We have, for over 4 months now, just taken tree leaves for granted. They have stood proud in their leafy, lively greenness through rain, wind and sun. We enjoyed their shade when the sun was high and the temperature followed, but other than that they kind of went unnoticed. Now that the nights are cool those leafy guardians of the trees are beginning to change their color, so we are noticing them once again. As the days progress we will watch them fall to the ground and we will rake them to the street and watch them be carried away (by the wind, as well as the street crew). Then our trees will stand just as tall, but much less adorned, except for a new fallen snow throughout the winter months.
But, do not despair because those leaves that died away will be replaced by another set of soldiers that will rustle, wave, and shade just like the ones before them. Next spring will bring new buds that will form into leaves that will be ignored much of the summer season and only when fall comes will many of us realize what has been there for months, as they change into their autumn hues of gold, red and orange.
The church is quite the same way. We have many faithful soldiers who have burst onto the scene and have provided safety, love and encouragement throughout our walk with God. Much of the time we take them for granted because they fill their post so well. Sadly, it is only during their autumn season that we notice the influence they have had on our lives. And then, all too suddenly, they're no longer able to stand at the guard in the same way and too many have been taken from us. It is then that we truly notice all that they have given to the church and to our lives.
In case you are wondering, yesterday would have been my parents 57th wedding anniversary and what wouldn't I give to be able to have one more conversation with my daddy. I miss him and too many more soldiers of the faith that have gone on to their reward, but someone has to take their place. All the budding saints of God have got to become leaves of righteousness that stand at guard over the body of Christ. We'll be here to teach the children, reach the lost, and provide a stable base for the church to grow through. The guard changes, but the protection and execution of our duties has to remain.
God Bless You,
I have a few friends that are colorblind. When I am around them, this fact always seems to come up in one way or another. I think it’s partially because we are interested in how someone else views the world and partially because we want to find out if it’s really us who may be seeing things wrong. That was a point of discussion in one of my psychology classes in college. Even though we have determined that the majority of people view the world seeing the same colors and light distortion, does that still mean that we are seeing the true color? I’m fascinated by how my so-called “colorblind” friends see the world but aren't they really just perceiving the colors as they are presented to them?
Before we go too far down that rabbit hole, let’s change course just a little bit. It is getting to the point in the year when the crisp air is helping the trees show their fall coats. Eventually, they will lose those leaves, but we are currently in the sweet spot where everything is bursting with shades of orange, yellow, and red. We are starting to pull out our sweaters and warm socks to combat the brisk mornings and bonfires in the afternoons to knock off the night chill. There are those that try to hold onto summer as long as they can, however. We’ve seen the extremes like wearing sandals when others are pulling out their boots or short sleeves when the rest have scarves. Whether they are freezing or comfortable is hard to tell. We just see how they perceive the current weather conditions, regardless of how others perceive it differently.
In Matthew 5:16, Jesus gives us a clear objective of how we should present ourselves and how we should be perceived. He says “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” We each have been given a specific light to share with the world and we have the obligation to shine it in the correct way. Regardless of how others may be presenting themselves, my good works should be what is on display. In the ways I talk, walk, and interact with those I come in contact with. Secondly, this isn’t so that I can be perceived better than those around me, but more so that I can glorify God and provoke others to do the same. Just like there are many different colors in this world, there are many different people. The truth of the matter is that I can only shine my light, just like you can only shine yours. This isn’t an excuse, but instead a responsibility to make sure that the light we have is being presented and perceived in a way that brings the glory to God and God alone.
Be what you can be and do what you can do,
A story from the word of God has always left quite an impression upon me. Naomi has lost her husband and two sons and her daughters-in-law are standing before her as she says:
11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;
13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.
14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.
16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.
What a powerful display of faithfulness. Even when she was told to leave, Ruth made the choice to stay and be faithful. I think we can all agree that faithfulness is a needed element in every area of our lives:
But the area of life that demands the most faithfulness is our relationship and walk with God. If we cannot be faithful to God then we cannot be faithful in anything. As we develop a lifestyle of faithfulness to God, the Lord is able to foster faithfulness in every area of our lives.
In the parable of the talents, the master says these words: “you have been faithful over a few things, therefore I will make you ruler over many things”. Sadly, some people cannot be faithful over the little things today, but they are still expecting the big responsibilities to come their way. Faithfulness is still relevant in our lives and it must be relevant in our relationship with the Lord. When we get to heaven we will not get there on our looks and abilities, but we will enter into that Holy place because of a life of faithfulness.
3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
There are going to be days that we don’t feel like it. There are going to be days that everything is going down the tubes. There are going to be days that we only have one last nerve for someone to get on. There are going to be days that we are tempted to just get back in bed and pull the covers over our heads. Faithfulness when everything is going well and there are no roadblocks is easy, but to truly be faithful I have to be faithful no matter what is or what isn’t going on. Without faithfulness to God in this life we can never expect to share in the life that is to come. Faithfulness to God is a prerequisite to making heaven our home.
Make the choices you need to make to be faithful. You, your family and anyone that is watching your life will be blessed because of it.