2015 - "Three Little Words" by Terry Ferguson
The Fruit of the Spirit
2016 - "Through the Year with Francis of Assisi"
by Murray Bodo
2017 - Thanks-Living

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Seize The Day



This fellow fishing from his boat was seizing the day and we were as well by being there at Walden's Pond on vacation.  Why is it that it often takes a vacation in order for us to make the most of a day.  Why do we save those times for a few weeks a year?  Ordinary days can hold just as much joy if we are careful to take note. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Call To God



I am "connected," as they say.  I've have a computer with Internet service for years, but it was only last month that I got my first "smart" phone.  I had a cell phone, but it was the kind that in order to text you had to push the phone key 3 times to get the "c".  When our son was in the hospital texting was the easiest way to communicate with him so my husband decided it was time to bring our communication devices into the 21st century.  Calling on God has always been the latest technology!  He is a mere thought away--faster than light or sound--because He resides in us.  Sometimes you don't even have to formulate a thought in order to communicate with Him because the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Christ Must Increase




In the John passage when Jesus said he would be lifted up from the earth, he was referring to being nailed to a cross and lifted up so all men could see Him and be drawn to him, not only on that day but for all time.  This is why there are crosses on spires on our churches.  It is a reminder of what Jesus did for me.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Holy, Holy, Holy



When I set up the little manger scene each Christmas I always make sure the angel is perched above.  I love that the angels heralded the Christ's birth by singing praises to Him.  Is it not amazing that God would tell us that we, too, can be holy?!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Use Your Talents



As I wrote a few days ago, I am teaching myself to draw by copying other's drawings.  I have to say this is one of my favorite paintings I did.  I'm beginning to think I may have some talent in this area.  The Matthew passage uses the word "talent" for money, but the same principle applies.  If you keep reading through verse 18 you will notice the man who was given only one talent buried it.  He was afraid of losing it and did not use it to make more money.  It's the same with any ability that I have.  If I don't use it, I will lose it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Don't Be Afraid



The reflection on the pond of this egret and the marsh grass gives the appearance that the egret is walking on the water rather than standing on the sandy bottom along the perimeter of the pond.  When Jesus walked across the water to the disciples, however, it was not an illusion.  The disciples were frightened because they thought it was a ghost.  I think the only reason we are frightened of such possibilities is because ghosts are not "normal" and something outside our realm of understanding.   Once Jesus declared who it was, they relaxed.  Too often our fears are fueled by our lack of knowledge.  These are what I call manufactured fears--not legitimate or based on reality.  By our laziness in not endeavoring to discover the truth we consign the thing to something that should be feared and deal with it by just staying away from it.  Caution is a good thing when it's called for, but fear is never a good thing.  It speaks of lack of trust in God to see me safely through. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

If God Wills



We are like this mist that has settled on our mountain.  It appears for a little while, but soon vanishes.  I'm at the age that I can look back on a time when I wanted my life to be different, but now it no longer matters.  The time for whatever it was I wanted has long passed.  It helps me realize that the way my life has gone is good, too, and in many ways better than I dreamed.  It also shows me that God has been in control even when I thought I was.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Show Your Faith




Faith is....the evidence of things not seen.  I cannot see the wind, only the evidence of it.  My works are the evidence of my faith, just like the moving clouds are the evidence of the unseen wind.  Faith without works is dead.  Without the wind the clouds cannot move.  


Saturday, May 23, 2015

United We Stand



This replica of Saint-Gauden's sculpture of Admiral Farragut commemorates his service during the Civil War.  Many believe the war was fought in order to free the slaves.  While this was a part of the reason, it was the secession of the southern states from the Union that was actually being fought over.  To divide the country would have weakened the young democracy and Lincoln knew he couldn't let this happen.  In the same way, Jesus used this logic to show the Pharisees that their charge that he was casting out demons by Beelzebul's power didn't make any sense because any kingdom divided against itself will not stand.  Christians can too easily fall into dissension over trivial matters and end up separating from one another.  I must be on guard that I do not fall into this trap not only within the church but in all my relationships. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Practice Makes Perfect



I have been practicing drawing by looking at others' drawings and copying them.  This has helped me to gain some confidence that I CAN indeed learn to draw!  But until I start practicing how to draw from the real objects--not just from another artist's rendition--I won't really be an artist.  Right now I'm a copyist.  I can also love by mimicking God's love, but until I love from my own heart it is not geniune.  The only way to learn to love genuinely is to practice loving genuinely. 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hunger for Righteousness



We who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled.  This stream of water seems tranquil until it encounters this cliff.  Spilling over the side it becomes a torrent of water.  I think until you actually have a hunger or thirst for righteousness you are like this stream, lazily going along your way.  It's only when I seek righteousness with my whole heart will I be opened up to receive and be filled to the brim and overflowing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Abide In Christ



Too often a believer begins with Christ but soon finds him/herself feeling separated from Him.  It's like when I prune away the dead branches from  these vines growing up my drain spout and discover I've inadvertently cut off one that still had some life in it.  In order for that branch to continue being a part of the plant it must remain attached!  In the same way I must be careful about what I cut myself off from.  Has my life become so cluttered with good things that in my attempt to clear some of it away I choose the wrong thing to prune away and cut myself off from my source--God?  I must be extra careful to follow the branch back to the plant to make sure I'm clearing away only the dead branches. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Be Spirit Filled


                                                                                     

This tree toppled over in a storm, roots and all.  It was not "rooted and grounded" properly in the soil.  That's because we live on top of a small mountain and there is bedrock just below the surface on a lot of our property.  The only way to be rooted and grounded in love, Paul tells us, is to be filled with all the fullness of God.  In doing so we won't be toppled in the storms of life because we will have God's strength to weather them. 
  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Jesus Is Savior



Jesus is our Savior because he abolished death.  This is the grave of a collateral ancestor on my father's side of the family.  Somewhere along the way William dropped the "y" in his last name that my line kept.  But that's neither here nor there because what really matters is that his name is written in the Book of Life

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Follow the Rules



The Psalm 19 passage tells us three benefits of obeying God's rules:  1) It restores our soul; 2) brings joy to our hearts; 3) gives us understanding.  God did not establish rules in order to keep me from having fun, but rather to be able to fulfill the purpose for which He created me.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Live By Faith



One can't live in this world without faith (definition:  complete trust or confidence in someone or something).  Whether it's trusting your automobile to get you safely to your destination or that your house and family will be there when you get home, without faith we'd be paralyzed by fear.  The question then is what do I put my faith in.  The world and its devices?  Or the God who created me?  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Maintain Your Self-Control



This photo depicts one of the areas I know I need to improve on when it comes to self-control.  Too often in the name of self-control we deny ourselves something, which leads to wanting the thing even more.  I prefer the King James translation of temperance:  moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion.  Moderation is the key.  Balance in all things.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Appearances Can Deceive



The angel peering out from the portal of the bridge is an illusion.  In fact, so are the stones.  There is a sign that directs people to the second floor in the building next door in order to get this perspective. Down on the walkway level you see this:
photo credit:  Kumar Singam

The artist was able to paint the angel in such a way that when you view it from a different angle it will look as he had intended it to.  In the same way appearances can deceive when we get caught up in judging others.  This is a good reminder for me that I must look beyond the facade that people usually wear, to look at their heart.  In the same way, I must examine my own heart to make sure I'm not putting on an appearance that is false to others. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Do Not Lie


Future apples

It really begins with lying, doesn't it.  The lie we tell ourselves about ourselves.  We either say I'm not worthy to have a relationship with God, or that we don't need a relationship with God, or worse, there is no God.  From there fear determines every move we make which takes us further and further away from God's plan for us.  When Adam and Eve hid from God they lost their chance to be redeemed immediately.  When the serpent lied to Eve she lied to herself about God's love for her.  She told herself that God was withholding something good from her.  Then she shared this lie with Adam, and he lied to himself in the same way.  It's when I quit believing the truth that God loves me and wants only what is best for me, that I take matters into my own hands and break the relationship God intended for me to have with Him.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Love The Lord

Deuteronomy 6:5


It is because Jesus loves me that I am able to love Him back.  He made us to be in a relationship with Him.  And the only way for me to truly love Him back is to give my whole self to Him.  After all, He gave His all for me. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Actions Speak Loudly



Carrying a sign telling people who you want them to vote for has its merits, but until someone takes action and actually votes, the words are wasted.  In the same way, to say this or that about what you believe may have merit, until you do what you say you believe, it is just a bunch of words that won't be heard over the plethora of competing beliefs.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Take It Slow



You've heard the expression, "mad as a bumblebee."  It's a rather unfair assessment, though.  I've never been stung by a bumblebee.  I can walk amongst them in my garden, even brushing up against them and not be stung.  Bees, however, will sting if they feel threatened.  Stepping into a ground bee nest is not a good thing, or trapping a flying bee in your hands would not bode well for you either.  Scripture tells us we should be slow to anger.  How many bees have lost their lives because someone inadvertently made them feel threatened.  Once they go on the defensive we are quick to kill them because we feel threatened.  This is how wars get started.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

All For One



When I hear the phrase "All for one" I immediately think of Alexandre Dumas's Three Musketeers:  All for one, One for All.  I have my own three little musketeers.  Yes, they had their squabbles growing up, but they always remained loyal to one another.  Now that they're grown and live a short distance from one another they will get together without Mom and Dad.  That blesses my heart because we won't always be here.  Knowing they have each other satisfies something deep inside me.  God provides others for us to be there for us in our time of need and to enjoy the many pleasures in life together.  But it is the Holy Trinity who is our All.  In Him we are truly One. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Count It Joy



No one likes to suffer, but knowing it's for a good cause helps take the edge off it....at least it does for me.  So many of the things my son has gone through with his health starting 3 years ago caused me a great deal of concern and heartache for him, but everything has led to his getting the best care he could for a life and death issue he didn't know he had.  I truly believe God worked all things for good and the trial he's endured will not only help his heart function properly, but is all a part of the character God is building into him which scripture tells us leads to hope which does not disappoint.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sin No More



Not all illnesses are related to our sins as the John 5:14 passage intimates, but they are certainly related to man's fall from grace in the beginning.  Stress plays a huge factor in our illnesses and today's lifestyle is a playground for stress!  Add to that environmental toxins and it's a wonder anyone is healthy.  We cannot escape all the effects of mankind's sin, but we can certainly "go and sin no more" as Jesus told the woman who He'd forgiven for her transgression.  Knowing I am forgiven removes the stress my guilt causes and enables me to live a healthier life for God.  My part is to trust God and obey His Word.  "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."

Monday, May 4, 2015

Know God's Word



Jesus is sometimes referred to as the Bread of Life as well as the Word.  When I read Matthew 4:4 with that in mind this is what I hear:  Just knowing about Jesus (living on bread alone) is not enough.  I must live Jesus (every word that comes from the mouth of God).  Just like the bread on my cooling rack looks wonderfully delicious, it's not until I cut into the loaf and eat it will I receive the nutrition it offers.  It can, just as Jesus can, easily fill me up to the point that I shall not hunger any longer.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

You Are Commissioned

Matthew 28:19-20


Just like this hawk receives its power to sustain its life, God equips us for whatever He commissions us to be and to do.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Try, Try Again



All of today's scriptures apply to what's been happening in our family's life these past two weeks.  Now that our son is about to be discharged from the hospital, I mustn't forget all that I've learned.....not to allow myself to become weary and to not throw away my confidence, but most of all never to forget that what I have learned has come from the Lord so that I will reap the harvest.