My husband had a date. Not with me or anyone else. The kind you eat.
Would you believe in a box labeled Seedless Dates there was one with a seed in it? I remember his wide eyes and the “Oh!” he exclaimed when he bit into it.
Hubby planted his unexpected find and today I have a three-foot tall palm tree on my back porch. Soon, I’ll have to transfer the small tree to a larger container, hoping it will continue to thrive.
My back porch palm tree reminds me of two verses in Psalm 92 and my aim as a children’s ministry worker.
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree. Psalm 92:12a
Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in
in the courts of our God. Psalm 92:13
In children’s ministry, spiritual digging, planting, watering, fertilizing, weeding is created in a variety of ways. It’s accomplished through songs, games, role-playing, stories and giving positive incentives. All of these methods seek to put God’s Word into their hearts—praying it will take root. Believing our children will grow, flourish and perhaps one day, like my back porch palm tree, move on to bigger surroundings and greater things.
In my younger years, I was quick to sing Pick up, Clean up and help my kids’ put their toys away. But now, I’m content to let Thomas the Train and the box cars stay on the floor. The little train wreck reminds me of my grandson. His determination as he assembled the track and connected the box cars to the engine. The sounds he made as he pushed the train around the track and the blllliibphttaw he shouted as the train derailed and fell apart on the floor. Yes, the mess reminds me of him and his playfulness. But, most of all, it reminds me of my responsibility.
Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. Joel 1:3
Those daily check-the-box Bible reading charts didn’t work for me. Behind schedule by February. An abandoned reading plan by April. But, one day it occurred to me, I don’t have to follow a prescribed reading plan. I’m free to choose my own style–my own way of digging into God’s word.
So I did. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. Curiosity leapfrogged. I reviewed cross-references and studied definitions. I scanned maps and timelines. Browsed commentaries. I discovered answers to situations, wisdom, knowledge and guidance. I looked forward to my aha! moments–the times I found something I never saw before, though I had read the same scripture many times.
Over twenty years have passed since I began my unique approach to the greatest book of all time. Fresh spiritual bread feeds my soul. Written word, logos, truly is living word, rhema.
Oh the wonder, the adventure. I’ve found my Jehovah Jireh’s words are words that truly provide!
1 Tim 2:15
A small act of chivalry, yet it means so much. Whenever we’re walking together and my husband realizes I’m the one walking closest to the street he’ll say, “We need to switch places. I should be over there.”
We switch. I smile, knowing he’s willing to take a muddy splash, or in the worst case, a hit from an erring driver to insure my safety.
I have a spiritual protector beside me too. He’s promised to always be with me. I may never know the times He’s fought off unseen hindrances or attacks. Yet I trust Him.
I think I’ll keep walking.
Phl 3:14, 2 Tim 4:7, Rev 2:10d
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.
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!
Filed under apostolic, Bible, devotional, encouragement, evangelism, God, heaven, inspiration, Jesus, ministry, outreach
Barn mice did you know you’d be among the first to hear his voice?
Bethlehem did you know out of you would come the Bread of Life?
Innkeeper did you know your stable would be the birthing room of a king?
Manger did you know you’d cradle the Prince of Peace?
Shepherds did you know while you watched your flocks you’d see The Lamb?
Wise men did you know when you followed the star you’d see The Light?
Paul, the author of the New Testament book, Philemon, encouraged Philemon to take back his run-away slave Onesimus and receive him as a brother (v. 16). Why? Because Paul had instructed Onesimus in the gospel and felt his life had changed. Paul went so far as to guarantee Philemon he would right any of Onesimus’ wrongs and pay his debts. In other words, he would to whatever it took to have Onesimus in good standing–ready to start a redeemed life.
Interestingly, the name Onesimus means profitable. Paul knew Onesimus had been unprofitable, (v.11) but saw past his past, focused on his potential and became his advocate.
Lord, Thank you for your grace that forgives and changes lives. May I follow Paul’s example and actualize the value of every soul.