Gleanings from Psalm 119

This morning I was doing a bible lesson on Psalm 119. It’s a very long chapter so I was assigned to break down just the first 88 verses! LOL! Anyway, from all the things I gleaned from that passage, the most significant to me was this…. Obedience is all about the heart. It’s not about checking things off your ‘religious list’ or your ‘good deeds lists.’ No, God wants a loving and personal relationship with each of us. He wants to spend time with us. He wants our heart more than anything. He loves us so much. And when I trust Him to know what’s best for me, I wholeheartedly obey. (Often though, my pride, selfishness or disbelief gets in the way!) Here are just a few of the observations I jotted down in my journal from Psalm 119…..


May I add that my trust or understanding in the Lord’s love for me is only possible by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit through Christ. I can’t know God the Father apart from the saving power of His Son, Jesus Christ.

The more I embrace His loving grace, the more I want to seek His face!

So, how do I sum up Psalm 119:1-88? In a nutshell, “LEARNING, LOVING AND LIVING OUT GOD’S WORD!”

The Light of Life: Lessons from Hanukkah (Days One-Seven)

Our family embarked on a spiritual journey in late November. We decided to purchase our own Hanukkiah and light the candles each night. We have talked about the holiday of Hanukkah before, but it was time to put it into practice and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and teach us. (Okay, yes, it was mainly because of my urging, but they were great sports!). So, each night, we went through a devotion looking at various aspects of the holiday, the biblical significance and the practical application to our lives. It was a very rich experience. Below is a ‘journal’ of the evening lessons. I hope that they are a blessing to you and will encourage you to try it with your own family next year!
Okay, here’s our picture from day one of Hanukkah. We are clearly rookies at this and are learning as we go!  (I discovered that we weren’t suppose to insert all of the candles right away. At least we litphoto-3 the right ones- from right to left!) We devoted the lesson to the historical story of Hanukkah. It’s an eight-day celebration commemorating the victory of the Jews (led by Judah Maccabee) over the Syrians. The Syrian ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes, had devastated Jerusalem in 168 B.C. by defiling the Temple and prohibiting Temple worship. It was a terrible time of persecution for the Jews. But Judah and his small, but courageous, ban of Jews stood up for their faith and took back the Temple! When it was time to rededicate the Temple to God, there was only enough oil to burn for one day, but the Lord miraculously kept the oil burning for eight days until they could make more. (Hence, the eight-day holiday. And by the way, Hanukkah means ‘dedication.’)
Lesson: God was a faithful miracle-worker then and He still is today!
Day two we learned about the Shamash candle. This is the middle candle that is used to light all the other candles.  Shamash means “servant.’ What a beautiful picture of Jesus, who is the ‘light to all mankind.’ John 1:1-14 speaks of this Light that has come into the world…
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testifyconcerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.’

I love the passage in Philippians chapter two that describes Jesus as a servant (a Shamash):
‘Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a photoservant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Philippians 2:6-11)

Application? Serve others like Christ did. Consider others more important than yourself.

Days three and four of Hanukkah (or Chanukah? Or Hanukah?), we looked at the practical uses and biblical symbolism of olive oil. Olive oil was the type that was used in the Tabernacle and Temple Menorahs, as well as the Hanukkiahs.

Throughout Bible times, olive oil was also used for cooking, medicine, anointing and lighting. Before candles, Menorahs only used oil in the lamps (and many still do today). I have a clay oil lamp and bottle of olive oil from Nazereth, Israel, so we decided to light it as well. Pretty cool.

In several verses throughout the whole Bible, oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit. We read this awesome passage about how we are like the clay vessels and how the Holy Spirit indwellsphoto in us, like the vessel holds the oil. The wick ignites as our faith is ignited in our hearts by God’s power and knowledge!

‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.’ (2 Cor 4:6-7)

Application? Let your light shine!

On day five, we continued our lesson of the olive oil (which was the type of oil used to light the Temple Menorah). We took a closer look at the tedious process of extracting oil from the olive fruit- the ancient method of the olive press.

Unknown-9Did you know that the Greek name for olive press is Gethsemane? The olive press, or gethsemane, was a circular stone basin where the olives were poured into. Then a very heavy millstone (pulled by an animal) crushed the olives and the extracted oil dripped down into a groove in the basin and into a gathering pit at the bottom.

This, of course, ties in perfectly to the Easter and Passover stories, but it also expresses the very reason Jesus came to Earth two thousand years ago as a baby. He came to die. He was the promised Messiah that the prophets spoke about and yearned for!

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

Do you see the picture of the olive being pressed? And what comes out? The life-giving oil. photoHe came to take the heavy burden of sin upon Himself to give us life. Jesus is the Giver of Eternal Life!

Yesterday, we read the verses in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7. The next three verses in this passage are the following: ‘We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.’ (2 Cor 4:8-10).

Application? Remember the eternal life-giving Holy Spirit that is in us that gives us hope and strength in times of affliction and persecution. Jesus already took the crushing punishment of death for us so that we may have life; abundantly now and forever!

On days six and seven, we looked at the history, elements and symbolism of the seven-branch Menorah). In Exodus 25:31-40, we learned the Lord instructed Moses that the Tabernacle Temple was to be made of one solid block of gold and molded into seven branches. Lesson? The people of God are to be unified, but are diversified.

Jesus also expresses in John 17 His desire that His followers would be unified. ‘I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, photojust as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’ (John 17:20-23)

This Menorah symbol is also mentioned in Revelation 1:12, 20, which represents the seven churches or congregations of Asia Minor and symbolizes the worldwide body of believers. ‘I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,…The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.’

Application? Strive for unity within the body of Christ.

Day eight has been recorded in its own entry, titled, “Hanukkah: Preparing the Way to Christmas!”

Hanukkah: Preparing the Way to Christmas!

hanukkahWell, the eighth day of lighting the Hanukkiah was tonight. What a rich time of learning it has been! I think that it’s amazing that Hanukkah proceeds Christmas on our calendars, just as it did more than 2,000 years ago! See, the rededication of the Temple had to occur BEFORE  Jesus, the Lord of the Temple, entered the world and came to us! In a sense, Hanukkah helped prepare the way for that first Christmas, the time we celebrate the birth of our King!

And just as the physical Temple first needed to be cleansed and rededicated, our body (the new temple of God) also needs to be cleansed from sin and rededicated to God.

I Corinthians 6:19

‘Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? ‘

The parable of the 10 Virgins is a great lesson for how we are (and are not) to live…

Matthew 25:1-13

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

First of all, the message teaches us to not be just an ‘outwardly professing’ Christian (represented by the five foolish virgins who ran out of time to get more oil).

In Matthew 15:8-9, Jesus says,

‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”

Then in the book of Titus, it says,

They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. (Titus 1:16)

The limited supply of oil may appear to get them through this life, but their light will eventually go out upon death. And if they don’t prepare ahead of time, they will miss out for all eternity! The door to eternal life with the King of Kings will permanently be closed.

Secondly, we are, in contrast, to be like the five wise virgins who brought enough oil with them to make their way through the dark and dangerous journey.  This is one who is a true believer inwardly. One that is born-again and saved by faith through grace; is forgiven of sin; has experienced true repentance; lives obediently (this doesn’t mean perfectly); praises and worships the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ; and desires the Bridegroom’s Return!

The third lesson we learn from the 10 Virgins parable is that we are to remember to keep our wicks trimmed so that our light (good deeds) shines brightly to illuminate the love of Christ in the darkness of this world until the day of His Great Return!

Matthew 5:14-15

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

(Isaiah 9:1-3, 6)

‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest,…For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your One and Only Son, Jesus, to us that wondrous day. Your Bride eagerly awaits your next visit to come bring us home!

Know Jesus and Make Him Known during this joyful season of holidays! Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!


For more information about Hanukkah, please check out these articles:



Cascadian-FarmEcclesiates 3:1-8

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

God’s timing and purpose is amazing. There is truly a season for everything. And God is consistent and harmonious with all of His Creation. He is the Author and Perfector of life! Just as He puts the agricultural and natural life cycles into being, we, too, go through the same cycles in our spiritual lives- both personally, and corporately. The Holy Spirit tills the soil in our hearts. Seeds of truth are sown. Then there is a long summer waiting period of learning and preparation, during which the ground is watered frequently and the sun

Unknown-7shines warmly. This is the season we don’t yet see fruit, but in time, we eventually do. (Just like a teenager rests and eats during growth spurts, so does our spirit.) Then several weeks later, signs of life emerge from the ground. And by late fall, the crop is ripe and ready for harvest.

But there is one more piece of the agricultural cycle that occurs. As a sown seed lies buried in the soil, it must ‘die,’ in a sense, before new life (and more seeds) can spring forth from it.

I love how God’s Word uses the natural aspects of this life to explain the supernatural. Let’s listen to the words of Jesus- a message he gave to his disciples, Philip and Andrew.

John 12:24 (The Message)

“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”

Jesus died, was buried and then came back to life.Our own salvation follows the same cycle. Our old seed (self) dies, is buried with Christ and we are given new life!

Galatians 2:20

‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’

I Peter 1:23

‘For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.’

The life starts to take on the appearance and function of the kind it came from. As the new life grows up, it begins to bear fruit. If we are born of the Spirit, we will produce this fruit:

Galatians 5:22

‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’

And what function do we now have in this new life?  To know Christ and to make Him known! To do good works in the Name of Christ! To share the Gospel of hope,  eternal life and salvation to a dying world. To love others like Jesus loves us.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

But Why, Daddy?

photo-35“But why, Mommy?” “Because I said so.” This could sum up many of the conversations that filled the early days of my child-rearing- at least with one of my children.

My firstborn was not much of a questioner or tester. He wanted to please Mommy. He followed the rules. He rarely asked me why we had certain rules, he just focused on obeying them. Ah, that’s dreamy music to a young mom’s ears, right? Well, it definitely made life easier at times.

Then our secondborn came along. She didn’t seem to pick up the ‘don’t ask, just do!’ code from her older brother. Every other word was ,”Why?” Because I said so just didn’t fly with her. “Why do you say so, Mommy?” I could sense the tension and impatience in my body grow with this constant interrogation! Why can’t she just accept my authority and do what I say?  

The mind of my inquisitive daughter is like my Cutco knife sharpener. She definitely keeps me sharp! ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.’ (Proverbs 27:17)

Then there came a day, a few years later, when I personally started questioning some things I had been taught over the years. ‘What had always been done’ was being challenged by what I was learning through God’s Word. My heart so badly wanted to know the truth and to know the why about what I believed. Every fiber in my being begged for clarity. I was almost paralyzed from my aching to know what was right that I could barely move one step forward in my spiritual life. My mind was full of questions, not doubts. I wanted to go deeper. I wanted to understand God’s Heart! And if there was any wrong thinking in me, I desperately wanted it corrected right then and there. I wanted God’s blessing and peace in my life and wouldn’t let him go until He gave it to me.

I think maybe my questioning made my Father smile. As a friend of mine once said, “Be honest with all things before God. He’s got broad shoulders and He can handle it!” More than that, He wants to handle it. So, I took that advice and concluded, better to be honest about all things with God, because He knows my heart and every thought anyway! So, I started to ask away.

Why do we do this tradition in church? Is it really biblical? Or are we following some man-made ritual that has just been passed down from generation to generation? And if ‘principle A’ is to be followed, what is it suppose to look like in my life? If the first generation church lived out their faith in a certain way, how are we to also live it out in 21st century Suburbia, USA? “Why, Daddy?” “How, Daddy?” Surely my heavenly Abba felt the constant tugging on His Holy Garment from a child who was demanding answers!

And how did He respond? Patiently. Graciously. And with answers and wisdom. Not every question was answered immediately. He gave me just the right amount of understanding I could handle at once. He brought Godly teachers of the Word to direct me. Intercessors to pray and ask for discernment with me. Testimonies of many followers of Christ who were asking the same questions and discovered the why. Let me tell you, that when I started asking, God opened the floodgates and poured into me! If ever I could think of a time in my life where I could see the Holy Spirit working deeply in my heart and mind, it was at this time. The Holy Spirit prompted me, revealed to me, mentored me and brought understanding to me. But this was not without a battle. Satan did not sit idly by and watch God do His thing! No, I had to work for it. I had to guard my heart and defend my mind so that the riches that were given to me were not stolen by the enemy. With God-given treasures of truth comes sanctification. With sanctification comes opposition from the outside.

I look back and compare my daughter’s curiosity for the wonders of the world to my later-found curiosity to God’s wonders. It all has the same root- a hunger for understanding. As most of us moms may do from time to time (look back and wish we’d done things differently now that we are much wiser!), I have a much better appreciation for a child’sScan 107 questions. I see those questions as windows into their heart that they have opened with a trusting soul. What an honor it is when a child reveals their wonders and seeks understanding! And I believe that this is one of God’s great desires for us- to ask Him the question, “But why, Daddy?” so He can grant us great wisdom!

Proverbs 2:3-10

‘indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Then you will understand what is right and just
    and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.’

Matthew 7:7-8

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Compelled by Love

Have you ever had one of those days, that you are so overwhelmed by compassion that you have no other choice but to act upon it- sometimes in the most outrageous ways? You know it’s the Holy Spirit living out through you. You are compelled by the love of God! There’s no other explanation for such behavior!

I’ve had experiences where I just started weeping uncontrollably over someone. “Where did that come from?” And just recently, I was sitting in church next to a sweet, older Asian women who was no more than 4 foot 8 inches tall. The whole service, I just felt ‘compelled’ to give her a hug! I was feeling a bit awkward because that particular Sunday, we didn’t do our regular ‘meet and greet your neighbor’ thing. But I knew the Lord wanted me to express compassion and love to her. So, during one of the concluding worship songs of the service, I just reached over and put my arm around her. When it was time to leave, she leaned over and said, “Thank you for showing such kindness to me!” I didn’t know her and I certainly didn’t know what she was going through. But I was so happy I was obedient and did what God had asked me to do- even though it seemed a bit ‘out there.’ (Not everyone appreciates a hug, you know!)

Or take today. I was shopping for some new autumn decorations in a specialty shop and I saw the most gorgeous painting of a cardinal. Well, you may or may not have read my “I Praise You’ poem that mentions the cardinal (I reposted it below in case you missed it), but today I just felt ‘compelled’ to read it out loud to those lady workers right there in the store! I did ask if they wanted to hear it- as if they’re going to say no, right? And I did purchase the painting so they could listen to my poem! Ha ha! Anyway, the poem is about praising God through all things- more than it is a poem about a cardinal. But it felt amazing to shine a little of heaven into that store. And the lady that was ringing me up quietly thanked me for sharing it. “I’m a Christian, too,” she said. We then further discussed church and other things. You just never know where conversations can lead to when you let the Spirit flow out of you!


But I kindly ask one thing of you…. please don’t run the other way when you see me coming. I don’t always feel compelled to hug! But if you need a hug, I will be more than happy to give you one!

‘For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.’ (2 Cor 5:14-15)

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)


photo-1As soon as I sit down in my recliner, I don’t have to finish counting to ten before I hear the pitter patter of our sweet dog’s little paws come bounding into the room and onto my lap. Once she hears the chair click and sees my feet slip into my slippers, she is there! She’s attentive and ready to settle in as soon as I am.

Our dog, Lucy, knows my voice. She gives me eye contact. She loves to please. She never holds a grudge or asks, “Why don’t you give me more attention?” She’s just thankful every time I enter the room.

Lucy knows that ‘all is good’ when she’s next to Mom. She completely trusts me. And if sheIMG_0494 disobeys or recognizes that she has displeased me in any way, her tail disappears between her legs and all she wants to do is make things right with me. She doesn’t argue or rebel. She just humbles herself.

She’s the most loving dog; however, she does have an issue with barking. As soon as the doorbell rings, she flies into a tizzy. Her reaction time to my “No barking!” command is getting quicker, but there’s still work to be done.

The spiritual parallels here are stunning to me. However, they aren’t a perfect illustration, by any means. First of all, the depth of my love and compassion for Lucy isn’t even close to  the Father’s love for me. Honestly, as cuddly as it is to have Lucy next to me, I don’t always accept her request. Sometimes, I just don’t want to make room for her on my lap. (But I do marvel at how she will persistently wiggle her way in to the smallest spot between the armrest and my computer, which is usually dominating my lap space!) How thankful I am that God NEVER rejects my request to be in His Presence and that He always makes ample room for me right by His side! Also, I wish I had the acutely attentive photo-2ears to listen and obey God’s every word and trust Him like Lucy trusts me.

Keep doing your sanctifying work in me, Lord. I pray I will keep my eyes fixed on you, my ears open to your voice and my heart yielded to your holy and loving instruction.

‘Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.’ (Psalm 51:9-11)

‘Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.’ (Proverbs 23:12)

‘Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord; open your ears to the words of his mouth.’ (Jeremiah 9:20)

Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Mark 4:8-9)

Lucy, celebrating her 7th birthday on Cinco de Mayo!

Lucy, celebrating her 7th birthday on Cinco de Mayo!


If I Were the Devil


The late, great Paul Harvey gave an eerily prophetic message in 1965 about the spiritual battle being waged in our nation.

‘Finally, let the Lord make you strong. Depend on his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor. Then you can stand firm against the devil’s evil plans. Our fight is not against human beings. It is against the rulers, the authorities and the powers of this dark world. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly world.

So put on all of God’s armor. Evil days will come. But you will be able to stand up to anything. And after you have done everything you can, you will still be standing.

So stand firm. Put the belt of truth around your waist. Put the armor of godliness on your chest. Wear on your feet what will prepare you to tell the good news of peace. Also, pick up the shield of faith. With it you can put out all of the flaming arrows of the evil one. Put on the helmet of salvation. And take the sword of the Holy Spirit. The sword is God’s word.

At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit. Pray all kinds of prayers. Be watchful, so that you can pray. Always keep on praying for all of God’s people.’ (Ephesians 6:10-18)
(New International Reader’s Version)

Coffee Mugs

Coffee Mugs

Selecting a coffee mug is a morning ritual of mine. It kind of sets the tone for the rest of the day. Every mug I own has a sentimental meaning to me. My Husker mug reminds me of my own college years; and now, it also reminds me of my son, who just finished his freshmen year there. My Maryland Terps mug reminds me of my daughter and her future school. I have a Minnesota Wild hockey mug which reminds me of my northern roots. I have a couple scriptural mugs and others that I bought on trips to Hawaii and Mexico. So, whatever mood I’m in, I choose my mug accordingly. I know, it sounds a bit OCD!

This reminded me of our pastor’s recent sermon on the roles of the wife and mother in the home. The sermon was titled, “Happy Wife, Happy Life!” Pastor Jack Graham compared wives/moms to the thermostat of the home. She sets the temperature for everything and everyone who lives there. It’s a big responsibility, if you think about it. When I consider my roles as wife and mom, it makes me more intentional about how I start my day. Is my mind focused on the right things? Am I prepared to serve my family with my whole being? I know that if I start the day wrong, it really does affect everybody! So, if choosing the right coffee mug helps me get set correctly, than so be it!

Then the next thing I do is set up my devotional space. Bible. Check. Writing Journal and pen. Check. ‘Jesus Calling’ devotional. Check. Filled coffee mug. Check. It is now time to kick start my day with a little caffeine and a lot of God’s Word and Holy Spirit inspiration!

‘By doing this they will teach the younger women to love their husbands and children. They will teach them to be wise and pure, to take care of their homes, to be kind, and to be willing to serve their husbands. Then no one will be able to criticize the teaching God gave us.’ (Titus 2:4-5, ERV)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,(2 Tim 3:16)

‘May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.’ (Psalm 19:14)

‘but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. (1 Pet 3:4)

May God bless your day today!

(To listen to Pastor Jack Graham’s excellent message, ‘Happy Wife! Happy Life!,’ please go to