Spring

Our topic today in our Five Minute Friday group is “Spring.”

I wasn’t sure how I wanted to go with this, but this picture kept coming back into my mind. I know your laughing out loud! It was 30+ years ago! I had the honor and privilege to do some ladies’ days with my mother, grandmother and daughter. Our topic was “The Seasons of our Lives.” We each took a season. Allison, my daughter, read a scripture. I was tasked to take Spring and Summer. At that time of life, I was in the middle of the two seasons. My children were still young.

Spring, as I described it was the time of new beginnings. The time new life burst forth. As a parent, it’s the time we have to nurture and help our children begin their life. It’s a time we plant the seeds within their own life that will remain. One of the greatest reminders of this was my grandmother wanting me to memorize Psalm 1. I didn’t realize as a child how important it was. But, she knew! She knew that at a very young age it was important to help the seedling build deep roots in the ground. Psalm 1 says that this tree that has been nourished will prosper and it will be a blessing to others!

Our children need direction. They need care and tenderness. They don’t have to necessarily be your birth child. Aunts, uncles, teachers, bible school leaders are all necessary in the springtime of our children’s lives.

The following poem reminds me of these “seedlings” that have come and will come in my life!

“I am the Child.

All the world waits for my coming.

All the earth watches with interest to see what I shall become.

Civilization hangs in the balance.

For what I am, the world of tomorrow will be.

I am the Child.

I have come into your world, about which I know nothing.

Why I came I know not.

How I came I know not.

I am curious; I am interested.

I am the Child.

You hold in your hand my destiny.

You determine, largely, whether I shall succeed or fail.

Give me, I pray you, those things that make for happiness.

Train me, I beg you, that I may be a blessing to the world.

-Mamie Gene Cole

Heavy

Heavy

Heavy stuff!!!  This world is full of it. War and rumors of war. Divorce. Abandonment. Abuse. Wayward family members. Gossip. Cancer. Covid…the list can go on!

 Matthew 11:28 still rings true today; “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?” This world is not easy. But thankfully we aren’t left alone.  Jesus goes on to say, “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.” (The Message)

I want to recover my life. I want that real rest. He goes on to say in the next verse that to do that we need to walk with Him and work alongside of Him. He promises those that do a much lighter life, “Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Now that’s heavy stuff!

Joy in knowing who I am

Popeye was one of my favorite cartoon characters growing up. I am pretty sure parents really appreciated the push on getting their children to eat spinach. That part did not work for me but I enjoyed the show anyway!

Several sayings were made famous from this cartoon. One was Wimpy’s which said, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” The other one I remember was Popeye’s, “I yam, what I yam and that’s all that I yam.”

So who was Popeye? Sailor, friend, good guy, and a vegetarian? Would you agree?

Who are you? When we are asked that question we often tell others about our families or our jobs. Sometimes we list our accomplishments or our education.

Paul begins the third chapter of Philippians by telling us his accomplishments in the world. He goes on to say that we shouldn’t put our confidence in those things. But, in verse seven he says that all of those things are loss when compared to knowing Jesus and becoming like Him.

As Christ followers we are not who the world says we are. We are who we are by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is true joy in knowing and believing that. We can say, I yam who I yam because of the great I am!

Stretch!

I stretch before I get out of bed. I stretch before I take that walk. I stretch to reach the top shelf. I stretch my arms around those I love. I stretch to see who’s sitting in the front row at church.

But…. Do I stretch myself to grow in Christ? Do I read the word every day? Do I stretch to memorize that word and hide it in my heart? Do I stretch to love those who don’t love me? 

Something to think about.

NIV

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

Joy in Godly Friends

One of the blessings we can have in this life, is to have friends who walk the walk with you. God has blessed me with friends who share in my love of sharing God’s word and in prayer. I love each and every one of them. My friend Angie, was one of those friends. I miss her in many ways. But, while she was here she was a blessing and an encouragement.

The apostle Paul knew what it was to have likeminded friends. In Philippians 2, he mentions two of them, Timothy and Epaphroditus. (Philippians 2:19-30) You can feel the love that Paul had for these men and what great joy they brought to his life.

I learn from this that godly friends:

*Are loyal. They stick by you in the good and hard times. You may not always agree but you can talk it out or agree to disagree.

*Are concerned for you. It bothers them when you are ill, depressed, sad or upset.

*Help you out. If you have a project they lend a hand. If you need something they will help you get it.

*Want good things for you. They cheer you on. They know when you need to get back on track and will readily pray for you.

Oh, how thankful I have been for each one who has walked in my life. It also reminds me to be that friend. We can’t do this life alone. Choose your friends wisely!

Joy in Shining

Time can certainly change our dreams! As a teenager, and even before that, I had a dream to be an actress. Mind you, I didn’t have the looks, but I so enjoyed playing different characters. To those closest to me, you know this is not totally out of my system. It’s still fun to dress up and play a different person. I always enjoyed the acting part of it. But, there is a side to it where we want to be a star! We want to shine or stand out in our field.

I also remember as a teacher signing year books and ending the sentiment with “Always reach for the stars!” I suppose that meant, reach for something higher.

Don’t we all long for something bigger than ourselves? God created us with a desire to be fulfilled. He longs to be that fulfillment in each one of us.

Here’s the thing, we don’t have to have an outside stimulant to make us shine. In Philippians 2:14-15 Paul is telling the church in Philippi, they can all be stars! The following verses are from the Message. He doesn’t use the word stars but you get the point.

14-16 Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.

As a Christ follower, I don’t create my own light. I live as a reflection of the one who made me. We should be different than those around us. We aren’t perfect and we fail every day. But, He calls me to “provide a glimpse of the living God.” Wow! That’s where I find joy! Joy in knowing I’m shining for Him. I’m sharing His light not mine.

Remember, I love you, but God loves you more!

I Remember Dad

I remember you as a quiet and gentle man.

I remember you didn’t especially like to play games, but you enjoyed watching others.

I remember the day that you baptized me and how happy I was

I remember that you were the last one to leave the table – it didn’t matter which meal.

I remember listening to you and mom pray together every night before you went to sleep.

I remember receiving packets of surprises in an envelope. I might find a cartoon, an article, a picture and a note. The note was full of acrostics and foot notes!

I remember going into people’s homes as a little girl and watching the Jule Miller filmstrips. I learned a lot about the Bible and you.

I remember your beautiful hands and how your fingers curved like your dads. I was always a little jealous of your beautiful skin.

I remember you wore horseshoes, but you always wore out the back as you scuffed through the house.

I remember learning the facts of life by watching a film strip and then you asked if we had any questions!

I remember you sang at my wedding, gave me away, and performed the service. Priceless!

I remember how you loved our mom and how you didn’t forget to tell her that.

I remember how you loved to sing, especially to mom.

I will always remember that you loved me.

But, most importantly, I will remember you taught me about God and that my relationship with Him should be my utmost priority. You also taught me to love others and be humble.

Thank you Dad, for being a good good father through loving your Heavenly Father. I will always remember.

Joy in imitation

Most of us have heard the quote, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” We often say as children, “I want to grow up one day and be like….” This can take a negative turn if we try to someone emulate with not so good of a reputation or character. Who do you imitate? I love those Progressive commercials where the person has grown up to be their parents. The commercial of course pokes fun at all the things we older generation seem to turn to as we age! But, I find it a compliment when someone says I am like my parents in certain areas. Paul, in Philippians 2 gives us someone to imitate! Someone who lived a perfect life. Paul says that in reflecting the character and following Christ, his joy would be complete. I believe there is joy in our lives when we follow these things. I am simplifying them here:

  • Be united! Followers of Christ be united in Christ. Follow Him and no one else.
  • Have the same love! Love of God and love your neighbors!
  • United in a purpose! We are here to glorify God.
  • Don’t be selfish! (I could go off on a little rant here but I will try to stay focused.) It’s not about us. Think of others before yourself and look out for them.
  • Be humble! Christ showed what true humility was. He gave HIs life so that others could be saved.

In the series “The Chosen” you will begin to see how Christ asked those He chose to follow Him. He asked them to physically go with Him but more importantly to listen and imitate how He lived. Ask yourself today, who do I emulate?

Joy in Prayer

A very precious memory of mine was to overhear my mom and dad pray together before they went to sleep. I remember times as a child and even into my adult years. They prayed for many things but they always prayed for those they loved.

What peace and comfort that was for me but also for them. There is joy found in praying for others!

Paul gives a glimpse of this in Philippians 1:9-11. We already know how much he loved the Philippians and how thankful he was for them. But, he also wanted them to know he was praying for them.

How can I find joy in this kind of prayer?

  • I am lifting them up to the God of the universe. I am laying whatever joy or concern I have for them at His feet not mine. He knows their greatest needs. This gives me comfort.
  • When I pray for others there is joy because I turn my thoughts for what they need. We often make prayer about what we want but praying for others is for their needs and wants.
  • When others know you are praying for them, it gives them peace and love. I want as many others praying for me no matter what my circumstance. I want God in control of every situation.

I know many of you already make it a priority to pray for others but, if you don’t start today. Let others know you pray for them. The list is endless; our government, our teachers, our ministers, church leaders, their wives, children, missionaries, our spouses, our children, relatives, your neighbor, prisoners, health care workers…..I could go on. God waits for you to pray. God bless you in prayer and may you find joy in Him.