February 28 – Special Access

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Learning curves are wonderful. They can be wild and wooly rides, but they are oh, so needed in this life. My husband experienced one of these early on in our country move.

We had decided to ride our bikes one evening here close to our house. My dad has a group of cows and calves and one bull in the pasture right next to us. As we rode that evening, we made our way down the road right by the cow pasture. Animals can really tell you a lot about life, by the way.

They are easy to read most of the time. In this case, the cows looked at us like a dogs at a new pan. They all looked up, stopped eating, and stood motionless as we, the “strangers,” rode right by their territory on funny, shiny metal things that moved in circles (our bikes). They were obviously thinking, “We have no idea who you are, you look strange, and we are watching you and guarding our babies like hawks until you make your happy way back down the road. (The bull didn’t look like he was saying anything.)”

Lorenzo was asking me a ton of questions as we made our way back and we laughed about their obvious opinion of us as “foreigners.” The next day, he happened to help my dad with some cattle chores on another place. He watched as he has several times as my dad’s truck gets into view and suddenly the cattle are surrounding the truck, hoping for some cubes (kind of like a treat that he gives them.)

My dad asked Lorenzo to get something from the truck after they unloaded some hay. As he was trying to walk, the cows were so close to him he could have petted them, not to mention how close they were to him! He was a bit unnerved at their total abandonment in his presence, each of them weighing around 800 lbs. and being so friendly, remembering the evening before! But being with the owner of the herd in the white truck made all of the difference in the world. He had gained special access!       

This is a beautiful truth! Jesus is the One who gives us special access to the Father. His sacrifice gave us the right to walk right in to the throne of God as His children, free and without guilt. When we confess him as Lord, something inside of us snaps together and we literally become a “new creation.”

This transaction gives us the liberty to walk as He asks us to walk in this life with the garment of a Father’s unconditional love wrapped around our shoulders. How wonderful, how marvelous!!!!   May we never lose sight of this awesome gift, and may we convince others in the way we live and the way we love that they, too, can have special access to the God and Father of all creation!

Jennifer

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Luke 13:24

 Biblical Meditation: John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me..

 

January 30 – The “God-Kind” of Nature

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Not long ago, my son showed me where a mother ringneck dove had built a nest in a tree close to our home.

She was so beautifully camouflaged by the branches and leaves I could barely see her. There was something very “Genesis” about this momma and her nest. Nobody had to tell her what to do; instinctively she found the proper location, at the proper time, to do what she was created to do.

In my estimation, that’s so simple, we almost need help to misunderstand it. The activities of the birds and the fish are seasonal reminders to those who choose to pay attention. A Creator crafted all that exists to function according to supernatural specifics.

Many of us call that “nature.” And if that Creator thought enough of doves and dolphins to give them built-in “honing devices” to operate in certain seasons, surely He has not forgotten us! On the contrary, there is more than ample evidence surrounding us that is literally shouting His love for us.

So the next time you take note of the many minnows teaming in the streams, or the robins singing their morning song, remember…you, too, were created to do that thing only you can do. It’s your “God-kind” of nature.

 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:20-21 NKJV

Biblical Meditation: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

 

January 7 – Good Words (Jenny)

boise_valley_wheat_fieldLet me start by saying I don’t get a special letter every day, but I thought these words from a recent note from my husband were worth sharing:   You are truly God’s gift to me. Some days, you are the gentle soft touch that tells me I am loved and cherished. And some days, you are the burr under the saddle that tells me to kick it in gear, it’s time to go! But whatever the day and whatever the message, there is no other place I’d rather be than here doing life with you. You are my wife,  you are my friend.

With encouragement like that, I could climb the highest mountain! Yay!!! Through the process of time, we have lived and learned just a little. There’s been some good, bad, some ‘ugly’ we’d rather forget. We have learned how far gentle words can go. (And make no mistake; a ‘sharp tongue’ has often helped us fall flat on our faces!) No matter what situation we encounter, the tone of voice we choose and the emotions we put to use can make or break each moment of the day.

 In the New Testament, James goes into much detail about the power of the tongue. He really goes into specifics concerning the results of a tongue that’s out of control. I love to see the flip-side of consciously putting our tongues to good use, though. If the product of rough and callous words is unfavorable, how great can the results be when our words are kind?

 I grew up on a cattle and wheat farm. Everything I watched my daddy do involved a complete trust in reaping what he had sown. Our words are like that. The principle of “sowing and reaping” WILL work…for me, for you, for all of us. If you don’t give up, you’ll start to see wonderful results…one “good word” at a time!

A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones. Proverbs 14:30 Message

 A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. Proverbs 15:1 Message

Biblical Meditation: James 3, Galatians 6:7-9

November 19-Words With Wisdom

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. Proverbs 18:21 MSG

Today I am reminded that the way I use my words can change a person’s life. Once I got really upset with one of my sisters and said something rude about how she looked. Later on my dad told me that mean words can hurt the way someone thinks about himself. So as you go through your day, watch what you say to those you love!

Nathaniel

February 10 – Hit-lure

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan. Proverbs 29:2

Today’s proverbial thought awakens a moment in history that will affect the world as we know it forever. Leaders come and go and the truly good ones rule well and are often taken for granted because they raise few red flag warnings. They do the job entrusted them with honor and integrity.

But like the truck my son recently found on Craigslist that was “too good to be true,” there are moments in time where “too good to be true” leaders have emerged with vigor. And after the smoke cleared, there was hardly anything left but ashes.

There are several case studies to choose from, but Adolf Hitler is a classic. A decorated soldier in World War I, in many ways, he appeared to have the zeal, passion and vision to make Germany great. But something on the inside was a bit twisted.

His first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the Great Depression, the denunciation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I, and the annexation of territories that were home to millions of ethnic Germans – actions which gave him significant popular support (courtesy of Wikipedia).

When a people are suffering, particularly in the area of finances, they seem to be more vulnerable of this lure by cunning ideology and “quick fix” phantoms.

Hitler’s Nazi Party became the largest elected party in the German Reichstag, leading to his appointment as chancellor in 1933. Following fresh elections won by his coalition, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which began the process of transforming the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of National Socialism (courtesy of Wikipedia).

Any institution of merit has foundation stones. And most of the time, those stones have been well thought out, inspired and strategically placed. Caution should be strongly applied when those views and values become disregarded and or disrespected by a new set of ideas. Change is normal and necessary, but it is far better when it is an outgrowth of that which has already been.

Case in point: God never threw away the Israeli people as His chosen. He just gave birth to the Church age through them by sending Christ as a Jew. Though the “religions” stand alone and individual, the spiritual DNA of both are founded on the same stone.

Under Hitler’s leadership and racially motivated ideology, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims whom he and his followers deemed racially inferior. Hitler and the Nazi regime were also responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war (courtesy of Wikipedia).

There was a lot of death, destruction and mayhem before the people recognized the hidden agenda. Some never did. They were so indoctrinated, the deception became their reality.

Put today’s proverb in a prominent place so it penetrates your subconscious thoughts.

And from that place…pray for those who would dare lead us.
Lorenzo

February 2 – Walking the Line

Playing favorites is always a bad thing; you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways. Proverbs 28:21 MSG

I am partial. I like the fall better than the dead of winter or the height of summer.

I like vanilla ice cream over chocolate. And I like a basketball court best of all when there are wrestling mats from wall to wall.

Yes, it’s true, even with people, I tend toward certain ones and shy away from others.

What’s funny is, I don’t like to think of my “partiality preferences” as favoritism. In my mind, that sounds too much like prejudice. I can see there is a difference between what I prefer and whom I choose to favor over another. But if I am not walking in wisdom, the line that separates the two can quickly disappear.

May my desire to treat all men as brothers and live wisely before them assist me in the “differentiation” process.

Lorenzo

January 13 – Every Breath You Take

Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow; you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. Proverbs 27:1 MSG

At the close of the year, I start making plans for the upcoming one. I do my little recaps and jot down what I am going to do differently this New Year. And most of the time, I get up on the first or second day and all that I planned is in full swing in my heart.

But rarely does it ever play out in reality like I thought.

Plans are good and goals are essential and wise. But when you don’t own the car, where you plan to go in it is susceptible to change. It’s humbling to admit, but nonetheless, we don’t own the breath we breathe or the bodies in which we take that next breath. God does.

And even if we choose not to accept it, our bodies are going to partake of their fair share of oxygen whether we believe in breathing or not.

Therefore, today, I stop and acknowledge my Creator and rightful owner of my soul. And in love and appreciation, humbly submit my ideas for the day and gratefully accept what He already had in store.