Our Authors

View All
Patricia Raybon

Patricia Raybon

Patricia Raybon, a former Sunday Magazine editor at The Denver Post and former associate professor of journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder, now writes bridge-building books “to inspire people to love God and each other.” Passionate for God’s Word, she also supports Bible-translation projects worldwide. Her award-winning books include My First White Friend and I Told the Mountain to Move. A mother of two and grandmother of five, she and husband Dan live in Colorado where they enjoy movies, popcorn, cozy mysteries, and soapy PBS dramas. Find her at patriciaraybon.com or on Facebook or Twitter @patriciaraybon.

Articles by Patricia Raybon

How to Stay on Track

As the world’s fastest blind runner, David Brown of the U.S. Paralympic Team credits his wins to God, his mother’s early advice (“no sitting around”), and his running guide, veteran sprinter Jerome Avery. Tethered to Brown by a string tied to their fingers, Avery guides Brown’s winning races with words and touches.

“It’s all about listening to his cues,” says Brown, who says he could “swing out wide” on 200-meter races where the track curves. “Day in and day out, we’re going over race strategies,” Brown says, “communicating with each other—not only verbal cues, but physical cues.”

In our own life’s race, we’re blessed with a Divine Guide. Our Helper, the Holy Spirit, leads our steps when we follow Him. “I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray,” wrote John (1 John 2:26 nlt). “But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know” (v. 27).

John stressed this wisdom to the Christians of his day who faced “antichrists” who denied the Father and that Jesus is the Messiah (v. 22). We face such deniers today as well. But the Holy Spirit, our Guide, leads us in following Jesus. We can trust His guidance to touch us with truth, keeping us on track.

Friendship Bench

In the south central African country of Zimbabwe, war trauma and high unemployment can leave people in despair—until they find hope on a bench. A friendship bench. Hopeless people can go there to talk with trained “grandmothers”—elderly women taught to listen to people struggling with depression, known in that nation’s Shona language as kufungisisa, or “thinking too much.”

The Friendship Bench Project is being launched in other places, including Zanzibar, Malawi, London, and New York City. “We were thrilled to bits with the results,” said one London researcher. A New York counselor agreed. “Before you know it, you’re not on a bench, you’re just inside a warm conversation with someone who cares.”

The project evokes the warmth and wonder of talking with our Almighty God. Moses put up not a bench but a tent to commune with God, calling it the Tent of Meeting. There, “the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Exodus 33:11). Joshua, his young assistant, so valued his time with God that he wouldn’t even leave the tent (v. 11).

Today we no longer need a Tent of Meeting. Jesus has brought the Father near. As He told His disciples, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Yes, our God awaits us. He’s our heart’s wisest helper, our understanding Friend. Talk with Him now.

Slowing Down Time

A lot has changed since the electric clock was invented in the 1840s. We now keep time on smart watches, smart phones and laptops. The entire pace of life seems faster—with even our “leisurely” walking speeding up. This is especially true in cities and can have a negative effect on health, scholars say. “We’re just moving faster and faster and getting back to people as quickly as we can,” Professor Richard Wiseman observed. “That’s driving us to think everything has to happen now.”

Moses, the writer of one of the oldest of the Bible’s psalms, reflected on time. He reminds us that God controls life’s pace. “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night,” he wrote (Psalm 90:4).

The secret to time management, therefore, isn’t to go faster or slower. It’s to abide in God, spending more time with Him. Then we get in step with each other, but first with Him—the One who formed us (139:13) and knows our purpose and plans (v. 16).

Our time on earth won’t last forever. Yet we can manage our time wisely, not by watching the clock, but by giving each day to God. As Moses said, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (90:12). Then with God, we’ll always be on time, now and forever.  

Led by His Word

At the BBC in London, Paul Arnold’s first broadcasting job was making “walking sounds” in radio dramas. While actors read from scripts during a walking scene, Paul as stage manager made corresponding sounds with his feet—careful to match his pace to the actor’s voice and spoken lines. The key challenge, he explained, was yielding to the actor in the story, “so the two of us were working together.”

A divine version of such cooperation was sought by the author of Psalm 119, which emphasizes living by the precepts of God’s Word. As Psalm 119:1 says: “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.” Led this way by God and following His instructions, we can remain pure (v. 9), overcome scorn (v. 23), and escape greed (v. 36). He will enable us to resist sin (v. 61), find godly friends (v. 63), and live in joy (v. 111).

Theologian Charles Bridges commented on verse 133: “When I take therefore a step into the world, let me ask—Is it ordered in God’s word, which exhibits Christ as my perfect example?”

Walking this way, we show the world Christ. May He bless us today to walk so closely with Him that people glimpse in us our Leader, Friend, and Savior!

Asking God

When my husband, Dan, was diagnosed with cancer, I couldn’t find the “right” way to ask God to heal him. In my limited view, other people in the world had such serious problems—war, famine, poverty, natural disasters. Then one day, during our morning prayer time, I heard my husband humbly ask, “Dear Lord, please heal my disease.” 

It was such a simple but heartfelt plea that it reminded me to stop complicating every prayer request, because the Lord perfectly hears our righteous cries for help. As David simply asked, “Turn, Lord, and deliver me. Save me because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 6:4).

That’s what David declared during a time of spiritual confusion and despair. David’s exact situation isn’t explained in this psalm. His honest pleas, however, show his deep desire for godly help and restoration. “I am worn out from my groaning,” David wrote (v. 6).

Yet, David didn’t let his own limits, including sin, stop him from going to God with his need. Thus, even before the Lord answered, David was able to rejoice, “the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer” (vv. 8–9).

Despite our own confusion and uncertainty, God hears and accepts the honest pleas of His children. He is ready to hear us, especially when we need Him most.

Loving the Stranger

After a member of my family converted to a different religion, Christian friends urged me to “convince” her to return to Christ. I found myself first seeking to love my family member as Christ would—including in public places where some people frowned at her “foreign-looking” clothes. Others even made rude comments. “Go home!” one man yelled at her from his truck, not knowing or apparently caring that she already is “home.”

Moses taught a much kinder way to act toward people whose dress or beliefs feel different. Teaching laws of justice and mercy, Moses instructed the children of Israel, “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt” (Exodus 23:9). The edict expresses God’s concern for all strangers, people vulnerable to bias and abuse, and it is reiterated in Exodus 22:21 and Leviticus 19:33.

Therefore, when I spend time with my family member—at a restaurant, in a park, taking a walk together or sitting and talking with her on my front porch—I seek first to show her kindness and respect—in the way I would want to be treated. It’s one of the best ways to remind her of the sweet love of Christ, not by upbraiding her for rejecting Him, but by loving her as He loves all of us—with amazing grace.

Strengthened in Song

When French villagers helped Jewish refugees hide from Nazis during World War II, some sang songs in the dense forest surrounding their town—letting the refugees know it was safe to come out from hiding. These brave townspeople of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon had answered the call of local pastor André Trocmé and his wife, Magda, to offer wartime refuge to Jews on their windswept plateau known as “La Montagne Protestante.” Their musical signal became just one feature of the villagers’ bravery that helped save up to 3,000 Jews from almost certain death.

In another dangerous time, David sang when his enemy Saul sent nighttime assassins to his house. His use of music wasn’t a signal; rather, it was his song of gratitude to God his refuge. David rejoiced, “I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 59:16).

Such singing isn’t “whistling in the dark” during danger. Instead, David’s singing conveyed his trust in almighty God. “You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely” (v. 17).

David’s praise, and the villagers’ singing in Le Chambon, offer an invitation to bless God today with our singing, making melody to Him despite worries. His loving presence will respond, strengthening our hearts.

Guiding Light

The restaurant was lovely but dark. Only one small candle flickered on every table. To create light, diners used their smartphones to read their menus, look to their tablemates, and even to see what they were eating.

Finally, a patron quietly pushed back his chair, walked over to a waiter, and asked a simple question. “Could you turn on the lights?” Before long, a warm ceiling light flashed on and the room erupted with applause. But also with laughter. And happy chatter. And thank-yous. My friend’s husband turned off his phone, picked up his utensils, and spoke for us all. “Let there be light! Now, let’s eat!”

Our gloomy evening turned festive with the flick of a switch. But how much more important to know the real source of true light. God Himself spoke those astonishing words, “Let there be light,” on the first day that He created the universe, “and there was light” (Genesis 1:2). Then “God saw that the light was good” (v. 4).

Light expresses God’s great love for us. His light points us to Jesus, the light of the world (John 8:12), who guides us from the gloom of sin. Walking in His light, we find the bright path to a life that glorifies the Son. He is the world’s brightest gift. As He shines, may we walk His way.

Another Chance

At the Second Chance Bike Shop near our neighborhood, volunteers rebuild cast-off bicycles and donate them to needy kids. Shop founder Ernie Clark also donates bikes to needy adults, including the homeless, the disabled, and military veterans struggling to make it in civilian life. Not only do the bicycles get a second chance but sometimes the recipients get a new start too. One veteran used his new bike to get to a job interview.

Second chances can transform a person’s destiny, especially when the second chance comes from God. The prophet Micah extoled such grace during a time the nation of Israel groveled in bribery, fraud, and other despicable sins. As Micah lamented, “The godly people have all disappeared; not one honest person is left on the earth” (Micah 7:2 nlt).

The Lord would rightly punish evil, Micah knew. But as a loving God, He would give those who repented another chance. Humbled by such love, Micah asked, “Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people?” (v. 18 nlt).

We too can rejoice that God doesn’t abandon us for our sins if we repent. As Micah declared of God, “Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!” (v. 19 nlt).

God’s love gives second chances to all who seek Him.

 

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, by continuing to use this site you agree to this. Find out more on how we use cookies and how to disable them.