At The Quieting of the Day

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Lately, I’ve been finding myself sitting at my computer in front of the window at just the right time of day to enjoy twilight.  Glowing patterns are created across the sky, and the sounds of the day lessen until I can hear the water fountain running, from across the street.  The muffled sound of a plane flying in the distance reminds me of how big the world is, and at the same time I notice how easily palm branches move in the wind…they don’t fight it.  Then, a single bird chirps, as if he is the last of his fleet to find out that the day is coming to a close.  Twilight is a gift, when the quieting of the day draws my attention not only to the wonderful things that have been made, but to the One Who so kindly made them.

“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You
created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” – Revelation 4:11

Where Is Your Treasure?

holding-hands-2600576__480My husband and I flew to Vermont last week to see his mom and stepdad.  It made me uneasy, as I am an unenthusiastic flyer.  I sometimes wonder if at least part of the reason for this is that my grandfather died in a plane crash, and although it occurred before I was born, I witnessed the hole it left in the hearts of his (my) family.  So although flying is statistically a safe form of travel, it can make me fearful.  Some may think that a Christian should not be subject to these feelings since they believe that God has their back and in the end, will be with Him anyway, but the feelings are a result of our humanness, and although I believe that God would prefer we trust Him in every situation, I know that He also has compassion on us in our weaknesses.  My husband often says that once we move beyond this life and are with God, we won’t have a care in the world, and that it’s toughest for the people here who mourn our passing.  I do agree.  When we are in God’s presence, we will be completely content.  The Bible verse I read on the morning of the flight encourages people to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy” (Matthew 6:20).  It reminded me that if what we value most is our eternal life with God, then our hearts can rest more easily when we are doing things that make us afraid.  Like flying, for instance.  I’m glad that God calls us to Himself through Jesus, not only so we have our eternal home with Him, but so we can also experience the comfort of knowing Him as we walk (or fly) to each new destination in this life.

From A Long Way Off

merciful-father-2629952__480Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is how God in the Old Testament (OT) sometimes seems different from the God Jesus came to make known.  I know that He is not different because God does not change…“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).  The Bible also reveals that Jesus is God…“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.  He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation” (Colossians 1:15), and that He is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  So why does it seem like God was more stern in the OT, whereas Jesus makes familiar a God of love, patience, mercy, and forgiveness?  First, I need to say that the OT is not without examples of the love and forgiveness of God…I just get more insight into the gentleness of God, in Jesus.  So this is a question I will continue to ask God about.  But one thing I do know.  I know that God is love…“God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).  And I have experienced His love first hand, when at times I have acted less than loving toward Him and He has made it known to me, whether it was through something I read, something someone said, or just a reassuring thought, that He was still there and was present with me.  Through Jesus, God forgives us our shortcomings and not only that, but like the prodigal son, He sees us from a “long way off” and is “filled with compassion” (Luke 15:20).

Being Still and Knowing

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Have you ever woken up feeling anxious about the state of the world?  If so, Psalm 46 is a good one to read.  It reaffirms God’s sovereignty and His continual presence.  It also includes a truth that is helpful in countering every worry…

“Be still, and know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation.  I will be honored throughout the world.”- Psalm 46:10

From Seed to Stalk

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Seed to Stalk

I saw you shoot from soil to sky
So little I knew of the you still inside
That one day you’d flower
that your stalks would reach high
So little I knew of your special design

I saw you flourish, then one day you stopped
Your pieces changed color ’til some parts, they dropped
the earth below you seemed hard as a rock
Then suddenly life in a place it was not

I saw you move as soon as you knew
that you had a home, and quickly you grew
almost out of the pot you came home in, it’s true
And the more that you grew, the more beautiful you

It’s from God, is it not?  You, from seed to stalk?
The flowers that bloom, and the new life in spots?
The reason we grow almost out of our pots?
‘Cause we now know Home, with His life, has been bought.

– kb

“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” – 1 Corinthians 3:7

Not Hearing Goodbye

friends-581753__480I met *Sarah in a retail store.  She helped me shop for a ring.  She informed me that people are calling costume jewelry by another name now, “progressive jewelry.”  We both laughed a little.  Sarah was in her 60’s and had retired several years earlier so that she could travel.  She was back at work, but in a job that she liked, and she spoke of no regrets having used some of her savings to explore the world.  Sarah told me that her family was made up of diverse backgrounds.  She and her siblings were raised Muslim (although she did not identify herself as Muslim any longer), and she had relatives by marriage who were Jewish, as well as Catholic.  She said that family ties meant a lot to her.  She said that she celebrates Christmas.  Sarah’s life and family background were atypical, and she seemed to appreciate that.  I liked thinking of her family sitting together at holiday gatherings, differing beliefs and all.  I do believe that there is one true way for people to find close relationship and eternal life with God, through Jesus’ sacrifice, but it’s because of this that I can appreciate when people show love toward one another even and especially when their views differ.  It’s one way of truly loving our neighbors, which Jesus equated with loving God with our whole heart.  Before leaving, Sarah and I shared a hug.  I said goodbye and she responded by saying that she wasn’t going to say goodbye…that she had a feeling we would see each other again.  Not hearing goodbye from my new friend touched my heart.

” ‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’  Jesus replied, ” ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” – Matthew 22:36-39
(*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.)

The Gentleness of God

dove-2347043__480Nearly every day I hear the sound of a dove cooing outside of our window, and each time I hear it, I am reminded of when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus “like a dove” (Luke 3:21-22).  In the book of Matthew, Jesus referred to doves as “harmless” (Matthew 10:16).  So the Spirit of God took on the appearance of a harmless creature as He fell on Jesus.  God is powerful, as we see in the story of the parting of the Red Sea.  He is the Creator of all things and has dominion over all things.  As He reminds Job, He “laid the foundations of the earth” and “kept the sea inside its boundaries”  (Job 38:4, 8).  At the same time, through His Spirit, God chose to appear in the form of harmless dove at Jesus’ baptism.  I’m glad that although God Has the ability to move mountains, He also places value in the gentle, harmless way of a dove.

“You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” – Psalm 18:35

The Navigator

desktop-1753659__480It is very clear to me that I need God’s help in determining how best to navigate my relationships with others.  Since He knows the heart of every person, there is no better Counselor in these matters.  When I have taken these types of concerns to Him, He has answered my prayers in different ways.  When I was only able to see the negatives about a person, He opened my eyes to their good qualities.  When someone left me frustrated, He put empathy in my heart for them.  He has also helped me to leave things in His hands so that I had a greater measure of peace.  Each time I have done this it has strengthened my faith, as I have witnessed God respond to my petitions for help.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:7