Remaining Prepared

“You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Matthew 24:44

None of us expected the world to shut down when COVID-19 hit in 2020. When it did, we all looked at things differently: Did we have enough toilet paper and food to get us through? Had we saved enough money to pay our rent or mortgage? Was our internet speed fast enough to accommodate virtual learning and remote work?

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Remaining Connected

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The queen of Sheba, having heard a report of Solomon’s fame, came to test him with subtle questions. 1 Kings 10:1

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My son recently quizzed me with an online Jeopardy game, thinking I would fail. Much to his surprise, I answered every question right! What I didn’t tell him is I had played the same game with friends just days before. All the answers were still fresh in my mind.

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All In

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“The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44

Although a lot of us think we’re in control of whom we meet, fall in love with, and marry, that really isn’t the case. Love is a gift. It can’t be pre-arranged, fabricated, or ordered from a website. Of course, there does come a point when we get to decide whether we’re going to accept love, return it, commit to it, and nurture it. But the origin of love itself is in God’s hands.

The same holds true for our faith. It is a gift. God gives it freely and generously. Then the decision is ours.

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What We See

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Rely on the mighty Lord; constantly seek his face. 1 Chronicles 16:11

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I used to be an intense neatnik. Everything had a place and I wouldn’t rest until it was in it. Some would say it bordered on obsessive compulsive disorder.

Over the years, I’ve relaxed a lot. I’d like to pat myself on the back and claim I’ve achieved balance. But the real truth is my vision has declined. Without my glasses on, I don’t see the dust or dirt, stains or scuffs. Even with my glasses on, they’re so weak, my house looks relatively clean even if I haven’t lifted a finger or a broom in a week.

As a result, I feel lighter and freer. Things look more beautiful to me despite the dirt and dust others may see

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Stay the Course

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. Hebrews 6:11

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My sister, Kerry, claims that we siblings all subscribe to the 3/4 Rule: working on projects almost to the end, and then abandoning them, unfinished. I find nothing more overwhelming and disheartening, though, than a pile up of incomplete tasks. It kills me to do all that work yet never get to experience the reward.

So, I push through to overcome our natural tendencies. Not only do I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor, but I find it inspires me for the next project.

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Weaving Us Back Together

You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. Job 10:11

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One of my roommates in college was a sever diabetic. Consequently, a simple foot injury led to intense surgery. After her return to campus, she asked me to be the one to change the bandages in her foot. I say “in” because every couple of days, I would have to put medicine on a bundle of gauze and literally stuff it inside the large and deep hole in the back of her heel.

I’ve always been squeamish and knew from an early age that I was not called to the medical field. But how could I say no to a friend in need?

In the beginning, it took all I had to not pass out as I pulled the old bandage out of her heel and pushed the new one in. I had to keep my focus on the fact that she wasn’t able to do it herself. I had to help. After doing it a few times, however, I began to look inside her foot and watch what was happening.

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Different Perspectives

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For about forty years He endured their conduct in the wilderness… Acts 13:18

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The running joke in my house is that my kids and husband would make terrible witnesses at a crime. Their observation skills are next to nil. They each operate in their own world, barely noticing what’s happening around them.

If and when something big does catch their attention, each one has a different take on it. Not only do they remember different aspects, but they fill in the blanks with fabricated recollections, not in a malicious way, just in a clueless way. I’d never want to be the judge who has to decide which one of them saw the crime as it really happened.

It’s nice to be reminded that God had a completely different take than the Israelites did when they were wandering in the desert for forty years.

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What About Her?

When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow Me.” John 21: 21-23

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With my kids getting older, my boundaries are getting pushed and stretched far more than I’d like. Whether it’s the boys going off with friends in cars, or Jocelyn wanting to wear very short shorts, I’m constantly having to reexamine and reestablish what I will and won’t allow.

I know I need to be flexible and give them more leeway. But a line always has to be drawn that shouldn’t be crossed.

The few times they’ve attempted to cross my lines, they’ve referenced friends who are allowed to do what I’m prohibiting. That’s when I have to remind them that as MY kids, they have to follow MY rules, not anyone else’s. Then, because it’s fun, I throw out the old adage, “If they jumped off a bridge, would you?”

Jesus had the same exchange with Peter. And He has it with me too.

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Awards and Gifts

Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me. I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. John 17:25-26

It’s been busy around here with all the activities that go along with having a graduating senior. Last night was the High School Awards Ceremony. I was beyond proud when Zack received the New Hampshire Scholar award! Way to go Zack!!

Scholarships were also given out by various groups and generous donors. The founder of each sat on stage so they could personally present the financial awards to the students. There were a few founders, however, who weren’t able to make it. The woman who coordinated the event stood in their place.

A couple things about the evening correlated to faith.

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Gardening Lessons

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As the earth brings forth its shoots, and a garden makes its seeds spring up, so will the Lord God make justice spring up, and praise before all the nations. Isaiah 61:11

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Decades ago, when I first started gardening, I planted seeds versus buying plants already grown and nurtured in a greenhouse. I wanted the full experience of seeing those small, green shoots poke through the dark soil for the first time.

The moment that happened, I wanted my flower patch to be as spectacular as possible. I immediately added Miracle-Gro to my watering can—and did so every Monday. I even dubbed the day “Miracle-Gro Monday.”

Weeks later, I had cosmos as tall as I was. It was spectacular … for about a day. Then, because the growth was so forced by the chemicals, the plants began crowding each other out. Even worse, the tall flowers were literally falling down. The fertilizer had helped them shoot up fast, but it did so before they could grow deep roots into the ground to sustain their weight.

We can learn so much from my gardening experience.

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