Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Don’t Forget to Dance

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.” –Luke 15:22-25

This passage is found in the familiar story of the prodigal son. It gives a vivid picture not only of what our salvation is like – the best of everything when we deserve nothing – but also of the Father’s heart, and of the Father’s house. 

When was the last time you remembered that there is music, dancing, and celebration in the Father’s house? 

We are not yet dwelling in the Father’s house that He is preparing for us (heaven), but we have His Spirit dwelling in us. Because of Jesus, we have every reason to celebrate – even in the midst of trials, suffering, and pain. Because of Him, we have only celebration, joy, worship, wonder, music, and dancing to look forward to. 

I believe this heavenly reality is something we can carry in our hearts no matter our circumstances. Here’s a poem I wrote that helps remind me to do that. I hope it blesses you today. 


The Dance of Faith


When joy overflows,

When loved ones are near,

When God answers prayer,  

When faith triumphs over fear,



When sorrow overflows,

When loneliness weighs,

When pain inhabits your days,

When discouragement stays, 



Dance with your feet,

Dance in your heart.

Dance with a song,

Dance in the silence. 

Dance with joy,

Dance in tears.


Dance by faith,

Your offering of praise. 

Dance with Him,

For He is holding you.

Dance for life,

Eternity will soon be here. 


(Copyright Joanna K. Harris) 


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Something to Think About

As I read various books, I like to collect my favorite quotes from them. Then I can go back later and reread them, think about them further, and remember to apply them once again. I thought I’d share some of my recent favorites with you today. 


 From John Maxwell: 

“It’s not over until you’ve learned from it.” 


“Failure is inevitable; learning is optional.” 


“Our perspective is not determined by what we see. It’s determined by how we see, and that comes from who we are.” 


“Who we are inside is much more important than how others see us.” 



From Amy Carmichael:

“He who begins, finishes. He who leads us on, follows behind to deal in love with our poor attempts…He gathers up the things that we have dropped—our fallen resolutions, our mistakes…He makes His blessed pardon to flow over our sins till they are utterly washed away. And He turns to fight the Enemy, who would pursue after us, to destroy us from behind.” 


“All the day long there is the pressure of life, and perhaps some inner strain to the spirit known only to God. But all the day long, too, there is the lovingkindness of God. And so all the day long the peace that passes all understanding…The peace of Jesus stood every sort of test, every strain, and it never broke. It is this, His very own peace, which He says, ‘I give’.” 


From Holley Gerth:

“We’re not supposed to have enough. We’re supposed to bring what we have, our clearly not enough, to Jesus and ask Him to meet us where we are.” 


“You’re not called to pursue goals. You’re called to pursue a Person. That’s what dreams are really all about—going with God.” 


“Every dream or desire you have that comes from God is an invitation for more intimacy with him.” 


“And there’s nothing ordinary about us or our lives because we have an extraordinary God inhabiting our hearts.” 



From George MacDonald:

“Thy will be done. I yield up everything.

‘The life is more than meat’—then more than health;

‘The body more than raiment’—then than wealth;

The hairs I made not, thou art numbering.

Thou art my life—I the brook, thou the spring.

Because thine eyes are open, I can see;

Because thou art thyself, ‘tis therefore I am me.” 



From Jay & Katherine Wolf:

“Celebration can be an act of worship and an act of hope and perhaps, in a way, an act of joyful rebellion against fear.”


“As much as we recoil from suffering, it has the potential to show us who we are and who God is in ways that dramatically alter the way we live our lives. We can gain precious wisdom and deeper appreciation for the lives we’ve been given as we learn to suffer well—not as victims, but as overcomers…each of us has the opportunity to thrive in situations we never dreamed we’d have to experience.” 



These are good words to ponder. I hope they are thought-provoking, encouraging, and a blessing to you today.


“…the tongue of the wise brings healing…Walk with the wise and become wise…” –Proverbs 12:18, 13:20 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

What will you read and listen to this year?

While I’m not someone who makes new year’s resolutions, I do think the new year is a good time to consider what I’d like to do differently or accomplish this year. 

For me, a big part of that happens through reading. Books can be informative, entertaining, encouraging, and transformative. My goal last year was to read four non-fiction books each month. I didn’t quite meet that goal, but I did read a lot of good books. 

I’m happy to recommend some of the books that were my favorites last year. And feel free to leave a comment with some of your favorites as well! 




“The Magnolia Story” by Joanna and Chip Gaines


“Shaken” by Tim Tebow 


“Suffer Strong” by Jay & Katherine Wolf


“The ‘Do What You Can’ Plan” by Holley Gerth 


 “Entreleadership” by Dave Ramsey 





“The Lady Emily Capers” series by Regina Scott – lighthearted, Regency mystery


The “Poppy Creek” series by Rachel Bloome – clean, modern-day fiction


The “Paige Alder” series by Erynn Mangun – clean, funny, relatable Christian fiction


The “Class of Their Own” series by Jen Turano – lighthearted fiction set in the gilded age in New York


The “Hearts on the Heath” series by Kristi Ann Hunter – Regency fiction (includes race horses!) =)



If books aren’t your favorite media, perhaps podcasts are. I found several podcasts last year that I’ve enjoyed. Feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments as well. 




Your Move podcast with Andy Stanley – biblical wisdom and practical spiritual truths


Novel Marketing podcast with Thomas Umstattd Jr – great for authors!


Equip & Empower podcast with Christine Caine – spiritual encouragement 


The Alli Worthington Show podcast – interviews with different guests on various topics 


Joseph Prince podcast – messages from the pastor of New Creation Church 


I’m so thankful for the easy access we have to wonderful resources these days! These are some I’ve enjoyed, and I hope one of these recommendations will bless you as well. Let me know what resources you recommend for this new year. =) 


Friday, December 23, 2022

Why did He come?

I love Christmas! Sometimes I wish we still did things like they did in England long ago, where the celebration continues through Twelfth Night. There is so much we can celebrate as we remember Jesus coming to earth as a baby.

This Christmas I was reminded again of the question: Why did He come? 

John 3:16 says that God gave His Son because of His great love for the world of sinners. But why did Jesus choose to come? He actually answered that question Himself in John 10:  

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” -John 10:10b (NIV)

“I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.” -John 10:10b (NASB) 

Jesus came so that we could have eternal life, and I am soooo grateful for that! But He also said in this verse that He came to give us abundant life, or life to the full. I’ve contemplated this verse for years, and continually asked, what is life to the full?  

A lot of people today think a full life means fulfilling, productive, having more than we need, seeing our dreams come true…but I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant. I still don’t have a complete answer, or a learned theologian’s answer…but lately I have sensed Jesus whispering truth to my spirit that has helped me understand this idea of abundant life a little bit better.  

I think Jesus came to give us life to the full – 

full of peace

full of joy

full of hope

full of courage

full of grace

full of love…

full of all the things that only come from Jesus! 


That’s the kind of life I long for in the here in the now – in the midst of trials and suffering, of injustice and tears, of weakness, doubts and fears…. Because Jesus came, I don’t have to live under the oppression of those things. Yes, they still exist and are still part of life on earth, but in Jesus I have something greater! I have fullness…I have an unending supply of peace, joy, hope, courage, grace, love...and everything I need. Even if my dreams aren’t coming true, if my life doesn’t feel productive, if trials never seem to end…I still have a life full of beauty that only Jesus can give. 

Jesus came both to give us eternal life and to give us fullness of life while we’re on earth. What better gifts could there possibly be? 

This Christmas and every day, may we remember that we are eternally and daily blessed, because He came!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Gift of Forgetfulness

I know November is usually focused on thankfulness, but I’ve realized that one thing I’m very thankful for is forgetfulness. If you don’t already, I have a feeling you’ll soon agree with me. 

For example, let’s have some fun…

Remember that awful season in junior high when there was so much insecurity, relational stress, and piles of homework? You don’t remember? Oh good. 

Remember that year you had the flu so bad you weren’t sure you would make it, and frankly you reached the point where you didn’t care anymore? Remember how you felt? Oh, it’s coming back to you vaguely now? 

Remember when you were so stressed out and worried about that one situation, that you lost sleep, you couldn’t focus, and then it all worked out in the end? Oh, you only remember that it worked out well? Yeah, I understand. 

Ok, I’m being a little silly, but the reality is that as humans we have the ability to forget. Most of the time we complain about this – forgetting the keys, forgetting someone’s birthday, forgetting where we’re going tomorrow…. But there’s also a time where forgetfulness is the blessing we need. 

We all go through hardship, trials, pain, suffering, and grief. If we remembered every painful moment, every unkind word, every fearful emotion…it would be so awful! 

That’s not to say we forget all of the bad things that happen to us. But time has a way of softening so much of the difficult, stressful or painful things we go through. Even better than time, is God’s healing touch. Whatever we bring to Him, He can heal. Then, even if we remember the circumstance, the painful emotions are no longer there. He’s done that for me many times. 

In recent years I’ve learned to pray, “Lord, help me to remember what you want me to from this situation/trial/experience. And help me to forget the rest.” He has answered that prayer, for which I’m very grateful!

And as my friend Kati says, when you’re in the middle of a new trial, just tell yourself, “I can’t wait til I’ve forgotten about this.” 

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Whose voice are you listening to?

I confess, I enjoy watching Hallmark movies. Even if you don’t enjoy sappy, predictable, happily-ever-after movies, I bet you’ve seen enough other kinds of movies to agree with my next statement.

The main character always seems to struggle with listening to the wrong person. 

Have you noticed that? For example, the brave heroine, for some reason, listens to the gossip/slander/lies of the “mean girl” who’s trying to get the hero or beat the heroine somehow. Or the noble hero makes progress on his quest until he listens to the lies of his rival/negative friend/critical parent. As a result, he makes a bad choice and has even more difficulties to overcome. 

As outside observers of the characters, you and I feel compelled to say, “Stop being an idiot! Don’t listen to that person!” 

Why listen to someone who has proven they are untrustworthy? And yet, how many of us have done the same thing? How many times have we listened to someone and acted according to their words, even though we knew they weren’t trustworthy? 

In this crazy, mixed-up, sinful world, it’s vital that we listen to the right voices – the voices of those we know we can trust. And there’s one voice we can trust 100% of the time. 

When Jesus declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6), He gave us a solid foundation to build upon. Jesus is the Truth. He always speaks the truth. He is always trustworthy. 

When I look at it logically, I’m astounded at how easily we doubt God and believe other people’s lies. Doesn’t that seem crazy to you when you think about it?  

The reality is that our lives are also full of emotions, not just logic. It’s the emotions that often cloud our perspective. In the movie example, there’s always a strong emotion involved that causes the character to listen to the wrong person and believe the lies. I think it’s similar for us as well. The difference for us is that while with people, it’s hard at times to tell who is trustworthy and who isn’t, we already know God is trustworthy – no matter what. 

For me, this reflection isn’t as much about which people I should be listening to, as it is a reminder that God’s voice is the one I can always trust. 

Unfortunately, the enemy will always be whispering his lies to us – through friends or enemies, family or strangers, media or circumstances…he never quits trying to intimidate, discourage or deceive us. 

But the good news is we have a constant source of truth! The Holy Spirit, called the Spirit of truth, lives in us. The Bible is available to us, so that every day we can fill our minds with what is true and compare what we hear to unchanging truth. And God always provides people in our life who are trustworthy and will speak His truth to us in love. 

Yes, it’s a battle. No, it’s not fun. But we do have a choice. And we have a trustworthy God. 

So the question remains – whose voice will we listen to? 

“The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” –Psalm 145:13b 

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” –John 8:32