Monday, March 30, 2015


This is the most holy week of the Christian calendar. Most churches will have special services this week to recount the events of the first Holy week, to commemorate the Last Supper, to honor our Lord's agony in Gethsemane, His betrayal and arrest and His suffering and death on the cross to redeem us. And three days later his resurrection!

Let the meaning of this week sink in to your soul in a deeper way than ever before. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you the amazing significance of this event in history. Wrap your mind and heart around the fact that Jesus, God in the flesh, the son of God, lived a sinless life, taught profound lessons in love, showed us God's unchanging character, and voluntarily died to save you and me. And he rose again. He's alive!

We can't stand in God's presence in eternity without Christ's blood covering our sins. Here's what Scripture says about the effect of Jesus sacrificial death on those who are in Christ:

God has forgiven you all your sins: Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over His own head on the cross. And then, having disarmed all the powers ranged against us, He exposed them - shattered, empty, and defeated-in His final glorious triumphant act! Colossians 2:13b-15

            On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
            the emblem of suffering and shame,
            and I love the old cross where the dearest and best
            for a world of lost sinners was slain.
            So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
            till my trophies at last I lay down;
            I will cling to the old rugged cross
            and exchange it some day for a crown.

In Christ,


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Events of Holy week in Scripture

We will be blessed this holy week if we read, study, meditate and pray on the events of this week as recorded in Scripture. Today I’m listing Sunday through Thursday. Meditate on His life as you read through these events.

Sunday: Jesus “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem occurred on Sunday with Jesus riding on a donkey fulfilling Zechariah 9:9’s prophesy. “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See your king comes to you, righteous and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” See Matt 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:29-44, John 12:12-19.

Monday: Jesus is anointed (for burial) at Bethany (John 12:1-9) and he clears the temple of the money changers. (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-48)

Tuesday: His authority is questioned. Matt. 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-8. And Jesus teaches in the temple. Matt. 21:28-23:39, Mark 12:1-44, Luke 20:9-21:4.

Wednesday: Judas plots against Jesus. Matt. 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:3-6

Thursday: Jesus and His disciples eat the Passover meal, the Last Supper, the first Communion. Matt. 26:17-29, Mark 14:12-25, Luke 22:7-38, John 13:1-38. Jesus says to his disciples “This is my body, broken for you, do this in remembrance of me.” In John 14:1-16:33, He comforts the disciples, and in John 17:1-26 He gives His high priestly prayer, praying for them and for us – for our unity in Him.

This is a holy week with much to ponder about Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

Blessings in Christ, Dottie

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Palm Sunday Baptism

Early in the morning Dot lay in bed thinking about the special Palm Sunday ahead. She glanced out her window enjoying the sunshine, then noticed snow on a tree limb. She jumped out of bed and ran to the window. Snow covered everything in sight. Who ever heard of it snowing on Palm Sunday?

Dot and her parents and younger sister walked to church through a foot and a half of snow. So much snow had fallen that the streets hadn't been cleared. Dot enjoyed Sunday school and worship and, though attendance was low, she knew it would be an extra special day.
That night Dot and her family walked to church again through the snow. Dot's heart beat a little faster than usual now, in anticipation. She remembered the minister’s description of Palm Sunday with Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a little mule. The people had strewn palm branches in his path and shouted with praise and joy, "Hosanna to the King!" The minister said they should do everything with love and joy and praise for Jesus in their hearts and shout "Hosanna to the King."

When they arrived at church Dot went to a little room next to the sanctuary. Her friends were already there and women from the church helped them get dressed. Dot slipped into her white robe and just then the organist began playing the prelude. Dot's heart beat a little faster, because she knew this was such a special moment in her life - one she would always remember. Dot was going to be baptized that night.

The service began. Dot's best girl friend, Kitty, went first and came out dripping wet, but smiling. One of the boys went, and then her turn came. She stepped into the water slowly and confidently. The minister took her hands. He talked about the meaning of baptism and asked her if she loved Jesus and wanted Him as her Lord and Savior. Dot replied, "Yes" in a low whisper, but her heart was beating a loud and joyous "Yes" within her.

Dot didn't fully understand all that baptism meant, but she knew Jesus was the Son of God and died for her and rose again. She knew baptism meant she would try to do whatever Jesus wanted her to do and she would be different because Jesus would live in her heart.

The minister said, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" as he gently let her down into the water. As she came up out of the water she heard the congregation singing "My Jesus I love Thee, I know Thou art mine" and she knew for the first time what that song meant.

After church she heard people say, "What a shame it had to snow on Palm Sunday." But Dot didn't feel that way. She knew this day couldn't be hurt by outward things like snow. That night she had proclaimed to all the members of her church that she wanted Jesus to be the King of her life - just as the people the first Palm Sunday had proclaimed him King. Dot wanted to do as the minister had said they should that morning and live with a song of love and joy and praise for Jesus in her heart always.

"Bless the King who comes in the name of the Lord!" Luke 19:38 NLT



Monday, March 23, 2015

Grief, Unbelief and the Resurrection

Q. I know Christians believe in life after death and they base this on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. I want to believe this is true, but my husband and unbelieving friends laugh at this. A number of our friends and relatives died this year. Death is so ugly. Life is so confusing. Jesus lived so long ago. How can anyone in today’s world really believe life goes on? How can anyone believe in the resurrection?   

A. Do you remember what the world looked like in February? Here’s a picture of my rose bushes – there were no roses under the snow. Nothing was there but dead branches. Death is ugly like the dead roses, and difficult to accept. 

Grieving with Hope          
We attended a number of funerals last year. All were funerals of faithful Christians. While funerals are not my favorite pastime they aren’t the worst activity either. We went to each funeral to show love and support for the family members, but each funeral also blessed us because of the faith of each family. These families believe in the resurrection. Losses are difficult and painful. Yet each of the families spoke with hope and faith about the loved one now being with God. The fact that these were Christian funerals made them a time of celebration, hope and rejoicing as well as a time of sadness at the loss of each person. 
Grieving without Hope
I’ve been to funerals where the families were without faith. These are really sad affairs. You live and you die and that’s it. There’s no eternal purpose to life. And certainly, there’s no eternal life afterward. It takes more faith to believe this than it does to believe in the resurrection of Christ. Though he lived a long time ago there is historical evidence that he rose again. There were many eye witnesses. The historical evidence is solid in Scripture and also in secular histories of that period.       
Believing in the resurrection                                                                    The song, “If You Could See Me Now,” was played at two of the funerals last year. The chorus of this song says: 
If you could see me now…
You wouldn't want me to ever leave this place,
If you could only see me now.
Nature reveals the truth of the resurrection. Remember how my roses looked in December? Here’s how they looked last May. How can we see these evidences in nature and not believe in the resurrection? This takes more faith than unbelief does.

Christ died and was buried in the tomb – he was as dead as my roses. He rose again! He’s alive. Ask him into your heart. Ask him to help you with your unbelief. Read his Word. Ask a Christian friend to help you believe in the resurrection. Visit a Christian church during this Easter season. The pastor and members will answer your questions and help you believe in the resurrection.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26 NIV

Blessings, Dottie

Monday, March 16, 2015

How to Stay Christian in College

Q. I'm a senior in high school and I can’t believe my high school days are almost over. I have a close knit group of Christian friends and will miss them. I know many college students have little or no faith in God. What can I do to prepare for living in a secular environment? How can I stay Christian in college?

A. Your question is an important one. Many Christian students lose their faith while in college. In fact, I lost my faith while in graduate school. I drifted away from God – I didn’t plan it; I just drifted away. I didn’t find a church nor did I join a Christian group on campus. Don’t let this happen to you.

In order to stay Christian in college it’s essential you find a Christian group of friends on campus who share your faith. It’s also essential you find a church on campus and become involved there. You need other Christians and they need you. No matter how busy you are with your studies and other activities make your Christian connections a priority. Without these, it’s doubtful you will stay Christian in college. The secular atmosphere over four years will infect and dilute your beliefs. Even if you manage to stay Christian in college without a church or Christian group your faith will not grow. College experiences with other Christians will help you become mature in the faith.
In college you will likely be exposed to many new ideas, beliefs and teachings. Some of these will refute the existence of God and teach you about “scientific discoveries” that challenge Scripture. In addition to skepticism about faith in God you will be exposed to many differing views on dating, sex, profanity, cheating, drinking, drugs and more.

In addition to having your own Christian community on campus to help you stay Christian in college I recommend you read three books:
·       How to Stay Christian in College
·       Ask Me Anything
·       Ask Me Anything 2

All three of these books are by J. Budziszewski (aka Professor Theophilus), a college professor. Budziszewski’s books are beautifully written and very entertaining. They include information on other beliefs, biblical insights and much practical advice. Budziszewski is a philosopher and skilled at explaining in a logical way how to stand firm in your faith and how to defend it in a secular environment where it may be questioned. He gives reasoned, direct, thoughtful Christian answers to the most difficult questions students (and all of us) face in today’s world. This includes practical tips on navigating almost every aspect of living on a college campus including dating, sex, and roommate issues.

The Ask Me Anything books are written as a dialog with a “student” in person or by email. The topics in these books range from dating, living arrangements, premarital sex, and homosexuality to how to respond intelligently to post modern, atheistic professors. I learned much from his answers and enjoyed his light hearted and caring yet tell-it-like-it-is replies. Every chapter speaks to students about the issues they face and the questions they have and will help them think logically and “Christianly” about their own life and circumstances. These books along with involvement with Christians on campus will enable you to stay Christian in college.

Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always keep your conscience clear.” 1 Timothy 1:19 NLT

Blessings, Dottie

P.S.  Are you looking for graduation gifts? Give the books listed above.

Monday, March 9, 2015


Q.  My wife and I have been married for 30 years. We can’t resolve an issue that we’ve struggled with many times. We work it out for a while and then it pops up again. I love my wife but I’m not sure I can stay in our marriage any longer unless we resolve this. What do you suggest?  Are there good reasons to stay together?

A. There are many good reasons to stay together. All couples have some recurring difficulties at some point in their marriage. They stay together, in spite of the difficulties, for a variety of reasons. Some couples stay together because they made a commitment to each other and to God when they got married.

Some stay because it’s too hard to leave. Some stay because being married is better than being alone. Some stay but have given up on their marriage. They ignore the problems; they go their separate ways yet remain married. Some couples split and then wish they hadn’t. Their conflict blinded them to the good in their relationship. 
You may be interested in a book Married People - Staying Together in The Age of Divorce by Francine Klagsburn. The author studied long term marriages and came to the conclusion that there are some long-term marriages; she called “survivor marriages”, in which couples are resigned to continue to live together.  Marriages in which there is satisfaction and excitement she called "creative marriages." Most lasting marriages include some "survivor" times and some "creative" times. Even the most creative marriages will have some empty spots or lulls. Also, a seemingly empty marriage may actually be built on deep attachments.
A marriage of 30 years lasts, in part, because of the positives in the relationship, because of the “creative” times. Are you focusing on this one problem and forgetting many other areas or times in your marriage that have been good?  
Some couples split, marry someone else and find the same issue or issues coming up again in their new marriage. The conflict between you has something to do with you as well as with your wife. Leaving won’t solve it and will be more painful than staying.
Many couples stay because they have grown up and matured in their marriage; they have struggled and worked out differences. They love each other and are content though they know they may have new struggles in the future. 
In a poll done by Psychology Today magazine, a man married for twenty plus years said, “Commitment means a willingness to be unhappy for a while.”  Commitment also means we are willing to work on the relationship; we are willing to put time and effort into resolving issues, even 30 year old issues. 
Joseph Campbell in his book An Open Life describes marriage as an ordeal. It’s an ordeal because we must give up some of our self-centeredness; we must surrender or sacrifice our own wants. Life is simpler alone. We can do as we please without paying attention to the needs of others. In marriage we must give ourselves continually, over and over to the relationship.
Life is a learning process. We learn not when things are easy but when they’re difficult. When we have to struggle we grow. Perhaps God designed marriage to force us grow rather than to make us happy!  Look on the differences and difficulties in your marriage as opportunities to learn and grow.
The Third Option educational group or the Weekend to Remember can help you get unstuck and can help you regain a contented, growing love for each other.  I also recommend you read Love Is A Decision by Gary Smalley and Love Is A Choice by Drs. Robert Hemfelt, Frank Minirth and Paul Meier. Christian counseling can also help couples who are stuck.

“Be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.” 1 Peter 3:8 NLT

Blessings, Dottie

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Reviews on Time, Aging, Death, Grieving & Heaven

I’ll be reviewing a series of books on time, aging, death, grieving and heaven. This is part one. There’s much to learn here.

Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders 
by Mary Pipher, Ph.D.

Another Country is an outstanding, valuable book for anyone concerned about parents or grandparents who are aging and need help. The book is beautifully written – it’s a New York Times best seller. Pipher, a clinical psychologist, is knowledgeable about seniors and researched this subject extensively. She comments on the fact that our culture has changed dramatically – people are living longer yet our culture worships youth; families live at great distances from each other leaving grandparents isolated and alone.

Pipher offers many vignettes of adult children and their aging parents. Some of these stories demonstrate the helpfulness of a counselor in thinking through tough family decisions and in solving contentious family relationships.

Pipher invites us to overcome our aversion to thinking and talking about death and helps us understand elders. She says adult children live in “different time zones” from their parents and this causes difficulty understanding each other. Throughout the book she emphasizes the need for intergenerational community and offers ways to implement this. There is a wealth of information here for all generations to learn from and put to use in their relationships with each other. It is also a delightful book to read.

When Your Family’s Lost A Loved One: Finding Hope Together
By David and Nancy Guthrie

When Your Family's Lost A Loved One is a very insightful book about the difficult topic of grieving and loss. The Guthries share their experiences in losing two babies. In addition to telling their story of loss, they interview several others who have faced a difficult loss and they include information from experts. There are chapters on Her Grief, His Grief, Helping Kids Cope and ideas about handling birthdays, holidays and death days – and on remembering. This is a valuable resource for Christian families.

Beyond the Scars: Daring to Live Forward 
By F. Elaine Olsen

Beyond the Scars describes one woman’s journey of faith through the shock of a diagnosis of breast cancer, painful surgery, and difficult treatments. Olsen gives an honest, vulnerable account of her emotions and describes how she held onto her faith. She discoveed valuable faith lessons in her suffering – lessons that will help many others with any type of suffering. This beautifully written book contains forty devotional chapters with scripture, prayer and questions to ponder. Buy this for friends in similar circumstances.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Blessings, Dottie