Posted in spiritual, Thoughts from the Word

From a Mold or Molded?

When I was a pre-teen, I was introduced to ceramics.  My sister-in-law’s mother had a ceramics shop in her garage with a kiln, and every so often, she would let me and Vivian (my sister-in-law’s sister) do ceramics.  One of the things we did was pour liquid into a form, let it set, then remove the mold, scrape off the seams, then it would be dried in the kiln.  After the drying, we could paint it however we wished.  And it was fun!  Vivian and I could pick the same exact object, and it would be unique only due to how we chose to paint our same exact object…  On the other hand, pottery is hand formed from a lump of clay, on a potter’s wheel.  The value of piece of pottery depends on the skill of the potter.

This comparison hit me while I was driving down the road.

How often as a Christian, do we consider ourselves “ceramic.”  You’re a bowl, I’m a bowl, he’s a bowl, she’s a bowl… we are just decorated differently.  But I think that we would be better served to think of ourselves as pottery.  Each one of us hand crafted with love and great skill by the Master Potter.  My value has nothing to do with your value.  Your value has nothing to do with mine.  Our value is solely dependent on the One who made us, and the fulfilling of the task we were created for.

Isaiah 64:8 (KJV) “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter, and we all are the work of thy hand.”

Sometimes I find myself looking around at my co-workers.  I am so blessed to be surrounded by amazing nurses.  Sometimes I find myself feeling bad that I can’t contribute what someone else does, and in the mentality of “I’m a ceramic mold” I find myself down and doubting my vocation.  When I remember that I am “pottery” I am able to place into perspective my calling, and just DO what I’m able to do.  My part is valuable.  Your part is valuable.
This realization of being pottery should also affect how I judge another.  I cannot hold someone to MY gifts and abilities, we are not poured out of the same mold.  We are each uniquely designed for God’s purposes.  Each one of us needs to be concerned with our own relationship with the potter and the tasks He has created for us specifically to fulfill.
Posted in people, spiritual, Uncategorized



These two.  I can honestly say that these two men were the most influential men in my growing up years.  On the right is my dad, Allen Keifer; on the left is my pastor, Eldon Martens.  These two began a life-long friendship in the early 70’s.  Together, they started Fundamental Baptist Church in Escondido, CA.  The church started in our house in October of 1973, and I’m told one of the Sunday School classes was held in my bedroom!

As I look at this picture (40 years later… gasp), I get a lump in my throat.  These men were consistent.  Consistent in their work ethic, consistent in their outreach, consistent in their ministry, consistent with their families.  When I think of faithful, these two are top of my list.

I think about all the years I sat under the ministry of Pastor Martens.  From the age of 3 I listened.  And I learned.  Parents, please don’t underestimate the influence sitting in “big church” has on your children.  I sat under the gospel and a few months before turning 5 years old, I understood the gospel: that Jesus died on the cross for my sins so that I could go to heaven when I died; and I bowed my head and accepted Jesus as my Savior while my mom sang in choir practice!

Pastor had a way of relating to people.  Even as a small child, I knew I could go up to him and talk to him and he would stop everything and listen.  I remember getting a Bible as a gift.  I wanted to show it to him.  He stopped what he was doing and prayed with me that the Bible would be important to me and that I would read it every day.

I remember so many Sunday nights when “the whole church” would congregate at our house for my mom’s pancakes.  (I’m not certain how many people that was, especially in the early days).  I’m thankful that my “culture” was my church.  I grew up in the culture of the church as family.  We kids of the church played together, fought together, sang together, went to school together.  Church was a major influence.  And why?  because my parents made it important.  They made sure I was influenced by godly people.  They made sure I was sitting under the preaching; and you know what?  they made sure I was behaving myself so that I would not be a distraction to anyone in the service who needed to hear the gospel (how’d they do that, you might ask… Well, it had to do with going outside and my mom’s shoe… and as my dad would say, maybe some “weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth”)

My dad was a man of faith.  He was a man who gave.  SO MUCH.  He was of those secret givers, secret influencers.  We didn’t know half of what he did until his funeral and people started talking about it.

In the early part of 2011, Pastor Martens passed away and in October of the same year, my dad went home to be with the Lord.  Our families just shook our heads and thought, “Of course.  Those two.  Always did tend to be in the same places at the same time.”  Somehow, it was just RIGHT.

Let me ask you this:  Who will be the most influential people in your childrens’ lives?  I hope my legacy is as powerful.  I hope yours is.

Posted in daily prompts, spiritual, Thoughts from the Word


via Daily Prompt: Bliss

Bliss.  What do you think of when you hear that word?

When I hear the word “bliss” I define it more as a feeling.  Bliss is that feeling of joy, contentment and peace after a productive day.  It’s that feeling of “ahhh” when you sink into your bed at night, that first sip of coffee in the morning, or soaking in the tub with all the time in the world.  It’s the satisfaction of having a clean house with all the laundry done and everything in its place and a fresh smell in the air.  Bliss is sitting on the beach, watching the waves roll into shore, sinking your toes into the sand.  Bliss is your child’s arms around your neck, a surprise visit from a friend, or finding that stack of letters from your spouse when you were first dating and losing track of time as you read through each precious line.

The dictionary defines bliss as:  noun:  perfect happiness; great joy.

This is the time of year that we celebrate Christmas.  Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.  In the Bible, the book of Luke, chapter 2 tells us the story of Jesus’ birth.

I found it interesting that “great joy” is found in this story.  After Jesus’ birth, angels announced his birth to shepherds.  Luke 2:8-14  “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon the, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:  and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not:  for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be  sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. ”

You’ve heard the terms “follow your bliss,”  “find your bliss.”  I submit to you that baby in a manger, the sinless Son of God who gave himself the only sacrifice for sin, is the true Bliss.  If you are trying to find your bliss in anything or in anyone other than Jesus, you will remain empty and void of true joy.  Only Jesus can satisfy that longing in your soul.

Those shepherds didn’t just hear the heavenly birth announcement.  They went looking for that savior.  Luke 2:15, 16 “And it came to pass as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”


Once the shepherds found Jesus, Luke 2:20 says, “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”

You’ve heard of Jesus.

Have you sought him?

When you find him, will you accept him?  You will not be the same.






Posted in Random, spiritual, Thoughts from the Word


Yesterday I went to the funeral of a man from our church.  He was 86.  I listened to his family talk about him and it reminded me of my own father’s funeral and what was said about him.  I was challenged at this man’s funeral, as I was at my own Dad’s funeral to do something and be something that really isn’t “me.”

It was said that this man would check up on each one of his family members.  He was interested in their lives.  Not just the big things, but the little things.  If he knew his granddaughter needed an oil change, he’d call later in the week and ask if she got the oil change, where at, how much?  It reminded me of my Dad, how he would call and see how we were doing, ask about each one of the boys and listen to our concerns.  He didn’t butt in, but he made himself available to talk and give counsel.  We knew he cared because he showed he cared.

Yesterday I was reminded that I had said at my Dad’s funeral that I wanted to be that to my family, I wanted to check on them and let them know they were loved.  I do love my family.  I am interested in their daily lives.  But how are they going to know it if I don’t show it?  I’ve got to show up, be present.  Step out of my comfort zone.

Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow is not promised to us.  What can I do today to be PRESENT in my family’s, in my friends’, in my fellow church member’s lives?  One day, it’s going to be my funeral.  Will my loved ones know how much I really loved them?  How much I cared?

To my family, who will know what this means… “and… I love you!”

Posted in people, spiritual, Thoughts from the Word

My Mother

This morning I got up early to drive my mother to the airport.  Despite my admitted “home-sickness” for California, I opted to fly her out here on my vacation so the whole family (except our 2nd born who is still on the other side of the world) could enjoy her company and so she could see our new home and meet the latest great-grandchild.  We have had a lovely week together.

I know most of us can say this, but my mom is probably the most influential woman in my life.  She has taught me how to walk with God, how to study His Word, how to understand people, how to relate to the Holy Spirit, how to delegate, how to function in pain, how to sing, how to play the piano, how to laugh at myself.  She taught me how to be a wife, a mother, and now she is setting an example of how to be a widow.

My mother is a mother to far more than her own four children.  SO MANY women call her “Mom.”  She is 5’2″ of pure determination, and I love that about her.  She’ll be 79 on her next birthday but she acts far younger.  She is fiercely independent.  She is CAPABLE.  She is a seamstress, a teacher, a counselor, an accountant, a secretary.  (Did I mention she teaches 5 of her great grandchildren school?)  Sometimes she talks about driving across country by herself, and I shudder… but wouldn’t I want to do the same thing???

Proverbs 31:27-31 “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.  Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.  Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Posted in spiritual, Thoughts from the Word

“Tender Mercies”

For the past several days I’ve been thinking about a few attributes of God I’ve come across in my reading of Psalm 119:  “tender mercies,” “lovingkindness,” and “faithfulness.”  Today I’d like to share just one.

In verse 77, the psalmist writes, “Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.”

The word “tender mercies” here is literally  translated to I. Womb and II. Compassion.  Strong’s concordance defines it as compassion (in the plural); by extension, the womb (as cherishing the unborn baby), bowels, compassions, tender love, mercy, pity.  It is from the root word “racham” which is defined “to love, love deeply, be compassionate, have tender affection, have compassion.”

I let that definition roll around in my head for a while, and came up with this:  “tender mercies” are likened unto the love and wonder, awe and protection a pregnant mother feels for her unborn baby.  Not only that, but it is like the womb which provides protection, comfort, security, nourishment and blood supply, to the forming child.  God loves US like that!

Do you know the song, “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” by Stuart Townsend?  here’s a link to his website for the lyrics.

That song just kept going over and over in my mind.  Think about this amazing thought.  He loves you like a mother cherishes her child.  Like you love your child.  (But so so much more!)  Psalm 103:3 “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”