Gifts

God’s gift

If you knew the gift of God…” (John 4:10).

Many people are thinking about buying and receiving gifts this time of year. It is admittedly predictable to capitalize on that theme. My mind immediately goes to Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in John 4, where he said:

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10).

Continue reading “God’s gift”

Gratitude9

Are we grateful or entitled?

Entitlement is something we feel we deserve because of who we are. Similar to gossip or lying, it’s something others have. We’re never guilty. Yet, it’s more entrenched than most in America realize.

Comfort is addictive. We’ve had it for years. Food, shelter, security and spending money are ubiquitous. We’ve no reason to expect anything else. Gifts are under the tree, a feast is on the table, decorations sparkle around us. Same as it ever was. Continue reading “Are we grateful or entitled?”

moses-burning-bush

Excuses, excuses

When we catch up with Moses in Exodus 3, forty more years have gone by. Moses is now eighty years old and a shepherd for his father-in-law.

Although Moses seems to have forgotten what he already knew, that God would use him to deliver Israel from Egyptian slavery (see Acts 7:24-25), God had not forgotten. God spoke to Moses from a bush that was burning but not burning up. The message God had for Moses was simple: now was the time for him to go and deliver the Israelites from slavery. Continue reading “Excuses, excuses”

Sweet Million tomato

Gifts and talents

Walking through my vegetable patch in midsummer is like Christmas! The garden is full of nice surprises. It overflows with delicious, fresh, organically grown food. There is no candy on earth that can give more satisfaction than a ripe cherry tomato popped off the vine and right into your mouth, warm from the sun and bursting with flavor!

But we cannot devour every wonderful gift that the garden provides. Many are made into preserves, jams, or pickles and then “re-gifted” to others to enjoy. Sadly, many sit on the kitchen counter and do not get used quickly enough.

There is not much wasted in my kitchen, actually. Most excess food goes to my waist, rather than goes to waste. But in any garden, some perfectly good things go unused. It is part of the natural order. If we and the birds miss a tomato or zucchini, there will be seeds sprouting in the spring for a new crop. The rotting produce feeds the worms, which aerate and fertilize the soil.

Sometimes gifts are meant to be used in a different way than we envision. Continue reading “Gifts and talents”

IMG_1335

Living Stones

“So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and priceless in God’s sight, you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it says in scripture, ‘Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and priceless cornerstone, and whoever believes in him will never be put to shame.’ So you who believe see his value, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and a stumbling-stone and a rock to trip over. They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do” (1 Peter 2:4-8 NET).

When we build a house we often cover the exterior with bricks. Bricks are relatively easy to make and therefore inexpensive. Because they are all alike, they fit together well using some type of mortar to tie them together. When it all dries you end up with a strong wall which will last many years. Even in developing countries, people can make their own bricks using clay, some type of form, and leaving it to set and harden in the sunlight. Continue reading “Living Stones”