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
I see the Master and fall at his feet.
“My daughter is ill. Touch her,”I plead.
I motion for Jesus to follow me home.
The disciples join in—we walk then hear moans
of mourners who gather, their wails and their shouts
turn to sneers and mocking as Jesus cries out.
“She’s not dead, only sleeping. Get out. Leave,” He says.
We walk to the room where my little girl lay.
He holds her limp hand, “Daughter arise.”
She awakes and I see—she is alive!
Oh the Master’s word. The Master’s touch.
Revives. Brings life. Savior thank you so much.
I’m an old rag.
Stained. Tossed aside.
I’ve scoured and polished. But now?
I sit in a pile with others. We stink.
What? What’s that I hear? A servant says he needs us?
Ebedmelech takes us in his arms. “These’ll do. Soft. Just right.”
”Here Jeremiah!” Ebedmelech shouted as he lowered us down into the dungeon. “Put these rags under your armpits and under the rope tied around you.”
One more use for us. Not to wipe or clean, but to cushion and protect the fragile skin of the emaciated prophet.
Our softness and gentleness absorb his frailness.
What made us old rotten rags?
And Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so. So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison. Jeremiah 38: 12, 13 KJV
The inner chamber, a phrase from Isaiah 26:20, means any place apart. For Edward Wilson, it was the crow’s nest on the ship Terra Nova. He’d often climb to it during his expeditions to Antarctica. He called it his private chapel.
Vesta Mangun’s father, Royal Gibson would slip away to his favorite place of prayer–a secluded oak grove not far from his house. Many miracles and healings occurred throughout his ministry. He knew that power with God came through unwavering faith in His word and in the power of the name of Jesus.
Susanna Wesley, (1669-1742), mother of nineteen children including John and Charles Wesley, would sit down and pull her apron up over her head. Her children knew to be extra quiet during this time so they wouldn’t disturb her time of prayer.
What does this have to do with outreach? Everythng! John 6:44.
We must pray until~
This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise
To seize the everlasting prize
And shout while passing through the air
Fare well, fare well, sweet hour of prayer.
(Last verse of Sweet Hour of Prayer)
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Mmmmm. Roasted grasshoppers. Six grams of protein in each one.
While on a family camping trip, my brother demonstrated grasshopper flambé–one of the many survivalists’ skills he learned in the military. After spearing a grasshopper, he carried it to the picnic table and held his arthropod appetizer over a flaming candle. Assured the grasshopper was fully cooked he allowed it to cool a few seconds before popping it in his mouth. Crunch. Crunch. Swallow. He smiled at his wide-eyed audience and soon four young boys were hunting grasshoppers, all eager to check this accomplishment off their man-card. Besides, God’s word says their clean (Leviticus 11:22).
As strange as it seems, this is exactly what John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus ate in the wilderness, (along with wild honey). He was the voice commissioned to break four hundred years of silence. Clothed with leather and camel’s hair, he heralded the news, Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. John 3:2.
Although our clothes and diet are different from John’s, our mission is the same. We are the 21st century voice in this millennial wilderness.
Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!
May this mission drive everything we do–our interactions with our family, co-workers, friends, neighbors, store clerks, waitresses and even the unexpected divine appointments at Walmart and TaMollys.
Hmmm? Grasshoppers and salsa anyone?
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I’ve heard the secret to wilderness survival is what’s tucked away in your pockets, belt and mind. What’s kept there must sustain you when all else is lost.
As I make my way through this world of declining morals, I ‘ve found I must diligently put God’s word in my heart. Psalm 119:11
God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil–evil, evil, evil from morning to night. Genesis 6:5, The Message.
Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Peter 3:15 The Message.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 KJV.
As I make my way through this metaphoric wilderness of life, I must answer as Jesus did, It is written. Continue reading
I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Psalm 143:6 NIV
“When you lift your hands you make a funnel for God’s spirit to come down to you,” said Reverend Lee Stoneking at a recent conference. Hmmm? I’d never thought of it that way. I’d always thought of it as a sign of surrender. Here I am God. I give up. I give it all to you. But make a funnel? OK.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. (and make a funnel) Psalm 63:4
Pour it on God.
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In John Bunyan’s classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian the journeying pilgrim traveled with a heavy load on his back until he came to a hill. On it stood a cross and below it, at the bottom, was a tomb. When Christian came up to the cross, his burden loosened from his shoulders and fell onto the ground. It rolled and rolled until it tumbled into the empty tomb. He never saw it again.
Christian stood in awe at the sight of the cross–amazed that his oppressive burden dropped and rolled away so quickly. He felt released from the pressure he had carried. As a result, he wept and sang and leaped for joy. The cross became a bridge that brought him from a life of despondent sighing, to over flowing gladness and singing.
Like Christian, I basked in a feeling of warm joy when I met Him at the cross. He gave me a new song and turned my mourning into dancing.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing. Psalm 30:11a
Thank you Jesus!
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