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, October 28, 2011

It's the Great Pumpkin

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 

In autumn, children run through patches looking for the perfect orange globe to carve into a shining light. Adults seek that just-right fruit for pie or the golden-brown beauties that stand tall, squat short, or sit with a lopsided nod.  The pumpkins that dot porches, yards and orchards bring a smile to my face. In my younger years, the pumpkin I enjoyed the most appeared on television. As the theme song played, Linus made his trek to the pumpkin patch, with Sally in tow.  He waited on the Great Pumpkin and every year the pumpkin passed him by. But, Linus never gave up, he held on to his hope that the Great Pumpkin would appear to him year after year.

Linus’s simple faith reminds me of the hope and faith I have in Jesus. I believe that Jesus will return one day to take his children home. As I wait for my Savior, I trust in God and know that he is faithful in his promises. Praise God for hope and faith.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Free Expression

James 1:25
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

In the movie Yours, Mine and Ours (the 2005 version) a widow and widower combine families. He’s military and she is a free spirited designer. In the midst of combining chaos with order, the mom tells the family that, “Homes are for free expression, not for good impression.”  I love that thought. As our children grew up, our house resembled a cross between an art studio and an athletic field. We lived in our home and encouraged the kids to be themselves. God created them with talents and we wanted them to find out who God intended them to be.

When I think about Jesus and the gift that he freely gave when he hung on the cross and rose from the dead, I know that he wants me to know freedom from sin. He encourages me through his word and through prayer to take my free will and turn it toward him so that I might live apart from the world’s stresses. Sometimes my life might look like a mess, but in the midst of my mess is the God who loves me and provides me freedom. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

God's Delight

Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, 
   the Mighty Warrior who saves. 
He will take great delight in you; 
   in his love he will no longer rebuke you, 
   but will rejoice over you with singing.

When I think about the things that bring delight to my heart, I picture my grandchildren running to me with their arms reaching out, reading a well written book, and witnessing an autumn sunrise. But when I realize that God, who created the entire universe, cares to know me well enough to delight in me my heart sings.

How can a God filled with the power of a mighty warrior look at me and find the time to love me? That’s who God is. He is my Savior, my friend, my hope. I praise God that he sings over me with rejoicing and that he finds me delightful. I am humbled in his presence.   

Just as Zephaniah wrote these words as a comfort and hope to the people of Judah, God included it in the Bible as a hope for you and me. I thank God that he stands as a mighty warrior and surrounds me with his grace and protection. His love surrounds us and he sings over us. Our God, who is mighty to save, delights in us, loves us and rejoices over us.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Which Pooh Are You?

1 John 4:17-19
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.

I grew up reading about the hundred acre wood before Winnie-the-Pooh turned into another Disney phenomenon. My daughters enjoyed the tales and embraced their favorite character. Tigger still sits on one of my beds for the grandchildren to enjoy.  Did you know that you can take a quiz on the Internet that tells you which Winnie-the-Pooh character you are the most like? (Maybe you don’t care.) I always claimed to be like Piglet, the baby, since I am the youngest of my family. My daughter disagrees she says I am like Kanga, the sensible mom. I appreciate her compliment and I do strive to be sensible. But sometimes on the inside I am Piglet, the little pig afraid of his own shadow.  

Praise God that his love removes the fear. Because he loves me and accepts me as I am, he guides my path and encourages me to forge ahead. When I read verses about fear, the only fear I should have is for God himself. And that fear results in an overwhelming respect for his word and an appreciation of his grace. So, when I have a Piglet like fear, I ask God to remove it and to help me walk forward. He takes my hand and leads the way.