This Icy Night

“Yes, I now feel that it was then on that evening of sweet dreams that the very first dawn of human love burst upon the icy night of my spirit. Since that period I have never seen nor heard your name without a shiver half of delight, half of dreams” 
                                                                                               ~ Edgar Allan Poe
Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.
                                                                                                ~ 1 Peter 5:8-9
In so many ways, this is an icy night of the spirit. Forces are acting in concert with hatred, people of all walks of life are having their acts of hatred recorded with much more frequency than acts of love, acts of kindness, acts of healing. There is no office untouched.
When I read the quote from Edgar Allen Poe, the first name I heard was “Jesus”. Jesus who loves us so deeply no matter our behavior, Jesus who melts all ice and can warm the coldest heart.  Jesus who has plans beyond our wildest, sweetest dreams.
These words of Peter’s, dressed in modern language really drives home the point that we are NOT alone.  The world would have us think that, but we are not.  So today, wrap yourself in Jesus and go forth into Halloween and the coming days dressed in his name. Spread the love.
Because of Him,

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry, Original Writing, Devotional, Inspirational, Uncategorized

A Servant of the Lord

“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” 

                                                                            ~ W.T. Ellis


The Birth of Jesus Foretold ] In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

                                                                           ~ Luke 1:26-28 NIV 

Gabriel was one busy angel.  An angel who stood in the presence of God and reported God’s will directly; to Zechariah, to Mary.  He only shows up twice in all of scripture and both times he has important news.  
I wonder, just for a moment, if you can put yourself in Mary’s place.  Engaged, a virgin, and then here comes Gabriel to tell her she is highly favored and about to become the mother of God.  Mary only had one question at this time.  “How can this be? I am a virgin.”  Gabriel explained and her next response was, “I am the Lord’s servant.”
Not…”people will talk,”  “Joseph will leave me.”
Her focus was on the will of the Lord. 
Wow.  Just wow. The intent to serve God was her response.  I look at all the things in the world, good and bad, and know that if just one took that view, the world would change.  (I am not, in any way addressing a radicalized view here. Pure intent only.)
Whatever it is you are facing, if you can let that fall away, and focus;  on God, on the love of Jesus that was brought to earth so very long ago and every day, oh what a Christmas it will be!
For the first time, in a very long time,  my heart is prepared.
Because of Him,

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotional, Uncategorized

Everything I have Ever Loved

Christmas–that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance–a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.

                                                                          ~ Augusta E. Rundel

Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin[b] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.[d] 
                                                                           ~ Isaiah 7:14
Everything I have ever loved. 
Times under the big oak tree 
across the street when I thought 
my best friend was my whole world; 
us pretending to have names 
with the same first and last initials
so that Superman would find us.
The Fresh Air boy that chased me around 
the dogwood tree when I was thirteen
and stole a kiss right in the middle of the day.
My little apricot colored poodle 
who loved to chase squirrels
until the one that caused his death.
Trick or treating on the Point Mugu
safe and secure to go anywhere 
because we had security patrolling
every half hour. So much candy!
The boy who swore to love me forever
called me honey for the first time
met my folks and then dropped me
after he found a different kind of satisfaction.
The pungent artist who shared
his beautiful portrait as a token 
of his love, until the night he scaled
the dorm wall, his treasure to retrieve.
The friend who introduced me to you, Jesus
in a way I never knew you, and the camping
trip that tested our relationship
and everything I ever claimed to believe.
Every child that I have ever taught.
The man you sent across time and space
to love me in a way that no one has ever
loved me, except you. You shine
in his very eyes.
The way you restore the broken
lives, hearts, loves, relationships
giving them your signature lustre.
The beautiful children you allowed
to bless my life by making them our own.
The blessings that they are to all they meet.
All the steps that got me to this place,
on the shores of Christmas,
to worship and adore
Because of Him,

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotional, Poetry, Poetry, Original Writing, Devotional, Inspirational, Uncategorized

With a Song and a Smile

“I hold on to the blissful notion that the journey is worthwhile, and I tip toe across the chasm with a song and a smile.” 

                                                                              ~ Harry Chapin

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 

                                                                             ~ John 11:25

It is so easy to be discouraged.  You try and you try at something, and you just cannot get it right.  For me, painting is one of those things.  I love to paint.  A friend invited me to a painting class with her. She was generous to pay for my supplies as a gift.  We sat down and looked at a familiar scene.  She assumed that all the students in the class knew all of the tools and their uses.  She did not explain most of them, and told us what to do in a particular order.  At one point I asked a question and got a not too friendly answer, kind of “You don’t know?”  Okay. Fine.  I kept painting, hoping I could capture the foam of the waves, the beach goers on the sand.  Finished!

The teacher went around the room and complimented or commented on each and every painting. Each and every painting but mine.

I had another experience with painting.  It was a children’s workshop that I was co-leading. I was the story teller, and my friend was the painting instructor.  I asked if I could try and paint with the kids (my people!)  Instruction was given after the tools were explained, the little girl next to me spent time telling me what a good job I was doing, and quietly painting her own version of the scene, which included a heart in the curl of the wave. When I finished, she turned to my effort and said “Good job, Mrs. Dickman, I like your star!”

The picture is hanging in my bathroom, which has a sea motif.  My daughter (one of two grand encouragers) hung it there.  I think it looks as if an 8 or 9 year old painted it, but I am proud of it because I felt comfortable in the group, the instructor was clear, and I was encouraged.

I will paint again, I will try again. And I will smile all the way. I think I can, I think I can.

Because of Him,


Leave a comment

Filed under Devotional, Uncategorized

Hero? You?

“If you look inside yourself, and you believe, you can be your own hero.”

                 ~ Thomas Carlyle
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 
                    ~ John 8:12 
And that is why, 
when one is busy
trying out their cape,
before they leap
off buildings tall
before they make escape.
Make sure this vital
thing you pack –
as you prepare for flight
Is Jesus, deep
inside you
Jesus is your light.
~ Linda T. Dickman
The Greatest American Hero

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotional, Poetry, Uncategorized

Ain’t a That Good News

Happily may I walk.
May it be beautiful before me.
May it be beautiful behind me.
May it be beautiful below me.
May it be beautiful above me.
May it be beautiful all around me.
In beauty it is finished.”
~ Navajo Night Chant

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

1 Chronicles 16:8 NIV  

I check social media about three times a day.  I also check my email as often, if not more often as I have a friend who will not/does not text.  Of late, I have noticed that folks that are members of groups that have been harassed, targeted, singled out, are posting notices of hate crimes.  I don’t know, but I do believe that this practice doesn’t wipe out the hate, it spreads it.  

So often, when a crime is committed, it is reported in a news cycle every 20 minutes all day long, but good news is a blip on the radar.  Yes, it is important to know when our brothers and sisters are being targeted, but it is also important to love.  To praise the name of the one who holds all the tomorrows, to plunge the haters into the light, to lift the targets in prayer.  I do not see enough focus on that.  

I am not denying that news shouldn’t be reported, but the whole story should be available and the good news should be included. Praise the Living God for His faithfulness in every storm.  When we report the news, let it be worthy of the one we serve. When we hear the bad news, let us pray.

Because of Him,


Ain’t a That Good News – Moses Hogan Singers

 Stellenbosch University Choir 

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotional, Uncategorized

Use what you have

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,

Hebrews 12:28
“Life is like a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.” ~ Charles M. Schulz  
Itzhak Perlman 
Use the gears you have and worship the living God.
Because of Him,

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotional, Uncategorized

Thankful for the Vessel

“When it’s a good time, I celebrate. When it’s a bad time, I also celebrate. Know what I mean?” 

~ Goldie Hawn


Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.

~1 Corinthians 1:4-5MSG

Recently, the age old discussion of the half empty, half full glass came up on social media.  The usual comments followed, and then this from a childhood friend, “Heck, I’m just so grateful to have a glass!”
This woman absolutely floored me with her response. It was the very first time I ever heard it.  And I will share it till I die.  No, it does not answer the question, at least not predictably.  Not at all.  What it did for me was focus on the vessel, and its ability to be filled.
The image I chose this morning has a unicorn: because I like unicorns,  and because the unicorn is often a symbol for Jesus.  
And as vessels we spend time in various states of fullness and emptiness, all important.
We sing “Fill me up God”
We sing “Empty me.”
We are “branded” as they say in advertising, in our baptism by the mark of Jesus Christ, and we are vessels. Vessels that experience fullness and emptiness and all between in our walk.
Today, and in this season of thankfulness, let us be thankful that we are vessels. Vessels of honor, vessels that we bring to the fountain of living water to be emptied, washed in His blood and filled as He will fill us according to His purpose.
Today, pour out your praise.
Lord, thank you for using this vessel. In your hands, I can do your work, full or empty. Let me pour out your praise in good times and in bad. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Because of Him,


Filed under Devotional, Poetry, Original Writing, Devotional, Inspirational, Uncategorized