Summer, Fall, Winter, or Spring

snow covered field

On my way home Saturday from PA it was when I reached route 390 near Dansville, NY that I saw the first snow.  The fields were blanketed in a light covering of snow. Only a few months ago these same fields were ready for harvest.  The verse in John 4:35 says:

“Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”

What the snow covered fields made me realize is that it doesn’t matter what the season is (summer, fall, winter, or spring), the fields are always “white unto harvest.”  There is a vast “field of people” around the world that need to hear about the Lord Jesus Christ.  A question I have to ask myself is, “What should I be doing to help reach the lost in the fields around me?”

No one is guaranteed tomorrow, they need to hear that Jesus loves them, He died for their sins, rose again and they can go to heaven some day if they trust Him as their Savior.

Let the snow covered fields challenge you to say, “Hear I am, Lord, use me!”

 

Shells

sea shells

My cousin, Carole, took us to the beach last week at Galvaston, TX which is right on the gulf.  My daughter, Christine, and I both love to hunt for shells.  She was able to find more than I did; but they are all interesting–different shapes, sizes, colors, and of course there were lots that were broken.

It was another reminder to me of our bodies. We all are so different and yes, many of us broken in one way or another; physically, emotionally, spiritually. But the encouraging part, and the hope we have in the Lord is that one day we are  going to leave these ol’ bodies (they are just a shell) and we’ll have a new body without pain or defects of any kind.  I’m looking forward to that day, aren’t you?

“Beloved, now are we the sons of  God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  I John 3:2

Whatever you are struggling with today; remember it’s only temporary.  There’s a grand day coming!

My Pilot

airplane

I have to admit it’s been an exciting trip and learning experience for me this weekend and being able to share it with my daughter has been special.  We are still enjoying time with my cousin in Houston.

If there was any disappointment it was on the final flight to Houston.  I was assigned the middle seat with a gentleman at the widow seat.  I was really hoping I would be able to look out and enjoy God’s beautiful creation, but the man decided to sleep most of the way and pulled the shade; as did the person on the other side of the plane.  There was no looking out until the final decent. So, all the while I just listened to the roar of the engines, bounced with the turbulence, prayed and trusted the pilot to get us safely to our destination.  (I’m not a good flier!)

But isn’t this like  our lives?  We can’t always see what’s around us or ahead of us, but God certainly can.  And yes, He often allows those turbulent times in our lives to mold us and make us like his Son.  We know our final destination, but we don’t know when we will arrive there. God is the only one who know that.  Our responsibility is to keep trusting “OUR PILOT” in the good times as well as in those uncertain and trying times.

One of my favorite passages of scripture is still this:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”  Prov. 3:5,6

(EVEN WHEN WE CAN’T SEE!)

Sometimes Just Laugh

old age

There we were, the 4 of us ladies enjoying a wonderful luncheon, laughing and just enjoying each other’s company.  It came time to leave and as I tried to push myself up from the table with much difficulty, I looked up and each of the other 3 were struggling with the same thing–trying to get up!  I burst out laughing along with the other 3 as we looked at each other (all  laughing at ourselves because of our ailments and hurting bodies. Yes, all in the same boat!   Isn’t that life?

We all, no matter what age, have our problems and deal with our health issues.  We’d like God to take them away; but most of the time we are going  to have to live with them especially as we get older.

A verse in Deut. 33:25 says: “As your days, so shall your strength be.”  Learning to take one day at a time (even moment by moment) is key and relying on the strength Jesus promises to give us.  Look at the beautiful promise He gives us in Isa. 46:4:

“And even to your old age I am He; and even to gray hairs will  I carry you:  I have made you and I will bear, even I will carry you, and will deliver you.”

He’s not going to forsake us no matter what age we are.  There is no one  like Him and He knows all about us and our physical as well as spiritual needs.  How he has previously taken care of you and given you strength in the past He will continue to do until He takes you home to heaven. That’s His promise!

So go ahead and laugh at yourself, but at the same time keep trusting in our wonderful God to give you the strength you need for THIS DAY.

 

What Kind of a Legacy are You Leaving?

Legacy

On my way to an appointment last week I drove past an old home, now deserted.  The front with its four pillars on the porch was covered with thick vines; paint was badly worn, windows broken or boarded up.  I could only imagine how beautiful it must have been “back in the day.”

I wondered how many families may have lived there, how many children had run and played in the yard, and what kind of a legacy may have been passed down.  I wondered how many “living pillars” had actually lived there and had been a strong influence on these families.

The pillars on that house are still standing in spite of the passing of time and enduring all kinds of weather.  It’s deserted now, but we don’t know what effect the members of that household may have had on society.

Our homes, our churches need “living pillars;” ones who are godly examples of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In spite of age and the storms of life we need to be “faithful pillars” in the Lord and leaving behind a godly legacy for our children and others to follow.

“O God, you have taught me from my youth: and up to now I have declared your wondrous works.  Now also when I am old and gray headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed your strength to this generation, and your power to every one that is to come.”  Psalm 71:17,18

Whether you are young or old, let’s keep check to see how we are doing, and what kind of pillar we are: those standing the test of time (in the strength of the Lord) or ones that are crumbling.  What do others see in you?

 

No Hesitation

Abraham and Isaac

I am enjoying our new ladies’ Bible Study, “Discerning the Voice of God,” by Priscilla Shirer.  The first lesson has already challenged my heart.  Abraham was the example for us to consider.  God had tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac.  He didn’t hesitate to obey and immediately set out to make all the necessary preparations. There was nothing he left undone.  Scholars have even suggested he would also have taken a small pottery container with glowing pieces of charcoal or other embers to be used to  ignite the wood on the altar.  Abraham had every intention of following through with what God has asked him to do.

Am I (you) as intentional to do what God tells me (us) to do or is it easy to make excuses and do our own thing?   If we are to be intentional in our obedience to the Lord we need to do what Col. 3:1,2 says:

“If (since) you are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

There are two words in these verses we need to think about this week :  SEEK and SET.

I believe they will help us to be intentional in our obedience to the Lord when He asks us to do something.

 

 

Joy Basket #3

Let us not love in word

Are you ready to fill the last of our three joy baskets? #1 was filled with faith.  #2 was filled with service.  Let’s set the stage for basket #3.

It wasn’t an ordinary day.  But what was all the ruckus?  Hundreds of people were hurrying through the streets, leaving the city and heading to where a crowd was gathering.  Jesus was there.  He had gone up a mountain from where He could teach the people.  A young lad was eager to join the crowd.  His mother had prepared 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish for him before he hurried to the mountain.

For hours Jesus taught the crowd.  The lad and some 5000+ people sat and took in every word this wonderful teacher said.  No one was leaving even to go get something to eat.  Jesus finally asked his disciples, “How can we feed such a large number of people?”  (He already knew the answer).  Andrew had spotted the young lad with his lunch.  You know the result.  Jesus gave thanks, gave the food to his disciples who passed out the food.  5000+ were all fed with 12 baskets left over.

So, you’re saying, the baskets were filled with food.  Yes, physically they were, but something  far greater was in each one of them.

Consider Jesus:  He was filled compassion not only for the spiritual, but also the physical needs of the people.

Consider the lad:  He could have said, “No my mommy made this for me.”  But can you imagine the love and joy he must have felt because of the Lord? His love for Jesus far exceeded any personal satisfaction he may have had.

Consider us:  We, too, need the compassion of the Lord to reach out to those in need; whether for spiritual or physical needs.

We need to be  like the little lad, filled with love for the Lord and willing to give all we have to Jesus to use us for his glory to bring others to himself.

So, our baskets?  Let’s fill them with love this week and see what God will do with them.

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue;

but in deed and in  truth.”  I John 3:18

God will multiply our fruit of love over and over again.

This finishes our baskets of joy.  Remember this:  There is no true joy apart from the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is our hope; and one day our joy will be complete when He takes us home to heaven to be with Him forever.

 

 

Joy Baskets (part 2)

serve the Lord with gladness

Last week was part I of our Joy Baskets.  I hope the faith you put in it brought you joy.  Today I want to take you to an event in the life of Paul.

Before Paul became a Christian he was a zealous persecutor of Christians.  When he met the Lord on the road to Damascus he became a changed man and became a zealous preacher of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord.  As a result, the Jews were ready to kill him.  While Paul was in Damascus his life was in danger.  After being assured of Paul’s changed life, the disciples set out to help save this man’s life.  They were able to lower him down the city wall in a basket at night time.  This was no easy feat.  By doing so, Paul was able to escape and he went on to become the world’s greatest missionary that ever lived.

What are our feelings when someone different enters the doors of our church?  Are we suspicious of them?  That one may be the next Paul or Moody or ______.

When there is an urgent need or project (let’s call it a large basket filled with opportunities) how do we react?  Do we let one or two try to do the jobs or do we pull together and fill that basket with our talents and service to lighten the load and fulfill the jobs at hand?

Today let’s fill our Service Basket with willing hearts, selfless hearts; not condemning or judgmental, but overlooking faults (admiring their virtues instead).  Let’s accept others as they are, serve in unity, press on even under adverse circumstances; so the message of the death, burial, and resurrection of our precious Lord can reach to the farthest parts of the earth.  May we each, at the end of our life, hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant… enter into the joy of the Lord.”  Matt. 25:21

This week I encourage you to:

“Serve the Lord with gladness.”  Ps. 100:2

Joy Baskets

baby Moses

As I was cleaning out a certain closet last week, I came across two baskets I forgot I had. I do like baskets; they can be used for a variety of different things no matter what size they may be.  They got me thinking about some baskets in scripture.  So, over the next three weeks we will discover what’s in these baskets.

But let me preface this with the following statement:  Have you ever said to yourself, “If it wasn’t for _________________ I’d be happy?  Remember this:  Satan is our joy robber and many times we let him be just that.  Having said this, let’s consider our first basket.

You are familiar with the story of baby Moses.  He was born at a time when all male babies were being killed.  His mother, Jochebed, was a special woman.  She wasn’t about to give up without doing all she could to protect her son.  She hid him first of all, and then realizing she had to do more, she prepared a special basket (an ark), water proofed it, placed her baby in it and took it down to the river, laying it in the reeds.  She left him  there and went home while her daughter watched from afar.  Wow!  How could she do that? Only one word is all it takes to describe this extraordinary event and this extraordinary woman — faith.

When events in our lives look impossible, remember:  nothing is impossible with God.

When we think God has abandoned us, remember: God will never leave us or forsake us.

When our strength is gone, remember:  God is our strength.

When we see no hope in sight, remember:  “I know the plans I have for you.  They are plans for good and not for evil; to give you a future and a hope.”  Jer. 29:11

Satan tried to have Jochebed robbed of her joy like he tries to do with us.  But remember what God did for her and how He blessed her.  He can and will do the same for you when your basket is full of faith.

If we want a joy basket in our lives, we need to add faith alongside whatever we are presently carrying in our basket. Don’t let Satan rob you of your joy.

 

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

I Know Who Hold Tomorrow

I found myself singing a favorite hymn on my way home from PA last week:  “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.”  Our lives sometimes take us down roads that are unfamiliar or uncertain and and it can leave us wondering, “What in the world is going to happen to me?”  We can begin to imagine the worst and  worry about things that we don’t need to worry about.

So, why or how can I say this? The chorus of this hymn says:

Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand:

But I know who holds tomorrow,

And I know who holds my hand.

So, no matter if our skies turn to gray, or our path be through the flame or flood; God’s presence goes before us.  We are in good hands and we are covered with His blood.

“Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yes,I will help you; yes,I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.”   Isa. 41:10