Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why Do Leaves Change Colors?

It's that time of year again. Most trees are no longer green instead sporting richly colored coats of yellow, orange and red which brings up the perennial question, "Why do leaves change color?"

There are massive scientific answers but very simply it's because Autumn is a very revealing time...

All spring and summer photosynthesis is going on in the leaves. Chlorophyll is produced causing the leaves to be green and the leaves are giving off oxygen. This is their season and they are contributing to the good of the world around them.

Then the nights get cool and the weather drier and suddenly what has worked for months works no longer. The flow of nutrients from the tree is cut off and the chlorophyll disappears and the there is no more green color. What is revealed are the colors they were underneath all along, behind the mask of green and/or their colors also reveal what has been stored up or trapped in the leaves when the supply of nutrients ceased.

Trapped sugars produce the reds and leaves that turn immediatly brown reveal trapped poison.

Why do have trouble?
Why do we who love the Lord and seek to serve him find ourselves victims of the same things that plague ungodly, God mocking people?
Why aren't our lives one continued blessing of God after another?

When life is good,days are warm, and breezes are gentle, we are all green.
When life stops working, we show our true colors...
Let your difficulties reveal the sweetness of a confident assurance that you have stored up deep in your heart that God is in control.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trick? or Treat?

It was Halloween, 1966 and the phone rang in the red brick house. The baby they had been waiting to adopt was now ready to be brought to them; would they like their daughter tonight? The woman was worried, she had a cold and was afraid this would keep them from bringing over the infant...So while cowboys, princesses and ghosts traversed the neighborhood in search of candy, Lee and Virginia Fisher became parents. And every Halloween for years my mom would tell me how I was their Halloween treat.

But this is the "happily ever after" part of the story.

What about the years previous to this joyous ending? What about the disappointment, frustration and angst of the almost twenty years that preceded it as they tried everything to have children? What about the cruel trick that kept them from becoming parents as their siblings had families of 3, 4, and 5 children already: when others carried new babies and they did not?

Our lives are suddenly thrown these seemingly cruel tricks, and there are health or financial or family or personal crises. Suddenly the carpet is yanked out from under you and you find yourself sitting on the floor going "what just happened?"; be it by a phone ringing in the middle of the night, a pink slip, an injury, an argument, an accident, or something just does not work no matter how hard you try.

What if your entire business was wiped out, the majority of your staff killed and your children crushed by a falling building? Your wife, overcome with the grief, lashes out and says you'd be better off dead too. Add to this a group of friends who come and, because they love to hear themselves talk, offer their advice and long discourses about what you've done to deserve these awful things that have happened to you...

See here another man who is so hated by his brothers that they have thrown him to the ground and as a mob stand around him with murder in their eyes until one brother steps up and says "Let's make some money off him instead. We can sell him as a slave." and suddenly he's tied to a camel, the property of strangers...

Here is a widow who is pulling out the last cup of flour and a drizzle of oil and carefully combining it, losing not a single bit, as she prepares to make one final small cake for her and her son. This is all the food there is, she can get no more, they will eat it and then wait to die and now there is a stranger at the door asking her for something to eat...

The man who lost everything says "But he knows where I am going.And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold." and then it turns out that "The Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning" (Job 23:10, 42:12)

The man stripped of his freedom and sold into slavery now stands as a ruler in Egypt and says to his brothers, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good." (Genesis 50:20)

And the poor widow, who gives her last piece of bread to the prophet of God, discovers that she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. (I Kings 17:15,16)

When all we see is the trick in our lives we have to open our eyes of faith and cling to the fact that "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8,9) for we know that "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." (Hebrews 11:1)

Our faith allows us to be confident that God knows what is happening in our lives and that He has a plan.

God knows what is his ultimate purpose is through the hard things that are happening to us. We have been promised that "God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." (Philippians 1:6) and that He is working all the things in our lives together for our good so that we will be more like Jesus. (Romans 8:28).

So, this hardship in your life, is it a cruel trick?
Does it have the ability to become a treat?

Be confident and assured that God has not abandoned you.
In His time He will work out His purpose in your life.
Your faith will be affirmed.
He is worthy of our trust for "The word of the Lord holds true and we can trust everything he does" and we know that "to the faithful you (God) show yourself faithful" (Psalms 33:4, 18:25)

No matter what is currently in your pumpkin...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Authoritative Headgear

My daughter is designing a roman goddess costume and that has caused me to be thinking about laurel wreaths, papal hats, and crowns.

I have a group of girlfriends with whom we celebrate each other’s birthdays. We have our very own birthday tiara, which the birthday girl has to wear while we are at the restaurant signifying to everyone around us that she is someone special. (and yes, we do get many second looks)

Although we do not have a queen, that serenely waves as her carriage is escorted down Main Street USA, we are familiar with the concept of sovereignty.

Our music is filled with references to God as king and that we are to “crown him with many crowns.” We know that God is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

What I find amazing however is that although God is King he does not overtake the throne of my heart by force.

He waits until I finally come to the realization that He is God and that I am not and that He is the one capable of ruling my life and that I must take the crown from my head and put it on His. I must be the one who crowns him as king.

How I would love to say that this was for me a one-time deal; but what I find is that it’s more of a daily rite of devotion. (And I use that word intentionally for we are familiar with it as
"devotions" a time of Bible reading and prayer but do we remember what the word devotion actually is attesting to?)

Each morning I find myself stepping up to the throne ready to control my day and my destiny and then at some point I realize, yet again, that I have made myself monarch.

How I love that God, although he is King, does not come to me as despot but waits until I willingly step down from the dais, remove the crown from my own head and place it on his. There is no overthrowing of our government by his forces. He waits until we willingly make Him Lord and gives us that choice.

And then there are the times that the King of my Life asks of me something I am unwilling to do and I snatch back the crown because I know a better or easier way, until I fail and finally acknowledge that His will is ultimately for my good and again crown him the almighty sovereign God.

King of my life
I crown thee now
Thine shall the glory be…

That crown is in your hands, right now, and every moment of every day; on whose head will it be placed?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Small Pleasures

(I thought about taking an actual picture of this event to add to the words, but it was too scary... )
I am having "tea".
All by myself at ten in the morning I have made a pot of coconut chi tea, taken out my china teapot and cup and the special silver teaspoon. I have put on a beautiful CD mix and have made cranberry scones and a batch of devonshire cream.

In front of me sits beauty and serenity.

Well, correction, before me sits beauty and serenity in a space on my dinning room table.
Also occupying the surface area was a basket of apples, assorted Lego's, a hairbrush, paper towels, photographs, scattered mail and some Operation Christmas Child boxes making the rest of the table not at all serene!

So why, with all that obviously needed attending to, had I pushed back an area for "a spot of tea" ?

A friend had sent for my birthday some of the things I was using for my personal tea party. In my way of thinking gifts are all about providing a complement or an opportunity to the person you're giving to. So as I'd been given the opportunity for a moment of quiet beauty, I took it.

There will always be something to do.
There will always be more to do than time to do it.


A wide open space in your schedule will never appear to meet a friend or forgot everything else and play with a child, to close your eyes and get lost in a piece of magnificent music or dance in the kitchen or to stand outside on a fall day and drink it the vibrant colors and cool breeze on your skin and the smell of wood smoke on the air.

The work will be there when you get back to it.

So let me challenge you today to find a moment - ten seconds or ten minutes - to experience some of the pleasures that lie just beyond the reach of an obsessed with "gotta get it all done" mind, and I bet that when you wade back into the fray that you will be refreshed and more effective and clearer minded than before you took this intentional break.

"Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures..." H. Jackson Brown Jr.