Midweek Morsel: Seasons Declare God’s Faithfulness

IMG_3470God’s faithfulness is proclaimed and evidenced throughout scripture. In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, one of the first such proclamations is recorded. God said:

“As long as the earth endures,
Seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

Because of God’s faithfulness, we can count on the seasons. We can count on spring after winter. We can count on God.

*How have you seen God’s faithfulness demonstrated lately?

*I took the above photo a couple of weeks ago. The evidence of the coming spring is even greater now. Thank you, Lord!

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Untouched Treasure

IMG_3488I acquired some treasure around three years ago. That treasure? Two of my grandparents’ diaries—one of Grandpa Hoy’s and one of Grandma Barnes’s—along with two of Grandma’s travel journals.

The diaries and journals came into my possession after my parents decided to sell their house in Missouri and move to Tulsa. They started going through years of accumulated belongings and wanted to winnow down the amount of stuff they’d actually take with them. Of course, they naturally asked my sisters and me if we’d like to have certain things, and of course, we did indeed find things we wanted to hang on to. The grandparents’ diaries and journals were among those things. I took a few to keep and my sisters also took some.

Right away, I looked up certain important dates like wedding days, birthdays, etc., to see what my grandparents had written on those days. Since they were using those little five-year locking diaries that were so popular back in the 60s and 70s, they had only about four short lines to write the events of the day. Since they had to pick and choose what they’d record, it was especially interesting to see what they thought was important.

After that initial gander at the contents of the diaries, though, I’m sorry to admit that I let them sit untouched until just recently. Oh, I had every intention of going through them more thoroughly, but I let the busyness of life keep me from exploring and savoring these treasures like I should have.

But one day a couple of weeks ago as I was implementing my theme word for this year and resting from my work for a bit, I picked up one of my treasures again. And I’m so glad I did.

Without going into detail, I found an entry in Grandpa’s journal that gave me insight into an event that was quite upsetting to me at the time. I was a teenager, and like so many teenagers, I saw only one side of the story. But now a few precious words in Grandpa’s diary showed me another side. The new-found insight comforted me, even now so many years later.

Now I’m wondering what other gems I’ll find in my grandparents’ diaries and journals and am determined to not let this extraordinary treasure sit idle for so long again. I plan to make time to explore and savor my treasure as I should, knowing that other sweet moments and discoveries await me.

What other untouched treasures may be at my fingertips and yours just waiting to bless us when we’ll give them the time and attention they deserve? It’s a shame to let treasure go untouched, isn’t it? Let’s determine to open our treasures.

“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Isaiah 45:3 NIV

*What are some other examples of untouched treasure? For many, the Word of God might fall into this category. What else comes to mind?

*My photo

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Midweek Morsel: Covered


Anyone anywhere covered by a blanket of snow right now? Here in our corner of the nation’s breadbasket, we got a little snow earlier this week but haven’t really seen much of the white stuff this winter. However, I know some regions of the country have been hit hard with heavy snowfalls in recent days and weeks. And they’ve been the kind of heavy snows that can be hard to dig out of.

Of course, there are those of us who may be covered by other things today. Even weightier than snow. Some are covered by the burdens of grief, debt, pain, fear, or broken relationships while others of us in happier seasons are feeling blanketed with joy, excitement, gratitude, renewed strength, or love.

Whatever our differing situations, whatever we’re covered with today, isn’t it good to know that we can all be covered with the love of God? That because Jesus shed his own blood to pay the price for our sins, we can all be covered with forgiveness and salvation if we’ll only call on him? Isn’t it good to know we can all be covered by his grace, covered with the hope he gives?

Yes, we can all be blanketed with the peace that can only be found in the Lord. And that’s something that weighs light. Something we’ll never want to dig out from under.

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” Psalm 32:1

*When have you felt blanketed by the peace of God?

*My photo from a previous winter.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

A Coach and a Daddy, Too

3796854172_9f0ee0c2d8_o*Since we’ve been traveling more often in recent weeks to help take care of our grandbabies, I’ve been sharing encore posts more often than usual. Today I’m featuring one from February 2009. Our lives have changed since this was written. Both Don’s mom and my mom are now gone, and my nephew Gavin is almost a teenager. The lesson to be learned from the story can still speak into our lives, though. Hope it blesses you!

Don’t you just love it when life surprises you with something you’ve never seen before? I experienced just such a moment this past weekend. While Don was off work on Saturday and could be with his mom at the hospital, I slipped out of town to tend to a must-do errand and also spend some time with family.

Mom and Dad had gone to Tulsa to see my nephew Gavin’s basketball game, and even though I arrived a little late, I managed to get in on the fun, too. Since our girls never played organized basketball, I had never seen a team of 5 and 6 yr. old boys and girls out on the court showing off their skills — or lack thereof :)

Of course, they all looked as cute as could be, especially one little guy who wore a sweat band and rocked and bounced to and fro, trying his hardest, I imagine, to imitate the big guys he sees on television. I spent most of my time trying to get a good picture of Gavin in action, but between not knowing the ins and outs of my camera yet and my batteries running out, I failed to get the shot I wanted. And speaking of shots, Gavin made a basket — before I got there! Darn!

I soon noticed the coaches running up and down the court with their players, offering direction up close and personal. The expected collisions and falls took place, of course, and it was during one of those that I saw a sight I’d never witnessed before while watching high school and college ball. In the midst of several little bodies that managed to wind up on the floor, one little girl must have needed some extra attention because her coach was quickly on the scene, reaching down to help her. The next thing I knew he gathered her up in his arms and carried her off the court. She wrapped her legs around his waist and clung to him for comfort.

You know, that coach must have been a daddy, too. He may not have been her daddy, but he was definitely a daddy. He knew what she needed, and he gave it willingly. Sometimes all a daddy has to do is reach out a hand to comfort or guide or walk alongside his child. But other times more is needed. Sometimes we need to be carried.

Those of us who have daddies who are there for us, who are willing to reach out their hands to us or even carry us, are truly blessed. I realize not everyone is so lucky. But we are all fortunate on another count. We all do have a Father, a heavenly Father, who longs to fill that role for us. At times in scripture, the name “Abba” is used for God. My NIV Bible text notes tell me that “Abba” is Aramaic for “Father” and expresses an especially close relationship to God. In other words, it’s like calling God “Daddy”.

So the question is, are we allowing God to be more than our coach — more than one who offers direction and encouragement? Are we allowing him to reach down into our hurts and touch us with his helping hand? Do we let him pick us up and carry us when we need it? Do we lean into him and cling to him for comfort? If not, let’s make that choice today. Let’s allow him to be our Abba — our Daddy.

“…but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” Romans 8:15b

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Elizabeth Buie, Creative Commons License

Giveaway Winner Plus Jesus’ Idea of the Greatest


Valentine’s Day is just a couple of days away so it’s time to announce the winner of the Steaming Hot Valentine’s Day Giveaway. The just-about-to-get-warmer winner is Kira! Congrats, Kira! I’ll get the gift card to you as soon as possible. Hope you enjoy!

For the rest of us, here is a little insight into love in honor of Valentine’s Day: Jesus thinks love is pretty great. The greatest, in fact.

When a Pharisee who was an expert in the law asked Jesus which commandment was the greatest, Jesus answered with two commandments, both of them hinging on love. This is what he had to say:

“Jesus replied: ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” ’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”   (Matthew 22:37-40)

Not only at Valentine’s Day but all year long, let’s remember Jesus’ words about the greatest commandment. Let’s make sure our lives hinge on love.

*What can you do this week to hinge your life on love?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by .jennifer donley., Creative Commons License