Wednesday, September 12, 2018

He Will Never Forget

She came to us just before Christmas wearing lush blooms of red and brilliant green leaves- a beautiful addition to our Christmas decorations. I, who have the unhappy reputation of killing nearly every plant that comes under my care, managed to get her through not only the magical days of Christmas but all the way to another one. Somehow, she continued to bloom and grow that whole year. By summer, the red had given way to leaves of green and a bigger pot was in order.



I decided to put her outside on the patio - a risky move here in Central Texas where the sun beats down nearly every day and the temperatures soar. I chose a spot where the morning sun gave way to shady afternoons and made a fervent promise to water and feed her regularly. And for a while I did. 

However, you know what they say about those old sayings ("out of sight; out of mind" for instance); they inevitably prove to true. One morning, as I watered my indoor plants I suddenly remembered the poor poinsettia sitting helplessly outside in the bright sunlight. 


I rushed to bring her water, apologizing profusely the whole time. I had made a promise. How could I have forgotten my poor helpless plant?

We, each of us, have known times when our circumstances leave us feeling helpless and abandoned. Unlike my poinsettia plant, we have One who cares for us who isn't forgetful, who never takes His eyes off of us and always keeps His promises. When your soul cries out for help - He hears.

 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Blessings,
Linda

P.S. Miss Poinsettia is doing well - despite my forgetfulness. Amazing what a little water will do!

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Beautiful Whole

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Seen from a distance the lantana blooms look like a single flower, but on closer inspection you see it is made up of many tiny flowers. Small, almost insignificant, pieces making up a lovely whole when gathered together.
We have a tendency to look at our lives with judgemental eyes - that relentless internal critic. What if we took all the little moments - the time we brought a meal to an ailing friend, cleaned the bathroom for the millionth time, visited an aging family member, listened to a teenager's heart, held the door for the elderly man with a walker, spoke an encouraging word to a weary young mom, mowed the neighbors' lawn, prayed with a friend, stayed up all night with a little one - and saw them as a beautiful whole? 
I think that's how the Father sees us. Sure, there's the "messy" part, but oh how those "small" moments bring Him joy.
"For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me....
'For I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these ... you did for Me."

Matthew 25:35,36,40


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Time Will Be No More




Can you remember back to the time when you were little? You may not have to go back quite as far as I, having entered my seventh decade a year ago. Back then the days seemed to stretch out far longer than their allotted twenty-four hours.

I remember sitting at my little wooden school desk, feet dangling just above the old tile floor, eyes forever drifting to the big clock with the Roman numerals, willing the hands to move faster.

The weeks leading up to summer vacation or holidays dragged by. Christmas, in particular, with all its delightful mysteries took forever to arrive.

Now not only the days and weeks but the years fly by at warp speed. One Christmas flows into another as little ones grow and fly the nest long before we are ready to let them go.

One thing hasn't changed as far as I can see - the let-down after the long anticipated event has slipped into the past. Young or old - we can't help but feel a bit sad when all the trappings are put away or we say good-bye to loved ones after spending time together.

However, a time will come when anticipation filled with our dearest hopes and dreams will blossom into unending joy. Heaven, with every promise fulfilled, will be ours forever. No more sin, sorrow, tears or pain; no more death or hard good-byes. No more time at all. The special times won't slip away, they will stretch out before us in one unending, glorious day.

Revelation 21:1-5
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Blessings,
Linda

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Hope


I am totally obnoxious about my lantana, singing their praises and showing them off to anyone and everyone. I can't help myself. They sit there in all their colorful, abundant glory and preach me a sermon or two whenever I look at them.


 I don't have pictures of them as they looked a few weeks ago They were definitely too sad and ugly for that. For the second year in a row their new leaves turned black and dry early in the season - not a bloom in sight. Nothing I did helped, and I vowed to dig them up just as soon as the temperatures dipped below 100 degrees. I didn't even want to look at them.


And then...then green leaves appeared, and they began to bloom. Bloom - with bright colorful flowers. I couldn't believe it. I dragged my husband outside to look - over and over again as more and more blooms appeared.



"Look," they whisper. "Even when the dream seems to have withered and died all is not lost. Hope still lives - new life just below the surface."

Blessings,
Linda

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Who's In Control






"Do you want to go for a ride?" As a little girl, I loved going for a ride, especially with no particular destination in mind. We would all climb into the car, Dad in the driver's seat, Mom riding shotgun, me and my little sister in the back seat - the windows rolled down all the way. I don't think any of us tired of meandering down old country roads - with the happy possibility of a stop at the frozen custard stand.

Worry and fear had no part in those rides. I didn't wonder what would happen to us if the car broke down, or we got a flat tire, ran out of gas, or had an accident. Of course, when Dad announced "I think I know a short cut," we all settled in for a very long ride, looking at each other with big eyes.

I had complete trust in my Dad's ability to drive well and get us safely home. It freed me to look at the scenery - hair blowing wildly in the wind. I especially loved driving at dusk when darkness began to enclose us. I looked into the lighted windows of the homes we passed and in my imagination saw them - families, always happy and content.

God intends for us to live life just this way. He longs for us to know we can hop into the "back seat" and trust Him to take care of us. Far too often we worry about all the things that might go wrong. Instead of sitting back and enjoying the ride, we look ahead anticipating disaster at every turn or, even worse, we climb into the "driver's seat" and try to wrest control of the wheel out of His hands.

Incredibly, the Lord will allow us to drive - for as long as it takes for us to realize we don't have control. All the worry and fear in the world will not keep us safe from the inevitable troubles that lay ahead of us. They will come, and when we loosen our tight fisted grip on the whee,l the One who controls all things will take over. He will get us safely home.

"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

Blessings,
Linda

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Simple Things


Do you wonder, as I sometimes do, why it is we have a tendency to make complex even the simplest of things? Is it because we feel wiser if we can debate and dissect an issue to death.? I wonder, too, if that may be the reason it's so hard for some to believe the gospel message. How can the answer to life's deepest mysteries be so simple?

Belief in a "higher power" may not be too hard for most, but the idea that this God sent His Son to die for us because our sin has separated us from Him is a bit difficult to swallow.

To believe Jesus, the perfect Son of God, came to earth as a baby, lived in a sinless life, died on a cross for our sins and rose again to give us the gift of eternal life is far too simple. Surely there must be more to it than that.

True, there is more - so much more. But it really is as simple as that.

"The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God."
I Corinthians 1:18

Blessings,
Linda

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Shamrocks and Me


My sweet shamrock has lived with us for many years. Miraculous, considering my history with plants. Countless numbers have met an untimely end at my hands due either to neglect or cosseting. I have found it possible to love a plant to death.

My fussing resulted in a rather sickly looking shamrock. I decided, apart from basic necessities, to leave it alone.

It thrived - its clover-shaped leaves and delicate white flowers bursting with life.

I can't help but think about my own life - the way I try to control and manipulate circumstances to conform to my plan. It doesn't work. the results leave me frustrated and diminished. When I allow the Lord to care for me with His great wisdom and love and do the necessary work, I flourish.

Blessings,
Linda