Thursday, June 18, 2015

My new book is out: The 3 Y's of Faith!

It is with great joy that I announce my latest book, The 3 Y's of Faith, just released. It is available here. In this book, I share the story of how God transformed my life years ago after a heartfelt prayer ... and thus began the greatest adventure of my life! 
Is your spiritual life stagnant? Is it time to reignite the spark of devotion and love you experienced long ago? Is your prayer life ready for a revival?

Living out what I call the three Y’s of faith produces the heart of devotion God seeks, which sets us free to love. 

In Jeremiah 30:21, the Lord asks, “Who is he who will devote himself to be close to Me?” The 3 Y's of Faith will inspire you to respond to God’s challenge. Read it on your own or discuss it in a small group. The stories, questions, and scriptures will deepen your faith, refresh your soul with living waters, and draw you closer to the heart of God.
I am now leading retreats based on the concepts I cover in this book. Through personal stories of my walk with God over years as well as a fresh look at many Old and New Testament passages, I highlight the unequaled adventure that begins when we say yes to Jesus (the first Y!) and begin to walk with him one day at a time. This adventure is better than Star Wars or fairy tales and surpasses anything our culture offers.

My next retreat will be August 28 and 29 at Canterbury Retreat Center. You may register here. Here's what Fr. Jon Davis, Executive Director of the retreat center, has to say about this project,

“The Three Y’s are a fresh look at what is needed in the spiritual journey to grow deeper in devotion, stronger in faith, fueled to serve, and primed to love as The Lord calls us. It is a needed piety, a Rule of Life for this earthly sojourn. In reading the 3 Y’s you will discover a sacred space, a landscape of Holy Encounter!” 

This new book is part of my answer to Mother Teresa's appeal to do “small things with great love.” 
I thank God for the tremendous privilege of writing for Him. May The 3 Y's of Faith bless you and every reader with a closer walk with God!

Dr. Mari  

I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.
2 Timothy 1:6

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Reflections: The Joy of Seeing Jesus

On the Passover, the Lamb of God was sacrificed for the sins of the world. As foreshadowed in the story of Abraham and his son Isaac, God the Father provided the spotless lamb required for the offering. After Jesus' death on the Cross, here's what happened according to Matthew 28:1-10.

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you." 

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

The disciples did see him in Galilee. They believed Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and went to Galilee, where they saw Jesus and worshiped him.

Even more remarkable than this story is the fact that this very experience is available to each of us in uniquely personal ways. I remember so many days, times, and ways in which Jesus has suddenly met me on the road, in my room, in my car, while treating the sick, on the beach, during retreats, while reading quietly, while watching my children, in my prayer time, while reading the Bible, in the grocery store, at church, while helping someone in need, while feeding my sick child soup, while speaking to crowds about my faith ... and so many more times.

How precious it is to recall these special times of closeness and communion. They are possible because Jesus is alive. I have no doubt whatsoever. I speak to him and he speaks to me. He guides me. He inspires me. He encourages me. He challenges me. He feeds me. He transforms me. He saves me.

He loves me.

When you find a fountain among the thirsty, if you have any compassion at all, you invite them to come and drink. Christ's love compels me to share his living waters.

May you experience the unspeakable joy of seeing Jesus this Easter season!

Dr Mari

"Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (Jesus in John 4:14)

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (Ephesians 1:7-10)

 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

For more Easter reflections, see The Hero Lives!

Photo from Used with permission.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday Reflections: Are You Thirsty?

While reading Matthew 25 through the end of the Gospel this morning, I've been all over the Bible. Such in-depth reading and pondering of the story of God's people and their response to God's activity among them helps me grasp a bigger picture. Reading passages from Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, and other prophets who prophesied about the Messiah hundreds of years before Jesus' birth expands my understanding of Christ's significance then, now, and forever.

Of the many thoughts and revelations I've had while reading, this is the one that's most poignantly reached my intellect and warmed my heart today. Jesus, the very definition of love and service, has done not only the seemingly impossible but also the highly improbable. The sinless one takes our place. In the midst of unspeakable suffering, he steps in to save the lost and those who actively yell, "Crucify him!" and give him gall to drink. 

Jesus steps into his slaughter and, rather than resent and rebuke, he heals and forgives. He blesses and saves. 

Jesus is the One who tastes the vinegar so sinners may taste living water.

"Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'" (Matthew 26:27-28)

"On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.' By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive." (John 7:37-38)

On this Good Friday, I pray that you and I will drink this living water, believe, and live. 

Dr. Mari

"But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled." 
(Jesus in Matthew 26:56)

For more Good Friday reflections, see What's So Good About Good Friday?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Interview with 4word

Last year I had the privilege of serving as a mentor for a national organization for professional Christian women called 4word. I could sense God leading the process every step of the way and feel blessed to be one of their mentors. After our work together, they interviewed me about one of my passions: helping healthcare professionals and other caregivers avoid burnout and compassion fatigue while caring for others.

So here's the interview they posted today where I speak about burnout, wellness, and tips for a healthier 2015. The bottom line is simple: We can't give what we don't have, so we need to keep our emotional and spiritual tanks full so we can love and serve people from the heart. If we don't do this consistently and intentionally, burnout is a likely outcome not only for healthcare professionals but also for clergy and caregivers in any setting.

During the interview, their questions brought back so many wonderful memories like playing with doctor kits as a child, getting to pray over a group of adorable tweens, and the prayer that changed my life. They asked about my work at Grace Medical Home some years ago and my current work as a coach to help doctors thrive in a broken system.

It was a fun interview and I hope you enjoy it!

Dr Mari

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Different Kind of King: An Epiphany

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2

I have read and heard these verses so many times and, yet, this year I had an epiphany. A new understanding. A fresh insight. This year I saw something in this passage I hadn't seen before.

As the Magi approached Jerusalem, they were led by light to the Source of all light. Apparently they'd had their own epiphany, for they referred to this special star as His star. The child's star. Christ's Star.

Before Jesus' birth, cruel and self-centered King Herod had to convince the Romans to name him king over the Jews. This is how he came to rule at the time of Messiah's birth. He forced his way to the throne. Herod crowned himself king.

But the question asked by the wise men from the east speaks of a different kind of kingship. A heavenly and eternal kingship.  

And it speaks of an entirely different kind of King. A humble king. One who beckons strangers from afar to come and lay their crowns at His feet.

"Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star ... and have come to worship him."

Unlike Herod, Jesus was born king. It was His star that rose to announce His coming into the world. The Light of the world has His own Star. In fact, all the stars are His. Every one of them.

Today we celebrate the joyful epiphany of the Magi even as we anticipate our own. May we, too, recognize Christ's Star, leave everything behind and come to worship Him. 

Follow the Star!
Dr Mari

Friday, December 26, 2014

If You Ask Me ... This Is Life

 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”  
Revelation 22:16

Yes, it is December 26th, but I'm so glad that Christmas is not over. Aren't you? The season of light goes on because the Light that  h a s  a l w a y s  b e e n  will never be snuffed out. The bright star from the East actually shone on its Source: the bright Morning Star born into the world to be the Light of the World.

This Light is a person. His name is Immanuel.   G o d   W i t h   U s.

Though He arrived as a little baby, He was recognized as the fulfillment of a promise. So He was worshiped from birth as the King who would bring salvation.

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”  
Luke 2:28-32

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 
John 1:14

As I continue to ponder the glorious truth of Christ's birth, I've been reflecting on the many names God's Word ascribes to Jesus. During Christmas, one name stands out and reminds us of the awesome reality that God is with us. And there is nothing we need more than that.

Here's an 1854 sermon that speaks of this astounding and comforting truth. God is with us. He is the miracle.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 
Isaiah 7:14

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 
Luke 2:13-14

May the Light of Christ shine into our hearts this Christmas season with a fresh revelation of His glory, His majesty, and the astonishing truth that  H e ...  i s ... w i t h ... u s.

Christmas Blessings all year,

Dr Mari 

To see Christmas from a child's eyes, follow this link.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Security Blankets and Christ's Birth: A Child's Reflection

As I sat down to write about Christmas, my ten year-old daughter asked whether she could write the post instead. Here's what she wrote.

One of my very favorite things about Christmas is listening to Linus on Z88.3 tell Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about. This was one of the first times you see Linus drop his blanket. I feel Linus was caught in the story so much, he felt more secure in telling the story than keeping his security blanket. 

I feel that all of us have a security blanket such as best friends, electronics, and so on, and we forget our real security is Jesus. I mean, there's nothing wrong with best friends as a sub security blanket, but we most certainly may not use electronics and other things as the key to security. Sometimes we forget that Christmas is about Jesus because you see pictures of Santa Claus, hear Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and so on. When Linus comes on I snap out of Santa Claus and get reminded all over again about the true meaning of Christmas. 

It's fun to think of Santa Claus but I sometimes think ... why in the world do most people not know the true story of Saint Nicholas? Why do most people not know that poor shepherds came to see the king before wise men came? Why do some people not know what the nativity is? Because we live in a world full of different cultures and different beliefs. When we see a person that doesn't know who Saint Nicholas is or what the nativity is, we can tell them. I hope they will feel the true joy, peace, and love that came down to us in a little manger on Christmas Day. You may be one person but you're oh so special in God's eyes. With Him you can be anything because through Him anything is possible. 

I'll end this by saying, Jesus is the real big reason of the season. 

Now it's time to drop your security blanket. All you need to hold on to is Jesus.

From our family to yours, have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Dr. Mari
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Hear Linus explain Christmas to Charlie Brown here.