One Hour

Acts 1:7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”

Once a year, we receive an extra hour. Today is that day! What will you do with the one hour you have been given?

A Gathering of Friends

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them.

20 years ago, a group of antiquing friend got together and started an antique show, which they called A Gathering of Friends. They organized an amazing show filled with unique quality pieces. The show is located at Bachman’s greenhouse on Lyndale Ave where it continues to be held twice a year with 18 juried vendors. I was asked to be a guest vendor at their spring show this year, and invited back for their fall show which is being held this weekend. Yesterday, they invited me be become a permanent vendor. I feel so blessed to be a part of the official friends group.

God knows we all need those friend connections. And through our friend connections, Jesus shows up. What a gift we have been given. Thank you Jesus for friends!

Hello God

Philippians 3:10 For my determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly.

God is calling. But, I have so many questions that it is hard to hear Him through all the noise. I continue to ask these three questions……

Who am I called to be?

What am I called to do?

Why am I here in this place at this time?

God is calling. If only I listen, He will answer my all of my questions. Recently I have come to realize that God is in the big decisions, but He is also in all the small mundane decisions as well. He walks beside me at all times so that I can be the hands and feet of Jesus. God doesn’t need my good works, but my neighbor does. I will continue to walk with God as we explore this beautiful, but sometimes messy, world He has given me.

COVID

Isaiah 41:10 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.

Well, it happened after 2 1/2 years of somehow avoiding it, Mike and I both tested positive for COVID. There really was no need for testing because we had all of the symptoms….. fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion, nausea, diarrhea. I lost my voice and had no energy to move from the couch to the recliner.

Today, I am so grateful for my Jesus. He lifts me up when I am weak and unable to think clearly. His strong arms have held me and brought me through a week of sickness. I praise his mighty healing hand!

After several naps and endless glasses of water, both Mike and I are on the road to recovery. Every day we feel stronger. Thank you to all our friends and family for their prayers this week. May God be with you and keep you healthy as you move through life.

CHURCH

1 Corinthians 14:12 Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.

COVID is over, they say, and churches are open again! Our congregation met last week to brainstorm what our Wednesday worship could look like. We had several great ideas including a community meal, worship, and classes. Unfortunately the conversation kept coming back to dollars and people to run the programs. I am sure our congregation isn’t alone. Not everyone can play the piano, but they may be able to wash dishes. Not everyone is comfortable teaching teenagers, but they may be able to donate a few dollars for pizza. When we all use our spiritual gifts, the church is built up. As you spend time in prayer this week, may God lead you to your calling in the church.

Instagram Garden

Proverbs 12:17-18 A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies. Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Social Media has a way of not telling the whole story. Young moms post pictures of beautiful sleeping babies, but leave off the pictures of a screaming infant at 2am. Bakers post pictures of perfectly plated dinners, but leave off the pictures of stacks of dirty dishes in the sink. Gardeners post pictures of heavily loaded vegetables in dark rich soil, but leave off the pictures of weed infested rows. They say a picture can tell 1,000 words, but they can also be so deceiving.

Dear child of God, you are loved unconditionally. God isn’t searching social media for the perfect life. God meets you where you are. He is walking beside you through the beautiful moments, but also through the messy and sometimes ugly moments. You are God’s special child filled with promise and love.

So, let’s be more intentional when we post on social media. Instead of staging the perfect picture, let’s be real. Instead of posting a picture to make us look good, let’s post pictures to lift up a friend. Show the world that it is OK to have a few weeds in your garden……

Apples From Heaven

Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Last fall we planted an apple orchard on our farm in memory of Mike’s mom after being gifted two trees at the time of her funeral. It seemed fitting since she was the woman who taught me how to make the most delicious applesauce that my children beg for every fall. We did the research to discover that apples trees need more than one tree to produce fruit and that it usually takes 3 – 4 years before you see any fruit on its branches. Yesterday while we were picking black raspberries near the orchard, we discovered 8 perfect little green apples on our Haralson apple tree. How could this young, newly planted tree produce such beautiful fruit?

Jesus is the branch who calls us all to produce fruit. Not alone, but in community with others. The love and support of fellow Christians is such an important piece of our faith walk as we share our gifts, talents and time with each other. Your fruits will mature and ripen in season when you are planted by the stream of living water.

You are never too young (or too old) to produce fruit that changes the lives of others. I pray that your branches are heavy today!

HE IS RISEN

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 For what I received I passed on to you as first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Thank you Jesus, for giving yourself to save me from my sins and show me a new way to live. You overcame death and have claimed the ultimate victory. Because of your sacrificial love and earthly examples, my eternal life is secure. Help me to proclaim the greatest news this world. Has ever known…….

Our Savior is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!!

Pave the Way

Matthew 21:6-9 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”

This week is Holy Week. A time to celebrate the sacrifice Jesus made. As we pave the road to the cross this week, let us keep our focus on the one leading the way. Jesus was with the people over 2000 years ago, and continues down the path with us today.

Hosanna to the Son of David! ~ Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! ~ Hosanna in the highest!

Birthday Blessing

Matthew 18:2-6 He called a little child and had. Him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

34 years ago today, I received one of my biggest blessings. God gave me a son! I have had the privilege of watching him grow into a man. And he has taught me so much along the way. Children have a way of slowing us down to view things through their eyes.

Thank God for the children in your life, whether they are 3 or 34. We are given a special relationship with young ones. But, with that relationship comes a responsibility to teach them about Jesus. It is the most important thing you can do for your child.

Birthday Blessings Seth! Jesus loves you, and so do I.