This Little Light of Mine

For those of you how don’t know, I’m the director of Preschool ministries at GFBC and I oversee all preschool activities for church on Sunday, Wednesday or any church event. I’ve worked with children and preschool for over 25 years.  One thing I see is how precious the faith of a child is.  They soak up everything you can tell them about Jesus and his friends in the Bible.  They love to sing and worship, and lately I’ve realized how much we as adults can learn from preschool songs.  Today I’d like to share with you what the Lord has been showing me through the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” 

“This little light of mine” – This phrase doesn’t say it has to be a big light, it speaks of a little light. Even if you are at a point in life where there’s only a sliver of light, if you let that light shine, it drowns out the darkness. It’s been said that if you are in a dark room and you open the door to a lighted hallway even just a crack, the darkness doesn’t enter the hallway, the light enters the dark room. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

“I’m gonna let it shine” – This phrase indicates that we have a choice. We can let it shine or we can choose not to. God gives us all the freedom to choose. Sometimes we choose to shine the light of hate, anger, resentment, judgment over showing others the light of Jesus in our lives.  What kind of witness are you being for the Lord? Will you choose to let your light shine today? “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

“Hide it under a bushel, NO” – This phrase indicates that that light can be hidden. I think at times our human flesh can be afraid to share this light with others. What will they say? We will lose a friend over sharing the gospel and asking tough questions? Will we be attacked for asking tough questions and having hard conversations with people about salvation? Will we be fired from our jobs because we simply shared the gospel? It can be difficult, but the Lord says: “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26)

“Don’t let Satan blow it out” – This phrase indicates that we must be protective of this light. We must be careful not to let the sin of this life cause the light to be snuffed out. The enemy is constantly looking to see how he can tempt us and lead us away from the Lord. He doesn’t want our light to shine to lead others to Christ. “Control yourselves. Be on your guard. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow.” (1 Peter 5:8)

“Let it shine till Jesus comes” – Life can be weary; we can get so caught up in the busyness of life that we pay more attention to what’s going on in our own lives instead of continuing to persevere and let the light of Jesus shine. The Word always warns us about this and encourages us with this: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 

So today, choose to let your light shine, don’t hide it, don’t let the enemy blow it out and shine bright until Jesus comes! 


Faithful in Prayer

faithful (adjective) ˈfāth-fəl – firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty

What kinds of things are you faithful to? Exercise. Your spouse. Your diet. Your job. God. Staying on top of the latest in fashion or home improvements. A ministry. A Friend. You may consider yourself faithful to many of these if you are a conscientious person.

The apostle Paul encourages Believers in Romans 12:12: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Would you consider yourself to be faithful in prayer? I pray. I’m pretty sure you do too. But am I faithful prayer?

I pray at meals. I pray when I’m worried. I pray when I need God to do something for me. I pray as I see a crisis unfolding on the news. I pray for friends who ask me too – well, most of the time – I always mean to pray for them, but sometimes forget by the time I get home.

How can I become “faithful in prayer” as Scripture challenges me to be? Once again we turn to Paul for an answer:

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles. Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.”

1 Timothy 2:1-8

Paul gives us an idea of what he means to be faithful in prayer. Here he urges his young friend Timothy to pray in these ways:

  • offer petitions
  • offer prayers
  • make intercession
  • give thanks

Who do we pray these things for? All people.

Why do we pray? It is good. It please God.

Who is to pray? Just the pastors? Pastors and Sunday school teachers? Pastors, teachers, and deacons? Those “spiritual elite” types of people? Those who have more time than me? … No. “I want the men everywhere to pray,” he says. That means each of us. All Believers.

Prayer is simple, but profound.

  • All Believers pray
    • to an all-powerful God
      • by all means
        • for all people everywhere
          • at all times.
            • That’s all.

And it accomplishes much! “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

Your assignment: Stop right now and pray. And here are some ideas spurred by Paul’s words to Timothy.

When you PETITION you: ask, desire, request, appeal to, beg, call upon, solicit the help of, cry out to.

When you PRAY you: address God with adoration, confession, supplication; request in a humble manner; implore, entreat, plead, invoke His help.

When you INTERCEDE you: intervene between parties; act as a go-between; mediate for others with God.

When you GIVE THANKS you: express gratitude, acknowledge, glorify, praise, laud, extol, honor, recognize, credit, compliment your Father God.

Determine to become a woman who is faith in prayer!


The Preacher Man used to be a Plumber before he entered into ministry. 

He still is a plumber some days, I believe, on an as-needed basis. I have seen him carry a plunger and tote a wrench before. Perhaps it was his lay trade history that makes it so he says things that get me tickled and make me take another look at things that are familiar. 

I have never been in construction but I have on a number of times traversed the aisles of the Home Improvement Store. The smell of lumber draws me in like freshly baked bread does some other folks. It ushers in reminiscing and memories. When I was little, some of my people were into carpentry. My play was sprinkled with wood scraps and sawdust like some kids’ play is peppered with play-doh and glitter.   

Perhaps it is that which has laid a foundation of familiarity when The Plumber-turned-preacher goes back to his roots. This might have been the case when he preached on Matthew Chapter 7, verse 3; it is a verse about the plank in one’s own eye whilst pointing out the splinter in someone else’s eye. The King was speaking metaphorically at the time, and to be honest I have known this story for a lot of years. The thought of a piece of wood in my eye seems uncomfortable, but that is where the lesson mostly ended for me. I had missed the point of the story entirely. Maybe the preacher knew that so he drew from construction days as he began to break it down for his congregants, yours truly included. 

He likened the log in the eye to a piece of lumber, specifically a two-by-twelve, two inches wide and twelve foot long. He is deeply southern and pronounced two-by-twelve all together making it sound like “tuba-twelve.” 

A two-by-twelve is long and thin so it bounces and bends easily as it is ill-supported, and isn’t easily maneuverable. A two-by-twelve is an awkward piece of lumber. The mental picture began to form in my mind. 

Imagine trying to walk around stabilizing that plank of wood, managing to go through life with that tree hanging off your face. The metaphor had become clearer. Imagine that nonsense when you are concerned with a speck in someone else’s eye. As the Preacher man spoke, his description of the “tuba-twelve” made me realize that until that moment I had completely missed the purpose of the parable. As he preached, he challenged us all to be aware of our own plank of wood, and now I remind myself to be ever cognizant of my tuba-twelve while being careful not to point out other folk’s stuff. 

Honoring the Birthday Girl

Birthdays are important at our house. It’s not that we rent out the bouncy houses or big venues, nor do we buy huge expensive presents. Those days are important to honor two people, the one who is turning a year older and the mother who birthed them. It’s easy to get caught up in the fanfare and yet not honor the ones most affected by this day. Our society tends to be all about big events while managing not to truly honor the honoree: think arguments, manipulation, and tears that threaten to ruin a birthday, anniversary, or wedding day.

So how do we honor people? Does it depend on the gifts? Decorations? Money spent? We may feel that we’ve given honor when we make a hefty monetary investment in something, while in reality the spirit of honoring is missing. It depends more on meeting the heart needs of the one being honored.

Does the celebration fit their personality or mine (because I’m the one throwing the party)?

Are their important friends the guests, or are the guests ones I’m comfortable with?

Does the gift, no matter how small, show that the birthday girl is truly known and understood and that her desires are considered in the purchase?

Does the party center on the honoree or are big personalities allowed to steal the limelight?

Is the celebration joyful, the conversation uplifting, and the atmosphere heartwarming, or have we allowed things to creep in that shouldn’t, like snide remarks, negativity, and cruel pranks that may wound a person (all in the name of fun of course – but at whose expense)?

Does the person know that they are honored and valued year ’round as well as on their day?


We have an example of how to love and honor others well, Father God loves and honors each of us individually. When we are with Him we have His sole attention. We are loved unconditionally and accepted and valued for who we are, not based on expectations of what we can offer. He rejoices over us and even sings over us. We are the apple of His eye! Do we allow the Father to teach us to love and honor others well? And personally, do we sit at the Father’s feet and allow Him to love and honor us well when those around us aren’t able to?

I recall one particularly busy year in our household where my birthday was tucked in as an afterthought during the month of November – a notoriously busy holiday time, when birthdays can be easily overlooked. Not only did family find little time, but my friends were all over-committed as well. That birthday came and went as a typical Tuesday might, no special calls, meal, party or presents. Having cake together got pushed to the next weekend, but THIS was my birthday!

I was feeling a bit blue by the evening, so I took some moments to steal away with the Father. As I prayed (whined to Him) and read His word, my heart began to calm down. I saw in His words to me that I was His cherished child. I saw my uniqueness and value in His plan. I saw that though earthly friends may overlook my day, My Father had not. I lay down that night with tears of gratitude that I was known and loved and honored in My Father’s eyes.

If you find yourself forgotten on a special day, go to The One who loves you most. And as you celebrate a special day with those dear to you or casual friends, seek to find ways to let them see that they are known, cherished, and valued. It doesn’t always take fanfare – though that can be nice. Even a single, store-bought cupcake or a heartfelt note can show genuine honor and bless a person’s heart.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 30:30-31

Make ‘Em A Meal

Several weeks ago I took sick. I’d gone to bed normally and woke up in the dark-thirty hours of the morning with an appendix gone bad. The bad appendix earned itself a not so endearing name and it made me sick as could be. I was amazed that something so small and insignificant could take something so strong and big down in a matter of hours. One of the side effects of the sickness was that unbeknownst to me it would lock my words away. They were held captive in some unknown place. My words were few and far between, my verbal communication was grunts mostly, and the written communication was nonexistent. The words had vanished overnight and I found myself distraught for more reasons than just an infected abdomen. A week post-op I found myself still silent, waiting for the words to return, my friends recognized my paralysis pertaining to life as usual and quickly developed a rotating meal schedule. Had it not been for this meal provision the Martins would have had to solely rely on subpar takeout and instant noodles. 

It was on the night of the final “meal night” that I received an unexpected gift.

But first some history. Many years ago prior to Wednesday night service at the church house an optional meal was provided. The gentleman who spearheaded a team of volunteers who cooked and prepared meals for the masses of GFBC was named Freddie. He was a genuinely good man and he loved people through food. The meals were never fancy but they were delicious and for the weary mama I was with three babies under five they were a midweek reprieve. Our weekly routine revolved around those midweek meals. Countless times I crammed tiny frames into high chairs or sat with my foot on an adjacent chrome and plastic chair to inhibit its tipping out of its clumsy occupant. I scrubbed faces and hands prior to Awanas and Veggie Tales, and I fought sleep many a Wednesday night while the preacher man spoke. Eventually the Wednesday night meals would cease, time would march on, and that sweet man would enter Heaven leaving behind his precious widow. 

Present day,  There is not a week now that I do not move those same chairs, long since transported to new classrooms and and silent observers of ministry. But there isn’t a time that I don’t wonder if at what time in my history I possibly encountered them. I often wonder if those chairs were a talking record keeper if they would stop me and say, …

“Do you remember the time you sat in me and ate that Wednesday meal and cried because you were so very tired?” Or “Remember back then how much you stressed over such simple and small things? Things not of eternity and so inconsequential that you don’t even remember them now?” Or “Hey you see that dried bit of ketchup on my underside? That was placed there by your screaming toddler whose inability to effectively communicate rendered him screaming, ketchup covered and frustrated? Yet now, he communicates clearly and while he is still sometimes ketchup covered at meal times, he is a reminder that God is a promise keeper.” 

That sweet widow of Freddie is my friend Neanie and she was the caboose of that meal train, post appendix. 

As we opened our dinner she had sent our way, complete with not one but two desserts because if you know you know! Freddie and Neanie cake is manna from Heaven and Neanie’s banana pudding is absolutely amazing! As I opened and plated that meal I immediately was transported backwards in time as I recollected those Wednesday night meals and I thought to myself, “The spirit of Freddie lives on!” Simply put it was a reminder to love them with food. I ate that dinner and tears filled my eyes because in that remembering and reminiscing a story was born and the words were suddenly unlocked and made their way to the surface and the healing and wholeness began to take shape. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I thought how a simple act, the provision of dinner did more that day than just provide supper, it was a tangible act of love and mercy and provision in more ways than just the obvious. It was a tool of remembering much like that meal with the King prior to His crucifixion. I felt sure much like He said, “Do this in remembrance of me” the King was glorified by that sacrificial act of love between His people and the reminder to do more things like make ‘em a meal in remembrance of Him and His sacrificial love.

When Anger Flares

Confession: I like to get really angry and burst out in harsh words and accusations. There. I said it. Not the kind of thing a small group leader at church is expected to say, but it’s real. It may sound peculiar to you, so let me explain.

When a person (me) (or you) is emotional, discouraged, or worried, those emotions tend to wrap around us like vines, tying us up in knots and making us feel weak and helpless. We don’t really like feeling weak. Anger on the other hand feels powerful. We feel dominant, in control, and like we are actually dong something that will cause a reaction and maybe make an impact in our trying situation. Instead of wallowing in our fear and doubts with nothing happening, we humans are prone to jump anger. It makes us feel better… or at least like we are in control.

Lashing out in anger also gives us a way to release our pent up frustrations similar to the way a safety valve on a large piece of industrial equipment vents off built up steam pressure to preserve the machinery. And while that may feel good in the moment to us, the people receiving our fury have feelings that are negatively affected. Machinery has the advantage here, that piece of equipment feeling the steam vented off has no feelings.

When we feel trapped in our negative emotions it seems our only two choices are either to wallow in our desperate feelings or to blow up and wound others with our angry words. We often choose self-preservation over benevolent actions in these situations.

But there is a third option. We can turn to the Father and pour out our hearts to Him, digging into His word for comfort and direction and a solution. We can fall to our knees and pray, intimately sharing with Him the depth of our despair (which of course He already knows, but it is good for us to express). We can grasp the handholds of scripture that keep us from slipping into either worry or anger, and hold onto those passages as lifelines to get us through the whiteout we seem lost in. Praying those scriptures, repeating them to ourselves minute by minute during our struggle will bring sanity and calm and eventually hope.

So if you find yourself in the blazing heat of an emotional conflagration, if anger sizzles just beneath the surface and you fear it will flare into a wildfire in a heartbeat, step away. God outside, to your room, your office, or your car. Cry out to God. Pour out your anger, fear and the depths of how your feel misunderstood, unloved, and so alone. Grab hold of a scripture from your Bible of your phone – the Word is never out of our reach these days. Hang onto these lifelines of prayer and the Word. The father will get you through. You don’t have to choose anger.

“For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.” Proverbs 30:33

“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9

The Lost Bracelet

My daughter and I have loved collecting Pandora charms for our bracelets. It was always fun to go shopping at our favorite jewelry store to pick out charms that we wanted to add to our bracelets. My bracelet is more of a family event bracelet with charms that were engraved with names of family members and charms representing certain important days. My daughter’s bracelet was full of family events, Disney charms, and charms for her favorite sports team. We had talked about dividing her bracelet into two or maybe three bracelets so it would not be so full.

I remember the day that she told me she had lost her bracelet. She could not remember the last time she wore it. She just knew it was gone. She had looked everywhere. Then, we looked everywhere, again. She had always taken such good care of her jewelry. Neither of use could think of anywhere else to look. She was so devastated. I just thought it was gone and had even considered starting her over with a new bracelet. Some of the charms would be discontinued but she could make new memories. The jewelry store that engraved the names on the charms no longer carries Pandora but I had considered giving her my engraved charms.

My daughter is in the process of moving. All of the furniture has been moved but she was still working on the closets. I received a phone call yesterday from my granddaughter. With an excited voice she said, “Mommy found her bracelet!” I asked if it was her Pandora bracelet and she had to ask her mother. She came back and said, “Yes!” My granddaughter proceeded to tell me that it was in a purse on the shelf in the closet. My daughter took over the phone call and told me how it was in a small zipper purse inside of a larger purse on the top shelf of her closet. What amazing news. All of her memories that were represented by charms were safe. We were both beyond excited.

With all of the things going on in the world, a bracelet is not going to solve the problems of the world but it was a joy for this family. 

One of my favorite parables in the New Testament is about a woman who searched for a lost coin. This coin may have been part of her dowry or her family’s savings. What is important in the story is the urgency of the search. 

Luke 15:8-10 ESV “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?  And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’”

When she found the coin, she invited her friends and neighbors to celebrate with her. I have not enjoyed wearing my bracelet because my daughter could not wear hers. I think I need to celebrate by buying a Pandora charm or a new bracelet for my daughter to divide her bracelet. What joy we will have in wearing our bracelets and celebrating that she found her bracelet.

Our Father In Heaven…

“This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.’”

Matthew 6:9-13

Prayer. So simple yet so powerful. So incomprehensible. So great a gift to us from our Father God. He invites us, His creation, to enter into an intimate relationship with Him. He gives us freedom to come to Him and dialog with Him and speak what’s on our minds and in our hearts. Yahweh Himself. The King of the Universe!

Do we avail ourselves of this great blessing of conversation and relationship? Or do we approach prayer casually as we do a jotted down grocery list on a scrap of paper?

Do we pray daily, freely, and with a purpose to our prayers that honors God? Or do we tip our hat to God with a memorized blessing or nighttime prayer as we doze off?

Do we say we will pray for someone, but that’s as far as it goes, just empty promises? Or do we hold counsel with our Creator, baring our heart to Him and listening for His gentle leading and correction?

Do we pray all? Anything other than prayers for rescue and help?

Do we turn to God in prayer for decisions we need to make? For help facing temptations? For direction? Do we ever quit talking and simply listen to the Father?

Where do you find yourself in that broad spectrum of people who say they pray? Contemplate that. Be honest with yourself and the Father.

When I was younger I tended to base my prayers on my feelings too much. I remember telling someone that I didn’t “feel like” my prayers were getting any higher than the ceiling. I remember thinking that surely I wasn’t a “good enough” Christian for God to answer my prayers. I remember thinking that God hadn’t answered my prayer when He answered it in a way I didn’t like. Like all people, I am still growing in my faith – we always will be – so today I’m learning to be patient and not give up in prayer when I’ve waited on God a week, a month, a year,… or for me, 19 years and counting. Anybody with me?

So where ever you find yourself to be in your prayer life, let me give you some reminders about prayer from God’s Word.

“…Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8 – He knows.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 – Take private time away to pray.

“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” Isaiah 64:4 – Wait on His answer.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 – Pray when you are tempted.

“But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 8:6 – When you are displeased or dissatisfied – pray!

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:7 – Pray for your city.

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12-13 – God will listen. Seek Him and find Him.

“Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.”” Daniel 6:13 – Pray often.

“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong.” Daniel 9:3-5 – Confess your sin to God in prayer.

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22 – Believe and receive.

“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'” Matthew 26:39 – Ask God for whatever you choose to, but always be willing to accept His will whatever that answer may be.

“He [Jesus] went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done'” Matthew 26:42 – Ask God to take away the hard things. Accept His will.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them.” Mark 11:25 – Forgive others before you come to God in prayer.

“But I have prayed for you, Simon.” Luke 22:32 – Pray for others.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourself to prayer.

“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.” Pray for others (missionaries and ministers) who share the Gospel.

Pray continually.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Duh!

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2 – Pray for all people, especially those in authority over you.

“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them ” James 5:14 – Pray for the sick.

The bottom line – Just pray!