By Sandra Julian Barker
I recently took my grandson to a local art museum. When I saw the oil painting pictured above, I was struck by the turbulence of the raging sea the artist had captured and the imminent peril of the two sailing ships as they plunged toward the rocks. It's a powerful scene by Dutch painter Willem van de Velde the Younger (ca 1690).
The scene reminds me of Isaiah 43:2 where God says, "When you face stormy seas I will be there with you with endurance and calm." I love that no matter how fierce the storm is in our life, God is right there beside us, ready to calm the sea at just the right time.
by Marjorie Wingert
After a week of absolute gluttony, laziness, and self-indulgence, I found myself pounding the treadmill. Arms pumping and muscles straining, my thoughts wandered over the past week. Spring Break came as a welcome diversion from the usual hustle and bustle. Yet with all its fun and leisure, I came away feeling empty and unfulfilled. This is not to say we hadn’t enjoy our time together. We had fun! Biking, swimming, movies, trips to parks, and eating out characterized our week of play. We slept-in, went to bed when we liked, and were the masters of our own time. Why then, did I feel so distant and empty? Why then did it feel like I was dangling from a precarious perch?
The answer came amidst the streaming sweat and labored breathing. Why, Lord? Is it something I’ve done? Have I wronged you? The fervency of my cries kept pace with the intensity of my workout. Speak to me, Lord, I begged. My thoughts bounced between my pleas to earnest reflection of the past week. As memories surfaced in my mind, a pattern emerged. Although filled with fun, how much time had I spent seeking after God? How often did I take time to consult Him regarding decisions? When had I invited Him into take part in the day, activities, or projects? When had I asked Him to help me make the best use of this time?
by Joan C. Benson
Americans are familiar with choice. It's second nature to people who have lived in a more or less free society, depending on the period of history. We often glide through our days not giving much thought to all the choices we make. Yet, if we were denied the right to decide, undoubtably, we would squeal. Unless our voices are arbitrarily silenced and we had no recourse, we are not satisfied without this freedom of choice. Yes, we yearn to be the master of our destinies. We love the freedom to decide what, how, and when we do something.
Our Master Designer, God Almighty, gave us that ability to choose ... but with "guidelines," well actually, ONE guideline. If you examine Genesis, you discover God's children were provided with everything they needed in a beautiful place without strife or want. God's nature is to provide. Yet, the "children" chose to do the only thing God asked them not to do. I have to smile because having raised children, I know how natural it is for them to determinedly try to scale all barriers you establish, even if it meant for their good.
Imague by cottonbro on Pexels.com
by guest blogger Yvonne Ortega
Patience must be a four-letter word. Aha, I found it. It’s yuck!
Maybe you feel the same way I do more often than not. I understand.
A NEED FOR PATIENCE
I faced a mountain of paperwork each day as I worked on my taxes. I wanted to start them early, but the proper forms didn’t arrive until the week before my tax appointment. In a marathon to finish, my neck hurt, and my shoulders ached. My lower back screamed for relief. My neck felt as if someone glued it looking down at the monitor. Talk about a need for patience to continue.
What kept me going? A deadline. There’s nothing like a deadline. When snow, rain, or ice appeared, I didn’t mind staying indoors to finish. However, a couple of warm, sunny days in a row came along, and patience became a four-letter word again. Yuck.