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, April 27, 2012

My Kaleidoscope

Colossians 3:12-1
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Kaleidoscopes kept me entertained for hours as a child. I enjoyed seeing the various shapes and colors change. The mirrors inside the long, narrow, cardboard tube reflected the various objects that tumbled inside. The ones with tiny pieces of glass made the most intriguing images. As an adult I’ve replaced the paper cylinders with handcrafted stained glass and interchangeable marbles and one that holds a glass wand with floating sparkles. Whether I looked through the dime store variety or the more sophisticated, I enjoyed the changing collage.

As a child of God, my father wants me to reflect him. Like the kaleidoscope, life as a Christian holds many facets. Sometimes thinking about all of the qualities that God wants me to show makes my head spin. How can I express compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love and peace every day? When I glimpsed the beautiful colors in my favorite toy, I held it up to the light. Without the light no shapes appeared. The same goes for my life. I must look to Jesus light and reflect him. As his love shines on me, I send it out to the people around me. The same goes for all of the other wonderful qualities that God wants me to share. And for that I am thankful.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Inside Out

Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, 

   for everything you do flows from it. 

For years I sewed my own clothes and many for my children. When I made an article of clothing, I followed guidelines. After I pinned the pattern on the fabric and cut out the pieces, the construction started. The pattern pieces were fastened with the wrong sides together. Seams were finished and curves clipped. The stitched hem draped and the sleeves fit in place. In order for the outside to look finished, the inside required the most attention to detail.

God created me from the inside out. He molded my heart before he formed my skin because, he knew that no matter what I looked like on the outside, I needed to be whole on the inside. Like the pattern, the pieces needed to fit. He had a plan for me and it started in my heart. The proverb tells me to guard my heart from the evil in the world that can make my spirit hard and uncaring.  Hillsong sings a song, From the Inside Out and they ask God to take control of the inside and out. I pray that God do the same for me, love me from the inside out.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Crayola Garden

Luke 12:25-28
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest. “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!

I had no idea how much I missed growing a flower garden, until I planted tulips about a month ago. When we moved to our home, five years ago, I left behind two sizeable flower beds and a few plants growing around the yard. I decided that I didn’t have time to tend flowers at our new house. Despite my neglect, peonies, day lilies, touch-me-nots and a few daffodils bloomed each year. Even though I gave no effort to the existing “garden”, the plants flowered and added color to my day. Now that I’ve started adding a few new plants, I’m excited to see more of God’s splendor blossom.

Seeing the beautiful shades of Crayola colored buds reminded me that God dressed the patch in all of his glory. He provided sunshine and rain and an amazing photosynthetic process that fed the green stems. He supplied everything the plants needed. Jesus reminds me in the book of Luke that God not only cares for the flowers, he cares for me. He offers grace for my sins, he gives me what I need, and he loves me no matter what. As yards and gardens fill with color, I pray that they be a reminder of God’s eternal devotion and mercy.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

New Birth

1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…

Wobbly goats
born before midnight—
spring renewed

Signs of spring surrounded us as we hiked up the hill. Dogwoods bloomed and fresh ivy tendrilled down the rock walls. At the top of the trail, Hannah and I set eyes on Carl Sandburg’s house. Before the home tour started the guide encouraged us to visit the barns. Mrs. Sandburg was a goat farmer and the farm still bred and raised her lineage of goats. What a pleasant surprise to find two baby goats that were less than twenty-four hours old. The mama goat let us pet them even though she protected them from the other goats. One of them rose on her little legs and wobbled about. The freshness of spring kissed their skin. So sweet and innocent yet full of life.

Spring brings renewal as life begins again. These new baby goats reminded me that God’s grace pours refreshment over me and restores my Spirit. This spring as I celebrate Easter, I thank God for Jesus. He not only died on the cross, he rose again to give us a new life. He took on my sins and poured out his blood, so that I might have hope. He died a gruesome death, yet was raised in the beauty of life. I don’t know about you, but I am humbled to know that God loves me so much. Praise God for new birth through Jesus.