My Haunted Home

Hauntingly lonely.  Those were the words that came to my mind as we walked in late after dropping our ‘baby’ off to fly away to school.

Having dropped her off very early that morning Jim and I  had spent a lovely day together, albeit punctuated by glances at the clock and calculations as to where Rachel would be by now…

‘Ah. She’s getting on the plane now…She’s realizing how tired she is…Oh. She’s arriving in Houston… Oh, she’s on the last leg of her trip—must be relieved and excited…Ah. She’s heading for the baggage claim and shuttle to meet the others.  So exciting. So tired..’

As her long awaited dream was taking shape before her eyes we were doing rather ordinary things… riding tandem in the balmy morning…sitting in traffic and more traffic…. shopping at at Costco… waiting for ferries, driving home…

But then we’d arrived home and oh how empty the house felt– hauntingly lonely. Mechanically, automatically as is our custom no matter how late we get in, we unloaded the van and began putting away our few things– toiletries, laundry, groceries in their old places, warding off words that might lead to disabling tears. It all seemed rather strange, this rattling around as a two-some in a house meant for a family.  But as part of the familiar process we checked the mail, and there was just the reminder I needed. Yes, our house is haunted. It’s haunted by grace.  God knew just what I’d need…

P1120529In the mailbox just outside the front door, tucked in with a letter for Rachel from a pen-pal, was a handmade card from old missionary friends we trained with.  Our babies were babies together and then our paths parted to far-flung places.  They are just returning to their post after sending their youngest off to university. The opening words were: “We have come to another chapter in our lives…”  How apropos! What am I whining about; their children are whole continents away!

It was a short note, a grateful one acknowledging the Lord’s goodness, grace, protection and leading in each of their children’s lives…and it closed with a prayer from Colossians: “that you continue to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (1:10)  Somehow it was just the reset that I needed, like a silent assurance that God sees, God is pleased, God has purposes yet for our lives. Continue to walk…  This is all we need to do. Just keep walking with Him.  Our roles may be changing but the underlying  purposes for our lives have not changed. We are still here to know Him and live for His pleasure, whatever that may entail.

We are not alone, never have been, never will be.  When Jesus went away He promised not to leave His disciples as orphans.  And so He hasn’t.  The Holy Spirit is alive and well here residing in us to strengthen, encourage and enable us to do all that He will yet call us to do, including living with contentment in every circumstance!  The Voice of God still echoes off the pages of His Word filling our empty moments with grace.  We shall survive and thrive in this our haunted home for His pleasure.


And may you too be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light!

–LS    P1120543

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Eph.3:20,21

Rejoice: It’s always the right thing to do

As the rhythm of my life changes with all the little ‘chirps’ nearly flown, and I wonder what the new tempo will be like, I’ve been reminded this week that it is always fitting to rejoice in the Lord.

When all else sways, moves, leaves empty, disappoints, here is One who is constant and unchanging. Everything else is subject to change but Him.  I’ve been realizing how much I have to rejoice in this week but also recognizing that my rejoicing has to go beyond these earthly reasons because they’re so fickle.  It was great to spend time with family, such a wonderful lot of family.  I’ve been so blessed. There are all sorts of joys and things to praise God for but I guess what I see is that  as we grow up so life’s victories and struggles get bigger too.  It’s as if the flip side of every praise is a cause for prayer. It can all seem too big for me and then I’m reminded: Rejoice in the Lord always.  He is, after all, the LORD of all of it!

Whether in Ezekiel or Ephesians or somewhere in between there are endless reasons to rejoice in the Lord. I’ve been collecting them this week. Can I share them with you?

For starters, we are members of His body!—He nourishes and cherishes us.  He gave himself up for us to sanctify us, to wash us clean with His word, to present us to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that we might be holy and without blemish. Imagine it. Believe it. Incredible! [Eph.5]

If there were nothing else to rejoice in today, this would be enough.

It is always fitting to rejoice in the Lord—this Lord who has us in His care, who counts us His own cherished sheep,

who gives life and hope where once there were only dry bones,

who softens hearts that once were stone,

who brings to repentance and restores relationships,

who saves His own from their backslidings and makes them fresh and clean,

who prompts and answers the prayers of our hearts,  [see Ezek.36]

who makes Himself known in unexpected places—in lions’ dens and fishes’ bellies, in storms at sea and  quiet walks…

This is our God. This is our LORD.  Aren’t you glad?!


I took a stroll in the woods this afternoon. It was too balmy a day to stay indoors—70 degrees with 70% humidity.  Splendid.  I huffed up the side of Scout to sit a while overlooking the Strait, couched in thick moss, barefooted, bare-armed, a soft breeze cooling my face…No agenda. Can’t see what’s ahead, only that change is imminent. Don’t know how to plan for it except to follow the Spirit’s lead and rejoice in the One who is unchanging…So I sat sketching roughly the scene before me—the graceful arbutus, the distant islands, the sea in between and the dark stands of fir trees– sketching as a means of slowing down to savor this moment, this beauty.  Then I started a scattered listing of reasons to rejoice in the Lord.  It looked something like this:

Rejoice in the Lord


faithful to love




mighty to save

a wonderful counselor


My Helper

My Refuge

In Charge




With me. Always.

And I pulled out Philippians for a read-through of this classic text on joy no matter what.  Paul commends rejoicing in the Lord as always fitting, always a smart safeguard.  Some days its easier than others. Perhaps these days recharge our batteries and re-set our hearts for those to come.  They certainly raise me above the temporary reasons to cheer or groan…

Meanwhile a hymn came to mind. I could still hear its echoes from last Sunday’s glorious rendition. We were back at our alma mater on the prairies with a host of folks who really know how to sing hymns—with energy and harmony and deeply felt confidence.  It gave me goosebumps and is still ringing in my heart.  I wrote down the words I could remember and had to look up the rest here. How fitting for such a setting as this afternoon’s:

1 I sing the mighty power of God
that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad
and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained
the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at his command,
and all the stars obey.

2 I sing the goodness of the Lord
that filled the earth with food;
He formed the creatures with His word
and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed,
where’er I turn my eye:
If I survey the ground I tread
Or gaze upon the skies.

3 There’s not a plant or flower below
but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise and tempests blow
by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee
is ever in Thy care,
And everywhere that man can be,
Thou, God, art present there.

–Isaac Watts 1674-1748

Amen and Amen! And that’s Someone worth rejoicing in, always!


What tops your list of reasons to rejoice in the Lord?  I’d love to hear.  Drop a comment in the box or send along an email…


Gratefully looking back and looking ahead…


For this week, please enjoy my thoughts in pictures at Sketches from Skeltons”.
We emerged with kids and grands from our houseboat vacation yesterday with goods in tow and dispersed to head to our separate homes to dig into routines new and old.  Jim, Rachel and I  will be a few more days visiting other family before returning to get Rachel to her plane and off to Bible school in Texas!  All sorts of thoughts and emotions swirling about these days but none coming to settle in words for now…
Perhaps an older post from last summer would be appropriate, especially in light of the fact that we sold ‘Chase Me’ just days before heading out on this week’s vacation.  Gratitude is a welcome prescription for times like these.  I commend it to you:

Smelling Creosote

Chase Me

I woke this morning to the sweetly reminiscent smell of creosote—reminiscent of all my childhood years lived in close proximity to the historic Weston Canal, having to cross the Canal bridge with its creosote laden piers many times a week— for mail, for church, for the baseball field, for school day lunches, for just about everything of importance…ah yes, the smell of creosote. We are moored at the dock on Vancouver Island where we purchased our boat.

I wake to the scent of creosote, the dancing of reflected light on the V-birth ceiling, the subtle slap of water on the bow. No gnats in the night, no stifling stillness. It has been a good sleep. Eggs, bacon and bagel fried on deck to order. Brilliant sun, rising breeze, clear blue skies… the town awakes beyond the shelter of the harbor.

I’m reflecting this morning on the power of gratitude— to free us from the gremlins of bad dreams, bad moods and plain old self centered quagmires, to keep us from the discontent which so readily spawns a subtle idolatry of craving ‘more’, and to deepen our confidence and hope in the unseen which is our true inheritance.

Gratitude resets our thinking to the realities beyond the felt and seen.When I wake disgruntled from some inane dream there is no better antidote than giving thanks. This morning it is easy, beginning with the smell of creosote and the dance of light’s reflections… But more than this, once I run out of tangible sensory things, a conscious gratitude takes me beyond the seen and felt to my true inheritance. These are the unseen realities that will keep us from cravings that will ruin us.

As we blew into port yesterday, bouncing in a bit of turbulent water created by competing tides and wind I was reading about ‘winds of doctrine’ (Eph.4:14)besetting the church in our day, ‘varied and strange teachings’ (Heb.13:9) that have become commonplace in churches, replacing grace, replacing sound teaching, replacing the Gospel. The author suggests that our modern quest for tangible ‘spiritual’ experiences is not unlike Esau’s demand for pottage now to quell his appetite. In so demanding he ‘sold his birthright for a single meal’(Heb.12:16)

Basing his book on his own experiences and his own years of comparing Scripture with current practices, he makes many wise observations, but that is the stuff of a future book review.(The Other Side of the River—Reeves)  As I turned back to Scripture myself I was struck by the passage in Hebrews comparing the Israelites’ experience of God with what we have been given. It begins: “For you have not come to what may be touched.” (Heb.12:18) Mount Sinai was all about the tangible—blazing fire, darkness and gloom, whirlwind, trumpet blast, and audible words. What was the people’s response? It scared them to death and they begged not to hear or see, but to be given a mediator between themselves and God.

And this Mediator is precisely what we have in Christ. He is the image of God’s glory, revealed to us. He is our high priest, our mediator, the One by whom we have access to God—the God who ‘knows what you need before you ask Him’. The passage in Hebrews goes on to describe in lofty language our inheritance—”the city of the living God”, the heavenly Jerusalem, myriads of angels, “the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven”, and to God, the Judge of all, and to “the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant”…(Heb.12:22-24) We have all this. But how much of it is visible here and now?

How difficult it is to wean our souls from wanting more than we perceive that we have, from wanting that which we can see and hear and feel. But surely gratitude is a first step in that direction. And that is how this passage winds up. First it reminds us that what is unseen is also unshakeable. When all else is destroyed, (as will be these bodies and all their senses,) the unseen Kingdom of God will remain…”Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb.12:28)

So as I sit and smell the creosote, and feel the warmth of sun and freshness of a sea breeze, I will give thanks and then keep on giving thanks till I have gotten beyond the tangible to that which is unseen but forever sure—my place among the righteous made perfect in the heavenlies with Christ Jesus, the Captain of my Soul.


P.S. Thanks for checking in here, even when I’m late posting ( :

The God who chases us

[Of fish and other means of being made willing to do God’s will…]

File:Pieter Lastman - Jonah and the Whale - Google Art Project.jpg
 “Jonah and the Whale” by Pieter Lastman (1583-1633)

We are getting ready this week for a family houseboat adventure, the likes of which we have not had since our firstborn graduated and was on the brink of leaving home…Fitting conclusion to a round of graduations.  This time the kids are initiating and organizing the event!  In view of the opportunity to have grandkids about to tell stories to, I was re-reading Jonah’s story with a view to telling it to Chase…It’s such a classic children’s Bible story…but really, it’s so much more.

I’d just barely started the story when I was struck by the preposterousness of this statement:

“Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” 

Now, maybe there’s something I don’t know about Tarshish, but really, is there anywhere we can get ourselves to where the LORD is not present?  And would we really want to?  Sounds like Hell to me. But  I guess it all depends…Jonah really didn’t want to do what God had chosen him to do. After all, he was called to warn his enemies of impending doom.  Why warn them? He would rather see them destroyed! But knowing God as he did–this gracious God, who is “merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster”…(4:2) well, Jonah had a bad feeling about this. God was likely to let the Ninevites off the hook and Jonah didn’t want any part of it!  The alternative was to try to part company with the God of the universe, his Boss. He tried. 

Adam and Eve could have told him this wouldn’t work.  God comes seeking. “Where are you?”  giving us the chance to acknowledge what we’re doing in trying to hide from a God who sees everything, and what we’ve done that has made us want to hide!  He draws the confession from us so that fellowship can be restored.  He is gracious.  Jonah knew this, but wasn’t willing for that grace to extend beyond himself, so…he ran and tried to shut out the presence of God by going to sleep in the hold of a ship bound faraway…

David too, had spent his time in the joyless camp of doing his own thing in conscious defiance of God’s commandments.  The pleasures of his sin were short lived it seems: “day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” Ps.32:4 This too was a mercy of God.  It led David to admission of his sin and a longing for the joy of God’s presence to be restored. “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice…Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from your presence… Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Ps.50:12

Ahhh that’s just what Jonah needed, a willing spirit, willing to do what God had chosen him to do.  Willing to go to Ninevah and preach and give his enemies a ‘heads-up’ so they could escape destruction and discover God’s mercies…

David could have saved Jonah the effort of trying to escape God’s presence.  He knew what Jonah was about to find out.  Consider his Psalm 139. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. (Ps.139:7-10)

Humanly speaking, if I’d been Jonah’s mother, I’d have despaired that God could ever use him, sighing at  the reality of man’s free will.  How is God going to have his way with that boy when he’s determined not to listen?  Well, but God is God and His will prevailed.  Granted, Jonah did get to the coast.  He bought the ticket and got on board the Tarshish-bound ship.  He maybe even thought he was ‘home-free!’.  But no.  Not so long as God was in pursuit.  The God who made the heavens and the earth and all that is in them—the sea and ‘the great sea creatures’…this God was watching.  This God knew what Jonah needed, a heart-change.  He could have let him get away and live out his days in the misery of having chosen his own way, but He intervened, for Jonah’s sake and for the Ninevites’ sakes.

Before Jonah would make peace with His God there had to be a storm, a fearing for life itself.  A surrender of his escape plans. “Throw me overboard”.  And a commodious fish to house him while he rethought things….“When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you…” Jonah 2:7.  He remembered God’s steadfast love—that love that doesn’t give up on shaping us to be what He intends, that will not let us go, no matter how uncomfortable the chase gets.  Jonah knew God to be his only hope and in his distress he cried out to God.  Done with running, he cried ‘uncle’, or should I say, “Lord!”.

Only then did God direct the fish to regurgitate its unpalatable load on the beach, for a chance to make good on his desperate vows, to demonstrate with his life and his message that ‘salvation comes from the LORD!’

Once again God gave Jonah his marching orders: “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 

This time Jonah obeyed, despite his personal objections. He fulfilled his calling, begrudgingly.  We know the rest of the story. We know Jonah’s heart wasn’t in his mission.  Nevertheless, God accomplished His purposes through Jonah’s life. There’s encouragement here. This is more than a whale of a tale for grandkids to know. 

It’s for anyone who’s been reluctant to follow God’s directions,

for anyone who’s felt quite useless in His hands for whatever reasons,

for anyone who’s doubted that God can soften a hardened will and direct a life’s destiny despite bad choices and wrong attitudes. 

Our God is merciful and slow to grow angry.  He loves steadily and is eager to suspend judgment, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance—even His own reluctant children.  But He’s not opposed to using means, even storms and fish.  We can be glad of that; He is a God who pursues us for our own best good and His greatest glory.

As I write here tonight, I’m remembering our first old sailboat.  I christened it: Wings of Dawn, taken from Psalm 139 and the double meaning found in my middle name also being Dawn.  It was replaced four years ago by a trimmer vessel, one we named in honor of the birth of our first grandchild, Chase.  We called the boat: Chase Me and made many happy memories on board.  Well, we sold that boat today; but I’m reflecting on an aspect of its name I hadn’t thought of until now.  Aren’t you glad we have a God who is more than willing to chase us down, when we are unwilling, when we are surly, when we are a hazard to ourselves and everyone around us… He pursues, and persuades, and transforms our hearts, making us willing to do His bidding.  Salvation truly is from Him.

“But as for me, I will look to the LORD;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
my God will hear me.” (Micah 7:7)


In Your presence is fullness of joy…Ps.16:11 Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Mt.28:20 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Phil.4:4 Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress. Ps.71:3

“Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” –sailors bound for Tarshish with Jonah (Jonah1:6)

“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” —David Ps.139:17

“Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.” Ps.32:10

There shall be showers…

Yes indeed, after a record-breaking stretch of pure sunshine, with scarcely a drop of rain through all of July and into the first weeks of August, the rains have returned.  For the first time in ten years tonight’s Blackberry Festival street party was rained out   We were there, forking down our annual blackberry cheesecake as the sprinkles started and jostling our way through umbrellas and soggy others in hasty retreat under a steady summer’s shower within the hour…Ah well, perfect illustration of my chosen text.  I found it this morning while digging through Ezekiel—the words to that very old hymn I haven’t heard sung in years: “There shall be showers of blessing”  (Do you know it?).  They just popped off the page in the most unlikely of places.  So that’s where those lyrics came from!

I had taken a detour from Ezekiel because I find it heavy reading.  I’ve visited Psalms, and Colossians and let’s see, Timothy and Corinthians…anything to avoid picking up where I left off in Ezekiel.  But this morning I returned to Ezekiel with a fresh tool in hand, a COMA plan, something I was introduced to this week while reviewing a nifty new  Bible study guide called WALK:How to Apply the Bible. Coma is not what you’re meant to go into as your eyes glaze over amidst passages pronouncing oncoming doom and gloom.  COMA is actually an acronym meant to remind me of helpful steps to take when reading any Bible passage.  Let me share it with you in hopes I’ll get it down right.

C is for Context.  Context is not everything, but almost!  It is, in my opinion, one of the most neglected rules in Bible reading and study.  It’s so tempting to scoop up a line or two that says just what I want to say (or hear) and paste it onto my situation as a promise of happily ever after… while completely disregarding the context, the attached condition, the original recipient of this promise, or even the actual meaning of the passage as made clear by what follows. In snapping up happy phrases in this way, we miss out on so much more.

Take for example the #1 verse for graduates:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer.29:11)  Very nice, reassuring.  Happily-ever-after here we come!  But don’t miss the context!  Israel is heading off into 70 years of captivity, not a rosy future! It will take this long before they are ready to pray and seek God with all their hearts. Then He will come to their rescue, delivering them from their captors, restoring them to their own land. Ironically, there were plenty of prophets in their day glad to tell them happy things—don’t worry, you won’t be taken away to Babylon, everything’s good… and this verse falls plunk in the middle of a passage declaring otherwise. They would indeed suffer, but the Lord would bring them through to repentance and deliverance.  The wider context is far more valuable than a vague ungrounded ‘happy’ promise…

But where was I?  Ah yes, Ezekiel.  Sometimes in reading Ezekiel I feel as though I were out back trying to turn old weed-ridden turf into a garden bed.  In the instance I’m thinking of, the plot had apparently been a previous owner’s personal dump.  There were rusting bolts and mysterious hunks of iron and crusty wires.  There was an old purse and lots of plastic garbage that had not yet succumbed to rotting.  I even found, believe it or not,  a piece of petrified wood, looking every bit like a stick but hard as rock!.  That rivaled my other best ‘finds’– a series of quaint old bottles, surprising little beauties–an old ink bottle, a slim perfume(?) bottle, a chubby white glass bottle—all treasures I eventually emptied of mud and scrubbed up to make useful.


Digging through old prophecies is sometimes like this for me.  Seems like just tough slogging without much that feels ‘useful’ or pertinent to me, then out pops a verse that shines and makes it worth the digging.  Ezekiel 34 is like this.

Ezekiel was the prophet who was with the people of Israel at the start of their captivity in Babylon. They haven’t yet humbled themselves or repented.  Thus Ezekiel’s job…tough slogging.  Chapter 33 presents Ezekiel as watchman, doomed if he doesn’t warn his countryman of coming judgment (7-9).  The people are ‘rotting away’ because of their sins(10).  Judgment has come upon them.  They are being called to repent but it rolls off their backs like another country love song(32).  Bleak stuff.  Chapter 34 commences with God’s railing accusations against Israel’s leaders.  They’re abusive profiteers, not the shepherds they are meant to be.  This is the historical and immediate context.  I’ve got it, and I don’t want to read anymore doom or gloom…this is oppressive.  God is dead serious about sin.

The O in the COMA formula is for Observations.  Things like: God is dead serious about sin.  Got that.
God gets angry when his people are not led and fed well.  and look at what He intends to do!  Look at all the I WILL’s… and even a “Behold, I, I myself will…” God is coming to the rescue on no uncertain terms! “I will search for my sheep… I will seek them out…I will rescue them… I will bring them out and gather them…I will bring them to their own land.  I will feed them…I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep and I will make them lie down.  I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak.  And UH-OH, I will destroy the fat and the strong, feeding them in justice! I will judge between sheep and sheep, rams and male goats…

Observations may include looking for themes, repeating words or ideas, truths about God, or anything striking.  Well, this chapter just keeps getting sweeter.  Pretty soon, with God as shepherd, the wild beasts are banished from the land  and the people are all safe in the wilderness and may ‘sleep in the woods’. I love that.  Sounds like a camping trip with no threat of bears in the park, (or bears wrecking fruit trees and stealing the harvest!).  I have an inkling what a wonderful feeling this would be, as we are watching plums and pears and apples ripen right now, never knowing if/when they will be ravaged by night or if we will get to enjoy them…

There is lots here to observe, but the verse that jumped out at me is the one where God promises to make his people a blessing and to send rain in season—’showers of blessing’(34:26).  The rain will make the fruit trees and gardens flourish.  There will be no more famine, no more fear, no more captivity and they will ‘know that I am the LORD their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, …my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God,’ declares the Lord GOD.(34:31)  So, the hymn writer wasn’t must making this phrase up ( :  There shall be showers of blessing!

But I’d better be moving on here to the M in COMA. The M is for MESSAGEWhat is the message God is communicating through this passage, not only to the original audience (the context) but to me.  Is there a timeless principle that transcends time and place? In other words, yes, the original audience is Israel in captivity and God did indeed deliver them and plant them in their own land, not once but twice.  There is in our day the nation of Israel because God has kept His promises.  But more than that, the greater promise was to give them ‘one shepherd’ to take care of them, one in the line of David… They looked ahead to this promised One. We look back to the birth of Jesus, the One who would say, “I am the good shepherd.”  The One who would gather both Jews and us non-Jews into His fold.  The One who most importantly would become as one of us, a sheep, led to the slaughter defenseless—because a good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.(Jn.10:11)

These are all part of this passage’s message.  But in a more general sense  what stands out for me is that God is the One I’m dependent on for showers of refreshing rain, for fruitfulness, and even for the discipline that leads to repentance so that the blessings may follow.  I am just a sheep in His pasture, completely dependent on Him for sustenance, protection, and productivity.  The credit is all His!  He’s the shepherd.  My part is to respond to His prompting.  To repent when I’m made aware of sin and perhaps even to soak up the rain He sends so that He can produce the kind of fruit He’s after!

Which has led me to the A in COMA?  The author proposing this ‘formula’ is a Pastor intent on seeing his flock live out the Word they are taking in.  So A is for APPLICATION.  It’s not enough to come up with  ambiguous insights.  He says I’ve got to boil them down to something personal and specific that I can write down on paper, pray about and act on!  Hmm… this is clearly my weak spot.  I will gladly scrutinize contexts, examine details, glean principles, and wax eloquent but how will  my ponderings be galvanized into solid action?  How will I take these ‘finds’ from my digging and turn them into life-beautifying treasures?


Now that is something to ponder…and pray about!

Will you join me?

Ink Bottle


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…Eph.1:3

The acronym COMA is elaborated on in: Walk: How to Apply the Bible (James L. Nicodem, Moody Press, 2013, 132pp), the fourth and final book in his excellent Bible Savvy series!  For reviews of all four see my book review blog (“A Few Good Books”) at:

Showers of Blessing

There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy-drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

There shall be showers of blessing,
Precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys,
Sound of abundance of rain.

There shall be showers of blessing;
Send them upon us, O Lord;
Grant to us now a refreshing,
Come, and now honor Thy Word.

There shall be showers of blessing:
Oh, that today they might fall,
Now as to God we’re confessing,
Now as on Jesus we call!

There shall be showers of blessing,
If we but trust and obey;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
If we let God have His way.

–Daniel Whittle, 1883