Light–in a Dark Valley

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105).Free-animated-flashlight-clipart-clipartfox

LIGHT! If it’s true that God’s Word is lamp to our feet and a light to our path, then I think I just swallowed a flashlight! Just yesterday morning I finished memorizing Romans chapter eight. I don’t know how anyone can get through the dark valleys of life without the Word of God?

Last night my mother had a number of phone calls and three visitors and was rather worn out by bedtime. It can be hard to settle your mind to drop off to sleep after so many calls and visits, so she suggested that I quote Romans 8 while she listened and prompted me over a few rough spots.

Mom said, “Well, that is certainly a wise use of your time.”

I’d say. I’ve found that quoting Romans 8 over my mother and over other difficult circumstances lately has been as strong as prayer for me.  No kidding.  I find that I am walking through the sorrows, trusting Holy Spirit to intercede for me in my weaknesses, leaning on my Father’s arm as we walk together through a very dark valley. I tell you, the Father is so close, it’s as though I can feel His breath on my cheek when he whispers the next directive.

I bring my mother into this because her valley is dark, too. But mostly I mention her working with me on this chapter because she and my dad taught me to memorize scripture since I was old enough to talk.  With their help, I knew all of the 23rd Psalm when I was only three years old.

bible-by-candlelightI hope you’ll try it? Ask God to show you just one verse that speaks to your heart, and memorize it.  If you simply READ that verse five times a day for a whole week, you will have it down by day seven.  There is great treasure to be found in memorizing the Word of God, both in the dark valley below and in the glory that will be revealed in us above.  LIGHT!  Grab it!

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The Sufferings of This Present Time . . .

In 2017, I have been reciting this verse from Romans 8:

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Two years ago when my mother was diagnosed with a sarcoma on the inner thigh, I memorized Psalm 103 and declared that for her healing. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and ALL that is within me, bless His holy name!  WHO . . . redeems my life, renews my youth,  crowns me, and heals all my diseases.”  Now, that’s a paraphrase because I want to move to this year’s chapter and focus on Romans chapter eight.

My mother had about six months of feeling like her old self again and then the cancer returned last fall.  Ugh.  She had surgery in early January at the WONDERFUL Hershey Medical Center. We are told she has little time on this side of the veil.  Sigh.  We had all hoped for more time, more memories shared, more great grandbabies for her to hold and nurture. My sisters and I are honored to care for her and yet, frankly, this is hard.  Really hard. My grief was compounded when one of my own daughters discovered a lump in her breast. Really?  My mother and daughter?

I find great strength in memorizing the Word of God. I don’t share this with you today with pride or to make you feel intimidated or anything close to that. I just NEED to quote scripture right now. My soul is anchored there.

David once wrote, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” I am bible-by-candlelightwalking in a very dark valley and I sense the Lord’s presence beside me here.  The only flashlight available is His Word and I treasure it, charge its batteries, and shine it (quote it) when I cannot see my hand in front of my face.

My mom is quite coherent and she’s happily helping me to memorize Romans chapter eight. The other night I helped her climb into bed and arrange her phones and medications within her reach.  I bent down and kissed her forehead, then stood to my feet in that dark room and said:

Mom, consider this.  The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.”

“I know,” she replied.  “I know.”

Dear one, the veil is thin between here and there, and the glory that will be revealed will make these days seem so small in comparison. Whatever your trial this week, this month, or even this moment, please know that God is watching and walking with you. The valley is indeed dark, but the light of the glory of the face of God is just ahead–and that glory will be revealed in a NEW, immortal, pain-free, joy-filled body.  Look–it’s just ahead. Hallelujah!



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Vets Guard the Cross

Who would have thought that our veterans would have to guard the cross and “keep the cross safe” in their own nation, the United States of America?  The GOOD news is that after the ACLU took the cross to court, they lost and the cross stayed.  Please watch this very brief clip for more:


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What’s “New” in Your “New Year”?

What “new” will we pursue in 2017? Will that “new path” lead us away from the ancient path laid down for us by Jesus and by the Jewish prophets of old? Will that “new path” lead us TO Christ or AWAY from Him?

Jesus told us that He personally is THE way. He is THE path. If we are looking for something new, then perhaps we have wandered from the old. Jeremiah wrote these words:

This is what the Lord says:

“Stand at the crossroads and look; valley-of-decision

Ask for the ancient paths,

Ask where the good way is and


And you will find rest for your souls.”

(Jeremiah 6:16)

In 2017 we stand at the same crossroads. Which path will we choose?

  • The popular path?
  • The “look and feel good about myself” path?
  • The path my friends are talking about?
  • The pursuit of wealth and success path?
  • The path for personal gain?
  • The path presented by television preachers, internet prophets, and our favorite pulpits?
  • The path Jesus spoke of when He said, “I am the path, I am the truth, I am the life”?

We are in the last days before Jesus returns to earth. One thing he warned us to watch out for are people, prophets, and pulpits that announce some “new revelation” or a “new room” in which we can find Christ.  Let’s look at what Jesus said:

 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him.

For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.

Behold, I have told you in advance.

So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or,

‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them.  (Matthew 24:23-26 NASB).

Perhaps we feel that we know more than our parents knew.

Perhaps we feel we’ve laid hold of this new revelation that people have missed for years.

I commend any Christian for pursuing God like this with all their heart. But if we feel we have more revelation than Paul or John or Jesus Himself, and we must search for “the latest and greatest” in order to be satisfied, then isn’t it possible that we’ve left the path, the TRUE path, the ancient path?  Is it possible we are walking in a path of error and not the path of the cross?

In 2017, rather than searching for the “new” or “the latest and greatest” I want to hiker-map-istock_000002602685smallencourage us all to return to that moment when God last spoke to us. Think, think, think.  When is the last time I know God spoke to me personally–not through someone’s pulpit, book, or blog, but to me personally?  What is the last SURE direction and SURE fellowship that I had with God?

Those words that God spoke to us at that time are still alive! Return to that place.  Go back to the point in time when God last spoke. And in those words we will find the light we need on the ANCIENT PATH for 2017.
















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Forgiving This Thanksgiving

When my mother showed me her paraphrase of the Lord’s prayer, one line caught my eye.  I memorized it because, frankly, I needed it, too:

“Lord, help me to forgive those who tread on my faith, my feelings, and my heart.”

Amen. If you find yourself dreading the family gathering this Thanksgiving, determine now to forgive all past wrongs as well as whatever may pop up this Thursday! I hope you enjoy some turkey, too! thanksgiving


H  O  P  E


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My 23rd Psalm by Betty Keenan

Thank you for the kind replies on social media and in person about my latest post,          “Her Vote Counted”.  My mother is resilient to say the least.  I hope you’ll be encouraged as your read her paraphrase of Psalm 23 from the Holy Bible:

You, Lord, are my Shepherd.

I belong to you and will never have to want for anything.

You direct my comings and going, give me rest when I am weary, and renew my spirit when I am troubled.

You give me peace when I face hard things (death, cancer, and unsaved family) and calm my fears.

You strengthen my soul and comfort me with your presence and Spirit in my very being.

You encourage and guide me with Your Word and bless me beyond measure.

I look forward to spending eternity with You.


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Her Vote Counted

My vote counted.i-voted

Your vote counted.

More than anyone else I personally know, my mother’s vote counted. For years my mother has worked at the polls. Last Tuesday she struggled just to get there to cast her own vote. Her greatest regret was that she couldn’t serve at the polls this year due to an annoying and debilitating health issue that is not fatal but extremely painful.

“The only cure is to rest and wait,” they say. “It will get better.”

Hey, it only hurts when you move, blink, or breathe. How does one go to the polls without moving?  Impossible. So my mother, Betty Burt Keenan, went to the polls in great pain to vote last Tuesday.

Did you see anyone struggling to stand behind a walker or a cane at the polls?  Did you see anyone in a wheelchair? Chances are, they were hurting, too, yet they showed up to vote because it’s right, it’s American, and it’s a privilege.

My mom gave me permission to tell her story as long as I don’t make her out to be a hero.  So let’s talk about her brothers for a moment.



Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Born in 1938, Mom was only seven years old when World War II ended. She and her family lived in Washington, DC, which later became the city of my birthplace. Her brother Forrest Marvin Burt told me what he remembers about their older brothers.  Forrest remembers their older brothers serving in the Second World War—Stan Burt was in Europe and Lyle Burt in the South Pacific. Like many American families in the early 1940’s, every day the family back home worried over whether or not they’d ever see Stan or Lyle again. Every day their mother prayed for their safe return.


Forrest wasn’t old enough to enlist. He told me, “I wanted to work at BURCO because it stood for something, a factory that built aircraft parts and other things for the government.”world-war-2-sign

Their mother (my grandmother), May Burt, worked with the neighbor next door to help the war effort at a factory that inspected war ammunition parts.

My Uncle Forrest said, “She was so proud of that job. It was part of the war effort that women worked at home so the men could go to war.”

Their father (my grandfather), Earl Burt, became an operating engineer for the Department of Commerce with the United States government.

The Burt family was one of thousands of families that wholeheartedly participated in liberating the world from the likes of Adolf Hitler and his inner circle of henchmen in the Third Reich. I shudder to think where our human family would be today had we not won that war.

Back to my mother.

Last Tuesday my mother’s friend Norma took her to the polls to vote. When they got there, the lines extended outside the building.

“I know I can’t stand that long,” my mother said.

Norma took my mother home, but went back to the polls to see if she could get her friend Betty to go directly inside to vote. YES! Norma went back home and, even though every step was extremely painful, my mother returned to the polls for the second time.  She slowly made her way inside, registered, and voted.

In reality, my mother is one of many seniors and physically disabled people of all ages who struggled last Tuesday to get in their cars and get to the polls. Many of our voters wore medals, caps, and military uniforms.

In the next blog, I want to share a bit more about my mother’s unique faith and family history and some of her own writings. What does all this have to do with “Lift Jesus’ Cross” blog? Freedom isn’t free. If I lived in Iraq or Syria or a dozen other oppressive nations today, I could not write this blog. I’m proud to be an American.


Raising the Flag at 9/11 World Trade Center, Ground Zero



Raising the Flag at Iwo Jima



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Jesus’ Cross is Lifted Again in Iraq!

Friends, let’s REJOICE with the Christians in Iraq right now! The cross has been a flashpoint of war since ISIS invaded Iraq.  We will NEVER forget that the victory belongs to Jesus,  His cross, His blood, His name, and His power. Jesus’ salvation and Jesus’ cross WILL prevail!  Please be at liberty to share the report below from World Watch Monitor:

There were tears, soldiers praying, priests singing. This was the moment thousands of Iraqi Christians had been waiting for: the Cross, symbol of Christ’s victory over evil, deemed illegal by IS, had returned to the Christian villages in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain . . . (Read more)

cross-lifted-in-iraq-october-2016                                       Fr. Ammar, another priest and two soldiers stand by a newly erected cross on the roof of Tahira church (church of the Immaculate, Syriac Catholic) in Qaraqosh, a Christian village liberated from IS.

World Watch Monitor reporting




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Is the Cross Dangerous?

Is the cross dangerous?

Vladimir Lenin thought so. In November 1917, when he seized power in Russia, Lenin’s soldiers climbed steeples and pinnacles of churches and tore down the cross and replaced it with the red star of the new soviet state. Clergy were denounced as enemies of Russia and summarily executed. Perhaps you’ve heard that Vladimir Putin just made a law to restrict the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Hmmmm . . .

Is the cross dangerous?

Joseph Stalin thought so. After Lenin died in 1924 Stalin ruthlessly tore down crosses from churches in the previously free Christian nations of Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Albania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and East Germany. Stalin was not satisfied until ALL THE CROSSES WERE GONE.

Is the cross dangerous?

Adolph Hitler thought so. One author believes that the Christian Cross was used as a symbol of the Nazi agenda. One thing is for sure. Under Mein Kampf crosses were removed from all churches and replaced with the swastika.

Is the Cross Dangerous?

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) thinks so. The ACLU opposed the eight-foot iron cross in California’s Mojave Desert, an illuminated cross in a California State park, and let’s not forget their opposition over 9/11 steel beam cross being placed in the World Trade Center Memorial.

Is the Cross Dangerous?

China thinks so. ISIS thinks so. THINK THINK THINK. What makes all these people think that the cross is dangerous?

Is the Cross Dangerous?

The devil thinks so. Look what the cross did for us!                                                                      Jesus canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross (Colossians 2:14,15).

Is the Cross Dangerous–or victorious?

What do you think?

cross looks real

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Erica Grace, the author of this article, kindly gave me permission to share her story with you. God sees the sacrifices his children make, and honors them in heaven whether or not they are honored here on earth. I was so encouraged by this story and I had to share it with my favorite people! This article was published in Connecting With You by Robert and Maureen McQuillan, my New Zealand friends.

Connecting with You!

Erica GraceAugust 5, 2016 – Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, challenges us to remember unsung Hebrews 11 type heroes!

Have you ever known people in the ministry that you felt didn’t receive their due recognition? Marie Monsen was one of those people.

Born in Sandviken, Norway in 1878, Marie became a school teacher. She went to China in 1901 initially to help the missionary couple sent there by her Lutheran church who needed a teacher for their children.

But because of the national unrest and turn of events in China, the missionaries left shortly after Marie arrived. The mission agency back in Norway didn’t have the funds to send for Marie as well, so she stayed back waiting for her ticket to arrive.

So many people needing help
Erica 0816a Meanwhile, people kept coming to the mission home looking for help but Marie (left) was the only one there.  She would rush…

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