out, she used her coupon, and the cashier handed it back and told her it was good for the whole day on all purchases anywhere in the store. That made it a very special coupon, and I wanted one.

The customer took it back from the cashier. On her way out, she stopped and asked me if I had a coupon. When I said ‘no’, she handed hers to me and said she was done shopping to take it. I took it and thanked her. What a wonderful gift! She asked for nothing in return. All I had to do was accept it. I saved a lot of money on my new wardrobe that day.

Just as that coupon was an unexpected gift, so Jesus is to us. During this time of year our thoughts turn to that baby born to a young girl and man. The tiny boy was laid in a manger as angels sang in the Heavens. A special star gleamed over where this baby laid. All this special orchestration denoted that this baby was of heavenly royalty and a special human life.

As Mary and Joseph looked at that darling, sweet baby, their hearts probably swelled with joy, love and hope. They knew this was God’s Son. I’m sure they believed He would grow into someone famous and powerful that would lead their people out of oppression and poverty. They had no clue that their baby was going to grow up and forsake his trade of carpentry to have a ministry that would preach freedom through repentance and faith and the importance of loving all people – even our enemies. Then at the prime of His adult life, He would cruelly and unjustly die a criminal’s death without ever having committed a crime Himself on a cross. And just as He came into the world with heavenly fanfare, He would conquer death in the same way and rise from the grave and walk among those He loved and then ascend into Heaven on a cloud promising to return.

Jesus was God’s plan for mankind. He devised a plan to free humanity from their chains of sin and despair and to live with Him eternally. Jesus knew what was in store for Him when He came here to Earth, and He still came. He gave the gift of eternal life for all. Just as that woman held out that coupon for me to accept, He stands there holding salvation out to us. It’s our choice whether to accept it or reject it. It’s the Christmas gift that gives eternally.

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

 

The Greatest Gift

When I was growing up, every Christmas my brother, sister, and I would exchange gifts. The hardest part of the process for the giver was to wrap it so that the receiver of the gift would not know what it was. Of course, we would feel and shake the packages and try to pry clues out of one another about the gift we were getting. Many times, the gifts were guessed before they were unwrapped on Christmas Day.

One year my brother bought me the 45 RPM record of the latest Elvis Presley hit. It was too odd – shaped for a box, so he had to wrap it in a way that I would not guess what it was. I recall that he wrapped something else with it, like one of his figurines or a ball so it was an odd-looking package. I tried hard to figure out what it was and even guessed it to be a 45 record, but my brother denied it. His clues were such that it made me believe that it was something unusual. He really made it sound like it was the most awesome gift he had ever gotten me or that anyone would get me.

I remember when I opened the gift to find that it was the 45 RPM record, I was disappointed. He had done such a good job of describing it to me that I anticipated silver, gold and diamonds. Of course, when I look back on what he said, he did describe it accurately, but it was my expectation and imagination that took me down a different path.

When I think of that Christmas gift, I am reminded that Jesus’s birth was much the same. His birth was foretold hundreds of years before it happened. While the clues given were accurate, it was all based on interpretation and hope. The Jewish people were basically expecting a great King that would come and destroy their enemies (the Romans). They would rise and be a great people again.

Jesus as a human met none of their expectations. Yes, He is a great King and will destroy our enemies and those who believe will be a great people. All this is from an eternal perspective and not from a human finite one.

Jesus was born while his parents were traveling. His hospital was a stable, and his cradle was a food receptacle for animals. Although, both his parents were descendants of King David, they had no status and were poor and quiet. Jesus had left His heavenly throne to become like those He loved so dearly – human.

His birth did not pass without some heavenly fanfare to mark the occasion. There was a bright, unusual star and the host of heavenly angels praising God to mark the birth of God’s only Son. These events brought shepherds and eventually, wise men to worship Him. Those whose hearts longed for and were opened to Him found Him. That still happens to this day.

Jesus was born in humble surroundings and was a servant. He loved people and wanted to save them from the things that ruins lives and causes broken relationships. He is more concerned with our soul and eternity than our physical being and earthly status. His desire is for us to love one another and love God above all else. He came in physical form as a child to give us a glimpse of God, so we would know Him. Christmas is a time to reflect on Jesus and our relationship with Him. We can rejoice in the fact that He’s walked in our shoes and is a God who truly knows us. Praise God for sending Jesus to us!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

A Holy Announcement

This time thirty years plus ago, my husband and I and our two girls were anticipating the birth of a baby, who was due around Christmas. A few months prior, we learned from a sonogram that we were having a boy. There was a celebratory atmosphere – not only because it was Christmas, but because of the imminent arrival of a long-awaited son. We had both wanted a boy because my husband was the last of his line, and we already had two girls.

Because our son was born so close to Christmas and because he is our only son, I often think of Mary during the holidays. We both were waiting for the birth of our sons about the same time of year. Yet, her situation was much more miraculous than mine. It’s in comparing the experiences of our pregnancies that I stand amazed at Mary’s faith and strength and how special her pregnancy with Jesus really was.

The fact that Mary and I both excitedly anticipated the births of our sons is about the only similarity we have. At conception, my baby had roughly a 50-50 chance of being a boy. Mary had a 100% chance of having a boy because God placed His Son in her womb. She did not have sexual relations with any man. This miracle was the culmination of a promise given to Abraham stating that all nations would be blessed through his descendants. Mary’s son was that descendant through which the world is blessed.

When I was six months along, I had a sonogram announce that we would have a son. We couldn’t wait to tell everyone we were having a boy! We were so excited. But Mary had an angel visit her and announce it to her. And he told her before she even became pregnant. Can you imagine being told you are going to have God’s son? I know she had to be scared at first, and then the awe probably set in. Because she was single, she was not running around announcing it. It was kept quiet.

Mary was pregnant out of wedlock, and her baby was God’s son not her fiancée’s. God had to intervene with Joseph on her behalf. or she would have been alone and much maligned by society. Joseph stayed in the marriage contract and stood by Mary. It was a very public and difficult pregnancy from society standpoint. I would not know what that was like. I was married and had the support of my husband. I did not have to deal with shame or being maligned as Mary did.

Jesus’s conception and Mary’s pregnancy are not like any other human’s. He was conceived as fully human and fully God. His conception was announced by an angel. He was not conceived the way most humans are conceived. He was place in her womb by God Himself. His mother was a young unmarried girl who was still a virgin. There was not a lot of earthly celebration for Mary’s pregnancy. Only Heaven, Mary, Joseph and a few family members knew the truth and had great anticipation for what was about to happen. The rest of the world did not care about Mary’s baby. He was just another Jewish baby about to be born.

Today we can look at the facts and celebrate that Mary’s pregnancy was uniquely from God. That the baby about to enter the world was God’s Son through which all the world would be blessed. The Savior was about to be born!

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Luke 1:30-33

Faith When You Can’t See Results

My mother’s fervent prayers for her three children were that we would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. I know that she was burdened for us and had faith God would answer her prayers. Both my sister and I became believers as pre-teens. My brother rejected the whole notion of Jesus and waivered on believing there was a God.
In 1990, at the age of 60, she succumbed to breast cancer. My brother had not moved from his beliefs at that time. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for my mother to go into eternity and worry that one of her children did not know the Lord.
It was such a shock for us to lose our mother. We felt she was still so young. My mother died knowing that she was going to be with the Lord and told us that. As we grieved, we sought solace in our own way. My sister and I had our faith. My brother was a little lost, but he had started to attend church with his young son.
During a service, my brother had a spiritual experience that caused him to come to faith in Jesus. It was a bittersweet moment to hear my brother’s profession of faith. My mother did not live to see her faithful prayers answered. But I do believe she rejoiced with the angels when my brother made his profession of faith.
Abraham did a similar thing. He and Sarah lived on land that God promised his descendants, even though it was not legally theirs. Some of it was occupied by the Hittites. When Sarah died, he mourned her and needed to find a place to bury her. He knew exactly where he wanted to lay her to rest and went to the owner of the land and asked to purchase it.
Because Abraham was so well thought of, the owner wanted to give it to him, but Abraham wanted to purchase it and went through all the legalities to do so. He succeeded in buying the land and buried Sarah there. Later, he and Isaac and his wives were buried there as well. This burial plot happened to be in the land of Canaan that God promised Abraham and his descendants.
Just as my mother sent up her prayers for my brother and believed he would eventually find his way to the Lord, Abraham had faith that God would give his descendants the land he was living on. He followed through in faith by purchasing it to safeguard that piece of it until God’s promise was fulfilled so his family could be buried on their own land given to them by God.
We are so results oriented, that having faith in God’s promises or that something in the future will work out that we may never see is hard. Neither my mother nor Abraham lived to see God’s promise played out. When we have faith in Him about a situation when we can’t or won’t see the outcome, it is special to God. We are telling Him we trust His plan and are resting our future in His hands. Our faith pleases Him, and he will always honor that, even if it’s in eternity.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

What It Means to Sacrifice

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, my dad was seventeen years old. In early 1942, he decided to enlist. He and a group of his friends went to join the Marines. All my dad’s friends made it in the Marines, except my dad. They reached their quota and sent my dad to another branch to enlist in. He decided to serve in the Navy.

My dad lived on a destroyer from 1942-1945. His only time away from the ship was on shore leaves. His ship was small, and he slept cramped on a cot-like bed, ate food that was not appealing, had to follow orders and had little free time. He survived a typhoon, having bombs dropped around him, and dodging torpedoes. He also had to leave the enemy who was either shot down or their ships had sunk in the ocean because there was no room or supplies for them on his ship. He had men die beside him and has had to shoot at another human being. It was hard for my dad. He grew up during the Depression, a time when people helped one another, not destroyed each other.

He gave over three years of his life to serve his country. Today he is 93 and has never regretted it, nor did he ever complain about it. It was something he did because it was the right thing to do. It’s not something he talks about much either, but he has revealed glimpses of what it was like to his family just over the past few years.

How many parents during WWII sacrificed their sons to keep the freedoms we enjoy today? Let’s expand that to all wars and conflicts and the sacrifices made by all military personnel and their families. When I think of my dad’s WWII service and that of others, I’m reminded of Abraham and his near sacrifice of his son, Isaac.

God asked Abraham to take his son and sacrifice him. Isaac was Abraham’s only heir and the promised son provided by God. Abraham did not question or bargain with God. He immediately did as he was told. Abraham was willing to sacrifice the life of his only son.
According to the dictionary, sacrifice means to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else. That means that it requires tremendous devotion and faith to do something so selfless.

In Abraham’s case. He had strong faith in God built on a relationship of trust. He wanted to serve the God who provided for him and loved him. In my dad’s case, he had a belief in this country and its freedoms. Both men moved forward in faith knowing the risk of forfeiting a future here on Earth.

I think of how strong faith must be to make such a sacrifice. It is a force that swells and overtakes the mind and spirit. It makes a person driven by that faith or belief system to not be able to do anything but act on it. I measure my faith against Abraham’s and come up short. I realize faith is not something that happens overnight. It is a process that comes from time spent getting to know God and learning to trust Him.

He (Jesus) replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17:6