Man looks at the outer appearance but God looks at the heart.-1 Samuel 16:7. We are too quick to judge people because of how they look in this world. All that glitters is indeed not gold.
Looking at a person’s character is of greater worth. It takes time to see the real person. It takes a while to know a person. We are great masqueraders or impersonators. It has become an art to hide behind exterior facades, so that others won’t suspect we are weak or insecure. It is a coping device to put on the tough exterior.
God is not finished with us. He keeps allowing circumstances in life to perfect us by chipping away a little at a time at the rough outer edges- IF WE WILL ALLOW HIM.
We could go fighting and kicking all the way or we can surrender to His will and His ways which are not often what we want or imagine. His ways are higher, and not our ways. He sees the finished work, the beautiful masterpiece at the end of the sculpting or perfecting process. We may not want to endure the sometimes painful process of going through the refiner’s fire but it will well be worth it on that day when He says it is done and He is pleased with the final result.
Take time to look past the rough edges or exterior today of others. Try to see their heart. You will be surprised at the beauty that lies underneath in those who have yielded to His masterful workmanship.
Today I was surprised to discover a beautiful moth at the office when I was going out the door. He was attached to the lowest wooden step of the back stoop. I could have stepped on him. He blended in quite well as his color matched the wood stain. I decided to move him to a safer spot so no one else would step on him going up or down the stairs. He allowed me to move him. He climbed up on a piece of paper which I placed near his legs. He briefly opened his wings for me to see the outside. What spectacular colorations were on his wings! There were beautiful yellow eyes on each wing. He was fuzzy and had interesting looking antennae. I wanted to touch him but was afraid that I would either scare or injure him.
When I researched him later, I discovered he was an Emperor Moth. I had never seen one before. They are silk moths. The males have feathery-like antennae and are smaller than the females which can have a wingspan up to 80 mm. They are more commonly found in Great Britain. They emerge in April and May. The females are seen more often at night and the males during the day.
I am involved with a ladies’ bible study. Currently we are reading the book of Matthew. In the third chapter, there is a reference to Isaiah 40:3-5. It was a prophetic scripture from the Old Testament foretelling the appearance of John the Baptist in the New Testament. In Matthew, the first book of the gospels, we see John arrive. He is the voice in the wilderness declaring Jesus as messiah. He was a forerunner, a herald or a harbinger for Jesus. He would soon step aside, yielding his calling to the greater work and message of salvation that Jesus would bring.
In Matthew 3:2 John preaches to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It is a bold message. He doesn’t hold back for political correctness or out of fear of offending people. It is an urgent message with the need for an immediate response. Time is of the essence. This is true today. We must realize the urgency of the hour and the need for bold and convicting messages for the lost to repent and embrace salvation through Jesus.
In Isaiah 40: 3 “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.” To make a path straight means to embrace holiness and avoid evil. A crooked path could lead many off course and into utter ruin and doom but a straight path would allow ease or freedom of movement that is unrestricted or unhindered. It would be a safe path where obstructions would not trip up or cause people to stumble. A level plot of land is more desirable than a slope. As a gardener, I understand this well as it is easier to maneuver and make beds on a level surface. The productivity level is greatly amplified where there is level ground.
Another meaning of crooked is dishonest or illegal. That is to say the opposite, that to be straight is to be honest and filled with integrity. That should be our goal as Christians to have no room for questioning our motives or sincerity in all business, political or personal dealings.
This is food for thought and there is much meat here on which to contemplate and meditate. Focusing and studying the Word of God allows His truth to change us!
I have always been a lover of flowers and flowering shrubs. Through the years, I have dabbled with a few herbs here and there like rosemary or lavender since they are hardy, add some interesting texture and scent. Yet, I have never really been interested in growing vegetables. My attempts at growing tomatoes have mostly resulted in failure due to the dreaded black spot fungal disease which affects many plants because of high humidity in the south.
I have vowed to try again this year. Perhaps it is due to sticker shock at the grocery store. Perhaps, I have been inspired by beautiful potager gardens on recently viewed gardening vlogs. Whatever, the reason, when I was at the local home store, this week, I grabbed a few vegetables to try once again.
I picture growing trailing varieties like squash and cucumbers up French inspired obelisks in an artful display along the sunny border of my yard. I already have a couple volunteer pumpkin plants starting to grow there where I had left fall pumpkins to decay. This spring, I noticed sprouts emerging under a dried out pumpkin that was really a gourd. Last October, I purchased some pumpkins at a local pumpkin patch sponsored by a church. I fell in love with two pumpkins, one white and the other light pink to set out on my front porch for a lovely autumn pop of color. They should become some very interesting specimen plants for my new vegetable garden.
My mother is full of many amazing stories from years ago. She is a wealth of knowledge, a lover of history and a great example of godliness and wisdom.
As a child, she shared many stories, that I am ashamed to admit, were boring or did not seem of interest to me at the time. I want to write down many of those stories now while I still have her and she can share them with me.
Here is one such gem.
My mother told me that we have a connection to Ruth Bell Graham. She was a great lady of faith from my generation as she was married to world renowned Christian evangelist, Billy Graham. I had a great aunt that I never met named Miriam Calhoun. She was my mother’s aunt. She died in 1940 at a very young at age 39 from cancer. She was a trained singer. My mother comments every time I sing in church, that one day in heaven I will get to meet her. Perhaps I inherited some talent from her. In this we share a wonderful bond.
The interesting part of the story is that Miriam was engaged but never married. Her fiancee was David Bell. He was related to Ruth Bell. The family connection was through a descendant in Tinkling Springs. I have not been able to determine the actual lineage connection but am currently doing research. A Reverend John McCue established a Presbyterian church there around 1783. He died one Sunday on his way to church when he was thrown from his horse in 1818. He would have been Ruth Bell’s great-great-great grandfather. Here is another interesting side note. The house in which my grandfather was born has always been referred to as “Old Stone Fort” in our family. It was on a dairy farm when his parents owned it. It was purchased from a member of the McCue family. Sadly, my grandfather’s parents lost the farm because they either were forced to sell or foreclosed after losing a number of cattle, their source of income, during a terrible storm.
The story about Miriam continues. She decided not to marry David since she began caring for her ailing parents. She did not want to burden David with further responsibility. Neither ever married after the broken engagement. Miriam died. I am sure David was broken-hearted by her death. She was buried in the Tinkling Spring cemetery outside Fishersville. I remember visiting the gravesite as a child. It is in a family plot with her parents, my great-grandparents. The cemetery rests in a beautiful spot nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains with bubbling sounds of a brook and trills of wild birds in the distance.
I want to build a bird sanctuary in my yard. Last year I enjoyed watching a cute family of wrens nesting on my backporch. The mother and dad were a flurry of activity from sun up to sun down for a couple weeks. Soon mother sat on her eggs waiting for the blessed event. She stayed quiet so she wouldn’t attract attention from predators. She was safe because my porch sits up about 20 feet from the ground. I could watch the whole scenario easily from my back window as the plant that cradled the nest was just outside against the ledge.
It wasn’t long before the babies emerged from the eggs. I watched them every day. They grew rapidly. At first they were scrawny and featherless. Soon their feathers appeared. They ate constantly. I felt exhausted watching mother and dad close by swooping in bringing morsels of food to their ravenous babies. The babies’ mouths gaped open and their chirping grew louder as soon as their parents appeared. They grew bigger and their nest became crowded in no time.
I waited patiently, expecting them to pop out of the nest onto the floor of the porch. I ran from my bedroom each morning to take a peak. “Not yet, but soon”, I thought each morning when I checked on them. One morning I started looking for them. The babies were not in the nest. They were not on the porch. Where was momma? She was no where to be found. I was disappointed to find them all gone. I never got to see their flight preparations or take off from the porch. They must have popped out and flown all at once.
I want to experience this again this year but am experimenting with some new nesting options to interest some other types of birds to build nests.
There is so much swirling around in my brain right now. I don’t think I will fully process my thoughts until I finally get it down on paper.
Death has touched a few friends lately. It was COVID-related in only one case. It was tragic and senseless, just the same. Those who passed were too young and gone too soon. With all the drama and trauma that is going on in the world’s stage, it is hard to understand how anyone can process death on a personal level now too. My heart goes out to the families that are left behind to grapple with their loss. My prayers are with them that they will cling to their faith and not lose hope in their savior but instead find comfort and refuge in Him.
Depression is a very real threat in the current world in which we live. The enemy is lurking everywhere to prey upon us. He seeks to attack our thoughts so that we become negative, downhearted and increasingly discouraged. We must stay vigilante to build up our faith by the washing of the word of God.
Here are a few scriptures that I have found lately that have offered me comfort against the war raging inside my mind and spirit.
Isaiah 33:2 Lord, be gracious to us, we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.
Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Revelation 12:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow or crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
I am a wife, a mother, a daughter and a sister. I am a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. I find happiness through caring for my family. They are my greatest gift in life. I also enjoy helping others who the Lord sends along my path. I have had ups and downs but through it all God has shown me that the greatest way to find joy on earth is through blessing others. With any gifts that He has given me, it is truly through giving those gifts away that I am fulfilled.