Whatever is Pure - October 2010
As Canadian Thanksgiving takes place in October, this month's edition has a theme of thankfulness for God's bounty in our lives. As God's provision takes shape in many forms, sometimes we need to
"The Lord raises up the needy from the dust, lifts the poor from the ash heap." Psalm 113:7, (New American Bible)
Nature Praises God
Praise the Lord from the earth,
When discouragement, distress, or frustration pour into the empty spaces of my heart, I walk into my backyard for deep renewal. The busyness of life often claims my focus and thoughts, and I allow God’s Spirit in me to be overtaken by life’s troubles. The presence of my backyard, splashed with rainbow hues, perfumed with lavender, roses, and bee balm, and resonating with bird song, instantly plugs the hole that’s draining God’s peace. I feel the chorus of "Halleluiahs, Praise to the King" from all the plant and animal life in my yard. How can I help but joining them in worship of my Creator and Savior? Praise to our wise and wonderful God in establishing the connection between His creation of nature’s realm and the heart of man. Many scripture verses proclaim that all of nature praises God. In that praise, nature points man to our Lord. Then, with our eyes focused on the Creator, and our hearts open to Him, an intimate conversation with God is possible. In our praise, His love and grace lifts our burdens, and His perfect peace flows into us.
Thank You Lord—for Your love and peace that soothe my soul, and for all of nature to bring me closer to You every day.
Have a Banquet Table Desire
Have you ever been to a wedding banquet? Do you remember what the table was like? Beautiful flowers adorning the middle perhaps, food carefully chosen, maybe there was a particular theme in the dishes and decorative embellishments. Certainly a lot of careful planning went into the display on the table and it was not something just hastily thrown together.
When I used to visit my parents house, they always had plenty of food. They used to encourage me to eat from their store of provisions and they would even press food on me to take home. Once, I had a dream about their fridge. I opened its door, expecting to find a little jar of cream inside. Much to my surprise, I discovered two large vats! My parents appeared very casual about my discovery, explaining the milkman had delivered it. However, I had a deep sense of urgency to give the excess away.
On one occasion, my friend Marion had invited a group of ladies over to her place. Oh the trouble she had gone to! A beautiful cloth on the table accented the lovely baked goodies that awaited us, but alas, no one was eating. Our hostess urged us all to eat. Why didn’t we? Perhaps we didn’t want to appear too greedy, perhaps we were too shy, perhaps none of us wanted to be the first to partake. Yet, if someone has gone to so much trouble on our behalf, shouldn’t we honour them by sampling what they have provided?
What about the banquet table that has been prepared for you? Perhaps there is a special dish that you might recognise, prepared just for you. Perhaps its a covered silver dish filled with some delectable favourite, or a delicate gold plate or maybe its a beautiful dainty blue china dish. The Lord has prepared something with just you in mind, something he knows that would be a blessing. Can you hear Him encouraging you? "Don’t be shy, I have lovingly prepared this dish with you in mind. Come forth, be seated and partake at my table."
Isaiah 48:6 I will show you specified new things from this time forth even hidden things kept in reserve which you have not known.
Let me encourage you to sit down, lift the lid on the dish and partake of that which God has prepared for you for this time.
Little Purple Flowers
The other day I had a down day. Much has been going on lately and I am tired. I believe in praising God in all things. I practice it, also. Trouble is, not all around me either believe it or practice it and their discouraging words sometimes get me down.
This was one of those days. It seemed like each time I turned around something else would happen and in my worn out state, I’d start crying all over again. Not buckets of tears, mind you, but tears none-the-less. My husband and I had driven to Dollar Tree to pick up some things our family needed and I was just getting out of the van when I felt tears threatening again. I turned and walked in front of the van so that my husband wouldn’t see and question me. I had no good answer, really. "Oh, no, honey. I’m fine, I guess. Everything is just all too much for me because it is too much for others." Sounds silly, doesn’t it?
We had parked about five cars out and I was walking on the grass in front of the parking spaces. I’d passed our van and maybe two others when I looked down at the ground in front of me. Scattered among the grass were these absolutely gorgeous, amazingly tiny, little purple flowers. Their beauty caused me to slow down to see them better. They were even prettier up close.
It was obvious that God had sent me a blessing. Here in a parking lot in front of a nondescript store, God showed me the beauty still to be found in life. He stopped me in my tracks by the obvious care that He had taken in the design of these beautiful little flowers. He also reminded me of the care He had taken of me by getting my attention so that I could be blessed by His gift.
I was blessed. I entered the store with a smile on my face and I came out with one, too. In fact, the rest of the day passed pleasantly. No more tears from me, no more complaining from others. I had been blessed and I knew it.
I am still being blessed by the memory of this. The God of the universe used some tiny little flowers to brighten my mood and lighten my load. He’s amazing, my God is and He’s oh so worthy and trustworthy. All we have to do is remember that.
Heart Transplant After Care
Psalms 51:10 (NKJV)
Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV)
Ezekiel 18:31 (NIV)
In the natural, to even be considered for a heart transplant, one must successfully go through a rigorous round of physical and psychological testing, only to be placed on a waiting list. Regardless of the reason why a physical heart transplant is deemed necessary, potential candidates are counseled both before and after surgery, ensuring the recipient understands the total life-style changes that must accompany that new heart, if that new heart is to function properly.
Some will have to abandon their poor life choices, changing their diet and activity level. Others will need to learn coping mechanisms to deal with the stress of their everyday lives and learn how to take time out to rest, They will have to learn the art of long-term, consistent discipline as they follow through a regiment of anti-rejection drugs and vitamins for the rest of their life.
Those who have lived with a diseased heart because of hereditary factors or illness have an added challenge,the challenge of trusting their new heart can carry the load. No more do they have to restrict their activity out of the fear of overtaxing an already weakened organ. They will have to take a deep breath and plunge into a freedom they perhaps have never known. No longer do they have to sit on the sidelines, they can participate fully in the world around them.
God is in the heart transplant business. He takes away our stony, ineffective hearts and replaces them with strong, soft hearts that beat in syncopation with His. Unlike the earthly medical profession, he has no need to screen recipients. He considers no one to be too unworthy or too far gone. There is no waiting list. He gives his new heart freely to all who would ask with no strings attached. He paid the price, covered our medical bills and blessed us with a new life.
How do we treat that new heart? Do we continue in our old ways? Do we abuse this priceless gift by eating our fill of spiritual artery clogging anger, resentment and bitterness? Are we feeding ourselves spiritual junk food or are we following God's healthy diet plan of bible reading, fellowship and prayer? Are we holding back and not engaging Him and those around us with our whole hearts out of fear that the strain would be too much? Do we still live in timidity and anxiety?
Let us worship and love our God with our whole hearts. Let us serve Him, live with Him and bless His people with our whole hearts. Let us live abundantly, running the good race, confident that the heart He gave us will see us through to the very end if we follow the prescription he set before us at the time of our 'heart transplant'. May we give thanks like David who danced with all his might before the Lord, with no fear that it would be 'too much for him to handle'. Let us enjoy the new life and the new opportunities that our new hearts give us. He gives us a second chance and perhaps a third or even fourth chance to be alive, truly alive, living a life that is active, vibrant, glowing, robust and energized.
Don't we as earthly gift-givers rejoice when we see a gift that we have given is used to its fullest potential by the recipient? How more so our Heavenly Father must rejoice when we fully utilize and rightfully treat the heart that he paid such a sacrifice in order for us to receive it.
Please note: All graphics and articles within this site are ©2012 Katherine Walden unless otherwise stated.
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