Monday, March 23, 2015

Lord, Make Me Like the Little Clematis Vine

By our mailbox, we have a Clematis vine that we planted years ago.  That first year that we planted it, the vine grew to the top of our little light post mail box and bloomed beautifully.  I was thrilled the following year when it sprang back and bloomed again without any effort on my part.  Some years, my health was very poor and I was unable to feed or water the vine or even pull the weeds from around the base....and then....the weed eater ate it...several years in a row, actually.  Still, every year it has come back and grown and bloomed no matter how much we neglected it or seemingly tried to kill it.  Oh, how I long to be like that Clematis vine.  Life knocks us down, the cares of life choke out our very life, and we ourselves neglect our own spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being.  Sometimes, like with our little vine, circumstances make it seem as though we will never bloom again.  Oh, that we had the faith of the little blossoming vine and that we would rise up and praise our heavenly Father who loves us!  We only need to turn our face towards the Son, waiting patiently for the refreshing rains which will certainly come.  God is faithful!

Psalm 30:11-12
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

(Note: this is NOT our vine.  I do not have any photos of our little faithful plant, but you can bet I will this year!)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Birds Sing in Hope While it is Yet Dark

I have always hated waking up while it is still dark outside; nothing seems as cold, lonely, and empty as the darkness of that time of day for me.  Adulthood, however, commands that I need to be both awake and up in those early hours.  This morning as I awoke in the shadows before the dawn of this stormy day, I opened the back door for the dogs to go out and was immediately taken aback by the loud chorus of birds singing merrily while it was still very dark.  I was immediately humbled at the thought that these simple birds had more faith than I.  Birds, having no real concept of time to my knowledge or any cognitive understanding, still praise God in the darkness in anticipation of the light to come.  What about you?  Is your way dark?  Do you find yourself in a situation that seems hopeless?  If you belong to Christ but your current circumstances seem bleak, take comfort in this:
 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 8:38-39 ESV)
There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that you or I or anyone else can do that can separate us from the love of God. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Joy in the Lord

Jesus is both the author and finisher of our faith.  Sometimes we lose sight of that; we can easily remember that He is the author of our faith, but sometimes we are so consumed with the problems in our lives that we do not see Him as the finisher of our faith.

Each and every one of us has been through or will yet go through a very dark time in our life.  It is called a dark time because it is like being in a miry pit from which we see no means of escape.  Nothing brings us comfort; no one can rescue us.  We are like a drowning victim, struggling against those who would save us.

No one wants to be in that pit of despair; we all long to feel again the warm kiss of sunshine on our cheek and bathe in the knowledge that we are loved and safe.  For those of us who know Christ, we are always loved and always in His care....always.  The problem arises when we are so busy looking at the mud on our clothes and face that we are unable to see God in his mercy and love who has already given us robes of righteousness.  No matter how dark our night or how hopeless it all seems, God is not finished with us yet.  He loves us better than anyone ever can and He can do all things.  Is anything to difficult for God?  He who began a good work in you WILL bring it to completion.

But this I call to mind,
and ktherefore I have hope:

22  lThe steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;2
lhis mercies never come to an end;
23  they are new mevery morning;
ngreat is your faithfulness.
24  o“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
k“therefore I will hope in him.”

25  The Lord is good to those who pwait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
26  qIt is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord. ~ Lamentations 3:21-26
We must keep our eyes on Christ and cling to His promises.  Our hope is in Him and not on our efforts.  We must, in our prayers, cling to that hope and reflect on His faithfulness to us.  We must remember that His love is not conditional; He loved us when we were still enemies and will love us still now.  We will live again; we will laugh again and our joy will be in the Lord.