The SHEPHERDS’ STORY: CaUgHt in ChAoS?..or Pursuing Peace?


I was reading in Luke 2. In verse 8 it starts by telling us that shepherds were visited in the middle of the night by an angel in the sky …AND the glory of the Lord….and the shepherds were terrified. (Understandably so!) The angel’s message was delivered, which turned out to be GOOD NEWS, and then even more angels came, and their proclamation was this:

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

And this got me thinking….

Imagine if you were one of those shepherds. It would certainly be terrifying to have your normal, every day (or night) routine interrupted, severely, suddenly, without warning. And you can’t just ignore it – you must acknowledge it. It’s staring you right there in the face. And you can’t pretend that it didn’t happen, because it did – and it was a life-changing experience. Now…..whatcha gonna do about it?

Can you imagine what the conversation amongst the shepherds might have been like after the angels left? I would think if I were one of them, I’d been startled to say the least and a bit shaken up – and perhaps wondered if all my sheep were together and faring well? I might have even been a bit upset and angered by the rude interruption!  the conversation could have sounded a bit like this:

This could affect my work! My sheep’s schedule has been interrupted! For goodness’ sake, what have I even done (good, bad or otherwise?) to cause ANGELS to visit me? What in the world is all of this about?!

The lesson lies in the part of the story that tells us what the shepherds chose to do. Their decision:

Let us go to Bethlehem to see this thing that has happened, what the Lord has told us about.

Instead of getting caught up in the chaos and camping there….they decided to break out of that trap, and GO in the direction they were being led. They embraced the interruption, and pursued the peace that was promised. This was an act of faith and trust in what God’s Word said! How inspiring!

I love this story for several reasons:

I can see my story in the shepherd’s story because things often happen to me that are startling, sudden and leave me shaken up. Now a main difference is that I have not been visibly visited by angels – but then again, scripture indicates that sometimes we are visited by angels and don’t know it. (Hebrews 13:2) 🙂 But I digress…

When I am visited with unsought and perhaps unwelcomed news, I have a choice, like the shepherds did. I can either stay in the chaos and confusion brought on by the unexpected event that has changed my normal, predictable life, OR….I can move on into the direction my life has taken, embracing the interruption and pursuing the peace that is promised.

Some verses about accepting God’s plan that encourage me when I need to hear truth and encouragement are:

Romans 8:28

in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Isaiah 55:9

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 46:4:

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Jeremiah 29:11:

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

Whatever you’re going through today, I encourage you to make the choice to not get caught up in the chaos, but through faith and confidence in God’s Word, pursue the peace that comes from trusting God in all circumstances.shepherds-and-angel







Jesus, the Light of the World


blue-light-white-backgrd Psalm 18:28 states:  You light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness.  

red-light-white-backgrd Isaiah 9:2 proclaims: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 

gold-lightAnd these verses from John 1 say:  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Think for a minute about coming into a dark room.
When you walk into the darkness, a natural response is to want to turn on the light.
Otherwise, you could have some trouble.
It can be scary in the dark.
You might get hurt.
At the very least, you simply cannot see the way in front of you.
Once you turn on the light, everything becomes more clear.

Jesus is the light that came into a dark world.
A world with fear, despair, hate, turmoil, confusion.
Living in a world of darkness can be scary.
We sometimes get hurt.
At the very least, sometimes we simply cannot see the way in front of us.
Jesus is our source of light living in a dark world, and when we are “turned on” to Him, in relationship with him, he sheds light on our way.
Jesus, our light, makes things more clear.

Glowing lights in the dark.
This is a happy and bright time of year. At least it’s supposed to be, right?!
But we still live in the real world….and at one time or another we all encounter things that can darken our worlds: things such as financial woes, sickness, death, grief, strained relationships, work pressures. Even at this joyful time of year.
Think for a minute about whatever may be causing your celebration to be a little more dim this year…

One of the best ways to turn on the light of Christ is to look into His Word, reading verses such as:
Isaiah 42:16
God says, through Jesus…..
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?

1 Peter 2:9
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood…God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Everywhere we look at this time of year, we see beautiful Christmas lights.
My challenge for us this week and on into the year that lies ahead, is that we will
let every dark area of life remind us to turn on the one true Light that is Emmanuel, God, here, with us,
and that every sparkling light we see will remind us of the Joy, Peace, Hope and Love that he alone can bring.

May Joy, Peace, Hope and Love be yours in abundance through Jesus, the Light of the World!christmas-lights-with-star 


God is always with me; always ready to speak, to give wisdom, advice, insight.
Nothing new but it seems I am needing to hear it again.
God is ALWAYS with me.
I am HIS daughter.
God, my Father, is loving and kind.
He is NOT a taskmaster, always driving me to do more, more, more.
He would like for me to relax more.
Settle down.
Take His peace.
He’s got this.
Every day, every hour, every single minute.
Breathe in His peace.
He is ALWAYS with me; INSIDE me, even.
How amazing is that!
Everywhere I am, He is.
Every piece of ground I step on He is going there also.
Every time.
I never leave Him behind.
Not ever.
Never will He leave me. Never will He forsake me.
There is NO SECOND, NO PLACE I am ever alone.
Even though I like being alone, I am comforted by the fact that He is always with me and I will never ever be truly alone.
I like being alone but being LONELY is no fun for anyone.
That will never be a problem for me because God is my comfort and companion.
God is ALWAYS with me.
He is here now. This second.
God knows everything about me at all times.
Every thought. Every word before I say it.
And he loves me. Thoroughly loves me.
Delights in me and sings over me.
Isn’t that amazing?
Such knowledge is vast and wonderful.
Too much to fully comprehend!
But I will nonetheless continue trying to wrap my feeble little human mind around this divine concept.
And you know what – all of this is true of Him for you.
God is with you.
God is with us.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
All praise to him.

Three years ago this day….

This happened three years ago today…..

I was driving the green van pictured below and the little blue car crossed the center line and hit me.


Sadly, Fred, the driver who ran into me died at the scene.   Since Fred knew Christ, he is in the presence of Jesus, so all is well with him, yet my heart aches for the void left in his family, and I pray often for his wife and three children.

My injuries were severe, causing me to have surgeries to repair my broken ankle and wrist followed by many months of recovery and therapy and displacement. How grateful I am each day to have recovered and to go on and live life. I am blessed with a wonderful husband and family who cared for me and hung in there with me through a difficult time. Fabulous friends were there with me for the long haul of recovery. I learned so much with God during this time as well.

I am grateful to be alive to celebrate family milestones as well as the day in and day out.  I am grateful. So grateful. Truly there is so much to be grateful for. Here’s a great song about that…..Grateful by Hezekiah Walker





All Things. ..

I am reading “What Are You Afraid Of” by David Jeremiah.
In the book is this poem by
Annie Johnson Flint.

In a factory building, there are wheels and gearings, there are cranks, pulleys, belts either tight or slack-
Some are whirling swiftly, some are turning slowly,
Some are thrusting forward, some are pulling back;
Some are smooth and silent, some are rough and noisy, Pounding, rattling, clanking, moving with a jerk;
In a wild confusion in a seeming chaos,
Lifting, pushing, driving – but they do their work.
From the mightiest lever to the smallest cog or gear,
All things move together for the purpose planned;
And behind the working is a mind controlling,
And a force directing, and a guiding hand.
So all things are working for the Lord’s beloved;
Some things might be hurtful if alone they stood;
Some might seem to hinder; Some might draw us backward;
But they work together, and they work for good,
All the thwarted longings, all the stern denials,
All the contradictions, hard to understand.
And the force that hold them, speeds them and retards them,
Stops and starts and guides them- is our Father’s hand.

What Psalm 23 Does NOT Say

Psalm 23 is one of the most well-known scriptures. So well-known that we often quote it and I wonder, do we realize what we’re saying? Such truth! Such reassurance!

However, so often, our flesh patterns (natural way of ‘doing things’ apart from consciously involving God) can have us living out of the very opposite meanings of the truths David is expressing in the psalm.

When we live out of our fleshly nature, instead of out of God’s truth, we may respond as though Psalm 23 reads this way:

[The Self-Lifer’s 23rd Psalm]

The Lord is my shepherd, keeping me cooped up in the fold, so if I need something I’m going to have to go after it myself.

I am tired and stressed all the time because there is no way I can take time to rest.

I have had it – my strength is used up. My shepherd sometimes loses track of me and doesn’t keep me safe; so irresponsible….

When I walk through the darkest valley, I’m scared stiff; where is God when you need him? I trip over his rod and staff – what bondage.

My enemies criticize me…, I must be a worse person than I thought! Woe is me.

I am not deserving of anything good.

Look at all these problems I have!

It seems that God’s goodness and mercy are nowhere to be found, and who knows how this is all gonna end up? I hope it all turns out okay. I’ve tried my best.

Oh dear sisters and brothers! That is NOT the truth of Psalm 23. Read what it really says below and bask in the truth and relax in the freedom and grace of it:

[Psalm 23]

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.

He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil.

My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Thank you, God, for loving me, protecting me, giving me everything I need, and so many blessings far beyond my needs, and what’s more, you crown me with honor. You are so good to me!

I love you, my Shepherd, my Everything.


Multicolored Christmas Lights

I usually prefer to decorate the living room Christmas tree with clear lights. This year, however, all but one set of my clear lights didn’t work and had to be discarded. I somehow had accumulated many sets of multicolored lights through the years, so instead of spending money on clear lights, I hesitantly placed the strands of red, blue, green, yellow, pink and purple lights on our Christmas tree.

It took some talking to myself to become convinced the tree looked pretty. “I think Tim prefers it, I’d say.”….and “When I see these lights on someone else’s tree I think it looks nice, so why not in my own home?”

One evening in early December, I was walking in our neighborhood, admiring the Christmas lights, and God and I had a conversation….. It went something like this:
it was as though God said, “You like those clear lights better because they seem to shine brighter, and to you they seem more elegant. But this year is more of a multicolored year, really, isn’t it? You see, I know you are struggling with things as they are in your life…. The changing relationships, the difficult days, busier than usual schedules and emotional strains. If you’re honest, your life doesn’t ‘look’ as beautiful to you as it has at other times. But you need to look at it in a different, multicolored way. Learn to embrace the beauty of the darker colors, and the wide array of sights. Look where you are, for the beauty, now. Learn to see the beauty of this unique season.”

And so, I did, joyfully, learn from that conversation, to find the beauty. To accept and trust, to find peace and rest.  God always works for the good, always bringing out the beauty.

I removed the beautiful strands of lights from my tree today. And who knows? Maybe next year I will purposely choose to use multicolored lights again, and again, and again, year after year. There is so much vibrant COLOR there!!!!