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
Nameless. Unfit to live with society. So he lived among the tombs–his hideout home. Scarred from frequent cutting. Dirty. Naked. Until Jesus stepped ashore.
Two words, “Come out,” and the legion of demons hurled into a herd of swine. Hell’s chains broke, fell off. Free. Clean.
The delivered one wanted to follow Jesus. Stay close to him. Was this longing from a feeling of eternal gratefulness? Was it from a fear if the unclean spirits returned he’d be close to The Messiah? Still, Jesus told him to stay. Stay and tell his story. He couldn’t help but tell his story.
And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. Mark 5:15
And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel. Mark 5:20
Decapolis, a gentile region of ten cities–designated by Jesus to be his mission field. His spiritual jurisdiction. Two chapters later, Jesus returned to the same area and healed a deaf-mute.
And were beyond measure astonished, saying He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. Mark 7:37
A miracle in the former demoniac’s homeland. The gospel, the good news spread. His testimony, his story, used for God’s glory.
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.
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
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