The Power of “Will”

Posted on Apr 11, 2016 in Faith | 0 comments

IMG_4332Happy Resurrection Day, Readers! Following is a copy of my recent e-mail newsletter:

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).

First, thank you to all who responded to my Christmas message about “bending our knees” to experience God’s great and miraculous power. At the end of that letter, I mentioned God showed me something else I wanted to share. This Holy Week–reflecting on Christ’s crucifixion and rejoicing in His resurrection–seems the perfect time.

The setting was my New York hotel room, late at night. It had been a long, fun-filled first day at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, and I was now in bed, exhausted but happy to be watching on television my favorite player, Spain’s Rafael Nadal, in his second round match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini. For many years “Rafa” had been my favorite; besides being one of the most winning singles players in the history of men’s tennis, he’d always displayed exemplary sportsmanship on court and humility in post-match interviews. To see him play in person here at the Open would surely be the highlight of my trip.

But my “day pass” hadn’t included this night match, so I was watching on TV. As much as I wanted to stay awake, it was almost midnight, and my eyelids were wanting to close more. But that was okay; Rafa had won the first two sets and was ahead in the third. He’d hopefully win this set and the match, and I’d be able to see him play in the next round.

The next morning, while preparing to leave for the National Tennis Center, I caught a glimpse of ESPN’s “BottomLine.” I couldn’t believe my eyes.

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A Christmas Message: “Bending Our Knees”

Posted on Jan 8, 2016 in Faith | 0 comments

IMG_4303Happy New Year, Readers!  Following is a copy of my Christmas 2015 Newsletter… its content to be enjoyed any day, all year long!

“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.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end….The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

This past September I had the pleasure of attending the U.S. Open and watching some of the best tennis players in the world.  A lover of sports competition and a tennis player since my youth, beholding a fantastic Grand Slam tennis match is for me a slice of heaven.  The norm, of course, is watching these gifted men and women on television, so to be up close and personal–witnessing how hard and how beautifully they smack the ball–was truly a treat.

But even more than the thrill, God surprised me by using these professional athletes to speak to my heart.  The late Yogi Berra’s statement, “You can observe a lot by just watching,” proved true.  For three days I watched the best of the best.  While my mind absorbed common traits of world-class tennis players, God showed me ways we can live the best in relationship with Him.  Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).  On Christmas Day we celebrate God’s most precious gift to us of Jesus, but I think having life “to the full” means unwrapping and cherishing that gift all year long.  Getting to know “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” each and every day (Ephesians 3:18).  Even if you’re not a tennis fan, I encourage you to read on; our Creator’s “coaching” is for us all, and because His “tips” are founded on love and truth, they always lead to victory.

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A Letter to My Beloved Bella

Posted on Apr 30, 2015 in Faith | 2 comments

Screen shot 2015-04-29 at 4.25.44 PMTo my beautiful, beautiful Bella,

How I miss you.  I can’t believe it’s been a year since you’ve been gone.  Not a day has gone by I haven’t thought of you and your funny, silly, disobedient, precious ways.  How you’d look at me with those eyes, wagging your tail, asking me for more food (again), with that “smile” on your face.

As much as my heart has ached missing you, the worst pain has been watching Bolt miss you.  You were a wonderful mom, Sweet Girl, cuddling your son and playing with him.  I’ll never forget how he audibly cried for three days after you died.  He would look for you, confused, and cry.  It broke my heart.  I gave him stuffed animals about your size to cuddle with, and he still sleeps with them today.  He and we all love you so much, which is why we miss you so much.

Although images of your sudden, tragic death will forever sadden me, I choose to think of the countless times you made me smile.  The day we brought you home, when you went to the bathroom on William’s lap.  When we found you sleeping in the sun–in a flower pot.  How you’d bark and bark and dig and dig in the sand at the country house, trying to get some reaction from the turtle.  How you’d move your bowl around the kitchen floor with your nose, signaling to me it was time again to eat.  How you’d start licking something you had disobediently been chewing when you realized you’d been caught in the act.

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Why Jesus Gained “First Love” Status in My Life

Posted on Feb 10, 2015 in Faith | 2 comments

IMG_2717Dear Readers:  Following is my latest email newsletter which was sent yesterday–February 9, 2015. 

Today is a special day in my life.  It’s not like Mother’s Day that others would notice, or like my birthday that those closest to me would remember.  Really, no one else would know of this day’s significance.  But in my heart of hearts I’m on Colorado mountaintops, declaring gratitude and joy.  The Bible tells us:  “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.  Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts….Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles….” (Psalm 105:1-2, 5).  I love singing to Him because I am thankful.  I do remember.  And on this day that I celebrate 30 years of journeying with God, I want to “make known…what he has done” in hopes that my sharing might in some way encourage you.  Specifically, I’d like to “tell” why Jesus gained “first love” status in my life (Revelation 2:4).

I invite you to join me as I rewind three decades, back to February 9, 1985, when, as a teenager, I walked into a Christian bookstore here in Colorado Springs.  Within my mind lay “a mustard seed” of belief that there was something or someone much greater than I, watching over me, caring about me (Matthew 17:20).  I wanted to know more.  I wanted to know God.

I had come to buy a Bible.

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First Love FITNESS, Week Five – His Grace is Enough

Posted on Oct 20, 2014 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 4 comments

IMG_2021As I’ve listened to my class members share their physical and spiritual struggles, I’ve noticed a common thread. Personal challenges may look different, i.e. getting out of bed in the morning to have quiet time with God, or setting foot in a gym to work out, or not giving in to the temptation to eat a cookie, but at the root of all these trials really seems to be the same issue: self-discipline. We can know in our mind and desire in our heart what we want to do, but we still have trouble implementing our good intentions in our flesh.

I don’t think our difficulty with self-discipline surprises Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus was “overwhelmed with sorrow,” He asked three of His closest friends to stay awake and keep watch for Him but they repeatedly fell asleep (Mark 14:34). Peter, James and John couldn’t do the one thing Jesus asked of them, when He needed them most. To His sleeping friends Jesus said, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Mark 14:38).

Centuries later, His words still define our struggle with self-discipline.

And God knows our weaknesses go beyond what we’re willing to admit. He knows we sometimes keep our issues in a deep, dark place called shame. Someone reading this may be struggling with pornography or alcohol or anger, or not having an affair; for this person, self-discipline can seem more than difficult. It can seem impossible.

But do you believe that “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37)?

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First Love FITNESS, Week Four – “Just Rest!”

Posted on Oct 10, 2014 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 0 comments

IMG_1951A benefit of writing your own study is that you get to decide what to say and when to say it. Even though I’ve led “First Love FITNESS” before, I continually ask God what He would have me teach for the upcoming lesson. I trust He hears me and will answer according to HIS plan.

At the start of this week–which was really just a blurry continuation from the end of last week–I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and discouraged. Probably what Jesus calls “weary and burdened” (Matthew 11:28). There were so many things I felt I “had” to do, that I didn’t think I even had time to write to my prayer team, asking for prayers to help me do them.

Does life get crazy-busy for you sometimes, too? Even when we’re filling up with good things (as we discussed in Week Three), it can feel we’re going, going, going. Jesus understands: “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he (Jesus) said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’ (Mark 6:31).

In the midst of my own personal chaos, God had just given me the topic for Week Four. I’m a major proponent of Nike’s slogan, “Just do it!” but I also desperately need to remember my First Love desires I “Just Rest!”

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