How To Handle A Bully

What if you were being repeatedly bullied?  Every time you turned around, there was the bully and his gang and you were on the ground bleeding again.

Then one day, a new kid showed up.  He became your friend and he gave you advice on how to deal with the bully.

He taught you.  He gave you demonstrations of good moves to make.  He went with you everywhere.

One day the whole gang jumped you.  They told you, “Wait til your Daddy sees what a mess you are.  He’s gonna whip you worse than we are.”

While you were thinking about that, your friend came.  He stood up for you.  He defended you.  He took everything the gang meant for you.

He said to you, “Watch this, friend.  This is how you handle a bully.”

The gang beat him up badly.  In fact, it appeared they had killed him.  As you looked at his mangled body, a strange thing happened.

A light shone from inside him.  It was as if his outer body was falling away.  And you saw your Dad smiling up at you.  

He got up, dusted himself off, and said, “Now that’s how you handle a bully.  Let’s go get something to eat.  I’ll cook.”

In that moment, you realized it was him all along.  Your friend was your Dad.

Some people go through every celebration of Easter, never recognizing the bully was satan and their Savior Jesus was in fact their Father God.

He did not just send His Son.  He was in His Son.  And He is in you!

Jesus said, “I and The Father are One.”

John 10:30

Jesus said, “Whoever has seen Me has seen The Father.”

John 14:9

Paul said,  “He is The Image of The  Invisible God.”

Colossians 1:15

“On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you!”

John 14:20

Peter — Becoming The Rock

The story of Peter intrigues me.  Peter was a loose cannon.  He was more a collection of loose sharp rocks than a solid Rock.

Jesus, Who knew all, undoubtedly saw the future, including Peter’s temper tantrums and denial.

And yet Jesus chose him … fetched him out of a fishing boat … and trained him personally for the work to which God was calling him.

As much as Jesus saw Peter’s youthful arrogance, there was a moment when Peter understood he was powerless in The Presence of The One Who was All Power.

Perhaps Peter was caught off guard by Jesus’ question.  They were all just talking about who everybody thought Jesus was.

Jesus had said

“But what about you?” Who do you say I am?”

Matthew 16:15

In that moment, Peter knew The Answer.  I can imagine the words just gushing forth from his mouth, perhaps even surprising him.

“You are The Messiah, The Son of The Living God!”

Matthew 16:19

And with that, Jesus told Peter who he was … why He had chosen him … who he would become when he was perfected in God’s Time.

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven. 

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.”

Matthew 16:17-18

Peter followed Jesus.  His passion never wavered … but his passion was often not focused in the right direction.

He thought he could walk on water.  He couldn’t alone, but he could with Jesus.

He tried to dispute God’s Plan for Jesus.  He couldn’t.  Jesus identified satan tempting him.

He thought he could stop God’s Plan by force.  He cut off a soldier’s ear in what he thought was a defense of Jesus.  Jesus rebuked him and told him to put his sword away.

And then … Jesus was about to be killed.  And Peter was powerless to stop God’s Plan … nor did he understand it.  

He was confused and afraid.  And he did the unthinkable.  He denied he even knew Jesus.

Jesus had told him he would.  He was sure he wouldn’t.  He knew himself … or did he.

A rooster’s crow threatened to condemn him.  The anguish of sin engulfed him.   An empty tomb stunned him.  Peter did not know what to do.  He felt more empty than the tomb.

And then there was Jesus standing before him, His Arms open wide.  It is not recorded what they said to each other, but I think Jesus would have said to Peter what He said about those crucifying Him.

“Father, forgive him.  He did not know what he was doing.”

Peter finally understood what Grace felt like.  And he knew what he was called to do.  He was to teach his world the Joy of being forgiven.

His God given passion turned into passion for God … and upon that rock, God built His Church.

What has God called you to do?  Are you doing it?

When you know Who He is, you will know who you are and why you are here!

I invite you to reflect on the wonder of Grace as you listen to this song. 

In The Garden

Jesus not only prayed for those who were with Him in The Garden, He also prayed for us.

He prayed that we would all be one with The One.  

Tonight as I was listening to the song, In The Garden, I remembered my mother singing it to me.  As I closed my eyes and walked back down memory lane, I saw her in a beautiful garden.  She was singing that song.

But then to my surprise, I found others in that garden … those who are with me now and those I love, but no longer see.  They were all singing, “He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His Own.”

We are one.  Because we sing in different parts of the choir does not mean we are separate.  The One connects us all!

I invite you to close your eyes, listen to this song and take a stroll through The Garden with God and see who else is there.  (I share the link for the music, not the visual tribute to Elvis!)

Jesus said,

“My prayer is not for them alone. 

I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You.

May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.

I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are One — I in them and You in Me —+so that they may be brought to complete unity. 

Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.”

John 17:20-23

I’m So Glad You Are Here!

What a gift it is to be welcomed with gladness.

I remember my parents, standing at the door with eager anticipation when we came home to visit.

I remember waking Jay’s sleeping Dad with a kiss, and the look of delight when he awakened, and realized I wasn’t a dream.

I remember Jay’s smile when he opened the door of his apartment and saw it was me.

I remember our daughter’s delighted squeals of joy when I picked her up from day care.

I am so blessed to now experience the joy of a big smile from our grandson when he sees it’s me.

Today I got an eager welcome from the grandpuppy. There is no way to adequately describe the delight of the wagging tail and wet kisses.

Tonight as I reflect on the joys of being welcomed into the lives of others, I am even more awed that God delights in me.

We live in a world that does not always welcome us. We may not be included. We may be rejected and sometimes even attacked physically or stung by hurtful words.

Sometimes we are neither accepted or rejected. We are simply unnoticed. We feel invisible.

We may come to view God through the lens of how others see us or how we see ourselves. We may not feel the joy of our welcoming Father God.

The Truth is God loves us and delights in us as His Masterpiece. He planned for us long before we were born. He had big plans for us then and He has never given up on the day we will grow into all He planned for us.

God not only smiles when He looks at you, He also bursts into song. You are welcomed. You are loved forever!

Hear what God says to you.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; with loving-kindness I have drawn you to Me.
Jeremiah 31:3

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
Jeremiah 1:5

“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.”
Jeremiah 29:11

We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior.

He will take delight in you with gladness.

With His Love, He will calm all your fears.

He will rejoice over you with joyful songs!
Zephaniah 3:17

The Test

It had been a busy time for Jesus” Disciples. They had heard Jesus preach, feed 5000 people and perform miraculous healings.

Now it seemed time for a little R and R. It appeared Jesus wanted to be alone.

He sent His Disciples out on the water without Him.

They did not know it, but the teacher was about to give a pop quiz.

“Later that night … the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.”
Matthew 14:23-24

Jesus knew what was happening, but He did not immediately go to them and rescue them. It was not until just before dawn that He went to them, walking on the water.

If He knew they were in trouble (He is God. He knows everything.), why did He not go to them immediately?

Have you ever had that question yourself? Lord You know everything. So you knew I needed you. Why did You not come?

Jesus is The Master Teacher. He demonstrates how to live life. He holds our hands and supports us while we learn.

But the time comes when He steps back and sees what we have learned. The time comes when we need to walk instead of being carried.

It was now time for Jesus’ Disciples to practice what they had learned. Jesus was with The Disciples, as He had been all their lives. But He was not immediately visible to their physical eyes.

The question was whether they could see Him with their spiritual eyes and do what He said to do.

We don’t know what happened during that long night on the lake.

The winds must have been fierce enough that they could not turn around and go back to shore nor could they go to the other side of the lake. They were stuck.

In that dark night, the disciples realized how much they did not know. They found how much they needed not only a teacher, a healer, a guide or a rescue boat, but how much they needed a Savior.

And then as the dawn neared, there He was. Jesus came to them, walking on the water. They freaked out! They thought they were seeing a ghost.

Have you ever prayed for God to come and help you and then He came in a way you never could have imagined?

Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Matthew 14:27

Peter said, “Lord, if it’s You, tell me to come to You on the water.”
Matthew 14:28

Ever had those times when you thought, “Are You real? Prove it. Do something miraculous for me and I’ll believe You are here?”

Jesus does not need to prove Himself, but sometimes He will reveal Himself by giving us just what we think we want.

Peter got his miracle and a lesson he would never forget. He got baptized!

Jesus told him to come. Peter took the leap of faith. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was fine.

But when he looked around at his circumstances, his worldly mind said, “This can’t be right. I can’t do this!” He started to sink.

Ever been there? You get your miracle and then you look around and think this can’t be happening. You begin to sink.

Satan would love to yell, “That’s what you get, sucker. Made you look. Jesus isn’t really there.”

Immediately Jesus reached out His Hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:31

Like many stories, not every detail is shared. We really don’t know how quickly Jesus and Peter returned to the boat.

I like to imagine them skipping the waves together. Or perhaps Jesus went with Peter down into the water and showed him how many fish he was going to catch.

But whatever happened, “when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are The Son of God!’”

If you are stuck in a storm, know this.

Jesus is with you. Use your spiritual eyes to see Him.

Know that He may appear in ways you never expected.

When He says, “Come,” be ready to step into a world beyond anything you have ever known.

Keep your eyes on Him, not your circumstances.

Don’t doubt!

“Be sure of this. I am with you always!”
Matthew 28:20

Remembering Ella

The news of the promotion of a friend to heaven can bring both joy and sadness.  Such was the case when I learned of the passing of Ella Smith.

Ella and I were Nurse Managers at the VA Medical Center together.  We became friends as well as coworkers.

After retirement, we kept in touch until the last few years.  Now, as I am sure many others do, I remember Ella with love.

Ella held me up in more ways than one. Once she literally held me up.

I was nearly nine months pregnant.  I should have been off duty as the doctor had advised.  However, I thought I could waddle in for one more all day meeting.

Ella and I worked at the Leestown Division.  The meeting was at the Cooper Drive Division.  So we were not that familiar with the restaurants that supposedly were nearby.

However, Ella believed she had identified a good choice for lunch.  “Near by” turned out to be a relative term.  I reminded Ella of my special condition.  She assured me it was just a short walk and the exercise would be good for me and the baby.

Even though doubtful, I trusted Ella.  So off we went.  The restaurant was not where we thought it was.  Every time we stopped and asked someone, they assured us it was “just ahead.”

Finally we had reached the point where it was too far to walk back without stopping to rest somewhere.  I felt like I was about to deliver that baby right then and there.

Ella grabbed me by the arm and literally helped transport me into the restaurant when we finally made it.  

I then discovered it was a vegetarian health food type restaurant.  I am not a fan of vegetables or food I can’t identify.

Ella said, “Well today’s the day you eat something new because you need your strength.  I am definitely not carrying you back and I am not delivering that baby!”

After eating a lunch of what I would have classified as weeds, we began our journey back.  And yes, Ella practically carried me all the way.

For years after that, when we were having a hard day, Ella would laugh and say, “We can do this.  We’ve done harder things.  I carried a pregnant woman down Rose street!”

Ella was devoted to her family and friends.  I heard many stories about K.T. And Lamont, all told with love.

Ella was loyal to the people she supervised, even in the face of her own death.  Ella was on duty the day a man we all knew came to the hospital and killed his wife, who worked on Ella’s unit.

Ella made difficult decisions to protect everyone who was working.  And she comforted all those who survived that awful day.

We talked about death and the unpredictability of life.  We reaffirmed our belief that even though we did not know under what circumstances we would enter Heaven, we were sure we would.  And we were sure that when we both got there, we would have a grand reunion.

Ella, I look forward to that day.  And in the meantime, when things get tough down here, I will remember the times you carried me!

You’ll Never Walk Alone!

It amazes me to think of how music connects us. Song writers transfer the music they hear in their heads to maps on paper.

These maps are written in a special code with notes and symbols that allow others who come after them to replicate the songs they first heard alone.

But it does not end there. Others who read the musical maps sing the songs or play them on musical instruments. The songs are shared and passed on through time and space.

Songs can transport us back to other times. We often associate them with our own experiences. So when we hear the same song, we can be together and yet in different times and places.

Music has a profound effect on us. It can unfortunately make us angry or agitated. But the best music brings us joy and comfort.

My friend, Mary, was about to undergo a bone marrow biopsy. The Covid crisis meant her beloved husband could not be with her. She lay in isolation on the top floor of the medical center.

She asked the nurses to leave her blinds open so she could watch the lights of the helicopters coming and going. She prayed.

God brought a song to mind. She could only remember bits of the melody. She texted me and asked if I could help her.

I knew immediately which song it was. I sent her the link. As she listened, God assured her she was not and would not be alone.

As I listened and prayed, I thanked God for giving us that song that connected us in Him.

Tonight, as I am listening, I know someone needs to know they are not alone and never will be alone. If that is you, know that God has prompted me to send it to you.

And please pray about who needs to receive it next.

Here is the link.


I grew up in the land of porches. They were very common in South Carolina and Georgia.

There were front porches, side porches, and back porches. My grandparents’ house in Rincon, Georgia had a porch on every side of the house. It also had a porch on the second story.

Porches were an open invitation for friends and relatives to come and sit a spell, swap opinions on the limited world they knew about and philosophize a bit about Heaven and what we might have to do before we got there.

Porches were a place to sit and remember those who once sat on the porch with us, but now knew the up to the minute scoop on Heaven.

It was hot in the summers, but even after the coming of air conditioning, it didn’t stop the porch gathering. People needed the warmth of each other more than they needed the cool of treated air.

People got out their funeral home fans and fanned with one hand while sipping their sweet tea with the other. And whoever claimed the porch swing first got the benefit of an extra breeze from swinging.

Porches sometimes were places of reconciliation. My maternal grandparents ran a lumber mill. One of their friends got miffed about some business transaction and stopped speaking to them.

He passed their house each morning on his daily walk. He always looked the other way as he passed.

My grandmother sat on the front porch and remained unceasingly friendly, calling out each day, “Good morning, Mr. Smith!” He continued his silent pout and never spoke.

One morning, a pop up rain storm left him slogging past, drenched to the bone. My grandmother called her usual greeting, adding, “Would you like to come and sit awhile til the rain passes?”

He thought for a moment, and said, “I believe I will, Miss Nellie.” He came and they sat on the porch. By the time the storm cleared, their personal storm had passed too. They had frequent porch visits after that.

We live in a neighborhood where many people have porches. We have a wrap around front porch, a deck we call the back porch and a covered patio we call our lower porch.

In this time of pandemic, it has been comforting to sit on the front porch and talk to our neighbors at a social distance.

Sometimes we call to each other from our porches. It is our way of saying, “You are not alone. We are here for you.”

As they have always been, porches are a gateway to sharing life. That being said, I think I’ll go sit on the porch. It’s raining and it is the perfect spot to listen to the rain and smell the freshness that says spring is on the way!

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for The Glory of God!
Romans 15:7

Chasing Rainbows

A friend posted this fascinating picture of a rainbow taken by Lloyd J Ferraro at around 30k ft above the Earth. 

On the ground, we usually only see the arc half of the circle.  But at the higher level, it is revealed as a glorious never ending circle.

Life is like that.   We sometimes chase after rainbows, thinking there is an end.  Yet we never find it.

We think we know each other and yet we don’t.  In fact, I don’t even know myself.

But what Joy to know my Creator knows me completely!  And one day He will reveal more of Himself in me, as He says, “See, this is what I created you to be!  There is no end.  We go on forever!”

In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at His Reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see Him in His Completeness, face-to-face. 

Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now.

1 Corinthians 13:12

It’s Their Fault!

When something goes wrong, often the first thing we do is decide it is wrong.  Usually the next thing we do is decide whose fault it is.

Then we sentence the offender and decide what the penalty will be for their sin.

Most of us know how to be a judge, jury and prison warden for every day life.

What did Jesus say about judging?  He said, “Don’t do it.”

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Luke 6:37

He then went on to graphically illustrate his point.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? 

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Luke 6:41-42

When the woman was taken in adultery, the people were ready to stone her.  Jesus wrote on the ground.  We don’t know what He wrote.  We think it may have been a list the sins committed by those who would stone her.

Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  No one stoned her.

What if every time we had the urge to judge someone, we let Jesus judge us first?  What if we focused on repenting for those things for which God could easily judge us?

What if we gave up the urge to assign blame and simply asked The Lord what He wanted us to do about every situation?

When we refrain from judging and simply seek to understand, God responds in Love.  He knows our heart.  He knows the heart of those with whom we have issues.  He reveals things we could never figure out ourselves.

And always, He will lead us back to the revelation of our own sins.  Why do we not have the authority to judge?  Because we are not higher than anyone else.  

In God’s Eyes, all sins are equal.  We are on a level playing field, all sinners in the need of God’s Grace. 

When we repent before God for our sins, He gives us clarity of vision.  The person we judged looks different.

If we are not permitted to judge, does it mean we become doormats?  Do we just tolerate evil?  No!  It means instead of reacting as our emotions tell us to, we are still.  We acknowledge God our Father, Who is the True Judge and we do what He directs us to do.

There is only one lawgiver and judge, He Who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:12

Let all creation rejoice before The Lord, for He comes, He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His Faithfulness.

Psalms 96:13