Friday, October 13, 2017

RESCUERS

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; may the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace! Psalm 29:10a, 11 (RSV)

We have been divided by activist groups, waving their banners, screaming in the streets. We have been divided by our color. We have been divided by our income. But, when the chips are down, when Hurricane Harvey ravaged Texaswe were united. 

We bind together to help rescue all those who are in danger: children, seniors and pets. I saw a soaked little kitten carried in a box. I don’t hear people saying, “I helped seven white people, five black people, twelve seniors.”  I don’t hear anyone saying, “A skinny little white man rescued me from the roof of my garage.” They were helpers with big hearts and strong arms.

People were rescued by helicopters, large flatbed trucks, many boats of various sizes. Fire and Police Departments from different communities, and other states were on the scene. All the workers were volunteers, no one was on the clock. They worked day and night, day after day.

There’s a saying, “United we stand; Divided we fall,” dating back to Aesop. It has been cited from Abraham Lincoln to the terrorist attack of 9/11. When people are in trouble, we unite and come to the rescue.

I didn’t say “Americans” because maybe they weren’t. They were love in action—bound together by seeing a need, joining hands and heartsfilling that need.

God’s hands are all around, through rescue after rescue. With tears, I prayed for them. I learned when my troubles were more than I could stand, I kneel.

Dear Lord, thank You, for all Your helpers. I pray to be considered one of Your workers. Amen


© 2017 Lois Gosley

Friday, October 6, 2017

GIVING IN SECRET

...and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:4b. (KJV)

She sat in the chapel, waiting until the parishioners and the priest left. Her heart raced. She was afraid the priest would come back in and ask her to leave. Once she was assured of being alone, she quietly climbed the altar steps. Her only interest was the torn lace scarf on the mantle.

She found the long tear in the lace. She would use the talent God gave her to repair it. She took the white thread and needle and, working quickly, weaved the thread in and out of the lace as the tear became smaller and smaller.

She was not aware the priest had returned. He stood watching as her hands sewed the fine stitches in the lacework. He moved closer. Then she saw him.

Startled, she stopped sewing and faced him. He stared at her, and nodding slightly, he smiled and left the sanctuary. Heart pounding and hands trembling, she dropped the needle. Picking it up, she continued sewing. Within minutes, she finished mending the lace. She could not tell where the tear had been. It was fully restored. Cutting the thread, she genuflected and left the chapel.

In the cool air, she breathed a sigh of relief and satisfaction. She felt she had done a good deed for the Lord. She would tell no one. God knew. That was enough because she had given her talent in secret, she knew God would openly reward her someday.

Dear Lord, may more Christians think of acts of kindness to bestow on one another as if they were doing it for You. Amen.

© 2017  Evelyn B. Ryan

Friday, September 29, 2017

CAN YOU HEAR THE WHISPER?


And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. I Kings 19:12b-13 (NIV)

There are moments when life seems a bit more than slightly overwhelming. Often, after working all week long, chauffeuring the children back and forth to activities, managing our homes, dealing with personal responsibilities, and attempting to find a few moments to relax and enjoy life, things can feel like too much. In those moments, we just want to run away to a place where we can be alone. Sometimes to just be with ourselves and other times to be with God, to question Him and seek understanding about what He’s doing in our lives.

In I Kings 19, the prophet Elijah found himself running away from the challenges of his own life. After taking a bold stand and proving to the naysayers that God is real, Elijah was exhausted, alone, and afraid—ready to give up. An angel appeared and told him to listen, for the Lord was preparing to pass by. First came a powerful wind, then an earthquake, and finally fire. But God did not speak in the loudness of these things. Instead, after all the noise ceased, God spoke in a gentle whisper!
Has it been hard for you to hear God speaking through the chaos and noise of your life? If so, you are not alone. When it feels like God has stopped speaking, remember He has not forgotten about you. Perhaps, He simply wants you to be still and listen for His whisper.

Lord, slow my pace and quiet my mind so I can hear Your still, small voice.

© 2017 Dawn M. Wayman

Friday, September 22, 2017

BE COURAGEOUS


“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9 (NAS) 

God has a new opportunity waiting for me just around the corner. My search for a new job seems endless after applying for dozens of positions, but receiving no offers. Is God trying to teach me something? 

No matter how hard life seems as we face job losses, financial challenges or family relationship problems, as believers, we are God’s beloved children. He knows what we are going through, and He is with us in the midst of our fears, depression and discouragement. 

Our human emotions and misgivings often give rise to questions:  Will I ever get through this? Will I find a new job? Will my child be okay? Can this broken relationship be mended? God, why is this happening? 

Then, I remember God telling a fearful new leader, Joshua, to “Be strong and very courageous,” as he led the children of Israel into the Promised Land after Moses’ death. Seven times in Joshua God tells him to be courageous and not to be fearful. Pondering God’s words, I realize when we are courageous, we will not be discouraged, but will be an encouragement to those around us. All three words originate from the same root word─COURAGE! 

Just as God showed Joshua and the Israelites the way through the wilderness, He will guide me through this search and out to a new job. And, just as Joshua was told “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” the Lord will be with us wherever He leads us. 

Father, teach us to be courageous and to remember You are always with us. 

© 2017 Diane E. Hussey

Friday, September 15, 2017

WAS THAT ME IN THE GARDEN?


Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Gen 3:8-9 (NIV)

Was that me in the garden that warm sunny day resting in a bed of wildflowers under a canopy of trees?

Unclothed and unashamed, I closed my eyes feeling the gentle breeze tickle my cheek. My friend, the serpent, awakened me for our stroll in the garden. We chatted merrily as we wandered through the trails and along the stream.

My mouth began to water as we reached the tree with the forbidden fruit. Every day the serpent encouraged me to sample its delicious offerings. Always, I refused and walked away.

But not today.

The fruit, so pleasing to my eyes, beckoned me like a long-lost friend. I took the fruit and brought it to my lips. After seeing no harm come to me, my husband took the next bite.

Everything changed.

The sweetness of the fruit turned bitter and our eyes were opened. I closed my eyes tightly, willing them to return to the way things were. The serpent looked quite pleased with himself when the Lord found us and swiftly passed judgment. We were banished from our home forever.

As we walked away from the garden into the strange land, I looked back to consider all we had lost. A lone tear coursed down my cheek as the chasm between us widened with each step. Emptiness replaced the joy in my heart.

Why, Oh Lord, do we trade the perfection of Your love for the seductive lies of the world?
 
© 2017 Amy A. Verzi

Friday, September 8, 2017

BIRDS IN MY FLOWERS

If you come across a birds nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young. Deuteronomy 22:6 (ESV)

Last week while watering my hanging plants, I noticed a tiny bird fly away as I took the beautiful begonia down. The begonia was full of hot pink double blossoms. While watering it, I noticed a deep depression beneath some of the leaves in the middle of the plant.

Oh, no. A bird built a nest in the center and laid two eggs. I was mesmerized by the tiny oval eggs. After carefully watering the plant, I hung it back up.

Every day while watering, I checked the nest. New eggs were added until there were five in the nest. A few days later there were two tiny, naked baby birds huddling together. What a wonder it was to be able to witness the miracle of birth in such tiny creatures.

The mother bird scolded me loudly from a nearby tree when I took the nest down to check her babies. After I put it back, she continued caring for them. I thought how God loves and cares for us and Matthew 10:29, 31 came to mind. "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. Fear not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows." It makes one humble to know how much we are loved.

Thank You, Father, for allowing me to enjoy one of Your little flying creatures. You created all life; may we all give You praise every day for our blessings. Amen.

© 2017  Evelyn B. Ryan

Friday, September 1, 2017

LOSERS

Let the favor of the Lord be upon us and establish the work of our hands…” Psalm 90:17 (RSV)

Joseph’s brothers were so jealous of their father’s love for Joseph, plus his dreams of them bowing down to him, that they plotted to do away with him. They threw him in a pit. They sold him. Imagine, selling your brotherLosers! Joseph was sold into slavery!

Joseph worked, as a slave, in Egypt, and the Lord caused all he did to prosper. He became a successful man. He also was handsome and Potiphar’s wife tried to entice him to “lie with me.” He refused. She told her side of the story, falsely accusing JosephLoser! Joseph was wrongly cast into prison!

While in prison, his cellmates, the baker and butler had perplexing dreams. Joseph interpreted them, and they were fulfilled as he predicted. The butler was freed from the dungeon and Joseph asked him to “Remember me, I was stolen, I’ve done nothing wrong, that I should remain in this dungeon.” The butler promised but forgotLoser! Joseph stayed in the dungeon two more years.

When Pharaoh had disturbing dreams, the butler remembered Joseph’s ability to interpret.
Pharaoh called Joseph. He interpreted the dreams and proposed a marvelous solution. Pharaoh made him a ruler. Joseph’s wisdom saved the people during a famine.

I asked a friend, “What if all these Losers had not done those bad things?”

She replied, “God would find other Losers.”

God sometimes uses the accomplished or the exceptional. But He often uses a dysfunctional disciple like Peter; a shepherd like David; a persecutor like Paul, and a prostitute like Rahab.

Thank You, Lord, the only ability You need is availability. Take this loser and use me to serve in Your kingdom. Amen.


© 2017 Lois Gosley