For Tired Young Moms

Maybe it’s the midsummer blahs. Maybe it’s the heat. But I’ve seen lots of tuckered-out posts from TYMs (Tired Young Moms) lately. Those posts reminded me of a TYM I saw in Giant Eagle.

She was in the checkout lane next to mine. She was very pregnant, pushing a loaded cart, with her exuberant three-year-old daughter twirling all around her. The spinning child bumped the magazine rack, knocking several magazines askew. The weary mommy straightened them, saying, “Cassie, please stop spinning!”

Cassie stopped for half a second and said, “But Mommy, don’t you hear the music? It’s bee-you-tee-ful! Doesn’t it make you want to dance?”

Her mom glanced over and saw me smiling sympathetically, returned my smile and said, “No, it makes me want a nap!” Read More

#11: Lessons Learned

Welcome back to our study on Mark. We’re on a mission to know Jesus better. So glad you’re here! Pick up your Bible and read on.

Read Mark 1, letting your mind wander back over all we’ve discussed during the past several weeks.

As the Word made flesh (Jn. 1:14), Jesus came to speak God in human terms—to demonstrate how God would live as a man, so we can know how to live like God. If God was a man, what would His priorities look like? How would He treat His fellow man? How would He handle temptation, anger, betrayal? How would He manage His time? What would He do when, in His humanity, He wanted one thing while the Father wanted another?

Jesus came to show us, and He did it perfectly, without a single sin. If we want to be godly, we can confidently follow His example. Jesus said—and quite literally meant—”If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him…. Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (Jn. 14:7,9 NIV)

Through Mark 1, we’ve caught flashes of understanding. Let’s take a quick look back at Mark’s first chapter, so we don’t miss lessons learned….

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#10: Touching Lepers

Hi! So happy to be with you again to study Mark’s gospel. If you’re just joining us, you’ll find earlier posts from this series in the archive. Each week we add another piece to the portrait of Jesus—the Word made flesh. Each week we understand a bit more about how God would live as a man (see week 1). Grab your Bible and come along!

Read Mark 1:40-45.
Also read Matthew 8:1-4 and Luke 5:12-16.

Jesus had left Capernaum and begun traveling through Galilee. In one town a man came, falling to his knees before Jesus. “If You are willing,” the man pleaded, “You can make me clean.” Gasping, the crowds drew back when they saw the man’s condition. He was a leper—an untouchable.

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Praying Psalm 29

I love a summer storm! Our back porch is my favorite sheltered storm-watching spot when rain pelts, thunder rumbles, and lightning flashes across the sky. Maybe, like me, you enjoy watching from a safe place—or maybe you fear storms, happy when they pass and the sun shines again.

As a boy, David surely watched many storms (common in Judea in certain seasons) from the shelter of shallow caves or rocky overhangs as he tended his father’s sheep near Bethlehem. Later he wrote Psalm 29, turning the storm to praise as he likened the power of God’s voice to a storm—thundering over the waters, powerful and majestic, breaking the cedars, striking like lightning, shaking the desert, stripping the forests bare, and twisting the mighty oaks. Many pagan cults of David’s time had gods of storms, thunder, lightning or hail; David recognized his God as Almighty Lord over it all.

No Fear

The final two verses of Psalm 29 assure us that enthroned over the flood and the storm sits the Lord, giving strength to His people and blessing them with peace. In Himself, He possesses power mightier than any storm we face, allowing us to stand calm and fearless, peaceful in the tempest.

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#9: R & R With Purpose

I’m so glad you’re back for another post of our study on Mark. We’ve set out to know Jesus as the living Word, who “speaks” or expresses God in a way we can understand. (See the first blog in this series.) The best way to know God is to know Jesus. Let’s find out more. Get your Bible ready!

Read Mark 1:35-39.

Jesus had spent a busy evening with the people of Capernaum. He’d healed and cast demons from many of them. The excitement among the townspeople was at fever pitch. As thrilling as it was from a spiritual standpoint, the physical side of Jesus was exhausted. We would have been desperate for a long night’s sleep—but Jesus knew where real rest was found. Read More


In John 6 is a Bible story many of us have heard since we were children. A hungry crowd had been listening to Jesus teach for hours. The only food to be found was a little boy’s lunch, meant to feed his own growling stomach. The boy willingly surrendered his five barley rolls and two fish to Jesus.

From that small offering, five thousand men—besides women and children—were fed. (Most estimate the total number to be around 20,000!) They ate until they were satisfied, then watched as twelve baskets full of leftover broken bread were gathered—much more bread than had been given to start with.

Jesus looked on hungry people with compassion, and filled them. They marveled at the bread and fish He produced, grateful and amazed at His generous provision. But in reality, they had been feasting all day! They’d spent the day listening to the Messiah feed their souls, long before a small boy shared his lunch. The miracle we remember involved physical food, but the best satisfaction had nothing to do with bread and fish. Read More

#8: Healing In His Wings

Centuries before the Word became flesh, the prophet Malachi wrote, “…The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings.” (Mal. 4:2 NKJV) Today we’ll see another facet of Jesus—as Healer, the Great Physician.

Jump in as our study of Mark’s gospel continues. (If you’re new, you’ll find previous entries in the archive.) Do you have your Bible ready?

Read Mark 1:29-34.
Also check out Matthew 8:14-17 and Luke 4:38-41.

Jesus had just left Capernaum’s synagogue after freeing a man from demon-possession. The crowd had seen firsthand Jesus’ power and authority.

If you’ve ever lived in a small town, you know how word spreads. By evening, the whole town had heard of the morning’s event. They went out en masse, looking for Jesus. They eventually found Him at the home of Peter and Andrew (brothers, and disciples of Jesus), where he’d already healed His first “patient.” Read More

A Heart Connection

Two weeks ago, Jim and I were invited to attend a dance recital. It featured students from a large local dance studio—55 acts’ worth. Some of the acts were impressive, some were so-so. Some were cute as could be, especially the tiny dancers. I watched folks in the crowd around us read through the program, play games on their cell phones, talk quietly with their neighbors, or lean their heads back and sleep. It was a long evening, nearly three hours long.

Of that three hours, seven minutes grabbed our full attention—when two of the tiny dancers on stage were our granddaughters. Suddenly our minds were alert, cameras were focused, eyes were eagerly watching every move. Amazing the difference, when there was a heart-connection involved!

I couldn’t help thinking of the times I’ve watched people during Bible studies or sermons, their eyes glazing over, shuffling papers, playing with their cell phones, fighting sleep. I admit there’ve been times when I’ve done the same. Even during morning devotions, our minds can so easily wander.

The difference comes when our hearts are connected. Then our focus is strong. We’re alert and listening for God to speak. I want to be ready to hear His voice; I don’t want to sleep through it!

Here’s my pledge to approach future times in the Word with a ready heart.
• I’ll pray. Whether my personal study time or group opportunities, I want to spend a few moments in advance asking God to open my mind to His Word and my ears to His voice—to open a vital heart-connection between Him and me. I’ll ask, “Lord, what do You want to say to me right now?”
• I’ll open my Bible. I’ll bring my Bible and make the effort to look up scriptures, not just sit there.
• I’ll take notes, even if I only record one or two key thoughts.
• I’ll follow up by thinking about what I’ve learned, praying about it and looking for at least one way to put it into action.

What about you? Do you establish a focused heart-connection? How? I’d love to hear your ideas!

#7: When Satan Goes to Church

Hi! So glad you’ve joined us for Knowing Jesus, our study in Mark’s gospel. Last time, we looked at Jesus as a teacher. Today, we’ll see how He handled a demon in the synagogue. What happens when Satan goes to church—and finds Jesus there? Pick up your Bible and let’s see!

Read Mark 1:23-28.
Also read another view in Luke 4:33-37.

One Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in Capernaum’s synagogue (the Jewish version of a church building). The people were listening closely. Suddenly a loud, mocking voice rang out. “What is there between us and you, Jesus, Nazarene? Did you come to destroy us? I recognize you—Holy One of God!” There in their midst stood a man they knew, breathing heavily and sneering at Jesus, his eyes full of hatred—or was it fear? Read More

#6: A New Kind of Teacher

Thanks for joining our study, “Knowing Jesus!” Today we learn a bit more from Mark’s gospel. Pick up your Bible and read on!

Read Mark 1:21-22, 27-28.

When Jesus taught, astonishment was a common reaction. People who’d sat in a synagogue every Sabbath for years knew they were listening to a teacher like none they’d heard before!

What was it like to hear Jesus teach? Can you imagine the power of hearing the Word of God taught by the living Word? He taught with authority because He is the Author!
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