A Word Is On My Tongue

 

Recently I heard a radio personality quote Will Rogers as saying, "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip."  The obvious lesson behind this, of course, is that we should be careful about the negative words that we say. I began to think about it in a somewhat different way, however.

Our household has a tremendous collection of things that we say to each other that would make no sense to anyone else. Humorous lines from movies we’ve seen, recollections of silly things that have happened. Even after all these years, we still quote the wise sayings of our children from toddler age and up. Those always bring out a smile in us.

So what types of things might our family’s proverbial parrot be repeating? What about the many times weekly that "I love you" is spoken? "I’m so proud of you."  "Amen."  "God blessed us with you."  "Let me pray for you."

While most of us don’t have a bird in our homes collecting our every utterance for possible rebroadcast, we do have each other to consider. Words of love and encouragement cling to our memories, ministering healing, comfort and joy for years to come.

Would I be embarrassed to hear of my negative comments reaching another’s ears? Would I be happy to know that words I had spoken wisely were continuing to bring happiness and hope to each person they reached?

What would your parrot be saying?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And You Will See

 

Just imagine it—looking up, and along with the rest of the world, seeing Jesus coming down to Earth in the clouds. For those of us who know Him as our Savior, it will be a gloriously wonderful day! But what about everyone else? Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 both speak of all the peoples of the Earth mourning when they see Him coming. Why?

At that moment, those who have put their trust in Jesus will experience something magnificent; their faith will become sight.  Those who have rejected the gift of His salvation will experience something horrifying; their unbelief will become condemnation. They will realize their mistake and mourn for what they’ve lost. It will be too late for them.

I know people that believe that there is a God–but they haven’t accepted what Jesus did for them on the cross. I know people that think they are "good" —and that being good is enough to insure their admittance to Heaven.  I actually know people who are convinced that there is no God at all—and they, like the others, will be among those who mourn.

What can we do?

If you are reading this and you are not sure if you would be rejoicing if you saw Jesus coming in the clouds, there is only one thing to do: humbly pray and tell God that you believe in Him and in His Son, Jesus. Ask Him to forgive you of all the things you have done to displease Him. Ask Him to come into your life and guide you, believing that Jesus has paid the penalty for your sins when He died on the cross. If you truly believe and accept what He has done for you, you will no longer be among those who would mourn at His coming.

If you are reading this and you have friends who do not understand who God is and what He has done for them, you are definitely not alone. We all are very well acquainted with future mourners–for that is who we once were. We can pray and ask God to break strongholds in their lives and draw them to Himself. We can ask others to pray for them. We can speak about what God has done for us. We can invest our words and actions into their lives, implanting the love of God a little at a time.

God’s forgiveness is infinite; it is able to transfer our membership from the company of mourners to that of those who rejoice.

Which group are you in?

 

 

 

 

Always Thank God

My husband and I went to a nearby lake to enjoy the sunset today. I had hoped to see spectacular views. I was not disappointed. So wondrous was the display of bright, beaming colors–sometimes mixed with flashes of lightning within the billows of towering moisture.

The sun hid behind a cloak of clouds, coming out for only a few moments to turn almost a ruby red before it faded from sight. The water was calm as a cool breeze swept over the lake.

Our God is awesome….

 

 

 

 

The Man Who Trusts

 

I was driving on a highway this evening, just before dusk. The sun was setting, and the clouds were beautifully arrayed in shades of pink and sherbet orange. It had been very stormy in past days, and the sky had been full of interesting mixtures of gray and white.

As I sat at a traffic light, my attention was drawn to a man crossing the multiple lanes ahead of me. He was pushing a baby stroller. It was somewhat difficult for him to maneuver the small wheels over the uneven ground as he made his way to the parking area of some nearby stores. I found myself looking closer to see if he actually had a baby with him. He did.

Driving onward as the light changed from red to green, my thoughts drifted to the stroller’s passenger. I thought of the dangers of crossing several lanes of traffic on foot. I am certain the baby had no fear; he could not begin to understand the seriousness of oncoming traffic at that age. Someone with greater understanding was caring for him and keeping him safe from harm while the stroller made its way to the other side. This precious child was most likely just going along for the ride, enjoying the scenery.

Am I living a multi-lane life, being escorted through dangers I’m not even aware of by my loving Heavenly Father? Are there concerns I could not possibly comprehend that He protects me from, minute by minute?

If God places me in the stroller, I can be sure that He will be with me for the outing, gently pushing my wheels in the direction He wants us to go.

 

 

 

Moth and Rust

 

This evening at bedtime, I sat beside our youngest son. We had been having an extended conversation about something that was very important to him. As we talked, I tried to convey just how all the material things in the world could never compare in worth to the value he has in my heart. Things don’t really matter in comparison to people.

Lately, I have been encouraged to invest more of my life into the lives of others. Matthew 6:19 says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Do we really consider our families and friends to be treasures of our lives? Are we investing in them by nurturing them in the Lord and urging them on toward greater fellowship with God? I’m afraid there have been times that I haven’t. 

Oh, Lord, help me to realize the treasure of people you have placed in my life. Thank You for the richness and beauty of each precious soul.

 

 

 

He Ran

 

 

I attended a church service for youth this evening. The speaker’s topic was the parable of the prodigal son. It was brought to our attention that this is the only place in the Bible where God is pictured as running to us.

A few years ago, I visited a family that owned a pig. One pig.  He lived in a…. pig pen, of course.

Being the curious animal lover that I am, I wanted to see the pig. As we made our way to the back yard and finally, to the pig’s home, I experienced something vastly different and out of the ordinary. There was a smell (a stench) that was horrible (overwhelming) and the mud in the pen was extremely black (pitch black). Needless to say, I do not wish to ever visit a pig again while he is in captivity.

The prodigal son had been spending his days feeding pigs. When he came to the realization that he needed to go home, I would assume that he was outwardly dirty, yet his heart was being cleansed and renewed as he came to his senses. Still, he must have been ragged and worn, steeped in the stench of pigs and suffering from his rebellious choices.

You know who I thought of? Me.  Oh, I didn’t ask for an early inheritance check or run away to a distant country. I hadn’t been earning any wages while working on a farm. Instead, I tried to be good on my own, leave my home town to pursue my personal interests apart from God and somehow conquer every traumatic thing that had ever happened to me by proving myself and making it in the world.  The key words there are apart from God. It was a futile adventure.

I will always remember the day I came to my senses and asked God for forgiveness. Where was He at that moment? Running to me.  Ready to accept me, filled with compassion. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have my life cleaned up yet. He accepted me, ragged and worn, steeped in the stench of independance and suffering from my own rebellious choices.

Luke 15:20 says, "…but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."  NIV

 

 

Remember

Reflective. I suppose that’s a good word to describe the state of my mind today. I’ve been thinking about the different seasons of my life so far and considering how God has continually taken care of me.  Although I was unaware of His protection and guidance during some crucial points in my life, I trust that He was there all along.

 

 

 

 

Sing

For the past several days our state  has been experiencing the effects of a tropical storm.  Yesterday  was the most intense time for my community. Trees bending under the stress of high winds and pelting rain; flood waters rising.

Earlier today there was a break from the rain. I ventured out with my camera. While looking at insects on a bush, a bird began laughing. Well, that’s what it sounded like to me. I couldn’t recall ever hearing anything like it. As I walked under a tree and gazed up between the branches, I saw what looked like a blue jay. He continued his singing/laughing combination. As I stood there watching, he changed his song to a more familiar call, loud and clear. I heard no other birds. I looked around–I could see no other birds.

After such turmoil in ALL the trees in our area, he still chose to sit in one and sing. Leaves that looked shredded have been collecting on the ground, torn into pieces by the hard wind and rain. Some of the branches that once held the birds are broken and fallen as well. Yet….he sings.

Later, I thought of the song,  "How Great Thou Art."  A line from the lyrics states, "Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to Thee."

Throughout my life, I want to "sing" to God with all that I do, trusting Him—even in a storm.

 

 

 

 

 

According to the Promise

 

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.   Galatians 3:26-29

 

 

 

 

 

Take Away

Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, was dead. When He came to the place where Lazarus’ family was, some of the onlookers began to talk:  "Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?" (John 11:37)

The scripture continues.  "Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. "Take away the stone, " He said.  "But, Lord, " said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days." (John 11:38,39)

Jesus’ instructions were clear. "Take away the stone."  He could have called for Lazarus to come to life again and push the stone away from the inside of the tomb. Certainly, He could have empowered Lazarus with the strength to do it. He was also  wrapped in grave cloths.  Jesus could have had all those strips of linen to supernaturally fall to the ground; yet He did neither of these.  Simply, His instructions were to those watching. Once the stone had been removed, Jesus prayed. Then, He commanded Lazarus to come out of the tomb, alive once more.

Martha had been hesitant to uncover the source of her sorrow–the dead body of her beloved brother. She questioned Jesus’s instructions:  "But, Lord…."  Jesus was going straight to the area of need.  He was also involving those near to the situation to participate in the miraculous. Still, we see the hesitancy—"But, Lord…"

Do we ever respond to God’s work in our lives with questions of doubt? Do we respond to His instructions with, "But, Lord…." ? He knows what He is going to do and how He is going to do it.  Jesus replies to Martha in verse 40. "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"  This does not sound like condemnation of unbelief. Rather, it seems a clear reminder to trust wholeheartedly in the Lord.

Has Jesus come to help you today? Is there a cover over your heart that needs to be obediently removed so that healing can take place?

Jesus said, "Take away the stone."

 

 

 

Teach Me

 

When our sons were small we had a story book that we read to them. It was about a young train engine who was going to school to learn how to handle responsibility. Someday, he would lead train cars behind him and travel at great speeds; but first, he had some lessons to understand.

The most important instruction he received concerned his behavior. He was told that he must stay on the tracks.  This might not have seemed to hard a task to obey, but there was a problem. The tracks did not lead to all the places that the train wanted to go.  He saw fields with flowers blooming and other intriguing sights that were beyond the pathway of the rails laid out for him to follow. Forgetting his commitment to succeed, he left the tracks and strayed out of his boundaries.

Those who had been instructing him soon noticed signs of his behavior. It was apparent that the little engine was not obeying the rules. If he was ever to be the leader he was destined to be, an intervention would have to occur.

Those who cared about the future of the young locomotive set about to discourage his disobedient behavior and save him from future ruin. They each carried a red warning flag with them and journeyed out to the fields and meadows that tempted their friend to disobey.  They hid in all the places they thought he might wander to and they waited.

Sure enough, as the little engine roared along his journey the fields beckoned him away from what he knew was acceptable. Once again he made the decision to leave the track to explore forbidden territory, only to find that something had changed. Everywhere he looked, he saw a red warning flag. Suddenly, the places he was drawn to before had lost their appeal. The red warning flags reminded him of the proper path over and over.

So what finally happened to the young train? He decided to heed the instruction of his teachers and friends and stay on the path that was set before him. In later years, he became a very fast locomotive, carrying train cars responsibly to just the right destinations.

Have you ever left the track in search of the fields of flowers?  Did anyone else notice the grass in your wheels? Did any of your friends take the time to warn you of the consequences of leaving the path that God had laid out for you? Were they faithful to hold up the red flag when YOU were jumping the rails?

 

 

 

 

From the Moment

 

Have you ever seen those picture frames with the pre-cut mats for several photos? Some of them have a space for every school picture from kindergarten on up to graduation from high school. It’s amazing to track how a child changes ever so slightly each year until finally they are all grown up.

My parents went their separate ways when I was only a baby. I have no memories of living in a two-parent household. My father did visit me on occasion, but because he lived in another city, I’m sure it wasn’t very convenient to do so. That being said, I really did not know him very well.  He died when I was 17.  It had been 5 years since I had last seen him. What was his favorite food? I have no idea. Did he like sports? I don’t know.  What did he feel about God? What were his hopes? His dreams? I never knew.

This morning as I was in church, something that was said began a thought process that has stayed with me. I began to think of Jesus. I may not have had a close relationship with my earthly father, but God has lovingly made up for that. Though I want to know Him more, I could already tell you a lot about Jesus.

In my mind this morning, I could just picture Him holding me when I was about 4 years old with short, curly hair, holding me up in the air above His lap.  The little girl that was me was smiling…

Thoughts can sometimes be so enmeshed that it’s hard to separate them into verbal explanation. Somehow, I felt as if I understood that I am at this moment in time still the little girl that Jesus could bounce on His knee. Of course, I am an adult to everyone I know and I have been for many years. But just like those age progressive photo mats that allow you to see backward into who a child has been previously, I think God looks at us supernaturally in a way that allows Him to view all of who we have been and who we will be.  Tender, innocent thoughts that originated in my toddler mind, inquisitive thoughts from my teen years, the contemplative and sometimes frightened thoughts of a young wife and mother—they’ve all been me and God knows me completely.

Who am I today? I may look like just an adult, but I am much more to God. I found comfort in sensing that Jesus is happy to hold me up in His outstretched arms, as though I were four years old, grinning from ear to ear.  I forgot to mention one more thing in describing this precious vision in my mind—-

Jesus was smiling, too.

 

 

Sing for Joy

 

I was standing in my driveway, talking to my husband and son. It was almost dusk out, but the sunset had given a soft glow to certain objects in the front yard. Suddenly, I noticed movement; there in the yellow flowers hovered a moth–a very large moth.

I took a closer look to be sure that it wasn’t a hummingbird. It’s wings were beating at such a high rate of speed that it caused the area around the moth’s body to become blurred.  It was finding beautiful yellow blooms and plunging it’s head far into the flower.

We have a tall "bush" of yellow Four o’clock plants in our yard. Although I have not researched it, I assume that they mostly bloom in the late afternoon, hence the name Four o’clock. Not only do we see the blooms then, but it continues to blossom forth into the dark, night sky.

Sometimes, when we leave the house, we are struck with the aromatic scent that comes from these plants. As darkness surrounds them, they are arrayed in a delicate beauty, Ready for the transition from heat of day to coolness of night, they adorn our sidewalk yearly and have been in various snapshots of our home through the years.

So, why did God make flowers that bloom at night when everyone is supposed to be sleeping? Did He make them to nurture moths, since He knew that moths would not be awake during regularly scheduled daytime blooming? In other words, did He make the flower for the moth or the moth for the flower? I’m afraid the answer flows within a continuous circle of knowledge possessed by only God.

At any rate, the moth and the plant are dependent on one another, as God desires. God’s plans are infallable. His magnificent works tell of the order in which the earth’s inhabitance must adhere to.

 

 

 

 

Kind and Compassionate

At the school where I teach, students will be returning in only days. As a part of the faculty, I and my other teacher friends had to begin this week. It’s time to get things ready for another school year to start. Here we go again, just like last year.

Something else is happening now that was just like last year. I am witnessing extreme——kindness.  Kindness? Yes, and not only that, but compassion as well. 

Area churches have begun to minister to the students and instructors of our school by investing their time and resources. It is evident that these followers of Jesus are commited to showing His love to others through service and ministry toward their needs. They are giving of themselves, blending compassion with kindness–right now–today. Just like last year at this time, church members are seeking out ways to show the love of their Savior to the community in which they live. By modeling these characteristics, they are an encouragment and an example to everyone touched by their caring hearts.

Is there someone you could show kindness to today? 

 

 

All Your Need

 

I memorized this verse in college:  "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Time after time God has supplied my need.  He continues to do so at this very moment.  Lately, I have praying about a specific need and reminding myself of this verse. God’s riches will never run out. He has all that I need and that will be eternally true.

 

 

 

 

Be Separate

What are idols? I think first about stone or rock figures. That may be a correct thought, but idols could be much more.  I have had times in my life when thinking about a certain problem was consuming. How? It consumed my time and kept me from enjoying the moment at hand. It consumed my energy and kept me from concentrating on better things. It gave me a weary heart and kept me from laughter. Could that problem have been an idol?

I am coming to understand that I need to talk to God about everything. In so doing, I am no longer shouldering the concern by myself.  Actually, God was always there, but I have worried over things before as though He wasn’t.

II Corinthians 6:16, 17a says, "What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."[ "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord."
  

There really isn’t any room in my heart for idols of worry or doubt. When these two take up residence, the discomfort increases. There is only room for God. When they begin crowding their way into my mind, peace can be elusive.

No matter how normal it would seem to continue on in the same way, I should separate myself from these and other defeating foes. When faced with serious issues, I need to "come out" away from fear and uncertainty and turn my thoughts toward God.

 

 

You are There

Spontaneous. That might be a nice way to put it. Given the right encouragment, I completely change gears and go into adventure mode. I have certain limits, mind you. Adventure to me might mean photographing an alligator in the wild or creeping up on a bird to get just the right close up shot. High altitude adventure? Well, that’s just not for me.

A few days ago, I was casually going about my own business within my own house when I heard it–the uniquely familiar buzzing  sound that I had experienced before.  I looked out my bedroom window to see the…uh…flying "go cart" that sometimes takes off from the farm behind our property. I quickly grabbed my camera an dashed through the living room and out the front door, (I suppose my family has grown accustomed to this type of behavior by now)  running out to our front sidewalk in time to catch a picture of the aforementioned go cart, complete with pilot, whizzing past me above our garage.

I’m sure this mode of transportation has a REAL name. It looks, however, like someone strapped a large window fan to the back of a pedaled cart and attached some colorful ballooning nylon as a kite. On another day, much like this one, I watched it climb to such great height in the sky that it appeared to be a small, colorful speck. Funny….I didn’t know window fans could get that high….

Am I adventurous? I thought so, but not compared to my unknown pilot friend. He wins.

I wonder what it would be like, though. What does he think about up there? Does he mentally give God the glory for the vast earth below him and the clouds above him? If he had engine trouble, would he cry out to God for help?

The wonderful thing about the previous question is that he could call to God for help because God would there–no matter how far up he went. We can’t out-travel God. Wherever we go, He’s already there waiting. That should be a comforting thought to all of us.  The Bible tells us in Psalms 139:8 that God is with us. It reads, "If I go up to the heavens, You are there;"

I am thankful that God’s love is unfailing.

His presence is constant.

His power, complete.

No matter where you happen to be.

 

 

 

 

At All Times

 

I was studying this morning about how God had planned to rescue the children of Israel from Egypt. From the time God spoke to Abraham about it until the their exodus to the wilderness about four hundred years elapsed.

Now, four hundred years is quite a chunk of time—to us, but not to God. He knew all along about each event leading to that day. His timing is perfect. Our impatience is flawed. To get what we want before it’s proper time would probably not be what we wanted at all.

Most of my family likes cake. The warm smell of chocolate wafting through the house is a pleasant one. Generally, after the flour mix is blended with the eggs, oil and water, it takes about thirty-five minutes or so in the oven for the cake to bake. Not twenty-five, but thirty five. Certainly not fifteen…

What would happen if our youngest son entered the kitchen requesting the cake after the batter had only been in the oven for twenty-five minutes?  Looking into the baking window, it would most likely appear to be done. However, upon it’s removal to the stovetop, a gentle “tap” to the top surface might result in a sudden sinking toward the middle that confirms all suspicions of the gooey, pasty middle that lies beneath the thin, outer layer.

If the cake is not returned for it’s proper preparation, only part of it will be acceptable for consumption. The other is likely to be thrown out and wasted. It may have been only ten minutes, yet it was an important length of time determining the outcome.

How many moments have I wanted my “cake” in life before it was done? Confused, I couldn’t quite grasp why there needed to be more waiting involved. The trouble is, I just thought I knew what it should look like when it was ready.

 In all of the events of our lives, God is the only one who actually knows what is best.

 It is He who has set the timer.

 

 

Jacinth

My husband and I were taking a walk together yesterday. As we strolled past a home we noticed a beautiful plant blooming with brilliant colors.  My husband commented that it was a Bird of Paradise plant. I could not recall having ever seen one before. How distinctive it was!  I stood there, looking at it from different angles.

Curious, I did some research about it’s background. Named after a bird with similar shape and colorings, it is truly a striking plant to view. Each colorful petal is uniquely vivid. God has blessed us with color and the ability to distinguish it.

I believe Heaven will be colorful, far beyond what our earthly eyes can accept. The various hues that we percieve now are only hints of the heavenly array of glorious colors we will see throughout eternity.  In the Revelation of John, we are given a description in earthly terms. Jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth and amethyst are said to be there.

Although the bird from which the plant takes it’s name was not likened to paradise for it’s coloring, they both serve as reminders of the beauty God has allowed us to enjoy in this life and in the one to come.

 

 

 

My Very Heart

 

Encouragement. It is so important. God uses people to encourage each of us during our lives. I have a friend who is constantly encouraging me. She does the same for others, as well.

My friend has a son who is entering his first year at college far away. (FAR away…)  Did she hope as he was a toddler that he would attend college someday? Surely, she did. As she invested what she knew into his growing mind, did she one day picture his graduation from school and into adulthood? I think she did.  So, is this an easy time for a parent to let go?

No.

When we are permanent citizens of Heaven someday, it won’t matter how far away someone’s mansion is. We will have eternity to find another believer and talk with them. Distance won’t matter anymore. But, for now, the miles do add up.

As stewards of our children, it is difficult to watch their ascent into life from the bleachers. Cheer, we must—yet it IS their game and it is not ours to play. We love them, nurture them and train them in the faith; then, it’s as if we send them out on the field to continue with all they’ve learned, commiting them to God once again.

 

 

Higher

I was just walking along by myself.  I was in an open air foyer on the second story of a building. The building was right beside a football stadium. As I passed a stairway leading up to the next level, the sun’s rays were penetrating the opening in the brick wall and streaming down. As I glanced upward to the top of the steps, I saw him. A very large bird was perched on top of the flood lights used to illuminate the playing field. Quietly, so as not to disturb the stately creature, I walked up the stairs. Not quite on his level, I began to photograph him. He posed silently. Soon, I went on my way, leaving him to peruse the empty stadium in solitude.

We have accomplished much in our gathering of information and skill through the ages. Of course, it is God who has given us both.  I stood in a building made by human hands. I gazed at a towering pole that emits extrememe light when in use, also fashioned by men.  There before me sat a bird, who had risen with wings fashioned by God to this enormous height, probably within seconds of his departure from the ground.  Behind him, in a brilliant backdrop, the blinding light gave testimony to it’s Maker. We can bring light to a stadium; He can illuminate the universe.

Life’s lessons can sometimes come without notice. A casual glance up a stairwell, a bird sitting quiet and still.

Thank You, God, for allowing me to be there at just that moment in time.

 

 

 

 

Among Thorns

 

"A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.  Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.  Stilll other seed fell on good soil.  It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown."  Luke 8:5-8

 

 

 

A Farmer Went Out

Okay.  What do you think the odds would be that….

One day, you’re thinking about going back to college and getting a degree. Let’s say you live in New York. You don’t have a clue where you ought to consider enrolling. At lunch, a friend at the office sits down beside you. As you explain your recent thoughts on universities, they tell you that you should consider UCLA.  Hmmm. California? Tucked back in your mind, you finish your hours at work. On arrival at home, you check the mail. Water bill, phone bill, and a letter from….UCLA advertising their new degree program. (!)  Months pass and you dismiss the whole going back to school thing as you stay in your routine of just getting by.  On a breezy, sunny afternoon, your mind drifts to getting that degree again. You wonder what could possibly be at UCLA. After dinner, you and your spouse accept an invitation to a new neighbor’s house for coffee and dessert. Their grandson is home on break. As you step through the door, introductions begin. They are so proud of their grandson; he’s made the dean’s list—-at UCLA. The next day at work, your production team is scheduled to attend a seminar at a hotel conference room downtown. Easing into your seat, the guest speaker begins. "Thank you for inviting me today to discuss our new statistics proposal.  I must say that if it hadn’t been for our recent studies at UCLA, we wouldn’t even be here."  At this point, you faint….

So, what are the odds of this scenario happening? I’m not a mathematician, but I would estimate that the odds would be about one chance in several million. I’m not thinking of going back to school, but the odds mentioned above would probably apply to what IS happening to me. I know it’s not chance—God is speaking to me.

Last summer, I was gripped with concern over a matter. It was consuming a lot of thought. One day, someone I had not met before sat down beside me at a university swimming pool I was visiting. I had been sitting there, contemplating what God might show me about this concern. As we talked, this man directed me to the parable of the sower and the seed.

That evening, I attended a worship service.  As the speaker began his message, he asked us to turn to Luke, chapter eight–the parable of the sower and the seed.  Though thinking intently over what was taking place, I stopped seriously considering the implications of my conern as the months passed.

Last Friday, I was writing in a work text book of a class I am taking. I was instructed to write the answer to a question. Interestingly, the question brought to mind the same subject I had been wrestling with before. I wrote my thoughts on the paper and put it away. That night, I attended the first of a two session service in a nearby town. After the music was over, the speaker began. It would appear that the subject of the evening was going to be—the parable of the sower and the seed.

The next morning–Saturday– the study of the parable continued at the next session. At this point, I am really listening.  With quite an array of thoughts having been on my mind, I awaken on Sunday morning. I attended a church service at another town, north of where I live. As the pastor spoke, he had a Power Point display of scripture that he projected as his sermon unfolded. Would anyone care to suppose that he talked about the…..no, surely not.

Surely, yes. The parable of the sower and the seed. Although part of a larger theme that morning, there it was again. Just like UCLA.

I am seriously considering what this parable has to say, what I can learn from it and what God is wanting me to understand. The odds are too great to be explained away. I have a lesson to learn. It’s there, somewhere. Will I learn it tomorrow? Will I grasp it fully by next week? Next year?  I don’t know. I will, however, keep listening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoroughly Equipped

 

This really does happen a lot around here. All of a sudden, our dog will begin to paw relentlessly at something—but we don’t know what she wants. She, on the other hand, knows EXACTLY what she’s after.

It can be in any place in our house. Most recently, she had both front paws on top of our glass topped dining room table. The surface appeared to be empty, except for a candle dish in the center.  Thinking a familiar thought like, "What is she DOING??" I walked closer to investigate. There it was, not yet in reach—-a Cheerio. One single Cheerio. She knew it was there and she had to have it.

If there was one Cheerio located on a surface suspended two feet above my head and hidden from view—would I notice? Would I even care? If my sense of smell were that of the common canine and I was hungry, I guess I might.

Later, I began to think about what our dog had done. In applying it to myself, I thought about seeking out the word of God. Would I sense its importance upon entering a situation? Would I search for it? Would I put forth focused effort to grasp its message in my hand?

If I were hungry for it, I guess I might.

Lord, please give me a hunger for Your word.

 

 

See To It

"See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord."  These words from Colossians 4:17 have been important to me for quite some time.  There was a particular day when it seemed that God had brought me to this verse as though He were saying it to me. An exhortation to Archippus from Paul in the New Testament, yet somehow, an application for my own life.

I wanted to know more about what was being said in those few words of commanding encouragement. In another translation of this verse, "See to it" is "Take heed."   I wanted to have still more understanding. With a little research, I found the Greek word for "heed" in that instance. It is  blepo.  Condensing the definition somewhat, it means, "Perceive by the senses, feel, see, discern, consider and contemplate…"

You guessed it; I wanted still more enlightenment. I found the Greek words for ministry (which is in place of work), received and finally, fulfil—which was from the word complete.  I was so drawn to the expressiveness of the original meanings. For my own purposes, I wrote out an extended statement including the descriptions that seemed to fit what I felt God was leading me to in the Greek words. Here it is:

Feel, discern, consider and contemplate the command of God to proclaim and promote religion among men, which you have obediently joined to yourself and received with your mind in the Lord; accomplish it and carry it through to the end, bringing it to realisation.

Discovering this amplification of the scripture has made me….quiet.  If I am to feel, discern, consider and contemplate…quietness would seem to be in order.

God is amazing and wonderful, far above what I could ever imagine. I want to learn more—so much more. How about you?

 

 

The Wisdom of the Prudent

 

"Oh, I just did that without thinking.."   "I really didn’t mean that–I just wasn’t thinking…"

How many times have I done something without thinking? Numerous.  Words are hard to chase down. Actions may even be worse.  Can we somehow come to a place in our lives where we actually consider what we’re doing before we do it?

As we ask God for guidance in our lives, we can ask Him to help us to be wise by remembering to give thought to our ways when incidents come up and choices present themselves.