This is the third day in a row. Lord, are you trying to tell me something? A book, a social media post & today’s email devotional had the same message–the difference between peace keeping & peace making.
*stuff/hold it in
*go with the flow
But, a maker makes things. Making things requires effort and action. Taking action often means initiating a much needed conversation.
Yes Lord, I’ll take a deep breath & be a peacemaker. Season my words with love and wisdom. Give me patience to listen and understand. With your help, love and peace will win.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9
At seventeen I had a lot of questions–few answers. Questions about life. Questions about the future. Questions about God. Was He real? Was there more to being a Christian than going to church and trying to live a good life? Yes, I had questions and a summer job. My title? Assistant Head Dining Room Girl. Where? Camp Hoblitzelle in Midlothian, Texas.
Dining Room Girl duties included setting tables, serving food, serving second and third helpings of food, cleaning tables, washing dishes and mopping floors. As Assistant Head Dining Room Girl I had to make sure all the tasks were done and help solve any problems that arose among the eight of us. Consequently, serving three meals a day, plus a night-time snack to staff left little time to enjoy camp activities. Until one day, just before supper, the dining room girls were asked to step outside.
“Everyone take on of these folded slips of paper from the basket,” the Camp Director said. “After you’ve drawn one, walk over to an area by yourself, sit down and seriously think about what you’re reading. Stay in your spot until you hear the dinner bell.”
I reached into the wicker basket and took one of the white papers and walked to a nearby tree and plopped beneath it. It felt good to sit outside, even if it was July. I leaned back against the tree and opened my assignment.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
I looked up to the sky then down again to what became 2 of my favorite Bible verses.
I will trust.
Heal the Waters, Heal the Stream
Pioneer nurse, Florence Nightingale followed the stench that led to a dead horse in a stream. The stream flowed over and around the remains of the horse and into the town’s water supply. Could this be why so many people were ill? Possibly.
This story reminds me of Jesus’ words in Luke 6:45.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
It also reminds me of a Sunday School song:
What you hide in your heart you’ll find on your tongue.
Once it goes into your mind the journey’s just begun
If your glad, sad, or mad, it’ll come out good or bad.
What you hide in your heart you’ll find on your tongue
Search my heart. Make me aware and rid me of anything that doesn’t manifest health and life. I want a clean heart. Fill me afresh with your Word and Spirit. Release living water.
In your name,
Psalm 139:23, Psalm 51:10, Psalm 119:11, Psalm 12:6, Psalm 19:14, Luke 6:45, John 7:38
Not long after we entered Carlsbad Caverns the park ranger asked us to turn off our lanterns. Everything I heard about conditions being so dark that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face was true. I waved my hand several times in front of my eyes. Still, I couldn’t see them.
I’ve often wondered if it was the same pitch black atmosphere for Moses when he stepped into the darkness and met with God, Exodus 20:21. Others, kept their distance. But Moses, knew God would meet him there.
At times, situations in life seem uncertain, bleak, dark. What a comfort to know the Light of the World can be found in the darkness, even the thick darkness.
Deut. 5:22, 1 Ki 8:12, 2 Chr 6:1
Got dirt? Something unclean? It won’t stop God! His Heavenly resume includes the following:
- Genesis 2:7-Formed man from the dust of the ground.
- Mark1:41-Touched a leper and declared him clean.
- Mark 5:41-Touched a dead girl and brought her back to life.
- John 8:6-Removed a woman’s accusers by writing words in the ground with my finger.
- John 9:6-Healed a blind man by making clay eye salve from my spit and a little dirt.
- John 13:5-Exemplified servant-leadership by washing my friends’ feet.
But what about invisible dirt—internal yucky stuff? If I pour it out can He handle it?
Crimson dirt cries, “Yes!”
Spreading chicken salad on a slice of bread swept me away to a time when I was four.
“Let’s have a tea party,” I’d say to mom.
Mom would bring out little sandwiches on little plates and place them on a little table. Our party was complete with little cups and a little silver tea pot.
Now, decades later I’m making sandwiches and brewing tea–mom’s lunch request. I pour the tea into mugs and arrange four triangular sandwiches on a little plate.
A tea party once more.
A wing-man is the pilot who positions his aircraft outside and behind (on the wing of) the leader of a flying formation. Left or right, a wing-man is always in sight.
Barnabas, whose name means son of exhortation, was Paul’s wing-man (Acts9:27). He interceded on his behalf and persuaded the disciples in Jerusalem to accept their former persecutor as a fellow-worker in Christ. It was Barnabas who encouraged a group of disciples in Antioch where we hear they were called Christians for the first time. He accompanied Paul on his journeys and later mentored John Mark. Yes, Barnabas was a wing-man, an encourager.
There are times in life I need a wing-man, a Barnabas. Someone who will be there to lend a listening ear or a helping hand. Someone who is trustworthy, such as a friend, counselor or a pastor who will provide healthy spiritual support. On the other hand, there are times I need to be the wing-person.
Help me to see the needs of others. Grant me the wisdom to say the right words at the right time, and the sensitivity to know when to be quiet and just be there.
Gazing toward the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral I asked myself, what are those distorted statues and waterspouts . . . why such odd sculptures on top of a beautiful building? Later as I read about these medieval rainspouts and statues, also known as gargoyles and grotesques, I discovered their purpose.
During the 12th century when Notre Dame was built, literacy wasn’t an option for most people. Consequently images became important. Some historians believe these half-beast, half-human caricatures symbolized the vices and weaknesses of man. They not only stood on cathedral rooftops to serve as decorative rainspouts, but were there to warn the onlooker of the evil around them. The more dreadful these figures appeared on the outside, the more serene and secure the observer would find the haven inside.
Today’s reminders of man’s wickedness are in a different form. The stony icons from medieval times have been replaced by a daily bombardment of media messages. News coverage about present day events echo humanity’s corrupt values. Reports of terrorism, murders, violence and abuse propel me to take a news break–a respite from the negative headlines. I search for a haven, a hiding place. Not a man-made sanctuary, but a place where I can find a few moments of solitude surrounded by God’s presence.
Inside my quiet refuge He changes me. Renews my mind. Refills my spirit. Restores my soul. Refreshes my strength.
Empowered once again to do His will–to be salt and light
The sound of ripping fabric
Years ago a man went through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and northern West Virginia greeting folks by saying, “Hello! I have good news from heaven.” His name was John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed. This pioneer nursery man saved apple seeds and sold them for a penny each. He sold young sapling apple trees for three cents each. He wanted our country’s settlers to not only have a food supply for themselves, but for future generations as well.
John Chapman was quite an evangelist too. He told stories to children and preached the gospel to anyone who’d listen. The Indians referred to him as someone touched by the Great Spirit.
Our forefathers saved and stored seed year after year to sustain them. Seed had to be preserved, kept safe and when the time was right, planted in the earth. Seed was precious . . . valuable.
We too have valuable, precious seed—God’s Word within us.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalms 126:5-6
Are there any Johnny’s or Johnette’s out there? Did you do some sowing this week?
We have good news from heaven!
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