Category Archives: Devotional

Praise you in the storm

Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. 
 
                                                                   ~Voltaire
 
As parents feel for their children,
    God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
    keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.
                                                                  ~ Psalm 103:13-14
    We had an emergency at school once.  We had to evacuate the classrooms and sit in the halls.  At that point it was the 90’s, and portable video games had not really caught on.  So each class sat with their teacher in the hallway until the emergency passed.  As the school librarian, I was instructed to float, in case a teacher needed relief, or there was a child that needed to be brought to the nurse.
     I noticed many things that day, but the thing that stood out in my mind was a second grade class that was entranced by their teacher.  What started out as a group of whiny, scared students turned into a group engaged in playing games, telling jokes, singing in the hallway.  The teacher was steeped in the art of dealing with disaster, calming kids, road trips, crowd control.
     That day I saw a new side of her.  To the faculty she was often gruff, caustic, reclusive, but that day, she became a heroine of mine.  The kids weathered the storm and went home in a much better state that so many.
     This Orlando storm is beyond tragic, it was an act born of confusion, denial and out right hatred.  I still work in an elementary school.  This week’s heroine was our school secretary whose husband made rainbow ribbon support pins for the staff with simply one word hand printed on each one: Orlando.
     It is a “touch stone” for prayer, a beacon of support, a message for those who may not understand the whys, but they understand sadness.
     Though it is against human nature to go to praise in the time of storm, lifting the victims, the shooter, the families of all to the Lord in song and prayer certainly fits this emergency.
Lord, help us to bring our joys, our sorrows, our disasters, our heart’s cry to you as we praise you in this storm.
 
Praise You in the Storm
Because of Him,
Linda
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You, oh special flower.

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.
      ~ Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat
 
 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
    ~ Proverbs 23:24
 
And the Father Will Dance
 
Today, I celebrate you.  Your small acts of worship, your unspoken prayers, your gestures of kindness big and small, the choices you made for good, the restraint you showed in a very hard situation.
 
Listen to this anthem, which is so beautifully articulated, and let his love wash over you.
 
Today, the Father is dancing over you, His special garden.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Sonneto XVII

I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.

  ~ Harper Lee

 
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
~ Ephesians 3:17-19
 
     Pablo Neruda wrote a beautiful sonnet. Yesterday, I heard it as my husband speaking to me. This morning, I heard it as if it were spoken by God. I wonder how you will hear it.
     The love between this mother and daughter is beautiful, but even more beautiful is the love God has for us. I would speak this to my daughters as well.  There is love so hard to express in all of us that Neruda finds and expresses with such passion!
 
Sonneto XVII by Pablo Neruda
“Carries the light of those flowers within itself.” -my favorite line!
 
Today, carry the light. Feel the passion of God’s love…for you.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Meeting in the Air

We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls. 

                                                                                             
                                                       ~ Robert J. McCracken
 

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

                                                    ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_RjMIg2vPs

Meeting in the Air

     It was a simple, small little church just off campus in Plymouth, New Hampshire.  I was seeking.  A church that made me feel included, a church that welcomed me just the way I was.  Walking through the town, and then through the wooded area leading to the church, I was a little put off, a little afraid.  The warmth of the congregation was so welcoming, I could see what my friend was talking about.  It was the church of movie families like the Spencers (Spencer’s Mountain, Henry Fonda, Maureen O’Hara.)

      I heard this little song and was captivated by the visual it presented in my mind’s eye.  Meeting Jesus along with all the other believers in the entire world: past and present.  To be caught up in the air!  It helped to quell the laughter at the unfamiliar and embrace the peace I found there.  The funny part was, the pastor was from Long Island!

      I invite you to listen to the Youtube video I have included, and let your soul drink it the truth of it.  Freedom indeed.

     Because of Him,

     Linda

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What Garlic is to Salad

What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art. 
                                                           ~ Augustus Saint‑Gaudens
 
Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
                                                            ~ James 3:17-18
 
     Garlic adds a pungent accent to foods around the world.  It is used in warm and cold dishes, and there are several different varieties.  Folks mostly have two opinions about it, “There is too much!”, and “There can never be too much!”  
     No matter what your opinion, the best use of garlic is to enhance the flavors of the food it inhabits.  Just like us.  We should be enhancing the body of Christ, bringing out the fruit of the spirit.  Definitely not our role to overwhelm the body, rather to bring out its best, and have other cloves bring out our best. 
     The scripture is right to say that it is hard work to get along with each other.  It certainly is work to be kind, considerate, treating others with dignity and honor.  In the long run, however, it is the work that makes our light shine even brighter, and perhaps makes us look a little insane to the outer world.
    Enjoy the flavors of this salad we’re in!  The hand that mixes us, does it with wisdom.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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The Trunk Fairy

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. 
 
         ~ Scott Adams
 
God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.
       ~ Hebrews 6:10-12
 
     I have a friend who calls herself Corky.  She is a painter. She calls colors from the earth and they come to her.  And she is a harsh self-critic with an uncanny dose of wisdom in her palette.  
     We were in a craft workshop making jewelry together.  I was being self critical and she stopped me and said, “Wait for the trunk fairy!”
   “The trunk fairy?”  I replied. “What’s the trunk fairy?”
   “The trunk fairy is the one who comes in the night.  I put my art work in the trunk, and leave it over night.  In the morning, I am amazed by the improvement in my art work!”
  Somewhat cynical, I laughed, and went home and tried it out.  In fact it worked. I made some jewelry.  I covered it, put it away.   When I looked at it again, I was amazed at the trunk fairy’s work.  I found out she also works with poetry, and other endeavors.  
    By now some of you are praying for me, worried that I am turning to the dark side.  But, it was all in good fun.  It was God all the time, and God did not change Corky’s art, my jewelry, my poetry or anything else.  God changed my perspective.
    Give it all to God: you art, your craft, you prayers, your garden real or spiritual,  all of it.  Watch what God does with your efforts.  Don’t destroy, despair, depart.  Wait upon the Lord.  Watch God work.
When we get home, and look back, what an amazing array of blessings we will see trailing behind us.
 
Lord, we pray so hard for you to change us, for you to answer our prayers, for us to be more like you.  When the answers come, sometimes we are so ready to deny it, to put ourselves down.  Help us to stand in your light and say thank you for working through us (me- if you are praying this prayer.) In Jesus’s name, Amen.
     Because of Him,
     Linda

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He’s Making Diamonds

It’s easy to make a buck.  It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.  

                                                                  ~Tom Brokaw
 
Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
                                                                  ~ Ephesians 4:31-32
 
     I used Eugene Peterson’s The Message for today’s Bible reading.  I love the articulation of the scripture.  He really spells out what I have to use as my goal.  Clean break.  With ALL that verbiage.  Gentility, sensitivity.  Those went down like honey.  And then I got to as quickly as God in Christ forgave you.  Choke.
     Even when the repeat offender…er…repeats?  Even if they have publicly humiliated you?  I could handle the goal of forgiveness, but
as quickly? 
     That feels as if it requires a laser.  A laser beam that burns out the hurt, the pride, the want for retaliation.  But I know how it feels to be the forgiven one.  I know how it made a difference in my life and my heart.  I know it did not give me permission to hurt again, but, a warning sign does pop up in my heart and head when the temptation is near.
     So, I have a new goal. Christ forgave me.  I have even forgiven me.
Now it is time to pay that gift forward.  
     Thank you to those who gave me some advice about my “tough person.” yesterday.  It truly made a difference. He’s making diamonds out of dust.
Hawk Nelson
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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