Monthly Archives: April 2017

He Has Not Forgotten

             When I was a young girl, I was never very athletic nor was I very coordinated.  My siblings loved to climb trees.  I watched them climb and thought it looked easy enough, but I was too afraid to try.  I figured if anyone of the three of us was going to break his/her neck, it would be me.

My brother and sister begged me over and over to try to climb a tree, and I finally caved in.  They found a tree that was easy for me to climb.  However, the trick was getting up to the first branch.  My brother had to give me a leg up, and then I could get up onto that high first branch and easily climbed to the top of my tree.  My sister and brother each got into their own tree.  All three trees were right beside one another and we enjoyed talking to one another, singing and looking at the great view.

Then Dad whistled.  That meant come now or pay the consequences.  We all scurried down the tree.  The other two could jump down, but I was too afraid to jump down from that first high branch.  I was petrified and couldn’t move.  My siblings encouraged me to jump, but I wouldn’t.  When the second whistle sounded, they left me there saying they would send Dad back for me.  They did not want to get into trouble because of me.

As I sat alone in that tree I worried that they would not tell my dad and leave me there to get scared enough to jump down on my own.  It grew dark, and I was afraid.  Time moved like a snail and my fear was nearly strangling me.  I felt like the only human being on Earth.  After what seemed like an eternity, I saw my dad coming with a ladder to rescue me.  I was so relieved that I had not been forgotten that I was giddy.

Noah must have felt that same way on that ark with his family and all those animals.  God unleashed water on this Earth like He never had before and wiped out everything.  The ark bobbed up and down and was tossed about.  It was dark and gloomy for a long time.  Noah and his family could have seen the dead carcasses of animals and humans floating around them.  It rained for so long that Noah and his family may have thought God had forgotten them.  But Noah kept the faith.

Genesis Chapter 8:1 says that God remembered Noah and all that was on the ark with him.  God turned off the water and sent a wind across the earth so the waters would recede.  Almost a year after he and his family got on the ark, God told Noah that he could come out of the boat and release the animals.

When we are going through the storms of life and are being tossed around, sometimes we feel alone and isolated.  We think that God has either forgotten us or just doesn’t care what happens to us.  At times, we wonder what horrific thing we’ve done to deserve what we’re going through.  God may want us to go through something to learn from it or to glorify Him.  He may not rescue us as we hoped or He may cause what we are going through to last longer than we think we can bear.  But regardless, if we hold onto our faith in the LORD, He will remember us just as He did Noah.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.   Hebrews 11:7 NIV

There’s Good In Everything

When my husband and I first got married, we both worked fulltime, and my husband was also in college.  So, all the housework fell to me.  I was not thrilled with my new role.  I’ll admit it…I hate housework, and I really have to be in the mood to do it.

Back then, I hated doing laundry.  Not only doing it, but just getting to the washer and dryer was a pain!  At that time, we lived in an apartment.  I used to have to lug large baskets of laundry to another building that was not close by and run back and forth to check and make sure nobody ran off with my clothes.  Sometimes, I would bring a book and stay.  I was not comfortable staying in the basement of that building.  It gave me the creeps, as did some of the people who came and went.  Then we moved closer to my parent’s house, and I was able to do laundry there until we were able to afford a washer and dryer.  I enjoyed doing laundry at that time because visiting my family was a perk.

I learned something about my husband through his laundry.  The most telling thing was that he was not very careful with money back then.  Doing laundry was financially rewarding for me.  I could count on finding money in the dryer at some point on laundry day.  Not just quarters, pennies, nickels and dimes, but $1.00, $5.00, $10.00 and $20.00.  It was like playing a slot machine! When the clothes went in, I never knew how much money would come out!  One month I made more than $50.00.  Back then, that was a lot of money.  He never seemed to miss the money either.  I was just happy it fell into my hands and not into someone else’s.  The found money went back into our budget.

When I ponder those laundry days, I am reminded that something unexpected and good can be found in something that is unpleasant or difficult.  Sometimes the good things are obvious like the money in the washer/dryer, and other times it may not be so obvious like precious time spent visiting with my parents when I went over to their house to do laundry.  The bad things that happen or unpleasant things we have to do can blind us to the good that can come from it.  Difficult circumstances can bond us with people, can aid in our spiritual growth, and by forcing us to turn to and rely on the Lord and learn more about Him.

All bad or unpleasant experiences add to our personal wealth…not necessarily our monetary wealth, but our spiritual wealth.  Every time we persevere through a difficult time or circumstance something new and important is added to our spirit.  Jesus told us that our treasures are in heaven not on this earth.  Those things that are added to our spirit are lasting, but material wealth; like that money found in the washer/dryer spends quickly.  God looks at our spirit and our hearts and not what we have in our bank account or assets.  When we go through life’s trials, not only can we can view it as adding to our spiritual wealth, it also shows us the power of the Lord.  The Lord is our eternal constant and is more than able to get us through anything that life throws at us.

 

 

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  2 Corinthians 4:7-8

Family Traditions

When I was a kid, Easter was a fun time.  My aunt, uncle and two cousins would come to visit us.  The highlight of the weekend was the Easter egg hunt.  Saturday my mother and my aunt would wrap jelly beans and various other candies in aluminum foil along with money in the form of coins.  They would make over 150 of these eggs for us five kids to find.  Sunday morning my mom and aunt would take us to church, and my father and uncle would hide the foil eggs.

When we got home, we would change our clothes, get a grocery bag and be ready to find some eggs.  We were focused more on the money than the candy.  The more eggs you found, the more money you had.  What a motivator!  It was ready …set…go!  The five of us were off nearly mowing one another down to find those eggs.

Once we could not find any more eggs, we would sit down and count how many eggs we found.  My mom would compare it with her total.  There were almost always a few not found.  My dad and uncle had some great hiding places!  We would all go back out and start looking again.  My dad and uncle would look along with us, and when they found something, they gave hints about where the eggs were hidden.

Once the eggs were all accounted for, we would sit and un-wrap the foil from every one of those candies and would count the change.  We pocketed the money and put the candy in our Easter baskets.  There were prizes for everyone who participated in the hunt, but the winners got special acknowledgment.

Then we would all sit down and have a turkey and ham dinner with all the fixings.  After grace was said, we would tear through the food much the same as we tore around looking for those eggs.  Dinner was topped off with homemade cookies and cakes for dessert.  Then after a brief rest, it was time for my aunt, uncle and cousins to return home.

Holidays are times for fellowship with friends and family and for building memories.  I cherish my own childhood Easter memories and tried to reproduce them with my own children.  Holidays are also a time for traditions… both handing down old ones and making new ones.  Traditions are important.  Each generation hands down traditions to the next.   It is a common thread that keeps the generations connected.  It is also what makes a gathering of family and friends special.  I hope my sharing recalled some fun memories of your own.  Have a blessed and glorious Easter weekend.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Cleansing

Last week after a night of hard rain and storms, Lily, our dog, and I were on our daily morning walk.  As I passed the grates and sewers on the road, I noticed that there were swirls of yellow pollen accumulated from the rain swollen streets.  It was so thick that it was having a hard time making it down the drains.  That pollen was sticky and hung onto what it could so that it wouldn’t be washed away.  But the water was a cleanser that was stronger than the pollen and slowly took it down the drain and away from sight.

With the pollen just washed away, for a short while, until it accumulated again, our cars, windows and sidewalks were all cleansed and pollen free.  Everything looked renewed.  It was refreshing to see after everything being covered for so long in a yellow powder.

You know, that pollen is a lot like our sin.  It sticks to us and doesn’t want to let go.  Sometimes we stick to it not wanting to let go.  It covers us like a sticky, off-color blanket and dulls what we could be if we would only let go of it or cast it away from us.  The worst part of sin is that it interferes with our relationship with God and clouds our view of Him.

The good news is that the Lord is in the cleansing business.  In nature, the rain comes and cleans the air and nurtures life in cycles.  That doesn’t happen in our spiritual lives.  God requires that we come to Him of our own freewill and ask for cleansing.  He will wash away all our sins when we come before Him humbly, confess them, and ask Him to take them away.  There is no sin that can stick to us and not be forgiven.  We can take anything to Him, and He will forgive and cleanse us.  He will nurture our spirit and renew our lives.

God paid a high price for our cleansing.  He sent His Son to Earth to live among us as a human.  Jesus experienced everything we did and was without sin.  Yet, He was treated and tried like a criminal and sent to die for absolutely no reason, except for the sins of mankind – your sin and mine.  Like that pollen, our sin covered Him on that Cross and as He bleed and died, His blood washed away that sin and was a pool at the foot of the cross.  Though Jesus died, He rose again and was renewed.  Today He offers that renewal to us.

Jesus can take the pollen of sin away and turn it into something that will bear fruit and through us show Himself to the world.  We can be a light in the darkness of a world covered with the pollen of sin.  The fruit we bear should be a variety of patience, love, kindness, joy, peace, gentleness, self-control and goodness.  When we have that in our lives, then we will be renewed and refreshed.

We are but human.  Just as the pollen will return after the rain, so sin will gain a foothold in our lives again.  It is a continuous cycle to confess and be cleansed so that we may bring forth good fruit.  The key is to remain aware when sin sticks to our lives and have a vibrant and loving relationship with our Lord so we can go to Him for cleansing.

 

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:5-6