Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks

“ Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 NIV

On hearing from Timothy the conditions in Thessalonica, Paul writes a letter from Corinth. He writes to encourage and teach the Thessalonians more about Christianity. He knew from first-hand experience the trials and strong oppositions they were suffering. Yet he told them to “give thanks in all circumstances.”

Today we hear Paul and try to give thanks in whatever circumstance we face because we too have the same hope that Paul writes about. It has become increasingly difficult to openly express our Christian view among the opposition that we face daily. The perception that it is illegal to pray openly in the schools, sport events or workplaces is rampant. But Paul tells us to “pray continually.” We are to give thanks in all things and be “joyful always.”

We are thankful when we realize that we still live in a free country. There is still the freedom to go to church, Bible studies and Christian events without fear of being arrested. We can go to our neighbor's homes and share the “Good News” about our Savior.

So take heart my dear friends and be thankful that we have a Savior who loves us dearly. He will triumphantly see us through whatever circumstances we face. Continue to pray with a joyful heart and the knowledge that Jesus is Lord of all.

Thank You Father for each and every circumstance you place in my path. Help me to see that this is just another way to see Your will for my life. Keep me always steadfast in Your love.
© 2010 Dawn M Sexton

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pail Potatoes

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground. Genesis 3:19a (NIV)

The soil at our house is mostly clay, sand and stone. To enrich the soil, all of my table scraps are "planted" all year long. We also rotate the crops every season.

Last year was a good year for the beans. We canned one hundred and thirty nine pints. However, the soil is too rocky for potatoes.

Remembering a "hint" I read in one of my gardening books, I found four large pails and asked my husband to drill holes on the bottom and around the sides. I mixed top soil and dried sphagnum moss and filled the pails half full. I dropped three potatoes with "eyes" into each one, and covered them with four inches of soil. Placing them in full sun, I watered them and waited. In two weeks dark green foliage came up. As the vines grew, I put more soil around them until they grew over the rims.

Early that fall the vines died. I dumped the pails into the garden. It was exciting, spreading the soil and picking up the brown treasures. I collected about eight pounds of potatoes.

Jesus said that seed falls to the ground and dies so that when it grows, it produces many seeds. (John 12:24 NIV) The potato eyes grew into roots and vines because the original potato died. We grow spiritually when we die to our sins and live in the love of Christ.

Lord, let us not be afraid to try new things. May the garden of our hearts be nourished continuously with Your love. Amen

(c) 2010
E. Bonnie Ryan

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lilies for Breakfast

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for You, O, God. (Psalm 42:1) NIV

There they were on the side of my yard, their little trio. In the quietness of daybreak, mother deer munched away at the bulging buds of my daylilies. I had waited expectantly, anticipating them bursting forth, revealing beautiful pink-spangled petals. Now, watching the hope of that small pleasure disappear into the mouth of this gentle doe, it seemed unimportant.

The dry, hot summer had reduced the forest stream to a trickle. As the mother deer consumed my daylilies, the young fawns nursed. I wondered if she had enough milk to satisfy her thirsty babies.

Just as God gave her the instinct to forage for the lilies, in us He placed a longing that can only be satisfied by daily communion with Him. Seldom do we miss a meal or go a day without something to drink.

Our spirits need nourishment as well. As we bow before our Father in Heaven, praising Him, thanking Him, confessing to Him and pouring out our hearts to Him, He refreshes and renews us, filling us with His grace to meet each new day. In His presence we find all that we need.

Dear Jesus, We praise Your holy and precious name. In You we find hope and strength sufficient for the day. Thank You that You alone are the living water that quenches the thirst of our souls. Amen.

(c) 2010 Bonnie M. Evans

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oh Look!

Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee… (Isaiah 26:3 KJV)

Being able to redirect attention and regain order is a valuable skill for anyone working with children. As the mother of four and the grandmother of nine, my mother was a master at this technique. She would intervene if my sisters and I were fussing with each other or engaged in inappropriate behavior. Mom could always come up with something interesting to turn our attention away to bring peace and safety.

“Oh, look,” she would say in a voice full of excitement. “Is that hawk after that little sparrow?” Or, she might say, “Listen, what’s that noise?” Often, there was no hawk, no sparrow, and no noise. However, our thoughts would always be redirected as we were caught up in looking and listening elsewhere.

My mother used this technique in a positive way to restore order. We Christians need to know that our soul's enemy uses the same tactic to distract us from our walk with God. The world, the flesh and the devil can easily divert our thoughts to something that seems exciting, interesting, or even relaxing. But in that diversion, we can lose a blessing or a calling meant for us.

Occasionally the lure may seem inconsequential such as golfing or fishing. Other times, it is a clear call to our sinful nature. In truth, anything that draws us away from God and His plan for our days is to be avoided.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to keep our minds stayed on You so that we are alert to Your voice alone. Give us wisdom to know when the world is tempting us away from Your purpose with counterfeit calls on our lives.

Christy Struben © 2010