More on Loving One Another

Charles Kingsley (12 June 1819 – 23 January 1875) was a priest in the Church of England, as well as a novelist and poet.  In this quote, he urges us to “love one another.”

“Let us see that whenever we have failed to be loving, we have also failed to be wise;  that whenever we have been blind to our neighbors’ interests, we have also been blind to our own;  whenever we have hurt others, we have hurt ourselves still more.  Let all of us at this blessed Whitsuntide, ask forgiveness of God for all acts of malice and  lack of charity, all blindness and hardness of heart;  and pray for the spirit of true charity, which alone is true wisdom.  And let us come to Holy Communion in charity with one another and with all;  determined henceforth to feel for one another, and with each other;  to put ourselves in our neighbors’ places;  to see with their eyes, and to feel with their hearts, so far as God shall give us that great grace;  determined to make allowances for their mistakes and failings;  to give and forgive, even as God gives and forgives for ever;  that so we may be indeed the children of our Father in heaven, whose name is Love.

For more on loving one another see these posts:

Love One Another

Wash One Another’s Feet??

Keep Loving One Another


The Story Isn’t Over ….

I was thinking recently about the fact that many stories in the Bible look pretty grim at some points.  For example:

Naomi’s husband and sons all die, leaving her alone and unprotected.  She returns to her home town, Bethlehem with nobody except her foreign daughter-in-law, Ruth to support her but ….. the story isn’t over yet.

Haman, a cruel advisor, manipulates King Ahasuerus into signing a decree that will lead to the destruction of the Jews.  Queen Esther’s only hope of saving her people is to go unannounced into the King’s presence — an offense punishable by death.  There is no way to know if she will succeed but …. the story isn’t over yet.

The boy, Joseph, annoys his older brothers so badly that they sell him into slavery in Egypt.  Things go well there for a while, until he is accused of rape and thrown into prison for years, but …. the story isn’t over yet.

Jesus is beaten and crucified on the cross.  His disciples scatter and hide in fear, but …. the story isn’t over yet.

God’s Word, the Bible, is full of stories that give hope to the hopeless.  That’s because the plan of God is to use even the bad things in our lives for good:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

The coronavirus has been causing havoc around the world.  People are sick, some have died.  Others are afraid or depressed.  Jobs have been lost and economies damaged.  Shortages and hoarding have become normal.  Things are reopening, but we still don’t know what’s coming next.  We only know that the story isn’t over yet.

Maybe right now things are not looking good for you.  This could be because of the pandemic, or something completely unrelated.  If that’s the case, take heart …. your story, and God’s story aren’t over yet!


What the Bible Says About Purpose by David Ramos–Book Review

I got this short e-book free through BookBub ( and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Of course, spiritual gifts and vocation are one of my big interests, but if you are not well versed on these topics, this would be a good place to begin.  It can be  finished in a couple of hours, and it’s chock full of good, biblically sound information about God’s will, God’s plan, and God’s timing as well as your purpose and calling as part of the Christian community and as an individual.

David Ramos lays his information out clearly and concisely.  It is well researched, with referenced Bible verses to support and illustrate his conclusions.  It includes:

  • Old Testament and New Testament verses that explain and clarify purpose
  • A definition of Biblical purpose
  • The difference between God’s will, God’s call and God’s plan
  • Lies and truths you may believe about your calling
  • Examples of good and bad waiting in the Bible
  • Examples of good and bad impatience in the Bible
  • Different types of calling as seen in the Bible

Of course, there is more.  The book also includes a list of more books by the author, a Guide for Growth in Difficult Times, some recommended articles on the web about finding your purpose, and a list of every verse about purpose in the Bible.

I looked up several of the suggested articles on purpose and found them to be engaging and helpful.  I was disappointed that one free resource mentioned for free download (5 Questions That Create Clarity) did not seem to be available any longer.  However, the author has a website with courses (at a charge) for further study.  You can check him out at

This would be an excellent book to read and discuss with a small group.


For another book by David Ramos see these posts:

You’re Part of the Story

Step by Step



Small Things

This is an article I wrote which will be appearing in the June Ambassador, the denominational magazine for the AFLC (Association of Free Lutheran Churches).  I would be interested to hear from other authors and readers about what their churches are doing to reach out to the community during the pandemic.

When I saw the notice in the May Ambassador requesting articles about what our churches are doing to help the community during the pandemic, I felt a little depressed. I wish I could say that here at St. Paul’s in Leitersburg, we are doing great things for the Lord. However, we’re small and have many elderly members, so our abilities are limited. Then I realized our size and our resources don’t matter – the Bible tells us that even small things can be used in a big way by God. We just have to be willing to give what we have, like the little boy with his loaves and fishes.

So here are some small things we have been doing at St. Paul’s:

  • We have a little free library. The emails I get as a steward of the library mentioned that many were removing books from their libraries, due to the fear of passing infection by books being borrowed and then returned or replaced by many people. Some stewards were turning their libraries into “blessing boxes” by filling them with paper goods or other needed supplies. We decided to put canned and boxed food in ours, posting a note to “Take What You Need.”
  • This past year we started a Youth Ministry for the teens who reside at a local mental health facility. Due to social distancing we are unable to see them, or even send them packages. Instead we encouraged our members to send notes and cards, asking for their prayer requests and telling them we loved and cared for them. We are also preparing a “goodie basket” of snacks for the staff.
  • A number of our members carry “blessing bags” of food, a small Bible and needed hygienic supplies to give out to the homeless we see as we run our daily errands. I find that I am giving out even more than usual right now.
  • We could not serve our scheduled meal at the local mission last month. However, we were able to prepare a dinner and drop it off.
  • One of our small discipleship groups is collecting plastic bags (the kind you get in the grocery store) so that they can weave them into mats to give out to the homeless.
  • Of course, we are trying to stay in touch and encourage our own members who are shut-in through cards and calls, and our prayer team is still active and taking requests, although not meeting in person.

I’m sure there are many other churches, community groups and individuals who are doing “little” things to help others. They may not seem like much in the face of a global problem, but they mean the world to each person they touch. The Gospel, after all, is spread by one person speaking to another. So don’t be discouraged. Do the small things you can, and trust God to use them.

” Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4:10 (New Living Translation)


I had a dream the other night about being lost.  In fact, I have recurring dreams of this sort — I’ve lost my purse, my keys or my car.  I’m lost in the Mall or at a school and can’t find my class.  Along with the “lost” feature, I’m also usually worried because I’m going to be late.  I call them “anxiety” dreams, and it turns out they’re not uncommon.  Many people have them.

It recently dawned on me that maybe there’s a reason so many of us feel lost in our dream lives.  It could be quite simple — we feel lost, we worry about being lost because we ARE lost.  It tells us this quite plainly in the Bible:

All we like sheep have gone astray”  Isaiah 53:6

We are lost because we are displaced, never quite feeling quite at home in this life, as Peter acknowledges in this exhortation:

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” 1Peter 2:11

We are constantly searching for our permanent dwelling place:

“For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” Hebrews 13:14

On the surface we may seem comfortable in the life around us, but unconsciously we know that we were meant for something different:  a life described in chapter 21 of the book of Revelation.

“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:3-4

Until then, we’ll always feel a little bit lost.  We’ll always be looking for something.  We’ll always be unsettled.  Or, as St. Augustine once wrote:

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”


A Mother’s Love from the (in)courage community–Book Review

This is another lovely offering from the (in)courage community, founded by DaySpring, the Christian products subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc..  In brief devotional essays, real moms reflect upon their experiences in parenting.  Some will make you laugh and others will bring tears to your eyes.  Bible verses, pages for journaling and Scriptural meditations are interspersed throughout.  There are attractive illustrations and a ribbon bookmark.

Subtitled, Celebrating Every Kind of Mom, you will find grandmothers, adoptive mothers, and those who have been like mothers all represented.  Sections include:

  • Love That Breaks the Mold
  • Love While Holding them Close
  • Love and Laundry
  • Love While Letting them Fly
  • Love Around the Table

I particularly enjoyed the essay about #Realmomconfessions.  For example, “I not only allowed my toddler to eat crackers off of the floor, I put them there because all the bowls were dirty”!  What mom has not had moments like this? (but been afraid to admit it!)

Although not limited to mothers of young children, this is the group to whom the book will appeal most.  I could imagine a mother answering the journaling questions and passing the book on to her own daughter when she becomes a parent.

VERDICT:  5 Stars.  This would make a nice baby shower or Mother’s Day gift.

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR part 255.

For other books from the (in)courage community see these posts:

Journey to the Cross from the (in)courage community — Book Review

Women of Courage: a Forty-Day Devotional — Book Review




And Speaking of God’s Victory ….

Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down is a Great Depression-era blues/country gospel song which was first recorded in 1931 by South Carolina evangelist Blind Joe Taggart.  It was later revived and recorded by several different artists, including Robert Plant.  I heard it recently for the first time and loved it.  Maybe you will, too.

Fight For Love by Rosie Makinney–Book Review

In this book Rosie Makinney describes her own struggle against her husband’s compulsive use of pornography.  It contains a wealth of information for others in the same situation.  Particularly interesting is the scientific research on porn addiction.  Like other addictions, the repeated use of pornography changes the brain, making it difficult for the addict to control his or her impulses or make good decisions.  Usage and degree of violent and abusive images tend to increase, as the addiction progresses.

Makinney claims that many churches and pastors, though well-meaning, are ignorant about the scope of the problem.  Therefore, they may offer little or poor advice to sufferers who because of shame  find it difficult to seek help.  She quotes alarming statistics about how many marriages and families are being affected adversely, and the internet, of course makes porn easier to obtain.  Education is a key component in fighting the problem.  She advises spouses to obey God by demanding complete honesty,  setting behavioral boundaries, seeking help for both husband and wife, finding a support group and practicing celibacy for a time as they develop true intimacy and can “reset” their expectations.

The final chapters deal with porn addiction in women and protecting your children from pornography.

VERDICT:  4 STARS.  I am too unfamiliar with the problem to comment on Makinney’s suggested tactics to combat pornography;  however, the scientific data offered is compelling, and the book includes a variety of websites and resources that will be helpful to anyone looking for help or further information.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, follow the link below:

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR part 255.

Victorious Faith

Evidently I’m not done with last month’s theme (victory) yet because I came across this quote from Edward Pusey.  He was an English, Anglican theologian and his ideas really resonate with me.

“Living and victorious faith is that whereby Christ dwelleth in our hearts.  But Christ will not dwell in our hearts, if we fill our hearts with things which He hates.  Yet is there then no victory, nor real faith, when the world holds a struggle with us, sometimes overcoming us, sometimes overcome?  In some things victory should be complete at once.  Sins of infirmity there may be;  sins against light there should not be.  To do willfully and knowingly what God hates, destroys faith, and hope, and love.  But so that thou art fighting against besetting sin, if thou art conquering thyself, thou art still Christ’s soldier, even though in thought, word, or deed, thou be from time to time, in lesser things surprised.  This, then, is matter of faith, that if we will, we can, by the grace of God, prevail over temptation.”

For more quotes from Edward Pusey see these posts:

Advice From E. B. Pusey

Have Patience

Being More Than Conquerers

Know Yourself/Know God


A Penitent Prayer

I recently read and reviewed The Duty of Delight (the Diaries of Dorothy Day).  At the end of the book, this prayer was included.  It had been found on a card inserted in her last journal.  It’s the prayer composed to be used during Lent, and it certainly speaks to me — the things I need to remove from my life, and the things I need to include.  Maybe it will speak to you as well.

“O Lord and master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth,  faintheartedness, lust of power and idle talk.  But give to thy servant rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.  Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother, for Thou art blessed from all ages to ages.

St. Ephraim the Syrian’s Prayer of Penance