Friday, August 31, 2012

The Lion and the Tablecloth

But the Lord said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things. Luke 10:41 (NAS)

My mind was a whirlwind of thoughts. Many tasks awaited, needing to be accomplished sooner than later. There were the usual worries that accompany raising teenagers—some real and some imagined. Throw in a few health concerns, and my nurses brain went into overdrive. I felt like Chicken Little, waiting for the sky to fall. Anxiety began to build up, affecting my sleep. I prayed, but wasn’t relying completely on the Lord.
One night I had a vivid dream. My kitchen was packed with people waiting for dinner. But my tablecloth had crumbs scattered on it. Barely noticeable to everyone else—actually miniscule—to me they seemed huge. I had to get rid of them. Grabbing the cloth by all four corners, I ran across the yard, down a nearby riverbank to shake it. Turning back to the house I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was a huge lion crouched very close, ready to pounce on me. I ran as fast as I could, barely making it into the house. I awoke my heart pounding and 1 Peter 5:8 in my head, “The devil prowls around like a hungry lion seeking whom he may devour.”

I knew the Lord was telling me that fretting was distracting from Him and making me easy prey for the devil. Afterwards, every time anxiety crept in, I remembered the dream and leaned closer to the Lord.
Father, thank you for reminders that we are not meant to carry our burdens any further than your feet. Amen.

© 2012 Bonnie Mae Evans

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Day the Cat Fell Apart

 Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for today is its own trouble.  Matthew 6:34 (NKJV)
My Dad died of cancer at 46 and my mother died in her 50’s. I was having headaches and worried I had a brain tumor. I didn’t tell anyone. During this time I was at my aunts visiting and helping her with baking.

While we were covered with flour, we heard a terrified scream from 3 year old Donny who was upstairs in the bedroom, “Mom, Help! Come quick! The cat’s falling apart!”
We rushed upstairs and the cat was under the bed, tucked in a corner. Aunt Elaine scooted under the bed and found the cat.  Donny’s tearful voice asked, “Is she dead, Mom?”

“No. She’s not dead. She’s having kittens.”
As I reflected on that incident, I thought of my own headache problem. I made an appointment with a doctor, and the results were that I needed glasses.  Jesus taught, “Don’t borrow a sorrow from tomorrow,” in Matthew. I was acting like Donny.

Well, this lady isn’t falling apart anymore. Proverbs tell us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding-- or what you think you understand.
There are many instances where “the cat falls apart” in my life. For instance, when I have month left over at the end of the money. When a storm rages outside and I fear the trees will fall on my house. I have to look back to see what the Lord has brought me through, to know He’ll always be with me.

Dear Lord, forgive me for not trusting You enough. You are my Provider, Protector, Comforter and Loving Father. Amen  
©2012 Lois Gosley

Friday, August 17, 2012

Portrait of Jesus

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. (I John 3:16a) NIV

Above my computer desk hangs a reprint of a painting. It is a warm, loving portrayal of Jesus holding a small child, perhaps a girl, on His lap. He gives her His full attention with a look that is both peaceful and kind. She is embraced with the gentle tenderness only a loving father can give. The child is both protected and secure in His arms. Her dark hair helps me imagine I am the girl held in Jesus’ loving arms.

The picture reminds me of Matthew 19 where Jesus wanted little children to come to Him, and He placed His hands on them. He spent time with them. But the picture goes beyond His care for children.

Jesus reveals Himself to us. He tells us to come to Him when we are weary and burdened, and He will give us rest. He is gentle and humble in heart, and we can find rest for our souls. “When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus often reassures the disciples when He gives them His peace and reminds them not to be afraid.

Jesus’ gentle, humble heart, His promise of rest for our souls, His compassion for our helplessness and His offer of peace to replace our fears reveals part of who He is. The depth of His love extended to His death on a cross for our sins. And Jesus will welcome us as children into His kingdom.

Thank you, Jesus, for your gentle care for me and for your loving sacrifice for all of us. Amen.

© 2012 Diane E. Hussey

Friday, August 10, 2012


This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1John 5:13 (NIV)
When my son was about five years old he liked to linger in the tub after his bath and play with toy boats. I stayed within hearing range. If the splashing noises grew quiet, I would call our, “Bruce, are you alright?” He would always answer, “OK Mom.”    
Once I did not “check” with him in a timely manner. Evidently that worried him because he called out, “Mom, are you OK?” After smothering a laugh, I answered, “Yes Bruce, I’m OK. How are you?” 
“Good,” he responded.
I wondered, did his reply of ‘good’ reflect that he was ‘OK?’ Or did it reflect his pleasure that my answer assured him of my presence?  
In my quiet times with the Lord, I usually do most of the talking. I do not know how the King of the universe can hear all of His children speaking to Him—many at the same time—but by faith I know He can.  What peace I enjoy, with the assurance of  scripture that He hears me.
What joy spills out to me when the still small voice of my Savior speaks to my heart. As Bruce was pleased to know that his protector and Mom was available to him, so it is “good” with me when I am communicating with my God, and He with me. As our friend and mentor He desires to hear and answer all we have to share.   
Father God, Thank You for the gift of access to Your attention as you listen to us share our hearts with You. How sweet to know that You also answer.  Amen

© Christy Struben 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Blood Diamonds

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. I Peter 1:6 (NIV)

The first time I heard the term “blood diamonds,” I pictured beautiful, perfectly facetted, sparkling gems with a rich, red hue. How shocked I was to discover their other name: conflict diamonds. The designation stems from the violence associated with mining them in war zones. If only they could be just as I imagined—beautiful and brilliant, without bloodshed.

The irony of both the name and how diamonds are formed struck me. Intense pressure makes them what they are. It also makes us what we are. God uses heat and pressure in the physical world: heat refining silver and gold; intense pressure creating strong, quality diamonds. Were we not also bought with blood, and doesn’t He use these methods to make us holy?

Abraham felt the pressure. God told him to sacrifice his son. How much weight must have pressed down on those old, frail shoulders. But he made the hard choice, trusted God, and today he is known as the father of our faith.

David experienced the heat. He told God, “you refined us like silver” (Psalm 66:10). James tells why in his epistle, explaining that those who persevere in trials will receive the crown of life from the Lord (James 1:12).

Jesus spilled the blood, fighting for us. Death and hell had claimed us as spoils of war, but Christ endured the cross, shedding His own blood to purchase us. He freed us from the power of sin, and His precious blood gave us great value.

Shape, refine, and strengthen us, Lord. Help us to view the pressures we face in life as opportunities to shine like diamonds.

© 2012 Katherine A. Fuller