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, April 25, 2015

Baseball and Honeycombs

Proverbs 16:23-24
The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,
    and their lips promote instruction.
Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Joey Votto hits a homerun. Billy Hamilton steals another base. Aroldis Chapman closes the game with a win. That's what I like to see when the Reds play ball. My family loves the great American Pastime, enjoyed by all ages. So when I heard on the news that the manager let off a string of curse words (seventy-seven in a five-and-a-half minute span) to the media, I was disappointed. He represented the team and the fans. The media reported he was under duress and angry at them. Instead of gracious words, he threw harmful darts.

© Penny Frost McGinnis
I have a magnet on the refrigerator that says, "You are your words." Once they come out of the mouth, they can't be swallowed back up. Proverbs reminds me to consider whether my words show care, thoughtfulness, positivity, a teaching spirit, and a healing concern. I've heard it's easier to draw bees with honey. That's true with the spoken word. I want to stop before I speak and consider how what I say affects who hears. Encourage, compliment and instruct with love like Jesus did. We are his words. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Surprises of Spring!

Matthew 27: 50;54-56
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 
©Penny Frost McGinnis
Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Each day of spring holds a different surprise. In March the daffodils wave in the breeze and the hyacinths send their sweet smell into the air. Then April bursts with yellow forsythia and bright tulip trees. On my way to work this week, I noticed the redbud trees in bloom. Their lovely pinkish-red buds contrast with the fresh green leaves of the maple and oaks. Up the street a weeping cherry's petals hang like a pink cloud. In the thicket the dogwood's white petals spread. God created beautiful blossoms for the season.

As I've enjoyed the colors of spring, I couldn't help but think of Jesus. As pretty as the redbuds are, the dark red color beneath the pink reminds me of the blood Jesus shed. The dogwood with the four leaves, two longer and two shorter, resemble a cross with indents said to look like scars. An old legend taught that the dogwood was meant to be a reminder of the crucifixion. And the weeping cherry made me think of Mary who cried for her son. Spring is a time of revival and renewal of life. Jesus gives life everlasting. Praise God for new life!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The River Roared

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The water rushed over the dam of the East Fork of the Little Miami River. As the turbulent torrent roared by, my husband remarked about the incredible power of water. We've seen heavy rain cause rivers to rise out of their embankment and create  flooding so strong it carries houses and trees away. As we watched the water teem between the banks I was reminded of the amazing power of God.

Much like the vigorous water that rushed over the dam, the power of the Holy Spirit flowed through believers in Rome. Instead of destruction, his power carried hope. God's power changes still lives. He can move mountains if we have faith. As his spirit moves through my life, I'm filled with his peace and joy. Praise God for his mighty power.

Friday, April 3, 2015

It Blows Me Away

Luke 23:44-46
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Luke 24:36-39
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

Thunder crashed in the distance, dark skies repelled daylight, and rain pelted over the ground. Good Friday morning, I found myself thinking about the day Jesus died. As I drove in the downpour I wondered why God loved me so much. I'm not perfect like his son. I'm not even good all the time. Yet God sent his son as a sacrifice for my imperfections, my sin. Because he loves me.

That blows me away. Sometimes I can't even comprehend the difference Jesus made in my life. He lived as a human, died at the hands of sinners, and came back to life because he wants to pour his grace over anyone who chooses to believe. As Easter nears, I praise God for the resurrection of Jesus.