Friday, October 30, 2015

Tell It Like It Is


Psalm 15:1-3
Eternal One, who is invited to stay in Your dwelling?  Who is granted passage to Your holy mountain?  Here is the answer:  The one who lives with integrity, does what is right, and speaks honestly with truth from the heart.  The one who doesn't speak evil against others or wrong his neighbor, or slander his friends.

Our granddaughter, Virginia Rose, has the endearing quality of telling it like it is.  Whether the news is good or bad, she consistently reports to her mother what happened during her day at kindergarten.

"Mommy, I was talking when the teacher was reading to the class, so I had to turn in a dollar today."  (They have a play money reward system, and can cash their dollars in for a reward every Friday.)

"Beverly wouldn't stop poking at me on the bus, so I whacked her with my lunch bag.  She started crying, and I felt bad.  I apologized, but I think she's still mad at me."

"Guess what, Mommy?  I have a boyfriend and one day we're going to get married."  (It starts!)

Yep!  Virginia just comes right out with things.  Maybe such fearless honesty comes with a five-year-old's territory.  The cognitive skills aren't yet developed enough to think to tell anything but the truth

But there's also a definite element of trust.  Virginia knows her mother will listen and not judge.  If a situation requires correction, it is done with love and gentleness

Virginia has nothing to fear.

And when I reflect upon what it means to speak honestly with truth from the heart, I think back to times in my own childhood when I lied about something.  It was always, always because I feared, imagined or not, retribution and punishment should the truth come out.  Yes, I admit it, I was a people-pleaser from the get-go and felt strongly that if I didn't keep up my "perfect" facade, no one would love me.

I bought into that lie for way too many years . . .

But when I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life, everything changed.  The knowledge that I was loved as God's child, warts and all, and could trust in His saving grace replaced the who I wanted others to see with the authentic me.

I could live with integrity.

With truth from the heart.

And like Virginia, I can tell it like it is, for I have nothing to fear.

~

Have there been times in your life when you feared telling the truth?

Prayer:  Father, help us to remember Jesus' promise that the truth will set us free (John 8:32).  Let us live fearlessly as we put our faith and trust in You, knowing You love us just as we are.  May our words and actions reflect Your great love to others.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Autumn's Peace



John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I watch
Leaves falling
Drifting
Color brown
Wanton wind
Bids them down
Down, down
Never again 
To rise
Green and supple
Duty done
They rest
On deck and porch
On forest floor
They rest
In peace
Forever peace
No understanding
Only peace

~

How are you experiencing the peace of God in your life today?

Prayer:  Father, we see the seasons change and we know You change the seasons of our lives.  May we live as those who know Your unsurpassed peace no matter what our ability to understand.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Joy of Cooking and Then Some


Matthew 5:17-18
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

During my most recent stay with my mother, I note there are some ripening bananas on the kitchen island just begging to be transformed into banana bread.  Mom has a plethora of cookbooks, but as I peruse some of them, I'm at a loss as to finding a reliable recipe.  As my husband, Danny, doesn't care for banana bread, it's been years since I've made any.

"Mom," I say, "I'd like to make you some banana bread before I leave, but I can't find a recipe.  Can you look through your cookbooks for one?"

"No problem," says Mom as she retrieves her reliable Joy of Cooking from the shelf.  "I'm sure it's here; it's the one I always used."


She searches the contents and flips through the pages.  "It's right there," Mom confirms within a matter of moments, leaving the cookbook open to the sought-after recipe.  "Now can you heat me up some coffee?"

I do just that, but pause to take a look at the cookbook page.


It sports the evidence of many years of  wear and tear, stains and blemishes.

Much loved.  Much used.  I think I can't go wrong with this one!

But I get a bit discombobulated because I'm trying to bake the bread at the same time as I am nurturing a beef-vegetable soup on the stove.  Mom's oven/kitchen timers don't know the difference from one another, so I'm left to guess the time remaining for the banana bread to be done.

Whew!  Here's hoping I don't burn it!

Much to my surprise and delight, not only does the beef-veggie soup come up to snuff, but the banana bread does, too!



Mom and I indulge in some most satisfactory slices from this, thankfully, successful endeavor.



And I am left to ponder the wisdom of "old" recipes, the oldest of which for our hands to grasp being the Holy Bible.  God's recipes for our lives never age.  His Word is the same today as yesterday, and will remain so for all the tomorrows yet to come.  His ingredients of love, grace, forgiveness, and faithfulness will never end.

God is the Joy in all our lives' cooking, and then some!

~

Do you have a tried and true recipe to share?  Please feel free to post in the comments!

Prayer:  Father, we thank You for the unending and everlasting truth You give us in the Bible.  May Your words simmer and bake in our lives so that we might serve the world the food and nourishment of Your Spirit.  Let us be content in knowing that in Your time, all will be accomplished through Christ Jesus.  It is in His name, we pray.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Gifts of the Spirit


1 Corinthians 12:8-11
To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and still to another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

"God gives unique gifts to each of us, Anna," Jim told her.  "We know they are His gifts when doing them brings us incomparable joy and satisfaction like your art does for you." ~Excerpt from Redemption - Adventures in The Glade 


My granddaughter, Virginia Rose, like the character of Anna, Davy's younger sister, in my Glade novels, loves to draw.  She tells me her favorite activity in kindergarten is art.  Whenever Virginia comes to visit, the first thing she used to request was for me to set up her Crazy Sand.  Not anymore!  Now it's paper and crayons.

In perusing a sampling of Virginia's art work below, I can't help but feel this just-turned-five-year-old has a gift like Anna's.





















But it's what Virginia draws when last at our house that has me convinced she is, indeed, gifted in art.  She purposely asks for these objects to look at in order to render a depiction of each.







Honestly, these last two works of art amaze this Gammie.

And I pray Virginia will continue to develop her talent over the years, just as Jim encouraged Anna to do so, and use the skills with which God has blessed her to bless others.


~

With what gifts has God graced you?  How are you using these to His honor and glory?

Prayer:  Father, we thank You for all the gifts You have given us by Your Holy Spirit.  May we use them to faithfully carry out the work You would have us to do here on earth.  Bless our gifts that they might be a blessing to others.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Crown to the Aged


Proverbs 17:6
Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

Once my children, Daniel and Sarah are born, I repeatedly hear from my mother, "Your own children are great, but there's nothing more special than being a grandparent."  I confess, with diapers to change, noses to wipe, endless laundry to do, maintaining feeding schedules, and attempting to juggle home and work, I hardly understand where Mom could possibly be coming from.

But now I know.  And Mom was spot on!

There is no greater joy in this life, aside from knowing the Lord, than being a grandparent.  This Gammie and Papa, aka Danny, are enjoying every sweet and precious moment we spend with them.

Alexandra Nancy is uncharacteristically fussy in the family photo above.  She is, overall, a calm, good-natured baby who is always looking around and taking everything in.  She will be three months old on October 23rd.  Hard to believe!







Then there's Savannah Jane.  She is always on the go as you can tell by the photo and eager to explore the next forbidden fruit available, be it the cupboard doors under the sink, a plug outlet, or a remote control.  At sixteen months, Savannah isn't quite grasping the concept of "no," but she's getting close!  We never had that issue with Virginia Rose, but her dad, John, reminds us that Virginia didn't walk until eighteen months and Savannah walked at a year.  That explains a lot, doesn't it?






Still, Savannah's humor and adventurous spirit are captivating and contagious!

Last, but not least, is the confident, unflappable, ever cheerful Virginia Rose.  She is this Gammie's heart's delight.  That is not to say the other girls aren't, but the two of us have spent so much time together during her five years, we have forged a special, indissoluble bond.  Virginia's winning smile and bubbly personality, I'm convinced, can win the heart of even the most inveterate curmudgeon.






Virginia is, and always will be, our precious princess!

Danny and I know how much we are blessed by this family, and the young ones who bring the crown to the aging (not that aged yet!).  We savor and cherish with abundant love the joy of being grandparents.

~

If you are a grandparent, have you found my mother's saying to be true?  If you have neither children nor grandchildren, are you finding ways to spend time with little ones whom Jesus said bring us closer to God's kingdom?

Prayer:  Father, we thank You for children everywhere in this world.  They are treasures!  Let us celebrate every moment we spend with the ones through whom You chose to reveal Your kingdom to the jaded and worn.  May we all become as little children as we seek to follow You in our daily faith walk.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Meditations of My Heart will be on hiatus next week due to my plans to visit with my mother.  Hope to see you all back here on Tuesday, October 20th.  God bless!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

God's Love Will Never Fail


Lamentations 3:22-23
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies will never cease.  Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

God's love for me will be the same for me tomorrow just as it was yesterday and will be for me for eternity.  Eternity never grows dim.  Eternity never loses its luster.  Eternity never says, "I've had enough."  God's love for us is eternal.  So, while our love wavers from day to day and circumstance to circumstance, one thing, and only one thing, remains the same.  God's love will never fail.  ~Pastor Mike Fisk at Built With Grace 

God's love will never fail . . .

As I pen this post last Thursday in preparation for this Tuesday's offering, the world is in turmoil.  Mass shooting of confessed Christians at a community college in Oregon.  Russia sending bombers to Syria.  Refugees pouring into Europe.  ISIS growing stronger with each passing moment.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressing the United Nations, warning of the real and present danger of a nuclear holocaust should the Iranian deal go through.

Chaos.

Death.

Destruction.

I want to turn it off.  Tune it out.

But like a relentless march of the enemy's forces, the bad news keeps on coming.

Making me feel helpless to stem the tide of evil from flooding my heart, my mind, my very soul.

I've had enough!

And then, Pastor Mike's words remind me:  "Eternity never says, 'I've had enough.'"

God can take it and take it all in.  All our failings, our miscreant behaviors, our lamentations, our shortcomings are all in His sight.  He knows we struggle, fall and fail in this earthly life.

But He also knows the rest of the story.

For God, in His infinite wisdom, mercy and grace, gave us Christ Jesus, His only Son, to be a ransom for our transgressions, so that our own fragile, sad and struggling stories could be caught up and bolstered by a lustrous and promising eternity.  

An eternity where love never fails

And therein, my hope lies.

Hope eternal.

God's love will never fail . . .

~

How are you realizing God's great comfort, peace and eternal love in this troubling world?

Prayer:  Father, our hearts are heavy when we read news of man's inhumanity to man.  We pray today for the victims of evil acts by those who don't know the saving, unfailing grace found through Christ Jesus, Your Son.  May the hearts of those bent on destruction of others be so transformed by Your love, that Your kingdom might one day be realized on earth.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Friday, October 2, 2015

God's Sweet Time



Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Patience.

I have too often imagined I have enough of it.  But many things of late have come to my attention, pointing me toward the sad and sorry revelation that patience eludes me more often than I care to admit.

Now don't get me wrong.  I understand that all things come to fruition in God's time, and I've truly made strides in accepting this.

Still . . .

In my mind, my foot taps restlessly, and I look to and fro for an immediate answer.  Fact is I don't want to wait!  I long to press forward toward the goal!

Martha, why aren't you more like Mary?

So even when I hear God tell me to slow down and simply rest in Him, I might heed it for a moment, but the next thing I know I'm rushing on to the next thought, the next activity, the next hope.

Martha, aren't you listening?

But God reveals, gently yet firmly, the error of my ways.

And He does so, most poignantly, through my latest novel Redemption.

I'm so, so excited when the books are delivered to my doorstep last Monday; beside myself with joy and anticipation.  I know it must be perfect as I reviewed every detail of the manuscript before it went into publication.  So did the editor at my publisher's.  Surely, there cannot be any errors or mishaps.

There can't be!

Alas!  There is.  No, it doesn't affect the content of the story.  No, it doesn't involve grammatical mistakes.  But what it does reveal is my own impatience, hurrying to edit and return the book to my publisher instead of biding my time and waiting upon the Lord.

Waiting upon His revelation.

Being patient in His time.

>Sigh<

Lesson learned, Lord.

And I have determined that when the publisher returns the next novel, Revelation, to me for final editing, I will take my time.  

God's sweet time.

~

Have you ever found yourself on the wrong end of patience?

Prayer:  Father, we know that patience is a virtue, yet we so often neglect practicing it in our day to day lives.  Help us to remember to practice patience along with compassion, kindness, humility, and gentleness as we go about Your work on this earth.  All this we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

He's Waiting for You

Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. This week has been a hectic one for me.  I babysit the grands three di...