Showing posts with label seasons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seasons. Show all posts

Saturday, March 13, 2021

If You Feel Hopeless

Luke 8:12-15
Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

My garden breathed the breath of new life. 

Ohio’s temperatures teased us with hints of spring. At our condo, the lawn care folks hauled wheel barrows loaded with mulch. They mulched around the trees and the perimeters of the buildings. 

In my little area around our porch, I’ve planted flowers and decorated with garden ornaments. Before the guys mulched our corner, I removed decorative rocks and pulled out dead leaves. I cleaned out the mess the finches made, dropping their leftovers on my flower bed, and dug out a few weeds.

After the landscapers added the mulch, I rearranged the shredded wood chips around the blooming crocus, hyacinth sprouts, and unfurling tulip leaves. As spring approaches, I’ll witness new life as it pushes through the soil and blooms as beautiful flowers.

My garden appeared refreshed, clean, and ready for growth.

I’ve been a Christian for many, many years. At times, I’ve carried rocks in my heart. Stones of guilt and anger weighed me down. Sin disguised as colorful ornaments tempted me. Self-deprecation filled my mind with debris. Yet even in all the darkness of sin and shame, the beauty of being a Christ follower shined through. Jesus reached out and accepted all the rocks, stones, and dirt. He took all of the burdens from me and renewed my life. He’s encouraged me to grow and bloom; to be the best person I can be.

Granted, I still struggle, and I still sin. I’m not perfect. But I know Jesus continues to hear my cries for mercy, and for that I am thankful.

If you feel hopeless, turn to Jesus. In him there is hope, joy, peace, and rest. He wants to take your burdens and replace them with grace. Jesus died to give life to whomever chooses to follow him.

Seek the one who renews life. Jesus loves you.

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Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Season for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.



And a time to take a walk and see the beauty of spring.

As we wait out the COVID-19 virus, Tim and I and many people I know have made walking outside part of their daily activity.

We've trekked around the high school track. Hiked on a trail in the woods and ambled around the neighborhood. I'm happy to report we've witnessed spring's arrival. Regardless of our circumstances, the frustration that eats at us, missing our families, friends, and church, or not workingthe tulips peek out with a flourish of color, the bright yellow daffodils wave in the breeze, trees show off their blossoms, robins twitter and tweet, and the sun bursts through the clouds.

This morning in my quiet time, I read a verse in Psalm 43, "Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell." As I read, sunlight spread across my Bible and highlighted the words. Goose bumps raised on my arms. I bowed my head and prayed God would lead me to that mountain where he rests.

His light gives hope in this time of despair. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a season for everything. Good and bad. Regardless of which moment we're in, God remains the same. His light and truth guide us. He offers hope for a hurting world. In him we find peace.

In this season of difficulty, have you prepared your heart? Jesus loves you. He offers peace and hope through forgiveness and grace. Let his light and truth guide your heart.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

The Breath We Breathe

Isaiah 55:10-11
As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

I love trees in every season; budding leaves, full shade, riots of color, and bare branches.

A magnificent maple tree stood, like a guard, by the end of our gravel driveway. That tree provided shelter for me as I waited on the school bus. In the summer, I'd play in the welcoming shade. No matter the season, the maple spread its massive branches overhead.

I remember looking up through the limbs at the gorgeous red and gold leaves as they danced in the sky. For a child, that was pure magic.

According to Botanical Gardens Conservation International there are more than 60,000 species of trees in the world. God created every one of them with purpose. In the spring, flowering trees like dogwood and redbud spread across the Appalachian Mountains. In summer and fall folks harvest fruit from apple, pear, banana, and coconut trees, to name a few. In winter, the evergreens provide shelter for cardinals and all their friends.
Most important, trees give us oxygen; the very breath we breath. They soak in the rain with their roots and reach toward the sky to the sun, in order to share their gift with us.

These beauties remind me to bury my roots deep in God's word. The Lord provides all the nourishment I need, through the scripture, his people, and his grace. As the oaks and palms do, I reach toward heaven, through prayer and praise to God's son, Jesus, then take a deep breath and inhale his love.

God gave every tree a purpose. If he cares that much about the forests, just think how much he loves us.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Poetry Review: When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Julie Morstad

Book Description:
Flowers blooming in sheets of snow make way for happy frogs dancing in the rain. Summer swims move over for autumn sweaters until the snow comes back again. In Julie Fogliano's skilled hand and illustrated by Julie Morstad's charming pictures, the seasons come to life in this gorgeous and comprehensive book of poetry.


My Review:
I ordered When Green Becomes Tomatoes from the library because the title intrigued me. Curious about what the poet had to say about the seasons, I opened the book and fell into a lovely treasure of words. Julie Fogliano's poems may be written for children, but they spoke to my soul. As a lover of nature, I delighted in each encounter. The verses are titled by date and divided into seasons. I especially liked "july 12", the date of my birthday. The children go to the beach and eat plums and peanut butter sandwiches. How fun! I'm also partial to the winter poems. Not only are the poems well done, the illustrations are perfect. They set the stage for each season. Julie Morstad's gouache and pencil crayon art are soft and appealing. I highly recommend reading this book to your children; after you read it yourself.