Snow Day

It’s the coldest February I can remember in a long, long time. For a bout a week it wreaked havoc on my nerves but today, as you might imagine by the lateness of my post I allowed myself a “snow day.” I was treated to a late morning breakfast that included cooked apples, corn biscuits and scrapple and an early dinner featuring short ribs. For desert I was surprised with homemade chocolate chip cookies with pecans. It doesn’t get much better than that. Except for the moment I ventured out to help shovel seven inches of new snow from the driveway (an activity that truly deserved a partner), I rested for the better part of the day. As I was returning from taking Orpheus the wonder dog out for the evening, I experienced a spirit of gratefulness and thanksgiving. This may be a day that the Lord has made but today it belonged to my husband George.

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Say Yes

“…you have made them equal…” Matthew 20:1-16 If you’ve ever picked wild grapes you know that it’s not as easy as it looks. So I can understand the early laborers gripe. Fortunately for each of us God’s grace is not measured out according to time served, but freely given by our equal willingness to say “yes” to his will. Labor in God’s Kingdom is not easy. So let us give thanks for the harvest that the rising of the sun brings. At the end of the day, what matters most is our willingness to labor. Make each day an opportunity to say “yes”.

Passing The Test

“Why are you putting me to the test?…Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Mark12:13-27  I like shoes! Recently, I purchased a pair of which the color and style were exactly what I had been looking for. I’d finally gotten the first opportunity to wear my new shoes and by the end of the day as I was preparing to spend my usual evening time with God I chose not to change into my slippers as I was accustomed to do. After about two and a half hours I succumbed to the realization that more of my attention was on my new shoes rather than God. I had been sneaking peeks at them as I tried to study the scripture! So I got up and readied myself for bed and that’s when I was reminded that those things that we think are necessary in this life are of no use to God! More importantly, along with our praise, worship, and thanksgiving, when we set aside time to study his Word our full attention belongs to God as well.

Let The Walls Fall

Video – Let The Walls Fall – Remember those walls I built. Well, baby there tumbling down. They didn’t even put up a fight. The didn’t even make a sound (Halo – Beyonce). Perhaps it sounds crazy, but the first time I listened to this song, I immediately thought of my relationship with God. I realize that this probably was not Beyonce’s intention (or perhaps it was) and yet it took me to a place of thankfulness and praise  for the presence of Christ in my life as the walls were in fact tumbling down without my knowing. It happens one day when you stop to evaluate where you are in life and realize that what you deemed as unsuccessful wasn’t failure at all  but a learning experience for growth. Learning to see the face of God in our relationships often requires some difficult experiences. We each have a “wall” or two in our own lives that are seemingly there to protect us when in fact they were meant to be broken down. It is then that we are able to see the glory that has been waiting for us all along, the halo that is in the one and only perfect loving relationship that God has with us. Let the walls fall, I’m putting Christ first!

Ephesians 2:14-20 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Who Builds The “House”?

Parenting and mentoring youth can be tricky at times and it is not always easy particularly when dealing with pride and esteem. However, sometimes children say things which gives us indications of a personality that could use some intervention. It seems apparent in 2 Samuel that King David believes that God’s world revolves around him. Imagine that! Yet, I like the way God so eloquently does what every loving parent would do; he uses what I call old school tactics and “nips it in the bud.”

Basically, God tells David that in the first place, he never asked him for a house and then helps David to remember that it was God who took David from the pasture. It was God who cut off all David’s enemies. It was God who appointed a place for David and the people of Israel that evildoers would not disturb them and it is God who gives them rest. The best part is when God covenants to build David a house. Long after David is laid down with his ancestors, it will be a house for David’s offspring that will establish an everlasting kingdom where God’s spirit reigns. God essentially tells David that in spite of all the riches that he sees and blessings that he has been given, God is not done! God continues, that this everlasting house will be built by the one in whom God calls his own son. The building of this house is where we come in, all of us who have had the experience of that stage when we believe that the world revolves around us and we have yet to realize that God’s plans for us like David, is bigger than we could imagine.

David had a lot of successes and some failures and so will we, and I believe God encourages us to be builders. The questions that always stands before us is whether we are building for ourselves or building for God. What is equally significant is what God’s response says about who he is and his relationship to us as the ultimate provider. Except to open our hearts by faith with thanksgiving, and allow him to work through us, God, the parent of all, doesn’t ask his offspring for a thing.

2 Samuel 7:2, 4-7 “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” …But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders* of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’

Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, they that build it labor in vain.

The Power Of Love

Saturday:

Love covers a multitude of sins (1Peter 4). I really like that the writer in 1Peter does not quantify or measure sin as if there were a specific number or significant value judgment based on its affect. The writer simply says that love covers a multitude of sins. If I understand this correctly, God’s Love will always overwhelm any misdirection, mishap, or misunderstanding that we could possibly find ourselves involved. While sin certainly will have its negative consequence, simply put, whenever, whatever, or no matter how great, God’s Love is always greater. God’s Love endures forever (Psalm 136; Psalm 100:5; Psalm 89:2; Lamentations 3:22-23).

1Peter 4:7-19 Above all hold unfailing, your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.

The Day After

Friday:

Terror, and the pit, and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth! (Isaiah 24:17). If any day sounds like a Black Friday, this would be it. From a shopper’s point of view if you’ve ever been out the day after Thanksgiving it certainly can be the beginning of absolute terror on one hand and sheer excitement on the other. It depends on whom you talk to. From a retailer’s view it’s an opportunity for recovery from a year of operating in the red to perhaps a year of ending sales in the black. But for the believer however, what does “the day after” really mean? Is it the beginning of something new and exciting or the end of something old and disappointing? Life is certainly filled with both and yet to truly be thankful in all circumstances can sometimes elude us. Perhaps we can think of it in this way. We know that the holiday comes once a year. We, on the other hand don’t know that we will be here to celebrate it. In terms of life itself, who among us thinks so far in advance? Just remember, every day was once a “day after” but every today is an opportunity for thanks, an opportunity for giving or whatever we choose. Today, we get the chance to make the difference.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

Joshua 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  (Joshua, just before leading the Israelites into the promised land)

Hebrews 10:23 He who promised is faithful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Give Thanks

           Ruthmarie Brooks Silver

 How many times a day do you give thanks to God above;

Talk with Him and praise Him and pray for those you love?

“Oh, I’m a busy man,” you say, “I’ve this and that to do.”

Well, God is pretty busy, too, but He has time for you.

We all have lots of things to do, but so does God, my man.

He cares for you and helps you, so give thanks when’re you can.

You’ll find that He’s the truest friend that you will ever find.

Just talk to Him and you will see that you have peace of mind.

I wonder if you’ve ever thought of things He’s given you.

He asks for nothing in return but goodness, faith and truth,

To work for your neighbor as well as yourself and bring happiness where you go,

Be kind and gentle and loving and strong – it makes Him happy, you know.

Do you thank Him for the birds and flowers and trees and grass and soil?

Do you thank Him for your life, your job, your strength so you can toil?

Do you thank Him for the food you eat, the water that you drink,

The right to breathe, to walk and run, to sleep, to talk, to think?

Do you thank Him for the sunshine, the wind, the snow, the rain,

The coat you wear, the songs you hear, the relief you get from pain?

Do you thank Him for the air, the moon, the stars that light the sky,

The car you own, the books you read, the plane in which you fly?

You must admit there are, sir, many things you’re thankful for.

Well, He asks for just one minute, one minute and no more.

And since He is your truest Friend, go see Him on His day;

Get on your knees, fold your hands, shut your eyes and pray.

How many times a day do you give thanks to God above;

Talk with Him and praise Him and pray for those you love?

Well, my busy man, that answer’s really up to you;

But just remember this, sir; He has time for you.

Luke 17:11-19 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.