Monday, September 28, 2020

Hope

 


So, the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth. ~Job 5:16


We are silent

For now

The threats

Too incredible

To bear

But at polls

Our voices

Will ring out

For justice

And mercy

For hope

Not denied

From the One

Who gives hope

Eternally

We will trust

And believe

We will live

In promised land

And forefathers

Will rejoice

In the offering


Amen!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

A Special Gift

 


There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. ~1 Corinthians 12:4-5

Our oldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, has always loved to draw.  We can tell by the time she is five that she has a blossoming gift for art.  Although she still creates many drawings using pencil and paper, Virginia's latest passion is using the program, IbisPaintX, to create characters and objects on her tablet.

Virginia uses her finger to do both the outlines of her drawings, and to color them in.  When she sends some of these to her Papa and me, we are both duly impressed.  I tell Virginia that I would like to feature her art in a blog, and she is beside herself with excitement!  Promptly, she forwards me the drawings she considers to be her favorites.  All those featured here are original works.









Now, these might be Virginia's favorites, but the following one is mine.  She does admit that she used a tutorial to get the eye just right, but tutorial or not, I think this is pretty stunning.


Yes, it seems God has blessed our granddaughter with a special and exceptional gift, one I hope she'll continue to pursue and develop as time goes on.  May Virginia, and her talent, grow in the grace and love of the Lord!

Amen!

Monday, September 21, 2020

It's Late

 


John 8:44

When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Poems usually occur to me in one fell swoop, and I choose to go with the words I'm hearing in that moment.  I know I'm not the only one troubled by these turbulent times.  As Christians, we've been under attack like never before in the history of our country, whose Constitution guarantees religious freedom and the right to worship.  We've had to close our churches during this pandemic, while weed and liquor-selling businesses get to stay open.  There are more examples I could offer here, but I won't.

Instead, may the words of this poem reveal to you how the father of lies wishes to keep us quiet, sedated, asleep, as he performs his vile works in this world.  He will tell us we do not matter, that we have no hope, but we know differently.  Jesus has overcome the world, of this we are certain, but we can't afford to stop fighting for His message, and our rights.

Believers, awake!  Do not submit to worldly ambitions, but let the Lord make sure we are not lulled and disheartened by the devil's schemes.


It's late

Go to bed

Don't awake

Until we say

You can

Because we know

And you don't

Stay quiet

Seal your lips

Close your eyes

Sleep, sleep

Until we say

Power is ours

Never yours

Not again

Never, never

Will you hold

Your precious own

Because we are

And you are not


Amen

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Adorned and Adored

 


Ezekiel 16:11-12

I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.

All our oldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, wants for her tenth birthday is to get her ears pierced.  Of course, as you can deduce from the photo above, her mom and dad grant her that wish.  Aren't these cute little studs she chooses?

I tell Virginia that as soon as her ears heal properly, I'll send her some of my costume jewelry earrings that I no longer wear to adorn her ears.


Now, I can see some of you scratching your heads and wondering, "Why does Martha have these silly, holiday-themed earrings?"  Welcome to the world of teaching!  I discover early on how much the kids appreciate the fact that their teachers like to celebrate the holidays just as much as they do.  They especially get a kick out of the Halloween sets.

And why the tiny kitties?  In the last middle school where I taught, we were the "Wildcats," hence my penchant for all things feline.  I'm really grateful I hung onto these because cats are Virginia's favorite animal, and the small size is perfect for her ears.

Speaking of cats, here is the note card I send along in the mailer with the earrings.


I find this set of cards featuring air-born kittens on Amazon, and enjoy sending a different one to Virginia every chance I get.


And here is what I write to her:


My hunch is that Virginia will gravitate toward the kitty earrings more than any of the others.

One day when she's older, and a bit more responsible with her belongings, I'll send some real earrings for her to treasure.  Or better yet, give them to her in person.  Oh, how I miss all my granddaughters!


I do hope that whenever Virginia wears any of the earrings I sent to her, she will think about her Gammie, and remember how much both her Papa and I adore her.

And let us never forget how much God adores each one of us, and longs to adorn us with His blessings.

Amen!

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Least of These

 


Matthew 25:40

And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."

Even before the recent lock-down due to the virus, my husband, Danny, habitually orders things he needs on the internet.  Amazon, of course, is his main source for many of these products.  So, imagine our surprise, not to mention our amusement, when these arrive at our doorstep a few weeks ago.


This is a puzzler, indeed!  The carton is correctly addressed to Danny, so the delivery person is not at fault, but how did it happen?  And what are we going to do with diapers???

"I know," I tell him as a light bulb goes off in my head.  "Let's donate them to our church's Foster Care Ministry!"

"That's a perfect solution," Danny agrees.

This week, we will take the diapers, along with some workbooks I ordered for the youngest grands, but mistakenly had shipped here instead of to their new home, and some assorted, gently-used toys that our granddaughters have long outgrown.


How did our church get started in the Foster Care Ministry?  Our previous associate pastor, Lindsey, and her husband, Kris, became foster parents while working at the church.  Lindsey was well aware of the potential financial struggles foster parents face when they agree to take a child (they took two, a brother and sister) to live in their home.  Even though here in Georgia, foster parents receive some support dollars, it isn't normally enough to really provide for all of that child's needs.

So, Lindsey initiated this program at church where our parishioners donate items to help foster parents give little extras to the children in their care.  The ministry is not limited to our own members, but open to the community, too, as a much-needed resource.

As of July 1st of this year, it is estimated that almost 12,000 children are in the foster care system in the state of Georgia alone.  That boggles my mind!  The good news is, many of these children find forever homes with the families who foster them.  That is exactly what Lindsey and Kris were able to do with their beloved foster children!

Do you have a foster care ministry at your church or in your community?  If so, I hope you will choose to make regular donations to keep it going.

For whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Jesus.

Amen!


Thursday, September 10, 2020

It's a Hairy Situation!

 


Matthew 10:30
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Yes, the photo above is my hair, which hasn't seen a touch-up of highlights or a trim for over six months.  And what are my fingers marking?  That's the usual length of my locks under normal circumstances.  But what is normal anymore?  I'd love nothing better than to be able to pay a visit to my hair stylist, and good friend, Donna, but the risks of entering a salon, at least for me, are still too high.

Yet, I'm amazed that my hair hasn't shown more wear and tear over these months.  Only now am I beginning to be aware of the ends threatening to fray and split.  I'm hoping these guys will hang in there in the interim.

No, I'm not being compensated for showing you this product, Uniq-1, but I truly believe that this has been the deciding factor in my hair's relatively undamaged look.


After I shampoo, I spray this on my wet hair; it works as both a conditioner and a detangler, hence a deterrent to losing hair when combing it out as it protects the ends.

I must make a confession here:  Although I'm not particularly vain about my looks, or lack thereof, my hair has always been the exception.  And on more than one occasion, I've asked God to forgive me for this unhealthy fixation.  You know what?  I think He has wisely chosen this time of isolation and hair growth to do just that!

As I'm unable to change anything about it just now, I've come to accept, and appreciate, my hair for what it is.  Just another aspect of the physical me.  Nothing special.

Yet, knowing that God cares enough to number the hairs on all of our heads, reminds me how deeply He loves and cares for us, even in the smallest of details.

No matter how we might appear to others, we can rest assured that, in God's sight, we are precious!

Amen!

Monday, September 7, 2020

In My Name

 


Exodus 20:7

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. (NKJV)

As Christians, we are certainly familiar with the Ten Commandments.  But have we ever taken the time to delve more deeply into how these commandments are relevant to our 21st Century way of life?

Author Marja Verschoor-Meijers has done just that in her new book about the third commandment entitled In My Name.  I love her own apt description of the book's objective, which can be found at her website.

'Lord' is not a word to end our sentences with when we talk to Him, nor is it a filler to make our prayers sound more holy and authentic.  'Lord' is His personal revelatory name and He gave it to us for use on a daily basis.

It is one thing to claim we don't use the Lord's name in vain, but what do we do?  Are we bringing honor to His name?  Do we have a genuine love for His name?  And most of all, is everything we do and say then, done in His name?

In My Name consists of sixteen short, but power-packed chapters that will help you to thoroughly explore the meaning and nuances of the third commandment.  Marja concludes each chapter with invitations to "Meditate on the Following" and "Journal Your Thoughts," making this book a perfect partner for personal devotional time, a Bible study or a Sunday school class.

I must admit that in my eagerness to get this review written, I read through In My Name all too quickly.  So, I'm planning to reread it slowly and intentionally, taking one chapter a day, and spending time on both meditating over the concept presented and journaling my thoughts.  Marja's down-to-earth, approachable prose makes me immediately comfortable with the content; it is almost as if I were in the same room with Marja as she shares her wisdom and insights out loud.  How many devotional books have made you feel that way?

You can order In My Name at Marja's website.  While you are there, please check out the other titles she has penned.  And don't forget to take a look at her marvelous blog, Fresh Insights on Ancient Truths.  It's definitely one you will want to subscribe to!

(Some readers were having problems with the link to Marja's website.  Here it is:  www.marjameijers.com)

About the Author

Marja was born and raised in Holland.  As a child, she was fascinated by authors who divided their time between two countries.  Today, she is one of them!  For years she and husband, Jan, divided their time between Holland and Southern California where Jan worked as a race car technician in off-road racing, and Marja started her writing journey.  She is the author of several books published in the USA as well as in the Netherlands.  She writes her books in both languages.  Her monthly columns appear in one of Holland's biggest Christian magazines.  Together with her husband, she is the founder of Traveling Light, a non-profit organization that seeks to provide practical, financial and spiritual encouragement to Christian initiative all over Europe and the Middle East.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Clowning Around

 

Proverbs 17:22

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up all the bones.

Virginia, Savannah and Alexandra are three of the happiest girls I know.  All summer long, they have enjoyed each other's company (though Virginia's patience wears thin on occasion), playing games and going to the beach with Mom and Dad.  As school has been closed since last April, it has been an endless summer, indeed!

Most of you know that we spend countless hours with Virginia as she is growing up.  All those memories are priceless ones, where we truly got to know our granddaughter on every possible level.  Not so much with her younger sisters.  Yes, I did quite a bit of babysitting while the family was still living nearby, but there weren't many all-day visits or even the occasional weekend overnight.

So, though we "know" Savannah and Alexandra, we don't know them in the intimate way we do Virginia.  We are relying on their photos and our weekly FaceTime chats to reveal their budding personalities.  My daughter, Sarah, recently shares these photos with us.


Savannah has such a winning smile, and you can tell by the photo how close she feels to her mother.  We remember her as the sister who is the first to whine and cry at some perceived injustice; not always pleasant to be around!  But in these next two pictures, Savannah displays a remarkable penchant for clowning around!




Who would ever have guessed that Savannah would become a photo-bomber!  Oh, how Danny and I laugh when we first see these pictures as her comical expressions cheer our hearts.

The girls will be starting back to school after Labor Day.  It will be Alexandra's first foray into the classroom as she begins kindergarten.  While I'm excited for her, and all my girls, this thought crushes my spirit:  All children are required to wear masks right along with the adults in the building.  I'm saddened to think that Alexandra's first memories of school won't include seeing smiles on the faces of her teachers and fellow students.  And I'm concerned that mask wearing could detract from the ability to concentrate on learning.

The few occasions when I've had to wear a mask, I've experienced nothing but discomfort.  But I can't project my own experience onto theirs.  Kids are so much more flexible than adults, aren't they?

And if there is a plus side to any of this, at least when she's wearing a mask, Savannah won't get called out for making silly faces at inappropriate moments.  Clowning around is one thing, but being the class clown is quite another!


Amen!

Let Us Give Thanks

  Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. ~1 Chronicles 16:34 For so many of us, this Thanksgiving will look radi...