All posts in Investing in Heaven

Dancing With Dolls

Life is full of surprises. And sometimes you get a blessing from a place you least expect it.

That happened to me today.

My husband and I–along with a friend–visited an older man from our church at the VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina. We’d never met him before.

We entered his tidy room with an attractive wood floor. He sat in his computer chair while we made our introductions. Jesus hats were placed on a display shelf along with pictures of his family.

“I’ve had three different kinds of cancer. The last one took my arm.”

The hour and a half flew by. He smiled a lot. So did we. We laughed and prayed, too.

“When I was six years old, a preacher visited my father in the field at our dairy farm and asked if I could attend Bible School at his church. At first, Dad said no but after 45 minutes he agreed just so he could get back to work. The catch was the preacher had to pick me up and take me home.”

He went on to tell of how his family ended up that attending church and coming to know the Lord. I wondered if the preacher that spent 45 minutes in a field ever knew the little boy who he picked up from Bible School went on to be both a preacher and a missionary.

The older man went on, “I try to enjoy myself and be involved. I’ve figured out how to move this thing around in circles, and back and forth.” He pointed to the motorized wheelchair. “So the other night, a little girl visited, along with her doll, Marianne.”

He smiled and leaned forward. “I had them attach the doll to my chair and I pretended to dance with her all around the hall. Everyone laughed and clapped.”

“But when Marianne the doll winked at me, that just cracked me up!” He threw his head back and cackled. So did we.

Soon it was time to go. As we walked out, he stopped us.

“I just want to tell you one more thing. At first, when they took off my arm, I had trouble, but then, I felt the Lord wanted me to praise Him for the loss of my arm. It took a while, but when I did, I got my joy back.”

I’ve paraphrased his words but I won’t forget them. In fact, when I arrived home, I shared them with my 94-year-old mama. We figured we should praise Him, too. Not just because we have two arms, but for all of God’s blessings and trials–which are blessings in disguise.

And we did.

And we had joy.

Thanks for that blessing, Ron.


Giving God’s Currency

It’s Christmas and my credit card is not in the red. In fact, I’m not using it at all. Here’s how Tom and I are celebrating this year. I shared some thoughts on mtlmagazine.



When the Roll is Called Up Yonder

The sound of the mellow horn rose from the hickory wood floor to the high ceiling. I began with My Jesus I Love Thee and ended with When the Roll is Called Up Yonder. As the sound rose, so did my spirit.

Heaven. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. It began with my father’s death seven years ago. And studying I Cor. 15 for nine months lured my mind back.

Now there’s mom. Weaker and weaker, I believe 2015 may be the year she enters glory. I’m okay with that. For crying out loud, she’s 94! And to think a doctor told her she wouldn’t live past her 20′s. I’m glad she did.

So this morning, I entered her room before the caregiver came and I read to her from the Psalms. And then we sang His Name is Wonderful. Then I went to prayer and used the Salvation Army Songbook. Here is a song I read this morning written by Isaac Watts:

“There is a land of pure delight, where saints immortal reign; infinite day excludes the night, and pleasures banish pain. There everlasting spring abides, and never-withering flowers; death, like a narrow sea divides this heavenly land from ours.

“Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood stand dressed in living green; so to the Jews old Canaan stood, while Jordan filled between. But timorous mortals start and shrink to cross this narrow sea, and linger, shivering on the brink, and fear to launch away.

“O could we make our doubts remove, those gloomy thoughts that rise, and see the Canaan that we love with unbeclouded eyes! Could we but climb where Moses stood and view the landscape o’er. Not Jordan’s stream, nor death’s cold flood, could fright us from the shore.”

And then I played my horn. Not well–but with feeling. Five or six songs, all about Jesus and hope and heaven.

And I rested. Not in my work, but in the finished work of Christ on the cross that began in Bethlehem and ended in the resurrection.

But there is more to come–kind of like a sequel that’s actually better. It involves Christ’s second coming and then heaven. Eternity with my Lord. That is something to celebrate. The Gift that keeps on giving long after Christmas is passed.

I’m ready to cross that narrow sea. Are you?



When I read Charles Dickens in school, I read the the CliffsNotes.

I know I’m ignorant. I’m not a detail person. I don’t like a lot of words and Dickens is known for them.

So when my pastor told us he was going to spend several weeks in one chapter of the Bible, I thought maybe I’d get bored.

Fact is, he’s spent 3-45-minute-Wednesday-night-lessons on just five words.

“Christ died for our sins.”

He quoted some famous guy who talked about those words. “Bury yourself in a dictionary and come up in the presence of God.”

We’ve been doing just that. I’m enthralled.

Last night Pastor David Brady spoke on the word sin.

When we think of sin, most of us think of the ten “big ones.” ¬†We may even say we keep most of them. Sometimes.

The trouble is the law of God isn’t a serious of commandments.

The law of God is who He is. He doesn’t have to keep it. The law flows out of His character. It balances His mercy, goodness, love, purity, holiness, and justice. And He balances them all perfectly. All the time.

If there is no holy God, there is no sin since sin is relational.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from their Creator. No one told them to do that, it was natural. When you and I sin, we distance ourselves from our Creator.

It doesn’t matter if you believe in a Creator. Truth doesn’t change.

Scripture describes sin in several ways. Missing the mark, unbelief, immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry. Basically, if you live your life your way, you are sinning.

Christ died for those sins.

All of them.

Unless you haven’t received His free gift of salvation. You’d better hurry, It’s not on the table forever. The moment you die salvation is not an option. No second chances.

What do I need to do?

Believe this:

“Christ died for your sins.”

Then live like it.


We Are All Writers

Psalm 45:1 says, “My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”

That’s the Psalm I read yesterday.

I hadn’t written in weeks. I felt guilty. It wasn’t that I didn’t have a lot to say. Several times over the last few weeks I’ve thought something I experienced or observed would be helpful or hilarious. But with farming and moving into a new house, I’ve maintained a certain degree of exhaustion.

So yesterday, when I read the Psalm I asked the Lord to help my tongue be a ready writer for my King.

I’ve been attending an acidic food class in Asheville. Each day we meet and listen to about 6 hours of lecture on food safety. And did I mention we are tested after each chapter?

After the morning quiz, the professor instructed us to load into vans since he had a lunch mix-up with the hotel. We were eating at Cracker Barrel, and he was buying.

We arrived and waited. I stood next to a woman from the class. Turns out we were seated together. Just the two of us at a table for four.

We talked about our families. I mentioned my King. She shared the same Master. Turns out, she has a difficult marriage. I encouraged her from God’s Word to hang in there and depend on the Lord. After we finished, we rode in her car back to the hotel.

We listened to the Christmas Cantata she’s practicing. Then we sang.

Since the hotel was just minutes away from the restaurant, we finished one song and stayed in the car to sing another.

“O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

It felt good to sing about our King. Especially with another citizen of heaven.

I prayed with her.

She cried.

We went back to class.

After class, she caught me in the hallway.

“Thank you so much for praying with me. It meant a lot.”

You never know when you’ll have the privilege of sharing the Gospel of Christ. Or encouraging a brother or sister.

Like the Psalmist, make sure your tongue is the pen–and be a ready writer.