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, July 22, 2017

A Measure of Growth

Colossians 1:9-14
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

When we vacationed in Maine, Tim and I took a "Lobster Tour." Our first afternoon in that beautiful state we boarded the Lucky Catch, on the Casco Bay in Portland. The little red boat held about fourteen tourists ready to learn about the trade of lobstering. First, we filled mesh bags with chubs and herring, then tied them into the traps. The captain taught us about the traps, how the larger lobsters get caught and the little ones have an escape hatch. The whole experience was hands-on. When we pulled in the traps and found a female, they showed us she was a layer and threw her back. Then the captain demonstrated which of the larger male lobsters to keep and which to send back to the water.


The captain grabbed the lobster and a gage. He hooked one end of the measuring tool to the socket behind the lobster's eye, then drew the other end straight down along the crustacean's carapace (back). The minimum length had to be three and a quarter inches for him to keep it. Otherwise back to the deep they went for a chance to grow.

Like those lobsters that get thrown into the sea, God wants me to keep growing. My Father knows where I am as a believer. He knows my heart and sees my soul. When I think of ways to grow spiritually I call up the verses in Galatians where Paul names the Fruit of the Spirit. My love needs to multiply. Does God draw me through the fires of life to increase my compassion for people? I'm willing to say yes. Does he require I wait to develop patience? Of course. How about experiencing hurt and pain to remember to be kind and gentle. Yes! God wants me to grow in my relationship with Jesus. He wants me to strengthen my knowledge of his word. Does he use a gage to measure my growth? No, instead he checks my heart. Jesus knows me. He loves me and he wants me to be filled with joy. And that takes growth—in learning his word, in prayer, and in obedience.


Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

God's own Hands

Isaiah 44:23
Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.

I never get tired of experiencing God's amazing creation. On our trip to Maine this week, we spent a day in the rural area between Portland and New Harbor. We journeyed up the coast across parts of the Casco Bay. Trees lined the roadways; not just fence lines of scrubs or a spruce here and an oak there. Instead we passed by forested areas grown by God's own hands. I couldn't help but wonder what animals roamed the woods. Maybe a bear or a moose. But those were left to my imagination. Other areas we crossed were covered by wetlands and waterways. Everywhere we looked, beauty sang a song of glory to the Creator.

As I prepare to leave the great state of Maine, I thank the Lord for the experience to visit another area of the world. No matter how large or small the geographical areas in my life are, I know God's hands formed everything. From the sandy beaches to the evergreen trees to the call of the sea gulls, I witnessed the glory of God by his presence in this amazing environment. I love his incredible imagination and wisdom.


Shout to Him with joy, for He is good!
Do you connect to God through nature?  

Friday, July 7, 2017

I'm Not Home Yet

John 14:1-4
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Have you ever prepared for a long trip? A journey to a new place? An adventure of a lifetime. We've spent the last few months booking places to stay, creating lists of things to do, pages of what to pack and mapping out a route. Maybe you do this for vacation, taking a child to college, or moving across the country. This year, we'll be packing our bags for a week long excursion across several states. I'm excited to go places I've never been and see things I've only dreamed of. But to go from dreaming about the trip to actually loading the car and driving off, we've had to get ready.

In John 14, Jesus talks about a different kind of journey he's designing for his followers. Building 429 sings, Where I Belong, a song that talks about not being home yet and looking forward to the time when they'll meet Jesus face-to-face. Even as Jesus sets the table in his Father's mansion and lays out a path for me to follow, I need to prepare for the journey. I can't just sit around and dream about the day I'll see Jesus. I need to pray and listen to his voice. I want to follow his map, the Bible. I try to obey my God and Savior, as I anticipate his coming. He's promised to return for the faithful. I praise God for his grace and the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven. I know I'm not home yet. But someday I will be spending my days at the feet of Jesus' throne.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Reflections of the Heart

1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.


Before July ends, I will celebrate another birthday. I've chalked up a lot of experience in the years I've lived. As I looked in the mirror this morning, my reflection stared back. White hair, tired eyes, wrinkles and frown lines. Life mapped out on my face. Sounds depressing doesn't it. Until I look past the physical markings and see the cheeks my husband, children, and grandchildren kiss. The hair I still have. The eyes that take in the beauty of the natural world. I see hints of my mom and my dad, resemblances to my siblings. Years of worry and sadness are balanced by many more moments of joy and love.

Somewhere in the reflection, I recognize the love Jesus pours over me. The grace he offers freely. Even as I live on earth, I see Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 13:12, the apostle Paul talks about "a reflection as in a mirror," as in what we see now—today—here on earth. But "then we shall see face to face," not in a mirror but face to face. Jesus will return to take his followers, the believers, the obedient—and then we will see him face to face. Not just a reflection, but our true Savior will stand in front of us in all of his glory. What a joy that will be!

As I reflect on my life, I pray that my heart reflects the deep love I have for Jesus and the grace he's given me. I praise God for many years lived surrounded by people I love.
Proverbs 27:19 As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.