“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4 ESV)

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Widen the Circle

by Macy Johnson

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”
(Ephesians 1:13 NIV)

My knee jiggled nonstop under the exquisitely-decorated table. A friend leaned over and whispered, “Are you nervous?”

“I’m always nervous before a performance, even on Sunday mornings before the worship service,” I admitted.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Suits of a Different Color

by Macy Johnson

“Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.”
(Daniel 7:3 NIV)

Seated at the Bridge table I glanced down at thirteen playing cards fanned out in my left hand.

A roaming heart appeared in my diamond pile. I looked up at the players at my table and asked, “Why are there only two colors, red and black, in playing cards? I think each suit should have its own color.”

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Afternoon Prayers

by Macy Johnson

“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer – at three in the afternoon.”
(Acts 3:1 NIV)

Every afternoon at three o’clock assorted temptations, disguised as harmless distractions, knock on the door of my mind.

It started when I was a teenager. I jumped off the afternoon school bus and raced home to a much-anticipated snack. Mid-afternoon was my comfort time, my down time, and my time to relax and chill.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Cloudy Vision

by Macy Johnson

“The eye is the lamp of the body.
If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.”
(Matthew 6:22 NIV)

“You need to have your cataracts removed,” my optometrist said and referred me to an eye surgeon.

My vision blurred imperceptibly over the years. Driving at night on country roads between church and home was a nightmare. Approaching headlights became painful starbursts. Formerly colorful reflections faded into dismal blurs.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


by Macy Johnson
“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”
(Psalm 119:130 NIV)

I remember the day I began a collection of one-liners.

The first of these simple phrases popped into my brain decades ago. They are now a growing, alphabetized assortment of artful aphorisms.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Crown of Splendor

by Macy Johnson
“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.”
(Proverbs 16:31 NIV)

I recently read an article that described hairstyle discrimination in the late 1990’s. The author claimed a large majority of women felt compelled to straighten their unruly hair in order to be socially acceptable.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Be Fruitful and Multiply

by Macy Johnson
“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”
(Genesis 1:28 NIV)

One glance out my window reveals the marvel of God’s beauty.

My husband is blessed with talent to transform uncultivated land into a corner of paradise. Eighty-five tall trees of differing species were felled in order to build our house. While many stately, thriving trees remain, Jeff’s toil has successfully converted our landscape from a forgotten forest into an exotic garden.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Intercessory Prayer

by Macy Johnson
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
(2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV)

A godly couple in my church sensed the nudge of the Holy Spirit to start an Intercessory Prayer Ministry. The number of participants grew exponentially in a few short years.

Prayer warriors commit to pray one hour every week in designated church classrooms. They read the Bible, pray, and write notes of encouragement to those on the provided list.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Practice Makes Perfect

by Macy Johnson
“He replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who
hear God’s word and put it into practice.’”
(Luke 8:21 NIV)

I leaned against the cinder block wall in the Morgan County Middle School Fine Arts wing.

Selections from a Broadway musical resounded within the Drama classroom. Through the door I watched 7th graders swing their arms and gracefully step in time to the spirited music. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Stand Firm

by Macy Johnson
“Even the bravest warriors will flee naked on that day.”
(Amos 2:16 NIV)

What are you afraid of? What tempts you to run and hide?

Several deaths have occurred in my circle of family and friends recently, in my community. I attribute it partly to the change of seasons, more specifically, the end of summer.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Out of Reach

by Macy Johnson
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”
(2 Peter 1:3 NIV)

My church’s Prime Timers’ activities' director called: “Would you please present a musical program for our meeting next month?”

I arrived on the day of the performance with repertoire in hand. Rather than set up my own instrument and portable speakers, I resolved to play the Praise Team’s keyboard in the fellowship hall. I heard God say, “Watch out - it’s time to learn another lesson!”

Wednesday, October 9, 2019


by Macy Johnson
“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
(2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

Our neighbors adopted a black Labrador Retriever for their granddaughters.

Jake was a beautiful, playful, intelligent puppy. His sire appeared in our yard one weekend while our daughter and her family were visiting. We woke to a pair of black, male labs lounging on our porch.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019


by Macy Johnson
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,
streams of living water will flow from within him.”
(John 7:38 NIV)

Our wedding was held on Flag Day in Houston during the 1980 Heat Wave.

Somewhere between the church and reception hall, the clutch on my husband’s Jeep broke. We, the bride and groom, dripping with sweat from-head-to-toe, rode high in a tow truck to the reception, already in progress. Downtown midday traffic contributed to the delay of our appearance.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Give, Give, Give

by Macy Johnson
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
(Proverbs 11:25 NIV)

The Holy Spirit says, “Give, give, give - want nothing in return.”

My sister, Sandy, drove through the neighborhoods of San Francisco, taking me to see her daughter’s house. We stopped at a traffic light and noticed an elderly, bearded, bedraggled man nearby holding a sign. As if on cue, we both reached into our wallets and pulled out bills. I looked the grateful gentleman in the eye as I handed him the gift and said, “God bless you.” He returned the blessing.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Slow Down

by Macy Johnson
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalm 46:10 NIV)

“If it comes too quick, I may not appreciate it,” wrote popular Christian singer, song-writer, Sara Groves.

I sat with my back against the window at gate A13 in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. There I was, among the passengers waiting to board Delta Flight 1700 to Sacramento, California.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Doubting Disciples

by Macy Johnson
“So the other disciples told Thomas, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
(John 20:25 NIV)

Are you ready to see Jesus?

Thomas was absent when others welcomed the resurrected Messiah. Poor Thomas. Where was he? What kept him away from those who mourned the loss of their beloved leader?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Illusion or Reality?

by Macy Johnson
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
(1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV)

Life is an illusion… or is it?

I drifted as in a dream, pictured myself the only “real” person. Everyone else was a shadow, a puff of smoke, a figment of my imagination. Do you ever feel that way?

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Tuned to God

by Macy Johnson
“It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”
(1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV)

Karisa followed me up the steep, polished, wooden steps to the sanctuary’s choir-loft behind the pulpit. She is a gifted flutist and Morgan County Middle School’s band director.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Solid Rock

by Macy Johnson
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
(Matthew 7:24 NIV)

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness,” is the first stanza of my favorite hymn, “The Solid Rock.”

I sing this beloved anthem when I walk in my neighborhood, clean bathrooms, drift off to sleep, and prepare for stressful situations. The tune and lyrics lighten the load and remind me I am never alone.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Calm Before the Storm

by Macy Johnson
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
(Exodus 14:14 NIV)

All was calm….

Our Tennessee family steered their packed SUV up our driveway early one Sunday morning for their eight-hour trip home. Everything, including the weather, had cooperated during their stay.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Be Brave!

by Macy Johnson
“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”
(Psalm 27:1 NIV)

In fear and trepidation I pen a weekly collection of devotionals - the Holy Spirit’s call to “be brave” encourages me. One blog at a time is posted to the world-wide-web, like a lone balloon released into the air, set free to glorify God.

My mother urged me as a child to “be brave” when faced with stressful, difficult situations. I was discouraged to turn and flee from a challenge to meet new people, enter a competition, or jump off the high diving-board. Everything and everyone intimidated me when I was young, but I gradually learned to take risks and leave fears behind.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Smells and Sounds

by Macy Johnson
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”
(2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV)

My husband, Jeff, delivered a basket of home-grown tomatoes to Madison’s Senior Center. The director told him she opened the front door to the center that morning and smelled something burning. The acrid aroma drew her to the kitchen where a freezer plug had shorted. That faint smell, sensed in the nick of time, assuredly saved the building from a disastrous fire.

God created us with the senses of smell and hearing to help us be more aware of our surroundings.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Packed Bags

by Macy Johnson
“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”
(2 Corinthians 5:1 NIV)

Is your earthly tent wearing out? Are your eternal bags packed? Are you ready to go to heaven?

As newlyweds, my husband and I looked forward to camping expeditions. We jumped at the chance to leave our stable, sturdy home to sleep for a week in a bright-orange, rickety, two-person dome tent. We loaded down our white Monte Carlo in flat-land Florida one crisp October and headed for the stately mountains and rippling creeks of North Carolina.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

SOS - Save Our Ship!

by Macy Johnson
“I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched.
My eyes fail, looking for my God.”
(Psalm 69:3 NIV)

It was an Alabama Fourth of July on beautiful Lake Martin, a vast recreational area known for extravagant Independence Day celebrations.

The pontoon boat, loaded with drinks, food, towels, sunscreen, family and friends, promised a fun day on the water. As the sun set, a Montgomery radio station aired patriotic music to accompany the dazzling fireworks' display. We relaxed and enjoyed the concert synchronized with the overhead spectacle.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


by Macy Johnson
“They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion
 when it strikes a man.”
(Revelation 9:5 NIV)

On our way to church one drizzly Palm Sunday morning, my sister Sandy and I noticed a wasp emerging from the vent below the windshield.

We looked at each other and agreed to ignore it until we pulled into the church parking lot. Unwilling to wait, the wasp eased closer and stared at me from the dashboard’s edge. I took a chance, eased up on the accelerator, and opened the driver’s-side window. Out it flew!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Chase the Creator

by Macy Johnson
“But Jesus said, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’”
(Luke 4:43 NIV)

Jesus was on the move, chasing His purpose. We are created to follow Him, pursue our Creator.

The blur of passing images on my path distracts me. God jerks my mind back to the Way, Truth, Life. I hear Him say, “Stay the course, close to me.”

Jeff opened the front door and called, “Come! Listen to this.” Intrigued, I followed him into our guest cabin. From the kitchen came a barely-audible, high-pitched tone, a steady squeal. We yanked out all electric plugs and pushed all buttons on the GFCI outlets. The tone continued while Jeff grumbled about visions of the cabin burning to the ground.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Stiff Neck, Screwy Spine

by Macy Johnson
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”
(Proverbs 3:7-8 NIV)

Several years ago, while living in Birmingham, I visited a chiropractor because my neck hurt. 

The doctor concluded, “You have a screwy spine.” Recent DEXA (Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) bone scans confirm osteopenia (bone loss) in my hips and spine, early stages of a weakened, brittle skeleton.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Count Your Blessings

by Macy Johnson
“How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.”
(Psalm 104:24 NIV)

One Sunday morning, Beverly and I played a captivating piano-organ duet of the well-loved hymn “Count Your Blessings.” 

In the following days, the stanzas rolled around in my brain, nudging me to pay attention to all the wonderful ways in which God continually pours Himself through me.

One, two, three…my feeble brain counts everything, including footsteps. I reset thermostat controls from odd to even numbers. I write dates in the margins of my Bible when I read a section or verse. Why did God create us to count?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

On a Mission

by Macy Johnson
“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” (Psalm 96:3 NIV)

Headed to a recording session at the middle school, I hurried into my favorite shop for a gift. I breezed past the front counter and overheard a woman say to her co-worker, “She must be on a mission!”

I don’t like to shop. Growing up, I dreaded the weekly, often daily visits with my mother to Gayfer’s, the local department store. When my younger sister developed an affinity for shopping with Mom, I was graciously excused from that daughterly duty.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Eternal Connections

by Macy Johnson
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
(1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV)

A new year dawned. In my early morning devotions I asked God, “What is your “word” for me for the year ahead?” It came loud and clear: Connections.

As the new year’s days progressed, I re-connected with my childhood best friend on Facebook and my brother and cousins at our aunt’s memorial service. My biological half-sister flew across the country to solidify our new-found relationship, conceived through a DNA test.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Rescuing Chelsea

by Macy Johnson
“If you see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen on the road, 
do not ignore it. Help him get it to its feet.”
(Deuteronomy 22:4 NIV)

Sunday afternoon is my favorite time of the week.

After playing the piano for the weekly worship service I relax and read. On our dock with a library book I sensed my husband’s footsteps rapidly approaching. He handed me his heavy binoculars and inquired, “What do you see out there?”

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Angels on the Water

by Macy Johnson
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.”
(Psalm 18:16 NIV)

In the summer of 1988, when our children were 4 and 2, long-time friends came from Louisiana to enjoy the Blue Angels’ air show.

Pensacola Beach was crowded, the warm water inviting, and the clear, blue sky promised a spectacular display of aerial acrobatics. Jeff and I lived 30 minutes from the beach. I swam in the Gulf of Mexico all my life, cognizant of its dangers as well as any other Floridian.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Living With the Weeds

by Macy Johnson
“Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”
(Matthew 13:30 NIV)

Spring has sprung in our yard. 

From a distance the front lawn appears to be immaculate, but up close is another story. Crabgrass, Dallisgrass and other uninvited plants are taking hold and basking in the sun alongside our struggling Bermuda grass.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Fruit of the Spirit

by Macy Johnson
“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”
(Matthew 7:18 NIV)

What does a “fruit inspector” do? 

I googled to learn Agricultural Commodities Inspectors are trained to ensure only the best produce is delivered to the consumer. In order to protect the public from tainted crops they collect samples for testing, verify the sanitation of production facilities, weigh, grade, seal and label products.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

God's Puzzle Pieces

by Macy Johnson
Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb. He stooped to look in and saw a few grave clothes, that’s all. He walked away puzzled, shaking his head.”
(Luke 24:12 MSG)

Do you ever shake your head and feel “puzzled” like Peter? 

You think the best next steps are in front of you, but something’s not right, something’s out of place. Peter expected Jesus’ body to be in the tomb, but it wasn’t.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Sing a New Song

by Macy Johnson
“And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders.”
(Revelation 14:3a NIV)

Sing new songs to celebrate new revelations of His glory.

“Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth.”
(Isaiah 42:10a NIV)

A little over thirty years ago I received a phone call from a dear friend who sang in the high school chorus with me. 

John Jones announced, “I’ve put together a new singing group with several friends from school and would like you to accompany us.” Gigs were lined up and I enthusiastically accepted. We promptly prepared several pieces to perform, including John’s personal favorite, “I’ll Fly Away.” He made a special point to let everyone know it was his favorite gospel song.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Serve the Children

by Macy Johnson
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
(3 John 4 NIV)

Bible Study Fellowship met Wednesday mornings at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. I was the Secretary, maintaining membership rolls and assisting with class administration.

One day my husband came home from work and announced, “You need to get a job!” Three years of being a stay-at-home mom was skidding to an abrupt halt. No more Newcomers’ Club, no more party bridge, no more tennis, no more school volunteer. I returned to the world of checks and balances.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

God's Instrument

by Macy Johnson
“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
(Matthew 5:42 NIV)

The piano is my instrument. I am God’s instrument. He coats my mind and the piano’s stretched strings with tones to bless others and point them to Him. 

Every time I look down at black and white keys I confess, “Lord, I cannot do this. Please do it through me.” I don’t understand how it works, how He meticulously deposits harmonious vibrations into His creation. It’s a mystery. He gets all the glory.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Bless This House

by Macy Johnson
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
(Proverbs 16:3 NIV)

Bible verses are inscribed on the wooden frames of our new house. God’s words above doorways and windows, hidden under sheet-rock and paint, remind my husband and me who the ultimate property-owner is.

Our new home took 3 years, 3 sets of drawings and 3 builders to complete. We had our plans, our timetable, but God had something better in mind.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Least-Likely Servant

by Macy Johnson
“But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I,
that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’”
(Exodus 3:11 NIV)

“Not me, Lord! Surely someone else is better suited.” Have you ever uttered those words? If so, you’re in good company.

Moses was rescued from certain death, adopted as a son in Egypt’s royal family, and called by God to lead His people out of slavery. He had a lot on his plate, including a silver spoon. When Moses tried to fulfill God’s calling his own way, murderous actions forced a desert escape. Forty years later, Moses, well past his prime, was again called by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. “I’m not qualified! I’m a failure,” he argued.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Out of Your Comfort Zone

by Macy Johnson
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send?
And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
(Isaiah 6:8 NIV)

What is a Child Passenger Safety Technician? Three months ago I didn’t know. Our local crisis pregnancy center director asked, “Who will take my place as CPST?” I accepted the challenge.

My first assignment was to observe a class. The second was to attend three days of intense training two hours away. Off I go to Cartersville, Georgia for three nights at the Hampton Inn.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Leaning on the Holy Spirit

by Macy Johnson
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
(1 Corinthians 10:12 NIV)

My family likes to tease me. I’m a klutz.

When we are out together and come upon a curb in a parking lot, they become circus clowns, stumbling, bumbling over the tiny blob of raised cement.

It all started on a trip to Washington, DC, several years ago. Strolling through a restaurant parking lot, I tripped over a curb and clumsily danced in a circle to avoid falling. What a scene!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Good Shepherd

by Macy Johnson
“I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”
(John 10:14 NIV)

Christ’s followers are “Sheep In Training (SIT).” They sit and wait on Jesus, the perfect Shepherd. He tends His sheep, placing their needs before His. They faithfully follow Him wherever He leads, eternally connected, the sheep and the Shepherd.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Following God Into the Desert

by Macy Johnson
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” (Deuteronomy 8:2 NIV)

Like a devoted father, God deliberately shows up where we are. He leads us on adventures through the desert, sweeping away all distractions. He is all we really have, all we really need.

In January 2005, a Sarbanes-Oxley audit team leader asked me to get on a plane in Birmingham and fly to California. “You want me to do what?” I asked, suspiciously.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Master Sculptor

by Macy Johnson
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
(1 Timothy 6:6 NIV)

Sometimes the Lord teaches us contentment by gently removing whatever make us discontent. We don’t always know the source, but He does.

We are foolish and imperfect, greedy, grabby, never satisfied with what we think we love. We imagine we can fill our empty hearts with created things. Yet, sometimes when we receive what we asked for, we push it away in disgust, like a tomato rotting on the vine.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Angel Rescue

by Macy Johnson
“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
(Psalm 91:11-12 NIV)

My flight from Atlanta bounced down a Newark, NJ runway on a busy, frosty, Monday morning in January. I slid into the passenger parade from the terminal gate to the air-train, to the baggage claim. Grabbing my zebra-motif suitcase, I stepped into another accounting-controls-audit week at a manufacturing facility.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Fast Learners

by Macy Johnson
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:8 NIV)

We are students in God’s school. The Holy Spirit is our Tutor, guiding us through each lesson, opening our spiritual eyes to every truth to be learned.

As a college instructor I was disturbed when my students failed the class. Didn’t they want to succeed? Were they hoping I’d give them undeserved, passing grades?