For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Season for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

These wise verses penned by Solomon are often referenced by musicians, ministers, and philosophers. When I read them I'm reminded of growing up in a farming community. I loved living in the country and especially enjoyed hanging out on our neighbor's farm. I learned that a calf was born and raised to provide meat for the family. My dad taught me to plant potato pieces, then dig them up whole to eat for dinner. Old barns would be torn down and new ones built. We'd cry over sadness and laugh around the kitchen table. There were lots hugs, some dancing, and plenty of mending. Spring proved out as planting time, in summer the fields grew produce, fall brought the harvest, and winter allowed the ground to rest. There was a time for everything.

God knows the perfect timing for everything in our lives. Too often for me to count, I've pushed ahead and tried to hurry life along. When I rush ahead of God, my plans fall apart. I fail. I miss opportunities. From Ecclesiastes 3, I'm reminded that God has an appointed season for everything. Praise God for his timing and may he help me wait on Him.

Are you waiting on something? Wanting to push forward? Have you prayed and asked God to help you wait on his perfect timing? While you wait, enjoy each day and seek the beauty in everyday things.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Peace

Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 

I took some of our grandchildren to the swimming pool as a last hoorah of summer, before they head back to school. We loaded our foam noodles, Zeke's paddle board, and a few other fun things in the Jeep and drove up to the pool. We had a wonderful surprise when we arrived—we we're the only ones there. As I sank into the clear water and felt the heat of the day melt away a peace came over me. The stress of the week disappeared and a few hours playing with my grands filled me joy.

The peace I felt in the pool was wonderful and relaxing, but it pales in comparison to the peace Jesus pours into my heart. I often call on Christ's peace when I am stressed or upset. I seek his peace in sadness and grief. When the world screams chaos and conflict, I rely on Jesus' peace to calm me and carry me. Social media, the nightly news, and newspapers are filled with discord and contradiction. Jesus offers a peace that passes understanding; peace that fills the heart and calms the soul. I'm thankful for any moment of serenity and calm that loving Jesus brings.

Praise God for peace in the midst of chaos.

Friday, August 5, 2016

I Can Do It!

Philippians 4:12-13
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I just finished reading a book titled The Queen of Katwe authored by Tim Crothers. In this true story I met a young woman named Phiona who basically had nothing. She and her family lived in a shack in the slums of Uganda. They were fortunate if they could scrape together one meal a day. Their shack often flooded and left them with even less. Then a man came to the village and taught the children to play chess. Phiona had no idea what chess was, so the teacher had a four year old student show her what the pieces were and how they moved. Then Phiona took off. She embraced the game and before long was competing and winning. Giving her the means to help her family.

Phiona was a sincere, faithful follower of Jesus. She knew what it was to have nothing and knew what it was to have plenty. She took care of her family and continued on her journey as she embraced the gift God bestowed on her. I admit, I was a little uncomfortable as I read about Phiona and her family's living conditions. I felt bad for them. But the more I read of this amazing young lady's life, the more I recognized her incredible faith and determination to serve God. She kept her eyes on Jesus as she used her gift for good.

Phiona's story has stuck with me and reminded me to be thankful, to appreciate what I have, to use my gifts for Jesus, and to seek him in all things. Praise God for people who serve and love Him no matter what!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Let There Be Peace

Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

This week I don't have any fun stories or beautiful descriptions of nature. Instead God has set on my heart the desire to write about what it means to have a change of heart. Much of what I see on television, read in newspapers, and click through on social media tell stories of sadness, violence, negativity, name-calling, and frustration. People ask when will this stop? What can be done to change the darkness that surrounds society?

The Bible tells me that the world will have unrest. We'll deal with sorrow and violence. But the words of Paul show me change can be made. Not by a bunch of people who sit around and discuss their differences, but by people who have a change of heart. When Christ rules the heart—truly takes over and moves in—the heart is filled with peace. Kindness abounds, love rules, and people care. Until we hit our knees, ask God for forgiveness, then turn our lives over to Jesus the darkness of the world will win. The only answer is Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life. And he promises eternal life.

As for me, I gave my life to Jesus many years ago. Because he fills me with his Spirit, I aspire to show kindness and be a positive influence. I love the Lord and I ask him to work through me to make a difference. Who's with me?


Praise you Lord for your Son and the believers who are the church!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Chasing the Light?

1 John 1:5-7
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

As a child I remember chasing lightning bugs on a warm summer evenings with my cousin Rusty. Before we wandered into the yard, we'd punch holes in the lid of an empty mayo jar and add grass to their "nest" so the little creatures could breath. Then we'd scamper after them and lure them into our hands. We loved the way the magical glow from their blinkers lit up our rooms at night. 

Lighthouses give off a different kind of light. One of warning. One the sailors didn't want to chase, but instead steered away from. Their glow sliced through the black skies and gave a signal to turn away.



Light can be a guide and a warning. The sun's brilliance illuminates our days. The radiance of a streetlamp shines on a path for safer passage. The flame of a candle embodies peace. The warmth of a fire gives comfort. As a follower of Jesus, I've been given the Holy Spirit as my light. He illuminates the way and leads me. Like a lighthouse, he beams a warning to send me away from sin. He pours the warmth of comfort over me and draws me nearer to God. Like a lightning bug, I want to chase him to capture the glow of hope that is Jesus. Praise God for his light in a dark world.