Tuesday, October 20, 2009
All of this re-do has put me in mind of the way God "redoes" us. We were created to bring glory to the Lord, but because of sin in our lives, we could not honor Him with what was due Him. Until a 'disconnection' was made between ourselves and the sin we lived in, God had no opportunity to change us. It was up to us to empty ourselves before God, and let Him create His vision in us. It was our job to present the project to the Creator, and give Him our lives to redo. Once that opportunity was given to Him, He began to clean us up, to renew us, from the inside out! No only were we 'flooded' with His love, we were saturated in His righteousness, and renewed by His salvation! God did not just 'redecorate' by painting over our sin with His blood, He filled us with newness, cleanliness and design that is perfect for us.
Now we are ready to bring Him glory as the Guest of Honor in our lives!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
In light of the fact that, to my knowledge, God doesn't have (or need) a wife, she may be right. But God does have time for the rest of us! So many times I've heard people say, "God's got enough to do without listening to my problems." There is no doubt that God has plenty to do, but I'm positive that He has time to listen and to act on our behalf.
There are fathers who don't take the time to sit and listen to their children as they babble on about whatever is on their young minds. There are many fathers who do, however. These are the fathers who know their children well. God is the best of all fathers, for He listens, He's concerned about our concerns, He knows us. He made us. How would you, as a parent, feel if your child never spoke to you? If you could see him or her living their lives, playing and talking with friends, being excited about something or upset about something, but never speaking to you about it, how would you feel?
Consider how God must feel when we live our lives, share with friends, but not with Him. What is it that our friends can do for us that God cannot do, and better? Why is it that some of us think that He isn't interested? He loves us! He is interested in every aspect of our lives, every emotion that we feel, every word we have to tell Him.
God has time...all the time in the world. Can we take a little time to speak and to listen to Him?
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
We had a finished basement of sorts. The usual small basement windows had been replaced with larger ones which slid and let in more light. Outside of them was a 'C' shaped metal form which kept the dirt from caving in around the windows. Kerry was downstairs one day, and something caught her eye in the window well. She began to watch. A brown toad was hopping, for all he was worth, trying to get out of the hole. Then she discovered why. A garden snake had joined the frog, and was attempting to catch him for his lunch.
Kerry watched as the toad kept hopping away from the predator. His inate desire was to be free of this enemy. The snake, on the other hand, was doing what his nature called him to do, to find something to eat. Eventually the determine toad was able to hop out of the hole and away from the snake. Kerry came up to report to me what she'd seen. After relaying her story, she finished by saying, 'there's a moral to the story, Mom. Good overcomes evil.'
As I thought about that last night, I could see the wisdom in my young daughter's comment. I thought about that toad. He was just happily living his life, like we do sometimes, unconcerned with anything much for that moment. Then, along comes a predator, a snake who sought to devour him. I thought about that snake. He is like the devil who sneaks up to devour us.
Then I thought again about the toad. He recognized that he'd be in trouble if he sat still, so hopped away, he tried to escape. He was not willing to lie there and let nature take its course. He wanted to be free of this danger. I thought about us, as humans. When the devil comes toward us, do we recognize him right away? And, what do we do when we see him coming? Do we run, or do we sit there idlely waiting to see what he'll do next?
The Bible tells us that the enemy comes, seeking to destroy and to devour us. It tells us that we should not be caught unaware, as he comes as a wolf in sheep's clothing. The Word tells us that we should resist the devil, to fight back. Running from the evil one is the only way to victorious living. As Christians, we should be instinctively aware that there is nothing we need from that snake, and we should do all we can to preserve our life.
Thank you Lord, for such a simple lesson.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
As I watched the parents meet the needs of their young charge, as they continued to guard from a distance near enough to provide protection, but far enough to allow abit of learning and independence, I could not help but liken the scene to the way the Lord cares for us, His young.
God knows that we cannot live without Him. He watches from on high, aware of our every move, knowing that, on our own, we have no real direction. He watches always, but allows us to make our own choices. He speaks to us, reminding us that He is always near and that He has b better way for us to go. He protects from predators, allowing only what is in His perfect will. He provides for us, making sure we are well fed. The day will come when we, too, will take flight from this earth, to soar the Heavens. Until then, our Father cares for us.
I am grateful for this lesson the Creator shared with me.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I always thought how wonderful it would be to have another girl in the house that I could share secrets with, borrow clothing from and do things with. I was quite close to one of my brothers and grateful for both of them, but they weren't sisters!
We need to pray for many reasons. God is our Father, and He created us to have fellowship with Him. He desires for us to talk with Him about all things in our thoughts and lives. Can you imagine going through life and not speaking with your mother, father or others who love you?
Would you spend the day on an outing with a friend and not discuss it with them as you go? God is with us in every moment, and I'm sure He'd like to have us share with Him as we walk through the day.
There are times when we behave in ways that aren't pleasing to God, things that are in disobedience to what He's taught. At those times, it's especially important to pray...for forgiveness. We need to ask for a restructuring of our thoughts and actions. He will be faithful to answer this prayer!We need to pray when we feel thankful. So often we are overcome with gratitude in our lives. Sometimes it's just something small that happens but we are so glad for the occurance. God is the giver of all good gifts, and we should not forget to thank Him for them, no matter how small the gift might appear to be. Can you imagine giving your best to someone you love, and never receiving a thank you for it? It would hurt you, wouldn't it? Let us remember to give God His due...our praise for His goodness and our thanks for His gracious gifts.
I cannot think of a time when it would not be appropriate to speak with our Father. When we are hurt, He cares. When we need direction or correction, He'll provide it. Whatever we need, it will be provided, but the Lord delights in our prayers. As Paul writes in I Thess 5:17, "Pray, without ceasing." In every situation, in every moment, remember to speak with the Lord.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
We were talking in Sunday school class about discipline of children, and how it has changed since we were children. Our parents thought nothing of getting our attention with a swat to the seat of our britches. There was no slap on the wrist or time out chair then. Sometimes we had a separation period from the rest of the family or a sibling with whom we were at war. But correction was offered in ways that didn't always feel good. I'm not talking about child abuse. I'm not talking about beatings. I mean a smack on a clothed bottom that says, "Hey! It's time for a change in behavior". In those days, such correction did not land parents in jail or on lists of child abusers. We kids didn't have the options of turning our parents over to authorities for trying to make us law abiding, respectful people.
When our parents said, "this hurts you more than it hurts me", it very well could have. Who likes having to discipline a little person? Who can stand to hear their children's tears? But what would happen without correction? The Bible tells us in Proverbs that 'Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.' God speaks of correction in many ways through His word. It is because He loves us that He corrects us. It is because we love our children and care what kind of people they will become that we correct them.
As a young mother, I had an experience one day that taught me something that I haven't forgotten. My then four year old and I had had a particularly bad day. She was determined to avoid doing anything I'd told her to do that day, and seemed that she would not hear any instruction. All the talking was getting me no where, and because she was continually disobedient that day, in the end, she got my hand on her chubby little bottom. When we had our before bed prayers, I said, "Let's ask Jesus to help you be a better little girl tomorrow." My daughter answered, "and YOU a better Mommy!"
While some might think she was being disrespectful, I had to agree. I needed prayer to be a better Mommy. I still do. We all do. Our children are not born with instructions as to how to parent them. We seek the Lord, we read His word, we do the best we can, but we are not perfect parents, just as the kids aren't perfect. We need to be praying for our children, and each other's children. And we need to pray for one another as parents, and to ask our children to pray for us. This will help them in many ways. They will learn that we know we aren't in need of correction ourselves, that we desire to be good parents to them, and that we need to all pray for our family's needs. They will come to know, as they watch us admit to our short-comings and ask for God's help, that they, too, can do the same in their lives.
Lesson taught, lesson learned....just one of many that children have to offer.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
No matter how strong our faith is, no matter how much we trust God, there are still those times when trials come to someone we know and we wonder how much more they can take. I don't believe that is a lack of trust or a lack of faith. It's a question that comes from our human side and from our compassion. We ache for the suffering. We know that life brings times that test our faith. We also know that they will endure, by God's grace and goodness.
Our prayers for God's compassion and mercy are being said. We will support our friends with our prayers and with our helping hands. It's all that we can do right now.
Monday, April 6, 2009
- Yesterday was Palm Sunday...the prelude to Easter week. I've always enjoyed the church service held on Palm Sunday and looked forward to the Bible's account of Jesus riding into the city on the back of a donkey. Throngs of people lined the streets to bow and wave palm branches as He rode by. I've always liked hearing and singing the special hymns written about that day.
Friday, April 3, 2009
I've grown up to realize that the dark is a space without light. There is, in a spiritual sense, much darkness in this world today. You have only to turn on the news to become swiftly aware that the world is not living in the Light of God. People who walk in the Light are not ashamed of their deeds, for they are in obedience to God. They need not be afraid, for God walks with them. Those who walk a path in darkness have reason to fear. They have no protector, no guard, no guide. How does one manuever through that sort of life and maintain a sane mind or a fearless attitude? They have no power to fight off evil and show no love in doing their own evil acts.
How wonderful to be able to say that I walk in the Light, without fear of the things in the dark!
How blessed to know that the Savior called to me, and hearing Him, I answered. How comforting to know that I am protected by His love and power!
God is not willing that you should walk alone, in darkness. He is not a respector of persons. What He has done for me, He will do for you. Wake up from your sleep in the darkness. Hear Him as He calls your name. Say "Here I am, Lord", and watch the Light fall around you! There will be no need ever again to fear, for He will stay beside you always. Choose the Light.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I suppose I could stretch a point and say that all signify the newness that comes with Spring after a long winter's nap. I could really defend the pretty outfit by saying that it is significant of taking off the old and putting on the new. But the truth is, they have nothing to do with the true meaning of Easter.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Today is her birthday. She told me yesterday that she cannot believe that she is eighty-three years old. She said it seems to her that it is all a dream.
That she is still with us, in good health and perfect mentality is a dream for each of us. This true version of a Proverbs 31 woman is an inspiration to us. She has set the example that I choose to follow as a Christian woman, a gentle, quiet spirit with a heart set on the Lord.
She has worked for the good of others for as long as I've known her, and even longer. She does not care for others to 'recognize' her in any way, she is that humble, but I find great admiration for her in her efforts to lighten the load in any way she can for those who are burdened. I know, as her daughter, things that others will never know, as to the good works she has accomplished over the years. She is not a Pharisee who stands on the corners, shouting of her deeds. No, she is standing in the closet, in humility.
I once heard the actress, Ellen Burstyn giving an interview in which she said something similar to this: "You are the only you in the world. If you do not give yourself to others, they will be denied a gift."
Today we will celebrate her birthday, six of us gathering for a special dinner, and on Saturday a larger party. We will shower her with gifts, but in fact, it is we who have been given the gift, the presence of this blessing in our lives. Happy Birthday,Mom.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
And yet, in reality, my faith in the sun's rising or in the ever-flowing tides of the sea, will not change what could happen at any time, should the Creator see fit to alter what we've come to know as routine. God is all powerful and He can do as He will with what He's created. Just as I crumple pages of scribbling, words I've written, artwork that displeases me, God can destroy anything He's made with a mere touch of His hand.
Therefore, my greatest faith does not revolve around the things in the earth. My faith is planted and grows and blossoms in the One who made all that we see and hear. Although I find great pleasure in watching the sun rise and seeing the waves come rhythmically to the sands at my feet, although it blesses my life and my heart to hear the bird song on the air, my belief is in Him and it is He that I worship and adore.
He, the Creator, is ever faithful and true. When all else changes, when His works of art fade or crumble, He will remain just as He has been from the beginning and will be 'til the end...unchangeable...the same yesterday, today and forever.
So, as I watch another sunrise through my kitchen window, as I hear the far-off sea in the files of my remembrance, I lift a heart of praise that God has granted me another day in which thank Him for being my Lord who never disappoints, who never leaves nor foresakes me, who is completely unchanged. Bless God!
Friday, March 6, 2009
Being a native Northerner who now lives in the South, I miss the snow. While I lived on Long Island, our snow falls were rarely more than a few inches, but occasionally we'd get a doozie. Whatever it was, though, even with the inconveniences I knew would come with it, I looked forward to the coming of the white stuff. I looked forward, too, to measuring it to see just how the snow compared to the predictions. I liked to prove them wrong!
As the first flakes would fall, like feathers from the heavens, I'd diligently stand at the window and watch. When the snow began to stick to the ground, there was a newness to all it touched. The entirety of the world immediately around me would be blanketed in white, and as its cover expanded, it had added beauty to the familiar scenery. There is nothing like fresh snow to give you a sense of what 'purity' looks like. It sparkles in the light, it gleams with a glitter. There's no other example quite like it.
David, the Psalmist, wrote (Ps 51:7) 'Cleanse me with hyssop and I shall be whiter than snow." He cried out to the Lord in repentance of his great sin of adultery and murder. He cried for renewal of his soul. He used 'whiter than snow' as an example of how pure he would become, once the Lord God cleansed him.
Some people doubt the coming of Christ to a waiting soul. They overlook the signs of the Promise. Make no mistake! Prove the predictions wrong! Show the doubters that when Jesus cleanses your life, there is no washing that can compare. The internal grime of a heart lived in sin is renewed..POWER washed, and the soul is blanketed by the blood of Christ. When the Father looks upon us then, He sees the sparkling of His Son's covering upon us! What a miracle!
But, be aware, that just as the snowfall can melt away from the earth, showing the dirt beneath it once more, so can we make the choice to return to the filth we came from. It is our choice whether or not we live in purity... by praying, by knowing God's Word and by obedience to it. Let us continually measure ourselves against what God is teaching us in His word. Let us be mindful to remain clothed in His righteousness. As we watch and wait with anticipation for the second coming of Jesus, let us be found sparkling, pure, and whiter than snow.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
And let's face it, sometimes we're just plain selfish.
I've recently moved here to the Bible belt. I was a Christian before I got here, and I believe that I've seen all manner of behavior among Christians that I've been associated with over the years. I'm not perfect either, and I'm ashamed to say that, at times, my example of love has probably left others scratching their heads. Loving is not emotions, it is a choice, and it's obedience to God's Word.
This area of the world God led us to is hurting badly in this economy. I suppose that's true of most places right now, but there is less money here than in a lot of other places and a high unemployment rate. There are multitudes who rely on food pantries to feed their children, or on the goodness of others to provide bare essentials that most of us take for granted. There are high numbers of people living on disability checks due to health issues. But, in spite of all the obstacles, this area astounds me with the giving to one another. People with little open their arms to those with less. Those with less offer to help in other ways, and nearly everyone offers their prayers for you, no matter what else they have or haven't got.
We recently had a heavy snowfall, only 4" where we live, but it was enough to cause the power (read no lights, heat, stove, hot water, or telephone) to go out for 18 hours. We were fine, even with a few inconveniences, but there were others who were not as fortunate. When the power came on again, I noticed a phone call on the voice mail. It was from a woman at the church we've just begun to visit, calling to be sure we were ok, and to offer us the use of a shower, a few hours of heat or the use of her freezer if we needed it. Another, finding we'd had no power, scolded me for not bringing my mother and ourselves over to spend the night, or the full time without power.
These examples are such a few of so many we've seen since we've been here. People are truly concerned for the welfare of other people. They are living, breathing, examples of stepping outside of themselves and showing love toward their neighbors and even strangers. I am blessed to be a part of a community such as this.
What a ministry there is in reaching out to those in need, whether it be a ride to a doctor, a meal, volunteering at a charity organization, or a face to face interaction with someone you might otherwise not involve yourself with. How many opportunities there are to show the love of Jesus that we claim we possess! We do not know how one random act of kindness might change another life. But, the Lord knows...and He gives us these opportunities to practice what we say we believe.
We've so often heard that we shouldn't wear our heart on our sleeve. Do you know, when Jesus is in your heart, I think it's really alright to do just that.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The Light in a dark world is much like that. The Son comes, shining, to brighten the world and shed His warmth around us. He is welcomed by some who long to be enfolded in His wonder. Others are 'asleep', unaware, or not caring, that the Light has come to offer enrichment to their lives, to take the fear away, to bring blessed hope, to guide them. Those of us who have responded to the Light know that nothing will be hidden as the Light reveals all within the darkness. We know that our path is well lit, and there is nothing to fear as we travel the road.
I don't like to sleep, it almost seems a waste of time, after a certain point. I get all the rest I need, but I want to wake to see what each new morning will bring. I want to watch the weather to see what it promises. There are blessings each day that I want to experience.
Similarly, I want to be wide awake in the Day of the Lord. I don't want to miss a thing by being asleep. I want to be found working for His glory, basking in the Light! I have wasted too much time during the years before I watched the Son rise on me and responded to it. Not another moment! I will rise and watch and wait and work 'til the day when He appears.
And when I hear that great trumpet sound in the clouds, I will rise ...into the skies! I will walk into the sunlight, as I've lived in the Son's Light, and there I will live, morning by morning, forever in the House of the Lord.
Even so, Lord Jesus, come!
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Lord does, indeed, fall upon us like rain on a thirsty land. He showers us with such blessings, so many things we don't deserve. He comes not once, not twice, but abides at all times with us, providing our nourishment, our strength, our every need.
In this day of financial mess, He stands waiting, right beside each one of us, those who know Him, those who do not. He waits beside the man who has lost his job. He waits beside the woman whose family has lost their home. He sees the tears of those who are distraught. He knows the pain of those who have lost everything they thought was their security. He hears the voices say, "I don't know what we're going to do!" He knows, and He waits to hear the earnest prayer for help from Him. His Word says, "Seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened unto you, Ask and it shall be given."
There is no security outside of the Lord. The earth will quake, the Rock stands. The world's financial systems may crumble, but God's supply is never ending. There may be long lines at the food pantry, but the Bread of Life is always available. Whatever the need, God has the answer in His Hand...ready to give, if only we'd ask. We deserve nothing, and yet, He's willing to give all that He has in His storehouses for our good and well being.
Yes...He shall come down like rain. Showers of blessings await us, if only we will ask. (and then...don't forget to THANK! )
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood,
and I--I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Yes. In my life, I have traveled many a path, seeking my way through the tangles and the briars and the swamp lands. I've followed the well-trod dirt way and climbed the rocky, barren road. Forks in the road appeared from time to time, where choices had to be made as to the route to take.
Too often I chose the one that was not the best one.
One day while wandering alone on these paths of life, I found an intersection, where again, I needed to make a decision. This decision turned out to be the most important decision I'd ever made. I decided to give my life and my future to the Lord Jesus.
Over the years since that day, I have tried to do what He lays out in the Bible. I've stumbled and fallen and I've made mistakes. But no matter how long it took for me to realize my ill-doing, God was always there and available to forgive and to help me move on the right path.
People have told me that I'm brain-washed. Good, I say! I've been washed by the blood of Jesus at Calvary...and I really do believe that includes my brain!
People have said that the Bible is merely a book, maybe a history book, maybe a book of nice stories or even fairy tales. It isn't. It is God's Word,
His truth, His light for the path. It is a road map to help you find your way to an eternal life with God. It has all the traffic signs within it...STOP, Yield, One Way, Wrong Way, No U-Turn, Curve ahead. You name it, the signs and directions are there. It will take you over the mountainous routes, it will take you through the valleys. It will take you to the place of rest and refreshment, and it will guide you every step of your journey.
In all my years since that major decision to follow the Path of Life, I have learned much. I have much left to learn, but I know this much. Like Frost, when two roads diverged, I chose the one less traveled....and that has made all the difference.