Monday, October 31, 2011


…I wanna get off.

Ever get that dizzy, off-kilter, queasy kind of feeling about life?

I do.

Actually, I get it literally. I have a tendency toward getting motion sickness. I can't read in the car (look out, always look out), I don't do twisty mountain roads very well, I get rather green at the gills on boats, I can't do rides at amusement parks or carnivals that spin me in circles (the teacup ride at Disneyland?? Can't even look at that ride!), I've never slept on a waterbed, I can't even watch my sons do video games on their TV.

Seriously, I get a little nauseous on high heels.

So, I had a moment the other night.

Our church had a huge Harvest Festival on Friday night. It was packed!! Lots of rides and games and food. Kids in costumes. Pony rides. A petting zoo. A ferris wheel. And a few twisty rides.

But, the thing that got to me the most was the obstacle course. I would have avoided it completely, except…

Let me explain.

My oldest son had volunteered to work at the festival. He just didn't know what he'd be doing. About 5 minutes before his shift started, I got a text message from him – "I'll be at the obstacle course."

Well, "The Hub" and I had trouble locating the obstacle course. Why? Because this wasn't your average obstacle course on the ground. This was a huge blow-up obstacle course. You know those *Bounce House* things they have? Well, this was along the same lines.

By the time we figured it out, my son had already started his shift. There he was, in jeans and red shirt, with a bandanna around his neck, and a tiny "Howdy Doody" cowboy hat on his head (I tell you what – that boy is a good sport for the Lord!).

He was given charge of helping/lifting kids up and over the 7-foot tall climbing portion of the course…while standing on a constantly undulating base of air mattress madness.

I watched for about 15 minutes, and then I couldn't take it anymore. I was queasy. I told him we were going to leave. Shouted, "How are you doing?"
He motioned that he was dizzybut didn't have a chance to finish his thought because Cinderella fell at his feet about the same time that Batman body-checked him.

I motioned, "I love you!"

Dizzy, off-kilter, queasy.

That's how I felt. And I was reminded of this feeling in a spiritual way at church this morning.

Our guest pastor talked about Saul's encounter with the living, breathing Jesus. How it wasn't a calm and serene scene. It wasn't necessarily pleasant. It didn't play out like this:


"Oh hey, Jesus."

"Hey, Saul, how's it going?"

"Pretty good. Yourself?"


This meeting was unmistakable, unsettling, disorienting.

"Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?"

And this encounter with the living, breathing Jesus left Saul blind, weak, and
re-named. Paul had to be led by the hand into Damascus. For three days he couldn't see, and he didn't eat or drink anything.

His world had definitely been stopped.

But, this is what REAL encounters with Jesus look like.

And when we meet, truly meet, the Risen Lord we are stopped in our tracks. The meeting is unmistakable, unsettling, disorienting.

Because Jesus isn't asking for a nice and quaint "Hey, how are you?" meeting. He's seeking to change your life. He's saying...

"I'm not here to make what's clear in your life better. I'm here to do something completely different and it's going to be troubling to you."

Because, after all, dying to self and losing your life for His sake involves some disorientation. When we are re-purposed for the Lord's purposes we can expect to be a little (or a lot!) dizzy, off-kilter, queasy.

But, is there really any other choice?

There is.

The safe path. The secure road. The selfish complacency. The "I'll serve You in the way I choose, Lord" kind of way. Convenient, easy, uncomplicated, comfortable, painless. A life that we can control.

But, I don't want that anymore.

I want Jesus.

And life with Him, no matter how disorienting, is a life correctly oriented.

Yeah, it might be a bumpy road, up and down, and I just might get a little "motion sick" from time to time. But, I'd rather follow Jesus on His grand adventure than stay safe in a puny small-faith life.

Jesus – stop my world – I want to get on Yours.

Do you want to meet the Risen Lord in a new and powerful way?

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV)

Linked today with:

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, October 30, 2011


At His feet.

Doesn't that sound soothing?

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" provides a great introduction to pondering this statement:

"Then Ruth came quietly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. Around midnight Boaz suddenly woke up and turned over. He was surprised to find a woman lying at his feet! 'Who are you?'he asked. 'I am your servant Ruth,' she replied. 'Spread the corner of your covering over me, for you are my family redeemer.'"
(Ruth 3:7-9)

Can you just imagine Boaz's surprise?!

I remember one time when I was visiting my son for the weekend. Sleeping arrangements tend to be a little *haphazard* at his one-bedroom apartment! I usually put "dibs" on the recliner. My youngest usually conks out (unintentionally) on the couch.

On this particular night, as I was finally dozing off myself, my youngest was sound asleep, on the couch, with Marty (my adorable grandbeagle) tucked in nice and close to him.

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, while it was still dark out, I moved to readjust my position. And lo and behold, I was no longer sleeping alone. I was now accompanied by one warm and cuddly beagle, tucked in all nice and close to me.

I looked down at him and smiled. He opened a couple of sleepy eyes, and I'm pretty sure he smiled back. I tucked the blanket over him.

It was a good feeling – downright soothing.

When I read these verses, I thought about that night. How Marty had made his way to me in the middle of the night. Desiring my company, wanting to be close to me, he had quietly found his way to my feet.

Just like Ruth, quietly making her way to the feet of Boaz. When he woke up, did he look down at her and smile? I think he did. Something in his heart moved, and he vowed to marry her.

Ah, is this not the most beautiful picture of our Lord Jesus?!

He is our Redeemer, the One who bought us back from slavery to sin and death. The One who spreads His covering of righteousness over us. The One whose presence we seek.

The One who looks down at us and smiles.

How often do I forget to make my way to His feet? Why do I forfeit the comfort that I find there? How is it that I sometimes prefer to be wandering about in my own ways – cold and lonely – when there is warmth and welcome next to Him?

All I need to do is tuck myself in – nice and close.

Ruth trusted Boaz.

Marty trusted me.

And I trust Jesus.

At His feet is rest. Protected by the Redeemer – the One who never, ever lets go.

"He alone is my refuge, my place of safety..." (Psalm 91:5)

How are you resting at His feet?

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Welcome to "Quaint Words!"

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"Then He comes to us, walking on the sea, and says: 'Fear not. It is I. Be not afraid.' And we whisper to ourselves, 'It is the Lord.'

Yes, then it is easy. Then we understand. Then we wonder that we should have doubted. Then we are ashamed of our wavering. What a beautiful tribute to Christ would have been our trust!

...What a joy to hear Him say, 'Come,' and we go, really walk upon the sea, really do wonders until some tremendous sorrow-wave dashes up between us and Christ, and for a moment we lose heart and...cry out, 'Lord, save me!' And immediately (that word immediately is so full of love!) stretching forth His hand, He takes hold of me, and when He is come into my heart-boat the wind ceases.

It is only after Christ has taken - has been given - full control of our heart-boat that the winds cease. This is the struggle of our life - to let Christ rule.

...[when] we have emptied our lives of everything that could raise a tempest in the heart, then Christ will sit at the helm, and the waves may toss, and the winds blow about the boat, but we are calm, for we have no cause to fear.

Christ sits at the helm and rules."

(From "Spiritual Pastels" by J. S. E., c. 1918)

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, October 28, 2011


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: will

What's the difference between I cannot and I will not?

Does "having to do something" change your will to do it? If yes, how?

What role does our will play in our walk of faith?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Ever hear about Vitamin B12 shots?

Usually they are prescribed for people who have pernicious anemia – a condition that causes, among other things, fatigue, depression, shortness of breath. Vitamin B12 is crucial to the proper functioning of the body.

Well, today I'm talking about a shot of another sort – a shot of Barnabas.

First of all, who was this Barnabas character?

He is first mentioned in a sort of *throwaway* verse in the book of Acts as a member of the early church:

"For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means "Son of Encouragement"). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles." (Acts 4:36-37)

Ah, but let us not fool ourselves.

Barnabas was not a background character. God had a prominent role for Barnabas to play.

Later in Acts, we see him willing to risk his life to meet with the newly-converted Paul, and then to convince others that their former enemy was now a vibrant believer in Jesus. (I would love to have been privy to that conversation. "Uh, guys, remember that Saul guy? Well, um, you see, he's met Jesus and...")

What might have happened to Paul without Barnabas?

It was Barnabas who accompanied Paul on his missionary trips. It was Barnabas who encouraged Mark to go with them. And, when disagreement rose up between Paul and Mark, Barnabas left with Mark on a separate journey. His patient encouragement was a huge factor in the effectiveness of Mark's eventual ministry.

What might have happened to Mark without Barnabas?

One can only speculate how many other people were affected by the "Son of Encouragement" – the one who became one of the most quietly influential people in the early days of Christianity.

Here's a hint:

"When [Barnabas] arrived and saw evidence of God's blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord." (Acts 11:23-24)

Our pastor talked about Barnabas a few weeks back. And these were the qualities he emphasized:

- Had radical attitudes and desires – bold
- Courageously believed people into being – accepting, loving, and
promoting them
- Believed the best in people – seeing what they could be
- Invested his time in people – a humble servant
- Fearlessly committed to change the world – spoke truth and grace
- Graciously gave second chances – patient and enduring

Would this describe you? Does this describe me?

I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago, from my oldest son, shortly after this message. He was working through some *stuff* – and this is what he said to me…

"Hey Mom. Can we talk? I need a shot of Barnabas."

And hence, this blog post. My son needed a boost, a good word, a bold statement of hope. He needed a confident word of faith. He needed an injection of Holy Spirit encouragement.

He needed a little shot of Barnabas into his life.

Don't we all at some time or another need that?

I know I do.

And I have been encouraged by many "Barnabases" – (or should that be "Barnabi"??) – along the way. People who have truly en-couraged me – (I blogged about that here). People who gave me back my *fighting sword* – people who wiped the mud off my face – people who lovingly refused to let me give up.

I thank the Lord for all of them (you know who you are) – and for those moments when I was given a shot of Barnabas.

But I am also honored when God uses me as a Barnabas in the life of someone else.

Being an encourager is so much more than just being nice and saying a kind word. It is helping a person re-connect their spirit to the power of the Holy Spirit. It is literally performing spiritual CPR on a flagging heart. It is actively seeking to uphold other believers, and spurring them on to a dauntless and single-minded pursuit of God. It is urging the Body of Christ to re-dedicate and re-focus themselves on the Great Commission to tell others about Him.

Being an encourager is being bold.

It is giving shots of Barnabas-12 – crucial to the proper functioning of the Body.

It can be the antidote for spiritual fatigue, depression of the heart, and shortness of reviving breath.

It is infusing someone with the Blood of the Lamb.

Trust me, it will cure many an anemic soul!

Who has been a Barnabas to you? And to whom is God calling you to be a Barnabas?

(I am linked with Joan, a true Barnabas, at her GRACE CAFE)

(And please join me at "Hear It On Sunday, Use It On Monday" hosted by Michelle)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, October 24, 2011


About a week ago, I had to have a medical test done.

I was scared.

Not so much of the test, but of the *waiting for results* and then the *what if it's serious* routine.

After some waiting, the technician called me into the imaging room. She told me they were still running a little behind, and she would be back to start the test in about 10 minutes.

Then she left.

I was now alone, in a very cold and darkened room.



In pain.

I prayed.

I told the Lord that I felt very small. And then I told Him that it was just me and Him in that room together. Just the two of us. Alone.

Just like it had been when I came into the world.

I realized that I had entered this world with nothing really. Just me. My body, my mind, my heart, and my soul. And here I was, almost 58 years later, with nothing really. Just me.

But oh, how I am NOT alone!

I had such a sense of Jesus, that He was literally cradling me as tenderly and closely as He had when I was born. And I felt loved.

We have many things and people that surround us, yes. In our years here on earth, we go many places and have all sorts of experiences. But when it all comes down to it, it's really just each individual person and the Lord.

What to do with Jesus?

That's the eternal question – the only question that matters.

I have answered that one. He's my Savior.

And in that darkened room, I had a physical sense of what it feels like to be His child. It was quiet, and still. And as I talked out loud to Him, I could tell He was so very close. I actually tried to picture Him walking into the room…

The door opened, and in walked a rather nondescript man in a loose white robe and dirty, weather-beaten sandals. He quietly moved over to the table. His eyes were tender and kind, riveted on mine. He put one scarred hand on my shoulder, and the other one on my forehead. And He listened…intently…to my every word.

I quoted Scripture, and He murmured, "Yes, My child. That promise is true. And that one, too."

His eyes glistened with tears.

I didn't get the sense that He was sad, really. Maybe sad for the fallen state of His once-perfect world. But His tears were tears of love. For me. And I could tell that He was moved by my love for Him.

He spoke again.

"Sharon, dear Sharon. I have held your hand before it was even formed. I will hold it for eternity. I have called you by name, you are Mine. And I will never leave you nor forsake you. Take heart, don't be afraid. I am here."

Yes, He was.

And in that darkened room, all alone with Jesus, I quoted Romans 8:38-39, personalizing it just for me:

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate ME from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither my fears for today nor my worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate ME from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in ALL creation will EVER be able to separate ME from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus MY Lord."

I felt the Lord squeeze my hand, and the technician walked in.

"Are we ready?" she asked.

"Yes," I answered. "WE’RE ready, my Lord and me."

Alone, but never alone.

Nothing really but just me

And a Love that promises that NOTHING will come between His heart and mine.

What do you do when you feel all alone?

(SIDENOTE: My test results were normal, and I am praising the Lord for that!)

***I am linked today with Joan for "SHARING HIS BEAUTY" - C'mon over!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - Hope Lives


Can we really live life without it?

I love the movie, "The Shawshank Redemption" – such a great story, and it has one of my favorite quotes:

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

The word hope can be both a noun (thing) and a verb (action word). The dictionary defines it this way:

Hope (noun) – desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment; expectation of fulfillment or success; someone or something on which hopes are centered

Hope (verb) - to desire with expectation of obtainment; to expect with confidence; to trust

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is a resounding statement of hope:

"But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!" (Job 19:25-27)

Yes, the statement comes from Job. And it is remarkable in several ways. I would love to share with you the things I learned while studying this passage.

What did Job's original readers (and Job himself, for that matter) believe about life after death?

Well, when the book was written, Israel did not have a well-developed doctrine of the resurrection. Job became one of the first people to talk about the resurrection of the body. Later readers of the book based their views on the Old Testament. Writers in the OT described the realm of the dead as a place beneath the earth's surface to which people descend.

In the OT, the afterlife is generally regarded as a gloomy, hopeless place of no return.

However, there were occasional hints of deliverance from the grave. And it is these intimations that gave Job the hope that death might relieve him of his troubles, and that a redeemer might justify him even after death.

This is remarkable faith!

This stirring affirmation of Job's confidence comes right at the *heart* of the book – smack dab in the middle of his terrible suffering, his unmitigated pain, his endless trials.

He sees a Redeemer – (with a capital "R"!!)

In ancient Israel a redeemer was a family member who bought a slave's way to freedom or who took care of a widow. In other words, the redeemer volunteered to take responsibility for someone else.

Anyone out there remember Blue Chip Stamps? We would save those stamps, stick them in a book, and then go to a store and redeem them for merchandise. The stamps bought us something else in return.

This passage, of course, foreshadows Jesus. Those of us on this side of the cross, know that He is the Resurrection and the Life. He is our Redeemer, who traded His righteousness for our sin.

But Job!

Without knowledge, without proof, without any reason to believe in the goodness of Godstill he trusted that God would rescue him. And that even if he died, God's justice would triumph – even if it took a miracle of resurrection to accomplish this.

Oh, what faith that man had!

So…how about me, how about you?

Are we exhibiting this kind of faith in our lives? Remember, Job never knew about the conference between Satan and God – he never knew the "reason" for his suffering. How are we doing when we don't understand? When we're in the midst of struggles, and pain, and trials? When we are discouraged and despairing almost beyond belief? Are we willing to trust God in spite of unanswered questions?

I'll speak for me. I have moments of strong warrior, moments of cowering coward.

Oh Lord, I want to live by this faith, this confident faithfaith in what I KNOW is true. I have met the Messiah – He is my Savior, He is my Redeemer. He is the Resurrection and the Life.

He is my hope – the best hope – my only hope – and though He died, yet HE LIVES!

And I know that someday I will see Him face to face…

… I am overwhelmed at the thought!

How are you living in the hope of Jesus?

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Welcome to "Quaint Words!"

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"'In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.' (Psalm 18:6)

O that Bethesda's God may make this day, though but a day of small things, productive of great things to the souls of all who hear...

Look, look to him, all who live in these ends of the earth...Come to him all you who are weary and heavy laden, and he will give you rest.

He will give you rest from the guilt, rest from the power, rest from the punishment of sin; he will give rest from the fear of divine judgments here, and rest with himself eternally hereafter.

Fear not, though your beginnings are but small, Christ will not despise the day of small things. A bruised reed will he not break, and the smoking flax he will not quench, until he bring forth judgment unto victory.

His hands that laid the foundation shall finish it; yet a little while and the top-stone shall be brought forth with shouting."

(From " Daily Readings by George Whitefield" by George Whitefield,
c. 1714-1770)

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, October 21, 2011


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: friend

What are the qualities that make a friend?

How is life enhanced by having a friend?

What does it mean to be a friend of God?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Hi everyone!

For those of you who are used to seeing me post early Wednesday morning - well, here I am on Thursday morning!

How come, you may ask...

Well, I had the honor of doing a guest post for Joan on her blog, Reflections of His Grace, for her weekly Grace Cafe feature (the link is embedded).

Won't you please join me over there - I'd love to have you read about
"Big Fish, Little Fish."

And trust me, you will really enjoy Joan's lovely blog.

C'mon - you've got the time. Come enjoy a cup of encouragement!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


We are studying the disciple John in my Bible Study.

And when I was doing my homework the other day, we were asked to put ourselves in the place of the newly-called disciple. What must it have been like to follow Jesus – to see Him perform miracles? Turn water into wine, heal Peter's mother-in-law of a fever?

Those first few days must have been so exciting.

Can't you just imagine how John must have thought each new morning, "I wonder what He's going to do today!"

So, I'm pondering this...

John saw Jesus do some really big things.

Goodness, John even saw Jesus feed a crowd of over 5,000 with two fish and five loaves of bread.

THAT is a "big fish" moment for sure.

But, I'm thinking, there also had to be times when John just sat across from a campfire,and shared a sparse meal of fish with Jesus. No hoopla, no miracles, just sitting…

A "little fish" moment, if you will.

What were John's thoughts then?...

***To read more, please join me at Joan's GRACE CAFE***

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, October 17, 2011



No, it's not crazy flying saucers filled with little green men.

Sharon's Acrostic Dictionary defines it this way:

U nknown
F aces
O n
S idebar

Yes, I'm talking about all those little square-faced people that become your *followers*. I'm always fascinated by them. What stories are represented by those pint-sized faces? What struggles, what triumphs, what pain, what joy?

I have come to know some of those faces quite well. And one in particular, I just had the pleasure to meet IRL…(I know, I had to figure it out with my sons. In "textspeak" it means *in real life.* LOL)

A couple of weeks ago, Janis from Open My Ears, Lord, notified me that she and her family were going to be in my area on Sunday. Well, we met and went to church together! I can't tell you how special it was to celebrate next to a real-live UFO from Blog Land. Glorious.

I had lunch with her family afterwards. And it was like we had known each other forever. She was exactly how I pictured her – the way she spoke and acted, the things she talked about, her laugh.

I realized a wonderful thing about this blogging that we all do.

We are truly putting ourselves out there. And you really can know someone through their writing. Somehow the heart comes through…

A great truth.

Particularly when applied to God's Word. We have His writing, His actual writing in our hands. The Bible is God's Blog, so to speak. And through it, we can really know Him. All about Him. About His character, His pain, His joy, His triumphs, His love…we can know His heart.


You see, that's the thing about writing. It isn't just words on a page. It's the person. Janis was everything that her writing led me to know and more. I sat with her in church, and at lunch, and couldn't stop thinking – she's JUST like I knew she would be.

I believe that we can have that knowledgethat SURE knowledgeabout the Lord. And when we finally see Him face to face, He will be everything that His writing led us to knowand more…so much more.

So, I would encourage more of us to make the effort to meet IRLin real life. It's a joy worth experiencing. And if that isn't possible, trust that we ARE getting to know each other, we are forming friendships that are real and vibrant, we are bonding to each other.

Blog Land is real.

And, as we pursue the Word of God the living, breathing, vibrant Word of God we will get to know God. We will become friends with Jesus. We will connect with the Holy Spirit.

I read my Bible every day – and I hope that you do, too. It's an amazing book. And sometimes in a radical way, and sometimes in a subtle way, its words work themselves deep into my heart. They become part of my soul. They find themselves at the forefront of my mind.

To all of you, every one of you little square-faced people, I want to say thank you. Thank you for becoming my friends, my confidantes, my soul brothers and sisters. What we have is wonderful and full. There is comfort and joy in knowing that we are upheld and empowered by real people.

Janis, it was my pleasure to meet you IRL. And I hope I have the chance to meet more of you, my dear blogging friends.

In the meantime, know that I know you. I see your heart. I feel your feelings, and I cherish your faith. I hold your friendship, and your words, so very close to my heart.

Just like my Bible, my friend.

How thankful I am that God knows me completely (IRL!!), and that I am growing to know Him ever more deeply and completely through His Word.

H&K – 143 !

(Textspeak to English translation: "Hugs and kisses, I love you!")

*SIDENOTE: Won't you please join Janis and me at her blog,
Open My Ears, Lord, for our online "interview"? We think you'll enjoy it...C'mon on over! :)

Have you ever met a blogger in real life – tell me about it!

(I am also linked today with Joan at THE BEAUTY IN HIS GRIP, for "Sharing His Beauty.")

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - Light of the World

In the beginning, God…

Do those words thrill you like they do me?!


The Ultimate Cause.

The Great Creator.

The One Who Rules The Universe.

God's work of creation was an amazing, awe-inspiring, majestic, supernatural miracle. God made something – God made everythingout of nothing. His Wisdom stretched out and filled time and space with Himself.

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" focuses on the beginning of His incredible creative plan:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. And God saw that the light was good."
(Genesis 1:1-3)

Here, in the beginning, God's Spirit hovered over a dark world.

The image of the Spirit of God hovering over the earth's surface is similar to a mother bird caring for and protecting her young (see Deuteronomy 32:11, 12/Isaiah 31:5). Don't you love that?

And in much the same way, the Spirit of God hovers over a dark world today. A world full of sin – a world full of people trapped by the darknessin their lives, in their relationships, in their hearts.


Several years ago, I visited the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. They are fascinating. A myriad of shapes and colorsintricate, massivea wonderland. A most interesting combination of water, and minerals, and lots (and lots) of time.

At one point on the tour, the guide turned out all the lights. And it was dark – pitch dark. So dark that I could not see my hand less than one inch in front of my face. At that moment, a great truth dawned (!!) on me.

Darkness is not an entity in itself.

Darkness is the absence of light.

It is the light that defines the darkness.

God saw the darkness, and He said, "Let there be light."

And it was good.

The Light of God makes its appearance in our lives in so many ways.

There is redemption Light – when the Light of God shines into the dungeon of our sins, and sets us free. The chains of slavery are removed by salvation – salvation that was bought by the death and resurrection of the Light of the World, dear Jesus. We are freed from eternal darknessa hell of separation from Godand walk into the light of eternity.

There is wisdom Light – when God's Word becomes a light on our paths, and a lamp to our feet. We are guided in our faith journeys, even when the way seems dark, by the sure and steadying guidance of His Word. We are corrected, and challenged, and comforted, and inspired by Scripture. It enlightens our thinking, and brings illumination to our souls.

There is encouragement Light – when into a dark and lonely season, God's Light shines. Sometimes it bursts forth in glory, like the sun beaming through the clouds – and sometimes it's just the hopeful flicker of a candle, that lets us see His presence again.

God's Light.

Not the opposite of darkness – for the darkness is not equal to the light.

No, all the darkness of the world, and of our souls, is only the absence of the Light – the true Light of God's radiant Presence.

Could we take a step without it?

"Jesus spoke to the people…and said, 'I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life." (John 8:12 – NLT)

"For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light."
(Psalm 36:9 – KJV)

Take some time, and search your Bible for its many references to Light.

They will wash over your spirit with refreshing rays of warming SONlight.

And it will be good!

Where do you need the Light of God to shine in your life?

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Welcome to "Quaint Words!”

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"And is not God ready to do unto them even as they fear, though with another feeling and a different end from any which they are capable of supposing? He is against sin...and thus He is altogether and always for them...

When we say that God is Love, do we teach men that their fear of Him is groundless? No. As much as they fear will come upon them, possibly far more...The wrath will consume what they call themselves; so that the selves God made shall appear.

For that which cannot be shaken shall remain. That which is immortal in God shall remain in man."

(From "George MacDonald - An Anthology, 365 Readings" by George MacDonald, c. 1824-1905)

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, October 14, 2011


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: knowledge

What is knowledge, and does knowledge make you smart? Does it give you common sense?

What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

How does human knowledge compare to God’s knowledge?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Hopefully, that title didn't scare you off…(tell me you're smiling just a little bit!!)

I was talking the other day with a friend – about all the trials that have hit my family in the last few months. I talked about how exhausted I am. How much my emotions and body are in turmoil. How I don't understand anything that's been going on – or why it won't just stop for a while so I can catch my breath…

And, after ranting and raving – (I like to call it sharing) – I spoke about the Lord.

About how He has somehow brought me peace.

Scary peace, yes…

But peace nonetheless.

So what do I mean by scary peace?

Well, have you ever had those times when you feel so nervous and anxious you think you're going to literally crawl out of your skin? Those times when you know you're on the "Worry Train" but you just can't seem to slow it down enough to jump off?

Times when you're not only listening to the enemy’s lies, you've downright bought a subscription to them?

Times when you're in the middle of a torrential rain, pounding thunder and crackling lightning, a raging storm with high-pitched waves – and Jesus is asleep in the back of the boat?

Yes, I'm sure you have.

That's how I've been feeling lately.


…somehow I also feel different. Overwhelmed, yes, but not overcome. Distraught, sure, but not destroyed. Frantic, oh boy, but not faithless.

Underneath it all, I feel a peace that I've not felt before. Like an undercurrent of warm water that flows beneath the wind-tossed storm that's wildly thrashing me around.

I'm not sure that I've ever felt this way.

If I was one of the disciples in that boat, of course I'd be looking at the storm, and wondering why isn't Jesus doing SOMETHING about it? And believe me – the Lord is hearing *plenty* along those lines from me!

And yet, I have a sense of peace because, after all, HE IS IN THE BOAT WITH ME!

And He seems pretty calm.

I told my son the other day about this – trying to describe how I feel.

I told Him I had scary peace.

"Um, Mom, do you think you could clarify that for me?" (My son is a very, very patient man…)

"Yeah, it's like I’m really anxious, but I'm not afraid. I'm still scared, but I feel strong and secure and safe. I don't feel calm, but I feel peace. Scary peace. Get it?"

I think he did – I hope you do, too.

Jesus truly does offer us a peace that is not like the world's peace. It isn't based on earthly feelings, but on eternal facts. It surpasses the mere absence of anxiety – it encompasses a bedrock faith that will carry us through the stormy seas until we reach the other side.

Yup, I'm still anxious – but I'm not afraid.

Jesus is in my boat – and like I said before…

…He seems pretty calm!

How does Jesus bring you peace in the middle of your storms?

(Please join me over at Joan's GRACE CAFE for a cup of encouragement
some praise at BRAG ON GOD FRIDAY)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, October 10, 2011


Lean not.

Yes, I know…

But I'm really having trouble with that lately.

You see, it's been a long few months with all sorts of "issues" in my family (medical, financial, emotional - you've got the same stuff). And quite frankly, I'm exhausted. Really, really tired. Emotionally, physically – and yes, even a little spiritually.

I just can't seem to understand why God won't bring a little respite from it all.

I feel like I've been climbing up the side of a mountain – making a little progress here and there – sliding back quite often – but definitely running out of energy and motivation.

Lord, could I just have a few ledges here and there to rest on – just for a moment?

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you a calling that God has been bringing to my heart. I think He's been pretty clear about it, and I believe that He's given me several confirmations. However, as soon as I started telling people about it, as soon as I blogged about it – negative things started happening in my life.

And I just don't understand.

Yes, intellectually I know that we are to expect struggles and suffering and difficulties in this life. I KNOW. But oh, I am having trouble understanding why the way has become so wrought with "onethingafteranother"…

Lord, I'm tired.

And I'm tired of trying to figure it all out.

(Yes, I did hear the Lord just say, "Precisely.")

So, of course, in the middle of this, I had one of those "love/hate my devotional" moments (I blogged about that here). I'm reading in Matthew right now, and I came upon this verse:

"But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:14)

I've heard or read this verse countless times before. But something jumped out at me this time.

Yes, I know the road is narrow – very narrow.

But, Jesus Himself said it is ALSO difficult.

I began to see a new truth in this. As I increasingly seek to follow Jesus ever more closely, the road will not only get more narrow, it will get more difficult.

Jesus does indeed turn everything upside down. And though I might expect an easier way as I follow Him more and more – He tells me it will become harder. The narrow path will lead into the thick woods, and through dense thickets, and the sun might grow dimmer, and the air much colder.

The path might become overgrown and I will need my Guide more and more. The way will become hard…

Cross-carrying is like that.

Jesus knew that – He knows that.

That's why He promised that though we will have many trials and sorrows on this earth, He will give us peace in HIM.

"…take heart, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Those words are indeed heartening.

I was talking to my son the other day – we were commiserating about our various trials. And then this is what I said to him:

"You know, if someone was to ask me how I feel about the Lord right now, I'd say I don't think I've ever felt closer to Him. The less I know, the more I love Him."

I stopped myself.

I realized that I had spoken without thinking – that this was not a thought that came from my mind, but rather straight from my innermost heart. My spirit had cried out.

Yes, the less I understand – the more I love Him, the more I rely on Him, the more I trust Him.

In all my ways, I am seeking to acknowledge Him.

And He has promised to direct my paths. NOT to make the road less narrow. NOT to make the way easier. NOT to appease my understanding.

But, to lead me where He leads.

As long as I see Him ahead of me, beside me, behind me – I will follow.

Lean not.

I will only lean on the everlasting arms of my Savior. Tired little soul that I am, I will lean…

The less I know, the more I love Him.

How about you? Where are you leaning without understanding?

(Come join me today at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY!)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, October 9, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - Our Awesome God

My dad was a big guy.

Six foot, three inches tall – about 230 pounds.


5' 4" – around 110 pounds (in high school!).

I thought it was great that my dad was a little (a lot) intimidating. Kept me safe.

I vividly remember one night when a couple of guys thought it would be *real fun* to egg my house. They drove up our driveway and launched a salvo of poultry grenades at our front door and windows.

My dad flew out of his chair.

At the time, he was wearing this robe that his mother had bought him on a trip around the world. It was black, with little Chinese letters on it. It made him look like a Ninja warrior.

So, you can imagine what happened when Father Shogun threw open the front door and blasted out onto the driveway!

I have never in my entire life seen a VW Bug speed away so fast! I think it set a land speed record of 0-60 mph in 2 seconds flat.

Fortunately, my dad did not recognize the car or its occupants. I had my suspicions. Only later, much later, did a guy from our church 'fess up and relate that evening from his perspective.

"Man, Shari, I thought your dad would kill us if he got his hands on us. I've never been so scared in my life!"

I smiled.

For you see, I knew that my dad's *bark* was worse than his *bite*but I was often glad for his bark…

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is from the book of Nahum.

Before sharing the verses, let's explore a little background. Remember good old Nineveh? The city that repented after hearing Jonah's warning of judgment? Well, it seems that (only) a hundred years later, they had forgotten the message, and evil was again reigning.

God called Nahum to pronounce his judgment on the wicked nation of Assyria.

"The LORD is…filled with vengeance and rage. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and continues to rage against his enemies!...he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are dust beneath his feet. At his command the oceans dry up, and the rivers disappear…In his presence the mountains quake, and the hills melt away; the earth trembles, and its people are destroyed. Who can stand before his fierce anger? Who can survive his burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and his mountains crumble to dust in his presence." (Nahum 1:2-6)

God has *bark* – and He alone has the power to *bite*.

The world has lawsboundaries and rules that are set up by God. But people regularly flaunt these regulations. God calls this willful disobedience, this rebellion against His control – SIN.

Sometimes it seems that the wicked are escaping justice. That they are succeeding in their evil ways.

But, there is a day coming.

A terrible day of wrath.

Justice will ultimately be served. God will settle all accounts. He will not let sin go unchecked forever.

And woe to those who are not under His grace at that time.

"It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31)

Nahum's words are terrifying even to me, a follower of Christ. Sometimes I think it's a good idea to get a healthy dose of the reality of God's power His awesome might – His jealous fury. He is not a God to be trifled with – or ignored.

Today's verses serve as a warning to those who remain arrogant and resist God's authority. They will one day face His anger. No one will get away with rejecting Him – no one will be able to hide from His judgment.

For those of us who are believers, today's verses are an admonition. We are not to take the Almighty God lightly. He is a fearsome God who must be feared – worshiped with reverence and awe.

But, to us, He is also something more than a Judge.

He is Mercy Incarnate.

God is compassionate, slow to anger. Praise His name for His patience with me, a sinner who had nowhere to turn but to His salvation.

Jesus took the *bite* out of God’s *bark* for all those who believe on His name.

And those of us who trust Him will be kept safe forever.

"The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him." (Nahum 1:7)

How do you fear the Lord? How is He your refuge?

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Welcome to "Quaint Words!"

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"...[The Holy Spirit] will witness to our sonship; he will enthrone Christ as king of our life; will keep the self-life in the place of death; will give us a hunger for the things of God; he will give power in witness-bearing.

In order to have a strong and blessed Christian experience, the one thing is to see that we do not grieve the Spirit.

...we may greatly limit and restrain his gracious work by insincerity of speech, the nursing of an unforgiving spirit, any kind of over-reaching or fraudulent dealing, impurity of speech, or failure in love.

We may be bound, so as not to be able to move our arms, by a number of cotton threads, quite as tightly as by a strong rope-thong. Let us take care not to grieve him by such inconsistencies.

Prayer: Fulfill in me, O God, those desires of goodness which thou hast created in my heart, and perfect the work of faith, that Jesus Christ may be glorified in me. Amen."

(From "Our Daily Walk" by Frederick Brotherton Meyer, c. 1840-1929)

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, October 7, 2011


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: rich

I know a person who is quite wealthy, but they aren't rich. Explain how that can be true.

What does it mean to you to be rich?

Let me know what you think!!

'This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Back when I was in high school – (I got there by covered wagon) – I was a member of the drill team.

Now, I'm talking about when drill team meant DRILL team – not a glorified dance team. I never would have made a "dance" drill team. I have absolutely no rhythm. I don't know if any of you ever watched "Seinfeld" or not – but I dance even worse than Elaine…

Think gawky ostrich in a blender…OK, that's not quite right…in a windstorm. (Sorry, Mr. Ostrich…)

So, my drill team was a drill team. We marched behind the school band in parades. We had a very difficult routine that involved all sorts of intricate patterns and arm movements. We would weave in and out amongst ourselves, while executing the routine with precision.

And we got judged.

You see, we weren't just *pretty dressing* that followed the band. Well, we were, yes, but we were also in competition, too.

Yup, we didn't just mess around – we competed.

And we were evaluated in many categories. Creativity of the routine, how precise and crisp the moves were executed, the cleanliness and appearance of our uniforms, the unison of our marching, the alignment of our rank and file.

We were good. We always placed, as I recall, and we won several times, too. Awards ceremonies were pretty crazy. Think of a room (chicken coop) full of high school girls (clucking hens) suddenly learning that they had won an award. Let me tell you, the murmur of clucking quickly turned into a cacophony of cackling!!

All very exciting.

So what has me thinking about this today?

Well, I'm picturing the Body of Christ as a drill team. Am I stretching it too much here? Hang with me…

Aren't we all following after the marching band of other believers that have come before us? And aren't we all following after the Drum Major, Jesus, who's leading the whole thing?

Haven't we, the drill team, had to learn the intricate and complicated pattern of Christian life? Learning how to weave in and out amongst ourselves, while executing our faith journey with precision?

Yes, and we are being judged.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down…" (Hebrews 12:1)

And really, if you think about it, every day we live as a follower of Jesus it really and truly is Parade Day.

So, how do we look?

Is our routine creative and interesting?

Do we move in precision, with the crispness of the Holy Spirit's guidance?

Are our uniforms clean – do they have an excellent appearance?

Are we marching in unison – weaving in and out, yes – but always with a purpose, an intentional pattern?

And how does the rank and file look?

Are we in alignment with Scripture, with Jesus' example?

You know, my parents came to every parade that I was in. They would line up on the streets with hundreds of other people. And when our drill team marched by, they saw two things.

One, they saw a cohesive team, impressive in its unity and excellence.

And two, they saw each individual face.

And then, of course, they saw MY face…

I'll never forget hearing, distinctly and loudly –

"HEY, Sharon!! WOO HOO!!"

And though I didn't break my stride, I'd hold my head up a little higher and I'd smile with the very biggest grin I could muster.

It's the same with God.

He's also watching the parade. After all, He's the One who determined the parade route, from beginning to end. And He's the One who put together the drill team. He made up the intricate routine. He's the One who's waiting to see how we execute it.

You know what?? Let's make Him proud.

When He looks at us marching by, let's show Him a cohesive team, impressive in its unity and excellence.

Because He sees each individual face…

And as YOU pass by, He says, "HEY, (put YOUR name here)!! WOO HOO!!"

That's worth our effort, isn't it?!

That’s worth holding our heads up high and smiling a very big grin…

How are you marching in Body of Christ?

Come join me for a cup of Jesus!
Hosted by Joan at the GRACE CAFE.

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, October 3, 2011


I've noticed sometimes on blogs when I link up that they don’t allow "tiny URL's."

First of all, I have no idea what that means. And second, I don't know why that phrase just cracks me up.

"Hi, I'm Tiny URL. Nice to meet you…"

It reminds me of this skit they used to do on Saturday Night Live with Nicholas Cage – he was "Tiny Elvis." Any of you remember that? He'd be up there on the dashboard of a car, spouting off – (Elvis voice here...) – thank you very much.

But, sometimes I feel a bit like a tiny URL.

Looked it up in Sharon's Acrostic Dictionary:

U nimportant
R ejected
L oser

(Note: Sharon's Acrostic Dictionary can be a cruel tool sometimes. Words have no hearts…)

I've moaned and bemoaned on this blog before – you might remember the Pity Party I had a few months ago. But, truth is, I think we ALL feel small sometimes. Take a look at Roget's Thesaurus (sidenote: Why has this Roget fellow sold more books than Acrostic dictionaries, huh?) – where was I? – oh yeah, look at the thesaurus for the word *unimportant* for instance:

Insignificant, inconsequential, slight, trivial, trifling, irrelevant…(too depressing).

But haven't you ever felt that way? Like a tiny URL?

You don't need to answer – I know the answer is yes.

Oh, how we long to mean something to someone. To be of consequence, to make a difference. How we ache to feel significant.

Truth be told, we don't just want to be loved, we want to be cherished.

But then, life intervenes, people disappoint, and we can get so very discouraged by it all.

We can end up feeling like a tiny URL – sad and alone and uncared for.


Now, you know that I have NO intention of leaving this post at this moment. You know God's coming…

But I don't want to give a bunch of platitudes here. Because, after all, I'm writing this post to my own heart, too – and I despise platitudes. I know that most people have the best intentions when they say the most unhelpful things – but I just can't stand the feeling that I've been dismissed with a holy version of a *kick in the butt.*

(Wow, where did that come from??)

It's like Job's friends. Not really helpful…

So, I do have words, and hopefully you'll understand that I'm not saying them lightly or glibly. I'm saying them because I. NEED. TO. HEAR. THEM.

We are NOT tiny.

A tiny baby took care of all that.

I think I've gotten so used to hearing that I'm a Child of God that I have ceased to let the truth of that really impact me. I am a child of GOD.

Look in Matthew – the genealogy:

"Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah." (1:16)

You can add this: "…and all those who believe in Jesus, the Messiah, are sons and daughters of God." (That would be Matthew 1:16, plus Sharon 1:16a)

Seriously, do I forget this because I forget how very awesome God is? I think so.

We are children of the King!

So, even when we're depressed, we're still moping around in the palace. Even when we don't feel like getting out of bed, we're still sleeping in the safety of the castle. Even when we're feeling like insignificant slugs, there are still angels that stand in awe of us. Even when we're lonely, the throne room is still just down the hall, and we have total access at any time.

We are the Sons and Daughters of the Ruler of Everything That Exists.

Can we grasp the SIGNIFICANCE of this?!

For just today, can you look into God's magic mirror? And instead of seeing the Cinderella rags you wear while you toil away, can you look and see the glorious Robes of Righteousness that have been placed on you?

YOU are beautiful.

Precious. Radiant. Cherished.

Oh, by the way, it turns out that I looked up "URL" in "SATAN'S Acrostic Dictionary" by mistake. (Didn't I burn that book last week? Yes. But it seems that "somebody" keeps printing a new one and putting it on my shelf…)

SHARON'S Acrostic Dictionary says this:

U ndeniably of
R oyal
L ineage

Stand tall. You are a beloved Child of the King.

Will you claim your URL today?

(I am linked today with Michelle at

(And also with "Brag On God Fridays")

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, October 2, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - What's In A Name?


Interesting things.

Some people hate theirs – some people love theirs.

I was given the name Sharon when I was born. But when I hit elementary school, I thought Sharon sounded too "formal." So I changed it to Shari. Everyone knew me by Shari, except my family – they still called me Sharon.

Then, when I graduated from college, I kinda swung back the other way. Now I thought Shari sounded too "frivolous" – so I changed it back to Sharon. I've been known by the name Sharon for about 33 years now. But my husband, who knew me in elementary school, still calls me Shari! (Cute, huh?!)

My brother's kids called me Aunt Sharon – and I've always thought it sounded like an old-maid spinster. I'm not sure I like it so much. So when my sister's son was born several years later, I told her to let him come up with his own name. That's how I came to be called "Uncle Sharon" by her kids!

Now, we have our names, and then we have nicknames.

Nicknames are a mixed bag.

Sometimes they're a good thing – sometimes they're a bad thing – sometimes they're both.

For instance, "Honest Abe" is a good nickname if you're Abraham Lincoln, and you're kinda known for your integrity and trustworthiness. "Honest Joe," who lies about everyone and everything – maybe not such a good nickname.

Good nicknames might include calling a guy who's 6' 6" tall, and weighs 270 pounds"Tiny." Or calling a guy with red hair well, yeah, "Red" I was thinking "Rusty."

But nicknames can be cruel, too. They can be used in taunting and damaging ways.

I was called "Lightweight" and "Spoke" when I was growing up because I was so skinny (healthy skinny, by the way – thin just ran in my family). At the time, the name hurt…a lot. Now it might not be so bad.

I was also called "Flower Hitter" because of my singularly unskilled skills in softball.

My worst nickname was "Railroad Mouth" – given when I was a dorky 10th grader with curly hair (a sin in the early 70's) and a mouth full of silver, metal braces. NOT a good memory…

Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But words will never hurt me.

Who came up with that???

Words are the things that do the MOST damage, because they wound deep inside where the bruises and bleeding and scars don't show.

What about the names that life has given you?

Do you have some?








Oh yes, life deals out its names like branding irons that sear their way into our very character. We become those names – we are victims of the reputations they bring to us.

We end up damaged and wounded – hurt and hopeless.

Must we stay like this?

Of course not!

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is a very interesting passage of Scripture:

"To everyone who is victorious…I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it." (Revelation 2:17)

I'm not sure exactly what this verse means – but it thrills me!

It's unclear what the white stones are, or what the name on each will be. But they are significantfor they will each bear the new name of every person who truly believes in Jesus Christ.

They will be the evidence that a person has been accepted by God and declared worthy to receive eternal life.

Oh, what a wonder!

I picture this moment –

Jesus calls me to approach Him. I come and stand before Him. I kneel. He lifts my chin up so He can look me in the eye. He reaches for my hand, and places a cool, smooth, pure-white stone in it.

I see His scars as He closes my fingers around the stone. He holds my closed hand with both of His and He says,

"This is your new name. It is a name that only you and I will ever know. It is your true character. It is who I created you to be. Open your hands and behold!"

And there, on that stone, will be…well, ME.

Can you picture opening your hand to your new name?

It will be glorious!

But what about now?

You know, Jesus wants to change some of those wrong names in this life, too.

So, will you let the Lord's love reach into your heart today and change the names you've lived with for so long?



Never Forsaken.

Person of Truth.



Deeply Loved.

There are many more good names an endless list to replace the old. Jesus provided them all – just for you. He is the One who can give you a new name and a new heart.

And He's the One who died and rose again – and He waits in Heaven for you. Rumor has it that He's got a bazillion white stones just waiting for His faithful, redeemed ones.

Um, that would be you and me!

What new name do you need Jesus to give you today?

And how do you feel about that "Forever Name" waiting for you in eternity?!

"When in doubt, search God out!"