Monthly Archives: May 2014



Our Home in Guatemala

Our Home in Guatemala

Following a massive earthquake in Guatemala, we worked on a Salvation Army multinational reconstruction project.  At first I joked about the inconveniences of the makeshift accommodations, but after six months, the novelty waned. Pressures mounted to complete the project before the rainy season arrived, but the national emergency had depleted building supplies and slowed progress.

The spiritual strength that had carried me through other difficult times seemed diminished. I longed to attend worship services in my English-speaking homeland. It seemed that if I could hear hymns, and prayers, and sermons in my own language that I would be strong and patient and more loving.

One day, while leafing through my Bible, I found encouragement in an unlikely place – the prophecies of Ezekiel. The Israelites, living in Babylon, felt that they could not truly worship unless they were at the temple in Jerusalem. God, though, reminded the Israelites that the temple with its familiar rituals and language is not the sanctuary.  God told Ezekiel,“I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone,” (Ezekiel 11:16 NIV)

Many of us have been separated from friends, home church, neighborhood, family and even homeland. Furthermore, those who are older find themselves distanced from what was familiar in their young and middle years. In spite of our best efforts to adjust to necessary changes we often find ourselves thinking, “If I could just go back to my home church, or hear the worship music that is familiar to me, or hear a sermon by …I would find spiritual renewal.”  We will not find God and his strength in a past location or era. God’s love and compassion are new every morning—right where we are today.


 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  Psalm 139:9-10

Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5b

Martha Hawn VanCise©2014




What Can Wash Away My Sins?

Hindu woman

This Hindu devotee is one of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims
bathe and  offer prayers in hopes of washing away sins
during this month-long festival in India. 
( January 31, 2014)

Me? A sinner?

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves … (I John 1:8)

What can wash away my sin? 

He (Christ/Emmanuel) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.1

How do I plunge beneath this flood?

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

Martha Hawn VanCise©2014

1. Cowper, William. There is a Fountain Filled With Blood








Tweeting Jesus

Short Prayers

Tweeting Jesus

a short burst of inconsequential information, a chirping as of a bird.

Christians Tweet Jesus all day long.  Several times a day we find ourselves chirping, “Lord, help …” or “Thank you for ….” Our less than 140-character prayers confirm that we are following Jesus and they may even be sweet sounds to our Creator. Prayer tweets, however, will never lead us to a true knowledge God.

How well do you know the people you follow on Twitter? How well do those who follow you, know you? Would a person you follow, recognize you if you sat beside them on a cross-country flight?

It takes more than tweeting to get acquainted with someone and it takes more than prayer tweets to build a relationship with God. Had Jesus tweeted the model prayer it would have ended with “our daily bread.” Forgiveness, temptation, and the threat of evil would not have been mentioned.

Keep Tweeting Jesus
but don’t forget to take time
to get better acquainted with him through
unhurried prayer and reading his Word.

Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24 NIV)

Martha Hawn VanCise©2014