Weighty Words

20160615_225338 (3)My heart is overflowing with a good theme.” So speaks the psalmist in Psalm 45:1. I was taken with this verse this morning, especially the very last line, My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” Between those two lines the psalmist declares his recitation to be his “composition concerning the King.” I’m grateful when the Word gives me pause. Far too often I read through it without giving it due consideration. This time I felt it and was moved.

I often fail to remember that my words are writing messages on the minds and hearts of others. Those messages impact their thoughts about my faith and my God. My tongue is indeed the pen of a ready writer and my life and pen speak with visibility the voice of my heart.

Weighty Words

Words, like bricks can be used either to increase the weight of another man’s burden or help shore up the crumbling walls of his life or faith. We must therefore “Let no corrupt word proceed out of our mouths*, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29.

Amy Carmichael, Irish missionary to India in the 1800s said, “A cup brimful of sweetness cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, no matter how suddenly it is jarred.” It behooves me then to pour into my mind and heart only that which is good and will pour out grace and truth to the building up of another.  “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

How About You

Have you sensed a bitterness of your own soul? Do you (like me) find yourself dwelling on negative things? The incessant mud-slinging in the political arena and the dreadful reactions to national tragedies have certainly provided much fodder for negative thought and rumination. We daily live out the consequences of such negativity in our words, attitudes and behaviors. Whatever be the cause, we must choose to think higher. We must choose to think nobler. Why? “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9. We must have the mind of Christ.

The eyes and ire of a watching world are upon us. If they are to judge the validity of our faith and the goodness of our God by what they read in our lives, we must think well, carefully weigh our words and provide them a worthwhile read.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Look At The Fields

DaisiesHow can anyone call them weeds? We were out one evening deciding where to set up the garden and I saw the cutest little daisies. Without hesitation, my husband deemed them weeds. We didn’t agree on the garden location or the ‘flowers’ that evening.

A beautiful morning and some semblance of a plan provided another opportunity to plan out our garden. My breath was taken mid-sentence when I spotted a large patch of daisies. These lovelies, with their puffy yellow centers & slender white petals topping long green stems were a must-have for my kitchen island so hubby went to the shed for the clippers. Happy wife, happy life!

Grabbing a handful of these ‘non-weeds’ he cut them with all the tenderness of a battlefield soldier. When I asked that he be careful of the little ones he turned my attention to the field. In each direction I looked there were patches white with flowers ready to be picked. They wouldn’t be there for long though. Hay cutting time is approaching and all hope for any remaining daisies would soon vanish.

A Greater Harvest

My mind ran to another field. Jesus and His disciples went to Galilee by way of Samaria. The disciples went for food and Jesus remained there, seated by the well. Approaching the well to draw water, the Samaritan woman was shocked that Jesus spoke to her, even commenting that the Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. In that day the Jews saw the Samaritans as the off-scouring of the world…like human weeds.  Jesus continued His dialogue with her; revealing her story and talking with her about living water, true worship and the Messiah.

Daisy FieldThe disciples returned and though they said nothing, they too marveled that Jesus spoke with this woman. She ran into the village and told the men all what she heard saying,   John 4:29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Many in that city believed in Him. Jesus told His disciples John 4:35 “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! Jesus wasn’t referring to fields of flowers or crops. The field is the world and the harvest is people. Jesus broke through cultural barriers and the disciples learned a valuable lesson that would impact their future ministry. Just think, the disciples  could have missed the opportunity.

How About You

Have you allowed prejudice to keep you from being kind, showing compassion or sharing your faith with someone? Have you written someone off because of ‘how’ they were without ever seeing ‘who’ they were? Did you ever forego an opportunity thinking you’d do  it later, only to find that later never came? I can say yes to all of these. Maybe you (like me) need to pray a simple prayer: Lord help me see people as you see them and take the  opportunity to share your love with them.  And for the love of all that’s holy, help me never deem anyone unworthy of grace.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

 Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

Marigold Madness

20160422_160215 I bring good news! The marigolds are in. After a season of barren trees, flowerless planters and brown grass, I long to look out my kitchen window and see the cheery colorful blooms of marigolds.  You can imagine my opening the sale paper of our local nursery to find these little lovelies on the front page. My flower-loving heart was overjoyed! Well, it was. My husband once asked if we needed to plant so many marigolds.  In a word…yes!

Marigolds are a wonderful flower.  The bright orange and yellow blooms atop full, green leafy stems add a lovely burst of color to the garden and a bit of cheer to me.  They are a hardy low maintenance flower, easy to grow and can withstand the summer’s heat.  Granted, they are not the sweetest smelling flower in the garden.  Ok, they stink; but they are a beneficial flower that helps protect a variety of vegetables from hungry insects.

Taking Over

One morning while finishing the dishes, I looked out my kitchen window admiring my little garden. The marigolds planted around the cherry tomatoes were big and full and peppered with little red tomatoes just above them.  It was too inviting to just look at so I grabbed my basket and headed to the garden.

20160422_160023 (3)As much as I enjoy the flowers, I really enjoy tomatoes.  I was disappointed to find that there were not very many tomatoes though.  Just behind the flowers, I found a bunch of tiny green tomatoes shaded from the much needed sun.  I realized that something was going to be sacrificed that day and I wasn’t pleased. The solution came with the answer to one simple question, “What are you growing here?”  Since I was growing tomatoes and the marigolds became detrimental to them, the marigolds had to go.  It was that simple.

Marigold-like Madness

This same madness happens in our families, our workplaces and our ministries.  Activities, hobbies and programs once designed to enrich us gradually become so important and all-consuming that they drain the very life out of that which they were meant to enhance. In ministry, the work of man can become so important that it supersedes the will of God; making it necessary to uproot us and cast us aside as detrimental.  God forbid!

How About You

Do you find yourself struggling to keep the main thing the main thing? Have your personal goals or plans become more important than that of your company or ministry? The solution to this dilemma is to have the mind of Christ, who made himself of no reputation taking upon himself the form of a servant and to understand as John the Baptist did that ‘He (*meaning Jesus) must increase but  I must decrease’. John 3:30.  It’s that simple.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

*emphasis added

Wonderful Words

Words PicI love words. I always have. English was my favorite subject in school, with Spelling running a close second. I loved adding new words to my vocabulary. I often kept a dictionary nearby when reading and still feel compelled to look up unfamiliar words rather than settle for the gist of the sentence meaning.

My dad, in his very goofy style would often say, “Lay it down so I can…pick it up.” That sentence invokes a smile because I can still picture his gawky motions as he demonstrated his message. He said it once when I was trying out my new spelling words. He followed it with a short discourse on communication. His point being that the essence of communication is getting your message across. He said, “You can use a lot of fancy words but if people don’t understand what you’re saying, you have not communicated.”

Wonder of Words

The wonder of words is that they communicate so much and so well. Words are important. They are powerful. Much is learned about a person by the words they speak. It makes perfect sense that the God of the universe chose words to communicate Himself. He demonstrated His power when He spoke the words “Let there be” and then there was…the world. He inspired the prophets to pen and to speak His word to the world so that we could know Him; His majesty, His justice and His compassion & mercy.

When Words Aren’t Enough

As wonderful as it is to hear great flowery words, sometimes words alone just don’t cut it. We need to see them work. We need them proven. So much has been spoken about the love of God. His word is full of such messages and yet He didn’t just give us words. He demonstrated them. 1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Jesus effectively communicated the incredible love of God by laying down His own life for us. Romans 5:8. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. What greater love can there be!

How About You

Have you heard a lot of promising words only to find them empty? Can you use some life-giving words? Are you seeking truth, the meaning of life or even life itself? John 5:39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. Many people stopped following Jesus because they didn’t like His words. Jesus asked those remaining if they would leave also. John 6:68. But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”   My dad said, “Lay it down so I can pick it up.”  Jesus did that with His very life.  John 1:12 But as many as received Him to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: So, how about you?

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 

https://www.biblegateway.com/

 

Defeated Foes

Brass Mousetrap il_570xN_524461584_4w11While watching a movie one evening, I saw something move behind the television. It was a mouse. To say that I was disturbed by this sighting is entirely true. It is also entirely understated. I ran to the kitchen. Standing by the counter talking to my sister, I saw it again creeping out from behind the china hutch. That mouse was running amuck in my house and terrorizing me. I screamed. My sister screamed too, though not just in sympathy for me. My scream startled her and she cut her finger, quite badly. Blood was pouring all over the place due to blood thinners she was taking so she had to get off the phone. Realizing that a shotgun would be overkill and a broom insufficient, I did what any red-blooded American girl raised in the suburbs would do. With tears in my eyes, I grabbed my jacket and purse and went shopping.

Hubby to the Rescue

My husband was home when I returned and laying traps for the furry intruder. My hero had arrived and I could relax, or at least try. The next morning, we found the mouse stuck to the glue board. Running around my house, that mouse seemed gargantuan. So when I saw it, I was surprised that it was so small and pitiful. Though squeaking madly and trying desperately hard to unstick itself from the board, its fate was sealed and he would be destroyed. His reign of terror had ended and the furry, squeaky-voiced marauder would be no more.

Greater Enemy

We have an enemy, the enemy of our souls. He is running amuck in this world and terrorizing whoever he can and by whatever means he can (health, finances, children, ministry, etc.). He is not squeaking though. Our adversary goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. So we must be sober & vigilant and we must utilize the special weapons that we have been given for this fight, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4. While it is good to have people to turn to for help, we must not forget to call on God for “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

How About You

Are you struggling with battles of your own? Are you exhausted, worn, fearful that you can’t take much more? Don’t quit, you’re not alone. Consider these words of encouragement “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Remember, though Satan may be running amuck in this world and roaring like crazy, he is a defeated foe. His reign of terror will soon end and the enemy of our God and our souls will be no more. Praise the Lord!

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mousetrap photo compliments of: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StylishPiggy

Tough Stains

Laundry PicI spent this morning battling stains. Ok, not the whole morning but more of the morning than I would have preferred. One was an ink stain that resided on my husband’s finest dress shirt. He wore it for a couple hours and hung it up as soon as he got home, never seeing the ink. It would be a couple of weeks before he’d wear it again. When he saw the stain he thought to throw the shirt away, figuring it for a goner. I thought otherwise.

The other was a blood stain. A wound on his arm tore open in the middle of the night leaving a good sized spot on our brand new sheets. Our uneven work schedules left him still in bed when I left for work so it would be a few days before I saw that stain.

If you know anything about stains, you know that the sooner you deal with them the more likely they are to come out. The ink came out just fine but I was not as successful with the blood stain. The residual stain would become part of the fabric. Fortunately I could flip the sheet and the stain would be hidden from view.

Stains of the Heart

Our lives have and do get similarly stained. Weak moments and poor choices leave us spotted. We are given the opportunity to keep short accounts with God, bringing our faults and failures to Him as often as we need. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. When we do, we find the cleansing we seek.

Like stains, we need to deal with our issues before they set in. Left unchecked our poor choices can become habits and our habits lifestyles. We may come to the place where we try to change and clean things up but the residual effects are there. The guilt, the regret and shame become part of the fabric of our lives.

Stain Fighters

While we seem fine to those looking on, the hidden heartache we dare not allow to be seen is still there. But we need not despair. There’s grace. David, the mighty king of Israel and man after God’s own heart committed adultery then murder but eventually cried out to God, Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. We can do as David did as find forgiveness and restoration as well.

How About You

Do you think you’ve done too much? That your situation is hopeless?  That God wants to cast you aside like some old shirt? God invites you, Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18. It’s a great offer, don’t you think?

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Rebel Chickens and Children

Penny PortraitPenny is the sweetest little chicken. She follows me around the yard and meets me at the car when I come home from work. She found a dirt pile one day and it fast became her favorite place to be. She rolls around in it and works the dirt into her feathers. It doesn’t look appealing to me but it’s both cleansing and relaxing to her. I prefer a warm bath and candles myself, but to each chick her own I guess.

While outside one morning a storm worked its way toward us. I tried to get Penny to her coop but she wasn’t having it. She wouldn’t follow me and ran away when I tried to grab hold of her. The wind kicked up and rain began to fall. No matter what I tried she wanted nothing to do with leaving that pile of dirt. I went inside and asked God to protect my stubborn chicken.

Penny Hutch

Make-shift Shelter

Once the rain subsided I found Penny holed up in the remnants of a rabbit hutch that some animal had torn apart. “Well, have you had enough?” She stared at me. “Come on, let’s go home.” Without hesitation she crawled out of the hutch and followed close behind me to her coop. I opened the door and she stepped in without a fuss. It’s amazing what a storm will do to bring a chicken to her senses. While that hutch provided a small measure of shelter from the wind and rain, it provided no safety at all from predators.

Rebellion & Bondage

Not wanting to stay within the parameters God set for them and refusing to follow Him, the children of Israel chose to run away from God and live according to the dictates of the culture. He gave them instruction on how to live to ensure a peaceful and prosperous life and to protect them from danger but they wanted no part of it. They were taken captive by a cruel enemy, suffered great deprivation and lived in bondage. God did promise them a way out, “and they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid.” Ezekiel 34:28. It would be 70 years before they would be released but they would be ready to follow Him.

What is it about the dirt piles of this world, the lure of the forbidden that we find so appealing? We have a kind and faithful shepherd that offers green pastures and still waters yet we want dirt. He longs to gently lead us but it often takes a storm to get our attention. “But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.” Proverbs 1:33. It’s amazing what a storm will do to bring us to our senses.

How About You

Have you found yourself drawn to someone or something that you knew wasn’t right for you, only to end up in disaster? Are you there right now, holed up in a place you were never meant to be? God has offered Himself as a place of refuge. “Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; In You I take shelter.” Psalm 143:9.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.