It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Lamentations 3:22-24

“About six more months,” the doctor said when I asked about recovery from my hand surgery. And just as my second cast was removed and I could get back to the computer and writing, we learned about the corona virus. So, where will we as Christians, go with this latest and unprecedented challenge?
We can begin with gratitude, remembering always God’s great gift through his Son, Jesus Christ. We can cultivate and discipline ourselves in daily thanksgiving, determinedly opposed to the world’s deluge of criticism and fault-finding. “Who do you blame for the transmission of this virus in your community?” and “We’re waiting now for the lawsuits that will be filed,” were comments I heard today on the news—rather than gratitude for all those who are heroically serving in this time of global pandemic and the wisdom and expertise we experience in our beloved country.
We actively seek ways to serve. I know people who are sewing masks; others who are packaging and delivering groceries; some who are calling and checking on vulnerable people; and family members who are treating the ill in our community. We can intentionally block out time for prayer and meditation, specifically lifting up our leaders, first responders, caregivers, and those in trouble.
We can determine to be encouragers. When we hear fear or depression, we can acknowledge these very real feelings and guide the conversation into hope in Christ and his faithfulness. We don’t belittle or disparage temptations to negativity, for they are real and fed at large by the media and others whose faith is not yet strong. We pour out God’s love that flows through us and recognize occasions to minister in times like these.
We resist the temptation, as Fenelon says, to look forward to better days. We trust God’s sovereignty for the now and ask him to use these circumstances to refine and transform us. We live in the present as lights in an uncertain world, keeping our eyes focused on him, the author and finisher of our faith.
We stand, anchored in Christ who will never leave us, and allow him to work in and through us for his purpose in the Kingdom.
When this is all over and this current crisis ended, what and who will we be? Will we be stronger in the Lord and truer to our faith in him, grateful for his promised faithfulness? Or will we have missed all the opportunities he has provided for intimacy and a greater knowledge of himself?
It’s really our choice.


Father, never before have we had such unlimited possibilities for service and growth. Move our eyes from ourselves and stay them on you as we seek ways to share our faith and our hope, our energies and our love with fearful, anxious, and hurting people in our world and in our community. May we speak and sing of your faithfulness as we trust you through these difficult times. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20

I clearly recall a time of great trauma in our family life. It seemed that the world, as we knew it, was disintegrating. Relationships were tried, finances were stressed, and there was no clear sense of direction. I was preoccupied with the circumstances. And then one afternoon, a clear witness issued from the living room.  My mother sat at the baby grand and sang, almost defiantly:
“I’ve seen the lightning flashing,
And heard the thunder roll,
I’ve felt sin’s breakers dashing,
Trying to conquer my soul;
I’ve heard the voice of my Savior,
Telling me still to fight on,
He promised never to leave me,
Never to leave me alone.
No, never alone,
No, never alone;
He promised never to leave me,
Never to leave me alone.
Mother was the rock who reminded us that, no matter what the circumstance, God was always there and was always faithful.
Through the years, I’ve often needed that reminder, and if I look and listen, it is always there. Jesus told us in Matthew 28:20 that his presence would be a constant. William Barclay in his study of “Acts” said that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was just another way that Jesus was assuring us that the promise of his presence would be fulfilled. Through the indwelling Spirit, we can know that we are not alone. He lives inside.
And then Oswald Chambers in My Utmost… says, “The reality of God’s presence is not dependent on any place but only dependent upon the determination to set the Lord always before us… when once we are based on Reality, not the consciousness of God’s presence but the reality of it, [we realize] he has been here all the time.”
Jesus keeps his word. He will be with us until we go to be with him.


Jesus, I cling to your word and your truth. Thank you that we are never alone. AMEN.


I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. II Timothy 1:5

Living next door to my faithful grandmother (and grandfather) for my first eight years was the initial demonstration of grace for my fledgling faith. I watched them give away a great portion (if not most) of their income and worldly goods to others in need. Grandma hosted a neighborhood prayer group long before it was trendy, and my brother and I often accompanied her runs with baskets for the sick and hungry. Grandpa carried his Bible with him to work and led us in daily family devotions.
So, I suppose, it was just natural for their children, my uncles and mom, to follow in their footsteps. While Papa taught us practical things, Momo led us in following Jesus. We watched our family’s faith lived out and applied daily. I grew up thinking that was the way everybody lived.
My mom and dad are both gone now, so I set for myself a task that I have literally kept on the shelf for several years—going through Momo’s journals. This summer would be the time, I told myself. Enough space has elapsed since their passing that I can objectively read what Momo recorded through the years.
I think I have been hesitant, anxious (yes, anxious) about what she may have written about me—or any of us. Had she noted disapproval, disappointment, concern?  Was she pleased with us?  It was time to pull the books off the shelf and brave the consequences. What I discovered should not have surprised me.
Page after page was covered with her original studies (replete with Bible verses) from years of exploring the Word: the Mystery of Prayer, Faith, Waiting on the Lord, the Nature of God, Gratitude, God’s Love, Children, were just a few with diagrams to illustrate her thoughts. Momo copied verses from traditional hymns that seemed to have been part of her meditations. And there were prayer lists. Rarely did she mention personal matters or names except in the context of prayer.
I knew Momo was a woman of great spiritual depth, but I am just discovering how much of her days she must have spent in prayer and study. Actually, I didn’t need to know—it was evident in her life. And she blessed her world.


Father, when I think of the spiritual heritage I’ve been given, I am grateful for your abundance of blessing. But I am so very deficient in likeness to the godly women who’ve been my example. Give me time to grow more like them in their likeness to you. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


…if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.  II Timothy 2:13



In speaking with my son recently about estate matters, he said, “Mom, I don’t want anything from you except some of your books and your journals.”

That gave me pause.  I have forty-two years of journals, and, although I have general memories, I certainly don’t recall everything I’ve said (or done) throughout those years.  I thought it would probably be a good idea to begin a review.  What I read left me awed.

The first journal was initiated during a particular year with lots of breakings and disappointments.  There were records of occurrences and then reflections on God’s presence.  Over and over I saw God’s presence through the darkest of times.  And they were times I would never wish on anyone…

When unexpected expenses arose, God had unanticipated resources.  Friends seemed to rally from nowhere, and my family encouraged me in the Lord.  Even with a limited budget, the children had invitations to camps, to parties and recreational events, and we were even treated to a family vacation that year.  Needs that had never arisen before were addressed in seemingly supernatural ways.  A job opening I’d not anticipated was perfect for my skills and schedule; a scholarship provided access to further education; and renters brought in needed income.

Things I had forgotten through the years stood out sharply from this present vantage point.  Of course, there were frequent references to the grief we were experiencing, but God’s grace brought comfort and assurance that he did have good plans for us, plans for a future and a hope.  He was always pointing me forward.

God’s provision was and has been remarkable.  But that was not what struck me so forcefully.  In those numerous journal pages, over and over I saw the faithfulness of God.  Through many painful days, it seemed almost impossible to go on.  So many nights seemed to have no horizons to anticipate.  And yet, even when I was faithless, he remained faithful. 

He didn’t get tired of my sorrow, my frustration, my finger-pointing, my “what-ifs,” my impatience, my weakness, and my self-orientation.  In fact, he was a friend who stuck closer than a brother and never left or forsook me.  He didn’t toss me out—he just kept working in me.

And that’s only in the first of the journals.  I don’t really remember, as I’ve already said, what’s between all the following pages, but I am confident of the ending.  And I think it will be okay for the children to read the journals.


Father, there is no way any of us can detail all your goodness toward us, your children.  Thank you for giving us eternity to express our gratitude.  AMEN.


Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.  I Kings 8:56


It’s happened again.  The chapel sermon provoked my thinking about where I’m going in this Christian journey.  Our bishop shared a book she’s reading about a professor who told his students at opening session that every one of them would get an “A” in the course.  This was a grand experiment, but through the weeks, the professor reminded everyone what “A” students did:  They came to class; they participated; they worked hard.  Each week was a reminder, and the experiment worked.  As the students lived into the promise, they and their academic achievements flourished.

By now, you can see where I’m going… We live with access to a rich, inviolable document, the Bible that is full of astonishing promises given by a Person of impeccable integrity and unfailing resources.  There are so many promises—some sources count 3573 while others suggest 5467—that every human condition is covered.  The word promise is written 221 times.  If one single promise changed the lives and performance of a classroom of university students, just imagine how only a handful of promises could change our lives as we live into them.

Take, for example, God’s promise that he would never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:8, Heb. 13:5, Matt. 28:20).  If we really believed that, would we ever be lonely or feel abandoned?  Would we ever sense that there was no one to help with important decisions or are we just left to our own devices?  When relationships fracture or when circumstances move us from our comfort zones, isn’t it comforting to know we’re not ever going to be alone?

Another promise that should fortify us is God’s promise in Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  This beautiful word has the modifier “all.”  I think “all” means “all.”  Not “some” or “sometimes.”  God will supply ________________ (fill in the blank) according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Have you ever asked God to meet a financial need, a family need, an emotional need, a professional need?  Did you trust and then watch to see what he would do?  And then did you stand in awe at his faithfulness?

How about this one:  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9).  Grace, God’s free and unmerited favor, will sustain us when all our resources are depleted and when we are weakest.  Perhaps that’s why grace is so amazing.

One of my personal favorites is, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Once again, I love the word “all.”  All things work together for good to them that love God…  God doesn’t say that everything looks good at first blush, but he promises that eventually all things will work together and result in good.  We just have to be patient.

I could go on and on.  There are promises about deliverance in temptation, victory over death, forgiveness of sin, eternal life, family, God’s love, and hundreds more—possibly up to 5467.  It shouldn’t be all that difficult.  We are just to believe what God says and live into the promise.  Obedience is our part; fulfillment is God’s.

Not one word has failed of all his good promises…


Promise-making and promise-keeping God, help us to trust you as we live into your good Word and your good promises.  May you be pleased as you see us becoming more and more like you.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.



About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Acts 16:25


Upon a recent reading of this text, I was struck not by Paul and Silas’s singing in prison, which in itself was remarkable,  but by the little comment that “the other prisoners were listening to them.”  Of course, they were listening.  Never having occupied a prison cell for my Christian witness, I have no firsthand experience of what words and phrases would daily bounce off the walls of those cold, dark, forgotten places.  But I do have a vivid imagination.

I can imagine that angry, bitter expressions and vile curses would be commonplace as the wicked, the innocent, and the politically disfavored wasted away hoping for rescue.  And then these strange men are tossed in among them.  Men who were thrown in prison for healing a demon-possessed woman.  Of all those locked away, Paul and Silas had reason to complain.

And yet, “about midnight,” the time when all one’s aches and pains and worries and emotional angst are exacerbated, that time when the Prince of Darkness wreaks havoc in our bodies and minds, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.  Do you wonder that the prisoners were listening to them?  Paul and Silas had been beaten and severely flogged.  They were probably bleeding and were surely suffering.  Instead of cursing and complaining, they were singing because there was a joyous melody in their hearts.

There was something beyond the realm of ordinary religion.  Rather than comfort, the gods of the day made selfish, extraordinary requirements of their supplicants and were known to wreak havoc on their lives.  Paul and Silas were praying and singing to the Almighty, Omnipotent God.  What a mighty God they served, one who caused them to sing in suffering, one who brought joy to the darkest circumstance, and one who caused them to experience his presence in the hopelessness of their situation.  Of course, the prisoners were listening.

Today people around us are watching, and they’re listening.  Will we pray, will we sing in difficulty?  Will we “count it all joy” when we experience trials that threaten to overcome us.  Will we sense that there is a Fourth Man in the fire with us?  And will we sing?


Father, only you are able to give us those songs in the night.  It’s not a matter of putting on a happy face, but it’s rather a matter of absolute abandonment to your faithfulness.  Strengthen us to keep singing of you, and cause our lives to be lived to your glory at all times.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.


Now the just shall live by faith…  Hebrews 10:38  (NIV)


Have you ever been glad that our forward progress is simply by faith, sometimes by just putting one foot in front of the other?  If we tend to measure our spiritual temperature by the way we feel, we can become terribly discouraged.  Feelings fluctuate with the weather, an unpleasant phone call, a news report, or any number of random things.  Sometimes we can feel bland for no reason at all.

But, thank God, he says that’s not the way we live.  We learn to disregard our feelings (emotions) and continue walking by faith in his faithfulness.  Someone once told me to fake it till I make it.  There’s no need for a Christian to do that.  Instead, we can faith it as we make it.

By faith we can give God every care, every disappointment, every wound, every anxious thought without sensing any spiritual gain.  By faith we place those troubles in his hands and walk away knowing he will bring peace or provide wisdom or whatever the need is because he said so.

Because he said so we can thank him that he is doing in the unseen exactly what is needed for our particular situation.  We can praise him for who he is, and we can walk on until the answer (or the feeling) overtakes us.  Nothing more is needed from us but simple faith.  We live by faith.  Thanks be to God.


Father, I’m so grateful that through you we are given love, power, and a spirit of discipline to faithfully navigate the ups and downs of this fickle earth.  Strengthen us with all goodness to glorify you in all we say, do, and think.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.


…on this rock[a] I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  Matthew 16:18  (ESV)


The Church is alive and well.  That’s what I continue to discover in my travels to places of dire poverty; in areas of severe persecution; and where governments are highly restrictive.

On my latest visit to see the Church in action, I observed a country that has literally been shut off from the world.  They’ve had few outside resources and have felt themselves isolated.  Even their lines of communication have been filtered coming and going.  So what’s happened to the Church in the meantime?  The people have learned to lean on God and each other.  They have reached inside to develop their God-given creativity and have trusted God rather than organizations and institutions to provide their needs.  And they’ve found God faithful.

In a number of places hurricanes have blown down the buildings we mistakenly call the Church.  Parishioners have continued to meet in shelters, in homes, in any place they could gather to worship and to praise the One who continues to bring salvation.  And the Church has survived even when the buildings were gone.

In another place the pastor was accused of a heinous crime, which was later proved untrue.  The shame was so great, he one day poured fuel over his body, stood in front of the altar, and lit himself afire.  He died singing a hymn.  Twelve young girls surrounded the altar and pledged never to let the Church die.  Then they opened the doors and invited everyone in for a celebration of the pastor’s life and the life of the Church.  More than eighty years later, the few remaining of those “girls” continue to fan the flames of the Church.

In another country where a revolutionary government fought to obliterate the Church, instead of disappearing, the Church went underground.  Bibles were confiscated, believers were tortured and imprisoned, and buildings were demolished.  Today in that same country, Bibles are freely distributed as the Church has come out of hiding, and where people freely worship the One who established the Church.

Jesus’ promise is true.  Hell and all its powers cannot destroy the Church.  Let us pray for all those who trust and who gather secretly today so that his Word does not fail.


Father, how humbled we are to see the faithfulness of your people, our brothers and sisters around the world, who serve you and who follow you whatever the cost.  Encourage and be with them now and forever.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.



…the godly man’s life is exciting.  Proverbs 14:14b  (TLB)


“And Lord, let Marthe have some adventures,” my friend Lynn prayed just before we left for vacation in France.  Peter and I had been practicing our French for months, and we looked forward to a leisurely meander through the villages and on down south to Avignon and the Côte d’Azur.



Landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport, the largest I’d ever seen with thousands of people scurrying about, we retrieved our luggage and began scanning the crowd for Philippe.  Our friends had said that staff member Philippe would be carrying a sign with our name and would take us to their house in a village near Orléans.

We looked and looked for someone who might be Philippe, but no one had a sign with our name.  After a rather long wait, I suggested that Peter stay put with the bags while I ventured around looking for someone I’d not yet met.  Thirty minutes or so later, there was no Philippe.  I reported back to Peter and continued searching. More time elapsed, and we still hadn’t sighted our driver.  We regrouped to determine our next steps.  Now, Lord, getting lost in a major international airport is not my idea of adventure, I thought.

After more searching for what seemed like ages, I prayed desperately, “Lord, please, let the next man I run into be Philippe.”  I stepped back into the crowd and looked up to see an intense young man making his way toward me.  I went up to him and said, “Phillipe?”  “Oui,” he answered.  “Madam Curry?”  Thank God.  I took Philippe to meet Peter, and we learned that he was expecting us to be carrying a sign.  Our first international adventure (and challenge in cross-cultural communication).

We enjoyed a few days of touring in the Centre region of France and then headed south in the car furnished by our friends.  Once on the autoroute I was agitated when I glanced at the speedometer and saw the high speed at which we were traveling, but even then, the French drivers were passing us in droves.

We detoured several times to see quaint villages and acres of poppies and yellow rapeseed fields embracing the roads.  For lunch we stopped at a tiny farmhouse along the way, devoured the daily special, and were ready to leave when we were told that we had only eaten the appetizer!  The main dish would follow.  Just one more adventure.

The drive was more picturesque than we’d foreseen.  Besides large swaths of color, the scenery included installations of highway art—large, powerful sculptures.  Miles down the road, and as the sun was easing over the horizon, Peter and I reflected on the sweet, relaxing day.  We had just left the environs of Lyon and were within an hour of our first stop, a sunflower farm, when we were jolted from our reverie by a crash in the rear.  Someone had run into our car and almost knocked us off the autoroute!  Only Peter’s skillful driving (and those prayers) kept us intact.

Peter carefully guided the car to the shoulder of the road, and we both got out rather shaken.  Another vehicle pulled off and stopped directly in front of us.  Two young men—the ones who had hit us—rushed toward us, both speaking at the same time.  “My friend’s neck is hurt,” the first one spoke accusingly.  “But you hit us,” I countered.  The man continued to argue while Peter went around inspecting the damage to our borrowed vehicle.  In the middle of my conversation, I looked up in time to see that the second young man had jumped into our car and was pulling onto the autoroute.  While Peter and I stood in astonishment watching the car disappear into traffic, the first young man got into his car and took off.

All I could do was repeat the license number over and over until Peter pulled out paper and pen to write—in between exclamations of shock and remembrances of such tales reported in the news.  We stood helpless on the side of the autoroute in the gathering darkness, and a soft, gentle rain began to fall.

(On Monday read the next installment of this adventure and God’s providence.)


Father, again I say thank you for sparing us, and thank you for grace that was and is given in abundance.  You are always faithful.  AMEN.



…if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.  II Timothy 2:13

I am reviewing the life of King David, the “sweet singer of Israel” (II Samuel 23:1), the king described as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22).  It almost seems unfair that David gets to be listed in the ranks of saints of the ages.  But that is God’s designation, not ours.

David’s relationship with Bathsheba could be viewed as a sin of the flesh.  After all, David should have been out doing his kingly duty and fighting with his men (II Samuel 11:1, 2) when he stayed home and was attracted to Bathsheba.  The relationship that followed David’s yielding to temptation is not unusual.  But the cover up is reprehensible.  When Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, refuses to visit his wife two times during his return to Jerusalem, David meticulously plans his murder and sends the order for his execution in Uriah’s own hands.  It’s obvious that Uriah is highly trusted; he could have read David’s order and avoided death.

There are other records of David’s careless approach to his responsibilities before God:  his pride in numbering the soldiers of Israel (I Chronicles 21:2), his overlooking Joab’s murder of Abner (II Samuel 3:30), and his lack of discipline of his children (II Samuel 13:21, 28, 29, 18:5).  And yet, God saw David as a man after his own heart.

God knew David, the man who spent time meditating on him, praising him, and instructing the priests and the people in worship.  God saw David’s heart, and God saw David’s instant response when confronted by Nathan, the prophet:  “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.”  (Psalm 51:4)  David understood that sin breaks the heart of God, even more so than the ones feeling its pain.

In Psalm 16:2, David confesses, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”  David throws himself onto God’s mercy in full recognition of his need for cleansing and God’s grace (Psalm 51:1, 2).   Like Paul, David recognizes that “by the grace of God” he is who he is (I Corinthians 15:10).

And while we sometimes look at ourselves (or others) seeing only the flaws, even the sins, God looks at our hearts (I Samuel 16:7) and responds to genuine repentance, forgiving at least seventy times seven (Matthew 18:2).  He knows that one who has been forgiven much loves much (Luke 7:7).  But even more than this, God is not dependent on our faithfulness to remain faithful.  Faithfulness is an intrinsic part of God’s nature, and he remains faithful to his character forever.

Let us be encouraged in our journey to faithfully follow our Lord without fear, guided by love (which calls us to obedience), and without condemnation (walking in the Spirit).  He will never leave us or forsake us.  He is always faithful, and we can be.


Father, we are often overwhelmed by your love and your faithfulness that came at such cost to you.  Continue your good work that we may in turn be faithful to you.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.