He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, July 28, 2014

Love That Tie!

            I do my best to look decent, but even with my best efforts there are days I just “am not feelin’ it!”  Today was one of those days.  We had to make a trip into Dover and was completely surprised when a lady looked at me and said, “What a pretty dress!”  I responded with, “thank you,” but she must have heard the doubt in my voice because she insisted.  “No! Really! That is such a cute outfit!”  To say the least it made me feel a little better.  Then while grocery shopping another lady (again, a stranger) said to me, “What a cute outfit!”  Oh my goodness!  I was stunned!  Now this isn’t a fancy dress, just a little outfit that I happened to put on this morning.

            My point is I needed to hear that!  I was feeling “down” on myself….a little ugly…and unattractive, tired and just not feeling “pretty” at all!  It was wonderful to get encouragement!

            I believe we all need that kind of encouragement sometimes. I remember at a Post Office business meeting at convention once, the speaker was talking about “harassment on the job.”  (I was there as a guest with my husband.)  He was quite detailed about what could be said and what was considered inappropriate.  The speaker finished and folks were milling about when another Post Master came near me.   I was quite struck by his tie and was quick to tell him so.  My husband burst out laughing and said, “Well, it’s a good thing you don’t work for the Post Office!  You just did hear the definition of harassment, right?”  I joined in the laughter as did the reciprocating Post Master.  Even though I had just heard all the reasons why you should not say something “nice” to someone, I immediately did!  

            Another time while traveling, we went to purchase the required tickets at the ticket booth and the girl who waited on us had eyes of sapphire.  They were stunning!  We left the booth and I had to return to tell her so!  I have commented on outfits, hair, shoes, even teeth!  After the initial shock of hearing something kind spoken, the recipient of kindness is usually quite pleased with the comments.  It brightens their day, and might be the only kind thing they hear all day long!  

So I ask you, what is wrong with telling someone something good?  Why do we hesitate to comment positively about, or to someone, when we think it?  Honestly, there are times when you have to do some “creative thinking” to say something good…especially if your first instinct isn’t something kind.  Sometimes…..  a genuine smile of friendship is a kindness revered by a stranger.

I challenge you every day, for the next seven days, to say something kind to someone!  It can be a stranger, but doesn't have to be.  Watch the recipient smile.  Take joy in doing something good!  Then share your story with others.  We would be glad to hear how you were able to make someone's day by a simple act or word of kindness.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Scattering Seeds

have heard the parable of the sower many times from Matthew 13.   I’ve always thought the seed being scattered for the unbeliever.  The seed was the Gospel and when it fell on “hard ground” because of sin, the seed could not grow and became food for the birds.  The seed which fell on the stony ground grew but because the soil was not rich in nutrients, could not take root and the heat of the sun caused it to wither and die.   In the thorny ground, the seed grew but the “issues” of life choked out the nutrients and the seed could not grow.  Finally, the seed which falls on rich soil has nutrients for growth.  It matures, and becomes a strong plant producing fruit.   We respond to God’s Word based on where our heart is. Do we want God or do our own ideas, desires and circumstances come before Him?  

            I was introduced to another perspective, however, which could be just as viable.  Rather than thinking the only person retrieving the seeds are unbelievers, consider perhaps the seed is being “scattered” for believers.  Recognizing that Jesus is doing the “scattering” and He does nothing at random, is it possible the ground being described is our “life path.”  

            Even as believers we all sometimes trod “hard ground.” Sin enters our life and we therefore, don’t respond to God’s Word, even knowing our choices are the wrong ones.  There are also times when our lives are filled with stones and God’s Word is heard, but feeling barren and dry without water or nourishing elements, our roots wither beneath the intensity.  The seeds scattered in the thorny ground, like the rocky ground, finds Satan attacking us because we are vulnerable, choking out what is good and right, causing us to fall.  The seeds falling on fertile ground are those seeds which make our life good and right.

            In this light, the seeds thrown out by God are seeds of help to aid us “where we are.”  He is sending a life-line to meet us where and when we need Him most.  It doesn’t have to be a careless scattering, but rather a meaningful and loving message.  The seeds are rich nuggets we can use when we listen and hear Him with our hearts.  

God knows when our life is filled with rocks –great issues-- that threaten to destroy us.  He knows when we are filled with despair with thorns that threaten to choke the life out of us.  And He knows when we are walking on hard ground, making choices that satisfy our sinful nature but go against His law and will.  God also knows when our hearts are in tune with Him so the seeds scattered before us on fertile soil can be used for good and a blessing for ourselves and others. 
I want my life to be one that receives seeds on fertile ground.  But it requires I stay in the Word and in communication with My Lord.  I know, as a sinful creature, if I don’t, I’m going to be the life, when filled with stones is crushed beneath the weight; or the one who allows despair to strangle the joy from me, or the one who chooses to follow the prince of darkness and lead me away from the Light.

            Where do you find yourself today?  Could you be the unbeliever who ignores God’s word, or allows the world to blur the life line He is sending you?  Or could you be the believer who needs to reach for the life line of seeds to lift you up?  We all need the Father.  It’s a matter of heart and decision.  What will you decide?

Monday, July 14, 2014


I love antique shops.  There is something about looking at items that are fifty or more years old which I can not only identify with, but in some cases still own one just like it.  We went into one antique store some years ago which was more like an antique museum than a store.  The areas were set up according to themes and time eras.  It was fascinating and absolutely made me smile. 
I wonder, however, if often we don't put our faith in an antique store—or at least “antique storage” to just look at occasionally.  We pull it out when we feel nostalgic and smile.  It isn't something we keep as new or exciting or even worthwhile unless we have a crisis and feel the need to drag it out of the box or off the shelf to be used only as necessary. It has become old and out of style replaced with newer ideas or technology.

Do we consider our Bible an antique, choosing instead to read books having little or no moral value or spend time on the computer visiting sites less than optimal for spiritual growth?  Do we exchange prayer time for television shows or movies which use violence and sex as the major enticement for interest?  Do we replace worship time for sports events or concerts which don’t even recognize God as a Supreme being?  Do we substitute fresh foods for processed foods and junk food having little or no nutritional value? Do we trade exercise for anything which expedites any process with as little energy as possible?  In general do we make daily trades of newer ideas or concepts, in place of things we know to be good and right?

           I am reading a book, “The Arc of Empires” which compares the United States to ancient Egypt.  It explains that God began preparing the coming out of the children of Israel when Joseph was abandoned and sold by his brothers many years before.  God put Joseph in place to prepare for the coming abundance and the following famine years later which would bring his family to Egypt, setting up the later escape through God’s servant Moses.  Christians in the United States and countries around the world are being prepared for the return of Christ for His church. If we look we can recognize fulfillment of prophecy as we prepare our hearts for our escape from this world of depravity to a world of light and love with God.

          The end of time is very near and God is Sovereign.  The events putting this in motion began in 1948 when Israel again became a nation.  Other signs include the preparation of the Temple rebuilding and worldwide communication; increased earthquakes, pestilence (like biological warfare and diseases which have no cures), famines, and more and more natural disasters; the continuing efforts of a one world system, language, and religion; a knowledge explosion, a great falling away, crime and lawlessness. 

          As I watch all this coming together, I stand in awe of Christ’s return even as I cringe with horror and revulsion at the dreadful events and repercussion of said events all over the world.  I suggest this is not the time to put “antique tags” on our faith, but rather recognize the urgent battle we are facing; fall on our knees with supplication to the Lord, that He give us the ability and strength to stand up to the deception of the evil powers of this world even as we acknowledge these happenings as a fulfillment of scripture to His ultimate plan.  It will be in this place we will find hope, and faith to face each day.

       I challenge you this week to re-evaluate your spiritual life and behaviors.  Have you placed The Lord up on the shelf, outdated and unnecessary; only to be dusted off when you need Him?  Consider the ramifications of such actions.  Our Lord has “been” since the beginning of time but is not in the slightest way archaic or futile.  I urge you to revitalize the relationship with God the Father and Jesus the Son who promises to return one day…..really soon!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Asking For the Bow Not the Box

     I was going through some old journals recently and came across an entry I added about prayer which was a discussion during a Sunday School class.  I shared that I tend to pray “generically” rather than asking for specifics of what I want.  Especially since sometimes, I’m not sure what I want!  But it was explained that I was asking for the bow not the box.  I responded, “But it’s not about me!”  Another man in the group asked, “Why not?  God wants you to be happy.  When you don’t ask for what would make you happy, it’s like you believe you are unworthy, undeserving….and have no value.”   

             Life has a funny way of just “happening.”  There are circumstances over which we have no control.  I find myself wondering how I should pray.  Am I alone, here?   Are there others who think just as I do or at least did?  I want very much to live my life with a servant attitude.  So the idea of making the prayer about me seems selfish and egotistical.  Yet, I am no different than those I pray for.  I want others to be healed, whether physically, emotionally or spiritually.  I want their needs met, along with the desires of their heart.  This seems, for me, to be priority.   But is it wrong for me to want to be happy, as well?  Is it wrong for me to feel worthy and deserving of value?

            I was reading an article recently which shared insights into prayer.  The article proposes that prayer should not be a religious ritual but a conversation with God. I completely agree with this idea, and recognize it is not a one way conversation.  We’re not telling Him anything He doesn’t already know, but we need to bring our desire to Him with humble hearts.  And when we pray we need to believe God speaks and when He does, we must act with obedience. Prayer is where we find relationship with God, even as we wait for His response.

            When I reflect on my relationships with other people, the bond grows when thoughts, feelings, ideas and desires are shared.  Why would I want less than that with my Savior?  By having that one on one conversation with God, who is ultimately my very best friend, then our relationship grows and matures.  He wants me to share my heart, my desires, or what I feel would make me most happy---and I suggest, He would love to honor my request.  But just like the acknowledgement from my friend who would caution me against an activity or desire that may not be in my best interest, God will also respond, with love, against a request He knows would ultimately be harmful. He isn’t going to close a door however, without opening a window!  He won’t say no to one thing without offering something better!

            But when I skirt around those desires that would really make my heart sing, which ultimately is avoiding being honest with myself and Him, then I’m asking only for the bow on the box rather than what is inside.  I’m asking for the bare minimum of what God would love to give me.  It is God’s greatest desire that as one of His children, I am happy because he loves and values me.   Why then should I not ask him for the “whole bicycle” rather than just the peddle?  …Or for what is inside the box and not just the bow?