Thursday, December 31, 2015

See You Later

"Why do you stand here looking into the sky?
This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven,
will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."  
Acts 1:11, NIV
Several years ago, my husband and I moved our adult daughter with Down syndrome into a lovely new group home, twenty minutes from our door. Although it was hard to let her go, we knew she needed to adapt to the world without us, and we wanted to be around to help her with the transition.

Our daughter has adjusted well to her new home. She now has five new “sisters” to interact with, has gained a sense of independence, and is given numerous opportunities to participate in community activities, all while maintaining her long-time position in a sheltered work environment.

Jesus’s disciples walked with him for three-and-a-half years. They had dreams of serving alongside him in an earthly kingdom. Although Jesus tried to prepare them for his departure, they couldn’t imagine life on this earth without him. Then, in a moment, everything changed. He ascended into the heavens and was hidden from their sight. The disciples were left in a stupor, and their despondency would have spiraled into despair except for the words of two men dressed in white: “He will come back in the same way you have seen him go.”

Because of Jesus’s great love for his disciples, he laid the groundwork for his departure. Not only were they assured that they would see their Friend, Teacher, and Savior again, Jesus gave them specific instructions as to what they were to do in the meantime. They were to be his witnesses through the power of his Holy Spirit.

Our daughter is a young woman of few words—not because she can’t speak, but because she chooses not to. Conversing with her is difficult, especially over the telephone. When I tell her good-bye at the end of our very one-sided conversations, she’s silent. After I prod her several times to tell me “good-bye,” she finally voices a soft-spoken “see you later.”

The New Year may be uncertain, but the return of Christ is not. God was not silent about our future. He promises in his Word that Jesus will return. We don’t know the day or the hour or even the year, but we are not to idly sit by until he comes. In the interim, he continues to empower believers to share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Christ’s final words to us were not “good-bye” but “see you later.” So, don’t just stand there—do something.

Now it's your turn. What is one way you plan to share the Gospel in 2016?

I always welcome your comments.

Happy New Year 2016!
See you later,

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Few Good Men

 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened
and what the angel had said to them about this child.
—Luke 2:17, NIV

I only had one line, but I executed it well. Standing as tall as a preschooler could stand, I looked out across the crowd of adoring parents and friends packed into the small chapel. This was my moment—my opportunity to shine—to share in the proclamation of the news of the birth of the baby Jesus.
“While shepherds washed their sheets by night….”
Not exactly the message I was expected to convey, but a message I spoke with delight and with words that certainly brought joy to the faces of everyone who heard them.

This morning as I was reading the Christmas story in Luke, I was reminded that God first entrusted the good news of his son’s birth to men in the lowliest of professions—shepherds—men who camped out in fields and tended dirty sheep. Men looked upon as the most despised of all mankind.
We can only speculate as to why God chose to entrust this earth-shaking news to a few lowly men on a hillside in Judea. If I’d written the script, I’m sure I would’ve chosen a much more flamboyant conclave of men who could prove themselves worthy of bearing such life-altering news.
But God got it right. And thankfully, so did the shepherds. Over two-thousand years later, we’re still talking about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  As I read the story of Jesus’s birth in Luke 2:8-20, I found there were lessons to be learned from this unsuspecting band of uneducated men.
·         They were nearby.

o   The shepherds held the lowliest of all positions, but they were positioned to hear a revelation that would awaken a nation.

§  We should position ourselves to hear the words of our Heavenly Father—words that will awaken our hearts and impact our lives and subsequently the lives of others.
·         They kept watch.

o   The shepherds faithfully carried out their duty to protect the sheep that were in their care. They were alert and prepared to handle whatever took place on their watch.

§  We should live in expectation as we faithfully prepare and carry out the tasks that God has assigned to us.
·         They hurried off and saw him.

o   “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see.” Though terrified, the shepherds were moved to action. They sought confirmation and desired to witness the Truth for themselves.

§  In spite of our fears, we should move without hesitation to confirm the truth. Doing it afraid, if necessary. We shouldn’t settle for second-hand information but should witness the truth for ourselves.
·         They spread the word.

o   The shepherds were the first evangelists. Shepherds were considered untrustworthy and so despised that their testimony wasn’t even allowed in court. But miraculously on this night, when they shared the Truth without reservation, all that heard it were amazed.

§  We should understand that we are all valuable to God and have a story to tell. We are responsible to share the truth about God without reservation. God, alone, is responsible for how others receive it. Trust him.
·         They returned glorifying and praising God.

o   Elated, the shepherds returned to the fields with a new sense of purpose and worth, and the realization that God is who he says he is.

§  We must realize that it’s not our position in life, but the position of our hearts before God that that will make a lasting impact in a world that needs a Savior.
“Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.”
—1 Corinthian 1:27, NLT

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Joseph: A Good Man

“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did
not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind
to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this,
an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream…”
Matthew 1:19-20, NIV

Joseph was a good man with good intentions, but . . . 

Although Joseph's plan for Mary was a good plan, it was the wrong plan. Although his choice to not publicly disgrace her was honorable, it was not correct. Only after God intervened in Joseph's thoughts was he able to know God's will for his family and walk it out.

The quote, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," is true. Good intentions often lead to hellish situations in our lives. A good plan can be a wrong choice.

How often does our logic lead us down the wrong path? How many times do we miss God’s will because we choose to do what seems right?

Let's exchange our goodly intentions for Godly intentions. 

God's Word tells us we acquire the mind of Christ through the revelation of his Holy Spirit, and our salvation and strength comes through resting in him. Spending time in God's Word ushers us in to his presence. In his presence, we'll hear a voice behind us saying, "This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:18).

Do you have in mind to walk in God's way? Choose rest first.

Now it's your turn. What is one way you choose rest in this busy season?

I always welcome your comments.



Saturday, October 3, 2015


My husband and I are privileged to be the parents of a beautiful daughter with Down Syndrome. God placed Ashley in our care over 40 years ago to love, protect, guide, and teach. Today, I look back over those years and question who exactly taught whom.

Ashley exhibits more unconditional love and grace for life's journey than most of us can begin to comprehend. Although she chooses not  to converse a lot, I stand amazed at the impact she continues to have on the lives of those who know her and witness her sweet spirit and winning smile. Regardless of how our day has gone, Ashley continues to give us reasons to smile.

Last year, I submitted two stories and photos of Ashley as a child to be published in a book called Reasons to Smile: Celebrating People Living with Down Syndrome. I am beyond thrilled that my stories were accepted and will be published along with 50+ others in this beautiful photo/gift book. The release date for Reasons to Smile is January 2016.

The editors of the book are excited and want to build a website where they can continue sharing inspiring stories about life with special needs individuals. Please take a moment to check out the video and consider supporting this project to make this hope become a reality. No gift is too small. Please click on the blue link to donate!

Thank you! Starr

Saturday, August 29, 2015

All Is Well . . . Isn't It?

“About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake.
He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.”
―Mark 6:48b‒50, NIV

 Waves crashed against the ship’s hull only inches from our pillows.

“What would it take to capsize this ship?”

“Cruise ships are built for high winds and rough seas,” my husband assured me. His words always comforted me. It wasn’t what he said that consoled me as much as the calm manner in which he said it.

As the waves continued to swell so did my questioning. “Are you sure this ship isn’t going to tip over?” 

Again, he assured me. However, I sensed his confidence beginning to ebb, so I quit asking. 

 I lay there wide-eyed and waiting―waiting for our captain’s “All is well” to spill from the ship’s PA. The announcement never came.

I can certainly identify with the disciples’ fear: fear that shrouds God’s presence in the storms. For the disciples, it was the fourth watch of the night―the blackest part―the eleventh hour. Their white-knuckled hold on the oars began to slacken as the strength seeped from their arms.

Then―Jesus appeared.

He wasn’t running. He wasn’t frantic. He calmly walked on the water and almost passed them by. The way he chose to come was more than the disciples could reason out. Who walks on water? Consequently, they opted to believe he was a ghost as if that held some shred of logic.

This aspect of the disciples’ encounter with Jesus would be humorous if it weren’t so similar to our own experiences. We’ve all been blinded by fear. Fear places our focus on what could happen rather than on what is real. Ghosts aren’t real. Jesus is. Though he does defy logic, as do the supernatural ways he chooses to intervene in our situations.

Jesus was in complete control of the elements that threatened the disciples. He could have halted the storm with a single word. Instead, he chose to speak to the disciples’ fear.

“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Jesus was already Master of the sea; he wanted to be Master of their souls.

It takes spiritual eyes to see the supernatural ways in which Jesus intervenes in our circumstances. As long as the disciples were afraid, their perception of him would be skewed; they would miss the reality of his presence in their storm.

Cry out to Jesus in your storm. Allow him to speak to your fears and open your eyes to his presence. Be encouraged: The source of your problem is under Jesus’s feet. The waters that threaten to overwhelm you are the same waters that will usher him to you.

Don’t let him pass you by.


Saturday, August 22, 2015


"For it is God who works in you to will and to act
in order to fulfill his good purpose."
Philippians 2:13, NIV

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Whiter Shades of Grace

"He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' 

and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'

 So that all may know his work."
― Job 37:6-7, NIV

Harmonica by Chadburn Spivey

Monday, February 23, 2015

In It to Win It

Today's prompt in the My 500 Words challenge is to edit a previous work.

I wrote the following words at the half-way mark in my 31-day journey―or so I thought. Today is my fifty-fourth day of writing. I've written 30,594 words this year for an average of 567 words a day.
The prompt for Day 16 was to write about hope and to pen words to encourage ourselves as well as others within the challenge.

 "Because you can't do anything halfway, 
you've got to go all the way in anything you do."
―Jerry Bruckheimer

The halfway mark in any challenge is the point when people fatigue and consider quitting. It’s essential at this milepost to dig deep and make a rigorous effort to go the distance. Envisioning the finish line as a reality is the hope that will sustain us as we persevere.

Several years ago, I participated in a 5K road race. The day was humid with sweltering temperatures in the nineties. Even though it was an evening race, and the route threaded its way through a large grove of trees, nothing could take away the searing misery of that run. I did everything mentally and physically possible to stay in the race. I sang songs in my head, counted my steps, splashed water in my face at water stations, recited scripture, and envisioned my husband and friends waiting for me at the finish line. I didn’t want to let them down, but above all, I didn’t want to let myself down. A personal best was not on my mind―finishing was.

Reaching the halfway mark in the race was not only a welcome milestone, it was a fork in the road. I could choose to opt out, or I could decide to keep running.
I kept running.

In spite of my discomfort, I knew I would finish the race. My decision to complete it was not made at the halfway point. I resolved to finish the race at its onset.
I chose victory at the starting line. 

"Blessed are those whose strength is in you . . . 
They go from strength to strength."
―Psalm 84:7, NIV

Are you in the midst of a strenuous journey? Whether you're at the starting line, the halfway point, or somewhere in-between, it's never too late to choose victory. Keep running!

I always welcome your comments.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Early to Rise

“I rise early, before the sun is up; 
I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.”
Psalm 119:147, NLT

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” This 18th  century English proverb is a variation of an older proverb in print as early as 1496: “Whoever will rise early shall be holy, healthy, and happy.” I love this earlier version. To trade a few extra winks in the morning for a lifestyle that is beneficial to my spiritual, physical and mental well-being seems like a no-brainer to me. So, why do I continue to ignore the virtues of rising early?

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool night owl. It’s a generational thing. My mother passed it down to me, and I‘ve passed it on to my oldest daughter. It appears each generation has the malady a notch worse than the preceding one. I’m sorry I didn’t inherit my father’s habit of rising early. He always said, “The early bird gets the worm.” I’ve never had an affinity for worms. My problem exclusively, I’m sure.

I want to be a morning person. There have been times in my life when I’ve been successful at rising early, but I’ve never maintained the routine. Problem: I can’t shut down my day on the backside. If I’d choose to go to bed an hour or so earlier, I could probably make this morning thing work.

Several studies have correlated waking up early with success and have shown that morning people are more optimistic and productive individuals. Night owls, on the other hand, though linked with creativity and intelligence (ahem), prove more likely to exhibit traits such as depression, pessimism and neurosis. Good grief!

Today’s Scripture verse is just one of many in God’s Word that encourages rising early. Even Jesus rose early. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35, NIV).

I desire to pattern my life after Jesus and to begin my day in the presence of my heavenly Father without distractions. At least, I don’t need to get dressed and leave my house to find a solitary place to pray. My cushy couch, fuzzy house slippers and morning brew is not a horrible lot. I should be able to do this. I can do this. God’s Word promises that with the Father, all things are possible for me. Breaking an old habit and adopting a new one is doable. Old habits may die hard, but they do die.

I recently purchased The Early to Rise Experience: Learn to Rise Early in 30 Days by Andy Traub. Today, I chose to rise early. I’m on my way to a healthier and more productive lifestyle. I’ll take holy, healthy and happy over an earthworm mentality any day! How about you? Let's rise to meet the challenge together.

Now it's your turn? Are you a night-owl or an early riser? If you decide to join me in my quest for wholeness, I'd love to know. You can obtain a copy of Andy Traub's book at the following link:  

I always welcome your comments.


Day 3: My 500 Words ~ 533 words
Challenge: Rise early