Our New Home

Our New Home
Fall is defintely in the air!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Are You Doing Here?

Speaking some more about surprises… When I was writing the blog yesterday, I recalled a couple more surprises that I had pulled off on my wife after we had been dating for a couple of years.  Not too long after she had purchased her first car, her family went on a vacation to the Sea Ranch on the northern California coast.  Due to my work schedule I could only go up and stay with them for a few days.  When I returned, I skulked up to their house on a hill where they lived in a secluded neighborhood, removed the cheesy silver colored grill on her Pinto wagon and painted it a flat black that really made the front of the car look sharp!  Then when I went up to visit her after the family returned I showed GREAT amounts of patience as we went out to the driveway to be alone and talk by where her car was parked.  She FINALLY noticed the new grill and I was rewarded with a big hug and a smooch!

I took advantage of another opportunity later that summer when my family and I went on a vacation.  I don’t remember why, but we came home a little earlier than expected.  That gave me an idea, so I called Piper and as we talked I expressed how excited I was about being able to see her when we returned “the next day!”  Then I immediately sneaked to her house and rang the doorbell with a silly grin of anticipation of the look on her face and a small gift in my hand.  My surprise was slightly muffed though when her younger sister answered the door, gave me a strange look and proclaimed: “What are you doing here?”  I was a little taken back but was saved when Piper appeared from behind her with a surprised look, accompanied by one of her patented wonderful smiles that would simply turn me inside out!  Once again, I was rewarded with a hug that never felt better (after all, I hadn’t seen her for a whole week!), and a smooch… as soon as we were alone!

The comment that was asked about “What are you doing here?” got me to thinking about Halloween today.  I have never been a fan of scaring people with tricks, or gross costumes.  For years we held a giant carnival on Halloween at our church which was the highlight of the season and a wonderful tool to introduce the many visitors who would come to the purpose, passion and life of our church. During the last couple of years that we held the carnival, we had it on the weekend previous to Halloween.  This not only worked out better for our volunteers, but it also freed us up to go around our neighborhood on Halloween with our kids.

For years we were not home when the hordes came trick or treating, and I really wanted to be home and make it known that we supported the other children and their families in our neighborhood.  As I have mentioned before, my wife always made it a point to get to know the neighbors and share the love of God with them.  We were the house where most of the kids hung out during the week, and it just didn’t seem right that we were gone on Halloween when everyone else was in the streets enjoying the night.  My wife and I always wanted to show our neighbors the fun of living the Christian life even when we might not agree with the underworld emphasis of this particular holiday event.

On the first year that we went out, we noticed the surprised looks of the parents that answered the door when our kids knocked that said: “What are you doing here?”  Our kids dressed in their historical or other non-demonic costumes would giggle with glee and talk with those at the door and Piper and I would smile and wave from the street.  Those seemingly small expressions that showed that we cared for our neighbors, really helped to solidify our place in their lives and I am sure was part of the catalyst that opened the door for my wife to share the gospel with them and or be there when they needed a compassionate ear to listen to and console them when problems arose in their lives.

How do your neighbors see you?  Do they see your house as an open, non-judgmental place where they can go when they hurt and need a hug, a compassionate ear or just be in the peace of the presence of Him that abides in your home?  Will your house be dark and unavailable tonight, or a brightly lit, welcome sign of His presence, His peace and His love?  Have fun tonight and allow Him to ooze off of you every time you open the door and hear the words “Trick or Treat!”  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting TONIGHT?”



PS:  Sorry this is late today, but I spent most of the day in ER with Piper.  All's well now though!  More about our day in tomorrow's blog!
 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Surprise!

Yesterday I talked about enjoying the carpet of leaves that covered the grounds of the park-like setting of our housing community.  But there is a down side to the falling leaves, and that is that they also fall all over our patios!  I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but raking leaves is one of my least favorite yard care activities (next to pulling weeds!)  Last year I finally had a revelation though!  Since our side patio, which sits directly under a large Oak, has a gate that leads to the front walkway, I realized that all I had to do was gather the leaves and then rake them right out the gate.  From there the landscape crews takes care of them during their weekly fall leave blowing expeditions through our neighborhood.  Ah…  Bliss again!

I try to time my patio raking to the usual day that the crew comes through our end of the development.  So my wife and the dog and I swung open the 2 sliders yesterday afternoon and forged through the leaves, beginning with the relatively few on the back patio and then the 4-5 inch layer on the side one.  Once I had a rather large pile, I opened the gate and moved the collection out front.  Before I closed the gate I stood in the doorway and examined our handy work.  As I viewed the twelve inches or more that we had just increased the groundcover of leaves by, I had the thought that this was just another example of the “far beyond any knowledge” of Christ’s love.  (Ephesians 3:19 God’s Word ©)  I’m not sure why, but there was something spectacular and wonderful about that unusually tall pile of leaves that I had made near the pathway that leads past the front of our home.  John Gill says that the love of Christ discussed in this verse “is durable and unchangeable; (it is) the greatest love that ever was heard of; it is matchless and unparalleled; It is exceeding strong and affectionate, and is wonderful and surprising.”

I liked the thought that God’s love for us is “wonderful and surprising!”  It reminds me of the daily wonders and surprises that we would share with each other when my wife and I were dating.  I always loved to surprise her with new, fun activities, gifts and places to explore.  She enjoyed surprising me with little books with poetry and scriptures about her love for me.  We just enjoyed the surprise of being with each other and seeing what wonderful things we could laugh about together!  (Ya know… some things never changed!)

 As Christians, God’s love for us should also be a wonderful and surprising foundation for our lives.  We should awake each and every day with a fresh anticipation of how He will surprise us with a wonderful expression of His love for us that day!  We should look forward to and be expectant of His loving us in a unique and special way in and through the regular events of our lives!  I am sure that this is the way He wants us to live.  He desires us to enjoy being with Him and seeing what wonderful things we can laugh about together throughout our day.

Now that kind of puts a whole new focus on our daily lives doesn’t it?  Have fun with Him today.  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What SURPRISES am I expecting today?”

 

 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Leaves Everywhere!

This morning as I was reading some of our daily confession scriptures to my wife, I came to one from Psalm 29:11 where the Psalmist says that “The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” (KJV)  After I read it in a personalized paraphrase I stopped for a moment and pondered a thought of something from my earlier Bible Study time.  At that time I had been dissecting part of Ephesians chapter three where Paul declares that “you will know Christ’s love, which goes far beyond any knowledge.”  (Ephesians 3:19 God’s Word ©)  As I looked through many of my commentaries on that scripture, I realized that this is one of three subjects in the New Testament that the Lord talks about us knowing beyond the scope of natural understanding or experience.

Those three subjects would be His love, His peace described in Philippians 4:7, and His power or ability in Ephesians 3:20.  These three parts of the nature of God toward us seem to be simply available to us without any foreseeable end in sight.  The Lord gave me the thought this morning that “Just when we think we have seen or experienced it all, He opens up a whole new level for us to see and experience!”  It is almost as if He enjoys keeping us in awe of the extent of His love toward us!

Yesterday as my wife and I were walking up the pathway to our house, I was amazed at all the leaves that were on the ground.  You could hardly see the grass, the flowerbeds and the pathway due to the layer of red, brown and golden leaves that were present as far as the eye could see.  This was even more amazing as the grounds crew had gone through on Friday and blown all the leaves away at that time. 

That thick carpet of leaves that had taken over the landscape in our neighborhood community is a good example of the amount of God’s love, His peace and His power or ability that He continually sends our way in a measure that goes way beyond our level of natural comprehension!  As we walked along I felt like a little kid and enjoyed myself kicking up piles of leaves into the air and then watched them float back down over my shoes in a cascading tumble of fall colors.  That’s a picture of the love and peace and power of God that I want to remember today!  How about you?  As you walk, bike or drive through your neighborhood, take time to notice the leaves falling from the trees aswell as those covering the ground and liken it to God’s love, His peace and His power that He is raining down on you… just because you are special to Him!

Have a great week.  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

 
PS: Congratulations to the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants!

 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Especially In The Hard Times

When we moved into our house almost 3½ years ago things were more than just a little bit hectic!  We had just moved back home to California after our three year Bible School adventure in Oklahoma and I immediately started a new and very different position with The Home Depot that required daily travel back and forth to multiple stores in the San Francisco Bay area about 1½ hours away.  At that time we had started all the medical testing with my wife and while we knew something was wrong, nothing solid had been determined yet.  Once in California I had to change our insurance coverage and provider as California’s plans were totally different (better actually - I felt) than what was offered through Home Depot in the other 49 states!

Before we had left Oklahoma we had established a plan for our return.  My Mother had insisted that my wife, our dog and I move in with her and my Dad until we got established.  I had figured that that would take us up to two months max.  My new position, with travel time (of which I was paid), was keeping me away from the home for about twelve hours a day, so my time to get things settled for us in town was limited. Well, wouldn’t you know, after a week or so, I started getting calls from my siblings strongly suggesting us to move out ASAP as my parents were getting a little nervous having us in the home and thereby changing their daily routine. I spoke with my Mom about it and they were feeling some pressure having guests in the house after being alone for many years. 

So with that, we accelerated our schedule, found our new residence and were moved in within another week.  This kind of put all our plans into a topspin!  Now I had to figure out how we were going to pay for the shipping of our stuff from Oklahoma and all the moving into a new home expenses within one month instead of two. Added to this were my concerns for my wife.  Even though she was still independent at this time, this would be the first time that she would be alone when I was gone and I was hoping to have some more medical information to work with before we moved out to our own place. 

Needless to say God was with us and worked all kinds of miracles for us and everything turned out great.  When we made the actual move our youngest daughter was still in town and she helped my wife to quickly unpack the vital boxes and put things away before she went back for her third year of school in Oklahoma.  All was fine until I had to start doing everything in the care of the home and for my wife.  I suddenly discovered that I didn’t know where most everything was!

Over the last two years I discovered many hidden items and had gotten into enough of a routine that I could work around not having all the right utensils,  linens, and other necessary items for daily life that I knew we had, but couldn’t  find!  Yesterday I finally broke down and cleaned out a closet in our downstairs bedroom where we now sleep.  While going through the many boxes, bags and other items I found a couple of boxes of old family photos.  It was like old home week as I walked down memory lane with a ton of photos of our family through the years.  All was going fine until I came across a photo taken of my wife when we were home from College during the Thanksgiving holidays back in 1973.  She was proudly standing on the driveway of a friend’s home beside her bright red, hot new Ford Pinto “woody” wagon.  I’m not sure why but as I looked at her picture I immediately broke down and began to weep.  I guess that it was because it has been one of those tough weeks where my wife has been really quiet and not as sharp as she has been and seeing her in the vibrancy of her youth brought everything to a head.

This morning my confidence and faith was lifted and strengthened as I read from the Ephesian prayer in Ephesians 1:17-23.  Then like as a hit from a bolt of lightning, as I glanced over at another Bible that sat opened to Psalm 91, the Lord spoke to me and said: “Because you set your love upon me, I will deliver you.  When you call upon me I will answer you.  With a long life, I will satisfy you, and show you my salvation.”  (Psalm 91:14-16 God’s Word ©)  I was impressed to look up the Hebrew meaning to the word “show” and discovered that it literally is translated “made to see” (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown)  With that I sat back in my chair and understood that the Lord was encouraging me with the truth that He would “make me to see His salvation” for my wife and I - no matter what it looks like right now!  WOW!

What more can I say on this bright and clear Friday morning?  God is always near us, especially when we are down and needing a hand, and ever true to His promises such as the one found in Joshua 1:5 where He declares that He “will never neglect us or abandon us!”  (God’s Word ©)  Take that truth to heart this weekend.  Remember that even when times are hard, His Word ever stands true for you!  Have a wonderful weekend.  Stay close and in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What GOOD REPORTS am I expecting today!”***

 

 

*** This is a special word for my good friends the Cromley’s!

 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Singing a Different Tune...

I had to laugh this morning as I read through some of the headline articles reporting on the results of last night’s World Series game.  Yesterday most of the reporters had written off the Giants as a viable contestant to face the Detroit Tigers.  Most of those articles were written by sports writers from large newspapers or news organizations from outside of California.  Today those same writers were reporting on the strength of the pitching and hitting from the players on the Giants.  It was funny to me how the story suddenly flipped when the Giants faced the one individual who has been called the best pitcher in the baseball today and hit just about everything he threw at them.

Now I am not writing this to cast a stone at the Detroit Tigers.  I am writing this to make a point at how fast people’s complaints or line of thinking can change in the face of hard evidence.  It reminds me of our walk as Christians that very often goes against the current that most others follow.  In Psalm 91:4 the psalmist proclaimed that “His truth is your shield and armor.”  (God’s Word ©)  Jesus said that “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  (John 14:6 God’s Word ©)  That tells me that the way of the Word is the best and only successful path to follow, and on top of that, it is the safest way to live as well!

People who don’t understand these truths will question the way you and I live.  Most will tend to do it quietly, but then there are those, many times those who are close to us, who take it upon themselves to “set us straight” and will be quite vocal about it.  But just as the sports writers demonstrated today, their tune will change when they see the fruit of your faith!  The few individuals, who are close to my wife and I, who had become the most adamant detractors to the decisions that I had made in the initial care of my wife, are now extremely friendly and agreeable with us and act as though nothing had ever been said.  Time has proven our leadings from the Lord to be true and successful for us, and because of what they now see, they are in agreement with us.

My point?  Stick to your guns!  That is to your stand that is based on the truth and protection of God’s Word.  Psalm 91 begins by declaring that “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  It then concludes by stating “I will protect those who trust in my name…I will rescue them and honor them.”  (Psalm 91:1, 14-15 NLT)  So don’t allow yourself to be put off by those who don’t understand your trust and commitment to the Word of our heavenly Father.  Find your rest in His truth and then you’ll see His honor come upon you when the manifestation of your faith comes to light.  Have a great Thursday.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Right Attitude

As I was sitting at the kitchen table yesterday with my wife, I began to think about attitudes.  I was multitasking by working on the blog and helping my wife finish her breakfast at the same time.  At one point I got somewhat absorbed in what I was typing and then remembered that my wife was patiently waiting for me.  When I glanced up something looked amiss and when I smiled at her I noticed that her cereal bowl was missing.  My first thought was that of the dog, but since I would have heard the bowl hit the floor followed by the familiar jingle of her license tapping against the side of the dish, I quickly looked for another clue.  As I leaned in toward my wife I noticed that the bowl was in her hand and was resting on her lap.  The only problem was that the bowl was upside down!  My eyes got wide as I picked up the bowl and looked at the total sum of the ingredients of her breakfast, bite sized shredded wheat, Quaker Natural Granola, blueberries and milk that was spread over her black pants, blouse, clean sweater and dripping onto the floor!

It was time for an instant decision!  What was my attitude going to be?  When I raised my surprised eyes and looked at my wife, her eyes were sparkling and she gave me a big smile and started laughing!  Her expression and reaction to the situation immediately dictated what my attitude was going to be and I also broke into spontaneous laughter and just shook my head!  I quickly decided that it wasn’t worth getting upset because I had just got her ready for the day and would have to repeat the process and also clean up the mess.  I was just going to rejoice, trust the Lord and be happy with the experience!  Then I took the next expedient step and called in the dog to help me clean up the floor and my wife’s lap and then headed us into the bedroom!

What would you have done in a similar situation?  Who or what would you have allowed to dictate your reaction?  Now I realize that my wife is dealing with the symptoms of dementia and my not have completely understood the ramifications of what was going on, but I also know that her spirit is still alive and strong within her and still works to guide her response to life’s situations.  That is what I saw when I looked into her eyes at the table yesterday.  It was like I saw Jesus and heard Him telling me to relax, laugh and walk in love as He would do.

The more we spend time in the Word, the more that Word, that Love, that solution, will become a part of us and the way we respond to life’s little hiccups!  Throughout these last three years I have become very astute in understanding who or what controls the way people respond to the events in their lives.  Their first reaction to the news or sight of my wife’s fight of faith is usually a clear indication of what influences they are listening to.  In our situation it is either listen and follow the Lord’s solution or throw in the towel and let nature take its negative course.  I choose God’s answer and refuse to give up! 

Most of the daily decisions you make are not life and death situations though.  But the course of action to follow is the same!  Listening to God’s voice is still the best way to successfully navigate through the map we follow each day.  Whose way will you decide to depend on today?  Will you choose to let your emotions cause you to get angry and cry over spilled milk, or allow the loving answers of the Lord to help you to smile, enjoy the moment and come out on top?

Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

No Rain Delay!

Well, I have a few more thoughts on RAIN today.  I want to report that my son’s and my prayers for the rain to hold back until after last night’s NCLS Championship game between the Giants and the Cardinals worked… at least until the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs.  Then it was as if the clouds could not contain themselves anymore and let loose with a torrential downpour that looked to threaten the very safety of the players on the field!  Everyone in the stadium seemed to hold their collective breaths and scream at the same time!  The camera’s panned from the players standing in the quickly growing puddles on the field, to the drenched fans in the stands, to the home plate umpire who had the sole responsibility of the decision to delay the game or not.  Due to a Major League ruling that championship games have to be played through the ninth inning, the game would have to be resumed after the rain subsided if the umpire stopped play.  

Then to make matter’s worse, the Giants manager Bruce Bochy decided that he needed to make a pitching change because he wasn’t comfortable with the current pitcher/batter scenario.  With that, the plate umpire came out to the mound and the grounds crew ran out to the infield to see if they could make some amends to forestall the lake that was beginning to form around the bases.  The crowd continued to scream and I am sure that everyone watching from the warmth and dryness of their living rooms sat on the edge of their couches (as my wife and I did) and waited to see what happened next.  Then the plate umpire turned to the Giants bullpen and motioned repeatedly for the new pitcher to come to the mound.  At that point we all knew that it was finish the game or drown, but this game was not going into a rain delay!

And if you had your TV’s tuned into the fox network last night and/or saw the morning paper today, then you know the conclusion to the game.  Sergio Romo, the Giants closer caused the batter to pop up and the Giants won the National League Pennant for the second time within three years!  The players on the field ran, danced and yelled in elation and the fans went wild!  The funny part is that no one seemed to notice the downpour that had not let up!  A crew quickly came out and set up a platform and a few moments later the awards presentation began, in the torrential rainfall, with all the dignitaries, owners, coaches and players and their families standing around with soaking wet hair and dripping clothes and everyone just had big smiles on their faces!

All that rain, laughter and mirth got me to thinking some more about the rain of God’s love upon the lives of us, His children.  It was fun to see those thousands of adults acting like kids last night.  All their inhibitions were set aside and everyone just had a good time!  I think that this is how we as Christians should live our lives 24/7.  If we had the slightest inkling as to the depth of how much our heavenly Father loves us, then I believe that we would find ourselves living a happier life, with a better attitude and as better examples to those around us.

Colossians 2:13 says that “You were once dead because of your failures and your uncircumcised natures.  But God made you alive with Christ when he forgave all our failures.”  (God’s Word ©)  Think about that for a moment.  When you became a Christian God forgave you of all your failures.  The Greek word translated “ALL” in that verse means just what it says, “all, any, every, the whole, thoroughly.” (Strong’s G3956)  John Gill in his Exposition of the Entire Bible comments that “forgiveness of sins (or failures as the God’s Word translation puts it) is not done by piecemeal, or at different times, or by divers acts, but is done at once and includes sins past, present and to come…”  In other words, stop thinking about your failures in life!  If God has forgiven and forgotten them, then so should you.  And on top of that, don’t let the fear of failure stop you from moving on in life, from possibly taking a risk because God loves you so much that He took care of the failure problem when you got saved!  

Wow!  My eyes were opened today to the width, length, height and depth of His love for us as I read that verse and others like it this morning!  His love goes way beyond what we understand or see in the world around us. (Ephesians 3:18-19)  He loves us when we are right and when we are wrong!  He loves us when we are up and when we are down.  His love for us never changes.  If we could see a physical manifestation of His love I think we would have a view just like the millions of viewers who watched the Giants and Cardinals play in that torrential rain storm last night.  At one point is was so strong that it looked as though someone had placed a foggy filter over the lenses of the cameras broadcasting the event!  That is the atmosphere that you and I, as believers, walk in ALL THE TIME!

 So, dwell on that thought today!  Walk in the downpour of His love and be happy as you drip on everyone, everywhere you go!  Have a special day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Monday, October 22, 2012

The First Rain

The first thing that I did when I got up this morning was to fling open the blinds and take a peek outside.  The first winter storm had blown in during the night and everything glistened with the sparkling rain drops that graced their surfaces!  I think the rain came a little earlier than expected as it was supposed to rain pretty hard all day today.  Instead it rained all night!  I’m not sure if that was because it was just a quickly moving front, or because my son and I had prayed that it wouldn’t rain this afternoon so the Giants vs Cardinal’s NLCS deciding game seven could be played tonight in San Francisco while the Giants were still hot!

When I put down my book and got up to turn off the lights last night, I suddenly realized that it had begun to rain.  I immediately went to our large patio sliding window and stood there watching and listening to the rain.  I am not sure why, but I have always enjoyed listening to the rain!  It must be because it is so relaxing to me!  I can remember a time many years ago when my wife and I went for a weekend to the Inn at the Tides resort on the coast at Bodega Bay, just about a 45 minute ride from our home. 

As we were sitting in our comfortable room on the evening of the first day of our stay, we heard the sound of the rain coming down on the roof.  We opened the curtains on the large picture window and just sat there for quite a while entranced by the sounds and sights of the storm.  In fact, we left the curtains open all night and went to bed just so we could enjoy and watch the progression of the storm throughout the night and into the dawn!  It was quite a fun weekend.

Last night when I returned to our bedroom, I turned off the small fan we had running and opened up the window more so that we could sleep to the sound of the rainfall.  I always sleep better when it rains, and last night was no exception!

This morning as we sat at the kitchen table I was reminded of the story of the healing of the lame man in Acts chapter three.  After the crowds had gathered to gawk at the evidence of the miraculous healing, Peter began to preach Christ to them.  In verse nineteen he encourages those listening to repent and receive Jesus as their personal Savor and Lord.  Then he makes the statement that “times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”  (KJV)  That got me to thinking about the refreshing that this first storm of the season has brought to our yard.  Everything just looks happy and healthy!  The greens are greener, the flowers are brighter and even the stones in the aggregate cement patio look like they are shining!

I think that this is a vivid example of what the rain of God does to us when we allow ourselves to get drenched in the downpour of His love.  It is a time of refreshing to our entire being.  The aftereffects of His love make us look happier and healthier!  It is sort of like the day after our first night at the Inn on that weekend awhile back.  We may not have gotten a lot of sleep as we enjoyed the rainfall, but we sure felt happy and quite relaxed as we ate the complimentary breakfast hand in hand at the table near the window in our room the next morning.

So while I don’t know what the weather may be like in your neck of the world, you can still enjoy the aftereffects of the rain… God’s rain, by simply spending some quality time with Him this week.  Find a quiet comfortable spot, open up your Bible and let Him rain down His refreshing times upon your weary soul.  Have a great week.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hats

As I was thinking and praying about my wife early this morning, I turned in my Bible to Ephesians chapter one where Paul is talking about Jesus and His current residence seated at the right hand of God.  Verse 21 says that He is “far above all principality and power and might and dominion and above every name that is named…” (NKJV)  Once I read that verse and copied it done in my note book, I leaned back in my chair and began to meditate on the immense power of His name.  After a few moments the word “Hats” suddenly came to mind.  That got me to sit upright in my chair as I thought “Hats?”  What does that have to do with anything?

Well, I might have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night!  With my lightning quick mind I figured that God was trying to make a point, so I sat back again and considered “Hats!”  What are they?  What are they for?  I had never been one that enjoyed wearing a hat.  I would wear them while playing baseball or in inclement weather, but they just always felt a little awkward for me.  As I grew older though… the forces of nature took over and I have been forced to wear a hat outside now just to protect my head from getting fried on hot sunny days or keep it warm during the cold winter season!

I am still particular about what hat I wear though.  I will only wear hats that have an emblem on them that I can comfortably associate with.  When I worked outside in Oklahoma my hat became my best friend!  It would always surprise co-workers when I would take it off when I came inside.  As one of the cashiers commented, she always thought of me as a “hat guy!”  For the first year in Oklahoma I proudly wore my Sonoma State College cap that my kids had bought me to commemorate my graduation from that school here in northern California. It not only gave me an association with the school but it gave me a link back to California some 1800 miles away from where I was!

I had to retire the hat when the navy blue color faded to an off white and our Home Depot decided to enforce the company standard that employees had to wear company hats or those of our vendors.  From there I switched to a hat of one of our tooling suppliers and eventually bought a white Home Depot hat that I still have today.  I was never one to don a hat that had some funny saying on it or one, once again, that I could not find an association with.  When I returned to California I was able to find an official collegiate Cal Bears hat that I could afford at a local Walmart.  I had always wanted to get one in Oklahoma, but they were hard to find and very expensive if you did happen across one.

I had followed the University of California at Berkeley Bear football team back in the 1980’s but had kind of lost contact with them over the years.  The main reason I had wanted to get the hat was because it said “Cal” on it and I wanted people to know my connection with my home state!  One day when I was out grocery shopping, a women stopped me in the isle and commented on my hat and then began asking me if I thought that they were going to win their next game against some school that I had never heard of!  Needless to say I was “busted.”  After trying to answer around the question I finally had to toss in the towel and let the lady know that I wasn’t really keeping up on the team.  She gave me “the look,” turned and walked away!

That incident really bothered me.  Here I was making a personal connection with the school by wearing the hat, but yet knew nothing about the current status of it or its sports program.  From there I made a point to get on my computer, pull up their web site and get re-acquainted with what was going on!  I now have a Cal app on my phone and stay current on their football team standings.  I even catch a game on TV when possible.
 
What does this all have to do with the name of Jesus?  Well, as my hats connect me with something that I associate with, as Christians we should be “wearing” the hat of Jesus wherever we go.  He should be the main one that we associate with and should be proud to let our colors show!

Our association with Him should not be like mine was when I wore the Cal hat without any knowledge of what was happening with the school or their teams.  Our connection should be up-to-date and vital to our everyday lives.  It should be one that we can knowledgably share with anyone who asks.  I would not want to have someone come up to me in the store and ask me about Jesus and then not know what to say!  2 Corinthians 3:6 says that He “hath made us to be able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life”  (Contemporary English Version)  He has imparted to us His ability to share His life giving Good News to our world, but it is up to us to study His word and know it’s contents so that we can intelligently and lovingly share it.

So, what hat are you going to wear today?  Are you ready to make a good showing for Him?  Remember our association with Him “giveth life!”  Let your expression carry that promise as you rub elbows with those all around you!  Have a great weekend.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting TO SHARE today?”

 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Winter Coats


When I peeked out of the patio window first thing this morning, the temperature gauge hanging on the post of the patio cover read in the low forties.  A little while later when I checked the local weather forecast, I noticed that it was predicting afternoon highs in the low nineties.  We have moved into the fall weather pattern where our daily temperatures can easily travel 45 or more degrees throughout the course of the day.  I was tempted to turn on the heater this morning, but opted for a sweater and a hot cup of coffee instead, since I didn't want the house to retain the heat after the outside temperatures rose.

Those activities this morning reminded me of the wonderful winter work coat that my Mom purchased for me during the first winter we were in Oklahoma.  Being from the temperate climate of northern California did not prepare me for the cold that we were about to experience in Tulsa.  During our first Thanksgiving away, I vividly remember bragging to all the relatives as they passed the phone around the room during their holiday gatherings about how we were all wearing our shorts and enjoying the warmth in our new surroundings.  Well, the joke was on me, for exactly a week later we had about six inches of snow on the ground!

During that first day I was off from work and the school was closed due to the road conditions.  Therefore it was all fun and games as we romped around in the snow for most of the day.  Reality hit on Friday when I had to return to work and be outside selling Christmas trees to the hordes of holiday customers.  I quickly came to realize that my multiple sweaters and thin California work coat was not going to make the grade!

I must have complained about that during one of my regular phone calls to the folks back home because within a few days a letter from my Mom arrived with a check to be used for a new winter work coat!  What can I say?  I was quite elated about the opportunity!  Money was a little tight right then since my wife and son had not yet been able to find employment and I had therefore thought it to be too much of a luxury to buy myself a new work coat out of my meager salary.  Therefore I jumped at the gift and immediately purchased a “Big Smith” cold weather work jacket complete with a lined hood, from the new collection of insulated work clothes that we sold in our hardware department at my Home Depot store.

Throughout the next three years, that coat became a super blessing!  Through those winter winds that blew in from the north that seemed to go right through you, through the blizzards, thunderstorms, tornado warnings and even the frozen insides of the tractor trailers from which we unloaded the deliveries of Christmas trees, that coat kept me warm and cozy… Except for that one Friday evening where management had a co-worker and myself breaking up the thick layer of ice on the entrance to the Garden Department in preparation for the weekend’s holiday sales.  If I remember correctly, the temperature was hovering at around 12 degrees with those icy north winds causing a wind-chill factor in the negative numbers!  It took me awhile to thaw out that night!

My point in all this, is that having that right coat for the right conditions can make all the difference to one’s well being at any given time!  Joseph in the Old Testament had the coat of many colors that symbolized his favor with his father.  Today Christians have the coat of Christ that not only symbolizes our favor with our heavenly Father, but it also covers and protects us as we go through the various seasons in our lives.  Ephesians 1:3 says: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (NKJV)  Romans 8:1 declares that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those which are in Christ Jesus.” (KJV)

There are numerous scriptures in the Bible that tell us about all that is ours “in Christ.”  Check it out and you will see that no matter what your situation, no matter what the weather is - physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally or even financially – that God has the right coat to help keep you safe and secure “in Christ!”  I wore that “Big Smith” coat so much at work in Oklahoma that I finally broke the zipper.  Now it hangs in my closet just awaiting for me to take it down to a tailor to get the zipper replaced!  The nice thing about God’s coat is that it never gets damaged, but is always ready, in any circumstance for you!

Think about that next time you put on your winter coat this year.  Remember His coat and His love that is always there for you!  Have a good day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting TO WEAR today?”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Doors


“I am the door. 
 If anyone enters by Me,
 he will be saved,
 and will go in and out
 and find pasture.”   (John 10:9 NKJV)

I was never one to take much notice of doors until I managed the Receiving department at one of the five Home Depot Stores in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.  Up until that point, doors were simple a means to get in and out of a room, a house, or a closet.  A large part of my responsibilities in Receiving was to oversee the unloading of the trucks that came in throughout the late afternoon and early evening hours.  Since the position for a night Receiving Associate was left unfilled for much of my tenure, I also played an active roll in the actual unloading of the nightly freight.

While I was there, I began to take notice of the wide assortment of door styles, shapes and sizes that came in with the multiple loads that we received from various manufacturers each week.  There are the common wooden doors made from almost any kind of tree imaginable, metal doors, composite doors and plastic doors!  There are some very exquisite looking doors as well as those that are very plain, simple and functional.  Some of the doors came packed in a single door pallet while other were shipped in multiple door packing frames.  The multiple packs were the trickiest ones to maneuver into place on the very top of the tall metal racks that lined the Milling Department.  My heart would always be in my mouth as I gently swung the load high above the fork lift into the spot that never seemed big enough to fit the pallet!

Since that exposure to doors back in Oklahoma and with my more recent experience as a Merchandising Supervisor over the Milling department for multiple Home Depots in Northern California, I have begun to observe doors in a whole new light.  The front door on a family home really seems to set the tone for the house.  Take our little planned community for example.  Most of the homes are similarly designed and any changes or improvements must go through the association’s design committee.  The majority of the cluster homes have plain front doors in one of three or four approved colors.  There is not much to set them apart.  The houses and the surrounding landscape are meant to blend in harmony with each other. 

One of our neighbors down the meandering path to the east of our home recently had a new entrance door installed.  It came as a nice looking white wooden door with a few simple designs in the upper part, a small glass viewing window and some ornate looking brushed stainless hardware.  I commented on the new door to my wife one day as we took our daily walk.  Then a few days later I was taken by a pleasant surprise as the door had been painted a deep burgundy hue.  That color made all the difference in the world.  Our neighbor’s house, which for all intent and purpose looks identical to ours, was suddenly set apart and made to stand out by the addition of the new door with its stunning color tone!  The door not only made the house seem more high end and luxurious, but it also gave the home a more friendly and inviting sense about it. 

I imagine the door that Jesus defined in our scripture above, as a set of double light Oak doors.  Strong ornately designed, large enough for any or many at a time to go through, but yet friendly and inviting to all who would choose to enter in.  John 10:9 says that whoever comes through His door will be saved and then be able to go in and out of any circumstance in this life and find pasture.  It reminds me of the 23rd Psalm where David told of the Good Shepherd whose His followers would “lie down in green pastures” and be led “besides still waters.”  (KJV)

Jesus is also a safe door where we can enter in and be totally secure from any hardship, any lack, any temptation, any sickness or disease, and from any criticism or abuse.  In the next verse Jesus completely removes any remaining doubts or questions by declaring that “I have come in order that you might have life---life in all its fullness.”  (Good News Bible)  Now that’s the door that I definitely want to go knock on and go right in when He joyfully opens it up for me!  How about you?  Won't you join me in making that door to be the only one that you use as you go in and out of the various items on your daily schedule of events?

Have a terrific day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Oak Tree

This morning after I had completed my study I went in to our bedroom and woke up my wife and then, as per my daily custom, went into the living room, put on a CD with songs about the Lord’s healing promises, and proceeded to open up the blinds on all the windows.  When I retracted the horizontal blinds on the side patio sliding window, I gazed up into the tall branches and golden leaves of the cathedral like Oak tree that graces the side of our home.  As I stood there captivated by the beauty of the moment, I was impressed to sit in the big blue recliner next to the window.  This has become one of my favorite places to retreat to in the late afternoons just before I begin preparing dinner, but it felt a little odd sitting down there at the very beginning of the day.

Nevertheless, I obeyed the leading and sat quietly and continued to take in the majesty of the moment.  From my angle, the branches of the tree seem to reach right into heaven.  The golden leaves swayed against back drop of the deep blue sky and it felt like I could step outside and climb up the trunk of the tree right into the awaiting arms of my Savior!  It reminded me of something I had promised the Lord a couple of years ago. 

Throughout the journey that my wife and I have been on, I have continuously been drawn to the amazing grace and love of Jesus.  He has daily been my comforter, my counselor, my strength, and the one who has lovingly guided me through all the tough decisions that I have had to make along the way.  And most of all I thought, as I gazed up the tree into the heavens this morning, He has been the one into whose outstretched arms I have run into on many a dark and lonely night.   What came to mind in that chair this morning was my promise, that if I ever got to Pastor a church after all that we have been through, that I would teach and let our journey be the physical demonstration to the congregation of the need of falling in love with Jesus anew, each and every day!

Hebrews 8:12 in the Easy To Read Version of the Bible gives us a vivid reason why we should want to renew or confirm and/or confess our love for our Savor on a regular basis.  Here it tells of our heavenly Father’s plan for our redemption.  He said: “And I will forgive the wrongs they have done, and I will not remember their sins!”  This promise was accomplished by Jesus on the cross.  He became sin in our stead and the anger of God toward our sin was completely exhausted on Jesus’ actions!  And now it is done and we can walk confidently before a God that loves us through thick and thin, through the bad and the good, and even when we slip up and do something wrong.

As I read that verse this morning I was reminded of a period when one of my kids was going through some really difficult times due to some wrong decisions.  The Lord had told me back then to just love him and to keep accepting him and his friends.  Well, throughout it all, the Lord kept him safe and sound and eventually the experience worked to totally turn our son’s life around to where his greatest desire now is to serve the Lord. 

The Lord said to me today that the love that I demonstrated was a small example of how much He loves each of us.  He is always there for us.  He is always forgiving toward us and loving us, and is always awaiting for us with outstretched arms, as I imagined this morning while I looked up the branches of that majestic Oak tree into the heavenlies.

So, think about that LOVE as you go through your day today. Let that LOVE fill you ‘til you can’t hold anymore and then spill it on to someone else!  Have a great day!  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oh! What A Day!

Oh what a glorious day!  As I turned on my laptop this morning the background photo of a recent picture I took from the vista point on the northern approach to the Golden Gate Bridge came across my screen.  It was taken in late afternoon and the sky was bright blue, a ferry was making waves as it cruised through the waters of the bay in order to go under a span of the bridge, and a seagull was floating over its orange towers.  A majestic scene to say the least!

Then I looked up from the kitchen where I was working and gazed out into our large patio and was amazed at the bright blue sky peeking out from the backdrop of the tall Maple and Redwood trees that line the border of our community.  The purple flowers on our geranium seemed to glow in the radiance of the morning sunlight that splashed across the deck.  Oh, the sight just captivated my imagination this morning!  This must be what the first glimpses of heaven are to the eyes of those entering in to the glory of God!
 
Now it doesn’t hurt to say that the last two days of cold, overcast weather have probably added to my excitement of the view from outside my window today!  But nevertheless, it is still true that the clear skies, warm sun and florescent colors emanating from the flowers in our yard sure do their part to brighten the soul and the outlook for the day!  It is actually Saturday as I write this post, but I needed to get a day ahead in my writing as our Monday is jam packed with appointments and activities that don’t leave much time for the meaningful writing of an encouraging word for you!

So, I’ll steal away for a few moments with you today and share a word that I received as I spent time studying earlier this morning.  I actually was having a hard time sleeping so I got up before dawn, brewed a pot of Starbucks Dark Sumatra coffee (kind of an earthy, herbal flavor to it – just right for a pick me up as I huddled around my desk in the quiet of the morning before anything else in our neighborhood began to stir!), and reread from Isaiah 55 verses 10-13.  These were the last verses I read before I turned out the lights last night and I was excited about revisiting them again. 

The thought of God’s Word not returning without results, by accomplishing whatever He wants it to achieve really stimulates my being and re-ignites that passion to want to serve Him with all my heart!  I’ve been praying for a few weeks now, that every time I read the Word to my wife, that the same rekindling is happening within her.  As I have mentioned in past blog entries, it was the fire of the passion for Jesus ablaze in her as a sweet young high school student that led me into a personal relationship with Him, and brought about the call to ministry for us to follow.

It is rewarding for me to see the light in her eyes begin to sparkle as she will relate to a particular verse, story or teaching from the Word that I relate to her.  His Word is definitely working within the far reaches of her mind, her will and her emotions perfecting a healing and a cure.  At breakfast I was reading from a study by E.W. Kenyon where he talks about John 14:30 whenJesus told His disciples that “the ruler of this world is coming.  But he has no power over me.”  (Contemporary English Version)  The author stated “What does that mean?  It means that Satan found nothing in Jesus that he owned or had any right to…. There was nothing in Jesus that Satan could place his hand upon and say, ‘That is mine.’”  With that I turned to my wife, looked her straight in the eyes and declared “There is NOTHING in you that Satan has the right to place his hand on!”  Her eyes locked in on my determined stare and she nodded in agreement!  Hallelujah!  My wife is God’s property and He is the only one to place anything on her!

Isaiah prophesies to the New Covenant church that God’s Word does “not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11 NAS)  His desire and provision for my wife’s healing as part of the atonement of Christ is being accomplished in her!  And you know what?  The things that He has provided for you as part of His atonement will also be accomplished for you.  It’s all a matter of finding out what is yours from within the pages of your Bible, and then following His directions in Mark 11:22-24.  It is all about your faith, your believing and your expectations based on Him and the truth of His Word!

Oh!  Like I said, what a glorious day!  Take a step of faith today and venture out into the radiance of His Son-light and let His love, His faithfulness and His blessings splash across your life today!  Plan for a great week ahead!  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What GOOD THINGS am I expecting today?”

 

Friday, October 12, 2012

I Can Hear It In The Trees...


One of the many pleasures that we enjoy about camping is living in the great outdoors.  You tend to get a vibrant feel for nature and the interactions of the trees, the animals on the ground and the birds that fly around them and then soar way up into the sky until they become as tiny dots against the back drop of the bright blue textures that stretch as far as the eye can see.  As I read in the Word this morning, I was reminded of one of the special moments that comes just about every afternoon while camping at 5500 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at Plumas Eureka State Park.

Isaiah 55:12 in the New American Standard version declares “For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace.  The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”  In the late afternoon the wind begins to pick up and come down from the surrounding mountains into the camp below.  You can usually hear it long before you feel it.  It begins as a slight timbre in your ears and then grows into a crescendo of muted symbols as the wind flutters through the leaves of the Quaking Aspens scattered throughout the floor of the forest.  It is as if, like the Prophet described so poetically in Isaiah 55:12, that the trees of the field are clapping their hands.    In the summer months it is a warm breeze that saunters through the forest and eventually breaks through into the open areas of the campground, bringing with it an enjoyable relief from the heat of the mid-day sun.  For me it is a great time to sit back in a camp chair, close my eyes and recall the fun-filled activities of the day and the goodness of God who made all the beauty that surrounds me.

According to Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Isaiah is giving us a vivid picture of the grace of God in this chapter of his book.  His is foretelling of the life of the Christian who puts his or her uncompromising trust in the Lord and the truth of His Word.  Like we talked about over the last couple of days, there will come seasons of change where we will learn new lessons, possibly go through some wet and rainy times, but come through refreshed and renewed as we continue along the paths that He has planned for us to walk.  Isaiah informs us that even in the tough times that we can “go out with joy, and be led forth with peace.”  The word “peace” is the Hebrew word “shalom” which incorporates the sense of completeness, health, prosperity, tranquility and soundness in body.” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions).  As someone once said, it means “nothing broken, nothing lost!”

Then, as we walk through life we can look around us and it will seems as though the very “mountains and hills will break into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands” in their joy for you and for the glory of God!  When you’re out in the middle of a serene and gorgeous forest it is very easy to see this verse in motion about you.  When you’re at work, stuck in traffic, or in the midst of family tensions, it may be a little harder to see, but it is still there non-the-less!  I guess that it is all about the attitude that you keep. It is important for us to hold the attitude of success in our minds as we center our thoughts and our trust in the loving, faithful hands of the Lord.

I may not always be able to be in the beautiful Plumas National Forest, but I can always carry the thoughts of it’s beauty, it’s floral and fauna and the sounds of the wind blowing through the trees causing them to clap their hands in joy as they magnify the greatness of our God.  Sometimes it is the only thing that I have to hang onto in the midst of what I don’t (yet) see happening around me.  But it is a remembrance and a “shalom” peace given by the solemn promise of what He says that He IS doing for me!  Give it a try this weekend, and allow His peace and His joy to carry you though to victory!  Have a wonderful weekend.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What GOOD THINGS am I expecting today?”                                                                       

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Seasonal Changes

When I brought up my Bible study program this morning it opened up where I left off yesterday at Isaiah 55:10.  From there my eyes carried down to verse eleven where God stated:  “My word which comes from my mouth is like the rain and snow.  It will accomplish just what I want, and achieve whatever I want it to do.”  (God’s Word ©)  This promise immediately brings us back to the subject of seasonal changes and places the importance of the work and purposes of those various times in our lives on the Word of God.

Jesus was so confident in the power and faithfulness of His Father’s Word that He asked Him to set apart His followers from the effects of the polluted, secular, heathenistic things of this world by the truth of His Word.  (See John 17:17)  In Jeremiah 1:12 God tells the prophet that “I watch over my word to perform it.” (ASV)  It has been said that God is always working behind the scenes to bring about the promises of His Word to us.  We may be in the middle of a wet, rainy season but He is still there working in the unseen places preparing the soil of our lives for the upcoming victory.

We live in an area that produces some of the finest wines in the world.  Many of the vineyards front the banks of the Russian River as it meanders on its way to the Pacific Ocean at the tiny town of Jenner.  This river is notorious for its cyclical flooding throughout the decades.  When the waters rise, the towns along its banks prepare for the high waters and then spend the spring months cleaning up and getting things back to normal.  That is the negative side of the flooding, but on the other hand, the surging water that rises above and way beyond its normal path leaves behind dirt, silt and residues that are very advantageous to the growth and production of the vines in the fields.

Again, that’s like the storms in our own lives.  When we place our trust in God’s Word it allows Him to work through the muddy waters that leaves behind new tools and experiences from which we profit and gain wisdom, strength and other blessings in our lives.  With our eyes on Him, we can see past the immediate tough time and KNOW that He is waiting and watching over His Word to perform just what we need to bring us through on top!
So, if you’re like me, then you are looking forward to the change in the seasons ahead because we are certain that He will “never neglect or abandon us” (Joshua 1:5 God’s Word ©) when the going gets a little tough.  Have a great day!  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Different Seasons


I was talking on the phone with a good friend yesterday when he mentioned how the change in the weather had affected the production of his tomato crop.  He said that due to the colder weather that he had only a few more tomatoes that still had a chance of turning red.  This morning as I gazed out the window at our four potted tomato plants and two zucchinis, I was a little saddened as I realized that the same was true for our small garden.  The two large zucchini plants that only a week ago were taking over the deck with their large bright green stems and leaves reaching out to the sun, today looked slightly haggard and limp and hidden under their branches were only a few little zucchini which in all probability will never reach full maturity.  

The brown leaves from the surrounding Oaks now seem to be the dominant feature that is attempting to take over everything in our two patios!  As I sat at breakfast with my wife and remembered the plants at their zenith this summer, I suddenly was impressed with the meaning behind the drooping plants and falling leaves.

In our neck of the country, fall and winter is the time when we get the majority of our rainfall for the year.  As I began to consider that thought, my enthusiasm was renewed as I compared the cooler, wetter months ahead as being similar to our Christian growth.  From now until April the rains will come in earnest and our land, our foliage, and our community will be refreshed and prepared for the time of planting and harvest during next year’s spring and summer months!  Now that sounded exciting to me and puts a whole new twist to the winter blah’s!  I have never been a winter person.  I do not really care for the cold temperatures, and although I do like the occasional wind-blowing, umbrella destroying, hat flying away, rainy winter storm, I would much rather be wearing my shorts and enjoying the sun on a warm northern California summer day!     

It reminds me of the time my girlfriend (yeah… you know the drill… my girlfriend who is now my wife!) and I were walking across the parking lot at the Santa Rosa Junior College during one of those windy rain storms.  I had a hat on and was gallantly attempting to be cool and hold the umbrella over my girl’s head so as to keep her dry, when a gust of wind took the umbrella (and me), blew us forward and then popped the umbrella inside out.  Then to make matter worse, my super cool fedora style hat whipped off my head, and blew across the lot and landed in the middle of a big puddle! Needless to say, my attempt at being cool was totally blown (no pun intended!), so I threw all caution to the wind and was able to get the bent umbrella turned right side out again while the crowd of college students hurrying by had a good laugh at my expense.  Then I waded through the puddle to retrieve my ruined hat and returned to my girlfriend who was not doing a very good job at keeping a straight face.  Even though we had a good laugh at the whole event later on, it was not real fun at the time!  I had to spend the rest of the day in damp clothes and looking like a wet rat.  When I was young my hair was very curly and it took great pains to get it straight in the mornings.  When it got wet it just kind of stuck out everywhere, and that’s the look I carried with me that day… that I’ll probably never forget!

What does this have to do with our Christian walk?  Well, everything!  Isaiah 55:10 says: “Rain and snow come down from the sky.  They do not go back until they water the earth.  They make it sprout and grow so that it produces seed for the farmers and food for people to eat.” (God’s Word ©)  In our lives we all go through times when our personal harvest seems to wane.  These periods are usually followed by changes where we are refreshed and prepared for the next season of seed time and harvest.  They are times of growth as we learn new lessons, get rid of the weights of the past and get ready for the exciting adventures ahead.  Sometimes the seasons of growth and change are not the most enjoyable times in life, but they are necessary as we mature and continue to become the persons that God has designed us to be.  And just like the seasons of the year, the different seasons in our lives are regular and consistent throughout our span on this earth!

So what is my point?  Enjoy life!  Just as you enjoy and prepare for the different seasons of weather each year, also enjoy and prepare for the different seasons in your personal life.  Take advantage of the warm times, the cold times, the wind and the rain and rejoice that our heavenly Father loves you enough to not let you stay stagnant, but continues to facilitate your growth and maturity throughout your life!  I finally got smart and bought a couple of warm winter coats to help me to ward off the cold and be able to function… and have some fun, when the thermometer drops!  I hope that you can do the same and have some fun as the Son works within you “both to will and to do of His good pleasure!” (Philippians 2:13 KJV).  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”