Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35
Jesus made it a habit to get up early to pray. After the example of my Lord, I’ve tried hard to make it a morning habit of mine. A few minutes alone with my Savior to start my day has blessed me in more ways than I can name. It’s become my favorite time of day. I can tell when I neglect this vital time each morning. The day just falls apart.
Come near to God and He will come near to you. James 4:8a
God wants a relationship with each of us. The only way to build that relationship is to spend time with Him. We do that through studying His Holy Word and talking to Him through prayer. Sometimes I ramble when I talk to God. Sometimes I just want to sit in His presence. Sometimes I have a lot on my mind. He doesn’t mind how I come to Him. After our time together, He refreshes me in a way I can’t describe.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
Take a few minutes to enjoy some very special time alone with God. Your spirit will be remarkably refreshed.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Walk In His Light,
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on an end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the masters house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his masters house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.
“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” ”Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” ”I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your masters house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts.” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said. “As we return to the masters house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the Pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pots side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my masters table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”
Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father’s table. In Gods great economy, nothing goes to waste. Don’t be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and you too can be the cause of beauty. Know that in our weakness your strength is made perfect. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
- Author Unknown
Happy Father’s Day
He’s more than the “bread winner.” A daddy is someone very special. In a daughter’s eyes her father will always be about 10 feet tall. Here are some of the reasons why my sisters and I love our Dad:
- He loves our Mom.
- And he told us to listen to her.
- He could fix just about anything.
- He took so many pictures of us.
- And home movies too.
- He taught us how to ride a bike.
- And to play nice with the other kids.
- And share.
- To love our siblings and get along with them, no matter what.
- And clean our room.
- He helped us with our homework, especially math.
- He taught us how to drive.
- And pump our own gas
- And check the oil.
- And tire pressure.
- And when to get new tires.
- How to wash a car at home without going to the carwash
- And how to use the items in a tool box.
- He took us to the fair.
- And ball games.
- He taught us to root for our team, no matter how bad they were losing.
- He made sure we learned to swim
- He taught us how to ice skate.
- And how to fly a kite.
- He took us fishing.
- Taught us how to build a fire.
- And pitch a tent.
- He held our hand when we had to get stitches.
- And told us to be a big girl.
- He took us to the library.
- Read the paper, not just the funnies.
- He taught us to save money
- And how to handle a checkbook.
- He told us to get a good education.
- And find a job we loved.
- And always learn something new.
- He loves his grandkids.
- He told us to keep up with the news.
- And vote.
- He bought us our first bouquet of roses.
- And taught us to dance.
- No man was ever going to be good enough for his little girls.
- But he loves our husbands anyway.
- He always made a big deal of going to see the fireworks.
- He taught us how to make a decision, and told us there are consequences to everything.
- And when the decision is made, don’t complain.
- You can have a good time without spending money.
- He took us to drive-in movies.
- And special movie premiers.
- He took us out for ice cream on summer Saturday nights
- Made Mom get her own ice cream instead of “tasting” the kids’ ice cream.
- Say Grace before a meal.
- Lend a helping hand to a neighbor.
- Volunteer for something you believe in.
- He took us to Church.
- And taught us to place something in the offertory no matter how small.
- He taught us to read the Bible
- He taught us respect for our elders.
- Home-cooking is the way to a man’s heart.
- Top it off with dessert.
- Taught us how to make ice cream, even “soft serve”
- It’s ok to have a glass of wine or a beer.
- He took us to see grandparents quite often – the trip was across country.
- He took us to Disneyland.
- And Disney World
- And Sea World.
- And The beach.
- And the zoo.
- And many other places from coast to coast
- He put up the Christmas tree
- And hung Christmas lights
- He made us do our chores.
- He made us do things for myself.
- He painted my room and furniture for me.
- And hung pictures.
- It’s ok to stop and ask for directions.
- Keep the radio tuned to a good station.
- Pay attention to traffic signs.
- Call if you are going to be late.
- Reminded us to have our house key “in case you are out late”.
- Always have a good book to read.
- Plan a get-away with your wife at least once a year.
- Know what the organization really does before you donate to them.
- Visit the gravesite of loved ones when you are in town.
- By example he showed us we should have a nice looking yard.
- And taught us to use a lawnmower.
- And a weed-eater.
- To grow a garden
- Put up a flag.
- And plant some flowers.
- He tried to teach us golf.
- He played catch and kickball.
- He taught us to appreciate music.
- And to play an instrument.
- Like piano.
- Or flute.
- But not the drums.
- Keep an eye on the clock.
- Keep your mind sharp with a puzzle.
- And it’s ok to take a nap.
Enjoy your special day Dad. We love you!
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up; she was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘ Tell me what you see.’
‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.
Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, mother?’
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean,
when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
I love my friends. I enjoy spending time with them, doing things together and I enjoy our conversations most of all. But my best friend is with me at all times. My best friend is Jesus. Now this relationship is different. I don’t physically hear Him when we have conversations, but I do feel remarkably refreshed at the end of our “conversation” (prayer) and I truly enjoy my time with Him. Scripture tells me I can be God’s friend. Other people have been:
“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend. Isaiah 41:8
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15
And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. James 2:23
One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. Proverbs 22:11
All we have to show is our faith and Jesus will call us friend:
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:20
Have you considered that you can be God’s friend? How close is your friendship with God? He has already initiated the relationship. All we have to do is respond.
Walk in His Light,
The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America’s birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as ‘Flag Birthday’. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as ‘Flag Birthday’, or ‘Flag Day’.
On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.
Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as ‘Flag Day’, and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.
Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.
Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day – the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 – was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson’s proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.
We live in an evil world (James 4:4). The forces of evil do surround us (Ephesians 6:12). It makes sense then, to ask God for protection (Ephesians 6:13-17). It occurred to me to ask for more than protection for myself and my family; I decided to ask for protection and a blessing for my home.
King David asked for a blessing on his house (including his family line):
Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.” 2 Samuel 7:28-29
Several Scriptures tell us God wants only good to come to us, including our homes:
May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels. Psalm 122:7
The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:7-8
No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:10-12
How do you bless your home? Just pray. Walk the perimeter of your house, and thank God for providing you with a place to live. Ask God to drive away any evil spirit that lurks around your residence. Ask for Angles to be posted at all the doors and windows, and to forbid anything evil from entering your house. Pray in each room. Ask God to use each family member and each room for His glory. Ask a special blessing over each child in their room. Speak out loud, using the authority of the name of Jesus. You might want to end with this verse from Joshua:
But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15b
Walk in His Light,
Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.
The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.
One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.
The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.
At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!
The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!
As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.
But neither happened!
The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.
It never was able to fly…
As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.
As you go through school, and life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.
While my family spoiled me this weekend it occurred to me, we don’t just celebrate our actual birthday anymore. Now we celebrate a birthday week or at least a birthday weekend. Apparently one day a year isn’t enough. But here’s a thought. Maybe we shouldn’t celebrate our birthday at all, but rather, celebrate the ones who gave us life?
How different the world would be if our narcissistic society began to show thoughts of gratitude towards those who helped them along the way. It’s hard to imagine a world full of such kindness. Maybe that’s what heaven is like.