Part 1: Beauty In Unexpected Places



We headed north for vacation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was counterintuitive as a spring break destination. We traded sandy beaches for rocky shores, ocean waves for the swells of Lake Superior, swimsuits for winter boots, and warm days for windblown snow.

Visiting family and a comfortable place to stay for free were the allure. However, we discovered so much more: the beauty of winter. The pristine snow sharpened the sky’s blue and the pine trees’ green. The cold breeze coming off the lake created intricate designs along the shore. White and gray displayed their own palettes of color. If the cold didn’t take my breath away, God’s handiwork in the winter season did!

At first glance, much in the Bible seems counterintuitive to the world’s way of thinking. “Bless those who curse you.” “Love your enemies.” “Lose your life to find your life.” Only sacrifice atones for sin. Death leads to life. These challenges to our human perspective are given clarity at the cross of Jesus Christ.

As the only perfect sacrifice, Jesus died for God’s enemies to demonstrate God’s love. In the ugliness and starkness of the cross, God wrought the everlasting beauty and glory of eternal life through Easter’s resurrection. The cross was the means and the price to provide for our salvation and the forgiveness of sins. The Easter story is our story!

May we approach and celebrate every day by thanking God who shows up with beauty in the least expected places.

(See more pictures of winter beauty in my post, Part 2: Beauty In The Least Expected Places.)

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:10

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.



Love Is More Than Paper Hearts


Love is in the air; Valentine’s Day is almost here.  Let’s pause to examine what can hold us back from truly loving the people God places in our path.  Sometimes the reason is physical distance. There is some truth to the old adage, “Out of sight out of mind.”  Sometimes the reason is emotional distance.  We grow apart.  Sometimes the reason is time.  We are simply too busy to nurture that relationship. Sometimes the reason is unforgiveness. We are more interested in holding on to a grudge then holding on to the person. Perhaps sometimes the reason is that we don’t love ourselves enough.  We don’t think we are worthy of that person’s love.

The perfect Hallmark card, red roses and a candlelight dinner are all symbols of love for Valentine’s Day. For Christians, Jesus dying on the cross is the most relevant symbol of God’s love for us.  In Jesus, God reveals his sacrificial love that knows no bounds. In Jesus, God tenderly speaks to our hearts, “You are always worthy of my love.”  In Jesus, God demonstrates that every day is Valentine’s Day.

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


1 John 4:19

 We love because he first loved us.