Monday, November 27, 2017

If I Wrote In 1750

I consider it an honor to die in the service of our Lord, Who gave it all for the wretch that is me. What glorious respite to be removed from this earthly life to abide with Him eternally. I will not fear those who might kill my body, rather let me run from the one seeking my everlasting soul. When I die, whether by earthly end, or evil hand, I pray that death would find me in the middle of doing unto Him. Amen.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

H2O

When I was a kid, we went to the Catholic church, and I remember walking in the door and dipping my hand in the "holy water". Funny how some memories come rushing back when you least expect them. It was a sprinkling. The water, not the memory. It was a few drops to remind me of the many ways Jesus used water to show Who He was. He turned water into wine, walked on water, and was baptized with it, but the one use of water that came to mind with this memory was the woman at the well. There she was with her bucket, working hard at mid day, when along came Jesus and offered her a different kind of water. "Living water". The kind that washes you from your head to your toes and takes all the filth and sin away. The kind that quenches that thirst to understand who you are, and Whose you are. It was water that rushed into all the empty spaces in her heart, and filled them. I've found, as the years have gone by, that I am no longer satisfied with a dip, I want a drowning. I daily ask for God to immerse me in Himself, so much so that I can feel water up my nose, and on my skin, and in my wet hair. I pray that for my kids, for my family, and my friends, and my enemies. Especially for the ones standing in the heat, on the sandy shore, inches from the waves. Step in. Step. In. It's what you've been longing for. John 4

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Dog's Life

Lessons from the dog: Hammie crates himself when he does something bad. Last night, I saw him grab the closed crate door and pull it open. I figured he was planning ahead. He knew the dinner table was a temptation, and that he'd rather risk the punishment if he could only get to a couple crumbs on the floor. Sin is like that, isn't it? Sometimes it feels like it would all be worth it, that stepping over the line. The trouble is, it isn't. Solitary confinement for the sake of a morsel of food on the floor? The kibbles bowl was full. The water bowl was full. The "good stuff" was right there in front of him, but that tug was more than he could bear. What he didn't know was that I had a reward for him if he stayed out of the kitchen. I would have slipped him a couple of good scraps from the table (I know, don't tell the vet). There was a bigger reward in "not sinning" than in sinning. That's the truth for all of us. Are you feeling it today? Are you feeling that pull toward something you should not do or have? Run. That's right, run. In the opposite direction. It might feel like a good idea right this minute, but in reality the thing you're after just rolled across the dirty floor. It's covered in dust and dog hair. Ew.

1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 

13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Branching Out

Things I have learned through DNA, and building family trees:
--your ancestors had to escape disease, war, accidents, and more. Basically, they Indiana Jones-ed life, or you wouldn't be here. Some families had one living survivor, and that survivor had one survivor, and now there is you. You are a miracle. 
 --all those "begats" in the Bible that you skipped over were kinda important. God was showing you His plan is not random, it is laid out for generations and generations. Before your great great grandparents were born, He knew your name. You're that special.
--life is fragile, and that "death date" I just typed in the box? Relative A was cruising through life when it came to an abrupt halt. You only have this moment.
You are a miracle, you're THAT special, and you only have this moment. So, why are you wasting life worrying, or acting like you're not enough? Go be who God made you to be, and quit believing the lie that your life has no purpose. There's a reason you are here. There's a reason you are who you are. You are God's workmanship. Ephesians 2:10 Workmanship (synonyms: creation, design, artwork!)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Waiting Season

Sometimes in Winter, it's hard to see the promise of Spring. The gray landscape, the cold wind that makes you want to huddle under a blanket. I look at the garden. Pieces of dead vegetation are tumbled in the mud, and bits of Autumn's harvest cling to the fencing with no hope for tomorrow. It's bleak, and it brings me no joy. I want to walk backward six months to the days when I watched the earth for seedlings, and rejoiced to see the flowers budding out. I want to smell the soil baking under a warm sun. I want, I want, I want...and then I am reminded. I am reminded that although it looks like all is lost, there is a purpose for this season. The seeds that have fallen to the ground need to sit and wait. They need to experience the fury of Winter in order to burst forth in Spring. This is not idle time. Were it not for the frozen ground heaving up and becoming broken, the seeds, could never be planted. They would still lie atop the garden beds when the snow melted away, and they would be eaten by the birds, or rot in the muddy mess. I wonder what the seed thinks as it tumbles down the abyss created by that heaving soil. It probably thinks it is finished. It has no legs to climb it's way back out, no voice to cry for help. Done, I'm done. The days tick by, the seed remains in the cavern. Then, one day, long after the seed has given up all hope, something amazing happens. It burst forth from it's assumed prison, and becomes something beautiful.

 Ecclesiastes 3:1There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
      2A time to give birth and a time to die;
            A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
      3A time to kill and a time to heal;
            A time to tear down and a time to build up.
      4A time to weep and a time to laugh;
            A time to mourn and a time to dance...

Ecclesiastes 3:11 11He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Beauty For Ashes

Everybody has something in life that they appreciate. Music, art, photography. For me, I like crooked sheds. Yes, I know, that's not particularly exciting, but neither am I. Up here in rural PA, everywhere you go you have the opportunity to find a new shed. Well, actually, it would be an old shed. They have faded and warped planks, and usually they are bowing outward in a last-ditch effort to stand upright. They probably held animals, or maybe the farmer's supplies. The roof might sag, and the door hangs off it's hinges, and generally there is some species of climbing plant winding it's way up the side.
Why, oh why, do I love these little buildings? Well, they're a work of art. There is beauty in the way they are broken, and every single one of them has a story that I will never know. Kind of like people. I bet you know someone who's "a little off", maybe listing to one side, with a gaping hole in their roof somewhere. They are generally people who you wouldn't give a second glance, or maybe you'd even walk by on the other side of the road. They don't look too appealing, and when they talk you might hear that broken hinge. You're missing out. You're missing an opportunity to see beauty in another form, and to hear a story before the story is gone. You see, God sees art where you see brokenness. God sees beauty where you see decay. He's not looking at their building, He's seeing that that is only temporary and will one day fall away. He is peering through the cracks and seeing their heart. The heart that needs love, the heart that needs Him. Be challenged to hear the story behind their broken hinges today, and to touch the heart that is hidden behind the splintered wood. Carry love somewhere love has never been before.

1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Psalm 139: 1-18                                                                                         You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand
    when I awake, I am still with you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mustard Seed Faith

In the process of making dilly beans this week, I spilled the mustard seed container. Not wanting to waste the spice I needed, I tried to collect them as they rolled across the counter. They're awfully tiny, and hard to pick up with fat fingers. (Maybe they're hard to pick up with skinny fingers, too, but you'd have to ask someone else) You wouldn't expect life lessons during canning, but there was one. There are quite a few mountains we're trying to scale here at home at the moment, and just when we think we've conquered Everest, the rope breaks. I'm sure a few of you have gone tumbling down a rocky slope a few times, too. You would think to overcome the big mountains, you would have to have "big faith". As in, the amount of faith I have is directly proportionate to the outcome of this situation. That thinking leads to a lot of self-blame. "It must be that I didn't have enough faith, or this wouldn't/would have happened". OK, you can all stop feeling sorry for yourselves now. Take a peek at a mustard seed. It's ridiculously small, yet that's all the faith God says we need to do big things. Luke 17:6 "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you." Mustard seed faith. Teensy tiny, because the outcome really is not about you. You are simply being obedient by putting into play your itty bitty seed of faith, and the big part all gets done by that big God you've been talking to. :)