Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Valley of The Oak

Emek HaElah, The Valley of the Oak. Not just any oak but THE OAK. An ancient cathedral of a tree large enough and distinguished enough to landmark the entire area.

A short distance away stands another giant. Not just any giant but THE GIANT. Goliath of Gath. The army of the Philistines is encamped between Socho and Azekah. Daily the giant strides out to taunt his Hebrew enemies, to goad them into a fight, a miss step, a miscalculation that will humiliate and destroy them. This taunting occurs daily at the time the Hebrews pray so to distract them from their relationship with their God. It was working.

Had Saul and his army been students of history, they could have encouraged themselves with the reality that the Philistines were camped near the spot where God had destroyed the Amorites with a hailstorm on behalf of Joshua. God had the giant right where He wanted him, at the center of a bull’s-eye. All the Hebrews could see was the giant.

Into the valley steps a little known shepherd boy whose reputation will dwarf both THE OAK and THE GIANT in just a few hours. He has fought a lion, routed a bear and his heart is painted with God’s colors. He stands between two points on the map and he sees the choice is really between a fence (Socho) and a strong wall (Azekah). His strong wall, his high tower has just moved His secret weapon onto the field. In David's mind God's very existence was the evidence of Goliath's defeat.

We know the rest of the story. The Philistines end up no better off than the Amorites and David wins by “a head.” The giant looks shorter in death than he did in life and for obvious reasons. The anointed David takes a step closer to the throne that is rightfully his.

What we sometimes forget about the story is that the choice remains the same when the sons of the giant come at us. Our choice is to put our confidence in our own strength and ingenuity or to trust, in faith, the One who has sent us. Our confidence can’t be in fences of our own making. It must be in the One who has built strong, enduring walls surrounding us and then written His own Names upon them. We must live in the walled city of hope and protection that is our life in Christ.

There was another oak in the Valley of Elah that long ago day. The Oak of David. The Oak Who Is David. God’s mighty oak who stood in faith filled conviction for the Glory of His Name even in a valley season. Those valley oaks are the ones with the deepest roots whose branches stretch and reach up out of the valley clapping their hands in praise to the one who has strengthened them.

Look in the valley and you will find The Oak of _______ (your name goes here.) You are not alone. His Oaks are a Forest! They are a Family, an Army, a Walled City. They bear His Name. They are the Slayers of Giants. They are His first, last and forever! God proudly shows Himself off in the splendor He imparts to them. Where giants are concerned they take no prisoners. Standing together they proclaim the Lord’s favor.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61

You are an Oak with the name of the High King Of All The Universe carved upon you.

So paint your heart with God’s colors and step into your giant.

You were made to show forth His Glory ‘by a head’…today.

You won't go alone and your walls will hold.

It takes one good thought.

One rock thrown true.

Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia

Friday, February 26, 2010


One does not have to be in active ministry to be aware of just how frequently you hear someone say, "If only I had made a different choice." One does not have to be a Catholic priest to feel you are sitting in the Confessional listening to, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned." Across a lunch table at work, over coffee, in desperate midnight phone calls come those words of opportunity lost, "If only..."

How many times have I said it to myself with regret and clung to the comfort of Christ's words from the Cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

But the fact is I usually did know and made a choice to ignore the flashing lights that said the bridge was out, or failed to weigh all the options before making a life changing decision or ignored the wisdom of God's Word, or took the feelings of a friend or loved one for granted. The result is always grief and loss.

The jails are full of "If only" stories. So are the scriptures. So are we all but there is small comfort in thinking that everyone has made the same mistakes you have. That is the logic the devil often applies to keep you writing another chapter in your "If only..." story and to make sure it does not have a happy ending.

The merciful love of God is confrontational and at the same time relational. This is no impersonal judge handing out mandatory sentences. This is someone who has made an investment in us.

When I was a student nurse I was on a hospital floor and the chief of the surgical services happened to be in the nurses station. He looked at my name tag and said, "Cavanaugh. I know you. I made an investment in your family."

It turns out that 15 years earlier when he was a resident and my mother lay dying on an operating table, having gone through all of the blood with her type that was available, that same doctor gave her a pint of his own as a direct transfusion. It helped to saved her life.

The Son of God gave us all He had to give on Calvary so that we could one day know all He had to share with us in Eternity. Eternity starts here and it is vast enough to out weigh all the "What if , if only, coulda, woulda, shouldas that could ever be spoken.

Consider this verse:

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

As I looked at that scripture in a devotional on Psalms John has been reading, what stood out to me was the part that says, "His favor lasts a lifetime." The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. No exception for stupid, thoughtless sin. All sin. All our sin goes into the sea that God forgot. All the "What ifs" belong there as well.

That sea has a "NO FISHING" sign posted so we should quit trying to bait the hook. Can we just "Take God at His naked word," as Spurgeon calls it and soak up the truth of that scripture?

His favor lasts a lifetime. His favor lasts a lifetime. His favor lasts your lifetime, my lifetime. God's favor. We live and move inside His grace and good will all the days of our lives. His favor out lives our sins and errors and it certainly out lasts our "What ifs."

Need proof. Look at David. He always comes to mind when I think of a soul-jarring example of "How could you?" We know he looked where he was not supposed to look and took what he dared then murdered an innocent husband in a shameful cover up that enlisted the help of subordinates to pull it off.

If you look further you read that 19 soldiers in all died in the pull back that killed the husband. 19 mothers in Israel lost sons to the passion and cowardice of its King. Yet Christ was not ashamed to be the Son of David. David's confession, repentance and renewal points the way to a joyful morning with its sure mercies.

Titus 3:4-6 (The Message):

"But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God's gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there's more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this."

The favor of God trumps it all for us and makes today brim over with new opportunities, new adventures, new possibilities, new broken-bone dance steps to learn.

He has made an investment in us.

His favor lasts a lifetime!

"What if" we believed it?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Heart Is Fixed On You

We were making a meal together yesterday. We needed an egg. I cracked the shell, kept it and threw the egg itself down the disposal. Can you spell senior moment? I was distracted...most of the day...honestly, most of my life. Aren't we all?

Bill worries, kid worries, health worries, parent worries, church worries. Pick up the dry cleaning, service the car, go to the bank, get your teeth cleaned, walk the dog, help with homework, pack lunches, split the atom, apologize to someone you offended, pray...the list is endless.

I confess to writing notes to remember. I write them in a notebook, in the computer, in Outlook, in Yahoo, on my hand in ink. Still I forget some things. I feel like life is happening to me and I am not being as intentional and purposeful as I was meant to be. I want to be a solid and substantial soul. I want spiritual weight. I need spiritual encouragement. I need to be anchored in Christ and know it to my core.

I need that One who "lifts the weary out of the dust," The One who, "Sets my feet upon a Rock," The One who says of any sickness or sadness, "I Will" in response to a petition for relief. I need The One. Just Him. Always Him. Forever Him. Him now. Him in the Future. Him. I want Him to know He has me like that also.

We have such a future in Christ and that future is a second away from us. I may forget where my keys are and I may forget the egg goes in the recipe and not down the drain but "I know my Redeemer lives..."

I know He is returning for us and that I need to live as if I knew it. So I will fix my heart and mind on the things above and whatever I have to do today I will offer it to Him. Even the turning on of the disposal. Everything is for Him. For the One who is coming back for us, Forever.

I will encourage myself and encourage you with the word the Word says was made for the job:

At the signal given by the voice of the Archangel and the trumpet of God, the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and only after that shall we who remain alive be taken up into the clouds, together with them, to meet the Lord in the air. This is the way we shall be with the Lord for ever. With such thoughts as these, then, you should encourage one another.
I Thessalonians 4:16-18

“O GOD, my heart is fixed (steadfast, in the confidence of faith); I will sing, yes, I will sing praises, even with my glory [all the faculties and powers of one created in Your image]!”
(Psalm 108:1 Amplified)


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Something For Thee

Give me a faithful heart,
in likeness to Thee,
That each departing day
henceforth may see
Some work of love begun,
Some deed of kindness done,
Some wanderer sought and won,
Something for Thee.

Sylvanus Phelps

I think if I were God I would positively gag listening to some of my prayers.

My parents used to fight. My sisters and I had about had all we could endure and we hatched a plan. We placed a tape recorder (Kelly's Christmas present) under the couch in the living room when the storm clouds were gathering and then fled the scene.

Later we played the tape for our parents who with unrepentant anger, grounded each of us. They absolutely hated how they sounded, could not, would not believe it when it was played back. No sympathy for the hearers.

I can only hope I would be different. If someone were to play back a recording of all of my prayers throughout the day I would have to admit to how insincere and shallow the sometimes are. I love God, make no mistake, I just think I love myself more, more often than I should.

I make this One who adores me, died for me, has a plan for Eternity that includes me listen to all my gimme prayers, my, "God, you know I'm short on time but could you just________? Lord, please, please, please_______." Or maybe that tape just plays back a lot of dead air space where nothing is said or done.

I have prayed prayers that got Heaven's attention and made Hell roll up the Welcome mat. I have blessed the Name of the Lord and He knew He was blessed for sure. Still, I have to admit that I have not often made it a practice to provide something for Him each day just because he is so deserving and it is my purpose. To do something or say something just to bring Him joy.

Something for Thee, Lord. Something for Thee. Something with no impure or mixed motives. Something just for love and for real.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14) "That each departing day henceforth may see some work of love begun, Something for Thee."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

No Fret Zone

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion... which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever. The hills stand about does the LORD stand round about his people, from this time forth forever more. The scepter of the wicked shall not hold sway over the land allotted to the just...
Psalm 125:1–3

I know sometimes it feels like an upside down mortgage in the power struggle we have over the land Christ has given us (the hearts and minds of our children, family, ministry, work, victory over bad habits, etc.) but that is a just a feeling. The reality is spelled out in the above psalm or God is a liar.

We need to make sure that we are "The Just." That we are the ones who live by faith in the work and grace of the One with the plan. That we are not fretting away the time He has given to us.

The Lord taught us a lesson about this recently. A few weeks ago God let us know that Hell was going to push back against some real spiritual progress and growth we have been experiencing. He cautioned us to, "Sleep in your armor." We took that to mean about what you would expect. Don't be uncovered, be vigilant, be careful, stay protected.

But that word became a point of concern. We became fearful rather than cautious. Would our finances suffer an attack? Would someone become ill? Sleep was lost over it. Time was lost fretting over what an attack might look like.

Psalm 37 tells us we are not to fret because it causes harm. Joyce Meyers says "Fear is faith in what the Devil says." I looked up fret and found it comes from a root word that means 'to devour' and that is just what it does. It eats away at our time and our confidence. It kills our peace, takes us out of the game and puts us on the bench.

The Lord told us to stop fretting over anything and then He pointed something out to us. He reminded us that His instruction was to SLEEP in our armor. We were to be careful, covered, but we were also to sleep. To rest in Him. How did we miss that?

You cannot sleep and fret at the same time. Sleeping is better. The scepter of the wicked shall not hold sway over the land allotted to the just. That is a NO FRET ZONE if I ever heard of one.

Can we take the hint and shall The Just, trust? What do we have to lose? Surely not sleep. He is the confidence of all the earth we are assured. He is good for every promise He has ever made to us in His Word.

That same no-fretting psalm has a wonderful promise in verse 18. I am sleeping with it under my pillow:


Sleep well.

(Ben sleeping in Daddy's Hands by Kim)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

THE GARDEN (For Ash Wednesday)

I am a child of the Woodstock generation.

The 70s were transitional years in terms of sexuality, civil rights, music and evangelism just to name a few things. I was more conventional and resisted much of their allure. I could not resist Christ. He called. I came. His grace kept me.

There was a song written by Joni Mitchell and popularized by Cosby, Stills, Nash and Young during those Woodstock years. The chorus says:

"We are stardust, we are golden,
We are caught in the devils bargain,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden."

Genesis says that God's voice walked with Adam in the Garden in the cool of the day. Constant fellowship. The Creator wanted us to have access to Him. That access would be denied due to sin until the Son of God found Himself in another garden far removed from the first, cup in hand, soul determined to save us. God on His knees for us. On His knees for me.

Today is Ash Wednesday and it begins a season of reflection and appreciation. A season of self denial and of disconnecting with old habits and patterns that displace this wonderful Gardner, our Savior.

Take the next 40 days and follow His life through the Word to the garden, the cross, the grave and His resurrection. Wait with him a little while as He asked.

Psalm 19

12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
and innocent of great sin.

14 May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 130

3 Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
4 But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.

5 I am counting on the Lord;
yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word.
6 I long for the Lord
more than sentries long for the dawn,
yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.

May this be a time of longing for Him with renewed commitment and abiding gratitude.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In His Line of Sight

Any parent knows about line of sight. Your peace is determined by your child remaining in it. As they try harder to remove themselves from it you become more determined they will not. (I could digress into a few paragraphs here about teenagers but I will stay on point.)

Our amazing Father who has invented beings "full of eyes" is accomplished at keeping us in His line of sight even when He is wounded or concerned by the things He sees: our sin, the harm others try to do to us, our sadness, our struggles. God doesn't feel such things? Bet me! My God wept at the grave of a brother-friend and when the city He loved rejected His goodness and love. Make no mistake- He cares...and He sees us. He has a plan to sustain and deliver us, to insure our safety during difficult moments.

Psalm 124 (Message)

A Pilgrim Song of David

1-5 If God hadn't been for us —all together now, Israel, sing out!—
If God hadn't been for us
when everyone went against us,
We would have been swallowed alive
by their violent anger,
Swept away by the flood of rage,
drowned in the torrent;
We would have lost our lives
in the wild, raging water.

6 Oh, blessed be God!
He didn't go off and leave us.
He didn't abandon us defenseless,
helpless as a rabbit in a pack of snarling dogs.

7 We've flown free from their fangs,
free of their traps, free as a bird.
Their grip is broken;
we're free as a bird in flight.

8 God's strong name is our help,
the same God who made heaven and earth.

A few years ago I noticed a tiny bird hopping on my front porch eating the seeds that fell from a feeder. My porch has lilac bushes close and the bird would hide there and come out when it was alone to eat. This flightless bird continued this throughout the summer. Unknown to the bird all that summer I was putting some of the best seeds where I knew she would find them. I didn't prune away the branches of the lilacs so she had better cover and the cats and dogs could not get her.

I worried about the coming winter as she remained flightless but she had tucked herself into a place where the the bushes were covered by an overhang and I continued to provide a banquet.

Spring and summer came and one day I noticed she was sitting in a hanging basket I had placed. The next I saw her she was upside down pulling seeds for herself from the feeder. I didn't see her after that because she had regained her wings and her life was more than my front porch.

Sometimes we are like that tiny flightless bird. I have a good friend who is feeling that way as I write this but she has a God who is keeping her in His line of sight and friends who come with our hands full of sacramental seed.

Are you finding yourself hiding in the bushes when your true place is soaring above the tree tops? Was winter hard? Take heart. Seasons change. Let God and friends encourage you. It will be well with you. You will "escape" and take flight again as the grip of your present circumstance is broken. You will sing, "Bless God for He did not go off and leave me!"

Our Father's perspective gives Him a view of our lives we need to acquire.

His eye truly is on the sparrow and He just as truly watches us.


High above the ground
cradled between branches sound
ringed about in a nest of light
beauty profound and out of sight
unless like God you look down.

-Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia

I have plans to give you the future you hope for. (God as told to Jeremiah 29:11)

Nest by Frank Wilson. For a treat vist his site.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


When children are young they learn about themselves from the image of themselves that is reflected back to them by their primary sources of affection. Parents are gods. Whatever that parent reflects back, that child takes as gospel.

All of us have had imperfect mirrors because outside of Paradise the human race became imperfect. Some have only seen themselves through the kind of distorted Fun House type of mirrors. Some of us cannot bear or dare to look for fear of what we will see or fail to see there.

But if we look full into the face of someone who truly loves us we come closer to beholding our true self especially if that mirror is the face of unconditional love.

As I write this I am well into my fifties. My chin likes to hide out in turtle necks these days, I need undergarments with more elastic as my anatomy gives way to gravity, I sometimes do the Benny Hinn hair wrap to hide a thinning spot where I used to part my hair, I have two deep frown lines between my eyebrows from going without my glasses... the list grows longer by the day. I even replaced the 60 watt bulbs around my mirror with 40 watters because it cured me of many smaller wrinkles almost at once.

I look my stated age everywhere except one place...John LaMantia's eyes. In those blue pools I am 19 again, 125 lbs, and have long blond hair. After almost four decades it is John who climbs into bed at night with the fresh young girl I once was and the older version of her. When he tells me how beautiful I am (present tense) it is the truth spoken by a man I have never known to lie and I see myself in the mirror he holds up for me and I believe him.

God is so like John. He is the One who knows you best who loves you most. The real you, the now and future you. He has His own special story of you and what a read it is! In His version thrives our real, genuine, authentic, adorable, beloved, "I can do all things," self.  In our story our false selves are being written out and written over with a loving hand.

So break all the "broken" mirrors (no bad luck will follow) and let God show you who you really are. He can't wait to do so and you won't be disappointed. Best of all your spirit will give in to HIS IRRESISTIBLE VISION OF YOU!

When you have looked long at yourself in His eyes, He will polish you to reflect His love to other hungry eyes looking for Him- in the mirror that is you.

Love believes the best.

Hopes for the best.

Is the best!

(Some friends and I were sharing thoughts on Valentine’s Day and this was my contribution. I found it as I was sorting through some things. It made me smile as it spoke to me of two whose love upholds me and brings so much into my life, Christ and The Sax-Man. Every good and perfect gift comes down from above!)


Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Judge

Several years ago when John David was in junior high he went to a karate competition. At the time he was one belt level below brown. Somehow, probably because of his size and age as well as a shortage of black belts in that particular competition, he was paired with a boy his own size and age but who was a black belt. JD was definitely over matched and the underdog.

It didn't take but a few minutes of fighting for anyone to see that even though JD was not a black belt, he was no pushover. The boy could fight. He came from a karate school where heart, effort and integrity mattered. He gave it his all.

When it became apparent that JD would be no easy opponent, the black belt cheated. He was not without skill himself but as JD reached deeper and deeper inside himself manifesting the solid skills of his teaching, his opponent cheated. He landed blows that hurt and stunned and were meant to finish his "weaker" opponent.

Right then the Judge called a time out to consult with the fighters. The Judge pronounced a foul against the black belt. This meant JD won by a technicality. Blue beats black. Then a most interesting thing happened. The Judge who happened to be a world class kickboxer turned to a blue belt teenager and asked a question: "Do you want to keep fighting?"

He was looking at John David's heart and offering him an opportunity to prove who was the better man regardless of belt class or technicalities. He was offering JD a chance to show his colors and to show the black belt that "Right makes might."

John David being who he was got back in the competition and the rest is history.

The black belt looking for a short cut got one. Not the one he was looking for however. He was soundly beaten by the twin graces of heart and skill. The proof of victory is in our possession, a trophy JD never bothered to openly display because he carried the more important version within himself. He even had an opportunity to deal with the big brother of the cheater who wanted to give JD the beating that his dishonest sibling had been unable to effect. That too was a no go.

The Judge who missed nothing gave him that opportunity to fight and learn and gain confidence and shame a bad fighter in the process. The next guy to fight JD stood against an even more self assured opponent. John David took that lesson into the rest of his life. Took it to war, taught it to others. You can defeat the giants in your life.

Our Judge, Our Wonderful Father, lets us learn similar lessons does He not? The scriptures are full of them. He is there with us every step allowing our confidence in the flesh to be defeated but our confidence in the Spirit to grow.

He is all about us learning whose we are and how we can overcome every enemy. He wants us to win even when it means a struggle because the world is watching us and we are wearing His colors. Hell is watching us and our children and our property and Hell needs to think twice about putting a hand on us.

"When all our enemies heard of it, all the nations surrounding us saw it (the rebuilt wall of Jerusalem which came at no small struggle) they lost their confidence..." Nehemiah 6:16

Do YOU want to keep fighting?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in thee. Isaiah 26:3

Crash of tempest, roll of thunder,
lightning flash from pole to pole,
But the storm of love is stronger,
brighter flashes in the soul,
While the peace of Christ the Bridegroom
holds you still and keeps you whole.
From the Breviary

"The storm of love." What a unique and provocative expression. A love-storm that is stronger than any man made or hell made storm. Stronger than a divorce storm or a cancer storm. More powerful than a job loss storm or bereavement storm. More penetrating than a loneliness storm. A love-storm that blows the painful doors down and the windows of Heaven open. A fierce hurricane of Father-God, Kinsman-Redeemer, Comforter Has Come, LOVE. And it is ours!

Here He comes, walking on the wings of the wind of just that very love-storm. Doubt, fear, pain, loneliness, confusion are no match for pure God breathed love. This hurricane leaves you whole. A Category 5, You-Belong-To-Him, love-storm.

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?...Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.

"The peace of Christ, my Bridegroom, holds me still and keeps me whole!"

Wilt Thou Go With This Man?

My first (and last) marriage proposal arrived elegantly disguised as a used dinner napkin, complete with chicken grease. It came all the way from a mess hall in Germany and had only one line on it: "Will you marry me?" Nothing else in the envelope but the APO address was the heart of God via the hand of John. I am still saying ,"YES!"

I have said it before but it is still true; I have loved many different men in my life and they have ALL been John. The John who is in my life at this time is my favorite. This John has seen me go from size 8 jeans to 18 and from age 18 to 58. He sees me, loves me and blesses my Pilgrim Soul. I do not suffer from defensive wounds. Over the years he has buried my mistakes in unmarked graves but has built a trophy case in his heart for all of my victories. I will know this John in Eternity.

This poem by Ann Bradstreet describes my heart:

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever a man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever a wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can
I prize thy love more than whole mines of Gold.
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The Heavens reward thee manifold I pray,
Then while we live, in love let's so persevere
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

My Father has well chosen for this daughter. Wilt thou go with this man? (Genesis 24:58) You bet I will!

Happy Anniversary, My Dearest John! (P.S. They have rubies on sale at QVC!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Proverbs 31

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

I find myself ever so blessed on the eve of my having been married to Kathy for thirty-seven years! God went out and found this precious woman for me; the wife of my youth who has grown ever more beautiful with the years, and whom I have fallen in love with many times over; my very best friend in whom I do indeed have full confidence.

Guys, we can count ourselves among those most fortunate and ever so blessed of God Himself who has chosen so perfectly and so wisely for each of us!

May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. (!!!)

Proverbs 5:18 – punctuation mine with pleasure



Our friend Kim has a special Motherhood adventure going on. Two boys. She needs two sets of eyes in the back of her head. Kim was sharing a book sent to her children by friends. It is the story of a wonderful love sent to all of us by the inventor of boys and girls and everything else.

I quote her email. Kim is reading:

So God breathed life into Adam and Eve.
When they opened their eyes, the first thing they ever saw was God's face. And when God saw them he was like a new dad. "You look like me," he said. "You're the most beautiful thing I've ever made!"

God loved them with all of his heart. And they were lovely because He loved them. And Adam and Eve joined in the song of the stars and the streams and the wind in the trees, the wonderful song of love to the one who made them. Their hearts were filled with happiness. And nothing ever made them sad or lonely or sick or afraid.

God looked at everything he had made. "Perfect!" he said. And it was.

But all the stars and the mountains and the oceans and galaxies and everything were nothing compared to how much God loved his children. He would move heaven and earth to be near them. Always. Whatever happened, whatever it cost him, he would always love them.

And so it was that the wonderful love story began.


By my 19th birthday I knew I loved John LaMantia. By my 24th birthday I knew I loved his son. Whatever it cost me I would, will, always love them. I learned about sacrificial love, love that shatters the heart for joy, tender love, grateful love, love without measure. Love that can hope for anything, forgive anything, love like a rock, a standing stone that says Forever. That love, to my joy, has been reciprocated. The source of that love is above.

The book Kim shared says it all. Our wonderful love story began with a God whose heart is wide open towards us. Whose heart was literally, physically opened at Calvary. The God who would turn Himself into the Lover of Our Souls would love us "Perfectly."

This is a God I want to look like. This is the God the scripture tells me is transforming me daily into the image of His Son by the power of His Spirit. He has his work cut out for Him but just as Mama Kim will love her sons into good and godly men with loving hearts or die trying, God's special transformational love will reach us all and one day we will hear, "You look like me. You are the most beautiful thing I ever made."

YOU are the most beautiful thing God ever made.

Thanks for sharing, Kim!


Sunday, February 7, 2010


Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified…. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Mt 14

I have never been in a boat in a storm where the waves are churning the boat, sloshing over the sides and the wind is making it impossible to row without opposition. This boat was even populated by expert fishermen not unacquainted with rough seas and they were in fear.

I have however, been awake in the middle of the night with my stomach churning and worry stealing every vestige of my peace of mind over an unpaid bill, a dangerously disobedient child, a disagreement with a spouse that lasted past sundown, job difficulties, a son at war, a health problem, a disloyal friend. No matter how much I worried I never got to the safety of shore yet I hung on to that anxiety and chaos for dear life.

Our friend, Jane, has been learning Hebrew and has been sharing her discoveries with us. This gem was sent to several friends months ago but it has been a reoccurring blessing for me when anxious thoughts come.

Jane wrote:

“The letters of the Hebrew alphabet each have a pictographic meaning. Each letter is a picture that means something. These pictographic letters put together form words that have great meaning. Read the letters for Shalom from right to left.


The letter shin has a picture meaning of “teeth destroying", (but it's the letter for God, so it's God's destroying teeth)

The letter Lamed is a Shepherd’s crook and means “authority.”

The Vav is a nail and means to “bind together.”

The Mem Sofit represents “chaos.”

Add them all together and when you say the word “Shalom” you are not only giving a blessing of peace but you are also commanding, "May God destroy the authority that binds you to chaos.”

This is wonderful and such an inspiration.

When I consider this miracle of Shalom and I add to it the words of Jesus to the men in the boat, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here,” I can feel my pulse slow and with a deep sigh I release all anxiety as my little boat beaches on peaceful shores.

This is especially true when I consider that in the Greek what Jesus is really saying to those frantic, cold, wet men and to us as well is, "Don’t be afraid. Take courage. The I AM is here.”

If your life is an ocean of chaos it helps if the God you serve walks on water. It also helps if what is holding you up isn’t a leaky man made boat but the right and left hands of the great I AM.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Who We Are

We are two Jesus Freaks left over from the 70's. We have been with Christ many years and His wonderful love has informed every area of our lives. We know that everything in Him is "YES!" where His plans for all of us are concerned. Even if we are too slow or too contrary and we miss it so many times, He is never finished with us.

"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalm 27

"...His goodness and mercy pursue me..." Psalm 23

So take a good look over your shoulder...His blessings and His mercy are coming on strong, following hard, hunting you down to overtake you and sweep you into the heart of His will! And you thought it was your mistakes that were following you. Well, that is just wrong!

We are packing up, loading ourselves into the will of God for the rest of our lives and moving forward into only God knows what...want to come? Want an adventure?

Our God is the Great Undisputed Lover of Our Souls and He has just said "Come."

Are you waiting for a better offer?

365 Do-Overs

For we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them. (Book of Ephesians)

There is a specific work of grace allotted to every single day of our lives. A lovingly, carefully crafted plan of accomplishment, of fruitful, forward motion, of recovery if needed, of Kingdom acquisition that a God of great patience and detail has fashioned. “Prepared in advance,” leaving nothing about us to a roll of the dice.

This is the God of all the small touches and embellishments we see in the Tabernacle. This is the God of “a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate.” He is the Changeless One who is also The-One-Who-Is-New-Each-Day and with that newness comes our own second chance, our do-over. Our opportunity to find ourselves all over again in Him. A new opportunity to do His will, to be transformed by splendor and to transform the world around us, to do the “works God has prepared in advance that we should live in them.”

That live word is an action word, a get out there and get in it word. It reminds us that, “In Him we LIVE and Move and Have our being.” We have a seat on every Holy Ghost train leaving the station, every bus, every plane, every car, every dog sled; every new day…wherever God's Spirit is moving. Does anyone besides me want to call, “Shotgun!”

Try it tomorrow when your feet hit the floor, “SHOTGUN!”