The Power of Prayer for our Nation

July 18, 2020

prayerA friend recently shared her concerns with me about things going on in our nation. The media promotes candidates who have no regard for the sanctity of life, other than their own. So-called “news” stories support candidates who desire to destroy personal liberties, the family unit, and celebrate man’s new definitions of marriage and gender. Meanwhile, candidates who uphold God’s design for life, liberty, family, marriage, and gender are demonized.


Communication authorities have little regard for true journalism and dole out sensationalist fear-mongering. They are in the business to sell—not to inform—and fear sells.


Surrounded by words and images of fear, chaos, and godlessness, Christians are tempted daily to be filled with fear. But the words of Jesus still speak to us today, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). 


In these troubling times, I am reminded of Abraham’s intercession for the entire city of Sodom, where his nephew, Lot, lived with his family (Genesis 18:20-33). He prayed until God agreed to save the city for the sake of only ten righteous people. Unfortunately, Lot’s entire family wouldn’t listen to him (Genesis 19:1-25), so God sent two angels to rescue Lot, his wife and two daughters out of Sodom. 


God is faithful, longsuffering, and merciful. He wants our nation to remain standing on its biblical foundation even more than we do. If the petition of one believer could save a city from destruction for ten righteous, what can the intercession of thousands of believers do for our nation?


If God’s people faithfully pray and make intercession for our country, He will preserve our God-given liberties and rights. The Lord hears the prayer of the righteous (Proverbs 15:29). We are righteous not because of what we do or don’t do, but because of what Jesus Christ accomplished. Through Him, we are righteous. And when we stand in our God-given righteousness and pray for our nation, God hears us. 


I sometimes find myself fearful of current events. But then I get my head into the Bible through reading, watching, and listening to biblical teachings. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Fear comes through our five senses from the devil, the god of this age. He mostly uses the media because he is the “prince of the authority of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). Sound and light waves travel through the air, from the media. The media is so ungodly because it is ruled by the prince of the authority of the air. That is why Jesus said, “Take care what you listen to” (Mark 4:24). 


Whenever I’m afraid, I realize that I’m not trusting or believing God, and I need a good dose of His Word. Fear is faith in reverse, and it is always False Evidence Appearing Real. The world’s fear tactics can’t hold a candle to the higher power and authority of heaven’s spiritual realities.


The devil’s lies produce fear. But God’s truth produces faith. Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” It is God’s Word that fills us with faith, making our prayers powerful. 


A believing prayer as simple as “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven” can move mountains in the spirit realm. Our prayers are not something we do as a last resort, but as a first resort, to bring about God’s Will upon the earth. 


Keep praying, fellow believers, and know that your prayers of faith are powerful for God. He is merciful and will save us if we cry out to Him. We are Christ’s ambassadors, representing God’s kingdom on earth. God gave us authority in prayer. As we continue in prayer, we will be fulfilling a critical role in turning the tide for our nation. 


God is longsuffering and merciful. He alone can save us. If we call upon Him in our trouble, He will deliver us from our distresses (Psalms 107:6, 13, 28). That’s how good God is, and how powerful our prayers are! 

What Are We Listening To?

April 15, 2020

listeningAs a teenager, I was plagued by fear. I was lost in a world of drugs and barely able to sleep. When I did manage to doze off, horrific bloody nightmares invaded my heart and mind. My life was an agonizing testimony of what the apostle John wrote: “fear has torment” (1 John 4:18).

And no wonder. What input was I feeding my mind with? Movies filled with violence and fear. Music inspired by Satan, the enslaving father of lies. News and chatter parroting his lies and imprisoning fear.

When I finally started reading about Jesus in the Bible, I cried out to him, “Lord, I believe.” I clung to his promise, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

I rejoiced to plant his Word of truth in my heart. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). As I continued to read His Word and share it with others, fear melted away, and I began to walk in the Lord’s power and love. The world’s insanity in my mind faded in the light of the truth that I fed upon.

Now I had a new “problem” with sleep. As I drifted into peaceful slumber each night, I couldn’t wait to wake up and praise my God in the morning!

I can’t say that life has totally been a bowl of cherries since then, but as I look back, it has always come down to one thing—sowing and reaping. What am I feeding my mind and heart with? Words and images that seize my heart with fear? Or faith?

And now, in this COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve got a lot of time on our hands. We have a lot of choices of what to watch and listen to.

I’ve been blessed and excited, watching and listening to Bible teachings and programs that lift my spirit. I find that I need to limit my news input—getting enough to stay abreast of what’s going on, but not to the point of letting fear pierce my heart.

I believe that Jesus has wise words for us at this time. “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given” (Mark 4:24).

What “measure” do we give to what we listen to? Obviously, we will listen to whatever we place the highest value on—personal entertainment, worrisome news in the media, or Truth that makes us free.

Truth is a person, and his name is Jesus. I remember when I first read his words, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). I thought, Either this guy was the greatest conman to ever walk the earth, or he was telling the truth! I decided to believe him.

Since then, life has never been the same. When the storms of life rage, like divorce, Hurricane Michael, and now a pandemic, they can shake me, but they don’t have the power to knock me off my foundation. God promises, “For you who love me, when you call upon me, I will answer. I will be with you in trouble. I will deliver you and honor you” (Psalm 91:14-15).

When I am shaken, it’s not always easy to read and listen to the Bible. I might even feel like He’s far away from me. But I put those feelings away and feed upon His Word anyway. He hasn’t called us to follow Him perfectly. All He wants is for us to know how much He loves us unconditionally. And the only way we can know that is by paying attention to what we value, to what we listen to. When we choose His Truth, He will give us an understanding of His great love for us.

God is faithful to His promises. He restored my marriage, He’s provided for our hurricane restoration, and His love continues to cast fear from my heart.

We always have a choice in determining our harvest. If we sow God’s Word of truth in our hearts, we will reap His fruit.

We all have a decision to make at any time during these days of uncertainty. Will I value the words of those who don’t really have any answers, or will I treasure the One who has all the answers? I pray that you choose the latter and that you will come to understand His great love for YOU. You can call upon Him, and He will answer.

You Can Be Healed!

April 10, 2020

Christ doubting thomas bThis Easter weekend, Christians around the world will be meditating upon Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection. They will be reminded that Christ died for their sins. I heard this all the time throughout my childhood, but never knew what it meant.

At the age of twenty, I became involved with a Bible-teaching ministry. I learned that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, paid for my sins with his shed, innocent blood.

I also learned something I had never heard before. By Christ’s sufferings—his stripes—I could receive healing.

Since that time, I have received healing many times. The most recent was while on a tour of Israel this past November. I wasn’t healed because God loves me more than another person, or because I’m so “good.” I received healing because I knew it was a promise of God, a gift of grace through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Here’s my story from the Spring issue of GO! Magazine, He Gave His All for You. The entire online digital edition is here.

I pray this Easter that many will ask and receive God’s healing. I pray for healing throughout our nation—in people’s bodies and lives, and in our economy. Our current problems seem insurmountable by the five senses, but God is able and willing to deliver us. We may not know how, but we can trust in His faithfulness, to keep the promises of His Word.

God bless you with healing in every way this Easter.

Wake Up Call?

April 7, 2020

Wake up callA worldwide pandemic makes us wonder, “Why?” I don’t believe that God sends plagues, because He is the author of life. The Bible says that God’s enemy, the devil, has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). If it was God that killed people, then His Son, Jesus Christ, went around undoing God’s will every time he raised someone from the dead. But Jesus always did the will of His Father (John 6:38).

God can use this time, however, to get people’s attention as to what is really important in life. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). Now is not the time to blame God for the world’s ills, but rather to run to Him for refuge (Psalm 91).

We can choose to binge-watch material that has no impact on our relationship with God. Or, we can decide to watch Christian ministers who aren’t afraid to address what we’re going through, and what we can do about it.

As Christians, we can draw closer to God in faith by paying attention to what we’re watching and listening to. Faith and fear cannot coexist in our hearts because they are antithetical. When we feed our minds with things that make us fearful, our faith in God will suffer. On the other hand, if we seek input that builds our faith, fear will dissolve in our hearts. The choice is always our own to make.

I’ve been getting built up by watching Andrew Wommack, Lance Wallnau, and others who relate the scriptures to what we’re currently going through. Instead of piercing my heart with fear as the news media does, they lead me to a deeper trust in God.

The input of truth and light changes the way we think about a lot of things. For example, I got tired of singing the ABC song while washing my hands, so I put together a list of 20 Second Bible Hand Washing Songs. Now when I wash my hands, I get to choose which song to sing to God, which brings joy to my heart throughout the day. Just one little change has made a big difference for me.

Concerning what to make of all this spiritually, the Lord Jesus’ words keep coming to mind:

And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these [are] the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:6-8 KJV)

I believe that a lot of Christians underestimate the longsuffering of God. We’ve been through the Dark Ages, the Holocaust, and the Great Depression, to name a few. I believe God wants as many people as possible to be saved, and He will endure much to that end.

I get chills when I think of Jesus’ question:

And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8 KJV)

How long is the longsuffering of God? Will it endure until there is no longer any faith on the earth? Only God knows. I think a lot of folks would shun me for such a thought, but I’m just going by what Jesus said. How dark, how bad are things going to get before he returns? I don’t know.

But I do know that God still has a remnant—those who cling to Him and His promises. He will protect them from pestilence and every other woe mentioned in Psalm 91 and elsewhere in His Word.

In the political arena, I believe God founded the United States on His Word, to be a light to the nations. Sadly, the agenda of the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) has made tremendous advances to dim the light that God called our country to shine.

In our first 150+ years, who would have thought that the Ten Commandments would be removed from public buildings, and that prayer would be taken out of our schools? Who would have imagined that abortion would be legalized, even up to the moment of birth—and celebrated by lighting up landmarks? Who would believe that man would attain the level of arrogance to redefine God’s sacred institution of marriage between a man and a woman? How did we get so lost that we began to sanction and fund the emotionally disturbed who don’t like the gender God made them?

My heart grieves each time I discover that a loved one, who professes Christianity, votes to bring into power those who oppose God’s Will. They profess God, the author of life, yet vote to empower those who disregard life by promoting abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. They vote to place in power those who oppose the biblical founding principles of our nation. They put in authority those who are bent on demolishing our national motto, “In God we trust.” They vote to empower those who arrogantly redefine God’s sacred institution of marriage, and who celebrate those who defy God’s innate determination of gender.

I believe God called our nation to be a light. And now those who say they are His people are voting against His Will in our society. His light to the nations has been dimmed. How long is the longsuffering of God? How much will He endure?

As I write, over 99,000 abortions have been performed in the world today ( How many of those babies were called to the kingdom of God? What impact could they have made upon this world for God and His Kingdom?

So, is COVID-19 a wake-up call for God’s beloved? I do believe so, with all my heart. I pray that as people stay at home, they’ll invest some time in introspection, asking the deep questions. Is there a God? Does He love me? (A thousand times, yes.) How do I seek Him? (Deuteronomy 4:29; Psalms 69:32; 105:3; 119:2; Jeremiah 29:13). How can I be saved? (Romans 10:9-10).

I pray that we will allow the light of God’s Word to dispel the darkness of disease and fear. I pray that we will come to know God as a loving Father, who wants us to run to Him at all times. I pray we will take a stand for Him, and shine as lights in this world of darkness.

Our Greatest Enemy is Fear

March 23, 2020

COVID 19A few short weeks ago, the COVID-19 virus was all about washing your hands for 20 seconds and coughing or sneezing into your elbow. As the disease entered our borders, we graduated to elbow hugs and social distancing. Panic incited unprecedented stock market dives. Schools closed. Restaurants and bars closed. Americans hunkered down in isolation, transitioning to working remotely from home. Businesses laid off workers and closed. Senior facilities went into lockdown. The National Guard was deployed.

Why? The seasonal flu has killed tens of thousands more each year than this coronavirus. So, what has changed?

There is no treatment for this disease and no vaccine. The most insidious aspect of COVID-19 is that people can be carrying it with no symptoms … transmitting it to anyone they come in contact with.

In short, we are not in control of this coronavirus. In other words, we are out of control.

Isn’t that what helps us feel secure—to be in control of our circumstances and environment? And when faced with something beyond our power or ability, we tend to succumb to fear.

I am here to tell you that there is an alternative to yielding to fear.

Run to God. Don’t walk, don’t dawdle … run! He’s waiting for you with open arms.

An excellent place to start is by reading the Bible. When I was a teenager, wasted on drugs, I started reading the New Testament. Yep, tokin’ on a bong and reading my Bible. I marvel at God’s mercy and grace, how He pierced my heart with His truth—despite my miserable rebellion—and set me free from torment.

I read, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” I toked on my bong and thought, “No way.” I dared to ask God to teach me His truth, and He miraculously brought me into a church of loving believers who taught me His Word.

I learned a new way of thinking, not driven by the media’s frenzied fear-mongering. I learned that God loved me. So simple. So amazing. He loved ME.

The realization of God’s love for me vanquished my anxious insomnia, riddled with horrific nightmares when I did fall asleep. I now slept peacefully, with my only anxiety to long for Him in the morning light.

Fear was gone, for His perfect love for me shattered my fears.

I am no longer afraid because I have a relationship with my Lord and put my trust in Him. This coronavirus has nothing on Him, because His name is above all names, including COVID-19. Jesus Christ, my Lord, the one in whom I trust.

I invite you to open your Bible and check it out. Get to know the fear-crushing, love-energizing, disease-killing Lord. He wants you to know His love, care, and protection for you. He wants to help you conquer your greatest enemy, Fear, with His fear-extinguisher … His amazing love for YOU.

Discover Your Purpose

January 5, 2020

purpose target-small

Here’s some good news. If you have ever wondered, “What is my purpose?” you can stop wondering. You don’t need to find your purpose, because you’ve already got it. I pray this brief post will help you discover it.


Before delving into discovering your purpose, however, we need to make sure that stress isn’t taunting you like a fully extended rubber band aimed at your face. I want to introduce you to the Fun Times Tool, developed by my brilliant friend, Lisa Wagner, also known as the Rug Chick. She led us through this simple exercise at a conference, and it changed my life. Fun Times Tool


As Lisa says, “Finding time for fun and rejuvenation is critical for living a good and healthy life.” Once you take time to have fun, your sense of stress and overwhelm will diminish, and you’ll be inspired to do what you were put on this planet to do—to fulfill your excellent purpose.


Using Lisa’s Fun Times Tool as a model, I developed the Discovering My Purpose Tool. It will help you discover the unique purpose that was born within you and is still within you. It is your purpose and belongs to no one else. Only you can fulfill it. And when you do what you were put on this planet to do, you will add value to the lives of others. The world will be a bit better because you are fulfilling your unique, excellent purpose. Discovering My Purpose Tool

A Friendlier Christmas Story, Part 3

December 23, 2019

angel-appears-to-shepherds-603730-wallpaperIn the culture of the Bible, whenever a woman went into labor, it was the custom for the ladies to ask the men to leave, so they could gather inside to assist in the birth. It doesn’t make sense to assume that people were so cold-hearted back then that they wouldn’t assist a young girl in labor, only to send her away to give birth in an outdoor barn.

While all this was taking place in Bethlehem, God dispatched angels to a field nearby.

Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds in the same area, living out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night.

People who had a flock of sheep too large to keep indoors would have a shepherd watch their animals outside at night to protect them from predators.

Bethlehem shepherds

Shepherd boy with sheep, just south of Bethlehem

Luke 2:9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were frightened with great fear.

Imagine peacefully watching sheep in the quiet of the night with some other shepherds, and suddenly you see an angel standing in front of you, and a brilliant light shining around you. This frightened the shepherds, but the angel assured them …

Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for Look!, I bring you good news that will cause great joy, which will be for all the people.

11 For to you was born this day in the city of David the Savior, who is the Messiah and Lord.

12 And this will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

Note that the angel said the baby would be lying in a manger, a feeding trough, but nothing about an outdoor stable.

Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory in the highest heavens to God, and on earth peace among people with whom he is well pleased.”

What a glorious sight to behold—a multitude of God’s warrior angels, His heavenly host, praising God!

Luke 2:15 And it came to pass, when the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.

The shepherds were excited. Their ancestors spoke about and awaited the Messiah’s coming for millennia. And now the promised Messiah had arrived—in their neighborhood! They hurried to Bethlehem to see him, but how would they find the baby?

In their culture, it was pleasant when a girl was born. After all, who wouldn’t melt at the coos of a newborn infant? But when a boy was born, it meant that when he got married, he would bring his wife to live with his family. This meant future grandchildren, more workers, and increased prosperity for the family. Even today, you can see homes throughout the Middle East with rebar on top, ready to add an additional story when their son(s) marry.

So, when a baby boy was born, there was cause for a large celebration with music and food. All the shepherds had to do was follow the sounds of a party in the small town of Bethlehem, to find who was celebrating the birth of a boy. When they found the joyous party the new parents’ relatives were having, imagine their excitement. They may have nudged their way through the jubilant company, working their way toward the baby inside. Was this the right house? When they saw baby Jesus in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger—just as the angel told them—they were filled with praises of joy.

Luke 2:17 And after they saw it, they made it known about the message that had been spoken to them about this child.

18 And all who heard it were amazed at the things that were told to them by the shepherds.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen; everything was just as it had been spoken to them.

So, should you keep your Nativity set’s ruggedly elegant, 17th-century-style outdoor wooden stable, or chuck it? I’ll probably keep mine.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this heartening retelling of the Christmas Story, just as it comforted us to hear an age-old story being shared in the cultural context of family members taking care of each other and rejoicing with one another.

May your Christmas celebration be filled with peace and joy with those you love.

0231 Sunset

Sunset over Bethlehem

A Friendlier Christmas Story, Part 2

December 20, 2019

virgin maryPart 1 ended with Elizabeth encouraging Mary with a prophecy from God about her baby. Even baby John leaped for joy inside Elizabeth’s womb.

Luke 1:56And Mary stayed with her about three months, and returned to her house.

Mary and Elizabeth had a lot of things to discuss and were both in a wonderful position to encourage one another in their miraculous pregnancies. Since the journey home would be long for Mary, it would make sense for her to stay awhile with Elizabeth and help her around the house during her last trimester. (Moms, we can relate, right?) And since she was already there, why wouldn’t Mary stay to assist with the birth, and meet this miracle baby who was announced by an angel, just like her child? I’m just guessing, but I’d sure want to stay for John’s birth!

But Mary had to deal with the inevitable—traveling home to reveal her pregnancy to Joseph.

Matthew 1:18Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way: his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they came together was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

19Now Joseph her husband, being righteous and yet not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

20But while he was thinking about these things, Look!, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to favorably accept Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit.”

24Then Joseph, awaking from sleep, did as the angel of Yahweh commanded him and took to himself his wife.

Once again, God sent an angel—this time, to let Joseph in on what was happening. The couple married, and a few months later, Mary needed to journey to Bethlehem again, this time with her husband, and a lot of other people.

Luke 2:1Now it came to pass in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the inhabited world for taxation.

3And everyone went to be registered, each to his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem because he was of the house and family line of David,

5to be registered along with Mary, who had been betrothed to him and was pregnant.

All my life, I saw pictures, children’s plays, and television programs showing Joseph leading Mary, great with child, on a donkey to Bethlehem. This is where we need to set aside tradition and consider Joseph’s humanity. If Caesar wanted everyone in the Roman Empire to travel to the cities of their lineage for a kingdom-wide registration, he would need to give everyone enough notice to make preparations before leaving their homes and places of business for the long journey. With all that notice, why would Joseph wait until the last minute to make his nine-month-pregnant wife travel on a donkey (or whatever means they used) for a period of one to two weeks? Common sense dictates that Joseph would lovingly bring Mary to Bethlehem before the difficult, last stages of pregnancy.

Luke 2:6Now it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled for her to give birth.

The scripture tells us that Mary went into labor “while they were there,” not “as soon as they arrived.”

Luke 2:7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling-cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no space for them in the guestroom.

Most Bible translations say, “there was no room for them in the inn.” The Greek word for “inn” appears only three times in the New Testament, and in the other two usages (Mark 14:14; Luke 22:11), it is correctly translated as “guest room.”

We visited a centuries-old house in Taybeh, a Christian town in the West Bank. The “Parables House” was inhabited up until 1974 and is now used as a teaching exhibit for tourists to the Holy Land.

stepsAs you enter the house, you walk up a small staircase to the main room of the home (left). Over the cooking area are some tiny windows, and to the right is an opening to a bedroom (right). It could be used as a guest room while the family slept in the main

Bethlehem was the town of Joseph’s lineage, as well as Mary’s, so they had plenty of relatives there. However, the town was very crowded for Caesar’s registration. Since there was no space for Joseph and Mary in their relatives’ guest room (which could have been Zechariah and Elizabeth), they had to stay in one of the lower rooms (under the main level) that were normally used for keeping animals safe inside the house at night.

Lower stables for animals, on either side of front entry stairs.  

These indoor stables each had a manger to hold food for the animals. It makes sense that Mary would put something soft inside and place Jesus in the manger.

Perhaps the Bible translators of 17th-Century England saw the word “manger,” and translated the scene into their Western culture, assuming that Jesus was born in an outdoor stable.manger

Manger (right)

to be continued …

Up Next – Conclusion, and why those shepherds were so excited!

A Friendlier Christmas Story

December 18, 2019

christmas-manger-4579217_640It always bothered me as a child when I saw plays and television shows about innkeepers saying, “No rooms!” to Joseph and nine-month-pregnant Mary, and slamming the door. How could these people be so cold-hearted, letting a teenage girl give birth alone with her husband outside in a barn? When I started having children and knew how difficult it was to do anything toward the end of each pregnancy, I was appalled that Joseph would put his about-to-deliver wife on a donkey for the journey to Bethlehem.

After decades of being subjected to the same tale each year, I got numb to the callousness of it all. Reason went out the window as I accepted the traditional Christmas story.

My husband and I recently returned from a sixteen-day pilgrimage in the Holy Land. We visited the Herodium fortress late one afternoon, just south of Bethlehem. As we stood at the foot of the fortress overlooking Bethlehem, some shepherd boys joined us with their sheep. With the sun setting and shepherds by our side, we looked toward Bethlehem as our guide shared a heartwarming retelling of the Christmas Story. To hear this account of love, family and community thrilled my heart as the night descended upon the little town of our Lord’s birth. It went something like this …

Part 1 – Angel Visits Mary, Mary Visits Elizabeth

Luke 1:26Now in the sixth month [of Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy with John the Baptist] the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

27to a virgin who was betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.

Israel regionsThis map shows where Mary lived in Nazareth of Galilee, the northern region of Israel. Gabriel appeared to her there and said, “Hello, favored one! You’re going to conceive and have a baby, who will be great, the Son of the Most High God!”

Young Mary, about thirteen to sixteen years old, asked, “How can this be? I’m a virgin!” The angel told her she would conceive by the Holy Spirit. (If God could create the heavens and the earth, He could certainly create His seed in Mary’s womb.) Gabriel also told Mary that her relative, Elizabeth, who was barren, conceived in her old age and was now six months pregnant. “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Imagine how this must have built Mary’s trust in God. Elizabeth, who was well past her child-bearing years, was pregnant. If God could do that, He could also do what the angel was telling her. She answered, “Lo!, I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

Even though she was “all in,” Mary understood some challenges lay ahead for her. What would happen when Joseph noticed she was pregnant? According to the law of Moses, he could bring her to the gate of the city to have her stoned or to publicly disgrace her by divorcing her. (Yes, they took engagement pretty seriously back then.)

So, Mary decided to take a trip to visit the only person who could possibly understand her situation—Elizabeth.

Luke 1:39In those days Mary got up and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40and went into the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

Nazareth to Bethlehem mapThis map shows how far Elizabeth lived from Mary, down south in the Judean region in the vicinity of Bethlehem. A young girl would never make this journey alone, so Mary probably checked around to see who was headed that way and asked if she could travel with them. The journey could have taken a week to ten days. You know how it is when you travel with a bunch of people. Someone needs to stop and visit their uncle along the way, someone gets sick and needs to get some medical attention … life just happens.

When Mary finally reached Elizabeth’s house …

Luke 1:41And it came to pass when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit

42and cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

43And how is this happening to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44For Look!, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

45And blessed is she who believed, because there will be a fulfillment of the things that have been spoken to her from the Lord.”

Let’s take a closer look at Elizabeth’s greeting (Luke 1:41-45). They didn’t have email or Facebook back then. It took a lot longer for news to travel. What’s more, Mary couldn’t have heard about Elizabeth being pregnant from anyone but the angel, because Elizabeth “hid herself for five months,” and her husband lost his ability to speak when he questioned the angel who told him about his future son, John the Baptist.

So, here’s Mary, showing up unannounced at her older relative’s house. Without having told a soul about her dangerous predicament of facing a possible stoning or a public divorce, God downloads the information to Elizabeth, and she prophesies about Mary’s baby. Do you think Mary was a little comforted? You bet.

An angel previously told Elizabeth’s husband, Zechariah, that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. So, God also downloaded the information of what was happening to little baby John, who leaped for joy at the arrival of his cousin in Mary’s womb, who would be the Lamb of God!

to be continued …

Coming up: Joseph discovers Mary’s pregnancy, and the truth about the manger and stable.

What Is Time?

December 16, 2019

Time pocket-watch-1637396_1920

My high school physics assignment sounded simple enough. Define time. I was intrigued, for I had never considered such a thing. I went home and looked up “time” in my old, tattered Webster’s dictionary. After reading the lengthy definition, I realized the Webster people didn’t know how to explain time. It was one of those words like “love,” that had a long-winded definition, all to say, “We don’t know.”


I spent a lot of time in thought and meditation on this concept. “What is time?” I considered myself an agnostic but observed that when it came to the big questions in life, the answers to “What?” and “Why?” usually led to a mastermind behind the universe. And this was one of those questions.


“What is a day of time?” I pondered. One rotation of the earth on its axis. What is a month of time? About one revolution of the moon around our planet. What is a year of time? One revolution of the earth around the sun. What is the common denominator here? And then it hit me. 

Motion. It’s all about motion. What would happen if the earth stopped turning on its axis? What would happen if the moon stopped revolving around the earth? What if this planet stopped revolving around the sun? And even more significant, what if everything in the universe stopped moving? I remembered a Twilight Zone episode when time stood still, and no one moved. Nothing happened, because no time passed.


I realized that time is simply the measurement of motion. If nothing moved, there would be no time. When something moves, however, time is the measurement of its movement from point A to point B.


A few months later, I was going through a time of spiritual confusion. God intervened miraculously and revealed a bit of Himself to me. The only two phrases which came to my mind was that I was “in the Spirit,” and this was “revelation.” I was somehow inside the mind of God, and it was immense. All of time was one. That’s the only way I can explain it. I saw all of time at once. I didn’t know everything, but I understood everything. I didn’t know how my small brain could comprehend the magnitude of His understanding, compassion, and love. A burning desire to go outside and help people flooded my heart.


After the revelation ended, I realized I had been exalting myself above God. I was humbled. There was no question about it. God was real, and to say that He was more significant than me would be an understatement. I always believed that truth was within me if I looked hard enough for it. But I now recognized that truth was outside of myself and was much greater than me.


I resolved to seek truth until I found it, not knowing that it was a “Him.” Two more years would pass before I humbled myself before God, started reading the Bible, and came into a relationship with the living, resurrected Christ Jesus, whom I confessed as my Lord.


That was over four decades ago, and I still think about what God showed me. I’m still intrigued by the concept of time, especially when I find scriptures about it. For example, Isaiah 57:15 says that God is “the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity.” 


The prophet Isaiah declared that God inhabits eternity. Wherever or whenever you are, God is there, everywhere. He doesn’t go from point A to point B in the physical realm. He exists outside of time because He doesn’t move. He just is. That is why when Moses asked, “what should I say your name is?” God’s reply was simply, “I AM.” Throughout all of time and every crevice of the universe, God is. He couldn’t have given Moses a more perfect answer than “I AM.”


We, on the other hand, move through linear time, from point A to point B. I understand things best in pictures, so I made a meager attempt to illustrate time and God. Imagine all of time on earth as a large, black board. Each person’s life would be a tiny line of light peeking through the board–millions of lives, millions of tiny lines of light. Now turn the board over, and we see God—a vast, brilliant, dazzling light.


This concept gets very interesting when we consider Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, sacrificed, died, resurrected, and now seated at the right hand of God—who inhabits eternity. He is everywhere, in God the Father. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, who knows every heart and hears every prayer. He is the Way, as we move along our linear light of time. He is the Truth who satisfies all who seek. He is the Life, who will bring us into eternity.

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