Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Seed of Faith

God plants seeds of faith

Mustard Seed

…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed… Matthew 17:20

“She’s looking for something she isn’t going to find,” Betty said. The discussion during the morning office break centered around a film star’s decision to abandon a successful career to enter a convent. Of all the people in the group, Betty had definitely searched for happiness in the most places. She had been an exotic dancer performing on nightclub stages with film and TV stars.

Her comment caught my attention. As a believer, who had found that elusive “something,” I recognized that Betty was a searcher. From that day on I prayed for her and made a special effort to befriend her. Although Betty and I had differing beliefs and lifestyles, we became close friends.

 During another office-break discussion, Betty firmly proclaimed, “I’m an agnostic! I don’t think you can know that God exists.” One day, though, when we were alone, Betty said quietly, “I know God exists. When I was about four years old, I had a pet chicken that got sick. My pet was dying and I prayed to God to save it. That chicken recovered.” She paused and quietly said again, “I know God exists.”

 God uses many ways to  plant  seeds of faith to draw us to him and encourage us to place our trust in him. The seeds may lie dormant for years. We may cultivate the seeds or we may ignore them, but we cannot deny their existence.

Years after I had moved thousands of miles away from Betty, I received a letter from her. “You may be shocked,” she said, “but I’ve given my life to Christ and I even teach a Sunday School class.” It’s never too late for a dormant seed to sprout and come alive.

Martha Hawn VanCise ©2015

The Gap

when away from loved ones feel a gap

At times, I must confess “I miss my daughter and her family.” I don’t regret having moved back to live in Indiana, in fact I’m very happy here, but I do miss seeing them. The distance between us is not measured by miles, or by hours but rather by $$$. I can board a plane and see her within a few hours, but the cost is prohibitive. Today, while reading a devotional in the Celtic Daily Prayer book, this meditation gave me new perspective on being apart from those we love.

Nothing can fill the gap when we are away from those we love, and it would be wrong to try and find anything. We must simply hold out and win through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation, since leaving the gap unfilled preserves the bonds between us. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; He does not fill it, but keeps it empty so that our communion with another may be kept alive, even at the cost of pain. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Martha Hawn VanCise©2015

Clues to End Times

Signs of end of world

All of Israel expected the Messiah to come and they carried in their minds a picture of how he would come: a powerful king that would deliver them from political oppression. With the Messiah in power, they would trample their enemies and live in prosperity.

Only a handful of people, though, recognized the first coming of Christ: Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zechariah, a band of scruffy shepherds, an entourage of wise men, and a couple old people in the temple courts. All the signs and prophecies about his first coming were fulfilled, but since they weren’t fulfilled in the way the people had imagined, few recognized Christ’s appearance.

Thirty-three years later, after he had fed thousands, healed hundreds, raised a few from the dead and walked on water, they begin to think this just might be the  Messiah.  Still with their image of how it would all play out, they threw their cloaks on a donkey, hoisted Jesus on it and spread palm branches on the road to Jerusalem. That day, it was just as they had imagined.

When he hung, though, stretched out on a cross and refused to show his power for self-delivery, even his closest followers and intimate friends turned away, saying, “Nope. Got that wrong. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to play out for the Messiah.” The prophecies—the CLUES—were all there, but they just didn’t unfold the way the people had imagined.

Jesus and other writers in the Scriptures have left us prophecies—CLUES—about the second coming of Christ and the End Times. Our Christian culture is swamped with books, movies, songs, sermons, and conferences that explain the prophecies and how they will unfold, BUT


When Jesus spoke to the disciples about End Times (Mark 13) he said,      Many will be deceived (v.6)   Be on your guard (v 23)   Be on guard! Be alert! (v 33)  “No one knows about that day or hour …If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (vs 32,36)


While we watch for headline clues, fulfillment may be unfolding in some obscure place, recognized by only  a few, and bathed in blood. Pay attention to the CLUES, but be alert and open to the way God fulfills the prophecies of End Times.

Martha Hawn VanCise ©2015