Becoming humble

Becoming like Christ is a full-time, life-long pursuit. It is a journey which includes both forward and backward movement. Times of advancement and times of stagnation should be expected. It is important to understand that this “walk” with Christ which we are on is our life’s work. We must continue to press forward. While perfectly emulating Christ is impossible, it is likely that some aspects of Christ’s life may be easier to imitate than others.

Humility is one quality of Christ that requires dedication and persistence. Acquiring humility is difficult, for the moment when you think you have it, it is gone. It is also difficult because the world is so devoid of humility. The absence of humility gives us all the more reason to develop and demonstrate a humble life. Continue reading “Becoming humble”

Honoring those who are worthy of honor

“Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7 ESV).

The custom of honoring guests and dignitaries by putting a scarf or garland around their neck is strong in Nepal and much of Asia. In the churches, visiting missionaries, as well as Nepali preachers and leaders, and local civic leaders are almost always welcomed by the ceremony of “garlanding.” It is a means of demonstrating respect and showing that they are held in honor. The traditional scarves and flowers are of little intrinsic value, but the act of being shown respect is priceless. Continue reading “Honoring those who are worthy of honor”

The Outhouse Flower

Nicole should have a bumper sticker that reads, “I brake for interesting vegetation.” Well, so many of my friends need that phrase emblazoned on their vehicles! Many of us carry digging tools in our cars for “emergencies” such as finding an unusual plant in a neglected area, sometimes about to be bulldozed over.

It should be stated here as a disclaimer that neither Nicole nor I would knowingly dig a protected species of flower just so we could cultivate it in our own gardens, but there is such a thing as a bona fide “plant rescue.” Then there are the times when we couldn’t resist a wonderful roadside “weed” that was in large supply.

That was the case when we came upon a beautiful stand of what we tentatively identified as  Rudbeckia Laciniata, or Cutleaf Coneflower. I was hoping that it was what many people used to call “The Outhouse Flower.” That version is actually Rudbeckia Laciniata Hortensia, with a doubled flower, which blooms most of the summer. Continue reading “The Outhouse Flower”

Honor to whom honor is due

It was with happy thoughts of a yellow climbing rose that I planted something on the west side of the old white trellis. The lady who traded plants with me wasn’t sure it was really the old-fashioned “Jude the Obscure,” because her tag had only been labeled “Rose by the trellis.” She has four trellises! She gave me the names of all the possibilities, and most of them were climbers.

The weeks plodded by as I anxiously awaited the blossom that would reveal the variety of my new acquisition. Being behind a three-foot wall, the first bloom came and went, unheralded and unseen! Imagine my disappointment when I saw the spent rose hip instead of a bloom. More weeks dragged by. At last, Jude opened in all his fragrant wonder! Continue reading “Honor to whom honor is due”

Zeal and knowledge

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:1, 2).

A shepherd once strode into the palace of the most powerful man on earth and made a stunning demand: “Thus says the LORD the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go.'” Do you remember Pharaoh’s dubious response?

“Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice and let Israel go,” he wondered derisively, “I do not know the LORD, and moreover I will not let Israel go.” Continue reading “Zeal and knowledge”

Whose garden is it, anyway?

Why do we dig in the dirt and lovingly plant gardens? For ourselves?

The reason we take care of our plants in the garden is for our own use and pleasure. However, we must understand and respect the needs of the plant, or our efforts may well be in vain.

God demands respect. He wants us to worship him and is clear in scripture how that is to happen. (Spoiler alert here: it’s all about God, not about us.) Continue reading “Whose garden is it, anyway?”