Archive for October, 2014

The Forecast is for…

New Day, October 31, 2014

“Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen.” Job 37:13

Condition: Pre-sunrise is partly cloudy, cool, and the sun will apparently rise. Nice. It feels good to be outside.

Forecast: The weather is changing and it will be colder today and this weekend. I love cold (sorry Mom…). At one time I wanted to be a weatherman. Smile—can you imagine my mug on TV?!

The weather is for God’s glory and our good. Creation’s care by God is a reminder of His presence. The context of Job 36-37 is weather as a reality and illustration of the purposes of God, even in suffering. I am so glad God is in charge.

The forecast is for…God.

Father, move me to see you at work today and this weekend, accomplishing one of Your three practical purposes for weather. Greater still, Thank You for leaving nothing to chance or vanity.

Affection for Christ

New Day, October 30, 2014

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14

Forty-two crisp, invigorating degrees this morning—and a breathtaking clear sky with the big dipper on one horizon and the little dipper directly behind. Like joyful subjects of a benevolent king, the heavens await the sun’s arrival arrayed in colorful robe and crown.

A friend recently posted this superb quote: “Enjoy a superior satisfaction. Cultivate the capacities for pleasure in Christ. We default to deceit because we have little delight in Christ. Don’t say, “That’s just not me.” What steps  have you taken to waken affection for Jesus? Have you fought for joy? Don’t be fatalistic. You were created to treasure Christ with all your heart — more than you treasure sex or sugar. If you have little taste for Jesus, competing pleasures will triumph. Plead with God for the satisfaction you don’t have.” John Piper

In your unique way (s), how do you “awaken affection for Jesus”? I’d love to hear them!

The Only Imperative

New Day, October 29, 2014

The Only Imperative

“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:25

“The only imperative that nature utters is, ‘Look. Listen. Attend.” C.S. Lewis

Father,

cause today’s weather to

speak loudly that

I may see You “who works… both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Mercifully yet firmly move me to

listen to the Rock, to

ruthlessly shun lesser gravel.

Then Lord,

what from me will bring pleasure to You

today?

The only imperative is calling.

Gone Fishing

Could there be
a better day than this–
to chase the sun and
fish
and to be
sent off by Cheryl’s
kiss?!

Dogwoods and Wednesdays

Rhea Herald News

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24

Were you the one driving down my street last Wednesday, staring at me while I sat in the front yard watching my dogwood tree? It was a superb fall afternoon and though I probably looked silly sitting by myself I enjoyed the fall afternoon and my dogwood tree.

Fall has brought its usual offerings. Mary Weston Fordham wrote: “Ah! The year is slowly dying, and the wind in tree-tops sighing…Thick and fast the leaves are falling, high in air wild birds calling…” And, there have been special gifts from autumn this year, e.g., thunderstorms and serious lightning. Dogwoods are special each fall.

I wish Jesus had used a dogwood tree for an illustration. Ever masterful in His use of ordinary things as illustrations of eternal truths, Jesus would surely have said some key things for His followers with the dogwoods. He used wheat in John 12 and vines in John 15. I don’t believe there are lost books of the bible—what God wanted for us is in our hands. But if He wrote another chapter or two…surely He would mention dogwoods.

For my part, I think a healthy fall dogwood tree brings enormous good to the eyes and heart, and points me to some important realities.

Fall leaves sing quite a song. Green from summer sun and moisture—and now “thick and fast they are falling,” during fall they mutate into many-colored, spotted ornaments adorning their trees and surroundings. Of all the tree’s components they are most like us, portraying our individual uniqueness, changes as we grow into Christlikeness, and things in me that need to die. Wednesday, I saw the leaves as never before.

Dogwood berries intrigue me this fall. They come and go during the seasons, some lingering to adorn the tree and surroundings. They stand out like my friend’s perfectly restored bright red muscle car. They also can stand up to tests of faith. On Wednesday, I noticed several clusters of red and brown berries still intact from last year. Maybe we can work on endurance together.

Dogwoods don’t have flowers in the fall but they always have the trunk and branches, and they look more and more barren in autumn. Jesus taught us life flows through the vine—Himself—and we are the fruit-bearing branches. Though we cannot always see Christ’s work in and through us He “is at work to will and to work His good pleasure” (Philippians 1:6). This lesson was vivid to me Wednesday.

The most stunning fall dogwood reminder is the eternal lesson from John 12:24. The death of leaves and berries now brings life next spring; the death of Jesus on the cross was necessary and resulted in the salvation of many—like me!

Jesus and dogwoods seem to really go together on Wednesdays.

Finally Autumn

Finally Autumn

“Behold, he scatters his lightning about him…” Job 36:30

Last saturday’s sunrise was proof it is finally autumn. Did you see it? There was no dense fog, rain, or those annoying warm temperatures. The air required a jacket (and hat for bald heads like mine). Before the actual sunrise, pink clouds, stars, and a high vapor trail were in full array. The moon was crescent, as my visiting eight year old grandson Wilder instructed me, and gave definite approval with a full-toothed and bright-white smile.

My month-long constant thoughts about fall have been so interesting I just had to—again—write about one of my studies and share an item one friend sent me. This autumn, God has provided a ton of input through Scriptures, quotes, poems, and thoughts that have stimulated some special prayer times. Friends have sent me many ideas and comments. Everyone loves autumn.

One fascinating study has been lightning. We’ve had an unusual amount of lightning this fall. Rhea County’s own renowned poet, Karie Ballentine, recently penned this animated poem about lightning:

Lightning laughs, skips beats

   in the night. A chorus of

   leaves echo reply.

Delightful. You may see me sticking my ear up to colored leaves to get their happy, colorful opinion on each day.

Thunder and lightning remind us of the depth and mystery of God’s character and works. Job 37:5 announces He is God who “thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend.” God has allowed us a little peek inside through lightning.

  • Lightning points us to the holiness of God. Remember Mt. Sinai? Revelation 4 describes the throne of God with lightning. Do we sometimes make light of the Father?
  • Lightning is used in judgment by God (see Nahum 2:4; Ps 144:6). Judgment is a side of God that is real, though we don’t like to talk about it.
  • Lightning is used by God in creation care, especially with rain (Job 37:11; Ps 105:32). It’s a shame followers of Christ are late in seeing God’s heart about what He has made.
  • Here is a special one: Lightning is a promise for the fall of Satan and coming of Christ (Luke 10:18; Mt 24:27). Those are both occasions for great praise to God.
  • My favorite thing about lightning is it declares God’s presence in our world and lives. “He covers his hands with the lightning and commands it to strike the mark. Its crashing declares his presence…” Job 36:33

While autumn has finally arrived with its beauty and crispness, I don’t want to forget the uncommon gifts that have made this a distinctive season. Like lightning.

The Plow of Autumn

New Day, October 24, 2014

“The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.” Proverbs 20:4

Ours is the joy of another refreshing, cool new day with the stars and smells of an early autumn pre-sunrise! This gift is an opportunity for worship and service—and growth in Christlikeness. Confession may be needed; sloth is not an option.

Father, please do not let autumn’s invitation to wonder and joy turn a lazy-inclined heart to forget You have not stopped to love.

Autumn’s Glory

New Day, October 23, 2014

“The days may not be so bright and balmy—yet the quiet and melancholy that linger around them is fraught with glory. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power.”

Yes, “the heavens declare the glory of the Lord”—and never so much as a clear, cool autumn morning bursting with a billion or two beckoning stars and finally with the blinding brightness of a new day’s sun.

Yes to the song: “And everything cries glory!”

Craftsman and Giver

New Day, October 22, 2014

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1

Psalm 19:1 is a core verse about creation, which is refreshed each sunrise. This morning, I am drawn to 19:1b, “the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Much like yesterday’s clear and crisp wake-up call, it is an invitation to center our day on Creator Jesus Christ.

Father, Craftsman and Giver of many, daily gifts, remind me all day of your presence and work—in the sky, in light piercing fall’s thinning trees, in image-bearing people redeemed and unredeemed. The sky this morning is wondrously declaring your glory all over again. “I love you, O LORD, my strength.” (Psalm 18:1)

Exceeding Joy

New Day, October 21, 2014

“Send your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.” Psalm 43:3-4

Father,

Today the thinnest of moons smiled on air and sun—first pink, then pale orange, then engulfed in blinding yellow. Your morning display waved a baton over the skillful orchestra—sometimes quietly and sometimes insistent. There, You invite us to receive unearned guidance and truth that leads us at your holy hill. There, exceeding joy awaits each open, staring, turmoiled soul.

Truly, our hope and praise and daily deliverance is in You— our God!



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