Tuesday, May 26, 2015


"Mom, I really don't think you want to get off here" my son warned as I slowed and exited off the interstate.  In the third hour of a four hour round trip to take Ben to his out-of-town dentist, I was anxious to get home.  I had my GPS to help me out if I ran into trouble and I already knew that thing was aware of routes that I am not.  What could go wrong?  Ben muttered something about a road or bridge being closed. I didn't want to listen to him and reminded myself that  he has an intellectual disability.  He was probably thinking of another location or something that had happened a long time ago.


I drove merrily on my way through some scenic back roads.  I was getting closer to home, I could tell, and rejoiced, thinking of all the things I could accomplish with this extra time I had just shaved off my trip.  Those GPSes are wonderful devices - I would have never ventured off the familiar path if I hadn't had the electronic direction.


Until I came to bright orange sign warning me that the bridge was under construction and I had to detour.  I knew this bridge and was even aware it was closed.  But I had no idea the road I had just decided to take eventually crossed the bridge.


  I was two miles from my house.


The only detour available to me would add a good thirty-five minutes to my trip.  I could get out of my van, climb over the barricades, and walk the rest of the way home faster than it would take me to turn around and drive.


While I fumed internally, Ben had the wisdom to remain silent in the back seat.



Detours are never fun.  Oh, I know some people try to put a sunny outlook on things and remind us that there are always blessings to be found on these unexpected trips.  But that day, I wasn't looking for any silver-lined clouds or blooming roses on the side of the road as I backtracked.  I was just mad -  mostly because I knew  it was my own fault!  Well, my fault and that of the roads dept. who had the brainy idea to re-do  a needed bridge in the first place!


But I did learn some things that day.  I learned, foremost, to listen to my son.  He's always had a keen sense about direction and travel-related knowledge - I should have respected that.  I also learned that my GPS is only as knowledgeable as the information with which it was programmed.  Since I haven't bothered to do any updates to it, it had no way of knowing the bridge was out.


My detour could have been avoided.  But most life detours come about through no fault of our own.  Perhaps you find yourself on one of those unplanned paths right now.  It's natural to want to fuss about it, like I did when I discovered I'd have to turn around and drive a whole lot farther than what I had planned.  There's a place for expressing our sorrow and discomfort while on one of life's detours.  But there also comes a point where we stop that and begin to look for what it is God wants us to learn now.


No detour comes about except by His design and allowance.  In time, we may find a reason we were set on the unplanned path.  We will definitely find blessings when we look for them.  And hopefully, we will choose acceptance and find peace when our journey has been disrupted in a way we would have never chosen.


Happy traveling!


Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Image courtesy of boutgreen.com


Sunday, May 24, 2015

No Longer Afraid

faith not fearI remember the grip of fear. It welled up inside me like a caged thing trying to get free. Something was wrong.

My daughter came home after her doctor’s appointment instead of going back to work. Not a good sign. Through tears and heart-wrenching sobs, she spoke words I didn’t want to hear: there was a nodule on her thyroid. More testing would have to be done to know how to treat it.

Even as her words registered in my mind, God’s peace was busy chasing away the fear in my heart. God was still in control – no matter what (click to tweet).

Bitter hatred

Remember Joseph? Imagine the intense fear he battled as his brothers disappeared from sight and he realized the extent of their hatred: they had sold him into slavery.

This was no joke. The shackles cut into his wrists and ankles reminding him of what lay ahead. A life without family, filled with labor and hardships.

But God hadn’t forgotten Joseph. When Joseph was sold on the auction block to Potiphar, the Lord knew all about it. Joseph chose to continue trusting God in spite of his circumstances.

Choosing to trust

Joseph worked hard, and tried to make the best of his situation. His actions caught the attention of Potiphar who put Joseph in charge of everything he had. Potiphar recognized God’s hand on Joseph’s life:
And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. Genesis 39:3
Satan was not happy. Fear hadn’t worked the first time, but what if Joseph found himself in prison this time? Potiphar’s wife made sure Joseph landed in jail after he refused to sleep with her.

Prison ponderings

Now Joseph found himself in a dark, dirty, dungeon for a crime he hadn’t committed. Fear was ready to pounce. But Joseph chose to believe God was still in control:
But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and give him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. Genesis 39:21
When circumstances seemed hopeless, God was at work behind the scenes. Years later, Pharaoh had a troubling dream. His magicians and wise men couldn’t interpret the dream. Guess who had a God-given ability to interpret dreams? If you guessed Joseph, you’re correct.

God was in control

Joseph was right where he needed to be at just the right time – because God had always been the One in control. Joseph continued to experience God’s faithfulness.

By God’s design, Joseph was reunited with his brothers, years after he was sold into slavery. He was able to say:
…Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Genesis 50:19-20
Joseph chose to embrace God’s bigger picture. Because Joseph was able to see beyond himself, God was able to use him to make a lasting impact on future generations.

Your turn

Have circumstances in your life made you fearful? What step are you willing to take to trust God and acknowledge that He is in control? Will you allow Him to use your current situation to impact others for Him?

Prayer: Lord, thank You for being with me. When I’m tempted to be afraid, remind me that You are always in control no matter what. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

*A re-post from Internet Cafe Devotions (www.internetcafedevotions.com), 5/21/2014

Maria I. Morgan is passionate about sharing the truths of God’s Word with today’s generation. Originally an inspirational author and speaker for adults, Maria has widened her circle to include kids. She lives in the muggy South with her husband, two retrievers, and two Maine coon kitties – the perfect mix to fuel her creativity for years to come!

(Receive the FREE audiobook version of her award-winning children's book, "Louie's BIG day!here. You can purchase a copy of “Louie’s BIG day!” on Amazon.  You can also find Maria's devotionals and download a free copy of her eBook, God Speaking, at www.mariaimorgan.com)

Friday, May 22, 2015

I Dare to Trust

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. (NKJV)  

I’m not great at memorizing Bible verses, but this one is hard wired into my brain. It speaks to me on so many levels.  

Eons ago, in our senior year book, the editors published one descriptive sentence under each of our photos. It could have been an expression we always used, a habit, or a current passion. “It’s MY life!” was my sentence. I must have said it often, and it later led to some foolish decisions. But it was the dawn of women’s liberation, and I remember the nights I looked out the 6th floor dorm window at the twinkling city below, believing anything was possible in this new era of equality. My adult life was beginning, the horizons seemed endless, and the last thing I considered was God and what his will for me may have been. 

But God has a way of breaking through the most stubborn hearts, and in time I learned (the    hard way) to seek his guidance first. That’s a foreign concept in this culture that tells us wisdom comes from within each of us, rather than from the Lord. Yet, when I

  • learn not to imagine the worst outcomes, but trust that God is in control, I am far less stressed.
  • stop and do not act, but wait a day or two so I can hear God’s soft whisper, I choose wisely.
  • speak with grace and love, I see anger melt.

Trusting God with my whole heart can be a challenge. My thoughts are not his thoughts, and what the Bible tells me may not be what I want to accept. It may not seem fair, or I may not understand why God’s way would work better than my plan. Yet, God is all powerful, all knowing, all good, all trustworthy; but “fair?”  I think the idea of fairness is a human construct. At age three, a toddler cries”It’s not fair!”
In the parable of the laborers, Jesus points out that he, as boss,  has the right to decide how much each person will be paid, regardless of the hours worked. That doesn’t seem fair to me. Yet God’s ways are sovereign and sure, and I need to trust him no matter what.
And there’s the promise that he will direct my path, or “make my path straight” (in the NIV version.) He will topple obstacles and hedge me within the boundaries of his protection. Sometimes, as a Christian writer, I write words that fire volleys into the cathedral of public opinion. Trusting in God, leaning into Scripture, I pray that my writing acknowledges him in all ways, that it goes where he wants it to go, and that it does what he wants it to do.
Website: Ecclesia! and Road to Emmaus blog at www.susanledoux.net

Monday, May 18, 2015

Angels Unawares

          Mandy Kniskern is our guest contributor today. Her days are filled to the brim with her two sons, six and four years old, and they are an adventurous duo. My heart is filled to the brim because she is also my daughter and Barrick and Brendon, my grandsons. The three of them, along with Ken, are enjoying life to the full each day with experiences that, without her observant mom’s heart, could blend in unnoticed in their surroundings. Her article below is adapted from a living journal of the boys’ lives on Facebook. 
          Thank you for stepping into my Jewel’s slippers with two such moments, Mandy. And “Thank You” for just being you…

I share this with a smile, and as I describe this for you, there's no judgment... just description so you can picture it and appreciate the scene. I love people in general and love the diversity among my friends, from all walks of life.
          As the boys and I parked at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter recently to deliver a duckling abandoned near our backyard, Brendon asked me why the other cars were there in the parking lot. I told him some people were bringing animals like we were, and some were coming to get animals for pets.
          As we were walking up the stairs to the entrance, there were several leather-clad friends coming down the stairs together, with colorful tattoos visible on their arms. As we got closer to them, Brendon spoke to the first one, a lady close to my age. She was wearing a black leather tank-style corset with cleavage barely contained. Brendon asked, "What pet did you get?" We all smiled, and she told him she'd brought a baby bird they'd found. A couple more stairs up, and he asked another leather-clad friend, "What pet did you get?" We stopped for a few seconds and all chuckled, then went on.
           I love the innocence and engagement in my boys. I'll smile and wave at anybody, but am often too shy to just start talking to people I don't know. Shyness is a luxury I rarely have anymore, and I love that my boys keep me engaging with others because they've already engaged. They help break down barriers without even knowing they're doing it. 
          Another thing happened the day I took Brendon on our impromptu trip to Bricktown (a section of Oklahoma City being revitalized from years of neglect into a thriving district in the Heartland). When we were walking along the canal, he had gotten slightly ahead of me. 

          There is an area under Chileno's where the wall is painted bright colors, and a place with several steps going up to nowhere ... they just stop under the overhang of the restaurant with a small platform to sit on. I saw him walk up a few steps, then sit down with a smile. 
          What I didn't see there in the shadows, until I got closer, was a homeless man sitting at the top of those steps, probably late-40s to early-50s. There was a walker with a basket parked beside him. I smiled and softly said, "Hi." He smiled back, then I walked up and sat beside Brendon on his stair, just a couple of steps below the man.
          As much as I wanted to take a picture of Brendon sitting on the steps close to that complete stranger, to preserve the sweetness and innocence of that moment in a picture, it didn't feel right to capture the man's misfortune in that way. Brendon and I sat just a minute or two while he chattered to me in the way he does, then we moved on.
          I struggle with how cautious to be around strangers ... wanting to be open, but still careful, especially if Ken is not with us. (There were a few other people around us that day.) Brendon is completely open to everyone, oblivious to any differences, and I love that. I just stay close by and pray for his protection as he grows older, and Barrick's - as they are wired the same - not wanting to squash that warmth, openness, and friendliness in them.
          All of this to say, I'm thankful for the way these boys minister and open doors for us to meet and engage with others we might not see the opportunity to do so with... even if it's just sitting quietly near someone who might not have that many people sit close by very often.

“Let brotherly love continue.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers:
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
(Hebrews 13:1-2, KJV)


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