Greetings and Welcome!

My goal is to share encouragement, grace, and hope from God’s Word, and to brighten your day. Mission trips abroad have enlarged my heart and reminded me once again that regardless of our skin color or location we all need a savior, and His name is Jesus. I pray that my articles will lift your spirits and point you to the One who loves you most.

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This Month's Message

Step by Step

By Fran Caffey Sandin

Nestled in the shadow of a cathedral in Haarlem, Holland is a sign, “Shoes or No Shoes?” But the sign is unrelated to the adjacent church. Strangely enough, it rests above a museum of shoes--all kinds of shoes. Some are old ballet slippers that belonged to famous ballerinas. Others are various athletic types, boot styles, and even flashy sequined high heels.

As my husband and I browsed through the collection we noticed a glass case featuring a most unusual pair of men’s dress shoes with a white candle standing upright on each toe. The ragged and worn slip-ons were decorated by tallow that draped unevenly along both sides of the dark brown leather. After seeing those shoes, I asked the attendant, “Why would a man put candles on his shoes?”

The curator explained that they belonged to a monk named Walter Draughn who lived in Antwerp, Belgium, in the 1800’s. He invented the candle-toed shoes himself. One could only imagine why. Without electricity, the cold, dark, stone abbey must have been difficult to navigate at night. Consider the narrow, circular stairwells often located in the remotest corners; plus, the long, dark passageways, and elusive doorways. Using his ingenuity, Walter evidently reached his destination one step at a time, each illuminated by the light of a small, flickering candle.

We have all probably felt like Walter at times when we have been overcome by darkness. Perhaps we are in a bleak set of circumstances now—either something we cannot control or even our own unhealthy habits we cannot break.

As the morning light dispels the night, the Bible illumines truth about a Heavenly Father who cares. God is light, and He created the light for us: both physical and spiritual. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27: 1 ESV) He loves us, and He is always with us, regardless of how hopeless a situation may seem. “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13: 5 NIV). Knowing that God is with us gives us confidence to take the next step. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119: 105 ESV). When we draw closer to Him, step by step, we will find that His grace is sufficient.

As we pray, read the Word, and confess our need, the Holy Spirit will help us. When I was recovering from the shock and grief of my father’s suicide death, I felt everything was dark until I began meditating on Psalm 119: 25, “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word” (ESV). The psalmist continued, “This is my comfort in my affliction that your promise gives me life” (Psalm 119: 50 ESV). If we are a believer through faith in Jesus, He is at the right hand of God, the Father, interceding for us. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring, but we can take the first step and secure our relationship with Christ today.

Then we can sing the 1720’s hymn written by William Williams: “Guide me O Thou Great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak but Thou art mighty, hold me with Thy powerful hand. Strong deliverer, strong deliverer, Be Thou still my strength and shield. Be Thou still my strength and shield.”

Dear Father, thank You that You are always with us even during the dark days and through circumstances we cannot understand. Please help us remember that Your Word will guide us, step by step. We may not see the whole picture right away, but when we are following You, we know we are headed in the right direction. In Jesus’ name, Amen.