Monthly Archives: March 2014

A Harsh Splendor – a Lenten thought (guest post by Chuck Killian)


The Gospels make it clear—you can’t make the ‘Lenten Journey’ without the desert and wilderness. That forty-day trek is rough terrain. All that stuff about wild beasts, temptations, and hunger, we’d rather not talk about it. And the cruelty of it; “Lord, can we do an ‘end run’ around the wilderness? We can meet you in forty days and celebrate.”

I never go through Lent without thinking of the Harsh Splendor. That is how Death Valley, California, is described. It is three thousand square miles of desert. The weather is hot and dry, reaching 134 degrees. The rain turns to steam before it hits the ground. Yet, in this place, stories abound about eager and greedy miners, who came in search for gold and silver. Instead, they found borax, and with mule teams made their way to the railroad 160 miles away.

Upon closer examination, some other amazing facts are known about Death Valley. Over 1000 different varieties of flowers grow there. Sheep graze atop Cottonwood Range, and the mesquite bush sends down a single tap root 100 feet in search for water. In spite of the fierce landscape, abundant life goes on; even the bristle cone pine has made it for more than 3000 years.

So, I ask, where is this Lenten Journey going to end? We know—the Cross! It is hard to find water there. Where is life amidst a grizzly death? In our Lord’s ‘death valley’, where is the splendor?

The harshest thing you can say about it all is that once this trip is over, it is death for Jesus. But, the splendor of that is there must be death before there can be a resurrection. And for that, there will always be ‘streams in the desert’.

It is recorded that an old pioneer once said, “Someday folks won’t have to make excuses or have a reason to come to Death Valley; they’ll just come because they like it and it’s good for their souls.”

Can it be that the wilderness is rich and verdant in its promise of healing and transformation? What is Lent but getting ready for the feast! Yes, come to the desert—it’ll be good for you soul!


DSCN0253PS: So honored to have my dad guest posting today. He was the first man to ever hold me in his arms and to teach me about my heavenly Father. His walk with Jesus continues to radically shape mine. Love you, Daddy.

 Photo Credit

One of the great people of Garner – aka “my dad”

Garner, NC. That may ring a bell for some of you; it’s the hometown of American Idol winner, Scotty McCreery. I like it for two other reasons – my mom and dad. They moved there several years ago to be nearer to their grandkids. Not long ago, my dad sat down with the Mayor of Garner to talk about life in this beautiful city. I want to share his interview with you. After watching it, you might just want to relocate to Garner! Garner, NC, is not my hometown, but my parents? Well, they’ll always be my home. Wherever they lay their heads, my heart rests there as well.

May the peace of Christ rest upon you this weekend, friends.

To watch the video – go HERE! 

PS: The winner of one of Leah’s books is Sonja! I’ll be contacting you privately to secure your choice.

Lent … It’s Killin’ Me (Guest Post by Leah Adams)


Having come from a Baptist background the only thing I knew about Lent was that it was probably a misspelling of the stuff that you clean out of the dryer. It was not until I went to Young Harris College that I even heard the word, much less had it explained to me. Consequently, I never partook in the Lenten celebration. Even as an adult, I have never felt the urging to participate, until this year.

For those who are not exactly certain what Lent is, allow me to offer the definition from

“An annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.”

Fasting and penitence … sounds fascinating, huh? Well, fascinating or not, it seemed the Lord was calling me to participate this year. As I pondered the matter on Ash Wednesday, I tried to decide what I would give up, or fast. I’m not a chocoholic, so that never crossed my mind. I don’t spend inordinate amounts of time on social media, so I didn’t feel led in that direction. What would it be?

I asked the Lord what I should fast during Lent, and the Holy Spirit plastered Philippians 2:14 (NIV) on the walls of my mind. I could do nothing but follow His lead.

“Do everything without complaining or arguing ….”

Well, alrighty then! If I want to focus on Jesus and His work on the cross, and be more like Jesus, then I need to stop complaining.

“Hmmmpfff! I don’t do a lot of complaining,” my smug self told the Holy Spirit. “This should be pretty easy.”

I think in the distance I heard Almighty God laughing out loud.

About twenty-four hours in, I realized I might have been a bit too smug about the level of my complaining. Forty-eight hours in found me ‘telling’ our Australian daughter, Bree, about something someone else had done that had not pleased my heart. Suddenly, she looked dead-on at me, and in her most charming Australian accent said, “Weren’t you giving up complaining for Lent?”

BUSTED! I had not even realized I was complaining. Oh Sweet Mercy! I still had thirty-seven days left. This was going to be much more difficult than I had anticipated.

The next morning I spent time repenting of my spirit of complaining, and asking the Lord to help me be aware of when I complain. I’m certain He has a mind to answer that prayer. Probably I should just go ahead and duct tape my mouth closed for the next thirty something days. Alas, there is the pesky problem of my thought life. I may not voice my complaints, but I sure think them. Perhaps a long acting sleeping medication is what I need. You know, Rip van Winkle-ish for the next forty days.

What about you? Are you pegging your complaining meter out like I am inclined to do? It is a huge issue, friends. Are you doing everything without complaining?


untitled-65Leah Adams describes herself as the “prodigal son’s sister” after spending several years walking far from the Lord in her twenties. Helping others understand the grace that is offered by Jesus to anyone who will accept it is the passion of Leah’s heart. In a works-based and failure-prone society, grace is a concept that many people have difficulty grasping, and Leah’s speaking and writing ministry, called The Point Ministries, seeks to point others straight to Jesus and his amazing grace. Although her ministry is to all women, Leah has a heart for reaching those who are part of the Generation X and Millennial groups with the love of Jesus.

An author and communicator, Leah lives in northern Georgia with her husband, Greg, who is also her dentist. She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from Mercer University School of Pharmacy. Leah is a CLASS certified speaker and is the author of a Bible study entitled, From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy, as well as a devotion book entitled, When Words Won’t Come. Her second Bible study, HeBrews: A Better Blend, will be released by Warner Press in the summer of 2014. In her free time, Leah enjoys reading, cooking, camping and sharing girlfriend time. You can visit Leah at her website, She can also be found on Facebook (Leah Adams – The Point Ministries) or Twitter (@PointMinistries).

PS: Leave a comment today to win a copy of one of Leah’s books – your choice. I’ll pick a winner with my next post.

on dancin’ again


Whew – I just made myself exceedingly dizzy. Really. Dizzy to the point of dazed and to making erratic mumblings along the lines of “I wonder if Gwyneth Paltrow is doing this right now . . . on a Sunday night . . . crunching her abs in hopes of trimming her waistline.” Did I mention the part about my being dizzy? Yes, I think I did. It’s been a long time since I’ve attempted any kind of a crunch, abdomen or otherwise. The only thing I think I crunched tonight was a vertebrae in my neck, all in the name of shedding an inch or two off of my middle before my son’s July wedding.

What a disaster . . . my body, not the wedding! I used to be in shape. Four years ago, I was clocking in 3-4 mile runs on a daily basis. This discipline compensated for any overeating I might have done and kept me at a consistent weight, able to fit into the wardrobe in my closet. Alas, my running days are now over, and in the course of these last three years, I’ve let myself go. My once, disciplined regimen of exercise has whittled down to walking 4-5 days per week. Walking is great for the heart, but it’s not enough to prevent extra layers of warmth from collecting around my middle.

This is a loss. This is my reality, and I am disappointed with myself . . . again. What happened to the spirited, disciplined, highly motivated gal who, up until a few years ago, was healthy, happy, and on the fast track with her future?

Apparently, she went away, went in to hibernation in that cabin way back up the mountain where people often go when loss comes around. I want her back. I really want her back. I don’t think she’s too far off, just hidden. It may take me some time to find her again, but I know she’s out there, and she’s expecting me.

This won’t be just a physical search; it will be a spiritual one as well. Other things beyond the flesh often go into hiding when loss comes around. The spirit and soul of a person . . . they, too, often choose retreat when life takes an unexpected turn down an unwanted path.

I want to tell you something, make as honest of a confession I can make: Every day since cancer, August 23, 2010, I’ve made a choice for life. I’ve gotten out of bed, regardless of my feelings, and made the decision to walk the day through. Every blessed day, I’ve said “Yes” to living and to living the day with Jesus. This single, deliberate choice has kept me. Simply and profoundly kept me.

This has been enough grace, enough faith to tether my heart to expectation despite the fact that, most days, I struggle with my realities—the physical ones I see in the mirror and the emotional ones I feel in my spirit. But I keep going, because I have Jesus, and I hold to the firm belief that my best days are ahead of me, not behind me. I don’t know what this will look like in the days to come, if the layers around my middle or the layers around my heart will decrease. But to that end, I am making a commitment because . . .

I want her back. I really want her back. With God’s help, I’ll find her again. Together, he and I will bring her down from the mountain and set her soul and feet to dancin’ . . . at a wedding.

I’ve got some work to do, friends, so I’d better get busy. Keep choosing life with Jesus, every single morning when you wake up. Keep choosing rest with Jesus, every single night when you lie down. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. He is our only hope for better days ahead. As always . . .

Peace for the Journey,

I will be taking time off from blogging here to work on some writing projects. I hope to feature some guest posts from some special friends. If you’d like to be in touch, feel free to send me an email by clicking here. I still have some copies of Beyond Cancer’s Scars and Peace for the Journey in my mudroom if you’d like a copy; click here to learn more

on trial …

Tough morning; tough night. And I don’t like tough nights. Every now and again, one comes along, and I have to wrestle my heart out before Jesus. I bring the load I’m carrying, the heaviness that’s weighing on my heart, and cast it all at his feet.

What now, Lord? How does this fit into what we’re doing here together?

Condemnation is a wretched load to carry, one of Satan’s favorite weapons. If he can get us to discredit ourselves, continually demean ourselves regarding the sins from our past, then he has accomplished what he’s set out to accomplish—to steal, kill, and destroy.

Steal our testimony.
Kill out witness.
Destroy our fruitfulness.

This is the enemy’s goal for any soul who’s known the cleansing work of the cross. The cross is powerful and beautiful, the undeniable witness of a Father’s love. It is a grace unspeakable and full of glory. The cross trumps our sin. Period. But every now and again, a tough night comes along, and the devil finds his opportunity to put us back on the witness stand so that we might plead our case for a mercy that’s already been given. My case was resolved at Calvary. So was yours. Accordingly, we should no longer take the witness stand on our behalf. Instead, we should allow Jesus Christ to do what he came to earth to do.

That doing? To be our saving grace. This is the crux of our faith—the heart of the Christian life. Christ has taken our place as the accused, and he is far more equipped to handle the case against him than we are in handling the enemy’s case against us. And so, this morning, I step away from the bench and walk down the courthouse steps as a free woman. What the enemy has meant for evil, God has resolved for his good and for his kingdom through the power of his cross.

Friends, if you’ve had a tough night like me, maybe even a tough season where you’ve felt the weight of the enemy’s condemnation pressing heavily upon your heart, you can unload that heaviness today. Give it all back to Jesus, place it in his capable hands, and live your freedom.

Share your testimony.
Live your witness.
Sow generously; reap fruitfully.

This is God’s goal for all of us who’ve known the cleansing work of the cross.

Amen. So be it.

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