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

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Soul

Matthew 16:26
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

My daughter and grandchildren dropped me off at the airport. Flying for only the second time in my life gave me butterflies. Not a seasoned traveler, I read ahead of time about what I needed to do to pass through security. As I walked into the gate, I removed my shoes and my jewelry. I took my laptop out of my bag and put everything in the bins that would roll through the security check. That done, I walked through the “people scanner”. As I went through, the machine beeped like the security gate at our library does when someone forgets to check out a book. What did I forget? My hair barrettes-yikes-they were metal. I took them off and put them in a bowl to send through. I entered the people scanner again. Beep, beep, beep. Now what? I was down to my clothes. The women checking me in asked me if I had on a belt, a metal implant, etc. No, none of those. What I forgot was that I was wearing my knee brace due to all the walking in the airport. I should have smacked my forehead at that point, but instead I graciously removed my brace, put it on the belt and walked through beep free.

The situation left me a bit flummoxed. There I stood at the airport feeling vulnerable, no shoes, no watch, no rings, my hair hanging in my face and I was standing on my unstable knee. To get through security I had to set aside all the things that made me feel more confident and secure. Too often I think that I need the things of the world to make me who I am. When what I really need is Jesus. Toby Mac sings one of the ring tones on my phone, “I don’t want to gain the whole world and lose my soul.” That reminds me that the things of the world are not as important as my Savior and my soul. I strive to prepare my soul for the day I will meet Jesus. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Answered Prayer-Surprise!

Acts 12:11-16 (NIV)
Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”
 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 

King Herod arrested and punished Peter and other Christ followers for their faith. He beheaded John, the brother of James, and threw Peter in to a cold, dark, dirty prison. Peter’s friends gathered to pray for him, asking God to release him from jail and bring him back to them. And that is just what God did. He sent an angel to free him from his chains. When Peter showed up on their doorstep, they were amazed; they could hardly believe that God did what he promised to do, answer their prayers.

I am the same way. So often I pray for specific needs and when those prayers are answered and the needs met, I am surprised. God promises that if we pray with faith that he will answer our prayers, the answer may not always be the one we think we should get, but it is always the best answer. God’s timing and wisdom far outweigh my greatest desires. He knows what I need. I praise God for his answers to my prayers.

Friday, June 10, 2011

In the Heart

1 Samuel 16:7b
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

With layers of wedding cake carefully stacked into the back of my Jeep, I headed down the road on a delivery mission. My daughter baked and iced the cake layers the day before so that she could assemble it once we reached our destination. Driving with a cake in the back of the car takes some care. I took all of the curves at a slow crawl. When I reached a major intersection I traveled at a snail-like pace as I pulled out of one road and on to another. The driver who came up behind me, obviously ticked at me, did not know my story. She had no idea why I drove at an unhurried pace or that I was delivering a beautiful cake to a special couple. She only saw that my Jeep crept along like a turtle, and that aggravated her.

Too often in life I lose my patience, yell at the driver in front of me, become aggravated at a co-worker, wonder what’s with so-and-so and on it goes. God tells me to take time to know the whole story. Look at my friend’s heart, listen to my co-worker’s situation, and consider that the driver next to me might be having a bad day. While I see the outside of a person’s life, God sees the inside. He knows what’s going on in our lives, he listens to every beat of our heart and he loves us. The next time I get frustrated with someone, I want to stop and find out what is really going on. I want to see their heart.

P.S.-The cake was delivered, set up, and enjoyed by the wedding party.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Flowers Fade

1 Peter 1:23-25
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

On the corner, an old house stands curtainless. A black shutter severed from the window leans against the pocket-sized balcony. The yellow paint curls and drops to the ground.  Knee high grass needs mowed and weeds choke out summer bouquets.  The home’s life seemed to disappear except for the hosta whose rich, green, broad leaves stretch across the sidewalk and drink in the sun. Their spikes shoot out bearing lavender lily-like flowers, a sign of hope.

Every day I drive by this abandoned house. I remember when the owners painted it yellow with white trim and added the black shutters. That was just a few years ago. Since then they moved away, and no one has come along to care for the house. Sometimes I am like the old dwelling. When I pull away from God, stop praying, or forget to read my Bible, my spirit fades like the paint.  My heart aches and my mind drifts. But, Jesus does not give up on me. Like the hosta plant, the Holy Spirit grows in me and brings the joy back to my life. If I listen to the promptings of the Spirit, and obey God, he renews my desire to read my Bible and pray. I praise God for his word that endures forever.