Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, for to this you were called as members of one body. And be thankful.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.
We drove past the field dotted with bales of hay.
There is so much to be said for what that scene represented.
The grass grew because God provided the water and sunlight.
People looked after the land, and when it was time, the grass was harvested and formed into bales.
Livestock will likely eat the hay because those people worked very hard to cut the hay and have it preserved for the months ahead.
As we work each day, there is often so much more to what we are doing than what we readily consider.
The work of our hands can bless others now, and sometimes, in the future.
What work has God given you to do?
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
The sunlight behind my house was steaming across the road, creating a vibrant green color on the grass and trees.
There was such a contrast between the lighted area and the shadows nearby.
Our lives should be in contrast to those who are not following Jesus.
We should love, even if they don’t.
We should serve, even if they don’t.
We should forgive, even if they don’t.
Our light needs to shine.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
–from Psalm 40:3
What is the new song that is in you?
What has God placed in your heart?
What does your own personal hymn of praise sound like?
In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
Walking along in the wooded area, I chose to follow the pathways through the trees and thick brush. Although I had seen snakes, large birds, and alligators in the area before, I felt comfortable as long as I was staying on the way marked before me.
Had I decided to go foraging through the mass of trees and bushes, away from the path, I would have been faced with any number of possible dangers.
God has given us a path to follow in life. If we choose to stay on the way He has provided, we will experience life. Now, and for eternity.
On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and called out in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.’” He was speaking about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. For the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
–1 Corinthians 13:4
I went to a wedding this afternoon.
The couple had been together for five years.
The pastor spoke of love.
Of making a commitment not just to one another, but to Jesus.
Jesus’ love for us is patient and kind.
We need to show that love to others.
Everyone needs to know that love, don’t you think?
Then Jesus told this parable: “A man had a fig tree that was planted in his vineyard. He went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the keeper of the vineyard, ‘Look, for the past three years I have come to search for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Therefore cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone again this year, until I dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine. But if not, you can cut it down.’”
Has it been two years?
Maybe just one?
I don’t really remember how long it’s been, but I will probably remember the lesson that came from it for a long time.
I had purchased a multi-colored plant and placed it in a pot.
It wasn’t doing well, and after a while, it was just a stalk protruding up from the dirt, as I recall.
Still, I didn’t dig it up out of the pot.
One day, quite a long time afterwards, I saw a leaf or two budding.
It wasn’t dead!
Now–this autumn–it has grown out to be a beautiful and healthy plant!
God gives us second chances, many times.
If we find ourselves in such a condition that we feel we are nothing but a withered stalk in the dirt, we can cry out to God to restore us.
He can make something beautiful of us, even then.
This morning, the sun was coming up beyond the overcast sky.
The moisture obscured the light, but the sun could still be seen.
It is dark now, but until the sun rises tomorrow, the Lord is to be praised.
And from every sunrise and sunset that will ever be, He is to be praised!
Do I hear God’s voice telling me which way to go?
Am I listening for His voice, or I am I too focused on the concerns at hand to notice Him speaking?
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
—2 Peter 3:18
Grow in grace.
The grace of our Lord.
The grace of our Savior.
The grace of Jesus Christ.
Grow in knowledge.
The knowledge of our Lord.
The knowledge of our Savior.
The knowledge of Jesus Christ.
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with Him is great power to redeem.
—from Psalm 130
This morning, as I read this passage, the words resounded within me as though they were meant for me to hear.
The power to redeem.
The great power.
The greatest power.
It’s with God.
My heart longs for the redemption of those I
God knows this longing.
With Him, and with Him only, is the great power to redeem.
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. —Matthew 9:37
The clerk at the store.
We need to show them the love of Jesus.
How can we be a worker in the harvest today?
While visiting my cousin in another country, I was privileged to do some sightseeing.
One of most beautiful scenes to behold is very close to her home. Huge cliffs overlooking the ocean draw many tourists each year. I can certainly understand why.
As I looked toward the cliffs one morning, it was quite foggy. Later, when walking along the “approved” pathway, I became nervous as other visitors went closer to the edge.
Didn’t they understand the risk? Who could survive so great a fall?
There would be no one to save them.
Psalm 118:13-14 in The Message reads, “I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall, when God grabbed and held me. God’s my strength, He’s also my song, and now He’s my salvation.”
I’ve seen a cliff’s edge first hand. Just imagine a “spiritual” cliff that high! Then, imagine God saving us from falling off the edge of that cliff.
That’s exactly what He has done.
He’s my strength, my song and my salvation.
Is He yours?
Jesus washed His disciples’ feet.
The idea of washing feet has come to me in two different ways during the past year.
I attended a wedding where the bride and groom washed each other’s feet as part of the marriage ceremony.
In an extremely impoverished area that I have visited, an elderly believer in Christ came to some of the residents and washed their feet as a act of faith and love.
Am I willing to serve others by washing their feet?
Usually, that’s not the need that presents itself. Instead, am I willing to take a few moments to listen to someone who is hurting? Am I happy to take the time to call a friend to check on them? Am I available to tell another person about the faith I have in Jesus when the opportunity arises?
All of these needs can be met as an act of faith and love.
Is there someone you could serve today?
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
—1 Corinthians 15:57
Lately, I have become more aware of the power of God to work in our lives.
He is victorious in all things.
All things in your life and all things in mine.
There is a song that speaks of this.
“Your Name, Your Name, is Victory. All praise will rise to Christ our King.
By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected King, is resurrecting me
In Your name I come alive
To declare Your victory
The resurrected King, is resurrecting me.”
I decided to buy a necklace with the letter V to remind me of victory.
For those that ask why I’m wearing it, I will have the opportunity to explain why the Name of Jesus is Victory.
He has given me new life, He will never leave me and His Name is to be praised forever!
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”
The plants grow wild where I live.
A type of grass that flowers pink.
They are captivating in the early morning, beaded with moisture, as they were when I noticed them.
Leaning down to the ground in order to capture them up close, I was surrounded by quiet and a lack of disturbance.
Without the water, the grass would die.
Without water, so would I.
Without the living water of Jesus, I would die spiritually.
I believe in Jesus and I am trusting in Him for my life, now and forever.
Today, as you notice the grass or plants around you, think of what they would be without water.
Do you believe in Jesus, who gives us living water?
The trees stood in the balmy rays of the afternoon sun, shouting bursts of green and gold.
Nature draws me in a way that is difficult to explain.
Its detailed beauty and the handiwork of God cannot be separated.
The trees have no voice except for the divine artistry it exclaims.
When I take notice of what God has made, I join in with its singing.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
The moon was rising over the field, quietly moving along the night sky.
Veiled with blanketing streaks of dark clouds, its surface was obscured along with its light.
Because the clouds were in the way, I could not see it clearly.
If I had been above the clouds, the moon would have appeared crisp and bright.
God is at work in our lives.
In every situation.
In every circumstance.
If you think this is not true, consider this–which area of your life do you feel that God is not a part of at this moment?
God is the author of every breath drawn into our lungs.
We can take comfort in knowing He is working in all things.
Like the moon, we may not see His involvement clearly.
There will come a time when the fog will lift and we will understand fully.
The next time you see the moon shrouded with clouds, take a moment to consider that we don’t yet see things clearly in life.
Until we do, we must trust in God, who does.
We don’t yet see things clearly.
We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.
But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright!
We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!
—1 Corinthians 13:12
Birds come and go this time of year.
Some fly for long distances to find shelter in a warmer climate.
In a way that I could never fully understand, I believe God tells the birds when and where to travel.
Some call it instinct.
I call it God’s direction.
When the birds set out on their journey, surely they must have a confidence in what they will eventually find.
A faith, if you will, on the part of the bird, to trust in that which it cannot yet see.
God has told us of what is in store for those who love Jesus.
We have an assurance that comes from Him about our future.
We have confidence in what we hope for.
Today, notice any birds that might be around you as you travel to work or look out your window.
They listen for God’s direction.
Are you listening?
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
It was a foggy morning.
As I climbed out of bed and walked into the kitchen, I could see the thick mist through my window.
A change of clothes was in order…
Quickly grabbing two cameras, I hurried to my car and set out to see how a blanket of moisture had transformed my little corner of the world.
Passing by a a home that bordered an open field, a quick glance made me turn around and go back to visit the scene again.
Most of all, trusting.
A single car tire was hanging from a tree branch by a rope that had been tied.
If I had thought to have gone to try out the swing for myself, I would first have checked the knots securing the rope to the tire.
Next, I would’ve surveyed the branch up above for strength.
Would it have been able to have held my weight?
After looking closely at the knots on the branch to make sure they were tight, I might’ve then enjoyed a time of leisure swinging.
Would this have been the thought processes of a young child?
I think not.
Upon seeing the tire suspended from the branch, a child would likely squeal in delight as they ran to place themselves happily into the center.
With no thought to any worry, they would swing high and low, embracing each moment without a care.
Jesus said. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
God, in His mercy, has sent Jesus to die on the cross for payment of our sins.
Accepting His gift, we can put our complete trust in Him and enjoy an abundant life like no other.
If we insist on complete knowledge and understanding of our Creator with every “why” and “how” answered to our satisfaction, we may never fully trust that which could save us.
Yet, if upon learning of God’s plan of salvation through Jesus, we run joyfully to place ourselves happily into the center of His love for us, we come with child-like faith.
Today, as you think of your life, do you picture yourself swinging peacefully with an inner joy inside or do you see yourself standing under a tree, skeptically peering at a bundle of knots?
And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
“If my people would only listen to Me,
if Israel would only follow My ways,
how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn My hand against their foes!
Those who hate the Lord would cringe before Him,
and their punishment would last forever.
But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
Am I listening?
Am I following?
Am I eating the finest of wheat?
Am I eating honey from the rock?
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.”
I am a sheep.
By myself, I don’t know what is best for me.
I might choose green grass to eat –right on the edge of a cliff– without even once understanding the danger.
I can’t fight a wolf.
If a predator comes after me, I must have protection or I will perish.
If I see no water to drink, I may wander aimlessly looking for it.
I am a sheep, but I’m not alone.
I have a Shepherd.
He knows what is best for me.
I must trust Him to guide me.
He chooses what grass I will eat and where I will eat it.
He protects me against my enemies.
There is none who attacks that He cannot stop.
I am a sheep, but I’m not alone.
I have a Shepherd.
My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. —–Matthew 5:16
Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise, for the LORD is coming to judge the earth.
—1 Chronicles 16:33
But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
—1 Peter 5:7
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
How does my light shine?
In the words I say?
In the attitude I display?
By the way I treat others?
By how I spend my time?