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Today’s Bread ~ Plan B

12 Jul

Proverbs 19:21 – You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.

The plan was to be married a few years, then start a family.

She was a teacher. He worked at an office by day and as a photographer by weekend.  She loved her job, her family and her friends.  He was a loving and attentive husband who wanted nothing more than to provide a happy, secure home for his wife.

When they saw two lines on the pregnancy test, they rejoiced.  Immediately they started planning for the future.  They discussed names and colors for the nursery.  She modified her diet and dreamed of holding her baby in her arms.  He began looking at the world through a father’s eyes.

A routine ultrasound brought their plans to a screeching halt.  Their baby boy’s heart wasn’t developing the way it should.  A future once filled with football helmets and roughhousing was replaced with visions of hospitalizations, open heart surgeries, and sidelines.  His parents were heartbroken and frightened, but resolute.  They would do what they needed to do to give their son the best life possible.

James 5:16 – Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.*

I am friendly with this couple and like them very much, but am not in their immediate circle of friends.  I heard the news several weeks after the diagnosis, when it started to trickle down from their closest loved ones.  But the Holy Spirit immediately burdened my heart.  Pray for them, came the fervent whisper.  Lift them up in a mighty way.

I approached my husband one night.  “I just can’t get them off my mind,” I told him.  (more…)

Today’s Bread ~ How do you know it’s real?

7 Jul

Judges 6:14-15 – Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites.  I am sending you!”  “But LORD,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel?  My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

I am comforted knowing that most of the greatest figures in the Bible struggled with doubt.  Doubt and I have a history together. 

The first time my faith was seriously challenged was in middle school, learning about the Darwinian theory of evolution.  The teacher calmly explained that the universe was created by a “Big Bang,” and, over a period of millions and millions of years, life evolved from simple, single cell beings.  Man wasn’t created by a Divine Designer, but rather a by-product of a certain species of ape.

Another blow came in college.  As part of my undergrad requirements, I signed up for Understanding the Bible.  I eagerly anticipated the first class.  I had already read the Bible cover-to-cover once, and the New Testament dozens of times.  I was ready to go deeper in my faith, to have some of my nagging questions answered and my certainty of Jesus cemented.

The class was taught by an angry atheist. By the end of the semester I was sick and disheartened.  According to her, everything I’d based my life on was a fairy tale.

But something inside of me wouldn’t let me let go.  The Holy Spirit had a grip on my heart, and despite my doubts, I still believed. 

Matthew 14:28-30 – Then Peter called to Him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to You by walking on water.”  “All right, come,” Jesus said.  So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.  But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink.  “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

If they are honest, just about every pastor, Bible teacher or worship leader will admit to a season of doubt.  Doubt is not the problem.  It’s what we do with it. (more…)

Today’s Bread ~ Growing Pains

1 Jul

Deuteronomy 8:2 – Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would really obey His commands.

My first real experience with conflict (that I can recall) was in the fourth grade.  I was close friends with a girl named Kelly.  We had a ball, playing, laughing, and giggling about boys.  Then one day, Kelly stopped speaking to me.  Try as I might to understand why, she never told me.  The friendship simply came to a frosty end.

In high school, my family moved to Highlands Ranch, Colorado in the middle of my sophomore year.  Knowing no one and wanting to be involved, I tried out for the annual spring musical.  That year, it happened to be Into the Woods, and I landed one of the leading roles.  I took to the theatre teacher/director immediately.  He was warm and funny; tough but supremely talented.  The show was a smashing success.

In the fall, rather than audition for the drama, I opted to try something else.  I recall bumping into the director in the hall, and feeling stunned when my cheerful greeting was met with a frosty glare.  When spring rolled around once again, I uncertainly entered the theatre to try out for the show.  Although I was one of the first to sign in, I was the last to read and sing for a part.  I didn’t even make the chorus.

I graduated the University of Kansas with a degree in broadcast journalism and an audition reel that included both radio and television reporting from the NBC affiliate in Topeka, KS, but couldn’t find a job to save my life.  Every door I knocked on stayed shut.

It was a failed relationship that brought me to Texas.

It was a boss’s bad side that moved me from one radio station to 96.3 KSCS, where I joined the Dorsey Gang.

It was sharp conviction that moved me from a cushy morning show job to ministry.

God has a plan for your life.  It is a good plan, a perfect plan.  And it does involve conflict. (more…)

Today’s Bread ~ Pssssst!

29 Jun

Psalm 19:1-4a – The heavens tell of the glory of God.  The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship.  Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known.  They speak without a sound or word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world.

Mornings are a magical time for me.

There is a moment, somewhere between 5:20 and 5:30am, where the world rustles itself from its slumber and ushers in the dawn.

It starts quietly; one bird issuing a tentative “peep,” answered by a sleepy “chirp.”  Within moments, the stillness of the night is broken by the joyful cacophony of a new day.  I cherish that time.

My typical morning starts at five o’clock when the alarm rudely yanks me from my sleep.  With my bleary eyes and slippered feet I patter downstairs, pour my coffee, and open the windows.  Bible and journal open, I take pen to paper and pray.

I usually approach my prayer journal eagerly, like a child rushing to tell her mother something new.  The other day, however, the words wouldn’t come.

As I tried to write, I found myself distracted by the melody of the morning.  I had a nagging feeling that I was to abandon my efforts and go outside.  After a few minutes, I gave in.  Putting my pen down, I picked up my Bible, opened the back door, and stepped into the warm morning air.

I pulled two patio chairs into the middle of our backyard.  I sat in one, propped my legs on the other and leaned back.  And then, the strangest thing happened. (more…)

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