Monday, August 23, 2010

Choose Wisely

We are faced with choices almost non-stop in our daily lives.  When to get up, what to do, what to wear, what to eat, how to respond to others, when to go to bed, and each choice impacts other choices we make. 

Growing up, I remember often hearing the phrase "Choose wisely."  It was probably applied more to friends and how I responded to my parents in obeying what they had asked me to do.  Today it reaches out into far more areas.  In grocery shopping, I try to choose wisely by buying the size and brand that gives me the most food for the least money.  Many purchase decisions involve a balancing act between quality and price.  Time management is based on accomplishing things of value rather than wasting time.

How often do we think of choosing wisely as adults?  We don't have a parent leaning over our shoulder reminding us to measure the wisdom of our choices.  Many times, our choices end up being made by what feels right at the moment, whether we're feeling pain, discomfort, hunger, anger, or joy, our decisions are often based on our circumstances. 

In I Samuel 25, David was responding to his circumstances in anger.  He was going to get what was due him.  Providentially, God sent Abigail to David to remind him of his need to choose wisely.  He did, and blessings were all around for almost all involved. 

It reminds me of how we need to be voices reminding others to "choose wisely."  Not scolding and railing on, but gently reminding others to consider the consequences of their choices.  We also need "Abigails" in our lives to remind us to think about the choices we make.  Maybe this will be a needed reminder for you today, I'm hoping it will be a reminder for me when I am tempted to respond without considering the consequences.

And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.
- I Samuel 25:32-33

Monday, August 9, 2010

He meets my needs!

We had a good week of seeing God's provision and I thought I would share to encourage you in your walk with the Lord as well.

Just over a week ago, we headed out to go to garage sales.  We sat down and made up a list of the things that were needed in our wardrobes for the coming year.  We aren't psychics, but just looked at what we had, where the kids are size wise, and where we think they will be by the end of the coming school year.  After piling into the van, we prayed and asked God if He would meet these needs through the garage sales we would find that day.  And if not, would He meet them in whatever way the He desired. 

The first several (loosely translated as 20-30) garage sales were fairly lousy, but toward the end of our hunting, we loaded up on a couple of hand made jumpers for Larissa, some pants and jeans for Austin, some assorted clothes for most of the kids, and even a few small bonuses.  All told, we hit some of everything on the list, except 1 or 2 that weren't really necessities. We came home praising the Lord for His provision.

This past week, we settled in, looked at the garden, and realized that it was not going to meet all of our produce needs for canning and freezing.  So, off to the produce auction I went.  On Tuesday, all the produce went for twice what I would be interested in paying.  Needless to say, I was kind of disappointed.  Thursday, we were given almost a bushel of beautiful tomatoes.  We ate some, and canned 14 quarts of tomatoes.  We also were able to get 2 bushel of sweet corn for $10.  We froze, and felt much better about how things were looking.  Even so, I headed to the auction Friday morning, as well.  And prices were lower than I have seen all year.  I bought sweet corn for $3.50 a bushel, plum tomatoes for $5.00 a half bushel, and a bushel box of green peppers for $6.00.  We also picked almost a bushel of green beans out of our garden.  In 2 days time, we canned or froze 104 quarts of veggies!

On Sunday, we were given a very full bushel of green beans, and today, at least a half bushel of green & yellow beans.  We look and see God's gracious hand of provision in all of these things.  Whether through our garden, or through the generosity of God's people, or through the providence of His hand at the auction, God has been very good.  I hope you have been encouraged by seeing His hand of provision in our lives, and I hope it has helped you to see His hand more clearly in providing for your needs, as well.

"Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?"    - Psalm 78:20

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chicken Eggs

Within the last week we have been enjoying the first eggs from our little flock of chickens.  Actually, just from one of the chickens, so far, but since Mara began laying, we have had a new egg just over 24 hours later.

Chickens have given me a great chance to observe instinct in animals.  God has pre-programmed chickens toward certain behaviors.  A rooster will learn to crow - even though he has never heard another rooster crow before.  A rooster will learn to fertilize the hens, even though he has not received any training.  Chickens will clean themselves, take dust baths to clean themselves and get rid of mites and bugs.

And the ultimate, in my book, hens will lay eggs.  No instruction manual, but inside of their bodies, they form the yolk, surround in with the white, and lastly, surround that with a shell that hardens when it hits the outside air.  Why do hens produce delicious eggs?  Because they are hens!  Very simple, but a great illustration.

The Bible tells us that Christians are to live in the Spirit - to allow the Spirit of God to control their lives, to abide in Christ, and fruit will come.  We tend to work at fruit production, read books, make plans, get discouraged if we don't see fruit.  But the truth is, if we would let the Spirit rule in our lives, abide in the vine, let the Word of God dwell richly in us - all phrases indicating our submission to God's will & way in our lives, we will produce fruit.  Why?  Because that is our character, that is what we were made to produce, that is what will naturally flow out of our lives.

Who knew I would learn so much from chickens?  I hope my chickens can be an encouragement to you today as well. (Or at the very least, an illustration of God's power at work in our lives)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Colossians 3:16-17