Fishing for the Right Words

My grandfather loved the sea. He’d built a sailboat, but what he enjoyed even more was the small cabin cruiser on which he spent the happiest days of his retirement fishing for flounder. An introvert and engineer, he was a patient, soft-spoken man. I imagine he liked fishing in large part because of the quiet it afforded him to think his thoughts in peace.

My father also loved boats, but did not have the same high tolerance for passively waiting in solitude as did my grandfather. My grandmother was fond of repeating the old saying: “Patience is a virtue, have it if you can; seldom found in woman, never in a man.” Although I didn’t perceive it at the time, she was probably

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What Are You Focusing On?

I think I must be going a bit cross-eyed. Am I crazy to look up at the sky and think that God is still pouring forth speech?

It started several years ago, a few days before I was due to fly to Houston to speak at my second CrossWise Living retreat. As my brother relaxed on the front porch of his log cabin in the Hill Country near Austin, he glanced up in the sky and was quick enough with his camera to grab a shot of this amazing cloud pattern. He texted it to me and joked that this was a biblical pillar of cloud leading me to Texas.

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Splendor like the Sunrise

Instead of New Year’s resolutions, some of my friends have found a simpler way— asking God to help them choose just one word as a focal point for change and growth for the year. As the year turned, I pondered this, wondering if a single word would come to me without forcing it.

It did: Focus.

And so today I am focusing my attention on what God might have to say to me in this photo of a splendid sunrise.  

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Advent Meditation on Longings Fulfilled

We don’t always wait in vain. Faith and patience inherit the promise. Sometimes  we get a holy hint of what is to come.

My first and long-awaited grandchild was born in June . Yesterday , as I sat gazing at a photo of her, anticipating her first visit to California for Christmas, I was struck by its great significance. In the picture, Summer Adelle is being proudly held by her great-grandfather. My dad is a crusty old Swede, a sailor whose relationship with strong drink shaped my world. But God does hear

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What I Really Want

Even more than the ability to eat dark chocolate almonds and croissants all day without gaining weight, here is something I really want:

  • Favor with God
  • Favor with people
  • A good reputation.

I suspect this is what you really want too, even if your momentary craving is for just a few minutes of air-conditioned peace and quiet, with a carton of coffee Häagen-Dazs and a spoon.

This week I found a verse in the Bible that tells me exactly how to get what I want.

Proverbs 3:3-4(NLT) says:

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!

Tie them around your neck as a reminder.

Write them deep within your heart. 

Then you will find favor with both God and people, 

and you will earn a good reputation

Be Loyal. Be Kind. Then everyone, including God, will be pleased with you. That sounds a simple enough recipe for happiness.

But is it really that easy to pull off?

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