My favorite line in Johnny Diaz’s “Breathe” is “Lay down what’s good and find what’s best.” Think about that for a moment: We have all these good things around us. Life is good. My occupation is good. My hobbies and daily activities are good. My relationship with God is good. My relationship with my family is good. Et cetera. But . . . are they best?
The Israelites coming out of Egypt refused to go into the Promised Land. They gave up God’s best for them in refusing to obey Him. Life was still good. God went with them. God provided manna for them daily. God led them. God was there. But it was not God’s best.
Elisha’s final prophecy was to Joash, King of israel (2 Kings 13). He told Joash to take a bow and arrow and shoot it out the window. It was the LORD’s arrow of victory over Syria. Then Elisha told Joash to take the arrows and strike the ground with them. Joash took the arrows and struck the ground three times. There’s no indication that Joash knew why he was striking the ground, but Elisha was angry nevertheless. He told Joash that if he’d struck the ground five or six times, he would have completely made an end of Syria, but now he would only have three victories over them. Joash settled for less than God’s best.
Consider the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). The servant who had been given five talents worked diligently to gain five more. The servant who had been given two talents, gained two more. Both were commended and given a reward. The servant who was given one talent made excuses and didn’t work for the master. The master did not respond favorably. He didn’t accept the excuses. In fact, that servant was cast into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing to teeth. Definitely not God’s best.
Then there’s the story of Elisha and the widow’s oil (2 Kings 4:1-7). The widow was in desperate straits. The creditor was coming to take her two children as slaves to pay off her debts. Elisha told her to go borrow “not a few” vessels. When she had taken the vessels into her house, she began pouring oil. As one vessel filled, her sons brought her another. Finally, she asked for another and they told her there were no more. Then the oil stopped. She had enough to pay her debts and enough left over to support herself and her children. What if she had only borrowed two jars? What if she had settled for just a few jars? She diligently borrowed “not a few” and the oil flowed until they were all filled. The widow got to experience God’s best.
There are so many examples in the Bible, so many principles for us to apply to our own lives! Do we settle for what’s good, instead of what’s best, because we don’t trust God enough to obey Him? Do we persevere in our obedience? Or do we obey for a while and then shrug and declare it good enough for government work? Do we make excuses for our disobedience and our unbelief? Do we acknowledge Him in all our ways, allowing Him to direct our paths? Do we see something good and settle for less than God’s best?
Do you remember the story of the rich fool (Luke 12:16-21)? This rich man had rich soil and abundant harvests. He wondered what he should do. Where was he going to store all of the harvest? He decided to tear down his old barn, build a bigger barn, store the harvest and sit back and take it easy. There’s nothing wrong with working hard and making plans to take it easy. Jesus’ condemnation centered on the fact that the rich fool was not rich toward God first!!
It occurred to me that although I would not be considered rich in material goods, I have a wealth that is enormous, howbeit not unlimited: time. What am I going to do with my time? What is most profitable for the kingdom? Here’s where the tricky part comes in! There are lots of good activities out there. I have one year left of homeschooling. Then what? What will I do with my time? I know I could very easily fill each day. There are so many things to do. What I don’t want to do is to settle for good. I don’t want to get busy, busy, busy. I want to take some time to sit at Jesus’ feet and figure out what God’s best is for me at this season in my life. What will bring Him glory and honor?
There’s a temptation to spend lots of time in Bible study and prayer. And that’s good too. But Jesus told His disciples to occupy until He comes. The fields are ripe unto harvest. The gospel needs to be spread. I’m not going to be part of that effort if I’m sitting at home, taking my ease, reading my Bible all day long. I need to be working for the kingdom! The days are short! But the cool thing is that God doesn’t want us just to survive; He wants us to thrive. He wants the very best for us. And it’s up to each of us to find not a few vessels for God to fill.
Trust Him, obey Him, honor Him, and find what’s best!
One of the things we’ve re-learned through this pandemic is just how very important it is to stay in touch with one another. Ma Bell’s slogan rings more true today than it did 40 years ago!! Reach out and touch someone! We need the encouragement, the support, the opportunity to share our thoughts to shrink them from mountains back into molehills. We need the iron sharpening iron. We need to see the delight on someone’s face when they see us. We need each other! Solomon knew what he was talking about when he said a cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Around the start of each new year (man’s calendar), there’s a big push to make new resolutions - to read the Bible in a year, to lose weight, to start a new job, to learn a new skill. While you’re taking stock of where you are and where you want to be this time next year, make it a goal to reach out and touch someone - to exhort and encourage them. Tell someone just how very much they mean to you and what a difference they’ve made in your life. Find meaningful ways to impact the lives of the people around you.
A great place to start is with your prayer life - because you can’t give what you don’t have. Read the verses which speak of God’s love for you and just how precious you are to Him. Then share that love with the people around you - and all the more as we see the Day approaching.
originally posted in the Church of God Faith Fellowship January 2022 newsletter
Virginia (the cat) was overjoyed that we were home from the Feast. She galloped around the living room and pounced on the carpet. She has been particularly accepting of cuddles and petting. In fact, she has been jumping into laps, curling up, and going to sleep. She’s so glad we’re home.
Jonathan, Jennifer, and Amanda arrived home before Ron and I did. After Pepper vocally expressed his delight at their arrival, he searched the house for me. When we finally got home about thirty minutes later, he cried and raced between all of us, hardly able to contain his excitement. Then he followed me everywhere, not willing to let me be out of his sight for the next couple of days.
As Jonathan said during his message at the Feast, staying there is not an option; it’s not sustainable. We have responsibilities and tasks waiting for us at home - all part of God’s plan for our lives. Nevertheless, we hate to see the end of the Feast. We feel the sadness that it’s over. We miss the tangible presence of Lord in our midst. Still, we go home, and our minds begin sorting through the to-do lists as we make plans to pick up our routines again.
Except . . . we’ll never be exactly the same. We aren’t picking up our routines exactly as we left them. We’ve rejoiced with our spiritual family; we’ve heard exhortations and encouragements.
And hopefully, we’ve internalized them - at least a nugget or two, or maybe a plethora of ideas and concepts. Prayerfully, we’ve tasted the glory of the Lord, and we’ve come to realize that we can take it with us! We don’t have to leave it at the Feast!
Oh, and God gives us one more gift, post-Feast: He gives us people in our lives who are very happy to see us; they truly missed us! We matter. We make a difference. God has placed us in this world to make a difference - for His glory and honor! And it’s nice to have the validation that it is so. But maybe, just maybe, initially at least, we’re not quite ready to get back into our lives. So God blesses us with pets who are unreservedly overjoyed that we’re home. It’s a gift. It’s a gentle way to remind us of the importance of our lives to others. And besides, stroking a purring cat is a pretty nice way to combat the post-Feast blues and to reacclimate to life at home.
🐶🐱 🐶🐱 🐶🐱 🐶🐱
Dad (Bill Rollins) had the opportunity to speak on sabbath in Tulsa the day before Christopher and Alyssa’s wedding. He cited 2 Corinthians 6:1 “ . . . we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain,” and exhorted us all to be mindful of the opportunity we have at the Feast to experience the glory of God. It’s an appointment set by the King of the universe. As Andy Laws said at the Feast in Michigan in 2017, that means we’d better “suit up and show up.” And we do; we make preparations, reserve accommodations, plan meals, make food, kennel the dogs, and so on. But we also have to be very intentional about preparing to meet with God for eight days. That is, as we’re busy making plans for what we’re going to do, spending time with God has to be at the top of the list - because we’re not just taking a vacation from work. It’s so much more than that!! It’s a rehearsal, a reminder of God’s plan for us as the temple of the living God, the Bride of Christ, the priests of God.
As we were drinking in that exhortation not to miss God’s glory, we experienced a repetition of the admonition: Christopher and Alyssa’s wedding. As the Bride of Christ, Ephesians 5:27 tells us that Jesus cleanses the Bride by the washing of water with the
word. But Revelation 19:7 says that the Bride has made herself ready. We need to make ourselves ready!!
I cannot tell you how many boxes have arrived at our home over the past couple of months, as Alyssa prepared for the wedding. But it wasn’t only the physical decorations and stuff! I’ve gotten to witness discussions about rings, the wedding venue, the date, and the myriad of things Alyssa worked on in preparation for the day. All of the planning, the preparation, the help from family and friends - it has been a lot of work for her. Make no mistake: she wanted to do it. She wanted the wedding to be beautiful. And I found myself wondering if we, if I, spend as much time preparing to be the Bride of Christ.
Christopher and Alyssa wrote their own vows and pledged before God and all of the witnesses to love one another and to build their marriage until death. Have we, do I, exhibit that kind of devotion to Jesus? Do I prefer Him above all others? Submit myself to Him in all things? Love Him with all of my heart, soul, and strength? I’d like to say, “Well, yes! Of course!” But I know myself and how I sometimes want my own way. I sometimes dread what He wants me to go through - a lack of trust? I am struck by the fact that more purifying is necessary before the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Another aspect of the wedding emphasized God’s plan. We talked about the marriage of Christopher and Alyssa and how that links our families together. Now, when Aletha Dennis stands up and calls her family to her, Matt and Renee Steele stand up. Trevor and Krissy Dennis and all of the Whittleys stand up. Shawn and Kim stand up. Then Christopher and Alyssa and all the Saladins. Then the Mannings. And Bill and Sally Rollins.
Then Nate and Sylvia. Then Margo and Bernice. Then Maria and Johnny Snyder. And Aletha looks at Johnny and says, “I didn’t realize I was related to you!!”
We could do something similar with so many of the families in the churches of God. How about the Laws-Gaffney-White-DiFranco-Kincade-Hoefker family? The ties that bind us into a family are growing stronger! And the Feast of Tabernacles is becoming a physical family reunion even as it has always been a spiritual family reunion.
So then, what do our families do when we get together? We talk about God. The whole wedding weekend was a conversation between people who love God, talking about Him, what He’s doing in our lives, what’s happening in our world, His plans, and applicable scriptures which direct us how, then, we should live! Exhorting, discussing, encouraging, reconnecting, rejoicing, celebrating! It’s been a full weekend.
It should come as no surprise then, that amid all of the good-bye hugs and plans for when we will see each other again, there were a few tears. Perhaps because God graciously granted us another opportunity to taste His glory, and we weren’t quite ready for it to be over.
I know I’m eager for the next taste of God’s glory; I don’t want to receive the glory of God in vain!!
🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒
It doesn’t take very long working cattle to appreciate a good cow horse. And the more you work together, the more solid you become as a team. Your horse knows just which cow you want before you are even aware that you gave any signal. He’ll cut that cow out of the bunch probably without any help from you. So when I came across this quote from John Wesley the other day, I was struck by how evocative an impression it made.
We’ve all seen the Westerns where the cowboys are holding their horses on a tight rein, so much that their necks are arched. The horses look like they’re raring to go. It’s good theatrics, I suppose, but not very realistic.
On the other hand, not having any tension in the reins doesn’t work well either. One day, Brian (aka Shaggy) invited his girlfriend out to the ranch where I was working for the summer. He decided to take her horseback riding. I don’t think she’d ever been before. Shaggy put her up on Whitey, his favorite horse, and told her to grab the reins. She did . . . at the very ends, so that the reins looped down almost to the ground. And then they took off, riding much too quickly for someone who’d never ridden before. When Shaggy saw where she was holding the reins, he told her to gather them up. She started pulling them in, reaching out as far as she could and pulling them back as rapidly as she could because the fence was coming up towards her pretty quickly. Did I tell you that this was a cattle ranch? Did I mention that Shaggy used Whitey to chase cows, and that he’d spent a lot of time training this horse? Like any good cow horse, as soon as Whitey felt the tension on the reins, he stopped, instantly. The girl . . . well, physics took over. Her momentum carried her over Whitey’s head and spilled her out on the sand (thankfully) where she rolled a couple of somersaults before stopping. I don’t know whether it was the humiliation of being dumped off the horse or the fact that Shaggy was laughing so hard, but she never visited again.
So when John Wesley said that trusting God is like living with a loose rein, he didn’t mean riding horseback like Shaggy’s girl. Nor did he mean like the Lone Ranger rides Silver on the silver screen. I suspect that he meant that there’s a trust between a horse and his rider that develops over time, communication, shared experiences, shared accomplishments, heartaches, and victories.
When I was eleven, I spent a lot of that summer helping Uncle Mike chase cows. One particular day we were bringing in thirteen dries (cows that didn’t have a calf and needed to be sold at the sale barn). Those cows wanted to go anywhere but the house. Buster, my horse, was a wise, sure-footed cow horse; I was just along for the ride. At one point, the cows doubled back and Buster spun right after them. I literally reached out and grabbed the saddle horn to pull myself back into the saddle. Buster immediately stopped the pursuit so that I could regain my seat. Like I said, Buster knew what needed to be done; I was more of a liability than a help.
It’s ironic, isn’t it. We like to think when we’re up on horseback that we’re in control. We’re calling the shots. That 1800-pound horse is actually the one in control. He’s the one doing the work. He’s the one getting me from Point A to Point B. He’s the one who’s letting me go along for the ride. The amazing thing is that, when I have developed a relationship, the horse wants to please me, so he’s willing to go where I point him and chase cows when I need to move them from one place to another. But Buster also made it quite plain that he was really the one in control the day he stepped on my boot. Ever try to push a horse off the foot that he’s standing on?!
I liked John Wesley’s quote. Living with a loose rein means that there’s trust between you and God. But it’s more than that. It’s relying on Him rather than ourselves, living “with a calmer, more relaxed attitude” because you know that He’s really the One in control. He’s the One moving you from Point A to Point B. He’s the One getting the work done and providing the power. But because we have a relationship, God is also very attentive to our cry. He listens to our prayers. He takes care of us when we almost fall out of the saddle. It is not the kind of relationship where we hold Him at arm’s length - with a distant communication that is really no communication at all. When we play at being a Christian, it’s not God’s fault when we find ourselves rolling head over heels from some poor life decision. At the other end of the spectrum, God is also not anything like a genie in a bottle; He is not under our control like the stereotypical silver screen horses; He doesn’t exist to do our bidding.
God is our Protector. He enables us to work and accomplish great things. He enjoys our pleasure. He wants to hear our voice and He listens to us. But He also expects us to listen to Him. There’s mutual trust and respect and love, and He is our Friend, in the very best sense of the word. And thankfully, if we learn to live with a loose rein, He lets us go along for the ride.
Quote from: Amazing Grace, Kenneth Osbeck, “I Am His and He is Mine,” 1990, pg. 50.)
It was a delightful morning in the blackberry patch today. Yesterday’s rain washed some of the heat and humidity out of the air. The patch was still in the shade that early in the morning. And several interesting thoughts occurred to me.
From a distance, the blackberry patch doesn’t look like there’s much fruit left this summer. But after thirty minutes of picking, I had half a gallon. That’s pretty good for going into the third week of the blackberry harvest! And isn’t it interesting how that works in our lives as well? As people get older, they start to feel like they don’t have much left to offer - to other people or to God. But that’s just not the case. There’s still much valuable fruit for the kingdom!
I like picking blackberries because the really ripe ones have to go into my mouth. If I put them in the bucket and brought them into the house to wash, they’d just fall apart. They’re that ripe. So into my mouth they go. So sweet. So incredibly delicious! But they are so ripe that sometimes they disintegrate and I end up dropping them instead. It makes me think of that saying: There’s many a slip between cup and lip. You have something so very precious in your hand and it never makes it into your mouth. Sometimes it’s through carelessness, not paying close enough attention, or because you don’t care enough to be intentional about it. I hope we don’t treat our relationship with God that way! If we truly recognized the value of the relationship we would make it a priority so that it didn’t slip through our fingers. And oh how very sweet and precious that relationship with God is!!
Part of picking blackberries is wading into the patch. Thankfully there aren’t too many chiggers this summer, although I am sporting a few bites. But the other blessing in our patch is that a church friend, Virgel Tow, bought those blackberry bushes for us many years ago when he saw them on sale. He thought we needed thornless blackberries. Oh how many times over the years I have mentally thanked Virgel that they are thornless - and I did again this morning as I was wading into the patch. It was bittersweet this year though, because Virgel’s funeral was this week. So I couldn’t help thinking about how one small action can have such a huge impact in another person’s life and continues to impact them even after you’re gone. It’s important to take time to help others, pray for them, talk with them, be kind to them. You never know what lasting impact you can have for the kingdom.
Because the blackberries are thornless, I’m more willing to dive into the middle of the patch, but it’s still rather tricky. Those blackberry shoots go all directions and it’s easy to get tripped up while you’re reaching for a berry just out of reach. It’s a good reminder to remember that even when it’s a fairly safe endeavor, there are still things which can cause you to stumble if you’re not paying attention.
The next thought which intruded upon my blackberry picking involved the cat. That cat followed me into the blackberry patch. Who knows why! Maybe she was just curious as to what I was doing - because after all, curiosity and all that. But isn’t it interesting how our actions are viewed by people around us. Because we love God and honor Him by obeying His commandments, others are intrigued by what they see in our lives. They might be attracted to Christ because of our actions, just as a cat was attracted to the blackberry patch. (The dogs follow me out to the blackberry patch hoping I’ll give them bites. But I’ve never seen the cat eat a blackberry . . . )
And along the lines of life, I thought about how wonderful the blackberry harvest has been this year. The three weeks of rain we had in late June/early July did wonders for our harvest. They are huge and juicy and sweet. Of course, the Living Water in our lives makes all the difference too, doesn’t it!? We are much more visible, more sweet and flavorful, if we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us. We make a better impression for God if we are sustained by the Living Water!
The last thought which attracted my attention as I was picking blackberries is the phrase: Good is good enough. I probably could have found another handful of blackberries had I really worked at it. But there comes a time when good is good enough. I don’t need to pick every berry. It’s just not worth the effort and besides, the birds like the ones I leave. So are there things in our lives that we just need to identify as being done well enough and call it good? It’s a balance, I know, because we are working for the Lord and we want to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. But keeping every speck of dust out of your house, every tiny weed out of the garden, picking every blackberry, - there comes a point when we realize that we should be doing something more valuable with our time. Good is good enough for that particular task.
Last thought of the day: I have to do something with my berries. The kids are eating a lot of them fresh, taking them to work in their lunch every day. But there’s a few left over. What a shame it would be to let them get moldy. All that picking wasted! All that wonderful fruit gone to waste. In a similar way, if you have something you can do for God today, do it. Don’t wait. Redeem the time for the days are evil. We don’t know how much time each of us has. Make the most of it. Me, I’m going to be making blackberry jelly.
So apparently the vaccine line at one South Carolina location was hours long - inefficient, frustrating, and absolutely ridiculous. Somebody commented that no one handles drive-through lines better than Chick-Fil-A. So those in charge of the vaccine administration called a local Chick-Fil-A manager. He came down, looked things over, made adjustments, and decreased the wait time to a mere 15 minutes. Sandy, on JoyFM, was telling this story. And her take? When she finds herself in a pickle and things are not going well, she just wants to see one cow, as in Chick-Fil-A’s slogan “Eat More Chicken.” (The sign held by a cow.)
Doesn’t that make you smile?!
As I smiled, I was flooded with my own cow associations. I don’t automatically think of cows and Chick-Fil-A. I think of the Sandhills of Western Nebraska on my grandparents’ five-section cattle ranch. I think of the summers I spent on the ranch chasing cows, following Uncle Mike, milking cows, helping Grandma, putting up hay to feed cows, taking piano lessons from Mary Ann, riding on the feed sled, talking with Grandad, driving the scatter rake, checking salt, flying in the two-seater Cesena with Grandad to find a bull, cleaning out an autogate, changing the irrigation lines, picking potato bugs off the potatoes, taking the cows to the Dille (my great-grandparents’ homestead - 16 miles across country from the ranch), doctoring the cows for pink eye . . . Very quickly I get lost thinking about one of my most favorite places on earth.
I associate the Sandhills with peace, quiet, fresh air, sweet smells, sweet Sandhills water, precious childhood memories, and a more relaxed pace than my normal hurried existence. It is still a wonderful place, but there’s a sense of loss. So many people who are part of the fabric of my memories of the Sandhills have died. It’s just not the same without them; there’s a huge void.
It takes a lot longer to describe the thought progression from vaccine lines to Chick-Fil-A to cows to the Sandhills than it actually happened in real time. In just moments, a twinkling of an eye (so to speak), I was thinking of that time when I’m going to see all of those who have gone before. I’m going to experience a place more wonderful than the Sandhills, a place of peace and joy and the people I love so much. I’m very grateful to have that blessed assurance before me every day.
And I’m so glad that when I’m in a pickle, when things aren’t going so well, I think of the One who can make all things right, make all things flow more smoothly - my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I don’t think about a cow.
We all know the saying, “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” but we were reminded recently that sometimes ladders do. Well, the ladder wasn’t exactly growing; the tree had grown around the ladder. Okay, the truth is the tree was the only part of the equation still growing.
How many times have you seen something similar? Where trees are plentiful and the soil is rocky, many times it’s easier to attach the fencing to the trees. Subsequently, the tree grows around the wire. A few years ago, we were shocked to see Ron’s chainsaw sparking as we cut down an old oak tree. Embedded in the heart of the tree was barbed wire. It had long since rusted away on the outside, but the tree had grown around the wire and had preserved it to dull Ron’s blade when he cut into it.
It’s an interesting object lesson, isn’t it. That is, there are things that don’t really belong in our lives, things that are not beneficial to our growth and development and actually are detrimental to our development. But we put up with them and develop around these foreign things (experiences, thoughts, relationships, behaviors, habits). They become part of who we are - to the point that, eventually, trying to eradicate them would mean major surgery - physically, mentally, or spiritually.
The crazy thing is: anyone looking at our lives could clearly see that the “thing” doesn’t belong in our lives any more than the ladder belongs in the tree. The thing adds stress, provides an entry point for disease, and is, at the best laughable, and at the worst, hideous.
We would like to believe that a “ladder-laden” person would be someone who has yet to come to Christ. It must be those sin-sick souls out of whom ladders would protrude as unsightly encumbrances. We would counsel them to heed the call of the Savior to repent and go under the waters of baptism, eschewing the world and its sinfulness, its foreign and harmful behaviors and ideas. And there’s a lot of truth in those words. Jesus does take the sinner, lost and lonely, rescuing each of us from the miry pit of sin, destructive behaviors and ungodly thoughts.
But as the apostle Paul eloquently describes in Romans 7, what we want to do as a new creation in Christ is at odds with the carnal nature still within us. We do the things we don’t want to do. We unwisely allow ungodly behaviors to abide in our lives even as we strive to walk worthy of the calling we have received.
Do we recognize our continuing need for the Savior? Do we understand that God says He is cleansing and sanctifying us (Ephesians 5:26-27; Hebrews 10:14)? He is purifying a people for His own possession (Titus 2:14). Do we understand that even as we have to make Godly choices, repulsing the evil and desiring the good, we cannot rely on our strength and understanding? (Zechariah 4:6; 2 Chronicles 32:8) Do we comprehend our deep need for the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in our lives? (2 Corinthians 3:8; Romans 12:2) If we want to become Christlike, we have to draw near to Him, submitting to His work in our lives, choosing daily His ways and keeping our eyes focused on Him.
Our goal is to grow ever more like our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ, becoming like Him in thought, word, and deed. We want to be molded into a useful and God-honoring vessel by the Potter. That requires discipline and a willingness to bring every thought into submission to Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). It requires honest, ongoing self-evaluation. It requires spending time quietly meditating on the things of God. It requires everything we are. Otherwise, we could very well be walking around, proclaiming Christ all the while sporting a ladder or rusty barbed wire rather than the fruit of the Spirit.
There’s a wonderful thing that happens when I’m headed home from the Feast of Tabernacles with a van load of young adults who squeezed as much “fun” into the week as humanly possible. Of course, they are all asleep - kind of a fulfillment of “We can sleep on the train.” So I’m left with 750 miles of driving, mile after mile of mostly interstate.
The first thing I had to do was sing all of the songs that were stuck in my head from a week of praising God within a large group of God’s people. Some of them, I had to sing a couple of times. 😀 I rejoiced in the baptism of my nephew!!! Then I thought about the conversations I had had, along with a regret that there was not more time. So many things unsaid. So many conversations that could have been. Then I jumped to reviewing the messages I heard.
It’s always interesting to me how messages seem to coalesce. Perhaps someone else would have a different impression overall, but my take-away was the emphasis on becoming vulnerable, submissive, and humble before God, trusting Him regardless of what happens - because things don’t just happen. My life is in the hands of my God who is molding me into the image of Jesus Christ. I may think His goal is to make me look like a golden cup; in reality, He wants me moldable like a clay vessel. In the end, I need to trust Him - fully, whole-heartedly - because we live in an increasingly ungodly world.
We shouldn’t be surprised that there are oppositions against us. We are coming to expect it more and more from society; how much more division can there be in our country before we have all-out civil war? But what can surprise us are the subtle attacks from Satan to divide families and friends. He knows that a three-fold cord is not easily broken. He knows that a house divided against itself cannot stand. He also knows his time is short. Thus his ferocity against God’s people is increasing. Satan throws his lies against us with devious intent.
We have to put on the full armor of God. We have to encourage one another as we see the Day approaching. We have to live by faith, exhorting each other to keep our eyes focused on our Savior, not on the waves around us. We have to seek the truth, repudiating the lies, relying on God’s Word to give us light to navigate the mire. We walk as ambassadors of Christ, confessing with our actions that God is good and trustworthy and worthy of praise. This life isn’t just about us; it’s about be a living sacrifice to the glory and honor of God. Although we make it our aim to live quiet lives in harmony with those around us, we also do not shrink back from declaring the good news of the kingdom as God sets opportunity before us. We are not just marking time; we are occupying until He comes, doing the tasks that He sets before us as good and profitable servants.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Feast of Tabernacles this year. I loved the music and the messages. I loved the conversations. I loved rehearsing the family reunion that we’ll have when Jesus returns. I loved seeing people I haven’t seen, in some cases, for years. I love the memories that pop up because of the history of feasting with God’s family. And I love the encouragement gained - not a new message, but the same encouragement packaged in different words to make it stick again. Praise God for His Feast days. Praise God for miles of uninterrupted meditation time to taste it all on my tongue and savor it fully.
So. What did you bring home from the Feast?
Cynthia Saladin is a homeschooling mom of three, with a passion for teaching them about God and having a personal relationship with him.