and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

What’s for Breakfast?

       It was your typical morning routine:  workout, get kids up and out, drive one to school bus stop, come home and eat.  I reached into the cupboard for the cereal and bowl, and absentmindedly poured it out.  It wasn’t until I put the spoon in that I noticed writhing worms in my bowl.  Eww, gross… and stinky!

       I threw out the contaminated food, set the dish to be cleaned, and tried a new cereal.  This time I watched as it poured out, and what I saw astonished me.  It was more worms.  Frantically I searched every box for real food, but to my dismay I only found more worms.  Sounds like a dream, but in reality, something like this happened to the Israelites traversing the desert.  (No, it didn’t literally happen to me!)

       The newly freed Israelites were blessed with ‘food from heaven’ which they called manna.  It fell every morning and they gathered enough for each person of the household for that day only.  If they took more and tried to leave it until morning it bred worms and stank.  (Ex. 16:20)  They learned an important lesson:  that when God expects you to have fresh bread daily, not try to survive on old bread.  Jesus said to pray that God would give us ‘our daily bread’.  (Mat. 6:11) 

       Jesus claimed to be the Bread of Life*.  I think the point was that He sustains us, but we were never meant to live on yesterday’s ‘glory’ or our time with Him; we are supposed to have fresh daily time with Him.  Just as we won’t starve without actual food in three days though it can make us feel weak and sick, three days without the presence of Jesus will weaken us and make us spiritually unwell.  Could explain why I’m feeling a little weak today…

Lord, help me to always set aside special time to be with You every day.

*John 6:32-35  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

What a great smile!

       A smile can lighten a person’s entire day, an encouraging word can give someone the strength to go on, a hug can remind them they are loved, and a service done might bring someone relief.  We never know for sure what a simple kindness can do for another person, but we know what it meant to us on the receiving end.

       Two cleaning ladies at Henry Ford Hospital were blessings to me the night my husband was rushed in.  One of them, upon finding out I was desperate for a complete Bible, searched for one all over and brought it up.  Later, her co-worker gave me her cell phone to use and when the call couldn’t go through, she sent a text message for me.  They didn’t have to go out of their way to be kind to me, but it made a difficult night more bearable, and I will always be grateful.

       So, perhaps I may never do a ‘great’ humanitarian work in my life, but I can make a difference every day in the life of all those around me whether known or passing strangers.  And isn’t that what Jesus did.  One day at a time, one person or group at a time, He touched the lives of those around Him and the world has never been the same again.

       We can change the world around us with acts of kindness.  However, we have an important decision to make.  Will we try to change this world for the better, or will we change it for the worse?

       Lord, help me to find many ways in my day to show kindness to all those around me and when I am not very observant or am too inwardly focused, shake me out of it and point out the people I can bless.

Some scriptures:
Gal. 5:22- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Pr. 19:22- What is desired in a man is kindness,  KJV
Col. 3:12- Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, your should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others…   TLB

Thursday, March 31, 2011


       Ding dong, ding dong.  It’s been a long four days so getting up to answer the door seems to be more of a chore than a pleasure.  Upon opening the door you see _________.  Does it matter whose name is there.  You haven’t been home to clean or do dishes so the house is a disaster and you have unexpected company.  Do you turn them away out of embarrassment or invite them in asking them to ignore the mess?  How about ending up in the clinic/ ER for hours with your child, or the rain floods your basement; a friend suddenly has a heart attack, or a car crashes into you.  Negative unforeseen events happen all the time on both a small and large scale.

       The other side of the coin is the good surprises in life.  The surprise birthday party you didn’t even see coming.  A gift from a friend ‘just because’, or a card containing money during a financially difficult time is unexpectedly great.  How about twins when only one baby is expected, or a visit from _________ when your house is actually clean?!!  Perhaps you get a promotion you didn’t even know was available or you find out someone has a baby for you to adopt.  There are all kinds of positive unexpected events and hopefully they far outweigh the bad.

       I think there will be one unexpected even that is both positive and negative… when Jesus returns in the clouds with power and glory*.  For some, those who have the assurance of His salvation, it will be a positive time, for we will be with the Lord forever**.  For those who have rejected His salvation, it will be a negative time that will be far worse than anything seen so far.

       Do we need to know the date He is coming?  No!  The Bible clearly indicates we should all be ready when He comes.  That means our hearts should be right with Him.  Can He tell some of us the date?  Of course, He’s God, He is sovereign and can pretty much do what He wants to.  Will He?  Seriously, does it matter?  Any one of us could die in the next second, so basically we need to be prepared at all times to see Him at any unexpected moment***.

*Mat 24:30  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
**1Th 4:16, 17  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
***Take heed, watch, be ready, pray.  Be ready for the unexpected.  Matt. 24: 42, 44;  25:13;  Mark 13:33, Luke 12:40;  2Pet.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Feeling Helpless

       He lay uncomfortably in the hospital bed, his breathing shallow, and his face weary with a mix of fatigue and inability to sleep as he drifted in and out of consciousness.  Even in the low lights I could tell his face was unusually pale; in 22 years the only other times I’d seen him this bad were in extreme sleep deprivation (new baby in the house) and just before he was diagnosed with diabetes.  This wasn’t my husband.  This wasn’t the man I married.

       A distant memory flashed before my eyes.  We were at a friend’s house helping him move so we loaded up Albert’s pick up truck with furniture and as we were about to leave, we noticed a flat back tire.  Not wanting to unload the truck to fix it, and being minus a jack for assistance, they got the tire ready to remove and the new one ready to go on when my strong but crazy fiancĂ© laid down under the truck bed and pushed it up in the air long enough for his friend to exchange the tires.  Up until that point I never realized just how strong Albert was.  I looked back at all the tubes and wires and wondered if he would ever be better again.

       It was such a feeling of helplessness to sit there and watch him struggle to breathe and there was NOTHING I could do to fix it.  I couldn’t help him to breathe deeper, or undo the damage in his heart; I couldn’t make his heart beat properly or even help him sleep.  So I just sat there feeling powerless… praying.  What else was there to do?

       Life causes these situations all the time with parents, spouses, siblings and worst of all our children who are suppose to outlive us.  There are immediate health concerns, and then there are progressive diseases just so we can watch our loved one’s suffering increase over time.  Sometimes it’s not their physical health, but their emotional, mental, or spiritual health that suffers a setback: past hurts, loss, addictions, abuse, disaster, heartbreak, becoming a victim of crime, job loss, and on and on.

       We can try to bring comfort, even try to assist with circumstances, but for the most part we are unable to mend the ‘broken’ person.  Some wounds go too deep, and we are only mortal men with limited capabilities.  So, what do you do as you watch your loved one suffer… besides pray?

       Jump into your Father’s lap and hang on- tight.  He understands sorrow*.  Imagine watching over six billion of your loved ones suffering.  He understands loss as He had to allow Jesus to ‘leave home’ and come to us as a man; then He had to watch Jesus unjustly suffer in agony of body and soul for our sins.  He understands grief* of permanent loss as many die without accepting His salvation.  The Father can bring comfort in times of trouble**, so when we are powerless, His presence can help us through.

*Is. 53:4b- Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; NKJV
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, NIV
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. NLT

**2 Corinthians 1:3,4- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  NKJV
Nahum 1:7- The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,  NIV

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Farmer and His Son

       One of my favorite stories I have heard is that of a farmer and his son.  They owned many acres for crops and some cattle.  The farmer told his son that in order to plant the crops in a straight line he should fix his eyes on something at the far end of the field.  After watching his son start out to plant, the farmer left to plant another field.  When the farmer came back for lunch he noticed the crops had not been planted in straight lines, but they were all over the place.  He asked his son why the lines were not straight and the son replied, “I don’t know Dad, I did exactly what you said; I fixed my eyes on something at the end of the field and followed in that direction.”  Not understanding what went wrong, the farmer questioned, “Well, what was it you chose to fix your eyes on Son?”  To which the son said, “The cow at the far end of the field!”

       Obviously if you were planting a field and fixed your eyes on a movable object, then it follows that your trajectory might move along with it.  So, big deal, who cares if the crops are crooked or not?  Well, (before no till days) if your crops weren’t straight, there would be a lot of wasted land plus it made it harder to work the land to keep the weeds down and help the soil absorb water thereby growing better.  Basically crooked lines meant reduced crops which meant less food or income. 

       We should learn from this farmer’s son.  If we keep our eyes fixed on a movable target then our lives will become messy and will not produce as much as they should.  Money comes and goes, glory fades, power corrupts, people change, morals degrade, success never satisfies, and pleasures are fleeting.  Only one person remains stable and strong.  He is our Lord, our Rock, and our High Tower*.  We need to keep our eyes on Him,** for He is the same yesterday, today and forever, (Heb. 13:8) and only He is reliable to fix our eyes upon.


*Ps. 18:2- The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. KJV
**Heb. 1b,2a- …let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. NIV  Is. 45:22
Matt. 14:28,29- Peter walks on the water to Jesus, but when his eyes get fixed on the storm he panics and  begins to sink.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New and Improved!

       While riding my bike this morning a strange thought came to me.  Why have we, as a society who likes to improve on everything, never improved our marriage vows?  Ah, yes, we have changed them for certain, but are they improved? 

Consider the old vows:
I,_____, take you_____, to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part.

Perhaps today we would prefer it to say:
I,_____, take you_____, to be my wife/husband, to have as wanted and hold when desired, for better but not worse, for richer but not if I must live below my standards, in health but not if I must care for you long-term, to be in love and have fun with; as long as it feels right to me.

       Wouldn’t that more accurately reflect how we see marriage today?  Are Christians any different considering our divorce rate is consistent with the rest of the world?  As a modern society we are so caught up with marrying the person ‘we are in love with’ that the whole ‘commitment no matter what adversity happens’ has gone by the wayside.  We stay together only as long as it ‘feels’ right to us.  Is this real love?

       Funny, but I don’t see anywhere in the Bible it says to do what ‘feels’ right to us.  We were just told to do right according to God’s Word.  Jesus told us to love one another* not to ‘feel love toward one another’.  The difference- one being an action not based on what we feel emotionally for another person.  (Hmmm, something to think about...)  That is a love which will last beyond our feelings of the moment.

*John A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  KJV (John )