Don’t you just love spring and the early weeks of summer! After the stark gray and white of winter, the pops of color encourage and enliven our spirits. Or, at least most of the colors.
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
My poor parents. As a child, they enrolled me in swimming lessons twice. I absolutely hated it. I couldn’t seem to control my arms and legs, much less get them working together.
The second time I was forced into trying to learn this impossible skill I nearly drowned when the teacher made me go to the deep end. Then she thought I was playing as I sank towards the bottom for the third time.
Besides the whole “I’m going to die!” trauma, what I remember most about those swimming lessons was that the teacher didn’t know my name. How could I have confidence in someone who nearly let me drown, and couldn’t even call me by name.?
Do we test the Lord sometimes just to make sure He’s paying attention? Why do we think He doesn’t know our name or care about our heartfelt cries?
Peter had witnessed the miracles of Jesus. He had traveled, talked, eaten and slept with Jesus for quite a while. How could Peter not believe way down deep in his gut that Jesus was more powerful than any elements?
My humanity makes me wonder if sometimes Jesus doesn’t get a little disgusted with our lack of faith. I wonder how many “swimming lessons” I will have to take before I know that I know that I know, that Jesus is just waiting for us to call His name and reach for His hand.
What am I struggling with instead of reaching for the hand of Jesus?
Give your burdens to the Lord. He will carry them. He will not permit the godly to slip or fall.
My husband and I have cats, or I have cats and Tom changes their box. We are currently on our third black cat, Maisie.
Black cats are beautiful, usually sleek and incredibly soft. However, those lovely physical attributes can be problematic, like when you are wearing a light color or have light colored furnishings in your home.
Maisie’s beautiful black coat, not to mention her sometimes stubborn spirit, also make her almost impossible to find if she’s not in a mood to be found.
Recently Maisie disappeared. Since she is strictly a house cat, and our home isn’t palatial, you would think locating her wouldn’t be that difficult. Wrong! After two days, I was getting concerned and Tom was starting his happy dance.
I think God enjoys teaching us lessons through the ordinary. Our first child is only born once, we are fortunate if we get to see the Mona Lisa, and we probably don’t visit the Grand Canyon every week.
Our lives are typically made up of more ordinary than extraordinary events. After wringing my hands a bit, it finally occurred to me to pray about finding Maisie.
Guess what? She had escaped down into the garage and tucked herself into a corner. I’m not sure how Maisie felt about no food, no box and no petting for a couple of days, but I was thankful the Lord used her to remind me of His care for everything in my life.
Where do I see God’s hand at work?
36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
Our four year-old granddaughter blesses our lives with her curiosity and affection. It doesn’t seem to matter what we are doing, she likes to be right in the middle of it. She asks tons of questions, soaking it all up and then asking more questions.
This spring she wanted to join me as I was planting flower bulbs. I hoed up the row and showed her how to drop the bulbs in the ground properly, and cover them up.
I thought this was a pretty efficient and age appropriate strategy for getting the bulbs in the ground along one side of our house, and letting her be involved at the same time.
That was not four year-old thinking. After three or four bulbs, she stood up, stretched, and with all sincerity asked, “Why does this have to be so hard?”
How often do we say the same thing to God? How many times do we long for the beautiful, tantalizing flowers, but frown or fret about the hard work it takes to get them? Do we forget that none of our victories or triumphs is achieved solely from our own efforts?
Entertainment award programs are typically a wonderful example of people giving credit where credit is due. How much more does God long to bless us if we will just stop to acknowledge His hand upon ours? Let us be glad for the benefits of our hard work and His.
Is there someone I need to thank for their hard work?
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds. ” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
During spring break, my four year-old granddaughter and I were shopping for a few items for a family gathering. One of my favorite places to shop is a discount decorating store.
Their displays of silk flowers are just inside the door. As we walked in, my granddaughter exclaimed, “Those are the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen!” Her enthusiasm was so delightful, I did not point out that the flowers were silk.
As we started down the aisle, she reached over to one of the silk flowers, took a healthy sniff, and with all the innocence and excitement of a four year-old said, “They are the best smelling flowers, too!” A nearby clerk and I exchanged smiles.
As I walk through my world, I wonder how open I am to the pleasures God has prepared just for me. I’ll bet that when we fully experience the wonders of His divine hand, when we touch and sniff and exclaim, God smiles, too.
How can I better express my gratitude for God’s gifts around me?
Have you embarked on a new adventure lately, Dear Reader? Have you prayed, planned, and worked like your life depended on something, and finally reached a summit of accomplishment, if not completion?
Maybe you made the sale or closed the deal. Perhaps you shook hands with a much sought after recruit. No money in the bank or signatures on the line, but still a minute to puff out your chest or give your colleagues high fives. Maybe you even broke into your happy dance.
Such moments are blessings to be enjoyed.
Last week, I submitted Jubilee and the Stinky Fish to Christian Manuscript Submissions After months of preparation, and several weeks of glitches, it was finally time to push the button.
What a rush!
Then I started this post: time for reflection.
The rush is terrific, and who doesn't enjoy savoring it, at least for a minute? There's nothing wrong with that.
But, I've been blessed by a very knowledgeable and gracious consultant, Tawny, through this process. Tawny offered guidance without criticism, and correction with kindness. Her encouragement fortified me to keep going on days when the voice of darkness whispered, "What's the point?"
Dear Reader, who's been your inspiration, your "guide on the side"? Who's had your back on the way to success?
9 Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done.
One of the foundations of my faith is that I don't believe in accidents, coincidences, or luck. I believe God has a plan, a plan specifically designed for each of us.
And I believe His plans include the right people to come alongside of us at the right time. It's when I forget that, and embrace pride and vanity instead, that I get into trouble.
Dear Reader, I pray God's blessings and direction on your endeavors. I also pray your success will be ensured by a host of mentors, coaches, and cheerleaders who easily discern when you need candor, correction, or kindness.
Don't worry, Dear Reader, I'm not stumbling into the minefield of money topics. My friend, Jeanne, has been doing a series about choices, and she got me thinking.
With the new year creeping around the corner, I'd like to share one of our investments that can bring major dividends.
For the first five years or so, after we moved "up north" holidays weren't exactly fun. No yard full of laughing cousins. No kitchen bubbling over with delicious smells and mama stories.
It was sad and lonesome.
Then a couple at our church invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them. That was the beginning.
Dear Reader, have you noticed about yourself, or observed in fellow worshipers, how our expressions can change during worship? It's almost like we know a secret.
Perhaps it's God who knows a secret, the secret of our deepest needs.
Recently, during a worship service, I noticed a man across the aisle who seemed absolutely grim, his brow was even furrowed. I quickly said a prayer for him, but I think God was already on it.
We have a closing benediction we sing at the end of each service, clasping hands across pews and aisles. (Think of the Whoville community scene.)
By the end of the service, God had evidently reached into the man's spirit with the encouragement he needed. Now, he was smiling and gladly reaching for the hands next to him.
How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You to dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.
There's just something about being in the courts, the Temple, God's house that has the power to make all the difference. He promises to bless us with the goodness only He can give.
Jesus knew from a young age about the purpose and the pleasure to gained in his Father's house. One account in Matthew reveals Jesus' purpose for being in the temple, and the pleasure he brought to one man. Talk about interactive worship!
21 Jesus and his disciples came to the town of Capernaum, and on the next Sabbath Jesus went to the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people who heard him were amazed at the way he taught, for he wasn't like the teachers of the Law; instead, he taught with authority.
Like Mama used to say, "You can't beat that with a stick!"
I've wondered how many times the man with the unclean spirit had tried to quietly sneak into the back of the synagogue. Trying not be noticed, praying he would be, and recklessly hoping to be delivered from his tormentor.
God met him there, in His House. And the man was "blessed ... satisfied with the goodness (he found in His) house". See you in church, Dear Reader, where God's blessings and goodness await us, satisfaction guaranteed!
Hi, my name is Alice. A Way with Words is about sharing faith,
fun, & encouragement. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you find a little something to take
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