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, February 28, 2014

Help Me Find a Scholarly Article

Holy Bible by Vinicius de Carvalho VenĂ¢ncio
1 Thessalonians 2:11-13
For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.

It’s the day before a research paper is due and the college student comes to the library, desperation in their eyes. Our librarian, with calm and expertise, guides them through the databases in search of the article they need. The desperate demeanor turns to appreciation and confidence, and the student walks away prepared to spend the day typing. They feel confident because the librarian led them to a scholarly article. In other words, the facts and truth from the writing validates the content of the paper.

The other day my co-worker, Natalie, referred to me as a scholarly article because she can count on what I say. I took this as a compliment, but by no means believe that I have all the answers. But, I know who does. When I want the truth, the validation, the wisdom, and the facts I turn to God’s Word. I believe the Bible speaks the truth and know that I can depend on whatever I read there. What a blessing to know that I can read the words of God and the very words that Jesus spoke. How incredible is that? God’s truth that validates belief. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Here Comes the Bride

Revelation 19:6-8
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting
    For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
    and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
    and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
    was given her to wear.”

The wedding march plays as a bride dressed in satin and lace floats down the aisle. The bodice of the dress shimmers with beadwork. A flowing train follows as she moves between the guests.  The sweet fragrance of her bouquet wraps her in freshness. She’s waited for this day for months. Fittings— to make her one with the dress. Tastings— to find the perfect cake. Listening— to choose the right music. From their seats, the guests see a fairyland with the queen as the centerpiece. But what about the inside? The bride appears lovely, but has she prepared to meet her groom for the rest of her life? She vows to love him, respect him and serve him. As he does her. Her eyes glisten with promise.

When I chose to follow Christ excitement flowed through me. I donned a white baptism gown. My family watched as I vowed to serve the Lord. I was fourteen, and I was certain that I understood what I was doing. But what I didn’t understand was how Christ would work in my life. I stumbled, I sinned, but God forgave me and loved me. Through the forty-two years I’ve followed Jesus, I love God even more and make my best attempt to continue on the plan He set for my life. I’ve been taught that the Bride of Christ is the church. I’m thankful to be part of that greater body who serves God together. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What's Your Favorite Holiday?

John 13:34-35
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

Someone asked me, “What’s your favorite holiday?” People who know me would probably guess Christmas. I do love the reason we celebrate, the decorations and the music, but I strongly dislike the commercialism. Then there’s Easter. I love Easter because we celebrate Jesus resurrection, but I do that all year round. Thanksgiving is yummy and on New Year’s I feel ready to start over. I guess when it comes down to it, I love Valentine’s Day.

Photo:Blue Peeling Paint Background/
The whole day revolves around love. Jesus new commandment to his disciples was to love one another. At weddings we hear 1 Corinthians 13 as if it is only for marriage, but isn’t that the love I need to pour over everyone? It’s not always easy. Some people aren’t lovable. But then neither were the folks Jesus loved. Smelly fishermen, tax collectors, women with questionable morals. Yet he loved them and turned their lives upside down. That’s one of the reasons I love Jesus. He was fearless in his compassion for other people. If we love like Jesus then love never fails.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tell Them They're Beautiful

Ecclesiastes 3:11-12
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 

Women and men are bombarded with what the world calls beautiful. Magazines display thin women with lots of make-up and swanky clothes. Men on the cover dress in expensive suits, perfectly coifed hair, and whitened teeth. Television shows the rich and famous in designer clothes. And all of this, the world calls beautiful.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon reminds me that God made everything beautiful.  I am saddened when I hear young women compare themselves to the “stars”. What about the young man who thinks he’s ugly because he’s listening to society? As a grandma who’s lived through and raised children through the teens and twenties, I want to remind mom’s and dad’s (and anyone else who might influence a child) to tell their children how beautiful they are because God made them. He created them in his image. Teach them to be lovely people who care about others and bare the fruit of the Spirit.

True beauty comes from within. Joy, love, compassion and excitement for life make a person glow. As Solomon reminded us, there is a time for everything. This is the time that we need to encourage and uplift each other and remind the world what true beauty is.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Amazing Grace

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

When we adopted our dog, Olive, we didn’t know what we agreed to. She’s part Dachshund (stubborn and bossy) and part Corgi (playful and bossy). You get the picture. She’s a bossy little dog. Because of her back story— abandoned, pregnant, and possibly mistreated— we give her lots of grace. She gets corrected and sometimes there are consequences, but she gets a long leash, so to speak. Even Tater, our golden retriever/Lab, seems to make allowances for her.

How thankful I am that God gives me grace. I come with a lot of back story, what some call baggage, but God loves me anyway. He gives me his grace. Gives it to me. I don’t work to earn it. Instead he pours grace over me and forgives me. On my part, I seek to obey and follow the path He’s set for me. By his grace I’ve been set free of the burdens of the world so that I might pursue His plans for me. In turn, I want to share His grace with others. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!