August 31 - Dwelling With God - No Place Like Home

Friday, August 31, 2012


August 31 - Dwelling With God - No Place Like Home
Revelation 21:3-4

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Dorothy clicked her heels together while saying, “There’s no place like home.” Then, just as we knew she would, she found herself home with family and friends surrounding her.

Carol and I used to travel to Denver a lot to see my brother and his family. We’d leave after work on Friday, drive nine hours, have a great weekend, then turn around and drive home again on Sunday afternoon.  While we were on the interstate, there were a number of times we’d pass a truck from a company that was located in Omaha. There were times I desperately wanted to have the back door open, a ramp slide out and simply drive into the back of that trailer in front of me and just have the truck take me home. I was so weary of driving and wanted nothing more than to put my head on my pillow and sleep.

Home is where we want to be. The American dream has always been illustrated with owning a home.  If we didn’t have a good home when we were children, we are desperate to create one when we grow older.   For those who will never own a home, creating one in the midst of whatever living arrangement we are in is sometimes our greatest desire. For some it might be in a car, or under a bridge; for others it might be on the road and we have to make our home the things we carry with us. But, the idea of home is important.  It should be (and isn’t always) a place where we can leave the outside world at the door and find safety and love.

I was very fortunate.  When I was a child, coming home was the best thing that could happen in my day.  There wasn’t anything special about it. Mom didn’t make cookies or stand at the door waiting for us to show up. Sometimes we might even have been in trouble for something she had discovered while we were at school. But, it was still a very safe place, filled with understanding, encouragement, play and love.

This is the promise that we find in Revelation. Home will be a place of safety. We will never be alone, we will never again know fear or pain.  God will walk among us.  We will be his people.

The Creator of the Universe will walk among us and we will be his people.  This is no small thing. This will be our home.

August 30 - Aliens and Strangers on Earth

Thursday, August 30, 2012


August 30 - Aliens and Strangers on Earth
Psalm 119:19; Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11

I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me. (Psalm 119:19)

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. (Hebrews 11:13)

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11)

Is it any wonder we yearn for something more than what we have right now?  Understanding that we don’t actually belong here is part of our very nature as part of God’s kingdom. A restlessness for something more than the mundane life we live, something more than pain and stress, tears and death.  We search for home, no matter how settled we are in our lives.

We will never be satisfied, because we are not meant to be satisfied here.  The problem isn’t that we can’t be, but that we don’t know how to handle this dissatisfaction. We can fill it with material things or friends or lovers, food, drugs or drink; but until we understand that it is something so much greater than what earthly things can offer, we will always look to satisfying our earthly desires as the ultimate goal.

Dorothy’s search for home took her away from a place and a people that would have given her everything.  After she killed the wicked with, she could have had anything, if she had just stayed in Munchkinland. They were so very willing to offer her any possible desire in their gratitude.  The place was absolutely beautiful, the people were terrific, she should have been happy.  But, she wasn’t.  She knew that home was somewhere else.  The only thing that mattered was that she begin making the journey that would take her home.  She left all of the beauty and the people and potential happiness behind as she took off, alone, to see the Wizard who would get her home.

We are aliens and strangers in this land.  We must understand that we will never be satisfied down deep in our soul until we finally reach home.  We can pretty it up with beautiful locations and wonderful people, but when we look out at our lives, the only true satisfaction we will ever find is the moment we get home.

August 29 – God is the Architect of our Home

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


August 29 – God is the Architect of our Home
Hebrews 11:10

For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

The author of Hebrews is talking about Abraham, who had left his home, not knowing where he would end up.  He lived among foreigners, knowing that God would lead him to the land he had been promised.  His faith in God allowed him to live in nothing more than tents, knowing that there would come a time in eternity, when he would live in a city built by God.  That’s a lot of faith!

I grew up in homes owned by others.  Mom did her best, but because the church owned the homes, we were never really allowed to make them ours.  The only time she let us loose in a home was when we discovered we would be the last people living there; the congregation was building a new parsonage and this one would be torn down.  We were finally allowed to paint our rooms any color we liked; mom painted wonderful scenes on the back door. We put anything we wanted on the walls and she even let me write out sayings and Bible verses all over the upstairs bathroom wall.  We settled into that house like we had never before settled into a home.  In my memory, this is the house that was our home.

One thing Dad wanted for his family, since we would always live as transients, was a place that would be considered ours, so when Mom was in the hospital, just after having given birth to my brother, he signed papers which ensured that Bell’s Dell, seventeen acres of beautiful land was his.  Our family played in the hillsides, mowed the pastures, swam in the river and loved knowing that we were always in a place we could call home.

A sense of permanence seems to drive us. We want to have a home, no matter how small or large, no matter how simple or elaborate; we want a home.

Abraham had a home, but God called him away to begin a covenant relationship which would grow into a people numbering as many as the stars in heaven and grains of sand on the seashore.  He was willing to be nomadic while heading for his new home, assured that God would honor the covenant, but knowing even moreso that there was a future beyond living in tents in the promised land.  When he died, he was assured of a permanent home in heaven, built by God.

We look for permanence here on earth, yet we somehow miss that we are nomads in an alien land. We will always be looking and never finding it.  Even when we settle into a house and make it a home, it isn’t permanent.  We won’t find that until we finally end up in the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

August 28 - Eternal Home in Heaven

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


August 28 - Eternal Home in Heaven
2 Corinthians 5:1

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

When I was very young, high winds blew a tree down on the roof of our home.  I don’t remember much about it except the mad dash to the basement and seeing the mess the next morning.  Of course, since we lived in the parsonage in a small town, everyone was there to observe the damage, it was quite the carnival.  When I was much older, I remember going against one main rule about tornadoes. I was living on my own, in an apartment in a town about six hours away from Mom and Dad.  I knew a tornado was coming through and was terrified.  I called Mom, and since the phone had a long cord, walked with it into the bathroom and sat down in the tub.  I told her that if I was going to be whipped away like Dorothy, I just wanted someone to know.  She wasn’t really too happy with me, but she talked to me until the storm passed.

Dorothy faced one of our greatest fears, the destruction of her home.  I suspect that you have long since identified those things you would make sure got out of the door with you if you had to face that.  We’ve seen tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, tsunamis and typhoons utterly decimate people’s homes and we watch as they stand in abject horror, looking at the loss, unable to face reality.

Everything we know can be destroyed.  Nothing is utterly safe.  We live in a temporary life. The bodies we inhabit will die, nothing lasts forever … except the eternal relationship we build with God.  He is timeless and if we are in a relationship with Him, we find our way into that same infinity.  Imagine having the confidence that one day you will finally be at peace in an eternal home without worrying about it falling down around you.

August 27 - In My Father's House

Monday, August 27, 2012


August 27 - In My Father's House
John 14:1-4

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

When Dorothy’s house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, she is treated as a hero. Color floods the screen, a beautiful woman shows up to introduce her to the Munchkins, who celebrate her coming. Her name will go down in history and they promise to put a bust of her in the Hall of Fame.  It doesn’t take long for the witch’s sister to show up and threaten her life, though.  It is time to get out of Oz.

For the rest of the movie, Dorothy is on a journey to return to her home. She follows the yellow brick road, meets wonderful friends, encounters dreadful monkeys and confronts the evil that threatens her.

When Glinda tells her that she needs to leave Oz, Dorothy says, “Oh, I'd give anything to get out of Oz altogether -- but which is the way back to Kansas?  I can't go the way I came.”

We’re on a similar journey. We can’t go back the way we came.  But, Jesus wants us to know that home is always there for us.  Just as Dorothy didn’t have to travel the yellow brick road by herself, we aren’t required to walk through our lives alone. We might face dreadful monkeys and we definitely have to confront a great deal of evil, but there is a promise greater than Oz for each of us.

Jesus is preparing a place for us in his Father’s house. He promises to return for us and He also tells us that we know where it is He is going.

Today is another step on that journey. Sing and dance a little along the way, knowing that from the moment you were born, Jesus began preparing a place for you in your Father’s house.

August 26 - Go Home, Tell Your Family

Sunday, August 26, 2012


August 26 - Go Home, Tell Your Family
Mark 5:18-19

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’”

What is the last good news you shared with your family?  Any member of your family?  I love hearing from my family when they have good news to tell me.  The Master’s Degree is completed.  Carol has a classroom full of great kids. Someone is getting married. It’s simply been a good day.

The best news is how much the Lord has done for us.  Do you talk to your family about this?  Not just about how they should go to church or what they should be doing in order to be a good Christian, and not necessarily just saying the words, ‘God is good.’  But, do you specifically share with your family members things that happened because the Lord has had mercy on you?

We do have to be careful, don’t we.  We can sound awfully preachy and come across a holier-than-thou.  But, sometimes it is just exciting to talk with those who are closest to us about something that the Lord has done … right now and wow!

When Dorothy woke out of her dream, the reality of it had been overwhelming. She tried hard to tell everyone that it was true.  For her, it had been very true.  She had learned a lot in those hours that she was gone.  The one thing she had learned was the incredible gift she’d been given in the ones who loved her.  They made that dry, Kansas farm a home. She’d done everything she could to get there and now she realized how much love and mercy she had.

Go home and tell your family what the Lord has done for you.

August 25 - Doorframes of your Homes

Saturday, August 25, 2012


August 25 - Doorframes of your Homes
Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

What are some things that you take with you everywhere? Nowadays, electronics keep us connected so the cell phone is important.  Most of us carry a wallet of some sort.  Purses and briefcases and even our cars carry items we can’t imagine not having close to us.  Do you have one item that travels with you everywhere you go?  I can’t go anywhere without a notepad. I don’t always use it, but there will always be one somewhere close.  My father always carried 3x5 cards.  They fit perfectly in his shirt pocket.  I still have the sculpted card holder my mother made for him from clay, so they were on his desk at work.  He had a stack in his desk at home and some beside his bed.  If Dad needed to jot down a note, he knew exactly what he was looking for.

For Dorothy, it was Toto. He went everywhere with her and when she went to Oz, he was her link to home.  Other than the necessities we carry to get through the day (phone, wallet, notepad), sometimes we carry things with us when we travel that are our link to home.  Dorothy’s was her dog; I like to travel with my animals, though they never really make it easy for me.  For the Israelites it was their connection to God.

The commandments were written on the doorframes of their homes and then were written on tiny scrolls and tied to their hands or foreheads. They never wanted to be without that connection, no matter where they might be. The Laws were a great gift and so to honor the Lord, they were called on to make them such a part of their lives that they would never be apart from them.

If we carry things today that connect us with our physical home, what are things we can carry that will remind us of our relationship with God?

August 24 - Covenant - A New Home

Friday, August 24, 2012


August 24 - Covenant - A New Home
Exodus 6:4-8

I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant. 

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’ ”

The Israelites were far from their home.  They had come to Egypt during the time of Joseph in order to escape the famine that threatened them.  For the next four hundred years, they remained in Egypt.  Families made their homes there, they had friends.  Several generations after Joseph had died, the Pharaohs forgot about the help that he had given Egypt. The Israelites were different from the Egyptians and because they had no power, they were turned into slaves. Their population continued to grow and the best thing that could be done with all those people was to keep them busy.

For generations and generations, the Israelites cried out for relief. Those who lived during the time of Moses had never known freedom, had never known what it was like to live without an owner. They knew they were different, they kept their racial integrity, but they were far, far from God.

The time of slavery was over. God … Yahweh announced it was time to bring them back home, to the place He had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It would be their home.

Dorothy remembered her home in Kansas. She was desperate to return there.  The Israelites didn’t feel that same desperation to return, but were weary of living in terrible conditions. They wanted to be anywhere but Egypt.

There was an arduous journey ahead of them.  Dorothy had to complete her journey before she could arrive home.  Do you look at your life as a journey toward home? How might that attitude change your life?

August 23 - Word of God Judges the Heart

Thursday, August 23, 2012


August 23 - Word of God Judges the Heart
Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Our hearts can be fickle things.  There are times when we probably wish they were as empty as the Tin Man’s, so they wouldn’t be so broken.  The emotions that rage through our lives seem to erupt from the heart, ranging from joy to fury in record time. We experience deep sadness and happiness that sometimes fills us to bursting.

The wizard says to the Tin Man, “As for you, my galvanized friend, you want a heart! You don't know how lucky you are not to have one. Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable. I could have been a world figure, a power among men, a - a successful wizard, had I not been obstructed by a heart.”

Without a heart, we would feel nothing.

Because our heart’s emotions drive so much of our behavior and we are so easily swayed by anything that makes the heart feel good, if even for a moment, it is also easy to find ourselves on the wrong side of God.  The heart drives us to selfishness; always working to make the world happy and easy and right for ourselves. It takes a lot of will to live beyond the demands of that desire.  Our judgments aren’t necessarily very good when it comes to what the heart wants.

Throughout scripture, we are constantly reminded to guard our hearts, to be alert to the way our heart is drawn to things of this world.  In Hebrews, we are reminded that God is the only one who will judge our heart.  The word of God … Jesus … is alive within us. It is He who actively works in us day by day to bring our hearts back to God.

The wizard’s final words to the Tin Man are: “And remember, my sentimental friend, that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.”

It really isn’t about us in the end, is it? It is about how we’ve made a relationship with Jesus Christ and with the world.

August 22 - I Have You in My Heart

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


August 22 - I Have You in My Heart
Philippians 1:7

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart …

Just after Glinda shows up to tell Dorothy how to get home, the Tin Man says one last thing. He says, “Now I know I have a heart because it’s breaking.”

Paul simply fell in love with the people who were part of the churches he had started.  When he thought about them, his heart filled with joy at their accomplishments and pain at their failures, but he never stopped loving them.  Some of his harshest words were for churches he loved very much. He didn’t want to see anyone lost to the kingdom of God.

When he wrote to the Philippians, he was already in chains in a prison in Rome, but he wanted them to know how much he cared for them.  They weren’t perfect, they were anxious and needed to remember to set that aside because God’s peace could overcome that. There were those in the church who were trying to move back to what the Jewish church was teaching them. Paul had worked too hard for their freedom to let that happen.  There were those in the church who had problems with pride, some were arguing with each other; but Paul loved them all.

This is an incredible lesson for us as Christians. Sometimes we set aside our hearts and feel that we have to be brutally honest or quite critical in our examination of others.  Our hearts are too soft and we aren’t upholding righteousness if that happens.

Paul never let any of that stop his outpouring of love for those in his churches.  They knew that love more than they knew his frustration or anger.

Our hearts should break for each other and we should be able to show that incredible love that the Father has poured out on us to everyone around us.  We need to learn to bite our tongues and instead, open our arms and hearts.

August 21 - Blessed are the Pure in Heart

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


August 21 - Blessed are the Pure in Heart
Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

On his search for a heart, the Tin Man got to see the local wizard, who wasn’t too thrilled about showing the party of travelers his face either.  The wizard wanted to hide from those who would expose him for the con man he was.

God hides his face from us so that he doesn’t destroy us because of sin in our lives.  It takes something profound to happen for us to finally be able to see Him face to face. Jesus tells us that the pure in heart will see Him face to face.  But, the greatest moment will be when we find ourselves in the New Jerusalem.  God will be walking among His people. He will be the light by which we walk … the Lamb will be the lamp that shines that light.

Revelation 22:3-4 says, “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”

The curse which separated us from God in the Garden of Eden will be eliminated.  We will finally be able to look on the face of God and live!

August 20 - Rejoice With All Your Heart

Monday, August 20, 2012


August 20 - Rejoice With All Your Heart
Zephaniah 3:14; Ephesians 5:19

Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! (Zeph 3:14)

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord. (Eph 5:19)

There was a bass in one of my church choirs.  The man couldn’t hold a tune to save his life, but he loved to sing.  We simply surrounded him with better singers than he and hoped they would hold him on pitch as much as possible.

I was only in high school when I encountered this.  As a young girl with perfect pitch, this could have rattled me a lot, but I learned through the example of people much wiser than me, that his joy came from singing and there was no one who planned to squash that.

Since then, I’ve met an awful lot of people who apologize to me for the terrible singing voice after sitting behind me in church. Because they hear me sing, either in the pew or from the stage, they think my gift is so much greater than theirs.  I had one man apologize to me nearly every week.  I would just laugh and tell him I would rather hear him singing off-pitch than not singing at all.  It’s true.

Nowhere in scripture does it say that only those with voices like angels, or those with perfect pitch, or even those who can sing on pitch are allowed to sing praises to God.  Just because our voices don’t hit pitch perfectly doesn’t mean our hearts aren’t leaping to sing out.

In both the Old and New Testaments, God tells us to sing. Your voice doesn’t need to be perfect and your song doesn’t need to hit pitch when He calls to your heart.

August 19 - A Heart to Know God

Sunday, August 19, 2012


August 19 - A Heart to Know God
Jeremiah 24:7

“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”

This really has been all that God has ever asked of us … to know Him … to know that He is Lord.  Once that becomes completely real in our hearts, everything else falls into place.  If we know Him and acknowledge Him as Lord; how can we act with anything but love?  The amazing grace and mercy that He offers to us becomes part of our being and is then sent into the world.

God promises that with this we will be His people and He will be our God.  Though this is found several times in Jeremiah, we see it just as the New Jerusalem is coming down from heaven in Revelation 21:3.

“And I (John) heared a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God.’”

You see, when Adam and Eve sinned in Paradise, they separated themselves from God.  Soon sin was so awful that if God was in its presence, He would destroy it because of the extremity of His holiness and righteousness.  Rather than destroy His creation completely, He made ways for His chosen people to come before Him and be in relationship with Him.  When that was unproductive, He sent Jesus to act as the atoning sacrifice for all humanity, enabling us to be in God’s presence because of the covering that Jesus’ sacrifice made for us.  But, without Jesus standing between us and the Father, our sin would still be too great to stand in His presence.

At the end, though, when all is finally said and done, we will finally be able to stand in His presence as God walks among His people once again in Paradise.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Rev. 21:4).

He will give us a heart to know Him. We will be His people and He will be our God.

August 18 - My Heart is Steadfast

Saturday, August 18, 2012


August 18 - My Heart is Steadfast
Psalm 57:7

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.”

Just to register emotion
Jealousy -- Devotion --
And really feel the part,
I could stay young and chipper,
And I'd lock it with a zipper,
If I only had a heart...!

Even the Tin Man recognized that devotion was part of having a heart.

This Psalm, by David, was written when he was hiding from Saul in a cave.   The early verses proclaim his absolute trust in God’s providence: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by” (Psalm 57:1)

When you’re being pursued by something terribly frightening, whether it is physical, emotional or mental; knowing that you can find refuge in God is a powerful thing.

Verse two continues, “I cry to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.  He will send from heaven and save me, he will put to shame those who trample on me. God will send forth his steadfast love and his faithfulness” (Psalm 57:2-3)

Throughout this Psalm, David brings to mind all of the wondrous things that God does for him as he prepares for the world to destroy him.  He knows that his heart must remain steadfast and so it does.

David’s was a heart that yearned for God.  When he saw God at work, there was nothing more he could do except sing and give thanks.

August 17 - Create in Me a Pure Heart

Friday, August 17, 2012


August 17 - Create in Me a Pure Heart
Psalm 51:10

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

The Tin Man wanted nothing more than a heart.  It was just that simple for him.

It isn’t so simple for us, though, is it?  There was never a time in my life when I felt as if my heart were pure.  When I was in high school, I decided that I needed to be a little more aware of the ‘little’ sins and transgressions from my day, so I began a list.  Each night I would reflect on my day and look at my interactions with people.  Every time I noticed a point where I’d done something that seemed like a sin, I wrote it down.

Those days are long gone, and why?  Because I was overwhelmed.  Even as a young girl who really hadn’t committed many big sins, my life was filled with things that I didn’t like and I was certain things that God wouldn’t like either.  There weren’t any glaring sins, the Big Ten were far from my list … well, except for the coveting … I had plenty of friends who had nice things that I thought I needed too.

My sins became a focus for me and I couldn’t get past the idea that I was basically a terrible person.  I wanted to be sure that I asked forgiveness for each one of them and nothing was left uncovered.

But, I had no way of erasing those sins once they were written down.  Every time I looked through the notebook, I was reminded of just how horrible I was and what a worthless Christian I had been throughout the day.

That’s not at all why God sent his son to earth.  We aren’t to spend our lives focused on our sin.  Jesus removed all of that from us and continues to do so when we repent.  David asked God to create a clean heart within him and that is exactly what God wants to do with us.

I still reflect, but I don’t spend time writing them down. I still ask forgiveness, but I allow that and the Love of God to wash over me rather than recrimination.  God offers us forgiveness, we can have a clean heart.

August 16 - Hearts Inclined to God

Thursday, August 16, 2012


August 16 - Hearts Inclined to God
Deuteronomy 5:29

“Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever.”

The Tin Man wanted a heart so he could be human.  What he didn’t recognize was that humanity doesn’t always respond with a pure heart to the world.  God knew that.  When God created us, He placed a heart inside us and though it beats to keep blood pumping through our bodies for life, it became the source of knowledge of good and evil.  The heart of a person is more than just an organ which sustains life, it is the source of life.

When we hurt, we feel an ache in our chest, right where our heart should be located.  When we fall in love, we feel the flutter of excitement right there.  When we are nervous or excited, it seems as if our heart rate speeds up.  That source of life is tied to our emotional well-being.

The Tin Man thought that he needed to have a pumping heart inside his chest cavity in order to be human.  We know that all he needed was some compassion and love. Those things would show the world that his heart was immense!

God desires that our hearts be inclined to fear him – not to be afraid of him, but to come before him with reverence and awe, to recognize him as the Creator of everything and give him the respect that brings.  He desires that we keep his commandments.

He desires these things, not for selfish reasons, though he could if he wanted. He desires these things so that our lives might be full.

The Tin Man wanted a heart so that he could share love with the world.  He was already doing that.  He would find out that his life was very full.

August 15 - Love Abounding in Knowledge

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


August 15 - Love Abounding in Knowledge
Philippians 1:9-11

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.

I can’t imagine having Paul pray for me or for my church.  The things he prays for are simply wonderful.  Paul prays for love.  Unconditionally.  This time it isn’t that he prays that they will love God or each other or himself, as he does in other letters.  He wants the Philippians to simply love. He prays that their love abounds … or overflows.

Can you imagine a community where love overflows? Sure, there are little pockets of communities where this happens and it is a glorious thing. But, at some point, that love is halted. It’s like a dam is set into place so that love doesn’t overflow.  I know a church that does incredible things when they come together, but they only come together on Sundays – sometimes Saturdays.  Every time, though … their love overflows.  What would happen if that love overflowed on Mondays, then into Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays?  But, people get back into their busy lives, worrying about getting kids to school or a business meeting that is going to stink or cars that need to be fixed or nearly anything else and the overflowing and outpouring love gets dammed up.

Paul prays for love that continually overflows.

There is one caveat he puts on this overflowing love, though. He prays that as it leaps out of the church, people grow in knowledge and depth of insight, so that they might discern what is best. Paul never prays for us to love stupidly, though sometimes I think we might be too analytical in whom and how we love.  He wants us to be safe and to make good decisions.

Love that overflows into our kids’ lives, into the lives of our friends, our work, our weekly appointments.  Love that is unconditional.  Love overflowing. Imagine how that would change the world!

August 14 - Knowledge, Manifestation of the Spirit

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


August 14 - Knowledge, Manifestation of the Spirit
1 Corinthians 12:8

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit … (1 Corinthians 12:7-8)

Remember the lines of the Scarecrow’s song?

I could while away the hours,
Conferrin' with the flowers,
Consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin'
While my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain.
I'd unravel every riddle
For any individ'le
In trouble or in pain.
 --Scarecrow, The Wizard of Oz

If he only had a brain, he’d unravel every riddle for any individ’le in trouble or in pain.

I really believe that for the most part, people who spend time learning and finding ways to apply the knowledge they gain, do so for the greater good.  Sure, there are those who can’t find their way out of the ivory tower once they get there, but most high-minded thinkers are attempting to solve problems and gain understanding so the world will be a better place.

The Spirit is made manifest in each person in different ways for one reason … the common good.  Musicians have to share their music. Visual artists have to share their art. Authors have to share their words. Actors have to share their talent. People expose their inner souls so that the world is a better place.

Scientists, doctors, engineers, designers … you name it … they all have a desire to share their ideas, thoughts, and inventions in order to make things better for themselves and for others.  When I consider the great advances in prosthetic technology, I get overwhelmed.  These things are generally designed for someone other than the designer him or herself.  They see a need and creativity begins whirling in their mind until they leap to the solution

This is what excites me about knowledge.  It is never a selfish thing.  Knowledge explodes out of people so that it can be shared. The more we share it, the more cooperative effort occurs to make it grow.

The scarecrow had it right.  While he would have great fun contemplating esoteric things, when he came right down to it, solving riddles for individ’les in trouble or in pain was awfully important to him.

August 13 - Depths of knowledge of God

Monday, August 13, 2012


August 13 - Depths of Knowledge of God
Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! 
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 
 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

I am often frustrated by the vast amounts of knowledge that I don’t have when I think I need it. It seems as if there is so much that I should know, yet I don’t.  There is even more information that I want to have, yet I don’t.  When I was growing up, I remember people talking about the miniscule amount of things we do know versus the vastness of what we don’t know.

I’ve told friends that being ‘jacked into the Matrix’ would be a perfect life for me.  Having immediate access, understanding and full recall of things would be amazing.  Let’s just say that between the internet and my Kindle, I am a very happy person. But, still, there is more out there just waiting for me to learn.

I believe this is one of the great joys of being human, but even moreso, I believe this is one of the great joys of being a Christian and knowing God.  As frustrated as I get, knowing that my knowledge is so limited, on the other side of that is knowing that I will never stop learning.  Not only will I never stop learning, but this universe is infinite and humanity will never stop learning.  Think about how amazing that is!

God has created a universe that can not be placed within boundaries that we can conceive. His wisdom and knowledge is so boundless that we can only tap into a miniscule portion of it.  We don’t even understand the things we have yet to know.

This doxology in Romans is a glorious hymn of praise to God, who is beyond the depths of our understanding. For that I am grateful. Because of Him, I will always find something new to experience, understand and learn in this world.

August 12 - Knowledge of the Secrets of the Kingdom

Sunday, August 12, 2012


August 12 - Knowledge of the Secrets of the Kingdom
Matthew 13:11; Luke 8:10

The disciples could not understand why Jesus spoke in parables.  In response, Jesus said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.’”  (Matthew 13:11-13)

There are a lot of different religious movements out there who claim to offer you ways to understanding the secret things of God.  Numerology is one of those.  If you add up numbers of words and verses and on and on and on, you will be able to understand things about God that no one else can and this will give you more access.

Well, hooey.

The secrets of the kingdom of heaven are available to any who listen and hear, who understand, who see.  They aren’t some great hidden treasure that no one can access without the right key, whether you are a Christian or not.  They are a wonderful treasure that you can access simply by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior.  That’s really all it takes!

Think about the times you have read Scripture and had an ‘ah ha’ moment, one of those moments when you feel as if all the understanding of the universe has been made clear to you.  That’s one of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.

Maybe it was a time you were helping someone, or loving someone, or reaching out in kindness to someone because you know it’s what makes God happy in your relationship with him and all of a sudden you just get it.  That’s one of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.

For those who just couldn’t make that leap to acknowledging Jesus Christ as Savior and Messiah, he used parables.  They were either going to get it or they weren’t.  And the ones who closed their hearts to him were never going to get it, in fact the little bit that they might have understood; the more they closed their hearts to him, the further away that understanding became.

But, for those who love Jesus, the more that we learn, the more understanding we gain. It grows exponentially, day by day.

The Scarecrow needed a diploma and all of a sudden he realized that he could understand the mysteries of the universe.  We just need a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and we will learn all the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.

August 11 - Preserve knowledge

Saturday, August 11, 2012


August 11 - Preserve knowledge
Malachi 2:7

“For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction – because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty.”

The goal for each of our intrepid travelers through the kingdom of Oz was to get to the Wizard. Once they found him, everything would be set right.  What a shock it was to them to discover he was nothing more than a con man and all of the glories of the palace were simply smoke and mirrors.  He was just a little man behind a screen.

After they managed to rid the kingdom of the Wicked Witch, he finally told the three residents of the kingdom what they needed to know – they had their heart’s desire in the grasp all along, they just needed assurance.

But, he failed Dorothy. He was so caught up in his own needs that he didn’t actually act as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  He proved himself to be as common as the next person.

These words from Malachi describe the role of a priest, who has responsibility for others, given to him by the Lord.

The words of his mouth should preserve knowledge and should offer instruction to others.

That’s kind of an important task!  Messengers of the Lord had come to the people in the form of prophets and angels, but the priests were with them always. It was their task to interpret the Law correctly and guide the people of Israel. It was always necessary for them to remember their role as the connection between God and his people.

We have that task now.  We are sent out into the world as God’s messengers.  We are entrusted with the knowledge of his Good News to humanity.  We have to be more than con men, we have to know in our hearts the truth of this message so we don’t appear to be simply smoke and mirrors.  When people pull back the curtain of our hearts, will they find God, or will they find a weak, little man operating levers and using a sound system to make himself sound bigger than he is.

August 10 - Spirit of Knowledge in Jesus

Friday, August 10, 2012


August 10 - Spirit of Knowledge in Jesus
Isaiah 11:2

“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord – and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”

None of this should be surprising to us if we have read the Gospels at all.  We read in Luke 2:47 that “Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.”  

In Matthew 13:54, we see the amazement of those who heard him teach.  “Coming to his home town, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?”

That really is something many of us would like to be said of us.  Being thought of as brilliant and wise is a great compliment.

The Scarecrow had come up with many reasons that having a brain would be a good thing.

I could while away the hours,
Conferrin' with the flowers,
Consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin'
While my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain.
I'd unravel every riddle
For any individ'le
In trouble or in pain.
 --Scarecrow, The Wizard of Oz

If you look at the original scripture passage, the last phrase is what brings it all together for me, though.  The prophecy in Isaiah regarding Jesus tells us that he will delight in the fear of the Lord.  Jesus does exactly that.  His entire being was centered around his relationship with God.  He didn’t have to shut his eyes to pray, he didn’t have to concentrate to be able to say the right things. He didn’t have to study and learn to understand what it was that was happening around him. He didn’t have to spend hours worrying that he might not be walking in God’s will.  Every bit of his essence was tied to God.

He’d had an opportunity to make a different choice.  Satan tempted him in the desert, but Jesus had long since made his choice. Whether he was in heaven or on earth, he would be one with God.

We can have all the knowledge in the world, all the wisdom and understanding of the greatest minds that ever existed, but it will be worthless to us without fear of the Lord.

August 9 - Wisdom Brings Knowledge

Thursday, August 9, 2012


August 9 - Wisdom Brings Knowledge
Proverbs 2:5

“If you look for it (wisdom) as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:4-6)

It’s said there are things that can’t be taught and can only be learned.

Some days I think that is my life’s motto. I tend to learn the hard way.  The thing is, some of my most difficult lessons have come when I push forward without stopping to ask the Lord what it is that He wants me to do next.

Actually, I retract that statement.  The most difficult lessons come when I have asked the Lord what it is that He wants me to do next, I’ve heard from Him and I’ve gone my own way because His way just doesn’t make any sense at the time.

That’s one of the pitfalls of free will.  The Lord will give us wisdom, knowledge and understanding. He gives these things freely to us.  The next step, though, is that we must learn to live in obedience.  The moment we step off (dare I say it?) the yellow brick road and on to our own path, we may be able to bully ahead for a while, but pretty soon we find that there is no longer a path, but a swamp.

It’s hard to believe that the Lord knows better than we do what should happen in our lives. It’s hard to accept that what we believe to be common sense about the next step to take or the next thing to do might not be what He wants for us.  It’s hard to trust that what we absolutely know to be the right path to take might not be the path the Lord wants for us.

Wisdom, knowledge and understanding. These things come from the Lord and are ours if we just trust that He sees the great big picture of eternity and probably knows better than we do what is good and right.

August 8 - Teach Me Knowledge

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


August 8 - Teach Me Knowledge
Psalm 119:66

“Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands”

Oh, I’m a failure because I haven’t got a brain.  –Scarecrow

In the very next scene, the Scarecrow outwits some mean old trees who don’t want to share their apples. He makes them angry enough so they start throwing their apples.  Failure? No brain? I don’t think so.

One of the best ways we can use our brains is to get knowledge.  Scarecrow wanted to wile away the hours thinking big thoughts, but the verse I’m looking at today speaks of learning from God.

Psalm 25:5 says, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.”

Psalm 71:17 says, “Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.”

I’ve spent the last few years focusing on education … gaining knowledge. I don’t know if I’m any smarter today than I was before I began, but I’m not just being coy about this.  You see, I’ve put more information in my head over these last few years, but I’ve had the benefit of knowing God personally since I was thirteen years old. He is who put a love of learning on my heart. He is who guided me to the point I am at now. He is who led me into Scripture and placed a passion for learning its intricacies so that I could teach it on my life.

Teach me knowledge, Lord.

August 7 - Courage and Hope

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


August 7 - Courage and Hope
Hebrews 3:6

“But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”

Sometimes it requires courage to have faith.  We have to withstand attacks from all sides; from those who hate our faith and sometimes even from those who claim that their faith is better than ours.

But, the faith we have is in Christ, not in things of this world.  And one of those things that we can boast about is the hope that comes from having faith in Christ.  This gives a Christian hope where no one else can seem to find it.  In the midst of all that is falling apart around us, knowing that our faith is in something beyond this world is what gives us hope.

It is that knowledge and that hope that send us out into the world as ambassadors.  We have something that the world doesn’t have. But, remember, that hope and faith aren’t necessarily about a life that is perfect in this world. We walk forward in courage because of the house that has been built for us in the next world.

That’s a pretty big concept for many of us to grasp.  We want everything to be perfect here.  We want for there not to be massive climate change, or for there to not be any terrorists, or for financial worries to be gone or for there to be no homelessness.  That just isn’t reality. We live in a world that has fallen, we live in a culture that offers immediate satisfaction whether you live well or live poorly.

But, there is hope. We have to have courage to move beyond the things of this world to the hope of the world to come.

The Cowardly Lion saw terror at every turn.  His world wasn’t easy.  But, he learned that courage is facing those things and having hope.

August 6 - Be People of Courage

Monday, August 6, 2012


August 6 - Be People of Courage
1 Corinthians 16:13

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”

You know, one thing the Cowardly Lion had in abundance was love. He cared for his traveling companions and got emotional when it was time for Dorothy to go home.

I think we forget the importance of doing everything in love.  We screw up our courage to tell someone off who has done us wrong.  We stand firm in our faith against those we believe might be out to harm it.  We act out in strength, we say things and we feel quite righteous and justified in our words and our actions.  We’re absolutely certain that we are on the right side.

Today, as I was thinking about some of the more horrendous things that have occurred in the last few weeks, I thought of things people did and said in the name of their faith and then I thought about how so many awful things were done in the name of faith throughout the centuries.

Wars have been fought, people have been burned at the stake. Slaves have been taken from their homes, murder has been committed. Awful things are said about and to people with whom we disagree and we say that it is because we are protecting our right to believe and we are standing up for our faith.

But, we forget those four words.  “Do everything in love.”

Those should be our watchwords.  Try it for a few days.

August 5 - Courage is Noticed

Sunday, August 5, 2012


August 5 - Courage is Noticed
Acts 4:13

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

Every day, ordinary people act courageously. They leap out of their car when they see an accident to pull those involved free, no matter that they might place themselves in danger. Firefighters walk into fire, police move into dangerous situations, parents confront their children who have walked away from doing what is right, friends stand up to bullies.  The list goes on and on.

Peter and John had stood before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.  They stood before Annas and Caiaphas, who had not long before, put their best friend on a cross to die.  They were there to defend themselves for healing a crippled man.

Their words lifted up Jesus Christ when they said, “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you completely healed … Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12)

People remembered that these men had been with Jesus and they heard the words Peter and John said that day. They saw the man who had been healed and those people were praising God.

The Sanhedrin was hoping to crush this little band of disciples. They thought they had done what was necessary by killing their leader, but his death and resurrection gave Peter and John courage to not only reach out with healing in their hands, but to face down those who would have them imprisoned.

They were freed and returned to their friends.

The Lord’s touch on their lives gave them courage.  You can have that same courage to reach out to others with healing and love.  Take it!

August 4 - Take Courage!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


August 4 - Take Courage!
Matthew 14:27; Mark 6:50

When the Wizard of Oz pinned the Medal of Courage on the Cowardly Lion (Are you kidding me with this?  That took courage in and of itself!  We all know that a lion’s coat is his skin. Ow!), that dear lion stood up straight and proud. Even when it seemed too terrifying to press on, the lion had hung right in there with Dorothy and the gang.

One evening, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and head for the other side of the lake while he left them for a while and went off to pray.  In the middle of the night, he simply walked out across the lake to join them. I’m not sure about you, but I would have been cowering in the boat if I saw someone walking across the water in the dark of the night.  My senses would have been messed up because of the darkness and my sensibilities would have been messed up as I tried to shake off the grogginess of sleep.  I’m not sure my first response would have been to think it was a ghost, but I would have been terrified of something that was so far out of my idea of normal.

Matthew tells us that Jesus ‘immediately’ said to them: Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Jesus knew that the sight of him coming toward them would be frightening and he didn’t wait to assure them, he gave them comfort immediately.

I have a very high ‘startle’ response.  Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s a low startle response.  Whatever.  I startled easily.  And loudly. And violently sometimes. I tend to flail around and scream. It might be a dead mouse in the utility sink or a snake slithering across the room or it might be a character leaping out in a movie. My husband has been known to sit two seats away from me in a movie theater because he’s afraid of my reaction, which can be physical and violent.

Sometimes I need immediate knowledge that everything is going to be ok and I can handle the next step (like removing the dead mouse from the utility sink or continuing to walk down the path after the snake has passed).

Today.  Take Courage. There is nothing that comes at you which can not be faced, especially when you know that Jesus Christ can walk on water and will be there to comfort you.

August 3 - Because of God, I Have Courage

Friday, August 3, 2012


August 3 - Because of God, I Have Courage
Ezra 7:28

Ezra had just received a letter from King Artaxerxes affirming that any Jew in his kingdom who wished to return to Jerusalem was free to go.  He sent a great deal of silver and gold with them and the promise that enough funds would be provided to rebuild the temple.  In that letter, the King returned the power of the rule of the Law to Ezra and the priests, other than the authority to tax the people.  However, Ezra was given permission to appoint a judicial system for all who claimed to be part of the Jewish faith.

After all the Jews had been through, with a few strokes of the pen by a Persian king, they were free once again.

Ezra recognized the hand of God at work in the life of King Artaxerxes.  He knew that it had nothing to do with the letters he’d sent and the pleas he’d made before Artaxerxes and Darius. It was the grace of God.

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in this way and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was with me, I took courage and gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.” (Ezra 7:27-28)

Because the hand of the Lord was with me, I took courage.

We are nothing like the Cowardly Lion. His medal showed that he truly had courage within himself.  But, that was all about a medal and personal courage.  Our courage comes from within us, but it needn’t be based on our own fortitude.

Today, take courage. The hand of the Lord is with you.

August 2 - You Servant Has Found Courage

Thursday, August 2, 2012


August 2 - You Servant Has Found Courage
2 Samuel 7:27

Have you thought about the courage that it took for the Cowardly Lion to stand in the presence of the great and power Oz? He may have stood there with trembling knees, but he stood there just the same.

In 2 Samuel 7, the Lord had just promised David that his kingdom would endure forever, David’s throne would be established forever.  David went in and sat before the Lord and said: “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18).

David had been the smallest, youngest son of Jesse.  His brothers were powerful, strong, bright, outgoing, motivated.  When Samuel came to Jesse looking for the next king of Israel, no one expected it to be that little shepherd who was out in the field.  But, God knew who he was looking for.  He was looking for the man with a heart who would find the courage to go up against a giant with five stones and a slingshot.  He was looking for a man who would play his harp for the current king who was losing his mind and do it because the man was a king.

The Lord made promises to David and because of those promises, David was able to say to him, “…your servant has found courage to offer you this prayer” (2 Samuel 7:27).

Have you ever thought about the ease with which you pray?  Do you stand on trembling knees before the Sovereign Lord?  Probably not, though sometimes we should.  But, we have been given the courage to come before the Lord with our prayers because of the promises he has made to us through Jesus Christ.  Our relationship with him is based on the fact that we aren’t strangers to him, we are children of God.

We have been given a gift in that we are invited to have a relationship with God and can go before him with our prayers.  This is where our courage comes from.

August 1 - Be Strong and Courageous

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


August 1 - Be Strong and Courageous
Deut. 31:6, 7; Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18; 10:25, 1 Ch. 22:13; 28:20; 2 Ch 32:7

Moses told Israel that Joshua would take them into the Promised Land.  Then he told them the Lord would be preparing the way for them.  They were to go forth with that knowledge in the hearts and minds.  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord Your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Moses brought Joshua out and in front of everyone, he repeated the words directly to  Joshua, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them.”

That was in Deuteronomy.  By the time we get to the opening verses of the book of Joshua, Moses has died.  The Lord himself said to Joshua, over and over … “Be strong and courageous.  Be strong and very courageous.”  “I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous.”

Then, the greatest thing happened.  Joshua began organizing the people and giving them orders to go forward.  The people answered Joshua, affirming that he was their leader.  They would obey him in the same way they had obeyed Moses (for my money, that should have scared him more than encouraged him).  At the end of their response, they said to Joshua, “Only be strong and courageous!”

We don’t see these words again until the tenth chapter of Joshua.  The Israelites had captured the Amorite kings and destroyed their armies.  After the battle was over, Joshua ordered that the kings be brought out of the cave in which they’d been imprisoned.  This time it was his turn to say to his commanders, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.”  Then, he killed the kings and they went on to conquer more of the territory.

Do you notice the progression that has occurred?  Courage was built up in people until they could encourage others.

Moses reminded the people and Joshua himself to be strong and courageous.  The Lord told Joshua three times to be strong and courageous.  When the people affirmed his leadership, they encouraged him.

Then … when it was necessary, the true strength of Joshua’s leadership came forth and he was able to encourage his people.  Be strong and courageous, the Lord is with you.

This is the story of the Cowardly Lion.  The others encouraged him all along the road and when he needed to be courageous, he was!

Who do you need to encourage today.  Remind each other.  Be strong and courageous!  The Lord is with you.