Category Archives: Spiritual Growth

They Knew They Were Pilgrims

They Knew They Were Pilgrims




When I think about the pilgrim’s landing at Plymouth Rock I am drawn down memory lane to our visit to the fabulous Plimouth Plantation. (A wonderful trip for families!) Although we have experienced numerous living villages, the Plimouth Plantation remains my favorite. Probably because of the painful story that I am about to share.


Like most of the living history museums we have loved across the nation, artisans were employed in their trades. Farmer were caring for their sheep. Children were picking vegetables from small gardens inside the fences that surrounded the little thatched hut houses. Women were cooking over smoky fire pits. Every living museum demonstrate these events, but Plimouth Plantation takes historical reality one step farther. Each actors assumes the name and personality of a real person that actually lived at Plimouth. As a guest you are invited to interact with the residents of the tiny colony. Their response to your comments and questions are seasoned by the personality, culture and beliefs of the person they are representing. You are invited to enter the open doors of their homes and chat with them as they walk and work.Jason and Kimberly were fascinated, but not any more than I was. I was captured and intrigued by the flower bearing herbs , crooked neck squash and tiny tomatoes that grew in their yards.


Wayne and I meander through museums at different speeds, because of our different interest. Wayne lingers to watch blacksmiths or tanners, while I linger over gardens and food. My son Jason shares my love of food! Wayne took Kimberly with him, and I took Jason with me. As lunch time approached the men and children trudged through muddy paths homeward where they would eat lunch. Everyone shared my curiosity—what did they eat?  How did they cook it? What would they eat it from?Wayne started inside the one roomed home and motioned for us to join him. By the time I got to the door, the door way was full.  People stood on tip-toes or twisted around each other to watch the pilgrim family eat. There was no way for neither Jason or I to see anything. When I spotted a window on the other side of the tiny house, I told Jason to follow me.


And much to his chagrin, he obeyed. We stood at the window peering inside. Now we could see everything. The man sat in a simple wood chair, while his wife dipped the steaming contents from a pot and onto plates.  The man looked up from us plate and out the window-straight at us. Clearly, I remember the surprise in his voice. “Oh my! We have window peepers. Proper visitors enter the door and don’t gawk at the window. Please, join us inside.”


Proper visitor? I was in my museum mode…gawking, reading and learning. I forgot I was a guest. Jason was beet red with embarrassment and at the moment I had to have been redder. Poor child, he never let me forget how badly I embarrassed him. From time to time, he’s reminded me of my etiquette blunder.


One of the mantras of the Plimouth Plantation is “They knew they were pilgrims.”

Samuel Palmer - Study of a Pilgrim - Google Art Project


And they did. They knew they were pilgrims. They thought like pilgrims. They planned like pilgrims. They lived like pilgrims. But what made them pilgrims? It wasn’t their funny looking hats or the strange clothes they wore. Not even the foods they ate or the culture they came from. It wasn’t their religious affiliation or their lavish inheritances or their empty bellies.


It’s what they did, their journey, their search for a place where they would have the freedom to worship God  that made them pilgrims. They left their homes, their relatives, their culture, their normal for God.They traveled to a strange land with strange foods, to live among people that spoke a language they didn’t understand. Their faith propelled and sustained them. Their discipline and commitment energized them. Other travelers came to this new world, but they failed. Why did the pilgrims succeed? Let’s look at the writing of George Cuthber Blaxland in his book “Mayflower” for an explanation.



And so we pause in our review of the causes by which the Pilgrim Fathers of New Plymouth were able to bring their Colony through storm and trouble to a position of stability and success, where so many failed. The causes lay in the men themselves, in their resolution, their industry, their sober self-control, their faithfulness to one another,  and their maintenance of a high standard of righteousness in their dealings with their fellow-colonists and with the Indians. They succeeded because they deserved to succeed. The qualities for which we admire them and by which they deserved and won success sprang from a root which lay yet deeper. It sprang from a sincere devotion to the service of God and the belief in His sustaining power and protecting arm. The spirit of faith and of the love of God breathes in every page of our author’s manuscript (Gov. Bradford), and in this he is, we may well believe, the representative of those whose history he records. And it is this spirit which gives its Epic character to the history which he relates, for it is an Epic of the ways of God with men, of the vindication of His faithfulness to those who trust in Him. “Taken from “Mayflower” essays on the story of the Pilgrim fathers as told in Governor Bradford’s ms  George Cuthbert Blaxland, John Smith (Accessed from Google Books)



Are you a pilgrim? Look with me at  Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly,if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out , they might have had opportunity to have returned . 16 But now they desire a better country, that is , an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

If you are a believer—you are a pilgrim.

Think like one…live like one…believe like one.


Realize you are a pilgrim. This earth is not your home. You’re headed somewhere.

Pilgrims are headed somewhere better. This life is a dressing room for heaven.

Pilgrims look where they’re going, not where they are or where they’ve been. Don’t look around you or behind you. Look to Christ.

Pilgrims are willing to pay the price, work hard or even suffer for God. Diligence. Faithfulness. Committed. Self-control. All describe a pilgrim.

Pilgrims trust God.


Think MISSIONAL. If you know someone that would enjoy this blog, please pass it on!

Turkey Day? Really? How About Thanksgiving?

Turkey Day? Really?


The turkey seems to be the official symbol of Thanksgiving. Not that I’m against turkeys, as a matter of fact I love them.  I married one. LOL Honest, I love them.. on my plate, right beside the dressing. No, seriously I do love turkeys. Our woods are full of them. I hear loud gobbles almost every morning as I sit on my back porch having my devotions. I counted about thirteen of them as I walked down a trail. They were zigging and zagging their way up from a stream flanked on both sides by steep banks. I stopped to watch them amble and feed, but when they spotted me these brown, big birds with their distinct forward head-thrust reeved into a power walk and then burst heavenward into flight.

I love turkeys, because my grandchildren love turkeys. Jason joined us and the grandkids at the cabin one day. The grandkids wanted to see turkeys. It was a little late in the morning, but we loaded into the car and began to drive up and down the hills straining our eyes to spot one or two of the masters of camouflage that filled our woods. Jason spotted three turkeys. So with passion akin to his mother’s, he ordered us to stop. Jason grabbed Brayden, who was pretty small at the time, and began to run in the direction of the turkeys, just so Brayden could get close enough to see one. Jason didn’t know that those skinny birds can run twenty miles an hour and burst into flight speeds of 50 miles an hour. Brayden didn’t see the turkeys, but we made a memory.


I love turkeys, honest I do, but turkey day? If you’re a hunter I understand your enthusiasm, but if you’re talking about Thanksgiving…really? A turkey…the symbol of Thanksgiving?


OK! You think they’re cute. Have you actually seen a turkey? They don’t make my list of cute…interesting–very… cute–not so much! Delicious? Now you’re talking my language. I can’t wait to pile my plate with potatoes and gravy, southern cornbread dressing and yes, I’ll have turkey on my plate, especially since Jason is smoking the turkey this year! I love smoked turkey.


Maybe a turkey should be the symbol of thanksgiving, because a whole lot of gobbling will be going on! Most of us will gobble our way through the green bean casserole, the sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows, and through the homemade bread and right on through the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Gobble. Gobble. Gobble.


I get it and I do it. I gobble, gobble on Thanksgiving Day. I always gobble way too much!  But gobbling is only part of the celebration, not the reason, not the symbol, not my sign! I will celebrate with good food, great friends and some of my family. But I will do more than celebrate. I will be grateful.


I will Stop. Drop. And thank. And that’s not a Southern way to say think, although you might have to listen close when I say it. I will stop my gobbling. Drop my fork and thank God for His blessings, His love. Thanksgiving is not a noun, it’s a verb! It’s not about gobbling, it’s about giving thanks. The name is still Thanks Giving isn’t it? Thanksgiving doesn’t need a symbol, it needs action. People that will live it out in their everyday lives all year long. Giving Thanks!


I’ll leave my Thanksgiving table full. But when I am grateful, it leaves my heart full too.


And I am so thankful! Thankful for Jesus who died to save us from our sins. Thankful for my husband, my children, their mates and their children. Thankful for my pastors Jimmy & Esther Wilder. Thankful for all my friends that read my blog. So thankful for so many blessings and yes…for turkeys! It’s going to be sooo good… on my plate right beside the dressing!

You Gotta Choose

You Gotta Choose

  I promise this blog is not about politics, but I just had to share this video with you. I wonder how many other people are beginning to feel just like the little girl on this video.       But if you are like me, that’s the only thing on my mind…who will America choose? Choices… […]

Don’t Be A Pet Bear- Envious

Don't Be a Pet Bear

  There I stood with my face pressed up against the fence between my hands clutching the chain links longingly. I don’t know how often I did it, often enough that it infuriated my mother. Our neighbor had parties, some of which were birthday parties, other events were fun family get to gathers. And I […]

Victory In Surrender

Victory In Surrender

Have you ever sincerely prayed, “Lord, your will be done.” and when God answered your prayer, you found yourself saying….nooooooooooo!I changed my mind. I find myself there now.   Jason, my oldest has been job hunting. Time for a change. Time to move up the corporate ladder. He’s great at what he does. Awesome work […]

Catfish Thought He Could Drive In The Dark

Catfish Thought He Could Drive in the Dark

Everyone has a nickname, but some names that are better than others. Nick names like Bubba or Bogger; Wingnut or Skeeter hardly scratch the surface of names that kids get labeled with. Some folks earn their nicknames, while others are tokens of endearment. I don’t know how Catfish got his name, but he definitely made […]

Magnify The Lord With Me!

Magnify The Lord With Me!


blow-my-socks-offI got my socks blown off last week (I lose more socks that way!) and it wasn’t even my fault. I was cleaning the kitchen, Praise the Lord! Might as well do some praising, it doesn’t do any good to grumble about dirty dishes, especially since the food was good and it wasn’t even burned this time. Beside that, praising God makes everything better, but I digressed.


You know me. I’ve got to do more than one thing at a time, that’s why I burn everything. So, while I washed dishes I was listening to Bryan Jarrett. I love that man.  Listening to him is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant! Honestly, in the first five minutes of that sermon my faith was ignited and my socks went missing.  Most of the time I skip the introduction and go right for the meat of the sermon. But even his first five minutes was riveting. I had to listen again and again.


If you have my Prayer Object Lesson Kit for Kids you know I love the verse in Psalms 34:3 KJV “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” If you’ve ever played with a magnifying glass you understand that it allows you to focus and analyze more clearly what you are seeing. Worship causes us to stop and focus on the nature and wonders of God. It is a powerful way to move into God’s presence to experience the wonder of who He is.


Pastor Jarrett expounded on this verse. Magnify means make bigger. Yet our worship cannot make God bigger. God is already big, really BIG. So big in fact that it take a universe that spans the distance of  billions of light years to reflect His glory. God is immeasurable. God is unfathomable. But if we can’t make God bigger, why does the Psalms tell us to magnify God.



Listen to his explanation: “Our worship does not change the nature of God. Worship changes the perspective of the worshiper. When the Psalmist says come magnify the  Lord, He was not saying ‘Come make God bigger’. He was inviting you into a mind shift, a perspective shift where you right size your God, and in the process of right sizing your God you right size your mountain. You right size your difficulty. You right size your perspective.”


Wow! When our perspective is right, we understand God is big and our problems are little. That’s the kind of perspective that turns a youth into a giant killer. It turns a fiery furnace into a revival center where you dance and praise God. It turns a lion’s den into a place to catch up on your rest.


Bro. Jarrett explains there are two methods of magnification:

1.A microscope takes something small and make it bigger, so we can see what it looks like and examine it more closely.

2. A telescope takes something enormous, but because it is so far away we can’t see what it looks little. So the telescope makes it look bigger so we can see what it looks like; so we can be awed by its splendor and beauty. Like the pictures taken from the Hubble Telescope.


Bro. Jarret explains that God is not little. And because God is so big, our praise is like a telescope. The church is like a magnificent observatory filled with telescopes. When we begin to praise God, it gives us a lens to focus on God and see more clearly what He is like. Our praise focuses our attention on Him and  brings Him into our view so we can see more clearly what He is like. 


Magnify enables us to take something big, like a star that is much bigger than the Earth, pull it closer, so we can analyse it and see it in all its glory for what it really is. Our worship magnifies Him by bringing his presence near. Our worship gives us the opportunity to study, feel and experience and know God for Who He is. Worship is the lens that allows us to see how wonderful, powerful and glorious He really is. Worship brings His presence near.



He also quoted from the classic sermon of Dr. S.M. Lockridge. It is one of the most powerful sermons ever given. I’ve listened to it dozens of times, and every time I am moved to tears and worship! He paints a graphic word picture of Christ our King, Redeemer and Savior.  Here’s the link to the audio with slides of this amazing sermon entitled That’s My King


 Listen to Bro. Jarrett’s sermon. Even if you only have 10 minutes, you’ll be blessed. Select Incomparable/Magnify Don’t forget to take off your sock first though.



And if you haven’t read his book, Extravagant, run, better yet, take the car and get to the Bible book store or Christian Book Distributors online and get his book! It will bless you. Great book!!!

Links in this blog:




Dreams Do Come True- Prodigal Family Film

Dreams Do Come True



Mark Harper is doing more than dreaming a dream. He is living it! As long as I have known him, which goes way back, he has always been a person that thinks out of the box. He has spent years as a Children’s Pastor, writing curriculum, training children’s ministry leaders and equipping families. And for years he has written and produced short films to use as part of his teaching strategy. Media is important and a viable teaching tool in today’s culture. For years, Mark had a dream, a dream to make a full length movie.



Some people dream soap bubble dreams that drift through their minds and pop quickly. But not Pastor Mark. He put prayer and work into his dream. He developed strategy and pulled together a team of people that could help make his dream a reality. This week his dream became just that–a reality. This week, his full length movie was released. Prodigal, is a family movie for ages 12 and up. You can read Mark’s story. Or for more information about the Prodigal DVD



In a culture of fallen heroes and sleepy saints I am thrilled to hear success stories. I share Pastor Mark’s story for two reasons.

1. It’s time for you to dream again.

2. It time for you to invest in somebody else’s dream.


In my Leading Like Moses Series, I talk about the difference between copying someone’s dream and dreaming God’s dream for your life. Moses could have dreamed of being a Pharaoh, but God had a different dream for him!


Joseph’s brothers were jealous when they heard Joseph’s dream. Instead of supporting they tried to kill him. While most of us don’t go to the drastic measures that they did, still we watch people struggle instead of helping them carry the load.

  • Who do you know that has a big dream?
  • How can you help?
  • Then do it! Actually help them.


Sometimes that means rolling up your sleeves and putting some sweat equity into their dream. But it can be as simple as saying something encouraging. A pat on the shoulder, a genuine, “You can do it!” can go a long ways.


Sometimes, it’s as simple as purchasing a good DVD on the week it’s released. You can purchase it at Christian Books online for $12.99, (You’ll have to pay shipping) but I was excited to see it so I got mine at Family Christian for $14.99. I hope you’ll get it too.


Children’s Pastors are SPECIAL people! I’m constantly wowed by them. So proud of you Mark! Good job!


Links in this post:

Mark’s story

Prodigal DVD

My Leadership teaching: Leading Like Moses


Eat Up to Grow Up

Eat Up to Grow Up

Little babies grow fast. To a nursing mother it can seem like they want to eat all the time. Often, a healthy baby will initially want to eat every two hours, and then every four hours. A baby often doubles its weight in about four months. But some babies have what is called “failure to […]

Take Him With You!

Take Him With You!

She was the official princess in the Holland house. Michael, our nephew and his wife Heather have an adorable and gregarious four years old. Her mom explained to her that she was going to have a baby sister. She watched as her, soon to be their, room was repainted and redecorated. She loved “her” new room, […]

Can I Take The Boards Off Now? Warning!

Can I Take the Boards Off Now? Warning

Several months ago, Jason let me borrow “Isaac’s Storm” by Erik Larson. Yes, it’s at my house, Jason. I love to read, but I almost never read for fun. I use every spare minute to read for work and ministry. Totally exhausted, I picked it up and decided to start reading it last week. It’s […]

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