Do Not Be Worried

 

 

 

I don’t recall ever having seen one of these before…

A tropical pitcher plant.

While visiting in the home of a friend, I noticed that she had an unusual plant in the window. Asking about it, I learned that is was a pitcher plant.

Doing further research at home, I found that it is also called "Monkey Cups."

Monkey Cups??

It seems that in some areas where monkeys are prone to live, they have been seen drinking rainwater that has collected in the "pitchers."

Even a monkey is provided for from an unlikely source.

God can use anything He wants to in caring for us.

Sometimes, unlikely solutions and blessings surprise us.

We needn’t worry that He is unable to provide in the best possible way.

If monkeys are cared for, certainly God will not forget our needs!

 

 

 

Fish

 

 

Is there anything that you really need that God cannot provide?

A place to live?

Transportation?

Food?

Clothing?

Warmth?

A job?

Is there anything?

Since He can provide for our every need, why not ask Him to supply every need as it arises?

Consider this account from the book of Matthew:

When Jesus and his disciples came to Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked,
         Does your teacher pay the Temple tax?
         Of course, Peter answered.

   When Peter went into the house, Jesus spoke up first,
        
 Simon, what is your opinion? Who pays duties or taxes to the kings of this world? The citizens of the country or the foreigners?
         The foreigners, answered Peter.

   
         Well, then, replied Jesus,

         that means that the citizens don’t have to pay. But we don’t want to offend these people. So go to the lake and drop in a line. Pull up the first fish you hook, and in its mouth you will find a coin worth enough for my Temple tax and yours. Take it and pay them our taxes.

—Matthew 17:24-27

 

God’s provision may not come in the way we might expect it to, but we can trust that He will provide.

 

 

Happy Are Those

 

 

When I stopped at the grocery store for the first time, I was confused.

As I tried to get a shopping cart from the row that was lined up outside, it seemed to be stuck.

I pulled, but nothing happened.

A man standing nearby explained my predicament.

This particular store required that a quarter be placed in a small locking container near the handle.

When a quarter was placed securly inside, a chain would release the cart to be taken inside the store.

After a customer’s shopping experience was over, the cart could be returned to the neatly lined row.

Once there, the chain could be connected to the small container holding the twenty-five cent deposit.

When the chain connects, out pops the quarter!

It seems to me that having an unforgiving spirit is like that.

Even though we know that God has forgiven us of our sins, it can still seem difficult to forgive others.

When we are wronged and we do not forgive, it’s as if we place a part of us—a quarter, if you will—into a little box connected to a cart.

The cart then goes with us wherever we go.

We push it up and down the aisles of our everyday lives.

It is cumbersome and awkward.

It gets in the way.

The cart is our unforgiveness.

It rolls on wheels of bitterness.

When we decide to return the cart and forgive, our quarter—that part of us that was missing out on joy—is returned to us.

We are free to walk away.

Free to walk away without a cart.

Free to go all those places that we couldn’t go with a cart.

Forgiveness does not mean denying that we have been hurt.

Forgiveness chooses to release those who have hurt us with an open heart.

Isn’t it time to ask God to help you get your quarter back?

 

 

 

 

You Are All I Want

 

 

 

While I was a backseat passenger in a car a few days ago, the driver had to stop quickly.

In an instant, without time to think, I called out, "Lord!!"

Thankfully, there was no accident and all was well.

Deep within my soul, I know that God is the only One I can call to in less than a second’s notice.

Quicker than my own conscience mind can cry out, He is hearing and in action.

Before I can even form the words to tell Him of my sadness or joy, sudden fear or anxiety, He is already aware.

 

In an instant, without time to think, do you cry out, "Lord?"

 

In heaven I have only you,

   and on this earth

   you are all I want.

–Psalm 73:25

 

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Doesn’t anyone ever get married anymore?

Well, of course, I know they do.

I was talking to a college student yesterday about the subject of marriage.

It seems to me that more and more people are choosing not to marry, but to live together as though they were.

Later on, if things seem right, then marriage is considered.

I truly believe that God’s word tells us that marriage should be first.

When an engagement is entered into, there is time to plan, time to think, and time to consider the commitment and what it means.

Preparation of each of the hearts involved in vital to the success of the relationship.

I think of it this way:

Imagine deciding to enter a marathon on the spur of the moment.

There you are, running on the pavement, giving your all.

As you are running, you think to yourself, "I wish I had worn some different shoes—something other than these beach sandals…..but I wasn’t prepared."

Imagine deciding to enter a marathon after careful consideration to do so.

Proper running shoes would be purchased and worn with well-fitting and comfortable socks.

As you are running, you think to yourself, "I’m glad I have these good shoes—being prepared will help me reach my goal."

A marathon runner in "flip-flop" beach sandals could be trying their very best, but it would be a difficult task to succeed.

God has always known what is best for us.

So, why don’t we follow His guidance?

 

Marriage is to be honored by all, and husbands and wives must be faithful to each other.

—Hebrews 13:4a

 

In the Whirlwind

 

 

It was an afternoon filled with sunshine and tall, cotton candy clouds.

Driving home from a visit to our son’s apartment, we crossed a bridge over a large lake.

My husband looked to the left and simply said, "Tornado!"

Emerging from the darkened mass of moisture above the water was a funnel cloud.

When I arrived home and began to view the photos I had taken, I noticed a boat that was too close for comfort to the swirling mass above it.

I wonder what the people in the boat were thinking?

Were they afraid?

Were they in a hurry to get to safety?

Were they curious about this fantastic phenomenon?

The power of God is everywhere.

When something as massive as a tornado or hurricane occurs, we are reminded of our smallness in this world.

God is the One truly in charge.

Asaph, the psalmist, put it this way:

The waters saw you, O God,
   the waters saw you and writhed;
   the very depths were convulsed.
 The clouds poured down water,
   the skies resounded with thunder;
   your arrows flashed back and forth.
 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
   your lightning lit up the world;
   the earth trembled and quaked.
 Your path led through the sea,
   your way through the mighty waters,
   though your footprints were not seen.

—Psalm 77:16-19

 

My Own Eyes

 

 

 

"Come and look at this!" was all that they would say.

I questioned the request.

 "Just come.."

Most people who know me are acquainted with my passion for nature.

Friends often tell me about things such as a beautiful spider web glistening in the morning sun or an unusual insect or animal that may be nearby.

I was very pleased to have been ushered over to a climbing vine with small, delicate flowers.

The reason for all the excitement, however, was not the pale yellow blossoms.

It was a seed pod, a little smaller than a lemon, that looked like a spiny orange.

How brightly it was colored!

I had never seen this type of seed pod before.

Another beautiful creation of God had come to my attention.

It seems hard for some people to believe in God, to believe in His great love for us and to believe that salvation is possible.

It seems hard for some people to believe that Jesus was really who He was and that He died to pay for our sins.

If I had been told that there was a "spiky orange thing" on a vine and chosen not to believe it simply because I had not known of it before, that would not have affected its existance.

I just would have continued to live in disbelief among others who knew the truth.

When the Queen of Sheba heard of King Solomon, she set out on a journey to visit him and see for herself what had been told to her about his wisdom and his kingdom.

The queen of Sheba learned that Solomon was very wise. She saw the palace he had built, the food on his table, his many officers, the palace servants, and their good clothes. She saw the servants who served him at feasts and the whole burnt offerings he made in the Temple of the Lord. All these things amazed her. So she said to King Solomon, "What I heard in my own country about your achievements and wisdom is true. I could not believe it then, but now I have come and seen it with my own eyes. I was not told even half of it! Your wisdom and wealth are much greater than I had heard. –I Kings 10:4:7

The Queen of Sheba saw with her own eyes and believed.

If there is someone that you know who does not believe in God or what He has done for them, consider praying that they would "see Him with their own eyes."

–See Him at work in a particular area of their life

–See Him and feel His presence through difficult times

–See Him with an opened heart, free from disception

Just imagine what it would be like to hear your friend proclaim one day in the future, "I could not believe it then, but now I have come to see God with my own eyes. I was not told even half of what God truly is!"

Wouldn’t those be precious words to hear?

Think about it….don’t you know someone who doesn’t believe?

 

Keep Your Roots

 

 

When we were on the island, we took daily walks to the ocean.

Along the way, I photographed a very unique looking tree.

It had numerous roots and its appearance was commanding.

Well anchored and secure, it was a site to see.

If our lives were pictured as trees, what would they look like?

Would they have strong roots in the Lord?

Would they be anchored by faith?

 

As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to live in him. Keep your roots deep in him and have your lives built on him. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always be thankful.

Colossians 2:6-7

 

 

 

A Hot-tempered Man

 

 

 

It could have been bad.

But it wasn’t.

I could’ve said something quickly.

But I didn’t.

Today, I experienced what I thought was disregard for my position at work, a feeling of lack of respect and perhaps even disappointment—all in about two seconds.

It didn’t take long for words to reach my ears and begin a fast process of hurt and emotion.

My mind was ready with countering thoughts.

Thankfully, the words never came.

For one thing, after only seconds, I realized that what I thought had just occurred had not.

I was completely mistaken.

Totally.

If I had gotten angry quickly and began to verbalize my discontent, I surely would have damaged a completely positive work relationship.

The writer of Proverbs 15 had this to say:

A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension,
   but a patient man calms a quarrel.

–Proverbs 15:18

What happened today has reminded me that my responses to others should be weighed and considered before they are formed into words….

Lead Them

 

 

I’ve never been very good at it.

Not that it actually mattered, but playing Frisbee just never seemed to be something I was very accomplished at doing.

I’ve tried throwing left handed.

I’ve tried throwing right handed.

Often, once the plastic disc leaves my hand powered by all the skill I possess at that moment, it heads in a different direction than what I had planned.

On some occasions, I have watched a Frisbee floating beautifully in the air on its prescribed course, only to see it suddenly lift higher as it flies.

At this point, it seems that I remember a common saying: "The wind got it."

I believe this to be true.

No matter what course the Frisbee is on, wind is a critical factor.

Wind or no wind, good at it or not, Frisbee is still a fun game.

Our youngest son happened to bring his Frisbee into the house today after school, placing it on a chair with his backpack.

Raising children to love God, be respectful citizens and care for others is quite a task.

The responsibility of it all can feel heavy at times.

Questions like, "Did I handle that right?" "Should I have been so strict?" or "Who will they turn out to be?" can crop up in our minds unexpectedly and at any moment.

We are not alone in the process, however.

God is with us to guide us (and them) as they grow and mature.

Raising children can be likened to a Frisbee throw—

It is God who places the "Frisbee" into our hands for a season.

(It really belongs to Him the entire time.)

We desire to make the very best possible throw, sending the Frisbee on exactly the right path.

(The path that leads to faith in God and a relationship with Him.)

With all the skill we know, we send it sailing into the air.

It’s out of our hands then.

We stand and watch, praying for the straight path, crying out to God is we see it begin to wobble, cheering as we watch it soar.

A Frisbee that we have set in motion is still on its own in the wind.

There’s one comforting and powerful truth that cannot be changed…

It is God who controls the wind.

Even when we fail at our attempts to guide our children in a way that honors God, He has the power to intercede and raise them up above our mistakes.

As the Frisbee suddenly rises up to a higher level than we projected, in thankful reverence we can look on and say, "The wind got it."

God not only controls the wind, He IS our Wind, lifting us higher and higher.

Anyone for a game of Frisbee?

 

 

 

Oil of Blessing

 

 

How has God blessed you today?

What sweet and wonderful blessings overflow from the cup of your life?

How have you witnessed His goodness and love?

 

 

 

You pour oil of blessing on my head;


       you fill my cup to overflowing.


  Surely your goodness and love will be with me


       all my life,


    and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

 

–Psalm 23:5b-6

 

 

 

As You Have the Light

 

 

 

If I am walking with Jesus, I know where I’m going—wherever He takes me.

Since I have the light of Jesus in my heart, I believe.

Because the light of Jesus is within me, I want it to shine through my life.

Who am I?

I want to be a child of light.

His light.

 

 

 

Voices from the crowd answered, "We heard from God’s Law that the Messiah lasts forever. How can it be necessary, as you put it, that the Son of Man ‘be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?"

 Jesus said, "For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You’ll be children of light."  —John 12:34-36  The Message

 

The Land Will Yield

 

 

May the peoples praise you, O God;
   may all the peoples praise you.

 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
   for you rule the peoples justly
   and guide the nations of the earth.
                         Selah

 May the peoples praise you, O God;
   may all the peoples praise you.  

Then the land will yield its harvest,
   and God, our God, will bless us.

—Psalm 67:3-6

 

Whatever You Do

 

 

I really do get excited when I notice things that God has created.

Something in my heart thrills to see beautiful insects, birds, animals, sunsets, waves, raindrops, fog, flowers–they all hold such magnificence in their being.

As I was walking in my yard this afternoon, I noticed a ladybug sitting on a leaf.

I was overjoyed! I don’t often see them, and they are such beautiful creatures.

Shiny and red as a fancy sportscar waxed to perfection at an automobile show, it sat on its chosen background of contrasting green.

Should I be so excited about photographing a tiny insect?

A flower?

A bird?

Since God allows me to photograph them, it seems only natural to recognize that it is He who has created them.

It also seems fitting to have a thankful heart as I gaze upon the work of His hands.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.—Colossians 3:17

 

Into a Joyful Dance

 

 

 

 

Sandhill Cranes are quite common where I live.

They come to this area every year and walk through neighborhoods, looking quietly around as if they were surveying property they had just purchased.

They can grow to about 38 inches in height with a wingspan of 6 to 7 feet. Their specific "voice" is the most unusual bird sound I have ever heard. I delight in hearing it, especially if comes from a flock of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead.

Recently, a group of cranes were in the neighborhood. I took the opportunity to photograph them.

One characteristic of the Sandhill Crane is its tendency toward dancing.

Dancing?

They take quick steps and sometimes jump off the ground.

Joyful?

Carefree?

I would like to think so, although no one really knows for sure.

The dance of the Sandhill Crane occurs all through the year, not just during courtship.

As children, we were once like that, weren’t we?

We would jump up and down with glee at the sight of a new puppy, a birthday cake or a giant rainbow.

When happiness welled up within us, it just had to come out–often in the dance.

The dance of joy.

Somewhere along the line, our innocent dancing was all but lost in the confines of serious maturity.

Emotions should be contained and reserved, or so we began to think.

As Christians, we have much to celebrate.

Through Jesus, we are forgiven and cleansed.

We will spend eternity with Him.

He is with us every day, through every circumstance.

Isn’t that cause for joy?

Sometimes, when the happiness of knowing God wells up within us, shouldn’t it just come out–in a dance?

A dance of the heart?

A dance of the feet?

A dance of a smile?

Someday, when we see Jesus face to face, I don’t think we will be able to contain our emotions.

I don’t know about you, but I want to dance—all through the year.

This year and the next and the next……

The dance of joy.

You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance;
      you have taken away my sorrow
      and surrounded me with joy.
  So I will not be silent;
      I will sing praise to you.
   Lord, you are my God;
      I will give you thanks forever.

—Psalm 30:11-12

 

 

 

The Brightness of His Presence

 

 

 

I was driving to work as the sun was beginning to rise.

On the highway, the bright reflection from the first full rays bounced off a building with blinding brilliance.

There is currently a popular song that I hear quite frequently on the radio.

I believe it came on right after I had noticed the sun:

Light, light, light up the sky
Light up the sky to show me You are with me
I, I, I can’t deny
Oh I can’t deny that You are right here with me
You’ve opened my eyes so I can see You all around me
Light, light, light up the sky
Light up the sky to show me You are with me

With the rising of the sun and the lyrics to a song, God was showing me, once again, that He was right there with me.

 

He Sends Rain

 

 

 

You have heard the law that says,

‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.

But I say, love your enemies!

Pray for those who persecute you!

In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.

For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good,

and he sends rain

on the just

and the unjust

alike.

 

Matthew 5:43-45

 

To Be Greedy

 

 

 

As we drove up to the pond, I saw a bird sitting beside the water with a fish in his mouth.

Getting out of the car, I moved in for a closer look.

Apparently, I got a little too close for comfort, according to my feathered friend.

He decided to take a little swim, very swiftly across the water, dinner still held tightly in his beak.

When he felt that I was no longer close enough to be a true threat to his meal, he stopped.

His problems were not over; they were just beginning.

I watched him, holding on to his prize.

After a while, he swam over to a nearby island and climbed up on dry land, still balancing his super-sized meal deal.

It appeared that he could not eat the fish.

Not knowing the feeding habits of his kind, I realized that he just might have been in the mood for sharing.

Or maybe, just maybe, his catch was just a little too big.

I have watched birds eat fish before.

This looked a bit….different.

Considering what this particular bird’s neck would look like with that particular fish inside it seemed rather painful, if not impossible.

So what was he thinking?

I can’t really blame him.

After all, it was quite a catch.

A fish twice the size of the diameter of his own neck!

A fish eight times the size of his own head!  (minus the beak, of course)

It probably looked too good to pass up, swimming by unsuspectingly in the water.

Am I like that bird, sometimes?

Besides putting too much food on my plate at an all-you-can-eat salad bar, are there really any resemblances to my behavior and his?

Hmmm.

Have I ever purchased something that was really too expensive for my budget?

Could it be that I have at times over-committed myself with an endeaver too large to leave much needed quality time with my family?

Have I struggled with my own choice, gripping wildly as it consumed all my energy and attention?

I wonder how many people have watched me juggle a fish too big for my beak at the side of the pond?

Decisions of the past cannot be changed.

What I decide now-today—that is still within my power.

The smaller fish?

Maybe that would be the wisest choice, after all…..

 

 

 

 

God Is My Protection

 

 

 

It was a great afternoon to be outside.

The weather was mild and the sky was so very blue.

We were visiting a sports park and I was on my way to the car to get some water when I noticed a nicely arrayed group of tiny white flowers on a bush.

Leaning over, I decided to snap a photo or two.

As I did, I realized that something else was there–not just a tiny flower.

There, calmly sitting on a bloom was a white beetle.

I had never seen anything like it before.

White beetle, white flower.

God is everywhere in this world.

Think of it this way–suppose you were an insect.

You’d see other insects and know what they looked like.

But would you really know what you yourself looked like?

Would you know that hanging around flowers that happened to be YOUR color would be a protection against predators?

I tend to think that God created the white flower and God created the white beetle.

I tend to think that God then put within the white beetle’s mind to seek out the white flower.

We, as humans, have the wonderful privilege of viewing them both and marveling at the handiwork of God.

King David wrote of God’s protection of his own life in 2 Samuel 32:33:

Who is God? Only the Lord.
       Who is the Rock? Only our God.
  God is my protection.
       He makes my way free from fault.

 

God is our protector.

He is our Rock.

As I look at a tiny whitle beetle resting on a tiny white flower, I am aware of His protection for those He has created.

 

From Your Birth

 

 

I noticed yesterday that my red rose bush was blooming.

Among the blooms, a bud or two had formed, ready any day to burst open with color in the sunshine.

I have witnessed it many times; a rose will come, grace us with its beauty for a short amount of time and then wither into a crinkly mass of petals.

From the same bush, another rose will appear, then another, carrying on the cycle of birth, and eventually, death—followed by new life again.

God has placed the symbolism of our spiritual transformation all around us, even in the blooming of a rose.

Though we grow old and begin to wrinkle and crinkle, hair turning white and gray as we wither into our final years, God will not leave us.

For those who trust in Him, there is birth, and eventually, death–followed by new life for eternity.

Do you know Him today?

 

I have taken care of you from your birth.
  Even when you are old, I will be the same.
       Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you.
    I made you and will take care of you.
       I will carry you and save you.

—Isaiah 46:3d-4

 

By Grace

 

 

 

The event happens every year at a nearby lake community.

Those who enter the event train in advance, hopeful that their team will win.

Baseball?

Football?

Soccer?

No.

A boat race.

Each team sits on a very elongated boat and systematically rows together to push it forward in the water.

Two of my sons–and my husband–have been a part of it before.

Each person must put forth great amounts of effort if they want to be heralded as a winner at the completion of the race.

While there’s nothing wrong with trying our best—especially in a sports setting—sometimes the work ethic transfers over to our view about how God sees us personally.

Just the other day, a friend made a statement to me that seemed to insinuate that there was still more that had to be done before they would be good enough for God.

Is that sentiment really true?

Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we may be forgiven of our sins.

He did it all.

We can’t possibly work and work and work enough on ourselves to someday be worthy of salvation. We can’t give of ourselves to others enough to be worthy, either.

Instead, out of gratitude for what God has done through Jesus, His Son, we can purpose in our hearts to live our lives in gratitude for what has been given us.

Through this gratitude, we want to help others and allow God to mold us into more of His likeness.

Ephesians 2:8-9 reads,

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

 

 

 

The Road God Called You to Travel

 

 

In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.    ~Ephesians 4:1  The Message

Am I running on the road God called me to travel?

Am I even walking?

Am I sitting around on my hands?

Am I strolling off down some path that goes nowhere?

Am I willing to run?

To run with humility?

To run with discipline?

To run steadily?

Am I willing to pour myself out for others through acts of love?

Am I willing to be alert for differences?

Am I willing to be quick at mending fences?

 

Do I really want to run on the road God called me to travel?

 

 

 

The Teachings of the Wise

 

 

 

There is a camp and retreat center not far from my home.

A tall fountain of water springs up from a clearing in a wooded area there.

Nearby is a rocked waterfall adorned with blooming flowers.

Waterlillies gently rest on the surface of the fountain pool.

It is quiet and serene, a place for those at the camp to stop and reflect.

A place to ponder what God is speaking.

A place to wisely consider the present and the future.

I think it is quite possible that many life decisions have been made by those visiting the grounds.

Seeking God’s wisdom is important as we are in the midst of a dangerous battle against our souls.

Temptation and discouragement are frequent weapons used against us as we seek to obey God, yet "the teachings of the wise are a fountain of life."

 

 

The teachings of the wise are a fountain of life;

they will help you escape when your life is in danger.

–Proverbs 13:14

 

The Myrtle and the Olive

 

 

 

I have been praying for someone.

Someone that usually doesn’t go to church anywhere.

This past Sunday, I was told that this person attended a church service in the community.

Thanking God, I know He could feel the joy in my heart.

You see, going to church was a positive step that was made toward God.

I am rejoicing in that step.

That same afternoon, I noticed that the pink Crepe Myrtle tree in my back yard was blooming.

This particular tree was not planted by the original owners of our home when landscaping decisions were made.

It came up on it’s own, with a seed planted by a bird or perhaps just a strong wind.

However it came to be, God has watered it with rain, fed it with sunshine and caused it to grow tall.

The Bible makes mention of the Myrtle plant. Although not the same type as the one in my yard, I can still identify with this passage:

I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
   and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
   and the parched ground into springs.
 I will put in the desert
   the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
   the fir and the cypress together,
 so that people may see and know,
   may consider and understand,
that the hand of the LORD has done this,
   that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

–Isaiah 41:18-20

In my own life, God made a river flow on the barren height of my heart years ago.

He created a spring in the valley of my disappointments and hurt.

He turned the desert of my reluctance in accepting Him as Savior into a pool of living water.

He turned the parched ground of sin into springs of forgiveness.

He has caused the Myrtle of relationship with Him to grow where there was only a desert of independence before.

Surely, the hand of God did this for me.

Isn’t He at work in the lives of those we are praying for, as well?

 

He Chose Us

 

 

 

God’s power has given us everything we need to lead a godly life.

All of that has come to us because we know the One who chose us.

He chose us because of his own glory and goodness.

He has also given us his very great and valuable promises.

He did it so you could share in his nature.

He also did it so you could escape from the evil in the world.

That evil is caused by sinful longings.

So you should try very hard to add goodness to your faith.

To goodness, add knowledge.

To knowledge, add the ability to control yourselves.

To the ability to control yourselves, add the strength to keep going.

To the strength to keep going, add godliness.

To godliness, add kindness to believers.

And to kindness to believers, add love.

–2 Peter 1:3-7

 

 

Be Made New

 

 

While driving down the highway, I noticed a conservation area that I hadn’t visited before.

My husband was with me and we decided to turn around and go back.

As we parked the car, I almost didn’t get out.

Insects began to pepper my window as they lit on the clear glass. I feared I would be next.

Walking along a spot bordered by a wooden fence, I saw several butterflies darting about in the wildflowers.

Bright and beautiful, their colors highlighted the various blooms growing tall among the grass.

Once caterpillars who could only crawl, these playful winged creatures flew about in total freedom.

I wonder if they ever remember what it was like not to fly?

Paul wrote to the Ephesians about a similar transformation in believers—

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.–Ephesians 4:22-24

With butterflies, it seems likely to me that once they’re out of the cocoon, they never look back.

It’s on to better things–

A better life, a new life.

So it is with us.

We must put off who we used to be as we are made new in Christ.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to crawl anymore…

 

 


 

 

How Faithful You Are

 

 

 

The lights below drew colorful patterns in the black velvet of the night.

From the plane’s window, my view allowed me no sound from below–

No laughter.

No crying.

No joy.

No despair.

Only the visual scene of light related the presence of people—many of them—populating the streets beneath me.

Darkness does not hide us from God; He sees us all, and because He is God, He hears us all, as well.

Laughter?

Crying?

Joy?

Despair?

He hears it.

Praise?

Indifference?

He hears.

And since He hears, I want to remember that He does, for that means I am not alone in any condition I may be in.

Whether day or night, I have the opportunity to praise Him.

Psalm 92:2 reads,

It is good to tell of Your loving-kindness in the morning, and of how faithful You are at night…

 

 

Possible With God

 

 

During a lighter moment at work this week, it was pointed out to me.

Near a parking lot, on a completely paved area, a plant was growing.

Was it a weed?

Was it a young tree?

There was even a suggestion that it should have a name…

Since it was obviously such a oddity, I immediately wanted to protect it.

After all, it had defied the odds.

How many plants could thrive under such conditions?

a. growing up through a miniscule opening in an endless sea of pavement

b. surviving foot traffic from those entering and exiting the parking area

c. baking in the open sun each day with a limited amount of moisture

So what does the little plant suggest to me?

Courage?

A will to succeed no matter what the opposition?

Those could apply, but it seems to me that it could be a reminder of God’s sovereignty.

Can you imagine someone that is seemingly unreachable for God?

An atheist, perhaps, or a hardened criminal?

A drug addict or hopeless alcoholic?

A neighbor who hates life because they have recently become a widow?

A bitter family member who lost their job after twenty years with the company?

The scenarios are endless, but so is God’s love.

You and I may feel that it is impossible for that particular someone to change.

How could a compassionate, forgiving and Christ-like heart emerge from cold and hard indifference?

It is not for us to ask how, but to ask that it become a reality.

Like praying for a green plant to burst forth from rocky pavement, we must trust the power of our God to work in miraculous ways to bring about salvation and change in another’s life.

Luke 18:26-27 reads,

"Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

 

 

 

 

Teach a Youth

 

 

The sun rose this morning to greet a delicate sprawl of clouds in the eastern sky.

Lending amber tones to the canvas of gentle grays and blues, its rays created a once-in-a-lifetime splendor to be seen.

Once-in-a-lifetime?

Absolutely.

Every sunrise, though simliar to others, is unique. The dawns of the past will not be repeated.

As the earth’s darkness gives way to rays of sunlight each day, there is a beginning. Like the sunrise itself, the day and its events will never be repeated in exactly the same way. It is unique.

Having given birth to four children, I can attest that every one–like a sunrise– was completely unique.

Quiet and contemplative?

Lively and energetic?

Assertive and competitive?

Giving and sensitive?

No matter the personality of the child, I felt that I should be concerned with teaching them about God.

Like every sunrise, each new individual is created with the day (lifetime) ahead of them.

Who will they become?

Will they have faith in God?

As a parent, I have felt a great urgency to disciple my own children at evey season of their lives.

As a steward of such incredible blessings, knowing that my children love God is my primary concern for each of them.

God creates a once-in-a-lifetime child with every first beat of a tiny heart.

Proverbs 22:6 says,

Teach a youth about the way he should go;
    even when he is old he will not depart from it.