Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Be Still and Listen

Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD. Jeremiah 8:7 (NIV)

It is morning, and there is a little bit of light starting to fill my room. I can hear my dog signaling; she needs to go outside. As I stand on my porch, I stop to look at the beautiful landscape. Since the temperature dropped through the night, dew has formed on everything. What a wonderful morning!

Bird songs fill the air along with a fresh cool breeze. Everything is renewed and waiting for the sun.

Summer is a great season. All the animals that were born in spring are roaming around. The mothers teach babies how to live in this world. The young are getting bigger every day. The cycle of life continues for all species, even man.

Just as the animals in nature teach their young how to live, God gave me an instruction book, the Bible. Animals have instincts. I have the Holy Spirit in me. When I pay attention to His voice inside of me, I stay out of trouble.

As I continue gazing upon the landscape, I thank God for all He has given and done for me.

Dear Lord, I know you have a lot to teach me through your Word and nature. Help me to be still and listen.

© 2009 Marcella Panowicz

Thursday, August 20, 2009

“The Lord will be a stronghold for the oppressed. A stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee.” Psalms 9:9-10 (NAS)

Leaning On The Everlasting Arms

Kayla, my first grandchild was amazing. She enjoyed watching television, even when the screen only said “signal temporarily lost.” She loved to be swung around, held upside down, and thrown on the couch. She smiled, laughed and giggled at every maneuver. I could have dropped her. Spatial misjudgment on my part could have hit some part of her body on a wall or an arm chair. Because she trusted me completely, she just enjoyed the ride.

Recently, life has thrown me around and I know I am not alone. Unemployment, high prices, relationship malfunctions all make us feel that we are being swung around; not for our pleasure, but for our ruin. Real dangers exist and, being older than a baby, we are keenly aware of them.

There is one correlation that holds true between Kayla’s being swung and our being swung. Kayla was in loving arms. So are we.

Why can’t we trust like Kayla? She never questioned her safety in my arms. We need not question our safety in His arms. As the hymn says:

What a fellowship, what a joy divine leaning on the everlasting arms.
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms.
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Father, help us to remember that we are in loving arms. We are safe because you hold us. Thank you. In Jesus name, Amen.

© 2009 J Shoaff

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dare to Serve

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)

We hear about people going over Niagra Falls in a barrel, engaging in “Evil Knievel” stunts, or kids playing “chicken” on highways at midnight. Daredevils! They risk death for a temporary thrill or sense of power.

The Bible, however, tells us of people who follow the Lord and ignore sensible, plausible methods of action. David announced that he could defeat Goliath. Daniel knew he was safe in the Lion’s den. Elijah called down fire from heaven to ignite a water-soaked sacrifice. Peter walked on water. Paul did not escape from prison after an earthquake. Instead he witnessed to his jailor about the love of Christ.

In modern times we admire people like Corrie Ten Boom who rescued Jews during World War II until she was captured. We remember Jim Elliott who was killed by the Ecuadorian cannibals he sought to evangelize. We think daredevils are foolish, yet we honor those who commit themselves to the Lord in all kinds of impossible situations.

Both through their examples and through His Word, the Lord inspires us to overcome fear. He strengthens us and upholds us. He does not call us to be foolhardy, but He does expect us to be courageous in His name.

Prayer: Lord, Be with us this day and help us dare to serve you by using your strength. Amen.

© 2009 V. Colclasure

Friday, August 7, 2009

Calluses and Christianity

So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:12 (KJV)

Once my work-worn hands were brand-new, unused to labor. It seems a distant memory now—nearly faded.

Have you ever worked with your hands? At first there is no pain at all—only soreness from doing an unfamiliar task; then an irritating sensation, easily ignored. Irritation progresses to painful blisters, gingerly protected. Pain finally diminishes as rough spots form where the most friction occurred.

This is a natural progression, but there is a spiritual application for each of us. We must ask ourselves: What has caused our calluses? Have we applied our hands to worldly endeavors that mean nothing, numbing our wounded hearts and keeping us from hearing the Spirit’s voice?

The Lord will take our hands in His, if we allow it. When we do, His hands will feel strangely familiar. If we look closely we will see that His hands are covered with calluses, too. He is the Carpenter, and He encourages us to use His tools when we labor, so that we will no longer labor in vain. There may be some pain in the process, but as evidence of our worldly toil is stripped away, it will be replaced by calluses steeped in His compassion for others.

It is only through sacrifice that we truly learn to live in power.

Lord, help us extract ourselves from the worldliness that hardens our hearts, and help our hands to look like Yours as we do Your will.

© 2009, Katherine A. Fuller