Whatever Gift

 

 

 

I have a friend who is really talented in a certain area—

Puppeteering.

When he is controlling a puppet behind a curtain, it becomes such an entertaining time of watching and listening to whatever puppet is "speaking."

My friend is a Christian and he uses his talents to teach others.

Sometimes, watching a puppet can get an idea across to us when looking at a real person just won’t do.

1st Peter 4:10 reads,

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms."

What are your spiritual gifts?

What talents do you have?

Are you using them to serve others?

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

And All the Creatures

 

 

 "And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

—Genesis 1:30

 

It’s so easy to just take for granted that we will all have what we need to eat.

I don’t mean that we will have enough money to purchase what we need to eat.

For some people, that is a real struggle, especially in countries where poverty abounds.

What I’m talking about is taking for granted that what our bodies need will actually be in existence—somewhere, so that we could eat and thrive.

Can you imagine a world without vegetation?

We depend on it in so many ways.

If there was no grain—none in the world—what would happen?

If there were no fruit trees or vegetables, no beans or nuts?

God created us to eat and He created what we needed to eat at the same time.

It was not by chance; it was done by His will and with His plan.

Isn’t He a marvelous God?

 

 

 

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

A Cup of Cold Water

 

What do you or I have to give to another person?

Whatever we feel that God wants us to give at any particular time is the important thing.

Small or large, easy to give or difficult, God knows our hearts.

 

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.

—Matthew 10:42

 

 

 

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

He Performs Wonders

 

 

 

 

It looked like it was decorated with pure gold.

A friend put some tiny, tiny caterpillars in a netted container with a plant, hoping they would continue their life cycle and turn into butterflies while inside it.

Recently, she saw one making its chrysalis.

When it was finished, it looked like a smooth, green jug with golden accents.

My friend actually videoed the caterpillar performing this incredible feat.

Who tells a caterpillar to do such a thing?

How does it know what to do and when?

How do wings form that will carry it high into the sky?

God knows.

 

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
    miracles that cannot be counted.

–Job 5:9

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

For We Know That

 

 

 

The sun had passed the horizon as I walked toward the retainment pond.

With wisps of gray muting the edges of peach colored clouds, the air was soft and cool.

I had been singing this afternoon—lyrics to Amazing Grace that I had not remembered seeing before:

 

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.*

 

Earlier in the day, I had attended a special ceremony held in a cemetery to remember those who had died in military service.

2 Corinthians 5:1 tells us,

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

A life of joy and peace.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior today?

 

 

*John Newton, Amazing Grace

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

To Save the World

 

 

Today, in church, the pastor read the names of members who had died this past year.

Although it certainly might have brought some sadness of heart to the family members and friends of those who had passed on, it was a list that could be rejoiced over.

For anyone who has believed in Jesus for the salvation of their souls, life does not end with death here on Earth.

It continues for eternity with him.

For that, we may all rejoice….

 

 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

–John 3:16-21

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

With the Harp

 

 

 

 

Entering the auditorium to see the orchestra perform, I noticed the harp almost immediately.

How beautiful it was!

Standing tall, towering above all the seats on the stage.

The vibrations of the strings projected a sound so lovely and peacful.

The psalmist wrote of the harp:

 Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
    it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
 Praise the Lord with the harp;
    make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
 Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully, and shout for joy.

—Psalm 33:1-3

 

I wonder if there will be harps in Heaven?

Although I do not know how to play one here, it is nice to think that I might get to sing praise to God and play a harp there someday.

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

Look How High

 

 

 

I hadn’t planned on going to the lake.

After eating dinner out, it seemed like a good idea to spend some time looking at the sunset.

As I watched the water and the fading light, three stars appeared.

With the darkening of the sky, their brightness became visible.

Through God’s power, they "hang" in space, suspended perfectly at His command.

 

 

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Awe-inspiring God

 

 

 

 

I stepped outside my home just to have a few moments to look around and maybe have the opportunity to photograph a bird or two.

After walking for a few seconds, I looked up to see a magnificent sight.

An anvil cloud was taking up a vast amount of the easter sky.

Captivated by the ever-changing form and color, my eyes kept returning to the massive billows in front of me.

A little farther to the south, the full moon was rising.

In the west, the bright orange sun was setting in a cloudless arena.

God is truly a great and awe-inspiring God!

 

 

 

 

 

**It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

You Have Kept My Feet

 

 

 

King David spoke of being oppressed by his enemies in Psalm 56.

He was not a stanger to troubling and dangerous situations.

Throughout his life, however, he praised God.

He could see God’s protection, even in the midst of danger from others, trusting Him each step of the way.

All day long my enemies twist my words.
    Their every thought is an evil plan against me.
 They attack, and then they hide.
   They watch my every step as they wait to take my life.
 With the wrong they do, can they escape?
    O God, angrily make the nations fall.
 (You have kept a record of my wanderings.
    Put my tears in your bottle.
        They are already in your book.)
 Then my enemies will retreat when I call to you.
    This I know: God is on my side.

–Psalm 56:5-9

 

You have kept my feet from stumbling
        so that I could walk in your presence, in the light of life.

–from Psalm 56:13

 


 

David’s faith is an example to us today, whatever position we may be in.

Do you feel that God is with you, no matter what?

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Creation Has Been Groaning

 

 

 

Imagine this with me for a moment:

The Garden of Eden.

What do you think it would have been like?

Now that you have that picture in your mind, imagine some other things:

An earthquake in the Garden of Eden.

A volcano eruption in the Garden of Eden.

A hurricane in the Garden of Eden.

A tornado in the Garden of Eden.

A hail storm in the Garden of Eden.

Was it hard to picture those things happening there?

Why?

When God created the world and placed Adam and Eve in the Garden, all was well—for a time.

If it’s hard to imagine all those things happening in the Garden of Eden, I think it is because we cannot think that anything destructive could ever occur there.

There would be no death, no violence, no harm in any way.

Sin had not crept in.

There will be a new Heaven and a new Earth one day, according to the scriptures.

There will not be anything destructive and harmful going on then.

All will be well.

These verses speak of how all creation is waiting and groaning:

 

I consider our present sufferings insignificant compared to the glory that will soon be revealed to us.  All creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal who his children are.  Creation was subjected to frustration but not by its own choice. The one who subjected it to frustration did so in the hope  that it would also be set free from slavery to decay in order to share the glorious freedom that the children of God will have.  We know that all creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time.

–Romans 8:18-22

 

One day.

Glorious freedom.

No more slavery to decay.

Can you imagine that?

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

The Same Point of View

 

 

The roses were sitting in a basket, next to a brown wicker table.

A small cake was on top of the table, awaiting a specific time for cutting.

The banquet I was attending was alive with ceremony.

One of the evening’s rituals was to have an outgoing officer of the organization that was hosting the event cut the cake along with the incoming officer for the next year.

It was done with an air of seriousness and with unity of purpose.

I suppose this was done to show that the leadership of the organization would continue as it had, but with a new person who had the same point of view about its purpose.

These verses from the Bible speak of having the same point of view:

And may God, the source of patience and encouragement, enable you to have the same point of view among yourselves by following the example of Christ Jesus,  so that all of you together may praise with one voice the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

–Romans 15:5-6

 

Althought Christians do not gather to cut a cake to symbolize the unity of their faith, we are to follow the example of Jesus.

In so doing, we are unified with one voice in praise.


 

 

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

As For You, My Son

 

 

 

 

As for you, my son, be strong through the grace that is ours in union with Christ Jesus.  Take the teachings that you heard me proclaim in the presence of many witnesses, and entrust them to reliable people, who will be able to teach others also.

—2 Timothy 2:1-2

 

What is the worth of a mentor?

Can a price be placed on friendship?

Loyalty?

Steadfast instruction?

Could a trusted counselor be found if he is not placed in the life of another by the hand of God?

Can nurture flow from a soul that is not surrended to care?

What is the worth of wisdom?

Can a price be placed on relationship?

On the sacrifice of time?

Eternity swells when a bond of faith is strengthened by a mentoring heart.

 

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

Kind Words Bring Life

 

 

Visiting a medical clinic this morning with a family member, we noticed at sign at the check in window.

It read something like this:

"You may be asked to wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing."

That sounds like a good practice to me.

If someone is ill with the flu or other condition whereby germs can travel into the air by way of a cough or sneeze, then, by all means, let’s cover that cough or sneeze.

After all, no one else would want to be negatively affected by what is coming out of their mouth.

It could only cause illness for the rest of us.

What about the attitudes that we harbor inside that spread through our words?

If we walk into a restuarant, school, church—anywhere—and we speak out negative, hurtful words, don’t they spread out in the room and affect others present?

They can make them feel hurt or hopeless, mad or sad.

Sometimes, they infect others with the same negativity and they begin to speak that way, too.

Why doesn’t someone say, "If you are going to continue talking like that, you may have to cover your mouth"?

The Bible tells us in Proverbs, chapter 15 that,

"Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit."

Of course, people who have a respiratory illness cannot help but cough and sneeze.

They need medication to rid their bodies of the infection.

People who are hurting and angry often display harmful words.

They need something, too.

The healing love of God can change the attitude of their heart.

When that happens, there’s no need for a "mask."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

From Him and Through Him

 

 

 

The view of the sunrise this morning was perfect from the highest point of my backyard.

The air was still cool as the sun began to peek over the horizon.

Some clouds were dark, while others were absolutely radiant with the glow of the sun.

Their array seemed to project from the sun itself.

How beautiful and glorious it was!

A creation of light and splendor, sent to our eyes from God.

 

 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”
 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”
 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

–Romans 11:33-36

 

 

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

Whoever Belongs to God

 

At this time of year, there are a lot of bugs that get stuck to vehicles.

It’s unavoidable.

Driving down the road, the tiny little orange and black insects are everywhere.

In order to keep them from permanently damaging the paint, I decided it was time for a late afternoon car wash.

As I walked toward my car with the supplies I needed, I saw him.

A beautiful ring-tailed cat sitting on the top of it.

Putting down my supplies, I slipped into the house to get my camera.

He was still there when I returned.

Trying not to be alarming, I moved slowly.

After a few shots, he decided that I might not be a safe person for him.

He jumped off the car and began walking away.

I attempted to make a "meow" sound and he glanced back at me before he walked around the corner of a fence, out of my sight.

Calling out, I said, "Here, kitty, kitty."

I watched to see if he would return.

He didn’t.

Our family owns two cats, both of which we rescued as strays.

The first was a kitten underneath a home we rented; the second wandered to the home we now have, malnourished and starving.

Both of those cats are happy to see us when we arrive home.

They purr when we hold them and they like to be near us.

They know us.

We know them.

They are not afraid when we call them.

The cat on top of my car was not mine.

I don’t know that cat.

He doesn’t know me.

In John, chapter 8, Jesus is speaking to those gathered around Him.

He said, "Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

(verse 47)

How many times do people see God in their lives, but they don’t trust Him?

They don’t know Him, and they decide that maybe He isn’t safe.

Even if they hear Him call to them, they glance back, but then make the choice to walk away.

What is your heart telling you today?

Have you heard God calling, but only glanced back toward Him?

It’s not too late.

God wants you to know Him.

He wants you to trust Him.

He wants you to hear Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

By Faith We Understand

 

At first, I thought that a sprinkler head might have broken off, causing the water puddle in the sand.

Being at work, I had never seen water pooling like that near the building I am assigned to.

I went to investigate.

There was no broken sprinkler.

Instead, even though it had not rained in awhile, there were drops of water coming down from the roof and landing at one particular point in the sand.

Watching it for a moment, I was intrigued by the action of the drops into the water.

Taking a few photographs, I got some interesting results, all of which I’m sure are very mathematically calculable and totally the work of God.

Some of the pictures showed a splash about to occur; others showed a crown like bubble or tiny, milky looking balls suspended in the air.

The camera had frozen a second of time in the life of a water droplet joining a puddle.

Every shape that I photographed was a marvel of physics.

So much so that I cannot begin to even describe it in intellectual terms.

How all of life and all things exist is too great for my consideration–except believing that God made them all.

Hebrews 11:13 says,

"By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible."

God created the water and the sand.

He created the gravity that was plunging the drops to the Earth.

He created the way each drop would affect the water that was pooling in the sand.

He created the energy of the splash.

By faith—

I understand.

 

 

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Praise the LORD From The Earth

 

 

The psalmist encourages us to praise the LORD.

Nothing is exempt from giving praise–

there is nothing that He has made that does not proclaim His greatness.

All those who are living should praise the LORD.

It is He who gives life and breath to each one.

 

 

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,
 you mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars,
 wild animals and all cattle,
    small creatures and flying birds,
 kings of the earth and all nations,
    you princes and all rulers on earth,
 young men and women,
    old men and children.

—Psalm 148:7-12

 





***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com



A Woman Who Fears the Lord

 

In the book of Proverbs, we find an example of qualities that a woman who fears the LORD might have.

I have listed a few of the verses from that chapter below.

The Christ-like character that is shown is quite the example to everyone, men and women alike.

 

 

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

—Proverbs 31:25-31

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

The LORD is Trustworthy

 

 

There are times when it seems impossible to understand some things.

The "whys" and "hows" and all the "I don’t knows" that get so heavy as they fill our minds seem to escape logical explanation.

Even in the confusion, it is helpful to remember that God is faithful.

God remains true to His promises.

Whatever is happening, God is trustworthy.

 

 The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.
 All your works praise you, Lord;
    your faithful people extol you.
 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might,
 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations.

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
    and faithful in all he does.

—Psalm 145:9-13

 

 

 

 ***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com



 

The Greatest of These is Love

 

 

 

 

The celebration was a beautiful one.

A surprise to the couple, it was a 50th wedding anniversary banquet in their honor.

The tables were each adorned with fresh flowers.

Balloons rising on golden ribbons were floating, effortlessly anchored, at key points around the dining hall.

Friends of the couple who lived nearby attended, as well as friends from years ago who had driven a great distance to help celebrate the occassion.

I spent the hours I was there watching a room full of love that had taken over 50 years to blossom.

Children born, children married, grandchildren born.

The seasons of their lives had spread out into a tapestry of memories–memories shared by a great many.

Like one of the table flowers I photographed, their love story had unfolded, layer by layer, until it became an impressive blossom with countless petals in perfect array.

In 1 Corinthians 13:13 we find these words on love:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

He Makes Up His Own Mind

 

 

Who are you?

Where did you come from?

Who are your parents?

What schools have you gone to?

Those are important questions, but with God, there are no "wrong" answers.

Who you are, where you’ve lived, your parents’ names, your education—none of that could ever take away God’s offer of eternal life from you.

None could invalidate the open invitation of true relationship with your heavenly Father.

The opinions of others concerning you will not change God’s heart toward you.

No, God looks at you when He looks at you.

 

 

 

 

If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.

–Romans 2   The Message

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

The Harvest Is Plentiful

 

Where is the harvest?

Is it where I work?

Is it in my own home?

Is it in my neighborhood?

Is it in my church?

Who do I know that is like a sheep without a shepherd?

What can I do to work in the harvest field?

 

 

 

 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

–Matthew 9:35-38

 

 

 

 

 ***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

This Is The Way

 

 

 

It was an early evening appointment in a nearby town.

I hadn’t planned on being late.

At least, not exactly.

Deciding that I needed a short nap, I thought I would wake in plenty of time to drive the distance and arrive on time.

As things turned out, I was just a tiny bit off schedule until I realized I had to take a detour.

My appointment was only a few blocks over from a massive reconstruction project of a roadway—trees being unearthed and the entire re-routing of traffic.

Turning in the direction I thought was best, I began trying to decide how to get to my appointment.

After following the signs posted a long the way, I finally arrived.

Climbing the stairs to the second level, I arrived at my destination with only a few moments lost—but not taking the route I normally would have.

There are times when I make plans.

There are times when I make requests to God.

There are times when I think through how I feel things should go.

In any of these instances, God can change the plan if He wants to.

Sometimes, the plan remains the same, but the way to get to the end of the plan?

He changes that.

So, I may end up where I thought I would, but not in the way I thought I would.

Of course, there are also the times when God sets up a detour and I never arrive at the destination I had planned.

Instead, He takes me on a different route entirely.

It wouldn’t have helped me any to have argued with the detour signs yesterday.

I simply could not have traveled in the way that I’d thought.

It doesn’t help to argue when God changes our plans, either.

Through prayer, we can certainly discuss it with Him, as we listen for further instructions.

In the Book of Isaiah, God’s people are encouraged about instruction from Him:

 

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

—Isaiah 30:21

 

If the detour sign hadn’t been there for me, I would have driven right up to rubble and tree branches and not known the safest place to turn.

It is a comfort to know that God will create a detour when we need it, don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com