My Gnat Farm


Scripture for the day:  Romans 15:7 “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.”

I love fresh herbs!  They make food taste amazing, and they are far superior to their dried cousins.  It is winter, however.  All my beautiful herbs are either fast asleep or dead in my garden.  Not to worry!  I bought a basil plant and uprooted a tarragon clump from the garden.  I bought a small bag of Miracle Gro soil, found a couple of pots and behold:  an indoor herb garden, growing happily in a sunny window with fluorescent lights as needed.

Everything about my little windowsill garden seemed perfect until I noticed gnats swarming around my basil.  I decided to check the bag of soil, and sure enough.  Inside the bag gnats were swarming.  Is that the “miracle” inside every bag of Miracle Gro?  Do they secretly tuck a gnat farm in every bag they sell?  Hmmm.  Not to worry.  I can live with a few gnats if necessary in order to enjoy fresh basil and tarragon.

I’m thinking today about all the wonderful people in my life.  Admittedly, some of them came with a few gnats, little quirks that I find annoying.  Some even came with a whole gnat farm just like my windowsill garden.  And then there is me.  Gnats galore!

I am so happy with my basil and tarragon that I don’t mind the gnats.  I even say good morning to them when I turn on the light.  I accept them, embrace them if that is part of the joy of having fresh basil.

Christ died on a cross to save me.  He accepted me into His kingdom and He loves me, gnats and all.  I didn’t have to get rid of the gnats before He accepted me.  Thank goodness.  I can’t figure out how to get rid of gnats.  Period.

So may I accept those God places in my life.  May I love them, encourage them, help them to grow and thrive.  May I ignore the gnats, accept them as being a part of my relationship with that person.  May I always see the good in the person and ignore a few pesky gnats, just as Christ did for me.

Song for the day:  “Your Grace Still Amazes Me” by Phillips, Craig and Dean

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXVUYC_ykwE

His grace amazes me, and He loves me, gnats and all.

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Remembering Billie


Scripture for the day: John 14:1-2 “‘Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.”

A dear friend left this earth last week to go to her heavenly home.  She is in a mansion now, whole, free from pain and suffering, living in the forever with Jesus.  There will be a celebration service today for friends and family to gather to remember Billie.  It will be a sweet time of remembrance and fellowship, but there will also be a sadness in the loss of someone special.

I saw Jesus in Billie.  She was sweet, always ready to help a friend or stranger.  She was loving and kind, and she had the voice of an angel.  I pause today to thank my God for the privilege of knowing Billie for a little while.

I will remember the special music she sang for us in church.  The last time Billie sang it was hard for her to walk, but she raised her voice to Him.  In the process, she raised all who heard her to the Father.  I will remember her sweet smile and I will miss seeing her in church on Sunday.  I will miss her smiles and her hugs.  Billie was one to give of herself to others.  She acted out of love, never wanting or expecting anything in return.  The last thing Billie wanted was praise or recognition.

There will be many today who will share a story about Billie and what she meant to them.  There will be smiles, hugs, tears and lots of love.  Billie was all about love.  Billie was all about Jesus.  Billie will live on in the hearts of many, and we will be reunited some day.

Song for the day:  “Let Others See Jesus in You”

“Then live for Christ both day and night, be faithful, be brave, and true, and lead the lost to life and light.  Let others see Jesus in you.”

Billie lived for Christ.  She was life and light to those around her.  I saw Jesus in Billie, and now Billie is home with Him.  I praise Him for His faithfulness and for His promises.

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain.”

Billie did not labor in vain.  She has gone home to glory.  Thank you, Jesus.

 

 

Heart Friends


Scripture for the day:  Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

I am blessed with lots of friends.  They range from acquaintances to those who are like family.  In my many years on this earth I have made and lost friends.  Some have been lost because of a move, some because of a change of lifestyle, some because of neglect.  Whatever the reason, friends seem to come and go in my life.  Unlike family, we can choose our friends, and that makes a difference.

I am thinking today about my heart friends.  They are the ones who love me warts and all.  Much like the sunrise, I can count on them to appear.  Friends used to be those we encountered along our narrow pathway of life.  Today friends can be miles away, known only to us by an online address.  We connect through Facebook, email, and text messages.  It is very different from chatting with a neighbor across the back fence, but the connection can be as real.

I thank my God for all the special women He has placed in my life at just the right moment.  Definitely divine intervention.  We have come together because of a shared concern or need, but our lives have become so intertwined that we forget where it all began.  Those are the friends I am especially grateful for today.  They share my joys, my sorrows, my ups and downs.  They are stable, constant, forever, and I thank my God for them.

My best friend, however, is Jesus.  He is always there.  He never sleeps nor slumbers.  He is mine, and I am His.  Forever.

Song for the day:  “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTl0svRr0tQ

This is one of my favorite songs.  It reminds me of all my friends who have lifted me to Jesus in good times and bad.  They are so special because we have a mutual friend:  Jesus.

 

The Always and Forever of “I Do”


Scripture for the day:  Matthew 19:4-6 “And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’  So then they are no longer two but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Today is my daughter and son-in-law’s wedding anniversary.  I started my day thinking about them, praying for them.  I sent my daughter an email of remembrance, and she responded by thanking us for being a wonderful example of marriage.  Well, I wasn’t ready to go there!  But her comment started a thought process that needs expression.  Thanks for the inspiration, daughter ‘o mine!

God must have a sense of humor because he made us different from the beginning.  Men and women aren’t just different physically, we don’t think alike.  This is evident from the first week of marriage.  Most couples compound that problem by marrying someone who is completely different from them, the old “opposites-attract” adage.  That is certainly the case in my marriage.  I understand why I chose my husband, but I often wonder what he saw in me!  Maybe it was my mini skirts and boots, bouffant hairstyle, my winning smile and great sense of humor!  Ahem.  I chose him for his intellect, his compassion, his calm, gentle demeanor.  Truth be told, he reminded me of my daddy in many ways, and that was a very good thing.

What attracted me to him has also caused problems.  I still appreciate his great intellect, but sometimes he can “think” something to death!  His love and compassion are still of tremendous value, and I will never grow tired of those traits in him.  He is so calm at times that it makes me want to scream.  It is one of those differences that I value most of the time and find quite annoying at others.

What I have found over the years is that we agree on the big things.  I’m sure we knew that going into the relationship, but it has been a blessing through the years.  The things we disagree on are the petty, mundane, everyday circumstances or situations, and they can become overblown in importance.  When that happens, I usually try to step back and think what life would be like without my husband.  I have used that tactic many times over the years, and it has always worked for me.  He is still alive and unscathed, mostly.

The bottom line for me is my husband is my best friend.  I value his opinion, seek his guidance, appreciate his input on anything that comes my way.  The love I felt for him in the beginning has grown so deep, so profound, so beautiful that it is hard to imagine.  I’m sure I take his love for granted at times, but I also treasure his feelings for me.  I can’t imagine my life without him.

So I am thanking God today for the wonderful man I married.  I am so grateful for his provision, his care, his love and compassion every minute of every day.  I can’t imagine a day without him in my life, and I know he feels the same way.  Cancer almost took me from him, and I saw how deeply wounded he was, how scared he was that he would lose me.  I’ve never faced the possibility of losing my mate, but I can’t even stand the thought.  God brought us together and only death will separate us.  May God bless and keep this man as we live the “I Do” commitment we made so many years ago .

Song for the day:  “The Wedding Song”

He is now to be among you at the calling of your hearts

Rest assured this troubadour is acting on His part.

The union of your spirits, here, has caused Him to remain

For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name

There is Love, there is Love.

Well a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home

They shall travel on to where the two shall be as one.

As it was in the beginning is now and til the end

Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again.

And there is Love, there is Love.

Well then what’s to be the reason for becoming man and wife?

Is it love that brings you here or love that brings you life?

For if loving is the answer, then who’s the giving for?

Do you believe in something that you’ve never seen before?

Oh there is Love, there is Love.

Oh the marriage of your spirits here has caused Him to remain

For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name

There is Love, there is Love.

A Special Mom


Scripture for the day:For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Vacation Bible School is for kids, right?  Planting seeds, nourishing little seedlings, learning Bible verses, playing games, singing songs about Jesus.  It’s a fun week devoted to telling kids about Jesus.  I was asked to be VBS director at my church in 1984, and I said yes.  I felt very unprepared, and I was.  But God called me, and He was faithful to equip me.  It has become a very special calling for me.

I learned early on to give VBS to God.  Our little church didn’t have the resources or the workers to do anything grand, but our hearts were always in the right place.  Every year I was amazed at what God made of our efforts.  His plans were always much different from mine, and it was a great lesson in trusting Him.  I have learned to just sit back and watch Him work.  This year was no exception.  Our state had been plagued by severe storms for two weeks, so I prayed for good weather.  I also prayed for good health, great fun and most of all glory to God.  All my prayers were answered.  But God wasn’t through.

We were blessed this year with mothers who decided to stay and work in VBS instead of just dropping their kids off.  They filled voids as needed and were a real blessing.  One mom in particular came all week.  She even came two nights when her kids were not in VBS.  It seemed only fitting that she join us in church on Sunday, so I invited her on Facebook.  She agreed to come.  No big deal, really.  But God had other plans.

Our pastor presented a powerful sermon and gave an invitation at the end.  The whole congregation was standing, eyes closed, heads bowed, praying, feeling the Spirit in our midst.  Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder.  Then arms around me, head bowed on my shoulder.  Words spoken softly, thanking me for the week, thanking me for the invitation to come to church.  Suddenly the room fell away, and it was just me and my friend.  We went forward and knelt at the altar, praying, crying, worshiping our God.

I felt different when I left church than I did when I arrived, and I’m sure my friend did, too.  We were strangers, really, when the service began.  Just two women worshipping together.  But God had other plans.  He brought us both to a place of beautiful surrender and peace.  He opened a door for us, and I am very excited to see where it will lead.  He has plans for us:  plans to give us hope and a future.  Part of our hope, our future rests with each other now.  Where will we go?  What will we do with our newfound friendship.  God brought us together for a reason.  I can only imagine the possibilities.

So I will remember VBS 2013 as a wonderful time of teaching, learning, worshiping Jesus.  But I will also remember the Sunday after VBS when God placed a very special mom in my arms and in my heart.  I thank Him for His beautiful plan.

Song for the day: “Why Do I Sing About Jesus”

“Why do I sing about Jesus?  Why is He precious to me?  He is my Lord and my Savior; dying, He set me free!”

 

Friends


Scripture for the day:  Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times . . .”

Friends are such a blessing.  I have quite a collection, and I treasure every one of them.

Some are old friendships, and we share a history.  We’ve been through happy times and tragedies together, and our friendship has blossomed and grown.

Other friendships are new and exciting.  They don’t have the depth but they have sparkle.

Some friendships are like seed that is planted on infertile ground.  They sprout up, flourish for a while and then wither.  They add interest to my life, but I can’t count on them.  They may simply disappear when times are tough and I need them most.

My bout with cancer taught me a lot about friendship.  The love I felt from friends was like a warm oil being pored over my hurting body.  I discovered friends I didn’t know I had and lost a few I thought were mine forever.

Through all of that trial, however, my most treasured friend was Jesus.  His love for me never changed.  He was always there for me no matter what.  He was and is a constant in my life, and I am so grateful.  He knows everything about me, and He loves me anyway.  What a friend I have in Jesus!

 

Song for the day:  “I’ve Found a Friend, O Such a Friend”

 

“I’ve found a friend, O such a friend! Christ loved me ere I knew Him; He drew me with the cords of love, and thus He bound me to Him; and round my heart still closely twine those ties which naught can sever, for I am His, and Christ is mine, forever and forever.”