Archive | March 2012

NO OUTLET

Instead of Dead End signs I’ve been seeing No Outlet signs. They mean the same thing. You enter this road and there is no way to leave it except by turning around and going back out the way you came in. Sometimes do you feel your life has reached a dead end, that there’s no way out? Does the future look bleak with no positive results in sight? There is always a light at the end of the tunnel and a way to get off that road. When you think there is no outlet, think again. God won’t let you wander this dead end road forever. However, it is up to you to reach out. Call to Him, grab His hand. There are no dead end roads with God. “No Outlet” is not part of God’s plan for you. He is waiting for you to reach out to Him. Are you going to keep walking in circles at the end of a road with nowhere to go or are you going to call to God asking Him for a way out? He will prepare openings for you, new roads to travel. Go to Him right this minute.

STAND OUT IN A CROWD

The pine tree in this picture stands out because it is different from all the other trees around it. It doesn’t blend in. It’s unique. Seeing this lone pine tree reminded me of two verses in the Bible. These verses speak to how Christians are to be different from others in the world. The first verse is John 15:19. Jesus is speaking, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” Non-believers don’t understand Christians. They can’t figure out why we do or don’t do certain things. Because of the world’s lack of understanding Christians are often ridiculed, teased, even hated. The other verse is found in Romans 12:2. Paul says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… .” Paul is telling the early Christians and us to stand out in the crowd. We are to be unique. This will draw attention to us. Some of that attention will be negative. However, some can have a positive affect if our actions bring someone to Christ. Do what you say and how you act make you stand out because you’re not conformed to the world’s way of doing things? Great, keep up the good work. God wants us to be different, to stand out. Through the attention we are receiving God is also getting attention. Our behavior is an instrument of God to reach other people. So, be strong and stand out in the crowd.

HIGH PRICE

Gas prices in Allendale, MI.

The price of everything keeps increasing. Utilities, groceries, gas – up, up, up. However, our paychecks don’t seem to go up, at least not up as much as what we have to pay out. We complain about the high cost of everything. There is hardly a day that goes by and I don’t hear someone complaining about the cost of something. Jesus had a high price to pay, yet He never complained. He did ask God if He really had to pay the price, but then He said He’d do whatever God wanted of Him. The high price Jesus paid was giving up His life. The cost was His death on the cross. What was He paying for that cost such a high price? He was paying for you and me. He was covering the debt of our sins. He was taking the wrath of God onto Himself so we won’t have to. The high price He paid bought us our salvation and eternal life. We will continue to complain about the prices we have to pay for things.  I hope we never forget the high price Jesus paid for us.

PRUNING

The snowball bush in my yard.

Last year this bush was extremely over-grown and shaggy. It wasn’t producing flowers like it used to. I was told by a man who knows gardening that the bush needed to be cut back for it to start flowering again like it should. I told him to go for it. He really cut it back. All winter I hoped the man was right because my parents planted that bush over 20 years ago and I didn’t want it to die. I don’t know if it will flower this year. It might need some time to rejuvenate. But, it sure is getting a lot of healthy leaves. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. …You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” (John 15:1-2; 16) Are there some dead, unproductive areas in your life that need to be cut off? Are there some areas which could be more productive if they were pruned and tended? Ask God, the gardener, to take a pruning shear to your life. It might be painful at times, but the end result will be a person who is bearing good fruit for the Lord.

LIKE A ROCK

Chevy’s “Like A Rock” commercials exclaim their trucks are dependable, long-lasting, and can get through just about anything. In Deuteronomy 32:4 Moses says this about God, “He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just.” Hannah prays in I Samuel 2:2, “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God.” David declared, “God alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:2). I think you get the idea. The One, Almighty God is the solid rock we can stand on. He gives us a firm foundation to build upon. Chevy trucks eventually get old and have to be junked. God has no limitations. He is dependable. Not only is He long-lasting, He is EVERLASTING. Are your feet planted on this Rock? Is God your fortress and salvation?

THE COMING OF CHRIST

A daffodil in my garden.

I looked up information about daffodils on the internet. Did you know it’s the flower symbolizing friendship?  I read further where a daffodil’s appearance was described. It has a trumpet shaped center on a star shaped background. Then it came to me. The shape of the daffodil can symbolize the coming of Christ. Matthew chapter 2 tells of the wise men searching for the Christ because they had seen His star (the star background of the daffodil). Revelation 8-11 tells us about the seven trumpets which will be individually blown. The seventh trumpet will announce the world becoming the Kingdom of Christ. The trumpet shape of the daffodil can represent Christ’s second coming. Try to remember this symbolism each time you see a daffodil. I don’t think I’ll see it as just another flower every again.

SOLITUDE

Me sitting outside at the Maranatha Conference Center, Muskegon, MI.

At the time this picture was taken I was in the midst of a 24-hour writers’ retreat. We were given time to go off by ourselves and just write. Sometimes before putting words on paper I need some quiet time to get focused and organize my thoughts. Other times I just need to relax my body and mind from the whirlwind of the world. Jesus needed times of solitude. After feeding the 5,000 He “went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray”. (Matthew 14:23). After the last supper with His disciples Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He knew the importance of having alone time, of communing with God in an atmosphere of peace and quiet. We need those times as well. Our minds and bodies crave a break from the noisy world around us. Make an effort to create a time of solitude for yourself. Focus on God. Hear what He has to say to you.