Monday, August 31, 2020

I Want to See a Rainbow!



Genesis 9:11
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Isn't this rainbow spectacular?  My daughter, Sarah, snaps it from their backyard in South Carolina, and promptly sends it to me.  It isn't often that we see an arc as perfect as this one, with its "twin" shadowed above it.  Whenever I am blessed to see a rainbow, I'm always reminded of God's eternal covenant promise to us.

When our oldest granddaughter, Virginia, is little, she is fascinated by rainbows.  Every time she would sit down with paper and a box of crayons, I could bet dollars to donuts that a picture of a rainbow would emerge.  She must have drawn dozens of them, but I could only find this one in my collection of her art work to show you.  These were created when she was six-years-old.



I share with Virginia, when she is only four, the story in the Bible where the rainbow becomes God's sign of promise never again to destroy the earth by a flood.  She is duly impressed, her eyes widening with new wonder.

"Gammie," she says, "I want to see a rainbow.  Will you take me to see a rainbow one day?"

I chuckle at this.  "If I could, I would, Virginia.  But rainbows happen when we least expect them.  We simply have to be in the right place at the right time."

"And what's the right time and place?"  she queries.

"When the skies are clearing after a rainstorm, but it's still raining.  The sun shines on those raindrops and presto!  You have a rainbow!"

Virginia sighs.  "I still wish I could see one today."

"I know you do," I say.  "But keep hoping, honey, and one day down the road, it will happen.  Just have faith."

Virginia may have had to wait six years for her wish to be fulfilled, but when it finally is, what a splendid reward for her!  She is beside herself with awe and excitement, and tells me so herself in a text.  I ask her if she recalls what she longed for so many moons ago, and of course, she does.  What a memory she has!

So, my friends, if you feel in these troubled times that the storms are relentlessly gathered around you, dark and menacing, I pray you will cling to the hope of the rainbow's eventual manifestation, bright and beckoning, bold and colorful.

Our heavenly reminder of God's perpetual promises and His unfailing presence in our lives.

He answered Virginia's prayer, and He will answer yours.

Amen!




Friday, August 28, 2020

Caterpillar Time!



Psalm 34:19-20
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

It's August, and that means caterpillar time!  This year, the ravenous little creatures locate themselves in the oak tree above our back deck.  The evidence of their existence drops from the sky and peppers the deck's surface.


What a mess!

Within weeks of the unwanted arrival of caterpillar scat, something else descends onto the deck.  The caterpillars themselves!


Perhaps too satiated from their constant feasting, they can no longer cling to their homes in the leaves.

Most alarming, though, is the thudding sound these creatures make when they hit the deck with a sickening whack.  Oof!  They lie there, stunned and still for up to hours, leaving us to wonder if they are going to rouse from their stupor, or simply give up the ghost right there.

But God has imbued them with a resiliency that is nothing short of miraculous.  As we observe the seemingly dead forms, we see a twitch here, a raised head there, and before we know it, the caterpillars are cruising along the deck without a care in the world, and no worse for wear.

There are those times in our lives as Christians when bad news knocks the wind out of us, leaving us stunned and immobile, feeling hopeless and helpless in light of our situation.  But God won't leave us broken and alone.  He is right there with us to comfort, to heal, to restore us to fullness of life once again.  Sure, it might take some time, a lot more time than it does for our little friends on the deck, but healing will happen when we invite the light of Jesus to shine within us.

The Lord will certainly deliver us.

Amen!




Monday, August 24, 2020

Sing to the Lord a New Song



Psalm 96:1-3
Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For thirteen years, my husband, Danny, leads the contemporary service at our church.  Once we marry in 2005, I am privileged to join the band, mostly offering alto harmony, and occasionally, contributing an added guitar, percussion instrument, or lead voice.

So, why have I not touted the site where our recordings are preserved before now?

That question begs an answer.  One I'm beginning to understand to its fullest.

In these days and times, when in-person church is being denied in many parts of our country, and around the world, Christians are hungry and thirsty for reassurance and consolation as each uncertain day is greeted by a, "What now, Lord?"  All of us are seeking to be built up in the faith, to know that, even at a distance, we can be spiritually nourished and sustained.

One of my recent I-miss-my-mom-I-miss-my-daughter-my grands-my son-in-law-my-step-boys moments compel me to return to the inspirational songs we offered every week, be it years ago, at our Sunday praise services.  And you know what?  All those God-praising songs began to make a seismic shift in my outlook, my hope, my faith.

Perhaps, God had a reason to withhold my sharing with you for a time such as this.

Friends, if you are needing to rejoice, to celebrate, to be uplifted in these dark days, I invite you to visit the Crossroads' website. You can listen to our songs in order, or skip through the library to select the song you desire to listen to.  It's as simple as that!

Danny and I both recommend a first song to listen to:  "All My Fountains" (Chris Tomlin) from the year 2012.  Our drummer, David, just nails it.  Talk about energy!


And as you browse and notice songs like "Jingle Bell Rock" or "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," please don't be alarmed.  I rewrote the lyrics to contain an irrefutable Christian message.  I would love to know your reaction to these!

Actually, what I would truly love, is to hear that having these recordings in your life inspire you to keep on keeping on in your faith journey, trusting that the Lord will provide, and that He will give you the strength and courage to meet the needs of every day you are blessed to live.

Let us never tire of praising the Lord and encouraging each other.

May we sing to the Lord a new song!


Amen!

In case you have trouble accessing our website, here is the direct link.
Blessings!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Rejoice!

 


Romans 12:15
Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.

Pictured above are our three granddaughters; Virginia is in the middle with Savannah to her left and Alexandra on her right.  They sure look happy, don't they?  And they have every reason to rejoice.  The are enjoying a long overdue visit with their Grandpa and Kiki in North Carolina a few weeks ago.  While we are over eight hours away from where the girls reside with mom and dad in South Carolina, it makes perfect sense, as time is limited, for them to make a three-hour jaunt instead.

Here are some photos my daughter, Sarah, shares from their time there.

Alexandra and Savannah on the porch,


and on the porch swing.


Can you see where Savannah has lost her first tooth?



Virginia striking a classic pose.


Besides spending time with their grandparents, Savannah and Alexandra enjoy to company of the two dogs, Lucy and Bella.





While we are so happy that the girls are having a marvelous time, and getting to know their Grandpa and Kiki better, I'd be lying if I said we aren't mourning the fact that it isn't us they're visiting.  This Covid cloud hangs threateningly over my husband, Danny, and I more than most.  Right now, travel is not an option for us.  And it's hard to hold out hope when no certain end is in sight.

Yet, hope, we will, knowing that God's got this in His most capable hands.

We will choose to rejoice in the moment, not mourning what might have been.

Isn't that the best way to live each and every day?

Amen!

Monday, August 17, 2020

God's Intentions

 


Ephesians 6:1
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.


Lately, I inordinately wish
All would know, speak truth in love
That they would submit, kneeling only
To the only One, of worship, worthy
He who was and is, and is to come
Reticence and retreat are not
The answer.  Armor stands, strong, ready
Don it in full, display the cause
Without fear, without doubt, boldly
Venture into the den of vipers, thieves
Because you know that nothing in heaven or earth
Can separate you from God's intentions.

Amen!

May God give all of you a blessed week!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

How Have I Been so Blessed?

 

Ephesians 1:3
Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

How have I been so blessed
To have this life
To be life
Released from all knowing
Falling gratefully
Into the current of the infinite
~Galen Pearl at No Way Cafe 

Every spiritual blessing . . . Are we giving thanks to the One who saves?  The Lord that gives life eternal and infinite hope?

When I read this poem by my friend, Galen, I immediately see the contrast between life's daily struggles and uncertainties juxtaposed with the solid, unchanging promises of God throughout the ages.

Do you recall those rope courses, often set up by companies wishing to cement the relationships between employees and employers, or churches attempting to highlight the importance of trust in their congregations?  I certainly do!  The first time I had the courage to let go of the rope, placing my trust in the arms that promised to break my fall, was humbling to say the least.

My faith increased in the very moment those willing hands caught me, firmly and gently.

How much more, then, will God catch us in His everlasting arms whenever we stumble and fall?  When the vagaries of life threaten to derail us from the purpose He intends, are we willing to flow with the current of His infinite love?

In these difficult days, as we cope with this omnipresent virus, may we always remember that God holds us securely and gracefully in His saving, embracing and loving arms.

He wants us to be released from the fiction of all-knowing.

Free to have life.

To be life for others.

Amen!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Weighing In

 


Proverbs 11:1
The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him.

This past week, I have a wellness check scheduled with my doctor via the Tele-Health system.  What a relief it is to have that technology!  Since I wasn't going to be physically present, I decide to take my blood pressure and temperature, then head downstairs to the scale.

I must tell you that, even though we have a scale, I'm not one to use it.  I've held steady for years at what I consider an acceptable weight, so I in no way expect the unfamiliar numbers flashing at me.

What???  I've gained five pounds?  Since January?

This truly comes as a shock.  I mean, my pants still fit, so what's up with that?  Hold on - am I not tightening the belt where I once did?  I question the accuracy of the scale, but my husband, Danny, who weighs himself regularly, assures me that it is correct.  He even admits to thinking that I might be getting a bit thicker in the waistline, "But I'd never have said anything, Martha, because you still look great to me!"

Smart man.

Anyway, when I tell my doctor about the weight gain, he doesn't seem alarmed in the least, chalking it up to Covid-19 inactivity (which I'm sure does count for some of it as we only got our treadmill and weights at the end of July), and suggests that I could be retaining water, too.  It's a common side effect of the medicine he's prescribed for me.  I'm skeptical about that; I'm more inclined to believe that I really need to make good and frequent use of our exercise equipment.

And the extra pounds I'm currently carrying?  I'm not overly concerned.  For years, I've thought I don't weigh enough for my height and age.  So, if I can convert the extra bulge to muscle, and stay around the new weight, I'm fine with that.

I know the scale will keep me honest.

Amen!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Let's Get One Thing Straight


Matthew 3:3
This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:  "A voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'"

I know, I know!  I've been writing about Danny's homemade bread for several posts now, but I do hope you will bear with me.  Although his bread is delicious, of course, we find that cutting even slices to enjoy is difficult to accomplish correctly.  Our eyes just don't seem to match up with the way our knife is working its way through the loaf.

So, what's the solution?  A bread slicer!


What???  How could this possibly work?  Well, I'll show you!


The sides fold out and up!


The board inserted at the back braces the bread.


And now, it's the time of reckoning.  Will this contraption actually do the trick?





It does!  Nothing better than a straight and even slice of bread!

Except, there is.

And it's the path we follow on our Christian journey.  Are we staying right behind Jesus on the straight paths, or are we straying?  Do we talk the talk, but not walk the walk?  Are we destined to enter through the narrow gate, or are we jeopardizing our welcome by entertaining unholy thoughts or ambitions?

In these times of self- isolation and quarantine, there are more than enough hours in the day for contemplating and praying about our walk with Jesus.

May we all prepare the way in our hearts for the Lord, making straight paths for Him, so we can follow close behind.

Amen!

Monday, August 3, 2020

All That Matters




 
 Isaiah 6:8
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I.  Send me."

There are generally three kinds of people in the world. People who make things happen, people who watch things happen, and people who say, what in the heck happened?~Herman Cain

Those that's goin', get on the wagon; those that ain't, get out of the way! ~Herman Cain quoting his grandfather's wisdom.

My heart broke this past week when I learned of the untimely passing of Herman Cain.  I was a devout follower of his talk show here in Atlanta, which he hosted for many years, a staunch supporter of his 2012 presidential bid, and a beneficiary of his Christian wisdom, wit and candor.  An eternal optimist, Herman always focused on solutions, not the problems.  I will miss him greatly, and I pray the the Lord will comfort his family at this time, and grant them His infinite peace.
Mr. Cain, you were a national treasure, and you will be mourned by so many, for many years to come.

All That Matters

His voice was silenced
All too soon
His wisdom denied
For new generation
Seeking healing
Courage to face
Life's challenges
He was brave 
Beyond the pale
Unafraid
To speak truth
In love
Because the truth
Was all
That mattered
And truth should be
All that matters
To all of us

Amen.

Hope

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