Friday, August 27, 2010


Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. Matthew 7:15 (NIV)

I love walking around our property, looking at all of God's creations. I marvel at the tiniest flower growing on the end of a delicate stalk beside a slender blade of grass. I think that God loves the tiny insects, worms and birds. He makes flowers in just "their size". Taking these nature walks, I have increased my knowledge first hand of what not to touch, making me a little smarter than I was the day before.

One morning I discovered a two-leafed plant, shaped like perfect hearts facing one another. Not knowing what type of plant it was, I marked the spot with a twig and watched its daily growth. Finally, I recognized it. An alarm went off inside my head. POISON IVY! The leaves were like shiny fingers sticking out in three directions. I had often come in contact with similar plants in my youth. Its oily surface causes an unbearable itch and a red, angry rash culminating in watery blisters, which, when broken, causes more rash and itching.

The heart-shaped plant seemed to convey warmth and beauty. It was really a harmful plant waiting to become the antagonist. As Christians, we need to be alert to the fact that what one sees is not always what one gets. We must remain on guard to the dangers of the flesh as well as the spirit. One never knows when the ferocious "wolf" in sheep's attire will jump out and try to devour us spiritually.

Father, help us take hold of Your wisdom so that we may avoid the temptations that come in disguise from the world, the flesh and the devil. Amen

(c) 2010
E. Bonnie Ryan

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Surprised By God

“…encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact, you are doing.” (1Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)

The local public school system employed Vileena as a reading teacher in a phone interview just four days before school opened. Two days later, she arrived in Baltimore from her home on the island of Antigua. The school assigned Vileena along with eight other new teachers as my mentees.

She needed somewhere to live until she had a paycheck. Alone in a large house, I offered Vileena temporary shelter. I thought this would be a great opportunity to witness.
We drove to school together on the first day. Sure of myself, I said, “You know, I usually pray on the way to work.”

She looked at me excitedly. “So do I.”

“I pray out loud,” I said.

“Me too,” she said.

I looked at her sideways. “Sometimes I sing,” I said.

“Me too. Do you know His 'Name Is Wonderful?'" she said.

I shook my head yes and she began to sing in a rich soprano voice with a lovely island accent. I joined in with my reedy delivery. Thus began our year together.

I taught Vileena about the expectations of the school system. She taught me about exciting moves of God on her island home. I taught her some tricks of teaching reading. She taught me about herbs, natural remedies and healthy Antigua cooking. We prayed, worshiped, and witnessed together.

Alone at the time, with new jobs, we both needed Godly support and our Heavenly Father provided it. We were both surprised by God's provision.

Dear Lord, thank you for the surprises you send us and for the wonder that comes with the sweet fellowship of believers.

Christena Struben © 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

It’s Not Easy Being Green

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. Genesis 1:31a (KJV)

Recently my husband and I moved in with a family. Many would call them tree-huggers, and at least one is proud to bear the name. It was strange at first: rules about what to throw away and what to recycle; cleaning without store-bought chemical cleaners; conserving energy and water in ways I had never thought about before. Around the house we jokingly refer to “environmental police” and the “Secretary of ‘What’s that Doing in the Trash?’”

We work a one-acre, organically grown garden—no chemical fertilizers, no pesticides. I now know one of life’s great joys: eradicating squash bugs by hand! It is grueling. Sometimes I long to purchase my own pesticides and apply them in secret.

In the environmental realm, sin can be subtle. But some age-old issues remain: waste, laziness, greed. Enter the serpent’s voice: God said you were to subdue the earth. It is easy to throw everything away instead of recycling, to use pesticides for bug control, or even to litter instead of finding a trashcan. It is easy to do the convenient thing. And for the sake of convenience, we subdue the earth at the earth’s expense.

This may seem an unusual subject for devotion. Though I do not consider myself a tree hugger, I do believe that this is our Father’s world. He created it, glories in it, and gave us dominion over it. We have a responsibility to honor our Creator by being good stewards of the resources He has provided.

Father, thank You for entrusting us with this magnificent world You have made. Help us to manifest Your heart as we live, caring for what You care about, too.

© 2010 Katherine A. Fuller

Friday, August 6, 2010


Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep…I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:6b,10 (NIV)

Recently, my twin grandchildren celebrated their fourth birthdays. What a party! Mom set up a small fish pond and a water balloon station in the back yard. The water balloons were a big hit with all the kids. Dad grilled burgers and hot dogs for the guests. We sang “Happy Birthday” as the twins blew out the candles on a brightly decorated cake. The grandmothers took pictures as they opened their gifts. We celebrated the lives of these special little ones.

Just as we celebrate our birthdays here on earth, the angels rejoice over every new believer who surrenders his life to the Lord. There is joy in heaven each time a person decides to follow Jesus. Paul tells us that anyone in Christ is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus told Nicodemus, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). Our new life in Christ is like a new birthday.

In the book of Revelation we read about heavenly celebrations around God’s throne. The angels are singing and rejoicing because God has provided salvation through His Son: “with Your blood You purchased men for God…To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory” (Revelation 5:9,13). A glorious celebration for believers in Christ will be the wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9), a special meal we will share with our Lord.

Dear Father, Thank You for celebrations with our families. And thank You for new life in Jesus. How wonderful to be in Your presence someday. Amen.

© 2010 Diane E. Hussey