Why Our Chickens Crossed the Road

Sometimes chickens need to cross the road

The Loss

The beginning of summer proved to be rough for my husband Robby and me. Our sweet kitty, Sue, developed cancer earlier in the year, and we started her on chemo. Unfortunately, the treatment was too much for her, and she passed away on May 21.

Sue wasn’t just a cat; she was our fur-baby. She knew just how to bring comfort and joy to our lives each and every day. That’s why her passing was so devastating. I trusted God had a plan, but I couldn’t make it out, and I was too upset that day to really care. Robby and I just sat in the window seat by Sue’s empty bed and wondered what we were supposed to do next.

Then the phone rang. It was our neighbors, the Smiths, asking if we were ready to take the girls.

The Gain

The “girls” are the two beautiful Red Star hens our neighbors had acquired the Sometimes chickens need to cross the roadprevious month. The Smiths were moving to a neighborhood that didn’t allow chickens, and we had happily agreed to adopt them. However, the moving date wasn’t for several weeks, and we hadn’t planned on taking the girls that weekend.

I looked at Robby and sighed. “Well? What else are we going to do? If I keep sitting here, I’ll go crazy.”

He nodded slowly. “OK. Let’s do it.”

The Smiths came over, bringing kind words of encouragement. They had previously lost a beloved pet and understood what we were going through. We then quickly got down to business. Robby had bought and assembled a coop a couple weeks beforehand, and the Smiths helped us reinforce it against predators. Working outside in the sun helped us forget about the empty house inside.

When the coop was ready, we went next door, loaded the girls in a crate, put the crate in a wheelbarrow, and wheeled them across the street. They clucked the whole way! We showed them to their new coop, and they immediately began to peck at the new soil. We couldn’t help but laugh at their little sounds and the way they ruffled their feathers as they bathed in the sand.

The Message

That evening, Robby and I marveled at what God had done. We knew why our chickens crossed the road that day, from our neighbors’ house to ours: to bring us comfort and joy when we needed it most, and to remind us that God loves us and has a plan for us.

We didn’t know when Sue would leave this world, but God did. We didn’t know what joy the chickens would bring us, but He did. He orchestrated the whole thing and brought us encouragement by way of the Smiths and two plucky hens, Lula Bell and Lu Ellen.

When the night seems the darkest, we should remember that God is not blind. He is not surprised when our circumstances change, and He is not hindered by our grief. All things work for the good to those of us who love God and are called according to His purpose (see Romans 8:28).

Remember that it is God who arranges the events of youChicken2 [685404]r days. Your job is to simply be obedient to His call (like the Smiths were that day). I also recommend looking out for chickens crossing the road. You never know—they just may be the blessing you need.

Ashley Jones

Read more from Ashley at: Bigsisterknows.com 

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A New View From the Middle

A New View From the Middle

Generally speaking I don’t like the middle seats – anywhere.

Not in a car

Not in a plane

Not even in a traffic lane

Not at a movie

or a show

Not even church.

And now you know.

But do you know one place I DO like being in the middle? When I am sandwiched between my two adult daughters and my husband.  We can be packed in tightly, hardly room to breathe, and all I feel is safe, secure and loved. We giggle (my husband gives a manly chuckle) and snuggle, and experience the joy of the moment. Suddenly, that sense of being ‘stuck’ in the middle transforms into the joy of the middle spot.

Maybe, like me, you experienced that as a child. Those times you were squeezed in between mom and dad. Safe,secure,loved,and joyful.

In those moments, there is no place I would rather be.

Did you ever stop to consider that we are living our lives ‘in the middle’?

We have an English expression “everything from A to Z” meaning A, Z and everything in between.  In the Greek alphabet, Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters. Jesus said:

 

 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,

the First and the Last,

the Beginning and the End.”

(Revelation 22:13)

Jewish rabbis often used Alpha and Omega to indicate the entirety, the whole from beginning to end. Jesus does not mean He is only the beginning and the end.

Yes, Christ was there at the beginning of creation. He is in the first verse of Genesis.

Yes, He will be there at the end of all things. He is in the last verse of Revelation. He always has and always will exist.

And that means He is here now, in the middle, where we live. Between the beginning and the end.

What is your view from the middle? It might be tempting to focus on the discomfort of your position. Are you wondering where to plant your feet today, like when you face that awkward hump in the middle of the back seat? Are you realizing you have no easy way out of a difficult situation, like when you need a quick exit from the middle of the row in a packed theater? I’m sure you are more aware of your discomfort in the middle on days filled with pain, hardship and discouragement.  It gives new meaning to the phrase “Hump day”!

Let’s encourage one another with this truth: Jesus is all that He says He is!

Find comfort in knowing Jesus is here with you in the middle.

Find hope in knowing He exists on both sides of these days.

Do you feel stuck in your spot in the middle? Just look at who you are sandwiched in between! The Alpha and the Omega! Feel Him squeeze in tightly next to you. Discover the pure joy of knowing you are:

Safe…secure…and loved

The middle is a wonderful place to be!

Shellynne Wucher 

Read more from Shellynne @light4mysteps.wordpress.com

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How Do You Tell Someone?

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“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”—Mark 8:36 (NIV).

Have you ever had some exciting news to share with others? Maybe the news was so terrific you thought you would burst before you could tell someone. While grocery shopping recently, I bumped into a neighbor. We were discussing mundane things like the weather and our flowerbeds when I heard someone shout, “Carol, I’ve got some great news.”

My friend and I turned around to greet another neighbor. Pushing the grocery cart as fast as she could, my excited neighbor said, “My photo was accepted into ‘Country’ magazine—you know the one you helped me send in by email.”

I was excited for my friend. The photo I had helped her download and submit to the magazine was of a rabbit standing on its hindquarters eating from a low-hanging bird feeder in her backyard. It was one of those rare moments of being in the right place at the right time with a camera in hand.

If we look, we can find opportunities each day to share with those who might not have heard the most exciting news of all. Or maybe they’ve heard but they don’t believe God has a plan for their lives too. Before I came to understand God’s plan is a life-giving relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, I had no real peace.

How do you explain “the peace that passes understanding” to someone who doesn’t understand nor has accepted God’s grace? Author Joseph Cooke wrote, “Grace is nothing more nor less than the face that love wears when it meets imperfection, weakness, failure, sin.”

In a recent sermon titled “Does God have a plan for my life?” my pastor said, “We all have a basic need to know Him.”

Before I gave my heart to Jesus, I could say I knew of Him, but I didn’t know Him. Like many who don’t understand the true nature of our Creator, I thought it was about following all the rules. In his sermon, our pastor reminded us of three things:

  • You can’t earn a place in heaven by being nice.
  • You can’t earn a right relationship with God by doing good things.
  • You can’t earn a relationship with God by knowing all the answers.

Before I knew God personally, I thought I had all the answers but they weren’t the right ones. I now know it was a sign of my own insecurity. Real security comes from knowing one thing—our Creator loves us wholly. His grace, His heart leads Him not to deal with us according to our sins or to retaliate against us according to our iniquities. He is always faithful, even when we are not.

Christian theologian St. Augustine said, “Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”

Such sweet rest comes from knowing His love, kindness and favor when we trust in Him. You don’t have to earn it. Just accept it.

Now, that’s exciting news to share.

Carol Round

Read more from Carol @carolaround.com

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Facing Surgery

Have you ever faced surgery?

Have you ever faced surgery? Were you calm or nervous?

I had back surgery a few years ago. I was looking forward to it to relieve my pain until two days before surgery. Then the devil got ahold of me. I started thinking of what could go wrong. What if the doctor does something wrong? Will I be able to still walk? Will my pain be worse? Will I still be able to play with our grandchildren?

Everything kept going through my mind. I wasn’t able to think of anything else. I called one of the pastor’s and talked with him. He prayed with me and said he’d check on me after the surgery. I still just couldn’t shake the nerves.

The next day I had to go to the hospital for pre-op check-in. While I was waiting for my turn my surgeon came out to talk with the family of surgery he had just completed. When he was done I asked if I could talk to him. He sat down with me and talked about the procedure and how he would care for me. He calmed my nerves some.

Once I was back out in my car I went over what he had told me about the surgery and prayed. Then I sat quietly and felt God’s peace come over me. I had finally stopped long enough to push the scary thoughts out of my mind and let God fill me up.

The surgery went well; the pain in my lower back was finally gone. In (Ps 34:4) we see how God is always with us.

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,

And delivered me from all my fears.

I have upper back and neck pain too. I am scheduled for surgery the end of this month to have a breast reduction. We are hoping this will relieve the rest of the problem.

Beside the pain, having large breasts are frustrating. They get in the way, tops don’t fit well, and for a dress to fit on top it’s usually too big around the hips.

I was talking with my cousin the other day and she asked if I was nervous or excited. I said “Yes.” I think it’s a little of both. I’m looking forward to the strain on my neck and back to go away, but I’m a little nervous about going through surgery. I have complete trust in my doctor. He’s one of the top in the field in this area and highly recommended. It’s the devil trying to worm his way in, trying to undermine my faith that God will take care of me.

I remember the story in Mt 6:25–34, this reminds me again to put my faith in God.

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

God is always there for us. He is waiting for us to reach out to Him. We have free will, it is up to us to make the choice to listen to Him.

Jann Martin

Read more from Jann @www.jannwmartin.com

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Dear Lord, Heal Our Land

Dear Lord, heal our land. By Gwen Thielges | www.liftupyourday.com

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Dear Lord,

What an amazing blessing it is to identify as ‘Your people.’ We are thankful for the opportunity to be Yours; that we can go to You in prayer at any time, that we can know for certain You hear our prayers, and that we can know You have a plan for our lives that was set in motion before we were in our mother’s womb. We are grateful, but wow, do we ever take these facts for granted. Forgive us, Lord and help us keep these truths close to our hearts and foremost in our minds from now on.

Lord, help us humble ourselves. We have sadly embraced the idea that we are self-sufficient…that we do not need You until we are desperate. We have uninvited You from being part of the daily routines of our lives, the daily decisions that we make, and the daily burdens that we carry. Forgive us and remind us that we not only need You, but that You actually desire to be in everything we say and do. Clearly, we need to remember Who You are, and who we are in comparison to You. You are God. We are not. Help us live daily in a humble manner.

Lord, we talk about what is happening in our country. We post, tweet, complain, rant, and argue about what is happening in our country. Help us, Lord, to pray about what is happening in our country…to drop to our knees, literally or figuratively in humility, and ask for Your direction and Your answers in our land. We pray for wisdom for our nation. Your Word says You will give wisdom if we ask. We pray for peace for our nation. Your Word promises a peace that is beyond understanding.

Dear Lord, help us seek Your face; to pursue You above all else. Place in us a desire to seek You above all this world has to offer. You inspired a written love letter from You to us in Your Holy Bible. Help us to read it, understand it, love it, and hide it in our hearts, Lord. We want to know You in a deeper way; to cherish You. The more we get to know You, the more we want to get to know You! Lord, thank You for wanting a personal, loving relationship with Your children.

Lord, help us turn from our wicked ways. We have strayed dangerously far from the wonderful path You desire to graciously lead us on. We justify our sin, instead of seeking Your ways. We make excuses and live as though going against Your Word is no big deal. We are desensitized to what sin really is and how it affects our hearts, lives, and everyone around us. Yet, You are a forgiving God, and You welcome us back with open arms. Thank You, Lord, that You readily forgive us when we confess our sins. Reveal to us everything in our lives that is not pleasing to You. The temporary and false rewards that sin offers will never come close to comparing to the exquisite gift of living in Your will.

Please forgive our sin. Please heal our land. Only You, Lord, can help us in this time of need. We come to You in confidence, knowing You love us and that only You can come into the midst of this mess and bring beauty.

In Your perfect, loving, and holy name we pray. Amen.

Gwen Thielges

Read more from Gwen @writewhereheleads.wordpress.com

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Recounting His Graces

Recounting His Graces: http://liftupyourday.com/2016/08/02/recounting-his-graces/

I struggle with spiritual memory loss.

When anxiety and fear strikes, I clench my hands and hold on tight as I let fear and anxiety take me on the ride of my life, a ride that nearly kills me (2 Timothy 1:7). In these times, I find myself asking questions I already know the answer to but because fear is the driver, I suffer from spiritual memory loss and begin to question:

 Is God good?

But what if…?

I fear what He will allow next.

Can I really rest in Him?

If I’m being honest, these are questions I wrestle with often. I know what the right answer is because I know what God’s word says. The problem isn’t in the believing but in the trusting and then being obedient in the trusting. God is good. I believe it, I’ve seen it but do I still believe God is good if … Someone once asked a simple yet impactful question, “doesn’t a believer have to believe?” Uh, yes. That’s a no-brainer answer but then I ask myself do I really believe God is good in the ugly, painful, gut-wrenching…

diagnosis

death of a child

death of a parent(s)

loss of a job

loss of ability

loss of success

car accident that takes the life of a spouse

child drowning in a pool while playing at his grandparents

30 something mom diagnosed with breast cancer

mother having to deliver a stillborn baby

If God is good all of the time, doesn’t he have to be good even during these times (Romans 8:28)?

Doesn’t a believer have to believe? I see God’s goodness and grace all over the place but can I see it in these moments? I don’t know I want to. I don’t want to see His goodness in the gut-wrenching seasons of life. How do I find grace in darkness, in pain? How do I see God’s goodness when nothing seems good?

I don’t know so I recount His past goodness. I’m reluctant; I feel pain and don’t want to see His goodness in my pain, in other’s pain. There it is, my pride.

Why do I do this? Am I too proud to remember His goodness? Am I too scared counting His goodness would minimize my pain, others pain? Does it even matter why? Shouldn’t my position just be to just trust and obey (Isaiah 50:10)?

I love what Ann Voskamp says in her book, One Thousand Gifts, “Trauma’s storm can mask the Christ and feelings can lie. I draw all the hurting voices close and I touch their scars with a whisper: sometimes we don’t fully see that in Christ, because of Christ, through Christ, He does give us all things good – until we have the perspective of years.”

I must recount His graces to peel away the many layers of unbelief, to recover from spiritual memory loss.

Recounting His graces is accepting His good gifts and thanking Him for them (Psalm 107:1). So I sit, I stare at the paper with pen in hand to start recounting some of His graces in my life. I’m reluctant because my pride runs deep, my friends. I don’t want to write. I suppose this is where faith and trust come in and trump my feelings.

Here I go…

In my unbelief, I begin writing and recounting. My heart begins to soften and tears begin to puddle at my eyes and  begin to stream down my face because I do see His grace, His goodness. I’m undone from my fear and my pride. There is nothing and no one that can soften a hard heart like God can (1 Samuel 10:9). This is new to me, this recounting His goodness in the face of my fears and anxieties. I still proceed with caution even though I know I can throw all caution to the wind with the Lord. You see, I’m still just learning that He is good and He is trustworthy and I can rest in Him. I learn by recounting His graces.

“Every time fear freezes and worry writhes, every time I surrender to stress, aren’t I advertising the unreliability of God? That I really don’t believe? But if I’m grateful to the Bridge Builder for the crossing of a million strong bridges, thankful for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust Him again.”  –Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

Maria Bowersock

Read more from Maria @www.awomannamedfree.com

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How Old Are You?

How do you measure spiritual age? How old would you be spiritually if you didn’t know how old you are? | liftupyourday.com

I recently saw a sign that asked, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” Our physical age is something that we know because we celebrate birthdays, and we see it on our birth certificates. But, what about our spiritual age? So, let me ask, how old would you be spiritually if you didn’t know how old you are?

How do we measure spiritual age? We have a date and a time that we can go back to and even if you don’t remember the exact date you know when you gave your life to the Lord. But, did we grow at a healthy rate from that time on? For most of us, that answer is no. If there has ever been a time when we felt closer to the Lord than we do right now it may indicate that something is wrong.

We often stunt our spiritual growth by not feeding ourselves on a regular basis. We get in the Word for a while, and then we get off track. We miss a day or two and then it is easy to miss a couple more and before we know it’s been a week. We can also let ourselves get into the habit of going to church because it is a habit instead of expecting a fresh word from God and worshipping him with all of our hearts.

Spiritual maturity doesn’t come in spurts. It is disciplining ourselves to spend time with the Lord in prayer, worship, and Bible study. It is learning to walk in faith through the circumstances of life. When we are spiritually mature, we will respond to others in maturity instead of reacting to others in childish ways. We won’t get our feelings hurt over every little thing, and we will worry less and trust more.

The Bible also warns that those who are not spiritually mature can be led away by false teachers. The Message translation says it this way, “Be on guard, lest you lose your footing and get swept off your feet by these lawless and loose-talking teachers. Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:17-18)

Wisdom also comes with maturity. The more we read the Bible, the more we understand about God and how he works. Another way that we can test our maturity level is by looking at how we act when life doesn’t turn out the way we think it should. We are human, and we will still experience grief, disappointment, and hurt, but the test of maturity is what we do with those feelings.  As we mature, we will learn to turn those feelings over to God and know that we are in his hands.

The good news is that just as we would do anything to help our children grow, our Heavenly Father wants to help us grow. All we have to do is go to him and let him help us get back to healthy spiritual disciplines. So, maybe the next time someone asks us how old we are spiritually. We can say that we are growing and maturing in the faith.

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and understanding; that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10)

Sue Potts

Read more from Sue @www.suedavispotts.com

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Are You Eternally Vested or Bankrupt?

Are You Eternally Vested or Bankrupt? By Leryiah Arant | liftupyourday.com

Today, we live in a transient society where the norm is never staying in one place too long.  However, it hasn’t always been this way.  My Mother, who is 59 years old, lived in the same home for 50 years.  Her world was made up of the same neighbors, surroundings and 4 walls, almost her entire life.  A lifetime of “treasures” and memories were stored up in 508 Wellesley Road.

Recently, my parents made a difficult, but necessary decision to move from the comfort and familiarity of their home to a downsized cottage that has been in our family for decades.   Even though this new home is just a few miles away from the original homestead, in many ways, it seems worlds apart.  The transition has been uncomfortable and heart wrenching at best.  The process has closely paralleled grieving the death of a loved one. Even though it’s just a house, filled with stuff, it was the security and comfort of 50 years of life, love, mementos and memories.

We are consumed by a competitive society of consumerism and materialism where bigger is better and more is best. We value our possessions over people and we identify with stuff over our Savior.  There is an unspoken pressure that hovers heavily over our world to keep up with our neighbors.  We feel like we have to do more, be more, have more…no matter what the cost. At the expense of time with our family, in worship, or in conversation with our Lord, we invest our precious resources in the mundane over “Kingdom” things and relationships.

Be on guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15 NIV).

In the parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus warns us against being razor focused on the things of this world and life before death.  The rich man in the story had stored up all his value and treasure in materialistic goods and spent his days on earth making deposits into his “bank accounts” over eternal investments in discipleship and his own eternal salvation.  Remember, we are born into this world with nothing and we will leave this world the same way.  If we spend our moments pouring into finite accounts, we will miss the rich opportunities to pour into the people and things that will carry eternal wealth and value.

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.  With less of you there is more of God and his rule” (Matthew 5:3 MSG ).

Wealth in and of itself is not sinful.  But, when possessions and position begin to dominate our thoughts, words and actions, they take over places in our heart and soul, reserved only for our Lord’s occupation.  When we allow things to usurp God’s place on the throne of our lives, we not only commit idolatry, we bankrupt our lives of true and eternal treasure and fulfillment.

We tend to find comfort and security with the familiarity of our earthly possessions and surroundings.  In our limited humanness, we tend to run to the tangible.  Like my Mom, many of us become very uncomfortable when we are pushed outside of our comfort zone and stripped of our familiarity.  We feel safe when we feel in control.  Our level of comfort and circumstances tend to dictate our reactions and feelings.

I believe the Lord intentionally pushes us into unfamiliar territory and takes back the reigns of our life to show us that the only true treasure worth living and working for is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Eternal life is priceless.  Our ultimate peace and security will not be found on the shelves of our homes or in our bank accounts; it is only found through the reality and sacrifice of the Cross.

Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” (Matthew 16:25-26 MSG).

To become truly “blessed” and live as authentic, Kingdom people, we must align our thoughts with the Lord’s, be intentional to make His priorities our priorities and set the rhythms of our lives to the heart beat of Christ.  When we view our life on Earth through the lens of the Lord, our perspective shifts.  The white knuckled desire for worldly things and control fades away. Our personal agendas cease and our priority is no longer to live for ourselves but to live for Him. We may find ourselves bankrupt of fame, fortune and earthly treasures but we will live in abundance with overwhelming blessings with Christ, for all eternity.

Are you depositing your time, talents and treasures into the temporary or into Eternity?

Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity” (John 12:25 NLT).

Leryiah Arant

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Lamb of God

Lamb of God? Priceless. www.liftupyourday.com

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

Several weeks ago, my husband, Danny, and I are in Costco to purchase some routine items such as coffee and paper towels.  He decides, since we are already here, to peruse the meat section to see if he can find a bargain on items we usually purchase at our local Publix.  To his surprise, and mine, Danny returns to our cart carrying an item in which we’ve never once indulged.

“Look at this, Martha!”  Danny declares excitedly.  “It’s boneless leg of lamb!  Costs a fortune at Publix, but what a deal I found here.”

“You’ve never cooked one of those before, have you?”  I ask hesitantly, still thinking the lamb is on the pricey side.

“No, but there’s a first time for everything,” Danny assures me.  “If I do some research on the Internet, I know I can roast this lamb to perfection.  I can’t walk away from this.  It’s practically a steal!”

So we proceed to the checkout with a new culinary challenge in the offing. As we head for home, I try to recall anything about the taste of lamb.  I can’t.  No memories whatsoever.  I begin to wonder if I’ve ever tried it.  But when I place the first succulent and aromatic morsel into my mouth, I know I’ve never had it; I’ve never tasted anything more delectable and pleasing to the palate.  Chef Danny has, once again, outdone himself!

As I savor each bite of the lamb, I am suddenly made aware of why the lamb, young and sweet and tender, was the sacrifice of choice in the ancient Jewish tradition.  It stands head and shoulders above any other meat one could consume.  And if it so pleasing to man, it stands to reason that people assumed it would be just as pleasing to God.

And I am reminded, too, of the Last Supper.  This is my body . . .This is my blood . . . Do this in remembrance of me.  Jesus, who understood every facet of our human nature, associated His sacrifice for us with our most basic needs:  food and drink.  Physical manifestations of His spiritual grace.  Daily reminders of His presence with us.  That we might share in communion with Him at every meal.

The leg of lamb?  Expensive!

The Lamb of God?  Priceless!

Martha Orlando

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Little Orphan Me?

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Not long ago we watched the movie, Annie.  This story took on a whole new meaning for me when we first adopted 12 years ago.  I had always liked the sweet, feel-good story, but when you’ve come face to face with orphans you can no longer view Annie purely as entertainment.  As you watch you see the faces of orphans and foster children you know.  As you listen to Annie speculate about what her parents might be like you remember this is reality for many children and you hear their longing.  And it always hurts.

I also think about the children sitting in the room with me.  I wonder what they are thinking.  They who were once orphans themselves.  Do they see their own story?  Do they ever marvel at it – that the dream of every orphan became reality for them? Do they understand that they were helpless to give themselves a family, there was nothing they could do? That someone had to come to them, take the initiative, make the sacrifice, do all that was necessary for them to become their children? Do they understand that they are deeply loved and every sacrifice was worth it?  Or does the fact that Kenny and I aren’t Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks or William Stacks with all that material wealth keep them from seeing it?  Without all the stuff, do they view being our children as enough?

But then I have to ask myself, do I see my own story?  Do I marvel at it – that the dream of every orphan became a reality for me?  Do I understand that I was helpless to save myself, there was nothing I could do?  That someone had to come to me, take the initiative, make the sacrifice, do all that was necessary for me to become His child? Do I understand that I am deeply loved and when Jesus looks at me he thinks I was worth it? Or does the fact that I don’t always get what I want, that life is sometimes difficult or painful keep me from seeing it?  Do I view being His child as enough?

I still remember the agony of the wait, waiting to bring children who were ours but were still across the world, home.  I would often sing this song:

I have a Father.

He calls me his own.

He’ll never leave me

No matter where I go.

He knows my name.

He knows my every thought.

He sees each tear that falls,

And hears me when I call.

He Knows My Name

by Tommy Walker

I had to remember that they had a Father who was watching them, caring for them, who saw each tear and would never leave them.  That was so important and is still because the truth is, being my child is not enough.  I can give children an earthly home, give them a name and a family, take away the label “orphan”, but ultimately I cannot be their savior. I’m not enough, but God the Father is.  He is big enough to meet every need, heal every wound, cleanse every stain, and hear every call.  Being His child is enough for them and is enough for me.

The apostle John marveled at this story:

See what an incredible quality of love the Father has shown to us, that we would be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! I John 3:1

We don’t have to wait for the sun to come out tomorrow, the Son has already come and our adoption is secure.

The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
 The Lord has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad.
(Psalm 118)

Named and called and counted!  Praise the Father, so we are!

Tami Lowman

Read more from Tami @Lowmans on Long Island

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