For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

I love working in Uganda. The people seem to wake up in the morning expecting God to do something wonderful. On Sunday morning, the preacher begins his sermon with, “God is good.” The people respond, “All the time.” He continues, “All the time.” And the people say, “God is good.” Then together everyone finishes, “Because that is his nature.” God’s nature is goodness, and that is what they believe.

Do we begin our days thinking of God’s goodness and watching for signs of his presence? Do we expect God to be present in our day? Have you noticed that our days usually follow the outlook of our mornings? We look for God, and he shows up; we grouse around in the morning, and the day is filled with gloom.

As I’ve thought about this the last couple of days, I’ve become aware of the God-sightings that have brought joy. Yesterday, I had an delightful outing with someone I love and enjoy, a gift from my Father. Then today as I was praying for expertise to help with a ministry we’ve undertaken, I looked across the room and saw an architect and his designer wife. When I approached them, I discovered that they already had an interest in the ministry and were happy to be engaged.

I think expectations might have something to do with relationship. If we, as good parents, want to do good for our children, how much more does our heavenly Father desire to exceed our expectations? How many good things does he have planned for us that we fail to see because we don’t expect him to appear? We don’t expect his goodness?

His plans are for our good, to give us a future and a hope. That’s his nature.

Sweetest Father, may we remember that you are good and love to bless us. Thank you for what you’ve done and for what you have planned for our future. Amen.


Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple… John 20:1, 2


We are all familiar with this story. The title of this section in my Bible says, “The Empty Tomb.” Jesus had spent three years living with, teaching, demonstrating, and revealing Truth to his disciples. In very clear language he’d told them several times that he would die but that he would live again, and they would have great joy. If we’d had an opportunity to talk with them, I’m sure they would confidently proclaim their knowledge of God’s Son and his mission and assure us of his sovereignty. We would probably be impressed by these great men of God.
And yet, after seeing Jesus’ crucifixion, their primary focus seems to be preparing and preserving his body and hiding from the Jewish leaders. What had come of the three years of intensive discipleship? Of the signs and wonders? The time of testing had shown them all to be small in their faith, at best, and deserters, at worst. All that abiding had culminated in a ragtag band reconvening to mourn their mutual disillusionment. (Or lost ambitions…)
Remember the men on the road to Emmaus? “…we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:21) All their dreams and expectations were dashed because of Jesus’ crucifixion. Although he’d predicted everything that would happen, even saying, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19) He’d indicated the way he would die with every reassurance that he would rise again. But it wasn’t what they expected. It didn’t happen the way they’d planned.
When they reached the Empty Tomb, the disciples—women and men alike—were disappointed because Jesus’ dead body was gone. I suppose there would have been a modicum of comfort in cleansing and spicing and wrapping a corpse—it looks like that’s what they were expecting. Instead, Jesus had a RESURRECTION. He undid death and its power, and he brought LIFE—so much more than what they could ever think or ask.
Do we ever get disappointed (even disillusioned) because God doesn’t answer our prayers in the same puny, insipid, unimaginative way we pray? Oh, bummer, the tomb is empty. I can’t clean up or anoint the dead body—when God is all about resurrection. He’s about creating new life. He’s about moving in ways that we could never envision. He’s all about BEING GOD.
It’s time to stop grieving over the empty tomb and start rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit who is on hand to transform and to resurrect. It’s time to kick out our starved imaginations and let God be God.


Father, open our minds and hearts to see you in your power and glory. Come with your resurrection life. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.  Isaiah 66:13


Can you imagine anything better than a mother’s love?  I admit, I could never have competed with either my daughter or daughter-in-law in discerning the unique gifts and personalities they nurture on a daily basis.  And then there’s the topic of energy…

Today marked the mid-point of Camp Curry.  I’ve often remarked that the miracle of Sarah and Abraham was not their producing Isaac, but it was their ability to keep up with him.  Or perhaps that’s what their household staff did.

Today’s parents, and especially the mothers who nurture the children while running the household and managing a career, are amazing.  They are routinely dealing with higher expectations than my generation experienced, and their children have greater temptations, information, and challenges than ours ever did.

As the crust of the earth was cooling, I remember my grandmother talking about doing the laundry one day, ironing another, baking took another whole day (Does anyone do that anymore?), mending was part of the schedule, and then there were grocery shopping and cleaning.  Between my daughter and daughter-in-law, each week they do most of the above PLUS gardening, chauffeuring children to school and extracurricular events, running a successful home business besides a full-time job, and participating in a lively social calendar.  They are not unlike other mothers today.

So what’s my point?  Having been with my precious grandchildren this week and getting ready to let them go back home, I am more strongly reminded of the need for prayer for our young family members and particularly the young mothers:  that the joy of the Lord will be their strength (Neh. 8:10); that they will look to him for encouragement (Isa. 41:10); that they will always experience God’s presence (Deut. 31:6); that they will know they are greatly loved by God (Romans 8:37-39); and that he will supply every need they have (Phil. 4:19).  AND that they will delight in being stewards of the precious treasures with which God has entrusted them.

I will miss the sweet grands, but they will be returning to the place where they belong and where they will be loved and shaped into the image God planned from the beginning of time.  And I will be here praying for them all, loving them, and waiting for the next visit.


Father, thank you for the special times I have with all my sweet grandbabies.  Be with my friends who spend long seasons apart from their families and give them opportunities to bless those other children you’ve brought into their lives.  Make us your hands and feet as we love and touch those you’ve entrusted to us.  Keep their parents in you, and help us never to cease praying for them.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.


Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”  Genesis 22:2


Can we even begin to imagine the pain that Abraham experienced when God ordered him to take this child and offer him as a burnt offering?  Isaac was the child of promise who had been born to Sarah and Abraham when they were long past the time of parenting.  He had been given after years of yearning and trusting, and now the One who had given the gift was asking that Isaac be given back.

The text does not recount the angst and suffering Abraham must have felt when he heard this somber command.  We do not know, but we can speculate.  Even so, Genesis 22:3 tells us that early the next morning Abraham began the journey up the mountain.  He didn’t procrastinate.  He obeyed in trust.  Not knowing what God would do, he trusted.  Even when Isaac asked him where the lamb was, Abraham trusted.

At the summit of the mountain, Abraham made an altar, placed the wood on it, tied up his precious son, and laid him in place.  Just as he was about to perform the final act of obedience, God stopped him.  One writer said that, had Abraham not known God as intimately as he did, he would have said the voice he heard was that of Satan.  But Abraham knew and stopped.  He had passed the test, and GOD PROVIDED the lamb.

I heard of a family that quarreled and allowed their differences to divide them.  When the matriarch of the family died, one of the sons wanted to erect a headstone, but the others aligned themselves against him.  He grieved at the lack of unity and respect until he spoke with his parish priest.  The wise man prayed with him, asking him to give his pain and expectations to the Lord.  The priest counseled him to abandon his desire to place the headstone on his mother’s grave and to instead honor his mother by affecting reconciliation within the family.  He surmised that that would be a greater memorial than a headstone.  At peace, the son obeyed and succeeded.

Even when we set out to do God’s will, there may be unknown factors that change our plans.  Abraham trusted God when he set out to climb the mountain; the grieving son trusted God when he abandoned his plans.  In both instances, God was faithful and was glorified.  Can we trust him to do the same with our changed plans?


Loving Father, we are so often certain that we are following you whole-heartedly when there comes an obstacle to our obedience.  Help us to trust you even when we do not understand.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.


Please pray as I accompany a team today on a mission to another country.  I will not be posting on Thursday.  God bless you and thanks.



Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…  Ephesians 3:20  (KJV)


I am reading a book about a group of women in Germany who responded to a call to live together in community and service just after World War II.  Initially, they stayed with the parents of the founder but prayed that God would provide property, funds, and materials to build a chapel and a Mother House in the devastated remains of Darmstadt.


The book, Realities of Faith by Basilea Schlink, is astonishing as it details persevering prayer, how the women broached hindrances to their prayers, and divine provision as they dedicated themselves to God’s glory.  One of the stories tells of their needing a particular piece of land on which to build their print shop; however, the owner, an elderly lady, was intent on keeping everything she had ever inherited and would not part with the land.  The women prayed and fasted, and, in their poverty, each felt directed to sacrifice some personal thing (a little wooden cross, a pretty picture, etc.).  Mother Basilea then visited the old lady and could hardly believe her ears when she was told, “I’m not too much sad about the land, but it’s the plum trees; I do hate to lose the plum trees.”  The women made and signed a contract that all the plums would go to the owner while the land would become the property of the religious order.


Over and over God met needs as the women prayed together, sacrificed, confessed their sins, and reconciled when there were grievances.  Today the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary has eleven orders all over the world.  They continue to live out and teach principles of reconciliation, justice, divine provision, and God’s love.


As I am reading Realities… I think of how our contemporary Church has moved away from expectant prayer.  We are so familiar with the rituals (every church has them) that we forget we are speaking to the Living God.  We take worship for granted, and when God does not answer a prayer for his glory, I wonder how often we examine ourselves to see if there are fractured relationships or unconfessed sin?  How frequently do we dare to make personal sacrifices that God’s work may continue?


Realities of Faith has been a wonderful reminder of who God is and wants to be in our lives and in our fellowships.  This is simply a journal of women who were serious about following Jesus and who found him to be everything and more than they ever hoped.


Father, thank you for the saints among us who encourage us in our journeys to climb higher and to get closer.  That really is our heart’s cry.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.