Pearls of Wisdom

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Proverbs 31:26-28  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. she watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and called her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

Last weekend I attended a writer’s conference in the twin cities. The key-note speaker talked about pearls of wisdom. She explained that a pearl is formed when a parasite, not usually a grain of sand, enters the oyster, clam or mollusk. To lesson the irritation and pain caused by the intruder, the oyster spins nacre layers, a crystalline substance, which become a pearl. It takes at least 3 years to create a quality pearl.

I have received many pearls of wisdom over the years. Some pearls were beautifully presented, easy to see and equally as easy to implement into my life. But then there are those pearls of wisdom that irritate and push me beyond my comfort levels. For example, when I was writing my book Walking in the Word a Daily Journey Through the New Testament, I felt God sharing pearls of wisdom through the entire writing process. I received more beautiful pearls during the publishing process from my proofreader and designer. Then came the pearls where I felt the irritation and pain when I was pushed beyond my comfort zone. I wanted to crawl into my shell and close it tightly so that the irritation would go away. With gentle, but firm encouragement I became open to the idea of creating a website, writing this blog and speaking to groups about my book. These acts did not come easily. I felt the nacre layers spinning around me. Through time God has turned the irritation into additional pearls of wisdom to share with fellow writers as they reach for the beauty God has ahead of them.

So as we move forward this week, let us embrace the pearls of wisdom we receive both the beautiful pearls and those that cause us irritation and pain.

Pumpkin Patch

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Matthew 5:16  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.

I love, love, love fall. But, I have never been a fan of Halloween, it is my least favorite holiday. My kids participated in trick-or-treating, but wore fun costumes of princesses or super hero instead of witches or zombies. Our focus was on apple orchards and pumpkin patches. Carving pumpkins at our house was an event! So, when I ran across the devotion below, it was one I saved from year to year. I would like to share it with you as we come into this Halloween season, that you may share it with your family as well. Let your light shine as you enjoy God’s blessing in every season!

First, God picks you from the pumpkin patch and brings you in from the field. The Bible says He selects us out of the world. We are in the world, but no longer of the world.

He then washes all the “dirt” off the outside that we received from being around all the other pumpkins. All the outside influences of our former life must be cleaned up. Old things are passed away and all things are become new.

Then, He carefully removes all the “yucky stuff” called “sin” out from the inside. Look at this! Yuk! Sin will not have such internal power. He then changes us from the inside out by the Power of His Word. That’s why it is important to go the church and learn about God’s Word.

He carefully removes all those seeds of doubt, hate, greed, and fear. He replaces them with the seeds of faith, hope and love. After Jesus is invited inside, you begin to experience the changing power of God’s love in your life.

Then He carves a new smiling face. Our countenance is changed by the power of His presence in our life. We then become so grateful. It can even show on our face!

Now we are going to light this candle inside. Look! This pumpkin now reflects the light from inside out. So too, when Jesus, who is called the Son of Light, lives inside of us, He shines through our life for all to see. We can let His light reflect through us to reveal His presence. “Let your light so shine before men that they may be able to see your good works and glorify your Father, who is in heaven.”

So you see, we Christians are really like this pumpkin! We will never be the same with Jesus inside of us. We can say like this jack-o-lantern, “Thy presence, my light!”

Homecoming

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2 Timothy 4:18  The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

My husband and I recently visited our daughter at college in Colorado to attend their homecoming football game.  We had an incredible time meeting all of her new friends from all around the country.  I began reflecting on the friends God has placed in my life over the years.  So many special people.  He knew who I would need for each season of my life, just like the friends he has introduced to our daughter.

Today, we celebrate a homecoming football game.  Later, the will celebrate a much greater homecoming together in his heavenly kingdom.

Money

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Acts 8:18-23  When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom  I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”  Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!  You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.  Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord.  Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.  For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

These verses hit me hard this week.  Simon found his security in his wealth.  His heart was not in the right place. We are all captive to sin.  I began questioning if I am using my money, resources, time and talents wisely – the way God wants me to use them?  Is my heart in the right place?  It is so easy to become distracted by things of this world.  My value is not measured in dollars.  My value is measured in my willingness to follow the path God is leading me to touch the lives of the people I meet along the way.

So, I pray for myself and my readers that our hearts may be right before God, full of love toward others.

Flooding

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Genesis 9:14-16  God said to Noah “Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood and destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

I live in and work for the City of Northfield, MN.  We experienced torrential rains Wednesday night which have continued into today, causing the Cannon River running through the center of town to flood.  An Emergency Declaration was declared by the mayor launching the city into work mode.  It has been incredible to see the collaboration between police officers, city staff, local businesses, homeowners and volunteer groups.  The people of Northfield worked hand in hand filling sandbags, priming pumps, and moving furniture to prevent the flooding from overtaking the city and keep its citizens safe.

When I walked along the banks of the swelled river yesterday, I was in awe of the power of the water rushing past me.  Can you even fathom Noah’s flood?  They experienced torrential rains for 40 days, but the waters flooded the earth for 150 days!  That is a long time.  But, during that time, God provided for Noah’s family’s every need.  God has provided for the citizens of Northfield as well.  I have seen the best in people come out during these past days.  We have grown stronger as a community because of the flooding.  We can rest in the promise of a rainbow at the end of the flood.  God is good!

God Bless you and your communities this week.

Martha, Martha

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Luke 10: 40-42  As Jesus and his disciples were on their way he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  “Martha, Martha,” The Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

“Martha, Martha” So many of us are like Martha. We were raised to be doers. We strive to have a spotless house, a warm delicious meal on the table and perfect quiet children sitting around that table anxiously waiting to tell us about their day. I tend to fall into the Martha category, always striving to check another task off my “to do” list. Trying to do it all…

My fellow Marthas, we need to slow down.  We are missing the important. This week, take time to just be. Be a spouse. Be a parent. Be a child of God. When we get so busy doing we lose sight of the important beautiful things God has blessed us with.

Take time to BE with Jesus today!

School Days

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Proverbs 1:7-9: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, for fools despise wisdom and discipline. Listen, my son to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

It is that time of year again. School is starting. It doesn’t matter if you are beginning kindergarten or your senior year of high school, this is such an exciting time full of anticipation and promise. So, let’s begin the school year in prayer.  Praying for the teachers and aids, the administration, the janitors and food staff. There are so many people dedicated to providing a quality education for our children. But, one of the biggest pieces to a child’s education comes from their parents. School can be tough, but with a strong support system at home, all children will soar!

An education is something no one can ever take from you. What do you feel is the most important thing you have learned?

You are never too old to stop learning. How will you learn this year?

Enjoy another school year!