Monday, August 27, 2007

Gifts and Green-Chiles

We were recently given some
fresh-shelled pecans and about five pounds of green chilies. It was a generous gift but one that required action. Today I spent most of the day making green chili sauce and then roasting and chopping the remainder of the chilies. I wore plastic gloves as I worked and kept thinking about how much easier it is to use the small cans of prepared chopped green chilies I usually buy.

It reminds me of the year a friend allowed me to pick wild blackberries in her yard. After buying the jars and sugar, picking, washing and preparing the berries I decide a buck or two really wasn’t too much to pay for jelly at the grocery store. I think the same is true for green chilies—but they were a gift after all I couldn’t just let a gift go to waste, could I? Someone had planted, watered and grown them—that took work. They picked them and brought them to us, that took work and so I just couldn’t break that cycle of productivity. And in the end, I learned a lesson, or at least made a personal application.

God gives gifts too. And like the green chilies, his gifts require a response in order to get the full benefit. If I refuse to do the work required to make the gift palatable to others I have failed to really appreciate the gift or the confidence the Lord showed when He entrusted it to me.

It’s one thing to be entrusted by God with a gift—it’s another to take the steps necessary to develop the gift in order to offer our time, our lives, and our efforts to Him as a living sacrifice of praise.

This is a picture of a verse found in Revelation 3 and it is challenging me to be diligent about the work the Lord has given me to do.

Blessings, Sue

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Stinky Water

(Two pictures of Granddad with Emeline)

I just returned from two days up in the mountains of New Mexico. Aimee and Robert were the photographers for a wedding at The Inn of the Mountain gods, and I went along to look after Emeline, now eight weeks old. Our room was really large with a balcony that overlooked a beautiful lake and the surrounding pine covered mountains. Watching the light on the lake throughout the day was like witnessing the unfolding of a masterpiece. Just when I thought, “This is so perfect and fabulous,” clouds would roll in and the shadows would shift and take my breath away.

Last evening, after Emeline and I eavesdropped (from a distance) on the wedding ceremony, we went for a walk on a path that followed the edge of the water. I carried her in her snugly and as she slept I enjoyed touching the soft dark hair on her tiny head. My eyes were filled with the splendor of the water, but unexpectedly, my nose was filled with an unpleasant odor. Nope, not a baby diaper in need of changing. This smell came from the water. I don’t know if it was the water itself or a result of all the ducks that live along the edge or even rotting foliage, but I was unprepared for that odor.

It got me thinking about how sometimes we as people are like that. We look good from a distance, but if you get very close to us, you discover that we’re not as pleasant as we first seemed. In fact what others may envision is not at all the reality of who we are. We can try to hide it, but each of us has a stinky problem that dwells within us called sin and it seeps out at unexpected moments.

That is true of me, and that is one reason I have made a commitment to do

systematic Bible study. The closer I get to Jesus through studying His Word the more the

fragrance of His love, kindness and forgiveness flows out of my life. As summer winds down

and you look at your fall schedule I hope you will consider making room for a weekly Bible

study. It will sweeten your life and others may be pleasantly surprised.