I Hate Bats! Post 6 – From “The Getaway. . .”

I had looked at photos and articles in the brochures, pamphlets, and travel guides of the park, considering which sites Ron and I might want to see. Much to my distress, one article had a photo of a bat, which I immediately covered up by folding the corner of the paper over it. I hate bats! Repeat – I hate bats! Please don’t try to convince me of all the good things about bats. It won’t sway me. They remind me of demons. I hate bats. 

You see, the Porkies (Porcupine Mountains) have many old, abandoned mines – copper and iron ore. The article and photo I covered in a brochure, so as not to see, described a strategy conservationists of the Porkies are taking to keep bats from getting some white-nose disease. As you can imagine, I didn’t read the article. (I kept it covered – out of sight.)  So anyway, I said, “This is one site here in the Porkies I don’t care to visit.” End of story. 

It was not really the “end of story” because as we were driving up the mountain to the Lake of the Clouds (Click here to read my last Post 5), we stopped at a beautiful site where there was a small spot to park and to look out over the beautiful Lake Superior from quite a height. We walked to the lookout point. I took a pic of Ron and of the nearby sign.

It was lovely, BUT, on the opposite side of the narrow road, dug into the side of the mountain was an old abandoned copper mine, and – you guessed it – was the very site, placard and all, about the story of the bats. Evidently thousands come out of that mine shaft at night . . . you know the story. Another reason they remind me of demons – there are thousands, and they love to work at night.  – in the dark. Well, we “hightailed it” out of there!

Have you ever tried so hard to avoid something, like I tried to avoid the bat cave, but you run right into it? Sin is like that. Your intentions are good, but that devil just keeps chasing after you.

He’s dark – the prince of darkness.

His work is dark.

His intentions are dark.

His actions are dark.

My sin is dark.

Your sin is dark.

But Jesus came, and Jesus is light.

I just have to repeat it! Jesus came, and Jesus is light. He is the Light of the World. He brings light into our sinful lives – if we let Him.

The Bible tells us to submit ourselves to God and to resist the devil, and he will flee from us. Resist him, just like I “hightailed it” away from that bat cave. (Well, not really just the same – but you get the idea.) I’ve lived in the darkness of sin before – and you have too. I’ve come out of that darkness and into the Light: Jesus! Have you? If not, it’s time you do!

Learn more about how Jesus takes our sin away and makes us “children of light” at this link: www.kathiwaligora.com/become-a-believer

And you can find more about submitting to God and resisting the devil if you do some further reading, starting with James 4:7 in the New Testament.

Mid Morning Favor – Post 5 – From “The Getaway …”

Contrary to the report on Ron’s weather app, the sun was shining today, so we drove up the mountain, 1000 feet above Lake Superior to the “Lake of the Clouds.”

With my Mama in 1955

It was a beautiful drive to the top of the mountain. And today, as we parked and walked the 100 yard embankment to the cliff above, years of imbedded memories surged in the form of droplets in my eyes, welling up and rolling down my cheeks. I’m sure that my daddy and mama would have never thought that the memories of this very place, which they had created within me and had kept alive through photos taken with Daddy’s new 35 mm Kodak in 1955 would stir up fresh within me all these years later. You’ll see me as the little blonde girl in the older pictures. See more pics below.

Until today, I had never been back to The Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains.

But I’ve wanted to.

I’ve hoped to.

And I’ve thought about it ever since.

This was a desire of my heart.

Today was the day.

Oftentimes God grants us the desires of our hearts. He loves to do so. He knows those things – even the little things – that will delight us. In fact, He surrounds us with His favor. His favor is like a shield around us. I had lived much of my adult life unaware or unknowing or not believing that I was favored by God, but about eight years ago, in the most difficult time of my life, I became cognizant of it. I believed the Word of God. And I embraced it, finally trusting that God loves me and wants to show me favor.

The Oxford dictionary defines favor as “act of kindness beyond what is due.” And that’s just what God did for me once again – at the Lake of the Clouds. He granted me an “act of kindness beyond what is due.” He allowed me to go back to a very peaceful time in my life, remembering all those years ago, on the edge of this same cliff but feeling absolutely no danger because I was protected by my Daddy and my Mama. And God allowed me to know the same serenity of this peaceful setting today, completely protected by Him, my Heavenly Father. 

My Mama 1955 (My Daddy stands in the same spot in the featured picture at top of post.
I’m standing in nearly the same spot as my mother – 65 years later. My heart is full!

Then He opened my eyes to see even more: the beauty of this place. He filled me with the joy of being there with my husband, Ron.

We hiked miles across the encampment and down to the base of the lake below. My heart was full-of God’s favor.

God loves to give you the desires of your heart. Ask Him. Then look for it. Sometimes it’s huge. Sometimes it’s in the little things. 

Undeserved. Unmerited. But it is mine. And it’s yours: the Favor of the Father. And it is all because of Jesus. Grasp it. Hold on.

Click here to learn to become a believer: https://kathiwaligora.com/become-a-believer/

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Further reading: Psalm 37:4

With Grandpa and Grandma Locke, my mother, my brother Larry, Aunt Carolyn, and Uncle Dick. 1955

Early Morning Wisdom ~ Post 4 – From “The Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place of Rest, and Wisdom”

The Porcupine Mountains are unbelievably remote. Our campsite is at the Northeast tip of this huge state park; the mountains and thousands upon thousands of trees are in the middle; and Ironwood, the only big “town” in this part of the U.P., is near the Southwest end of the park, probably 30 miles “as the crow flies.” Click here if you’d like to see a map of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Porkies_Unit

Lake Superior covers all the north side of the park, and as I wrote in my Day 2 post, forests and small townships or four-corner villages border the south side of the park.  (Click here for a short video “Under the Radar – Porcupine Mountains”  to see the magnificence of this State Park – the largest in Michigan.) So in this park, I have no Internet connection. In fact, I rarely have cell service. Now, it’s easy to say, “So what? You don’t need Internet during this time,” but it’s quite another thing to actually be the person without it! That’s me. So without connection, I haven’t been able to work on my website or “post” my blogs as I had planned. Each day, Ron and I have gone to the “Welcome Center” here in the park, and I have lugged my laptop, connected to their WiFi, and worked on various writing projects for a while. We were headed there this morning when . . .

I’ll come back to this, but first I’ll touch upon the “Seeking . . . wisdom” part of the title of my writing series during this getaway.

Have you ever asked God for wisdom?  I know the Bible tells us to do so. And I’ve asked Him for it many times – generally regarding a specific issue, i.e. “God, grant me wisdom to know what decision to make . . .” We read that He liberally gives us wisdom when we ask. When I “titled” my series of pieces I’m writing during this getaway, I included “Seeking . . . wisdom.”

Anyway, that’s how I expected it during this getaway. I expected to gain wisdom from His Word. But this morning, the wisdom He gave was simply spoken directly to me – oh, not in a voice, as such, but . . . well, here’s how it happened:

We regularly discuss plans for our days here at the park. Ron always checks the weather forecast, so we know which day would be best to hike, which day would be best to drive to waterfalls and other points of interest in the park. You get the idea. Well, each day has also included a bit of time at a place near the entrance of the park where I can “connect” to the Internet and get good cell connection, as well.

Suddenly this morning, with maps on the table and the weather forecast in front of Ron, God spoke to me, you know, like I just mentioned above. It was like He was saying,

 “You should not be using this time to get ‘connected’ to the Internet. You should be using this time to get ‘connected’ to Me. And to get ‘connected’ to Ron. You’ll have plenty of Internet ‘connection’ time when you get home. Don’t use your getaway time, struggling for connection to anything else.”

I responded,

“Thank you, Father, for wisdom.”

You can ask God for wisdom, too. The Bible tells us He’s so very generous in extending wisdom to us. Wisdom speaks to us, gives us knowledge and understanding, blesses us, and so much more. It’s exciting to think of how He will give it to you. We know you’ll always find it in His Word!

Further reading: James 1:5; 

Proverbs Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4

You’ve just read Post 4 – From “The Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place of Rest, and Wisdom”

If you have not yet read Post 1, Post 2, or Post 3 from this series, you might want to click on each post to read them in sequence.

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If you’re a subscriber, look for Post 5 – “Mid-Morning Favor from God” withiin two days. Otherwise, find it on this site! Bless!

I think my plans are the best!? Post 3 in the series, “The Getaway: Seeking . . .”

Ron and I have a passion for waterfalls, so today we made plans to see five waterfalls in surrounding areas outside this huge park. We marked them on our map, set our gps for directions, and headed toward Ironwood on the Wisconsin border. Our goal: five waterfalls.

We saw one

It was just a mile out of the campground, the remaining four to be seen further on. This one was striking.

Now I know why the rocks are red here. It’s the iron. The water flows over red rocks. Iron ore was pulled out of these mountains for years. I suppose iron will always be detected on these shores.

So we were off to a good start. On to the next waterfall.

And we drove and drove and drove, seemingly following the directions in the brochure I had picked up on a rack, “Western Upper Peninsula Waterfall Guide.”

“Turn left on USSF222, which turns into 400.”

So we did. We turned left.

It was a beautiful drive down a gravel road through Ottawa National Forest. Miles and miles of beautiful. And of desolate. But it did not lead to a waterfall – or even to a river. Perhaps if we’d gone further?

We did not find that waterfall on the West Branch of the Ontonagon River.

On toward Ironwood we drove, enjoying the beautiful landscapes, slowly but steadily progressing to the next two waterfalls on the Black River, both of which I had marked in the brochure and set on our gps.

“North on Blackjack Road. Past the two gas line clearings. Park off the road.”

So we did. We passed the gas line clearings and parked in a low spot off the road.

No signs. Was it private property?

We did not find the upper and lower waterfalls on the Black River.

We drove on, stopping for lunch at a roadside park on the way. I placed a red-checkered tablecloth on the table , pulled lunch out of my vintage red picnic basket. It was a true picnic! As we ate, we enjoyed nature around us. A yellow butterfly drank nectar from an orange flower. We sat in the warm sunlight, at a picnic table, on the side of a small mountain, in a desolate area. Like the butterfly, we were drinking nectar – the nectar of the moment. We listened to the sounds of nature and ever so slowly started to unwind and leave behind some of the burdens we had carried with us to the north. Afterward, we drove on toward the waterfall on Planter Creek, but we never located . . .

“Wertanen Road on M-28 north after County 519,” so . . .

We did not find the waterfall on Planter Creek.

So we arrived back at campsite earlier than expected, and I stretched out on my new gravity chair, one I’d had for several weeks but had never taken the time to relax in. Now, in the warm, late afternoon sun on what had begun as a cool day, I was extremely tired. Soft waves lapped the red rocks. My body rested. Then my mind rested. It was the Sound of Silence I was seeking when I came to the north just a few days prior. The calm setting brought rest. Physical rest often precedes spiritual rest, the kind I’m seeking by dwelling in His Secret Place. I had made a day’s worth of plans of discovering and enjoying a number of waterfalls. My plans didn’t work out. Instead, I was beginning to find rest in an unexpected manner.

As I rested, reclined in a most comfortable gravity chair, in a most tranquil setting, I listened to His Whisper.

Jesus whispered,

“Kathi, you are good at making plans. But I’m better. Listen and I will give you the right answers. Dwell in my shelter and your plans will be great.”

Are you good at making plans like I am but realizing that most importantly you need to be listening to Jesus Whisper?

Further Reading: Proverbs 16:1,3; Psalm 91:1

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You have just read Post 3 – From “The Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place of Rest, and Wisdom”

(If you have not yet read Post 1 and Post 2 from this series, click on each.)

And please look for Post 4: “Early Morning Wisdom” Click here to read, 

Little Women – The Dream

I usually rode the school bus home, but when I needed to stay for 7th grade cheerleading practice, Mom picked me up after she got out of work at 3:30. The inside of the  car was toasty from having been in the sun on the warm fall day. Mom greeted me with a hug and a smile, but she was tired from working in the shop, so we did little talking. Instead, the car became a cozy setting for reading. I pulled out Little Women and read all the way home – and continued reading after she pulled in the drive and went into the house to start supper. 

I read – and I dreamed – about Jo. When Mom called me in for supper, my mind was still spinning, trying to concoct a plan for a writing area for myself – like the attic in which Jo wrote – the one on the cover of my book. During those days, I began to clear out a small loft in our “woodshed,”  packed with broken fishing poles and worn window screens and coated with 60 years of grime. But cold weather soon arrived, and my plans were thwarted. 

Dreams of writing and publishing were pushed to the back of my mind, and replaced with high school years and marriage and children and summer vacations and golden retrievers and music and home décor and .  . . many beautiful and wonderful experiences, until one day, the laptop making it so much easier to get those ideas in print, the dream materialized. And now it’s a reality! Instead of an attic, my private writing space is a Michigan porch or a Florida Lanai. It’s a “Kathi” space instead of a “Jo” space!

So, I invite you – to read my writing – to browse my website and social media pages – to step into the shelter of my scripts and to discover commonalities between us. I invite you to purchase my published books and look for upcoming publications this year!

May God bless and speak to our hearts!

When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

When Kathi Waligora faced the worst day of her life, she didn’t know that many more days would crash down on her in the weeks that followed. She cried out to God as her life roared; in reply, the gentle whisper of Jesus gave her peace, comfort, and hope to continue forward.

You’ll connect  to Kathi within each chapter of When Life Roars Jesus Whispers, finding God’s Whispers of Truth, Grace, Faith, Mercy, Comfort, Hope, and Promise.  Then you’ll apply these whispers to your own life through personal introspection at the end of each chapter. 

When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

Revised Edition

5.5″ x 8.5″ 258 pp.

Click here to inquire about quantity discounts of 10+ books

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$15.99 plus shipping cost $3.75

We stepped through the steel doors of the jail. I couldn’t imagine my daughter in this place . . . No façade remained of the candy-coated lives we had lived for so many years, and I doubted that any façade would ever cover us again.  We, too, were a ‘rough group of broken people’ ~ just the kind of people Jesus loves . . . and through the toughest times, we discovered favor of God as if we had always fully recognized it.

(An excerpt from:  When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers)

Recent Reviews:

“A powerful story that encourages our confidence in Christ when our own stories go off the rails.” 

Bill Crowder, Bible Teacher and Author

“This book was hard to put down. It is a book of loss, despair, HOPE and whispers. It gave me strength. It gave me chills and even tears. In the end, it left me with HOPE.”

“I read the book in one day! When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers is a wonderfully written book filled with heart-wrenching events, heart-warming love and heart-lifting promises of hope!”

” . . . powerful, poignant . . .”

“This is an amazing book that I could not put down! Kathi, thank you for your courage and candor as you shared your heartbreak, struggles, and victory in the light of God’s Word!”

“Very touching story! I cried and I rejoiced! This is a story that can encourage and give hope!”

“I have to say that When Life Roars Jesus Whispers by Kathi Waligora is the best I have read . . . easy to read and love the devotions at the end of each chapter. Each chapter brought [me] back to the promises of God . . . very helpful , encouraging,  and God centered. Thank you Kathi for opening your heart to the world and pointing us back to what matters – that Jesus understands and is with us throughout everything.”

When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

Revised Edition

5.5″ x 8.5″ 258 pp.

Click here to inquire about quantity discounts of 10+ books

PayPal or other major credit card accepted

$15.99 plus shipping cost $3.75

Shh! Listen to His Whispers!

Shh! Listen to His Whispers! is the new Bible Study that complements When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers but stands alone as an individual or group six-week study. In this Bible Study, you’ll learn how Kathi began to listen to the whispers in God’s Word, and how you can hear those whispers, as well. Learn where the storms of life come from and where  you can seek shelter. In your individual study – or together with others – you’ll learn to recognize storm warnings  and discover how to speak life for yourself, your friends, your families who stand in the paths of these storms.

You’ll love this sturdy, beautifully-covered book with heavy pages – perfect to write upon.

Shh! Listen to His Whispers!

8.5″ X 11″

71 pages

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Recent Reviews:

“This Bible Study enriched my life!” 

~ Mary Jo

~~ ~~

“Kathi, You have an amazing gift . . . helping people to listen for God’s whispers.” 

 ~ Evelyn

~~ ~~

“This study made me realize my hope in all circumstances.”

 ~ Eileen

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

Click here to inquire about quantity discounts 10+ books

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$10.99 plus shipping cost $3.00




I Own This Property on the Great Lake (Post 2 in the series, “The Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place of Rest, and Wisdom”

The dull but busy road we encountered yesterday in the Lower Peninsula changed to an unusually quiet stretch of lonesome highway as we crossed the large bridge and headed west, chasing the sun in its setting hours. It was like we had traveled back in time by some decades.

After an extremely anxious, sleepless night along the road near Escanaba, our northern trek continues. 

Upper Peninsula white birch differ from those in the Lower. The white is whiter. The blackened edges are blacker, and the trunks, although similarly straight, are heavy, bulky, bigger, as though they’ve withstood colder temps, stronger gales, and lengthier winters.

In this western corner – the stretch between the two “Greats,” Michigan and Superior, rests the remnants of a thousand emptied motels, a hundred abandoned trailer homes, and a dozen or more ghost farms, their barns fallen to the ground, their fences derailed. Bumpkin towns dot the way from one county seat to another. An occasional manicured lawn surrounds an attractive log or ranch home, reminding the traveler that some people choose this remote life, willing to trek a hefty distance to the “city” for necessities. Inwardly, I am a bit envious of their distanced life, wondering if they find a greater solitude and communion with God than I.

Finally the end is in sight, the end being the big lake, deeper than any of the five, and proven more dangerous and deadly. But today, it feigns innocence. It is calm and blue, enticing us to settle on its southern shore. We are drawn to its frigid waters, unlike the waters we know this time of year at the very opposite point of this beautiful state.

We have been placed on Site 22, between a small rise to the south and the lake itself to the north. Ron angles our little trailer east to west, causing our door and our largest window to open directly to the water.

It is the perfect view, and I am drawn to the water, so I step across flat-layered, red slate rock and reach to touch it, ignoring and forgetting for now the couple setting up their tent on the nearby site and the man across the way placing his American flag upon his teardrop trailer. Nothing else matters. At this moment, the site, the wild blackberry, the hard maple, which has pushed its way through the red rock, and the Lake itself are mine. I am the sole owner of this property on the Great Lake. And the joy of ownership fills my lungs as I breathe purified air thrust over miles and miles of cold, deep water. It is only mid summer, but I want to stay here until the waves freeze into small mountains of ice on this huge body of water, until the campground closes, and I know I have found a secret place of the Father. 

Our Father owns it all. I am His heir. Are you? He has asked you to be. Click here to learn more at https://kathiwaligora.com/become-a-believer/

While you are on this website, please subscribe to my future posts, if you haven’t already. Click here to subscribe.

Further Reading: Romans 8:17, Galatians 3:29, Ephesians 3:6

Click here to read Post 1 in this series.

Look for Post 3 next in this series. 

Hem me in; hold me fast.

“. . . even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will  hold me fast.”

Psalm 139: 10

Privacy – It’s a “big deal” today and it always has been in this country –  America.

Give me my privacy.

I have a constitutional right to privacy.

It’s a private matter.

None of your business.

privacyisawesome.com puts it this way: “Privacy means you can be yourself.  You can express ideas without fear of being discriminated against or unjustly punished. It’s your life without pausing to think who’s watching: party hard, open up to a friend, organize a revolution, hang out with whoever you want–privacy keeps you safe.  It’s a core principle in any free society.”

I think we all like our privacy.

But nothing is hidden from my God. He knows it all. I read about it in Psalm 139. How He knit me in my mother’s womb–how He has searched me and knows me–how He knows when I sit and when I rise. He knows my thoughts. He even knows what I’m going to say before I say it! And I must say, I agree with the Psalmist that “Such knowledge is too wonderful me, too lofty for me to attain.”  It’s difficult to understand how and why a God would care so much.

No matter where I go, He is there. Up to the heavens–down into the depths–to the far side of the sea. The darkness doesn’t hide me from Him.

Do I feel threatened? Do I feel invaded?

Not by my God.

Because in His ever presence, He does something amazing. He hems me in. He is behind me and He is before me. And while He’s ever present, He lays His hand upon me. His hand guides me and holds me. I feel so safe in His ever presence.

~ ~ Hem me in, O Lord; hold me fast. ~~

Psalm 139: 5 “You hem me in –behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.”

An Effort Toward Solitude

During this season of Lent, some of us are trying to get more time alone with God – or to make more time with God. As I’ve shared before, I don’t find it easy to do so. My excuse is probably a lifetime of multitasking. Reading and watching TV at the same time. Using my bluetooth to talk on the phone while doing dishes or completing household tasks. Writing while watching the children play. Always something – rather two or three somethings going on. Not sure how or why it came about – how I got this way. I observe others quietly reading for hours at  time, napping on the back porch in the summertime, leisurely humming while fixing dinner. I covet that contentedness.

So today, I’ve made the effort to be alone with my Father, to read His Word, and to listen as He speaks to me. The lesson I learned today was a bit about family love, a lot about compassion, and a reminder about the importance of occasional solitude. Here’s what His Holy Spirit taught me today:

I call him John the Baptist. I’m sure Jesus just called him John – His cousin, John. A cousin like none other, I assume, for while both babies were yet in their mother’s wombs, cousin John leaped noticeably when he heard the voice of Mary, his mother’s cousin, whom John’s mother Elizabeth referred to as “the mother of my Lord.” Mary responded to this honor by singing and glorifying the Lord God. Both baby boys heard their mothers’ voices magnifying God. Both baby boys were sent from God for specific purposes. John’s father was Zechariah. But Jesus’ father was Almighty God. A beautiful familial bond was set. The baby boys were born just months apart.

John the Baptist “prepared the way for the Lord,” baptizing people in the name of the Lord, whose “sandals I am not worthy to untie,” John said. Unlike those people John called to baptism,  Jesus went to John for baptism.

Shortly after Jesus was baptized, John was imprisoned for his message. Scholars believe it was about 15 months later that John was then beheaded. When the Lord Jesus heard this news, He was undoubtedly grief-stricken: “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.”

Have you ever done this? In grief or in sorrow or in exhaustion, you’ve withdrawn to a place of solitude. Jesus did. But the Bible tells us that when he had arrived at the place of solitude, he discovered that He wasn’t really alone at all. A large crowd of people had followed him, along the shore. They were desperate for Him. I understand. Do you? I’ve been desperate for Him in the past. And I am desperate for Him now, as I write.  a desperation I’ve had for over five years now.  I do understand. And so does Jesus. I know this because of His response to the people who interrupted His desired solitude.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus saw this large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Then he fed them by multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish. That’s my Jesus,!. That’s your Jesus, beloved! Compassionate. Loving. Healer. Bread of Life.

After He met the needs of the people, He again sought solitude, this time succeeding. He went up on a mountainside. To pray, the Bible says.

To pray. I let those two words “sink in” to my desperate, multitasking mind today.

I don’t know how long He was alone in prayer, but I assume it was through the evening and most of the night. We read that along toward morning, He went out, on the lake, walking on the water during a storm, to meet, comfort, and teach His disciples who were in a water-drenched boat, tossing to and fro, thinking they were going to die. That’s my Jesus! That’s your Jesus. Teacher. Comforter. Savior. The Great I Am! The Son of God!

And it didn’t end.  His ministry didn’t end when He was crucified. He’s still compassionate. He still comforts me. He’s still loving and healing. My teacher. My Savior. The Great I Am! The Son of God. The Bread of Life. That’s my  Jesus. That’s your Jesus.

He’s the one who becomes family.

He’s the one who is compassionate.

And He’s the one who teaches me that occasionally I need to get to a place of solitude ~ to pray.

Click here to contact me to speak to your group – or at your event. I would be honored!

Remember what He said . . .

The day was the worst ever. It was neither “Good” nor “Holy,” as we now refer to the Friday of Holy Week. In the midst of the curious, the angry, the Jewish officials, and the Roman soldiers, this handful of Christ followers – the women – stood near the cross, numbed in their sorrow and despair. Their Messiah, their Lord, their Savior,  had been brutally beaten – beyond recognition. Earlier, they had followed Him and the procession of onlookers as He carried His cross, sometimes falling to the ground, up the hill.

How can He possibly continue. Please God.

But He did continue.

They had stood – or knelt when their strength abated- and stared through wet blurry eyes as He was crucified. Hours of suffering. Surely, they had attempted to comfort His mother, Mary, who had followed her Son every step of the way, but their own grief, so immense, offered her nothing but hopelessness. Finally, they saw the soldiers pierce His side. The blood and water spilled. He called out. And He “gave up the ghost.” Their hope was gone.

Weakened, these women left the hill called Calvary, distressed, despondent, and depressed beyond measure. His broken body was now in the care of others, as it was soon the Sabbath. Futility set in, as they could not administer their last service to honor their Lord. They went home and prepared the spices, but the embalming would have to wait.

Until Sunday. 

On that first day of the week, these women who had followed Jesus took their prepared spices and went to the tomb, undoubtedly still deeply grieving, as grief does not end when the body dies. It only begins.

I can just imagine. If you’ve lost a loved one, you can too. Going to the grave. Facing the reality.  The finality of death. Again. The sting worsens. You all support each other. You want to turn back, but you cannot. You have a responsibility. And an honor to fulfill.

As they near the grave, they fret, wondering how they will possibly remove the stone in order to enter the tomb and treat the body.  The agony of death worsens the fretting. And the fretting worsens the agony. It’s a viscous circle. You know. I know. Every task is an obstacle, and every obstacle is heavy and overwhelming. If only they knew what lie ahead . . .

These women – our sisters in Christ –  are doing what women have done through the ages and still do today:  stumbling through our grief, continuing our work and responsibilities, tending to our families,  attempting to comfort others – all in the midst of our own anguish. It’s a stamina that God placed in our souls, one which persists within us until our physical bodies can endure no more. 

A line from the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, illustrates the ongoing stamina we women exhibit: “Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between.” Oh yes. . .

With death; with sickness. In the mourning; in the pain. You are continually doing. Reaching out. Giving. Serving. Your life might look normal, but sometimes you don’t know if you are truly living. We women now are just as women were then.  If only we knew what lie ahead . . .

When they arrived at the tomb, they discovered that the stone was already rolled away. The Lord’s body was not in the tomb.  Only empty grave clothes. He was gone.

And like these women, these Christ followers, who had taken spices to the tomb to  embalm their Lord’s body, many of you have believed in Jesus and you’ve trusted Him, but the most devastating crisis (or two or three or . . . ) have occurred, and now you think He’s gone!

Disappeared.

You can’t feel Him.

You can’t hear Him.

And you certainly can’t see Him.

But the women’s fretfulness turned to frightfulness when two beings, like angels, stood beside them.  “He is not here. He has risen!” they said. “Remember what Jesus told you, when you knew He was with you . . . ” 
This is the same message for us today: “You must remember His words.” Why? Because remembering is faith strengthening!

We must remember what the Word – His Word –  tells us about . . .

Who He is

He is great and awesome, abundant in power; self-existing and without origin; immeasurably understanding; perfectly knowledgeable and full of wisdom; immutable, unchanging; self-sufficient; omnipotent; omniscient; omnipresent; faithful and true; infinitely kind and full of good will; just; infinitely unchangeably right and perfect in all he does; merciful, compassionate, and kind; gracious loving; holy; glorious, beautiful, and great.

What He has done

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. You are the God who performs miracles; You display your power among the peoples . . . He has caused his wonders to be remembered . . . I remember the days of long ago. I meditate on your works. I consider what your hands have done. Jesus did many other things as well . . . even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

His faithfulness

He is faithful in all He does, faithful in all His promises, a faithful Creator, faithful and just to forgive, and is faithful and true. His faithfulness is my shield. His faithfulness is great. He remains faithful forever. His faithfulness reaches to the skies, meets with His love, is my shield, and is unending.

His promises

God promises to guide and help us; to be faithful; to save us; to rescue us; to deliver us; to give us wisdom; to give us peace, joy, and love; to prepare a place for us in heaven; to strengthen us; to give us power; to provide for us; to protect us; to deliver us from evil; to heal us; to be with us; to answer us; and to renew us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He has the power to do what He promises. He is faithful all His promises. He is not slow in keeping His promises.

On that Sunday morning, standing by the empty tomb, the women began to “remember,” as the angels had told them. They “remembered” that He said He would be crucified and on the third day be raised again. His words, His voice, refreshed their minds with its truth. In turn, . . .

Their grief was turned to joy!

Their strength was renewed!

They hurried away.

They told others.

Together, they shared the truths of His Word.

They were strengthened in their faith.

And so we must do the same. In our crises, our trials, our grief, our fears, we must remember the truths of His words. The Psalmist tells us that remembering God’s Word brings us comfort – just the very comfort we need. Remembering gives us strength – just the very strength we need for that very moment – for that very day – and for each day forward. Remembering strengthens our faith.  Let the truths of God’s Word refresh you. And in a miraculous way, your grief will turn to joy!

We will know what lies ahead, when we remember. 

Please contact me to speak to your group – or event.. Click here.

 

Wait! First I Need My Helmet.

I post on my Facebook Author’s page every day, most often using photos or Bible verses, or “sayings” that have spoken to me. Sometimes I select the postings days in advance, scheduling them for a later time. After the post is published,  I review it, as though I haven’t seen it before.

And always – it speaks anew to me. 

God’s Word is like that. Always fresh and new. It’s alive, and it speaks. I try to listen because I know He’s speaking.

May be an illustration of text

This illustration, one of my recent posts, displayed and briefly commented upon the armor of God. (Perhaps you saw it. Click here to discover my Facebook Author’s page.) Reviewing it, trying to let it “all sink in,” I turned in my Bible to Ephesians, chapter 6 to spend some time reflecting upon the armor. I started with the “Helmet of Salvation” at the top of the illustration. I’ve often studied the pieces of the armor and have written about them in the past, but today, I just couldn’t get past the “helmet” without pause and reflection.

In the Roman army, the helmet was the last piece of the armor to put on, but in our lives, it must initially be the first. That “Helmet of Salvation” is also called “The Hope of Salvation.” (1Thess. 5:8) In the Bible, hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised, and hope’s strength is in God’s faithfulness. “The Hope of Salvation” is the confident expectation of our salvation. When we truly accept Christ’ finished work on Calvary, God puts that salvation on us! As a result, we know that hope. We can fully depend upon His promises. It’s the “hope [that] does not disappoint.” (Romans 5:5) The assurance of salvation is our impenetrable defense against the enemy. 

We must continue to “put on the helmet of salvation,” (Eph. 6:17)  after we are saved – not to save us but to protect us. Putting it on shows that we are living by what we first believed when we trusted in Jesus and received His grace. Therefore, when we put on the Helmet of Salvation, we are putting on Jesus. In essence, we are putting on Hope.

The Helmet of Salvation is vital. Its protection . . .

Renews our minds

Our minds are the battlefields of our souls. I don’t know about you, but a battle is often going on in my mind, whether it is the initial engagement by the enemy, a skirmish, or an all-out war. Only one thing fights that battle: the Word of God. Romans 12:1-2 tells us to renew our minds. How? We need to let the Word of God wash away the filth and lies of the enemy and put on the new life of righteousness and holiness Jesus came to give. The truth of God’s Word wipes out anything contrary. Our minds are renewed.

The helmet’s protection also . . .

Removes doubts and fears

Placing doubts in your mind is a favorite pastime of the enemy, Satan, and his workers. I can just picture him laughing as he places another doubt in our mind.  If we believe a doubt – something contrary to the Word of God – we are believing a lie. The best weapon against the attack of doubt is the Word of God. Speak it aloud – over and over if necessary – to combat this assault. 

Fear is very real. It comes directly from the enemy, most often when we are mentally or physically depleted. That’s when the enemy especially wants to hit us. I’ve experienced it. Often. The enemy has stuck his knife of fear into my gut and twisted it – time after time – often to the point of nausea. Yes, fear is from the enemy, and as with doubt, we need to fight it with the Word of God.

Even the smallest doubts  can turn into the biggest fears! When we doubt or become fearful, we need to speak the Word. The Word is the protector of our minds.

The helmet’s protection also . . .

Restores our vision

Jesus delegated us to go into all the world, make disciples, baptize, and teach. This is it. Period. And in order to follow that commission, we believers are instructed to “fix our eyes on Jesus.”  We can keep our eyes fixed when we put on the Helmet of Salvation. 

The writer of Proverbs says, “pay attention . . . listen closely . . . keep these words  . . . Let your yes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you . . not to the right or the left . . .”

Our helmet protects our vision, allowing us to look straight ahead – toward Jesus. It keep us from gazing to the left or to the right. The helmet keeps us focused. It keeps us looking ahead. It restores our vision, thus restoring our hope. It protects us from the corruption and perversity of the world that distracts us from our commission. We are protected only by the Helmet of Salvation. But we must put it on.

In her article in Crosswalk.com, Hope Bolinger aptly illustrates the importance of the helmet. She writes,

“For any of us who have seen the movie Saving Private Ryan, there’s a scene where a soldier takes off his helmet to analyze a bullet that just hit it. The moment he does so, a soldier takes advantage and shoots his exposed head, killing him instantly. . . In the same way, the helmet of salvation protects us spiritually from a powerful blow . . . from the devil. Without the helmet, we leave ourselves exposed on the spiritual battlefield.”

The Helmet of Salvation is our Hope of Salvation. It offers the greatest protection to renew our minds, remove our doubts and fears, and restore our vision. Let’s keep it on!

I would be honored to speak to your group. Contact me here.