Fruit of the SpiritBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23


My mother was a Shakespearean fan. She could recite many lines from the Bard’s plays from memory. When I was a young girl, Mother taught me the following passage from “Hamlet”: “To thine own self be true, and it shall follow as the night the day thou shalt not then be false to any man.” It took me many years to understand what my mother was trying to tell me. I finally figured out that the passage had to do with character. When a person recognizes her own values and is comfortable with who she is, it is important for her to remain true to those values. If she is able to stand for what she believes in and not falter in the wake of negative peer pressure, she has indeed grown into herself. At first, this philosophy seemed somewhat selfish or even narcissistic to me. But as I matured myself, I realized my mother was giving me an important tool to use throughout my life.


As Christians, we can rewrite Shakespeare’s words slightly: “To our Lord be true, and it shall follow as the night the day we cannot then be false to any other person.” Those of us who choose to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and believe that He is the Son of God realize that our relationship with Christ helps us in human relationships as well. What Jesus called “the fruit of the Spirit” (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) provide us with the basis for dealing with others in a fair and just manner. Shakespeare had a good idea; he just needed to give God the glory.


Lord Jesus, we thank You for teaching us how to allow You to love others through us. Stir in us the desire to see others as You see them. Help us to be true to You so that we cannot be false to those around us. Amen


Yeonmi ParkIt is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1


“The spark of human dignity is never completely extinguished,” says North Korean refugee Yeonmi Park. “Given the oxygen of freedom and the power of love, it can grow again.” Yeonmi should know. In her memoir, In Order to Live, this courageous young woman tells of her former life growing up in Hyesan, North Korea in the harsh reality of oppressive communism. In 2007, she and her mother paid a smuggler to help them escape to China. Along the way, they were treated brutally and the freedom they sought eluded them. But they persevered and were eventually reunited with Yeonmi’s older sister, Eunmi, who had successfully escaped before them. In 2014, Yeonmi told her story at the One Young World Summit in Dublin. Her memoir quickly followed.


As I read about this amazingly fearless young woman, I thought, “How would I have coped if I had been her?” It is so very easy, as I sit in my warm and comfortable home, in the security of a free society, to disregard how people even in modern times have to fight for what I am blessed to have each and every day. I cannot imagine what must have gone through Yeonmi’s mind as she traversed unknown land, hungry, tired and humiliated, in the dark with only her hope of freedom as her motivation. It is individuals like her that truly demonstrate how strong the human will to live can be. As Yeonmi says, freedom is oxygen, and those of us who have it must never take it for granted.


The apostle Paul told the Galatians to “stand firm” and not let themselves “be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” We must keep the light of hope alive in our own lives and in the lives of others, lest Christ’s atoning work on the cross be lost. Our freedom to love our Lord was hard won. Will we be part of keeping His love alive so others can grow in Him?


God of Wholeness and Wonder, stir in us the passion for freedom and love for which You went willingly to that cross. Amen

Rat Rods



So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27


According to Wikipedia, Rat Rods are a style of hot rod or custom automobile built to imitate or exaggerate “traditional” hot rods, or period-correct restorations of original hot rods built in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. Some people think Rat Rods are built of junk parts. Pat Ganahl, a rat rod enthusiast and writer, is quoted in the Wikipedia article: “What I personally call Rat Rods, (is) a positive term… They’re artistic, fun, and sensational reinterpretations of late-’40s/early-’50s hot rodding as a culture that includes music, clothing, hairstyles, and tattoos. The cars are low, loud, chopped…with giant rear tires, lots of carburetors, open pipes, and tall gearshifts.” Rat Rods are easy to recognize because they are so outlandish in appearance and noise. If you’ve seen one, you know this!


Although God did give “rat rodders” the talent to create these crazy vehicles, He stands firm in how people are created: in His image. The Bible doesn’t say God created us to be “sensational reinterpretations” of Himself, and certainly we are not built of “junk parts!” First Corinthians 6:19 says that our bodies are “temples of the Holy Spirit,” Who lives in those who believe in Jesus Christ. Some of us may be “low and loud,” and our clothing and hairstyles vary, but we are all God’s children, created to love and worship Him.


Next time you see—and hear—a Rat Rod, thank God by making a joyful noise to the Lord!


God of the Rat Rodders, cause me to know that I am created in Your image and my purpose is to do Your will, whether it be “traditional” or “on the edge.” Amen



Miss-You-This-Much-Clipart-ImageHow can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? I Thessalonians 3:9

Well, the blog just ended yesterday, and already I miss all of you! So many people want me to continue writing a daily devotional blog, BUT I just can’t commit to that for another year. I will, however, leave the link up and write occasionally when the Lord gives me something really great to write about (which really could be every day….). I wish all of you a joy-filled 2016 and I hope you will spread your joy to others, as I have tried to do with this 2015 blog.

Lord Jesus, bless all my blog followers and the people who have gotten the book (Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, Keep these wonderful people safe and active in 2016 and make it a year filled with all the good things You bring to us every day. Amen