Friday, October 26, 2012

Mummy No More

He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him and let him go." John 11:44 (NAS)

My hope shattered, a crystal vase on cement, after a publishing company I longed to work for rejected my manuscript. Voices of doubt and discouragement tormented me.
Later that week I read the story of Lazarus and pondered how often we allow ourselves to be bound by the wrappings of our former selves, falling easily into old thought patterns and habits. We hear the worn-out record in our heads—you can't do that. You're not smart enough, and so on. Jesus said of Lazarus, "Unbind him and let him go.”

He says that to us still. He freed us from every hindrance that interferes with realizing His perfect plan for our lives. We are limited only by the bindings we choose to put back on. Like Lazarus whom He loved, He loves us and has cleansed us from the bondage of past sins, self-doubt and defeatist attitudes. We are to put on the new self, rejoice in Him who has raised us and go out in confidence to accomplish the tasks He has for us.

God’s word has bolstered me. Perhaps I will persevere, click “submit” and send my story on its way to another publisher after all.

Be encouraged to give the old rags that suffocate and immobilize back to Christ and allow Him to throw them into the holy fire of His redemption. With renewed joy put on the new clothes of His righteousness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that through Your precious Son, Jesus, we are made new, no longer bound by the rags of our old lives. Amen.

© 2012 Bonnie Mae Evans

Friday, October 19, 2012

Making Beautiful Music

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all your lands.  Ps. 100:1 (NKJV)
Alexandra, my ten year old granddaughter, set up the music stand, adjusted her sheet music. She aligned her fingers on her trumpet.  She glanced around the room to make sure we (mother, father, brother and me, her grandmother, plus the blind family dog, Magoo), were paying attention and ready to listen. She proceeded to play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.

After the first few notes were played, MaGoo tilted his head back and howled – a long loud howl. We broke up in laughter. Alex, seriously offended, stopped playing. She beckoned, “Stop laughing.”  We apologized, blamed it on MaGoo, and asked her to continue.
Alex proceeded to play her trumpet and she was determined to finish, but the dog howled and we laughed. She looked at us, mortally wounded, and stopped playing. “You’re not listening to me. You only want to laugh at MaGoo.”
Laughing at her expense was not good. We ushered MaGoo outside, apologized to Alex and asked her to start over. We listened and encouraged her with applause.
Do we often let ourselves get distracted with unimportant things when the Lord wants your attention? Are we wondering where we will have lunch while the minister’s giving the message?  Does the “bed howling” prevent us from rising a little earlier in the morning to spend time with the Lord.
Dear Lord, forgive me for not paying attention and falling so short in glorifying you. I pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit and be your faithful servant. Amen

(c) 2012 Lois Gosley

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Father

"Do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven." Matthew 23:9 (NIV)

When I was a child of four, my mother moved my two sisters and me from Georgia to Baltimore. She had divorced my dad. I can only recall one time that he ever took an interest in my two sisters or me. He was a stranger that we soon forgot.

Mother later married a man she worked with at a defence plant in Baltimore. He also became a man living in our house who paid no attention to us. He and Mother had a stormy eight and a half year marriage. His heavy drinking and infidelity ended Mother's second marriage.

By this time my sisters and I were teenagers. I was very shy and lonely. I really missed the relationship between a male parent and child. Mother tried to fill both parental roles.

When I was thirteen, Mother married a third time to a man twelve years her junior. Although he was a good man and loved my mother very much, he was too young to be the father I longed for. Having a real father was never to be. I envied other girls who talked about their dads.

It wasn't until I was in my late fifties that I finally had a Father that loved me. I learned through Bible study that Jehovah God, the Father of Jesus, was also the Father of all mankind. He loved us enough to sacrifice His own Son's life so that we could live with Him in heaven. At last my longing was satisfied. I had a real Father to talk to and love me unconditionally.

Thank You, Father Jehovah, for loving me as Your daughter. Amen.

(c) 2012 Evelyn B, Ryan

Friday, October 5, 2012

Armor On?

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)

Finally, after three years of anticipation, this summer our Wolf River apple trees were loaded with fruit. When the dwarf trees were planted, we were told that in three to five years they’d produce an unbelievable amount of grapefruit size apples. Each one- pound apple would be enough to fill a pie!  Now, we only had to wait until September to pick the apples and get cooking.

The varmints beat us to it. A large black buzzard perched on the top of the trees, yanking at the stems and poking its beak and claws into the fruit. Squirrels climbed from the bottom of the trees, grabbing an apple at a time, taking a few bites, and tossing the rest for the groundhog, opossum, and raccoon. What they didn’t devour, the deer did.

We hadn’t given thought to protecting the apple trees from wildlife. They were thriving, and we had our hearts set on pie. Now the trees are stripped of fruit.

God knew that we’d need to be protected from what might prey on us. He provided us with “armor,” so we can stand strong in Him and live fruitful lives.  Of course, as with our apple trees, the armor needs to be in place before any threat or opposition. God’s armor (righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God) can be “put on” daily through prayer, meditation, and Bible reading.

Father, help me to consistently wear Your armor, so I can stand against anything that might interfere with or challenge my being fruitful for You.

© 2012 Nance