Sunday, March 30, 2008

Flooded Free

There's a low-lying field next to the road to town that floods every spring. (LoL--the same field that had ducks swimming in a mud puddle.) After the water drained off, I noticed the flood had left a legacy of surfaced trash. Trash that had been tucked here-there-and-yonder had floated free of its hiding place, and as the flood waters receded, it was left in a neat line at the water's farthest reach. A can recycler would have an easy time of it right now. Rather than having to zigzag around, they'd only have to follow the water line.

When our lives flood, it's not all bad. The trash that's tucked away, just out of sight, is floated free and it surfaces so we can easily spot it and get rid of it.

Seeing that line of trash on the banking of the field made me wonder if I'd been using my floods wisely--to help me clean the trash out of my life.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bird Butts

I was feeling sorry for myself when I looked out the window and saw bird butts on the electric wires running to my house. Lord, am I forever doomed to see only bird butts?

Child, walk a few steps so you can see them from the other side and you'll see just how beautiful they are. You're only doomed if you chose not to move.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Puddled Ducks

Driving past an empty field the other day I saw a pair of ducks floating in a puddle. I wanted to stop and tell them that there was a beautiful farm pond only half-a-mile away, but I realized the silliness of the thought even as I sped past.

I think I'm like those ducks--contentedly sitting in my muddy puddle, satisfied with so little when God has so much more for me. I sit and twiddle my toes in mud instead of moving to the place God wants me to be—a place of blessing and great riches. A place where God can use me.

Why do I do that? It's easier to stay in my cozy hole than it it to face the unknown. It's easier to sit in my puddle than to spread my wings and fly to a spot I've only heard is 'just over there'. It's easier to mind my own business than to possibly embarrass myself.

I cannot know the riches of His glory while sitting in my little mud puddle. I need to move to the pond God has for me in order to experience the surpassing greatness of His power. Father, open the eyes of my heart that I may know the hope of Your calling.
*******

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened,
so that your may know what is the hope of His calling,
what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”
Ephesians 1:18-19 (NAS)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bible People Costumes

Our church has a big Easter presentation each year and we're privileged to be involved in the drama end of it. In practice we were called “Bible people” and since there was over thirty of us involved they’d call out things like, “Ok, Bible People, to the back so we can run through the miracles scene.” All seven of my family were involved so I got to make 'Bible People' costumes for us—a lot of them.

It was easy to spot the Bible People in drama practice, but I wonder if it’s as easy to spot the modern-day Bible People? We don’t run around in flowing robes and head coverings so can others tell we’re Bible People? Is our faith just a costume we pull on when we go to church, or even when we bump into others to whom we want to be known as Christians to? Are we known as Bible People by our neighbors and the cashiers at the grocery store? Is our faith just a costume or is it soul-deep; a life-style?

Don’t be just an actor. Be true Bible People.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring!

There are birds in my yard once again. Lots of them. Through the winter months I'd forgotten how much I enjoy seeing and hearing them; I just accepted life as it was: not completely birdless, but almost.

That's how my spiritual walk is sometimes: Scriptureless--and over time I just accept it and forget how much I miss my time spent in God's Word. My world turns gray and rather barren, and cold—that damp chill that settles into your bones and makes you miserable.

But I'm so thankful that God doesn't just leave me in perpetual winter. He sends spring breezes to my soul, reminding me of the joy and pleasure of His Word, and encourages me to return to the joy of my salvation. That's when Spring truly arrives—when God's Word soaks into my soul and causes joy to bloom anew.


“The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NAS)

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Persistence of Peppermint

Outside my back door, beside my chimney lives a peppermint plant that has withstood many attacks. It has lived through weed pullings, being stomped on by five children, and weed wackings—and that's not counting the ash and creosote that has leached out the chimney through the years. After each assault the peppermint grows back as big and as beautiful as ever. My husband considers the peppermint plant a nuisance because it is not where it's supposed to be, but, secretly I love it because of where it is. In past years it has amazed me with it's persistence, but never more than it did last month.

After our first ice storm I went out with my camera in an attempt to keep my mother happy by providing her with pictures of her grandkids sledding. An icicle lured me around the back corner of the house, but I quickly lost interest in that when I spotted the bit of green encased in ice. It was my peppermint plant.

Pushing up through last year's dead leaves and stems was a perfectly formed baby peppermint sprig. It had grown, and was flourishing, in spite of winter. I was in awe and as I hunched down there, studying it and I knew there was a lesson there for me.

We're to be like that peppermint plant: persistently getting up when we're knocked down. Persistently growing and blooming when the conditions seem to be against us. By getting up when we're knocked down, and blooming after we've been pruned, we bring glory to God. Jesus is manifested in our lives when we grow through difficult, even impossible, situations.

Paul says it well in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

That little peppermint sprig was encased in ice, but it was beautiful in its crystal coating. Even in the midst of great adversity it was glorifying God and it reminded me, inspired me, to persistently live and shine for Him so that others might see Christ in me.
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