Hiding – Just in Sight

Kneemail #7L – Hiding; in Perfect Sight
There are powerful life lessons to be learned from the simplest things and because I live smack dab in the middle of nature (the woods), these lessons put themselves on display every day. From my front porch the sun peeks through a bounty of scrub oaks and kisses the day with promise. Don’t think for a minute that our only resource for scientific education comes from books that explain nature. They are helpful for information, but God has prepared life lessons from the beginning of time just for our awareness of Him. Are you aware of this?
     The forest is teaming with life! Even in dead of winter, the red-headed woodpecker calls out his rhythm while drilling for bugs within a dead tree. His colorful head shouts to me as clearly as his pecking noise in stark contrast to the boring brown and pure white snow. How does he know where to drill? How does his tiny beak break through the tough bark? Are you aware? God prepared him that way.
     In beautiful fall splendor, a squirrel and the field mouse alike store goodies for the winter. It’s a balmy day, but they scurry back and forth, finding and hiding because God built within their small frame the wisdom for provision. Much the same, Mama Wren builds her nest with miniscule pieces without aid of super glue or wire or string, yet the form holds and is coated with her breast feathers for warmth and comfort. Did you know God designed her that way?
     In the spring, amidst rotting dead leaves and wood, humans search for the coveted Morrel mushrooms because God created the spores needed to make delicacies from refuse. The baby fawn frolics and plays under Mom’s protective eye oblivious to predators because God has designed camouflage that hides him among the leaves. Need I go on? God clearly displays His wisdom and provision for the animal world. Why would He not do the same for us?
     Does God’s provide for you? “So why do you worry? – – Consider the lilies, – – even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. – – Would not God much more clothe (care for) you, O you of little faith?” (Matt. 6:28-30) God challenges us not to worry. Notice He did NOT say not to work, or not to prepare in advance, but to place our attention on the most important thing, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (6:33) When we seek (and find) God, His wisdom becomes our wisdom and we begin to see the importance of eternal destiny. Are you seeking? Are you aware?

Is Life Too Easy?

Our dishwasher got quite a work-out over Christmas break, and the microwave, refrigerator, and oven.  My grandparents had no such shortcuts.  Life was a little harder for them.

Think about the difference in how I cook and the ways of my grandparents.  I still envision the home-made noodles air drying on the cabinet after Grandma Jennie rolled out the dough, cutting each long noodle.  Grandma Dalton would hand mix pie crusts, rolling, pressing the dough into pie tins, filling them with gooey sweetness she made with cow’s milk from their cows or canned fruit they had picked and preserved.  There was a lot of love spilled out in their kitchens.  Has food prep become too easy?

Maybe it’s too easy to communicate.  Our gra

ndparents waited for the poles to be set, lines to be strung, then the big wall phone would hang ready for use.  The community party line served several families so you might have to wait before calling someone.  That generation would not believe we would carry a phone with no need for the connection of a line.  But do we connect better?  Do we communicate more often?  Ask the lonely elderly who sit and wait for a family member to call.  Something has gone wrong there.

For sure, it’s too easy to say I love you, but never show it in action.  The ‘love you’ phrase is easy to roll off the tongue tacked on to the end of a conversation, but the acts o

f love are not so easy.  God has said ‘I love you’ in so many ways, but more important, His actions prove His love.  Love in essence is giving to others.  “In this is love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the covering for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)  We cannot show love without personal sacrifice.  We show love when we put the needs of others before our own.

God has designed the way to Jesus; it appears very easy, – “come into my life, take over, be my Lord and Master”, but yet we fail to count the cost of relationship.  On one of those crowd-gathering days, Jesus sat upon a boulder and revealed just what that cost might be.  “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12).  Jesus taught the difficulty of being a Christian.  Christianity defies the normal human reactions to life.  It’s not an easy thing.

The year of 2018 has come to its end.  We will take the calendar off the wall and put a new one in its place.  As I record the special dates of the year, birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, I experience a rush of excitement at what 2019 will hold.  Can we promise each other that the easy things in life will not keep us from investing the work it takes to show love in action?  Let’s remember these words, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) Happy New Year to you and yours!!

Staying the course in Voting

Falling leaves and lower temperatures warn us of changing seasons. We know this because it’s happened before. The sap in the sugar maple tree feeds it’s leaves, they turn from green to red and yellow and eventually brown. The tree does it year after year. Regardless of what power sits in the White House, in spite of who swings the balance in the Senate, the maple tree continues to do it’s thing. Maybe we can learn from that tree. If God causes a tree to weather changing times, He can equip His children to bend and sway remaining colorful (a visible witness) regardless of electoral confusion.

Our democracy is a beautiful thing, but current events seem to indicate a shift in seasons. We seem to have turned a corner heading down a pathway much different than the path our founding fathers took. But you don’t need me to tell you that. What you need is someone to tell you what we should do about it. I can’t tell you that either, except to follow the guidelines God has given us in His word.

Yes, the Bible tells us to follow the dictations of our governmental leaders (as long as they don’t contradict God’s). “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (Romans 13:1) God knew we needed some discipline to provide perimeters around our nature of indulgence. Without speed limits, we’d drive too fast. Without a tax system that requires us to pay our share, our cities and states could not provide the luxury of good roads, fire protection, and educational facilities. Our problem is not that we must answer to government; government has become a problem because our leaders have closed the Bible and no longer seek guidance of the Lord.

So again, what should we do about it? It really is simple. We need to know about the character of those running for office. I’m afraid we cannot do that by watching the television ads for each party. There is far more finger pointing than factual reporting in those ads. Perhaps a good place to start is to find the political platform for the party you chose to support and see if that party follows biblical guidelines. There are web sites that can assist you in your search for truth, but nothing is more crucial than knowing what YOUR chosen party stands for.  Next, get registered to vote. It is too late for that to happen for our election next week, but you can register now and be ready for the next voting opportunity. If you are registered to vote, then VOTE! We should not complain about the outcome of an election or the people who have been elected if we have not accepted our responsibility to vote and be counted. Register, do your research, and pray for guidance as you step into the voting booth.

O.K., now I will get off my soap box and close with a prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, We are so grateful to live in this great country of freedom, but freedom doesn’t come cheap. We must pay our dues and do our part to keep the freedom our forefathers have fought and died to achieve. Grant us wisdom and commitment to carry forward for our children the honor and pleasure to live in this land of freedom. In the name of Jesus our Savior, Amen. See you at the poll.

Magnetic Faith

     For those of you who have walked with the Lord for a long time, you recognize the ‘drawing’ of the Lord.  Much like the force of a magnet as it is placed near metal, we experience the ‘pull’ of the Spirit.  The more we respond to that gentle nudge from God, we will feel even more the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  It was true when you first came to God in faith (through the powerful work of Christ at Calvary) and each time you sense that pulling from the Spirit, it is God who initiates the activity.  God is working everywhere – we should be overjoyed He would invite us into His work.

With an open Bible, it’s not hard to find God drawing people.  In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve hid from God after disobeying Him.  It was God who went to find them.  “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.  Then the LORD God called to Adam, ‘Where are you?’  (Genesis 3:8-9)  Surely you understand God already knew where they were; He simply sought them out because THEY NEEDED HIM.

Jesus knew the needs of the woman from Samaria even before she went to draw water.  “He needed to go through Samaria.” (John 4:4)  Even though Jewish men were not supposed to speak to women in public, especially a Samaritan, He struck up a conversation with her which ended up drawing her to salvation, and others believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.  “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman.” (John 4:39A)  That drawing power of the Savior (much stronger than a magnet) is still at work drawing people to faith in Christ today.

Last week at the Farmer’s Market, God nudged me to speak to a vender about faith.  I turned and walked away feeling awkward to strike up a conversation.  The ‘pull’ grew stronger and I had to turn around and return to him.  Guess what?  He has no faith!  Raised by a mother who followed a foreign and false religion, (not recognizing Jesus Christ) he saw no reason to believe.  This, I believe, will be only one of more conversations I will have with him.  It is not my responsibility to attain his salvation; my only requirement is to be willing to be used by the Master of conversation and be faithful to the ‘drawing’.

What will God place within your life today that will cause you to be used in His Kingdom’s work?  God will do the work of creating an opportunity.  Your job will be to listen to that still, small voice that calls you to testify.  Be open and willing to be used by the Master.  He is drawing people to His salvation and He is ‘drawing’ those of us who are willing and available to join with Him in His work of faith.  Hang on to these words, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Sticky Situations

Free stock photo of pattern, branches, tree, net

–  Temptation’s Sticky Fingers

Is there anything more irritating than running into a spider’s web while mowing?  Of course the web won’t hurt anyone, but the spider who built the web certainly might.  I try to be vigilant watching for the pesky things; I try to duck under their sticky tendrils avoiding that creepy sensation that sends my arms and hands flailing into the air.  Yet, when sidetracked by the tight passage between two trees, I end up in one when I least expect it.  God has used that incident as a reminder to me of temptation’s sticky tendrils and how they will attach themselves to me if I try the ducking and dodging process instead of the Bible’s suggestion: RUN from temptation!  Lingering in temptation brings sticky situations!

They say confession is good for the soul – so perhaps I should tell you my dreaded temptation of not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  I tend to exaggerate, or eliminate bits and pieces in order to make myself “look better” or to avoid hurting the feelings of others.  I know – sad.  But God is in the process of helping me get stronger in telling the whole truth.  Whether I look good or not, whether it’s pleasant to the hearer or not, the truth is what God requires and my goal to please God comes first.

James wrote, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (James 1:14) Who doesn’t want to look good in the eyes of others?  My desire is to please others and sometimes that comes in direct opposition to pleasing God.  James continued, “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (maybe not physical death, but separation from God) (verse 15).  This temptation/sin process is always a downward spiral.  First, a thought – then a desire and if we don’t run from it, the desire will give birth to sin.

So, what’s the cure?  For some, it’s to stay away from places that serve beverages that intoxicate.  For others, it may be to change friendship relationships that put them us in awkward places where sinful activities are carried out.  For me, it’s to speak the truth, the whole truth, but with an attitude of love expressed in the kindest words possible.  You’ll have to seek the help of the Holy Spirit to find your solution to avoiding the temptations that lead you to sin.

God has crafted the framework for the forgiveness of our sin.  “He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)  We have forgiveness because of Jesus, but that forgiveness does not give us the right to continue in a state of sinful living.  Ask God today to help you with your greatest area of temptation.  He will help you avoid the sticky tendrils that snare you into your old pattern and He will give you a way to escape!

(1 Corinthians 10:13)

Everlasting Goodness of God

Traditions once honored by all are quickly changing.  Family traditions we once considered a time treasured are not being passed down from one generation to another.   Going to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, Christmas caroling with the neighborhood church, and bed-time stories while snuggled deep in the covers are just a few of those I honored both by my own participation and by handing them down to my children.  I’m very thankful that regardless of society’s change, our time-honored spiritual traditions have not changed.  I’ve taught my children that God is good and they are teaching their children the same.  The goodness of God is recorded from cover to cover in the Bible.     Reviewing our traditions has brought back a flood of memories.  Our family pays much attention to these traditions and bed-time stories are one of my favorites.  Visions of two small bodies pressing up against me in the middle of a twin size bed – now there’s some closeness for you!  My baby boy liked the ‘fishy one’, he called it.  Here’s a reading for you – –

Fishy, fishy in a brook        Daddy caught him on a hook

Mama fried him in a pan and Baby ate him like a man.

Nursery rhymes sure have changed.  Green Eggs and Ham reads a lot different than my old rhymes learned in childhood.  In fact, most of my tried and true recitations would be offensive to one class of people or another.  Take the one above – the animal activists would not like catching fish with a painful hook.  Most women would be offended by assuming it took a ‘daddy’ to catch a fish in the first place.  Then, the professional woman would not like the implication that she should stay home to fry anything!  And perhaps most offensive at least to me is society’s telling the baby/child they can choose the gender they ‘feel’ most comfortable in.

One fact we can count on: God does not change.  His word spoken ages ago still rings true.  Let this truth resonate within you today. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  (James 1:17 – NIV) Therefore, if something bad happens to cross your path today, it did not come from Him.  He may ‘allow’ it to happen as Romans 8:28 states ‘He works all things for our good’.  Can you trust Him today?  Can you look for His hand and His purpose in the things that make up your day?  That’s at the top of my list today.

Hide and Seek With God


     Writing from the view of an airplane gives quite a unique perspective.  I sit here reflecting on my visit with grandchildren and realize their beauty and the beauty God has provided me completely free of charge.  Soon the moon will decorate the sky, but now a most beautiful sunset is spread before me, untouched by skyscrapers, tall trees or any other distraction.  Colors bouncing off the cloud blanket are beyond description.  A two hour delay for takeoff now seems fitting for if not delayed, I would have missed this.  And I consider; where has the earth gone?  Did it disappear or is it still there – just beyond my sight?  God is like that- present always, but sometimes out of sight.

Just because we cannot see something does not mean it is not there.  Children must think the love of their parent has disappeared when they are being disciplined.  God, too, sometimes cloaks Himself in mysterious ways, just temporarily, hiding His presence from us.  Oh, He’s still there, just not revealing Himself.  That’s what FAITH is all about.  We believe He is still here; we trust His heart even when we cannot see His hand.

Joseph must have thought God had disappeared when his brothers dumped him into a pit pulling him out only to sell him to slave traders.  Once in Egypt, when his owner’s wife falsely accused him of inappropriate behavior causing Joseph to land in jail, he had to reach deep for his faith in God.  (Genesis 39)  But the day finally came when the clouds of doubt parted and he saw God at work again.  Joseph remained faithful even when he could not see God.  He moved from a prison to the palace and had God to thank for making things right that had been wrong for so very long.

Paul had perhaps the grandest revelation of God (in the form of Jesus) as the brightness of the Son appearing on the road to Damascus leaving Paul temporarily blind and dependent on others to guide him. (Acts 9)  Yet, the periods of confusion or loneliness during Paul’s years of ministry did not prevent him from traveling far and wide to share the good news of Jesus Christ and writing nearly half of our New Testament.  That’s the kind of faith I want!  Even when God is out of sight, I want my faith to shine brightly to light my way.  My faith walk is long and old enough – I have more than enough proof from past experience to know I can trust God even when I can’t see Him at work.

I’m walking down that pathway now.  It has been a while since I’ve seen (or felt) God at work using me to reach His lost and dying world.  But that WILL NOT prevent me from KNOWING God is at work in my life, even if I don’t know where or how.  If you find yourself in a dark or lonely place and you wonder where God has gone, take heart, my friend!  Once you place yourself in the hands of God, He will not allow you to slip from His grasp.  Just like my view from the plane as the clouds veiled my view of the earth, I still knew what remained below the clouds.  And you can trust God to remain faithful, even when concerns of daily life cause you to doubt.

Don’t give up, don’t grow tired of the wait, but eagerly wait, “for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:7-9)

Looking for Friendship?

– Zooming in on Friendship

This New Year presents many opportunities for new experiences and new acquaintances.  It also causes us to reflect on past experiences comparing what we’ve learned about our friends and what makes them worthy of keeping.  Every new friend has the potential of life-long friendship, a valuable treasure.  Many will be valuable; some may be harmful to our character – detrimental to our integrity.  If we are open to new friends, we need a system of evaluation that will help us ‘weed out’ the harmful influence while holding on to those of value.  I’m grateful God has revealed His desire to help us in this process.  Here are some tips I have learned from God’s word.

Friendship is important to God.  If not, why would the scripture call Abraham a friend of God? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. He was called the friend of God.” (James 2:23)  Next, we have to be careful when we offer friendship to those who value too highly the things of this world.  “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)  Don’t get too close to those who cling to the things of this world.  Even our Lord Jesus gave us the key to being friends with Him, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:14) We must know His teaching.

Brace yourself – the initial stage of friendship is risky.  If God’s word is to direct us, we need a store house of His advice.  A student of the Bible learns quickly what characteristics to look for in potential friends.  First impressions can be deceiving.  Anyone can be nice when it only takes a short investment of time and effort, but time has a way of revealing the best AND THE WORST in people.  So hold new acquaintances at arm’s length, especially good advice when dating.  The word of God tells us not to judge, not to be critical, but each potential friend should either be a missionary effort (to bring them to faith-increase their faith) or they should display obvious signs of being a believer themselves.  One kind, you will help, the other will be a help to you.

Once past the initial stage, friends fall into several categories.  Casual friends continue to reveal their true identity as we get to know them better, but they are also learning about us.  Don’t give your innermost secrets away too quickly.  Friends should earn the trust necessary to learn of your guarded private life.  Some friends you’ll see often and they will soon reveal the trust you can place in them.  Others you may not see so often, but the trust you feel in their presence is greater than those you see often.  Perhaps the greatest wounds will come from people we trusted, only to be betrayed.

Relationships are tough.  They take time, energy, and effort.  While some friends are compassionate and helpful, others will be straightforward and sometimes blunt.  There is a place for both.  If you have taken your time and know your friends well, you will be able to receive benefit from both types.  Yet, most important is your friendship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Value that friendship above all else and the powerful Holy Spirit will help you choose friends that will make your journey sweet.


Changing Seasons – a Warm Heart

Kneemail 41J – A Warm Heart

If you’ve taken any road trips lately, you’ve noticed seasons are changing and our landscape is putting on its fall jacket.  From my front porch, Autumn leaves are turning yellow and orange just before they tumble to the ground on the wings of more serious winds.  The squirrels that frequent my yard are scurrying back and forth storing up the abundance of nuts to sustain them through the winter months.  And me?  I’m looking for a good deal on a bushel of apples to replenish the apple butter my grandchildren love so well.  The fall harvest is only one more reflection of God’s blessing to mankind.  My heart has already begun the season of thanksgiving.

Frankly, I’m looking forward to cooler temperatures, slower schedules and more time for reading the love letters God has reserved for us in His Bible.  We have all been appalled at the horrific trauma and loss of lives recently in Las Vegas; pause for a moment and consider the lives lost in the defense of our written Word.  What a shame we treat it so casually.  These moments spent reading His word are meant to be savored, stored in the chambers of our hearts and minds, protected and available to aide us in times of discouragement or trouble.

Hubby and I have the privilege of ministering to a group of believers in a local worship center.  I’m so thankful for the opportunity to stand before witnesses and testify to the sustaining grace and mercy of God!  How about you?  Where have you taken your stand to testify for the Lord?  Maybe you end your conversations with the phrase, ‘have a blessed day’, or perhaps you serve by helping children understand the gospel stories.  If you are somewhat shy, how about stopping by your local nursing home or residential care facility, ask the staff for the name of someone who has no one visiting them.  What a way to show God your thankful heart for your own family.  Your smile and friendly voice may be a lonely person’s greatest blessing.

Take a few moments this week to read some verses of thanksgiving.  The mother of Jesus, Mary, speaks beautiful words of praise and thanksgiving in Luke 1:46-55.  The fifteenth chapter of Exodus records Moses’ prayer/song of thanksgiving after seeing the Egyptian army destroyed in the depths of the Red Sea.  Zacchaeus was so thankful for Jesus bringing salvation to him, he promised to give his goods to the poor and to pay back anything he had taken wrongfully by four times! (Luke 19)  The Bible has many such examples.

For me today, I shall borrow Psalm 66, “Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious.  Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.  All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You.  They shall sing praises to Your name.” (1-4)

Don’t wait until November to be thankful.  Begin today to find new ways to express a thankful heart.  You may not have everything you want, but those of us living in America certainly have more than most people in the world.  Join me on the front porch this morning and be thankful to God!

What’s Contentment??

I enjoy watching children day-dream about the latest toy or gadget as seen on TV.  Their eyes light up and often they cannot contain their excitement jumping for joy over the sheer possibility of owning it.  Grandson #2, Noah, celebrates a birthday this month and he has several things on his list.  Of course, he knows he can’t have it all, but that doesn’t keep him from asking.  Truth is, there isn’t much difference between Noah and myself.  I too, have a wish list.  Are we violating some unwritten dictate from God when we day-dream and desire bigger and better?

Let’s face it – God created a marvelous thing when he designed our brain.  He created within us the capability of desiring nice things, of day-dreaming ways to acquire such things.  The least popular way to achieve these items seems to be ‘to work for it’.  The credit card mentality of obtaining items before we can pay for them has moved us into the biggest ticket of debt ever associated to America.  Therefore, the problem doesn’t seem to be desiring better and bigger; the problem seems to be getting it before we can pay for it.  That all boils down to one thing – learning to be content with what we have (until we can pay for it).

Paul gave us a lesson in being content.  When the little church in Philippi sent offerings, he was thankful, yes, but added, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.  Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need for I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13) He certainly did not have a lifestyle of financial wealth, but he found the secret of contentment.

I would love to reveal a shortcut to this lifestyle of contentment, but there isn’t one.  Hubby and I have worked hard almost all our adult lives.  We both started working early in teen years and I am counting those years of raising children as real ‘working’ years.  But all these facts have contributed to our state of contentment today.  God’s blessings upon our work effort are clear indeed.  His protection and provision were especially evident in our early years of providing for a family while investing time in our children.  Both are equally important.  We have prayed for and received the ability to be content with what we have.

For sure, things wear out and break, but until they do, I’m content in the state I am in.  So the truth is – – I really like my home.  I feel safe, secure and satisfied when spending a day at home.  And I like my car.  Its four years old, but it still takes me where I want to go and the air conditioning cools just find.  My clothes feel good on me!  (even my 2nd hand items) They let me be who I really am, not smaller, like most advertisers want me to be.  I strive to reduce my waistline, but can enjoy being the size I am today!

Issues that determine our moral code (issues like debt) will come and go.  Yet God’s word has not changed.  God used the hard working ant and the lazy grasshopper for good example in Proverbs.  When we saddle ourselves with unnecessary debt, we become slaves to the work-world and often bring doom and gloom to our households.  Let’s learn from Paul and reassess our needs.  “Let your conduct be without covetousness, be content with such things as you have,” (Hebrews 13:5) That may be one of the greatest abilities we could pass on to our children.