Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Surprise visitor!



 
A bird on the dining room chair?  Inside the house?   Yep, that what I came home to Monday after a meeting that took me away from the house for about two hours. 

In my dining room, I have a window seat under 4 windows that jut out to the side of the house. 

Under the left most window sits a bird feeder where chickadees, cardinals, finches, and titmice regularly visit me and we enjoy each other’s company.  I’ve found out the hard way that if anything touches it, the feeder  falls to the ground spilling all the food. I have to stand on a ladder to put it back up on a brick that holds it there. It’s a pain.  So when I open that window, I pull the screen down to just above the birdfeeder so as not to knock it off. 
It was beautiful outside the other day so I let the soothing, cool breeze in by opening all the windows.  When I got home from an appointment that afternoon, I was greeted by a purple finch
 
that sat perched on top of a dining chair (straight ahead in the picture above), looking out the window, trying to figure out how to get back outside.  Whether he’d been there two minutes or two hours, I don’t know.  He'd started on the birdfeeder outside like the one in the picture, but he hopped inside and the next thing he knew he was lost in the house and didn't know what to do.

You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought to myself. After I stopped laughing, unable to believe my eyes, I opened the back door, hoping he’d fly out easily.  He didn’t move.

I went over to the window and he flew up into the curtain, afraid of me.  I felt bad for him but was able to coax him down, eventually. “I’m not gonna hurt you”, I said. “I want to help you.” I said. After a couple tries, when I put my finger under his feet he stayed there. I brought my hand down very slowly, opened the screen, and set him free. 

It made me think.  The poor guy had stepped in the house and when he realized he didn’t want to be there, he didn’t know how to get back outside.  He could see where he wanted to go and that it wasn’t far, but didn't know how to get there. 

He couldn’t get outside without my help. But he had to trust I wouldn’t hurt him first.  Tough call, but he had no other choice if he was going to get outside again. So he relaxed a tad and sat on my finger long enough for me to let him out.

Have you ever been like that little bird?  In a situation where you’re stuck, and don’t know what to do? God always has our best interests in mind and wants to get us where we need to be. We have to trust him first, then relax and let Him point us in the right direction. 

 

 


 
 

 

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Give God What You’ve Got

 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” John 6:9

“It’s just five loaves of bread and two fish. What good will that do?  There’s thousands of people in this crowd!  But they’re asking if we have anything.  I guess this is something.”
I imagine the little’s boy’s thoughts were along these lines in the crowd of hungry people who’d been listening to “this Jesus guy” teach for so long. 

He looked at his brown paper bag, thought of the food Mom and Dad had packed him in case he got hungry.  He WAS hungry and Jesus had finally stopped teaching. This was his chance to grab a bite. But then the teacher’s close friends asked if anyone had anything to eat. He knew he did, but it was only enough for him.

Still, he told the men that he had a little bit of food.  Then they TOOK it from him. Oh great, he thought.  “They took all I had. What good can this do? And now my lunch is gone.”



“This is all we could find. It won’t do any good.” the disciples said to Jesus.  They gave it to him anyway, when he asked them for it. Then Jesus prayed and shocked everyone (including the disciples) when the five loaves and the two fish suddenly became too much for even the thousands of them to eat.  With all the miracles they seen Jesus perform by this time, you’d think his disciples wouldn’t be surprised. But they still couldn’t believe it. It didn’t make any sense. 

Before we’re too hard on the disciples though, let’s take a look at how we think.  Sometimes we can be like the little boy, seeing all the needs around us. We think we can’t make a dent in the world around us. Not really, especially with thousands of needy people.  

But maybe, just maybe, we should do what God says and give him what we have. He doesn’t ask us to solve the problem, just to give him what we have. When the little boy gave his lunch to the disciples and they gave it to Jesus, He took it and multiplied it to bless and care for thousands in ways no one could have imagined. 

Give God what you’ve got. He’ll take care of the rest.

 

Friday, February 14, 2014

God is Love

In a Bible study I’m in right now, one of the subjects that came up recently was how each of us sees God.  What do we think of when we think of God? One lady said she thinks of Him as someone she can curl up with and be held, comforted. One person said she sees Him as “the big boss in the sky.”  Another said, “God is love.” 


What is Love?

I agree that God is love, but I don’t always feel it.  So the other day I sat down and started to pick that apart.  I asked myself, “What is love? What are the characteristics of love?” 



This seems an appropriate topic for Valentine’s Day.  
As I thought about it, I came up with some words that seem to fit.  Love is:

·       Sacrificial
·       Unconditional
·       Honest
·       Forgiving
·       Protective
·       Intimate
·       Trustworthy

I’m sure there are many more. In looking over these, I recognized something.  None of them is an emotion.  They’re all adjectives that describe God, but none of them is is a feeling.  There’s something significant and wonderful about that. Feelings change, but God doesn’t, and neither do His characteristics.  No matter what we think, feel, say, or do, God still loves us. What a marvelous thought. 

What do you think of when God or another loving person comes to mind?  Share it here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


The Power Of Forgiveness

Jesus tells us over and over that we need to forgive others who hurt us.  Once, he even said we need to do so nearly 500 times.  Sounds like a tall order to me.  There’s something hidden in that though.  There are at least three reasons He tells to forgive each other.

·       First, it releases the other person from the burden of being in debt to us .   


credit Stuart Miles
·       It also restores our relationship with them and we start again with a blank slate. 



 
 

·       But the most surprising result to me is that it frees us.  When we hold onto something where we’ve been wronged, it actually enslaves us. It may be all we can think about. 


 

How about you?  What have you found happens when you forgive someone or they forgive you for something?

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rest--it's actually good for us!



I was going through the book of Hebrews the other day since our church has just finished a series on it.  Something I read struck me as ironic

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Five Ways To Set Goals for 2014



Five Ways To Set Goals for 2014

It’s over now. All the hoopla, all the excitement, planning of family gatherings, parties for Christmas, food to make, presents to buy, wrap, and open—it’s all over. There’s a sense of relief that the anxiety is gone, but there’s a let down too. We take down the tree and ornaments and our homes go back to “normal.” Our lives go back to normal.

But it’s not over—not really. For many people it’s more of a “Now what?” Maybe that’s where New Year’s resolutions come from. We think about what’s next. What we want to accomplish in the coming year.

Personally, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I don’t want the let down or disappointment of falling short.

I DO believe in setting goals though. If I don’t, I‘ll have no direction and nothing to shoot for. The difference is I won’t beat myself up if I don’t quite get there, recognizing I have made some progress. It also leaves room for my path to change if God wants it to and that happens all the time.
 

So how do we set realistic goals? Perhaps we could follow a few guidelines.

·       Look at the goals we achieved in the past year and see what we did to make that happen.

·       Congratulate ourselves on those achievements and let them spur us on toward new pursuits this year.

·       Examine the goals we didn’t reach. Were they realistic? Perhaps we need to revise our goal(s) and/or set a better, more reasonable timeline to complete them, recognizing our limitations.

·       Become more conscientiousness of how we spend our time, focusing our efforts toward reaching our goals instead of frittering away our time.

·       Have someone keep us accountable. Someone who will check on us and encourage us to stay on track, or to refocus our energy with the goal(s) in mind once again.

These are some of my thoughts. How about you?  Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? What do you do to reach them?  Don’t forget to join the conversation!

 

Monday, December 23, 2013

How Christmas God Started


How Christmas Started
Who Thinks Like That?

 

I love Christmas. I think about caroling, getting together with family and friends, Christmas parties, special church services where we celebrate Christ having come to live with and ultimately save us from our sins. But I’ve been thinking about other things  this year too. 

Instead of just thinking about Christmas decorations with Christmas lights, a tree and ornaments and presents underneath just waiting to be unwrapped to surprise their recipients; instead of a manger scene with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus in a manger surrounded by cows, sheep, shepherds and Wise Men, just waiting for the big moment for Jesus to come into the world I’ve been thinking about what it was really like back then in all likelihood.

Jesus was born in a manger, yes, I knew that. Most of us do.  But it hadn’t occurred to me that this means he was born in a barn. In a BARN, of all places.  The cows weren’t lying down and sheep sitting still just outside the stable like they do in our typical manger scenes.  They were roaming around, making all the noises that cows and sheep do. Moooo Baaa, Moooo, Baaa. Rolling in the mud and shaking it off.   It wasn’t a pretty little place set up just for Mary and Joseph to be surrounded by doctors and nurses to take care of the baby when he was born. A room with sterilized tools, trained doctors who would wash a baby before placing him in clean cloths and then in his mother’s arms.  No, it was a barn with hay, straw, dirt and mud.  Not exactly the kind of place I’d expect a savior to come into the world. You? 
 
Then, when Jesus was 30 years old he moved into ministry, teaching the world about God and His plan to bring his people back to him. He teaches men about God’s standards and expectations, turns water into wine, heals blind men, brings dead people back to life, and other inexplicable things. Don’t believe me?  Read it for yourself in the book of Luke, the third book of the New Testament. 

Isaiah was right when he spoke of the Lord who said, “My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts.” [I’ll say!]” My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8)  

So who thinks like that?  GOD does.  And Christmas is just the beginning.  He has much more in store for our lives.  With the way he thinks, who knows what that’ll be?  A little scary, but I trust him since he loves me and always does what he says he will even though we don’t know HOW he’ll do it.   

How ‘bout you?  What do you think when you consider these things and how God works? Don’t forget to join the conversation.