Author Archives: mkaybaldwin

About mkaybaldwin

I have spent the majority of my life in central Indiana. I am a graduate of North centeral High School. I love to travel to visit family, especially my four nieces and nephews who live in Southeast Asia. I am the youngest of three. My oldest sister has Down Syndrome. After graduating from College, I began working at a church and for over 17 years served as a youth pastor and a caring ministries pastor. Currently, I am a Marriage and Family Therapist continuing in ministry through a different context.

Josh. 1; Ps.120-122; Isa. 61; Matt. 9

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

What is your favorite? Favorite ice cream…TV show…friend…family member…season? My favorite pictures to take are of old barns. The history is beautiful and taking pictures of them makes my mind fly with thoughts of those who used to look out the windows.

The other night, I was sitting with my family and we got to talking about our favorite Bible verses. It feels weird to say that I have favorite verses, but I do. I also have favorite stories. The older I get the more I love the stories of Jesus interacting with women.

“Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment.”

Matthew‬ ‭9:22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus was in high demand. Word had gotten out that He was powerful and able to even raise people from the dead. Massive crowds flocked to hear Him speak. He was drawing the attention of those in power. And in all of that He was aware of one suffering woman. a woman who hadn’t been seen in 12 years because she was considered unclean.

Have you ever felt unseen? Have you ever struggled with something that has isolated you? Have you ever wondered if you mattered? I have. May this story of one woman’s encounter with Jesus remind you that God sees you. Not only does He see you, He knows you, loves you and desires to heal you and forgive you.

Dear God, wow! What a gift we have in the Bible. To see how Jesus loved and walked with every day people gives us a glimpse of how You are walking with us. God may we sense your turning towards us. For anyone who feels unseen may your Spirit fill them with love. May we not hoard your “seen-ness” but allow it to give us eyes to see those around us. Amen.

Mandy

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Deut. 20; Ps.107; Isa. 47; Rev. 17

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

I love a good story. My dad tells the best ones. My favorites are the ones that get him laughing so hard he can’t finish. They usually involve his siblings when they were growing up or college years filled with pranks. By the time he gets to the funny part, I’m laughing right along with him.

I love to wonder about people’s stories. I see old barns like the one above and I wonder who walked in and out of it when it was new. I wonder who hid in it…who worked in it…who was the last one in it. I will never know their stories, but i still wonder.

There are stories that are wonderful to hear. Stories of healing and reconciliation. There are stories that tear the heart open and cause pain. Stories of trauma and hurt and fear. In Psalm 107, we as a redeemed people are called to share our story.

“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.”

Psalms‬ ‭107:2-3‬ ‭NIV

Not every story we tell will have a happy ending. However, as a redeemed people, every story we tell will include a good God. We have to tell our stories because the world needs to hear of the goodness and faithfulness of God…even when the heartache comes… fear comes…death comes. The world needs to know that our God is good, even when our circumstances are not.

Not only do we need to tell our stories…we need to listen to the stories of others.

Dear God, give us words to tell the stories of the lives you have given us. Give us the words that speak of your goodness, faithfulness, nearness and holiness. Even in the dark nights give us the words. And give us ears to hear. To hear the stories of your children, whom you love. Amen.

Mandy

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Deut. 5; Ps.88; Isa. 33; Rev. 3

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

“So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭5:32-33‬ ‭NIV

I knew what the rules were. No TV on weekdays until homework was done. But here’s the thing, mom and dad wouldn’t get home till after work. I would watch TV until I heard the garage door going up. I would jump up and turn it off, (because there wasn’t a remote back then) and quickly open my books to study.

I know that I am not the only one who thought they could hide from their parents how they broke the rules. Fortunately, I had parents who chose to fight the important battles which didn’t include after school TV watching for about an hour.

The heart of the issue is obedience. For us humans, we have always struggled with being told what to do. Moses went up on the mountain and brought back very clear and specific rules from God. Rules that were for the good of the Israelites. Rules that pointed to their humanity…their fragility…their need of a savior.

The Lord calls us to obedience because He knows it’s for our good. Why do I not obey? For a number of reasons…including fear…pain…jealousy…and lack of trust in God. Does He really know what’s for my good? In the midst of my pain, can I trust that God knows what’s best?

May I…may we…continue to grow in our trust of God. May our obedience come from love. May we be changed…may the world be changed through the love that the Lord commands.

Dear Father, forgive us our many sins. Forgive us our arrogance that we know best. May we trust you that following your direction, although hard, is for our good and the good of all. Amen.

Mandy

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Num. 27; Ps. 70,71; Isa. 17,18; 1 Pet. 5

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

I have Bible verses in my head that have been there since childhood. I learned them at church, VBS, camp and at home. I can’t always remember the reference, but the words remain…the message is the same. When I read them today as an adult I am filled with a sense of peace and calm. I am reminded that my God is the same. He doesn’t change…even when everything around me feels chaotic.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith … And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

These words bring back my childhood fears and worries. Also, the peace that came from knowing God loves me and is for me.

These words in 1 Peter remind me of the big emotion I had as a child. I feared the suffering promised in scripture. Also, I remember how God sustained me and encouraged me.

These words remind me of my childhood anxiety of the future. Also, they remind me of how far God has brought me and all God has done in and through me.

I am so encouraged today by these verses from God and the memory of His faithfulness and steadfastness.

What is God reminding you of today?

Dear Father, thank you for memory and words that spring forth to remind us of hope and peace and your presence. In this time, me we see again, how far you have brought us and all you have done. May that memory sustain us along with your presence for the days ahead. Amen.

Mandy

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Lev. 24; Psalm 31; Eccles. 7: 2 Timothy 3

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

I love spring. I love when everything that once looked dead is coming alive! I love new buds on trees, flowers popping up from the ground, ducks back at the pond and warmth creeping into the air. I love how predictable spring is. We know it’s coming. We anticipate it’s arrival and we aren’t disappointed. Well…maybe when it’s not warming up as fast as we would like. However, we know that summer is coming!

Winter, however, feels different. At least the end of winter. I love the first snow and the silence that comes with a fresh coat on the ground. It’s the end of winter that causes me to wonder if spring will ever come. I know in my head that it will, but my heart questions and aches and fears that it won’t. I hear those similar concerns in David’s Psalm.

“Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.”‬‬

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭31:9-10‬ ‭NIV

I hear the anguish in David’s words. From our readings we know a portion of the struggle he went through in life, but we can’t know it all. He was well acquainted with grief, fear, loneliness and pain. And he still had hope. He believed in a God that heard his cries for help. In the pain of winter he trusted God with Hope for spring.

“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭31:14-15‬ ‭NIV

Dear God, teach us how to live with the hope of spring on cold winter days. When Hope is not present and it feels like we are loosing again, may you give us a vision of spring…of new life…that can only come from you. Fill our hearts with your presence. May we find joy and peace in the promise of your presence and power! Amen

Mandy

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