Stand in the Gap

Stand in the Gap

Squeal with delight

“Is your mom ok?” My friend across the table alerted me to my mom’s condition. Sitting beside her, I looked and immediately caught her as she began to fall. Holding her up, my friend on the other side and I talked to her frantically to keep her conscious as we waited for an ambulance to arrive.

A woman from across the restaurant saw our distress and walked quietly over. “May I pray for her?” We welcomed her whispered interruption. She prayed and we prayed along.

Her exact words escape me, however, I won’t forget her calming presence. My mom slowly became more alert. Thank God. She doesn’t remember much from the experience, just the awareness of the EMT and us talking to her toward the end.

We didn’t know it at the time, but my mom’s blood pressure had dropped dangerously low due to an issue with her medicine. I thank the Lord for His protection and for sending a believer who demonstrated compassion and a willingness to stand in the gap while we waited.

Courage to step out

Today’s world often demonstrates the opposite of this compassion and sensitivity. Many would look on but not take the step to help. This visitor stepped out with courage — away from her own dining experience and priorities that day— to pray over a stranger.

Our encounter reminds me of the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.

The Samaritan came upon a traveler left half dead on the road to Jericho. He lifted his battered and bruised body, bandaged his wounds, carried him to an inn and took care of his needs. Other people’s opinions mattered not. He answered the call to lend a hand and do what needed to be done.

Our fellow diner could not help us physically, but she gave what she could. She lifted my mom to the Father, her words comforting our souls.

I don’t know her — I’m sure I thanked her — but I hope she knows how much we appreciate her demonstration of love and care.

Is God calling you to stand in the gap for someone? Do you know somebody who needs comfort? A bandage? An encouraging word? Or a financial gift to help them get by?

Answer the call. Who knows what God will do through you?

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36 NIV).


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Jesus, Candy and Rocks

Jesus, Candy and Rocks

Squeal with delight

Jesus. Candy. Hats. Soda. Road. Trees. Rocks. Water. Grass. . .

I ran across this note in a journal from years ago. My youngest son Parker scribbled these words along with others in response to my assignment to think of things we were thankful for. I can still hear his low raspy voice reading his list. His scrawled notes took me back to a time of sweet innocence and little boys’ imaginations.

Road trips often became a teaching ground for my three sons. In times like this, one child would act as a scribe. Many times, we volunteered Garrett because he had the best handwriting. This time, it was Parker’s turn.

For trips taken late in the year or the beginning of a year, I’d ask them to think about goals — family goals and individual goals. I think they enjoyed offering up a goal or two for their brothers more than thinking of one for themselves. I’ve kept some of these lists as tender reminders of simple, more carefree days.

They also prompt me to express gratitude more in my life.

Overcome with gratitude

Luke 17 recounts the story of one who showed gratitude for being healed of leprosy. Ten men were healed that day. One expressed his gratefulness.

When this man saw that he was healed on his way to show himself to the priest, he came back praising God in a loud voice.

I’m trying to imagine this scene. At some point on his way to the priest, he looks at his skin, sees he’s been healed and turns around heading back to Jesus. I imagine he even sprinted back. His heart must have been amazed and overcome with gratitude because scripture says he threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.

Speak gratefulness daily

When I think of what Jesus has brought me through, I am amazed at His goodness, mercy and grace. But when did I last throw myself at His feet in gratitude?

Wouldn’t our lives be different if we made it our practice to speak gratefulness daily? Maybe we should make a list of how we’re

  • Thankful for the little things;
  • Thankful for the big things;
  • And all the things in between.

What are you thankful for?

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan,” (Luke 17:15-16 NIV).




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It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

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Be Grateful and Press On

Be Grateful and Press On

Squeal with delight

I caught my 6’5”, 240-pound son.

Have you ever seen something about to happen and could do nothing to stop it? I didn’t plan to be the barrier between my son and the floor, but it happened in an instant.

I saw the equipment in the physical therapy room and cautioned my son to be careful as he hobbled by with his crutches.

It was too late. His crutch caught the equipment leg and he lunged toward me. Only two days after his ACL/meniscus surgery, I knew he couldn’t put any weight on that foot.

Between his look of panic and my expression of dread, I braced myself as his chest hit my face like a brick wall. I held tight, shocked yet thankful he was not on the floor.

A moment of gratitude

What could have been devastating turned into a moment of gratitude.

He felt gratitude for me being there to catch him. I was grateful he didn’t damage the recent knee repair or crush me in the process.

Have you been there? Have you escaped something that led to disaster, but God supplied the rescue? Maybe he provided a way out or the encouragement to move forward and press on. You felt a sense of gratitude come over you.

Jesus’ crucifixion must have shocked and unnerved his followers. It must have hit them hard.

When Mary Magdalen and the other women went to the tomb three days later, they expected to find the broken and unrecognizable body of their Lord.

Instead, they found something far greater. Their weeping turned to joy. Fear grew to gratitude. Their despair changed to determination.

Energized to press on

Jesus met them in their time of need and encouraged them, energized them to press on and moved them to go and tell the disciples that He had risen just as He said. (See Matthew 28.)

Jesus champions our walk. He delivers us in our time of need. He catches us when we fall and encourages us to press on toward our goal.

A friend once encouraged me to stop what I was doing and go run. My mind told me I needed to run . . . for my health and my marathon training. Instead, I offered excuses. I had too many things to do so I didn’t want to take the time. Plus, the sky looked overcast with a threat of rain.

But I followed her advice. Not long after I started running, the sun broke out. As I ran, I felt better than I thought I would. I ran better than I thought I would. My outlook changed and I found encouragement to press on and stay in the race.

Commissioned to press on

Isn’t that so much like Him? Like a trusted friend, he encourages us. He loves us. Jesus nudges us to press on and stay in the race. He urges us to remain focused on the task He wants us to do. Whether in sunshine or storm, He stands there waiting to be what we need at that moment.

Jesus’ followers didn’t know it yet, but their race was just beginning. After His instruction and encouragement for 40 days, they went on to spread the gospel with passion and without fear throughout the first-century world.

So be encouraged. Embrace gratitude. Stay focused on your God-given dreams and see the hand of God at work in your life. And should you fall, He’ll be there.


Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.


Rush of Emotion

Rush of Emotion

As I sat waiting for the start of my son’s college basketball game, where he is a manager for the team, unwelcome tears sprang to my eyes.

Nothing had happened that day to prompt this emotional outbreak. As I sat in the stadium alone, a rush of emotions took over.

I thought about how my late husband would have been so proud of the young man our son had become. And then my mind traveled back to all the events, decisions and milestones he had missed with us.

In the noise of the game’s beginning activities, I sat missing him.

Even after many years, grief can surface without a moment’s notice. And especially around the holiday season.

Have you experienced this uninvited emotion? How are we to maneuver through it?

Two things come to mind. 1) Find things to be grateful for and 2) Focus on Jesus, who is always by our side.


Be grateful

In big things or in small, remember the people, the events, and the circumstances that have blessed and encouraged you. Remember your loved ones in Heaven and reflect on what they meant to you while they were here on earth. Journaling your thoughts can be a source of comfort and give perspective.

The Bible has much to say about gratitude. Here are just a few verses pointing us to praise and thanksgiving.

Giving thanks takes the focus off us and gives us room to focus on Jesus.


Focus on Jesus

  • In our sadness,
  • In our heartaches,
  • In our battles,
  • In our restlessness,
  • In our moments of decision,
  • In our skepticism and suspicion,
  • In our moments of disobedience, and
  • When we are faithful and when we’re not,

Our sovereign Lord is there.


Surrounded by God’s presence

No one physically sat beside me at that game. In fact, the crowd was sparse the day before a holiday. The emotional moment of sadness passed. I don’t know why they pop up like they do, but one thing I know.

My God’s presence surrounds me no matter where I am or what happens in my day, in my week or in my life. We can place confidence and assurance in God who is near.

How have you seen God in a particular season in your life, and felt His presence? Share it with someone today. Your experience might encourage someone else and be just the thing to get them through their day.

You made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures in your right hand. Psalm 16:11



Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.


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The Invisible Army

The Invisible Army

I saw it coming but could do nothing about it. As the car veered toward us, my friend driving tried to steer us out of the way. It was a moment too late. The other vehicle made contact and ran us off the road.

The four of us in my car and the two in the other vehicle survived the ordeal without injury. I know this sounds crazy, but I pictured God’s angels there between us, softening the blow. We were all incredibly grateful as we sat in the grassy median, interstate traffic speeding past.

Reflecting on this reminds me of an instance in the Bible where God protected Elisha and his servant with an invisible army. Elisha was one of the most well-known prophets of Israel, serving in the northern kingdom. He had been anointed by Elijah, the prophet who skipped death when God suddenly picked him up in a chariot of fire and took him to heaven in a whirlwind.

Elisha had seen God do amazing things.

Maybe that’s why he appeared calm and confident when the Syrian army surrounded the city of Dothan.

Elisha’s servant, however, not so much.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6: 15-17 (ESV)



There really were more with them than those who were in that army. Instead of seeing a threat, this time Elisha’s servant saw the strength and the glory of God’s army. He saw that the army of the Lord outnumbered the Syrian threat. And I bet he was never the same again.

When the Syrians came against them, Elisha captured the army with a bold prayer and trust in his Lord. (See the rest of the chapter for the interesting details.)

Hundreds of years later, the apostle John reminds us of this same concept.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 (NIV)

Of course, I don’t know all the behind-the-scenes activity going on as we drove home that night, but I can recognize God’s protection. I can trust the strength of God’s army and know that not only is God with me, but sometimes misfortune just might be the thing that God uses for a greater purpose. Maybe our accident even served as a wake-up call for the person who hit us.



I’m grateful that God protects and fights our battles even when we are completely unaware.

Remember these two things today.

  • As Christians, the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world.
  • Although we can’t always see it, God is by our side, and we can trust the strength of His army.

Today, I pray that God will open our eyes so we can see His glory, His protection and His good work in our lives.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (ESV)


Celebrating a Promise Fulfilled

Celebrating a Promise Fulfilled

After returning an item at a local store, I began to wander around – not knowing what I was looking for. Then my mind also began to wander, thinking about Matthew and how I miss him this Christmas.

Next, I headed to Sam’s to buy supplies for Christmas day, and I remembered how we used to go together to shop for Christmas. Our boys were much younger, and we enjoyed finding gifts that would surprise and delight them. Matthew was such a big kid himself.

How do we survive the holidays when our hearts are longing for more time with our loved one? There seems to have been so much loss and heartbreak this year. That alone is distressing.

Then I stumbled on this verse in a journal a friend gave me recently and God spoke to my heart.

Give your burdens to the Lord and he will take care of you. Psalm 55:22

It was just the reminder I needed.

Make room for blessings

When we lay our worries and stresses at Jesus’ feet, there’s room to think about the gifts – the blessings – God has already provided. So that’s what I decided to do.

I thought about my boys giving me an early Christmas gift – both thoughtful and touching. Parker made an ornament on a piece of wood, painting the cover of my book on it. I think he got as much joy from giving it as I did from receiving it.

I thought about impromptu lunches with two friends this week — two days in a row — and how each one blessed and encouraged me.

I thought about our Christmas party and how I enjoyed spending time with friends and family.

And I thought about the gift of God’s word (like Psalm 55:22) that tells me I can release my burdens and focus on blessings because of a promise fulfilled.

A promise fulfilled

God made a promise. Then he fulfilled it when he gave the gift of joy by sending His son to live among humankind. 

The shepherds experienced it that beautiful and magnificent night when they were visited by a host of angels.

Mary and Joseph experienced it as they sat in awe and held their baby in their arms — the new King who had come to save the world.

The wise men experienced it when they visited the small family and kneeled before the Christ.

And we can experience it too.

  • As we face dark days. Lonely days.
  • When we trust even though we cannot see ahead.
  • As we sense the secret workings of God in our hearts.
  • As we receive the gift of salvation Christ offers.

While some celebrate Christmas with family, others miss the family member who’s gone. Some celebrate by attending events and parties. Others endure the days alone.

One thing is sure. No matter our circumstances, Jesus will do what he says. God spoke to the prophets about the coming Messiah and His miraculous birth. And it happened exactly as it was written.

And because of that, we can celebrate a promise fulfilled — whether with a large group of people or with only Jesus as our companion. Let’s celebrate Jesus. Let’s worship Him.

Is the spirit of God tugging at your heart today? Give thanks that he gave Himself for us. Give thanks for the gifts He has given us personally. 

  • A time of laughter with a friend
  • A bittersweet memory
  • A thoughtful gesture
  • A scripture of encouragement
  • A moment in the presence of the King.

As the shepherds rejoiced when they heard the angels’ proclamation, then searched for the Christ child, let us also rejoice and be on the lookout for precious everyday gifts.