Sunday, August 31, 2014

The 3 Q's of God

The ABC’s of knowing God better: the letter “Q”

So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” – Isaiah 28:16 NIV
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” – Matthew 21:42 NIV

“Q? What was I thinking?” I muttered to myself lastweek as I mulled over words beginning with the letter “Q” that describe God.
I browsed through the “Q” section in a Bible dictionary and my “Flip Dictionary,” which is actually a thesaurus, and came up with three possibilities: qualified, quantity, and quoin.
Qualified means “having the necessary skill, experience, or knowledge to do a particular job or activity: having the qualifications to do something” (Merriam-Webster online dictionary). You could say God, the Creator of all there is, is qualified. He sets the bar. More than that. He is the bar. He is the omni of omnis. He can do anything, for nothing is impossible for Him (Luke 1:37, Matthew 19:26).
Quantity, a noun, means “an amount or number of something; a large amount or number of something.”
How big is God? Bigger than you or I can imagine. He limitless, infinite.

I love the way A.W. Tozer describes this attribute of God: “God, being infinite, does not dwell in space; He swallows up all space. Scripture says, ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ (Jeremiah 23:24), and that sounds as if God were contained in heaven and earth. But actually God fills heaven and earth just as the ocean fills a bucket which has been submerged in it a mile down. The bucket is full of ocean, but the ocean surrounds the bucket in all directions.” (The Attributes of God)
Then I came to quoin.
What’s a quoin, and why would I choose such an odd word to describe God?
Actually it’s quite appropriate.
Wikipedia describes quoins as “masonry blocks at the corner of a wall. They exist in some cases to provide actual strength for a wall made with inferior stone or rubble.”
A quoin is like a cornerstone – “the stone representing the starting place in the construction of a monumental building” – and a keystone – “the wedge-shaped piece at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place; something that is essential, indispensable, or basic.” (
“See,” God tells us through the prophet Isaiah, “I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (Isaiah 28:16).
I thought finding a word beginning with the letter “Q” was impossible.
Then God showed me nothing with the One who fills time and space and gives strength to inferior rubble like me is impossible.

Thank you, infinite God, for being my cornerstone, my rock of stability, in a world that gets more i\unstable by the day. Amen.

Special-Tea: Read Psalm 118

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Before I Die available in paperback

Linda Laverly want to fall in love again, so she begins a quest to experience, just once more, that head over heels feeling of young love. The only problem is her husband.

“This book paints such a clear picture of how a couple can get so caught up in life and all of its distractions and lose focus on what a marriage should be. It is also a touching story of how there are second chances for finding happiness.” – Ann E.

Order your paperback copy from Amazon, click here.

Download on Kindle, click here.

Order a personally autographed copy of the paperback, click here.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Unforced rhythms of grace

Judith Maddock Ferencz, June 2, 2001
“Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 11:29 (The Message)
Yesterday was the eleventh anniversary of my sister’s death.
She was only 55. It was totally unexpected.
These things change you. Change the way you think about things. Change the way you live.
I’d been teaching full time and writing part time for a local newspaper for years. With the youngest in college and the older two on their own, now was the time to pursue my dreams.
While teaching was my passion, I wasn’t finding fulfillment in covering school board and county commissioners meetings and election results. And while I loved the camaraderie of the newsroom staff, getting up early Saturday mornings to drive 45 minutes in all kinds of weather to type obituaries wasn’t getting me any closer to my writing goals.
Of course I ignored the signs of dissatisfaction and pushed on. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?
Then a post-operative blood clot took the life of my only sister just when we were getting close again. I didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye.
I shivered on the love seat for days, in shock.
Change. It’s foisted on all of us. Whether we welcome it or not.
The key to surviving it is to look to God, knowing He has a plan and purpose for us (Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 139:16), knowing He takes the rough draft of the chapters of our lives and revises them so they shine (Romans 8:28) and lead to the ending He has planned. And knowing that if we follow our Shepherd, we will arrive at that ending without burning ourselves out.
But I hadn’t been stopping long enough to listen to God.
My sister’s death was a wakeup call—to pause in my headlong rush to fulfill my dreams and be all things to all people, and determine where I was truly headed.
Davis Bunn, in his 40-day devotional “The Turning,” writes, “When we read, we give no notice to the spaces between the words. And yet those pauses are vital. Without them, there is nothing but a senseless jumble. With them, thoughts are unique, words are clear, ideas fashioned, lives transformed. So it is with the brief pauses we make to stop and listen. Our thoughts and actions take on new clarity.”
And so it was for me. If I were to die suddenly in my mid-fifties, I thought, would I have realized my dreams? Within a week, I resigned from the newspaper job.
I still get too busy, lose focus, and drift away from God’s path for me. It’s refreshing to pause, still the clamor of life, rest and recharge spent batteries.
“Are you tired? Worn out?” Jesus says. “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” (Matthew 11:28–29, The Message).
I’m a slow learner, Lord. I have to force myself to slow down. Sometimes my body, mind, and spirit are just too exhausted to push on. Remind me often to pause to reflect, rest, and recharge. Amen.

Special-Tea: Read Matthew 11:28-30; Psalm 23
Judi was a gifted classical pianist  (November 1985)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Peace-giving God

The ABC’s of knowing God better: the letter “P”

The LORD blesses his people with peace. – Ps. 29:11 (NIV)
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” –Jesus, as quoted in John 14:27 (NKJV)

Three days before my twentieth birthday, my father died.
I’d been summoned from college, a hundred miles away. This wasn’t the first summons.
I’d been watching Dad lose weight for months. Surgery a month earlier hadn’t been successful. But Dad and Mom tried to convince me it was an ulcer, not stomach cancer.
The “C” word. Back then, in 1971, it was a death sentence. Especially when you let it go as long as Dad had.

Perhaps my parents didn’t want to burden me during a 19-credit semester.
But I knew. Deep down I knew. And gnawed with worry. About Dad. About my academic load. I was a semester away from student teaching, a semester away from graduating. I couldn’t afford to miss any more classes.
So I visited one of my favorite professors, one of the few who took a personal interest in his students and who’d be honest with me.
“Go home,” he said. “Your family is more important. You can always withdraw and take your courses next semester.”
He knew what I wasn’t ready to face—that my father was dying.
A friend drove me to the hospital. Dad died a few hours later. It was my first experience with the death of someone close to me.
I went home that night looking for him. Surely his spirit would come to say goodbye. I looked and looked. A radio mysteriously turned on. Anything.
But nothing. Nothing until Friday morning, the day of his funeral—and my twentieth birthday.
I sensed it before my eyes even opened that morning—a peace so profound, so pervading, so supreme that it was present in every molecule of the air around me and in every cell of my being.
I, who work with words for a living, have no words to describe it. The closest description is what Paul wrote to the Philippians when he described God’s peace as “the peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
God’s peace transcends anything we can even imagine on this side of heaven.
Forty-three years have passed. I’ve been on the mountain. I’ve trudged through the valleys. I’ve wrestled with despair. But I never forgot the gift of peace God gave me that day. Indeed, the memory—I can still almost feel that peace—has gotten me through life’s challenges.
I’ve found truth in what Isaiah wrote: “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee” (Isaiah 23:3 KJV).
One of God’s names is YHWH Shalom, which means “The LORD is peace.” He is peace and He gives peace. The peace that transcends all understanding.
Do you have it? Have you asked for it?
May Your peace, O Lord, reign in my heart and soul and mind today and every day. Amen.

Mom, me, and Dad - summer, 1971
Special-Tea: Read Mark 4:35–41

Thursday, August 14, 2014

New novel launched

  54-year-old Linda Laverly longs to experience, just once more, that head over heels feeling of young love. The only problem is her husband.

Dear friends,
The day has finally come! Before I Die, my second novel (actually the first novel I ever wrote) has been released by Helping Hands Press as an e-book ($2.99) and paperback ($14.99) on Amazon. 

Here's the book description:
Linda Laverly wants to fall in love again—to experience deep in her soul that head over heels, I’m-crazy-about-you feeling just once more. Time is running out, she thinks; her sister died at fifty-five, and Linda is just one year shy of that milestone. So she leaves Brian, her predictable, dependable, faithful, but unromantic husband of thirty-two years to try to find a spark again. Is her quest worth risking her family, her job, her reputation, her faith? As she wrestles with issues of aging and self-image, anger and betrayal, she finds the love she’s longing for where she least expects it.  (Women’s fiction, Christian fiction) 

Here’s what reviewer Kerin M. had to say about the book:
“I LOVED IT! I LOVED IT! I LOVED IT! My eyes were filled with tears at the end. You had the courage to write about the secrets of women our age – that longing to be loved and not just taken for granted – or to feel like we’re stuck with each other now, so let’s just make the best of it. I saw my own self in Linda. Thank you for writing this story. May God bless it and cut it loose to touch the lives of many others.” 

To download your e-book or order your paperback from Amazon, visit my Amazon author page and click on BEFORE I DIE. Here’s the link to the Amazon page where my books are listed:

If you want your e-book autographed, go to and request an autograph. It’s free!

You can also order an autographed paperback from me by

  • emailing me your order ( and mailing me a check for $15, plus $5 shipping and handling, if it’s to be mailed. I don’t have a problem delivering books to folks in Punxsutawney who have ordered them. If that’s the case, the cost of the book will be $15 (tax included). My address is 121 Homestead Lane, Glen Campbell, PA  15742.

Thank you for your interest. Please share this post with anyone you think would be interested in Before I Die.  

Happy reading,