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, May 31, 2014

Near Perfect

Photo-Penny Frost McGinnis
Philippians 3:20-21
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ 
who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Every once in awhile, what is expected to be an ordinary day turns in to perfection. Tim and I rolled the top back on the Jeep Wrangler and journeyed north to Lake Erie. We landed on Marblehead peninsula where we viewed the majestic lighthouse then traveled to Vermilion, a quaint town with its own pie shop. Who doesn’t want a pie shop down the street? We found another lighthouse and witnessed the sun sinking as orange sky glowed above lapping water. To top off the weekend we ferried to Kelley’s Island. Fluffy white clouds floating in cerulean blue skies reflected on Lake Erie. A soft breeze moved with us as we traversed the island in a golf cart. I couldn’t get over the peaceful, joy filled emotion that carried with me through the following week.

Photo-Penny Frost McGinnis
Not many days turn out to be near perfect. But I know without a doubt a time is coming when every day will be idyllic because Our God is perfect. What I find beautiful here will fade in comparison with what waits for me in heaven. I don’t know for sure what will be in heaven. We used to sing “I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop.” I don’t need a mansion. A cottage would be dandy or a lighthouse J. Whatever waits, I know God is there and He will open his arms to all who believe. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited that He loves me that much.

Friday, May 23, 2014

I Know I'm an Introvert

Luke 22:39-44
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”  He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Woman Sitting Alone On A Bench by George Hodan
Recently, I’ve heard a lot of talk about what it means to be an introvert as opposed to an extrovert. I used to think one definition of an introvert was someone who was painfully shy. Studies show that’s not the case. An introvert may be as outgoing as an extrovert, but will tire of the interaction with other people sooner. In some of the articles I’ve read, authors define an introvert as someone who draws energy from alone time while an extrovert gathers energy from other people. I know I’m an introvert. I value my down time at home. It helps me regenerate and prepares me to face the day.

When I read about Jesus and how he stepped away from the disciples for a bit, I wonder if he might have had some introvert tendencies. If I’d hung around with the disciples, who continuously asked questions, I would’ve stepped away too. Whether or not Jesus was introvert or extrovert, he knew the best way to refuel. He spent his time praying. He went to the Mount of Olives, found a quiet nook and poured his heart out to God. Luke tells us an angel arrived to strengthen him. There’s no better way to find energy and strength than by seeking God through prayer. Whether an introvert or extrovert, we need time with the Lord. Praise God for his listening ear and loving heart.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Gift of Music

Psalm 96:1-3
Sing to the
 Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

Growing up I was surrounded by music. Mom and Dad enjoyed classic country. To this day I remember the words to way too many Johnny Cash songs. My siblings listened to everything from Chubby Checker, Patsy Cline, and The Beetles, to Dottie Rambo and Dolly Parton. I learned to appreciate many genres including the pop and folk music of the sixties and seventies. But no music touches my heart like the notes that swell to the praises of Jesus.

There are many references to music in the Bible. The rocks sang out, the mountains and trees rejoiced. David played the lyre, and the psalms encouraged singing. When no one else is with me in the car, I turn up one of the contemporary Christian channels and make a joyful noise. At church I raise my voice with other believers in Jesus, and I am in the presence of God’s glory. I am thankful for the folks who use their talent to honor God. Praise God for the gift of music and gifted musicians.  

Friday, May 9, 2014

Hold Their Hearts Forever

Matthew 20:20-23
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
“What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

There is a quote I like about being a mom. “Mother’s hold their children’s hands for just a little while and their hearts forever.” This old Irish proverb speaks the truth about motherhood. When my daughter’s were small, it was easy to hold their hand and guide them. But eventually, I had to let go. Even then I knew I’d never let go in my heart.

I can’t imagine how the mother of James and John felt when she sent her sons with Jesus. Certainly her faith was tested when they left home and trooped after a man that people hated. Yet she asked him to take them with him. She loved them and knew God called them to work beside this man who claimed to be the son of God. When my kids left home and started on their journey into adulthood, I worried, cried, prayed and eventually trusted God to hold them close. It was a challenge. I didn’t want to let go, but I needed to. I still pray every day for God to work in their lives, keep them safe, and cover them with love. I may have let go of their hand, but I’ll always hold their hearts. I learned that from God. He created me and gave me free will. He let go of my hand, even as he pursues my heart. Praise God for mom’s who guide their children to his kingdom.

Happy Mother’s Day!

What memory do you have about your mom or another woman who guided you toward God?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Pleased and Satisfied

Philippians 4:12-13
12 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.
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Merriam-Webster defines the adjective “content” as pleased and satisfied; not needing more. According to this, Paul learned to be pleased and satisfied. He didn’t need more. As he wrote in his letters in the Bible, he spent time in prison, months with families in the churches he visited, and worked repairing nets. I’m sure he lived through many different circumstances. And in every one he found contentment.

When I read these verses years ago, I thought I had to have a feeling of satisfaction 24/7. No matter what, I needed to find a degree of happiness. The problem was I tried to find contentment on my own. I totally missed verse thirteen. While I tried to find satisfaction on my own, God waited for me to understand what I needed was him. He’s the one who gives me strength, the one who brings me contentment no matter what. But I have to get out of my own way, bow before God and ask for his help. I’ve learned over the years to seek God first. It’s not easy, but it sure is a better way to live. I love the promises I read in the Bible, they give me the confidence to seek my Father’s help. He gives me the strength in every circumstance to be content as long as I keep my eyes on him.