Saturday, September 14, 2019

A Precious Treasure

Sometimes old hymns I haven’t sung (or even thought about) for years pop into my mind. For example, one morning after I'd thanked God for the Bible, some of the words to Holy Bible, Book Divine drifted into my thoughts. I remembered all of the first verse (see caption beneath the photo on the left) but could only recall phrases from the other three.

After locating the entire song on the Internet and reflecting on the blessings the song says the Bible provides (comfort in distress, assurances of joys to come, guidance, etc.), I recalled these words Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16, Amplified Bible:
All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God's will, both publicly and privately--behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
All that "remembering" reminded me anew that the Bible is indeed a precious treasure, one that contains a wealth of knowledge waiting to be "mined" by you and me as we study it and apply it to our lives.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Set a Good Example!


Day after day, I observed a mama and daddy bird bringing bugs to feed their four hungry baby birds in the nest on our porch. Every time I looked out the window, I’d see one of the parents sitting on a post watching expectantly for an unsuspecting bug to fly by, or I’d see a parent swoop in—bug in mouth—to feed the young ones.

As human parents, we understand the struggle to provide for our offspring, don’t we? We know about the extra—often difficult—things we do in order to meet the needs of those in our care. Although we’re often worn out from working so hard to provide what our children need, we continue to do all we can for them. That’s what loving parents do!

Soon the day comes, as it did for the bird family, when the young ones leave the security of the nest and enter the adult world. Hopefully, they will thrive there. And when it’s their turn to parent, they’re likely to follow the examples we set for them, examples of faithfulness, kindness, dependability, loyalty, love....

And children do model what they’ve heard us say and seen us do. Although some children will behave dramatically different from their parents, most usually follow the example Mom and Dad provided for them. Scriptures such as 1 Kings 22:51-53 (below) confirm that.

Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly imprinting our attitudes and actions on others, especially the younger generation whose minds and hearts are as easily molded as Play-Doh.

May God help us to provide good and godly examples.



Ahaziah the son of [King] Ahab began to reign…
He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD 
and walked in the way of his father 
and in the way of his mother [Jezebel]…
[Ahaziah] provoked the LORD, the God of Israel, 
to anger in every way that his father had done.

1 Kings 22:51-53, ESV

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Happy Labor Day!

According to Internet sources, the first Labor Day was held on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. On that day, which was set aside to pay tribute to the social and economic achievements of American workers, ten thousand of them marched in a parade from City Hall to Union Square and enjoyed speeches, as well as a picnic and concert. 

The annual federal holiday is now held on the first Monday in September in order to provide a long weekend for the working people who make important contributions to our country's strength, prosperity, and well-being. Can you imagine the chaos we'd experience if those in the workforce failed to show up? 

This Labor Day (and every day!), why don't we make it a point to thank those who are doing their part to provide the goods and services we need? It will encourage them to be even more committed to showing up for work and for doing their work well. 




Sunday, August 25, 2019

Fruit In Its Season

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
   Nor stands in the path of sinners,
   Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
   And in His law he meditates day and night.


He shall be like a tree
   Planted by the rivers of water,
   That brings forth its fruit in its season,
   Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

--Psalm 1:1-3, NKJV

Apples on a tree at Honeywood Farms in Barnesville, GA





Sunday, August 18, 2019

In Need of Chiseling

After reading a portion of a long story* about Jacob, I wrote these words in my journal:
“Thank You, Father, for a rich time in Your Word! I needed to be reminded of Your great grace that is so evident in the life of Jacob.                                          
He was a liar, a deceiver, a schemer...; but instead of obliterating him, You chiseled** away on him year after year in order to remove those sins (and others!) and to reveal the Jacob You saw in him before he was born, the Jacob You intended him to be.

Dear Reader, God will do the same for you and me if we want Him to. So let's let Him. In fact, let's ASK Him to change us.



*Genesis, chapter 25 and following

**A term used by Beth Moore in The Quest, p.128

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Story of Our Lives

I love reading the stories in the Bible, don’t you? I’ve noticed that every story has happy and not-so-happy moments.
Through it all, God was using each person to accomplish His will and to provide examples for you and me. 
For instance, we can learn much from the story of Joseph. (Chapters 37-50 of Genesis tell of his life from age 17 to his death at the age of 110.)
He came from what we would call today a dysfunctional family. His own brothers hated him so much they wanted to kill him. Instead, they sold him to slave traders who transported him to another country (Egypt), perhaps hundreds of miles away from all that was familiar to young Joseph. There, Joseph excelled and received recognitions and promotions. However, he was also falsely accused, which led to imprisonment and continued betrayals.
Was God with Joseph during all these highs and lows? Was He using Joseph all the while? Absolutely!
Looking back on his experiences, Joseph said, “God intended it [the evil done to me] for good.” 
Indeed, God did bring great good out of all of Joseph’s experiences, even the not-so-happy ones.
Likewise, every experience you and I have is an opportunity for God to use us. He may use us publicly or privately, in big ways or little ways, in expected ways or unexpected ways... The choice is up to Him.
Are we willing, even excited, for Him to use us as He pleases and in any place He chooses? To write the story of our life however He chooses? I pray that we are.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Grateful

A birthday bouquet from a friend.
Each expression of love I received on my birthday made me feel extra happy. Phone calls. Text messages. Emails. Facebook messages. Cards. Gifts. Visits. Hugs. Kindnesses. 

Although I felt deeply grateful for each person who remembered me on my birthday, I felt even more grateful to God who has given me so many years of life--and precious family and friends with whom to share it. 

Those feelings prompted me to say "Yes!" when I read these words in a book* a friend sent me for my birthday: "Father...thank you for breath. May I use it only to praise you. Thank you for life. May I use it only to exalt you."  

*Julie Ackerman Link, 100 Prayers Inspired by the Psalms, p. 27

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Like a Watered Garden





If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, 
And your darkness shall be as the noonday. 


The LORD will guide you continually, 
And satisfy your soul in drought, 
And strengthen your bones; 
You shall be like a watered garden, 
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Isaiah 58:10-11, NKJV


A section of my neighbor's beautiful garden.
J. Gaskill Photography