Monthly Archives: June 2014

Preparing for Ramadan


Yesterday millions of Muslims began their yearly 30-day fast for the month of Ramadan.  It is a strange time to be in the Middle East.  The rules are different.  Life is different.

Yesterday, my friends went to their local market to buy tons of food in preparation for their first night’s futuur, the breaking of the fast.  They will boldly walk through the day without food or drink believing that it pleases God and, therefore, will add to their “good” account which will allow them passage into paradise.  They will cook a humungous meal in anticipation of when the call to break the fast will resound throughout the city.  People will race home from work, desperate to fill their empty stomachs the second it’s allowed.  Then, for a few moments, there will be silence throughout the mega-city.  The only sounds heard are of utensils scraping plates as Muslims all over the city concentrate on what’s directly in front of them.

I, too, must prepare for Ramadan.  I don’t go to the market to buy hoards of food, but I do stand before God and speak the names of my Muslim friends.  I arm myself with a prayer guide and remember that as the month goes on I will find myself fighting an intense spiritual battle.  I relax my schedule so that I can spend more time in prayer and worship.

Tomorrow the day will replay itself.  And the next day and the next day.  And by the end of the first week people are tired.  They’re weary of waking before dawn to eat enough food to last them the entire day.  They’re tired of staying up extra late to eat while the sun is down and it’s permissible.  They leave work earlier and earlier because they’re just too tired to stay.  The heat of the midday sun drains their water and their energy.  They’re dehydrated and angry.  Three more weeks to go, they say.  They wonder if they can make it.  They long for a cigarette they can’t have.  They see their children scarfing down McDonald’s and wonder if God will notice one french fry.  And then they remember that they are committed to Ramadan.  I am a Muslim, she says.  This will please God, she believes.

The same will happen for me.  Each day a little more intense than the day before.  I will fight against anger that somehow creeps in.  I will wonder if I can make it through another year’s Ramadan.  I will ask God why I live among Muslims.  And he will answer.

In as much as Ramadan is difficult, it’s beautiful as well.  I love invitations to futuur.  I love hearing about their beliefs and reasons for fasting.  I, too, fast, I tell them.  Really?  They can’t believe it.  And I tell them of a love for God that I have that makes me long to hunger even more for God’s presence than for physical food.  I tell them that God loves me and does not require fasting of me.  But that he does desire my whole heart.  So my fasting isn’t obligatory but a choice I make.  Just like I choose to praise God.  Just like I choose to pray.  Just like I choose to love my husband.  It’s hard for them to understand this through the veil of rules and obligations.  And yet the truth is there.  Ready to embrace them when their eyes are finally opened.

Will you pray for Muslims with me during this special month?

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The Secular Within the Sacred

playing church

When I was a little girl, I used to play church. I’m a pastor’s kid, so church was a major part of my life. Some might find my congregation of Pound Puppies sacrilegious, but to my young mind, I was reliving the joys of a place I loved. For me, there was no distinction between the secular or the sacred. I loved playing church and I loved watching Sesame Street. I could even do them simultaneously. I could work on a page on phonics while singing “This Little Light of Mine.” Life was a jumble of prayer and play time and worship and reading and church and all of it involved Jesus. I knew that at certain times during the week I went to a building we called church and that at bed time my parents would pray with us, but life was lived all as one. There was no dividing line that said this is the time for me to spend with Jesus and that this was the time for play. It was all intertwined.

I wonder when that changed.

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Blessed: Thoughts on the Beatitudes


A few years ago, I listened to Dr. George O Wood speak on the beatitudes from Matthew 5:3-12. I still reflect on his words often. I hope they minister and challenge you like they do me. His words will be highlighted.

The word “bless” means that God approves this and in consequence there’s an inner joy regardless of the consequence.

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My Home


Moving to a new city means hours of wandering around finding this store or that necessity. The other day I had a specific list of places to find as I dodged mopeds, hopped over the results of donkey carts pausing for passers by to look at the owner’s wares, avoided strange puddles in this desert city, and averted my eyes from young men trying to get my attention.

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12 Ways God Works for Us

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“God helps those who help themselves.” “Maybe you need more faith and that’s why you didn’t get [fill in the blank].”


Tell that to my friend who was persecuted mercilessly by her family because she decided to follow Jesus. Tell that to my friends who were put in prison for sharing the Gospel. Tell that to me in the deep sorrows of my heart.

No, we are all desperate people unable to do anything. We are broken.

And God is all powerful.

He knows our limitations and so, as it says in Isaiah 64:4, “acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” We recognize our weakness and seek The Lord. And he shows up. Every time. Maybe not how we anticipated. Maybe not to fix things the way we want. But he’s there working. Because we can’t.


And so I find myself pondering Scripture as I delve deeper into the character of God, feverishly writing verses that pop off the page into my “Sword of the Spirit” journal. This journal only has Scripture in it. No words of my own, only God’s. And it reminds me of all that God is.

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