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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lessons From My Orchid

The orchid you see in this picture was once as beautiful as it is now, then after a while, it became withered,
the blooms fell off, and it looked pretty sad. I had two options: keep it and try to restore it, or throw it away. After considering for a few weeks, I decided to take the uncertain route. I would repot the thing and see what happened. I went down to the garden store, bought a nice terra cotta pot and some orchid potting soil. Armed with these, I faced the poor, unsuspecting plant.

Now this orchid had sent out a lot of leaves and roots, and not being a horticulturist by any means, I wasn't sure how to separate them, but I did my best, and the result is what you see in the picture. As I looked at my lovely orchid this morning, I thought about the way God restores us when we are burnt out, tired and no longer feel capable of bearing fruit. 

Sarah was a woman like that. Well past her child-bearing years, she thought she could no longer fulfill the promise God had made to her and her husband Abraham. God had told her she would have a son, but here she was, already ninety years old. Impossible dream, right? Wrong! Nothing is impossible with God. If I, a novice where orchids are concerned, could transplant an orchid and make it produce beautiful blooms, think what God, the Master Creator can do with us if we would only entrust our broken lives to Him. 

 The Bible says, "Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings" (Isaiah 58: 12).
You don't have to go about feeling like a dried-up plant. God has promised, "Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up" Psalm 71: 20). 
"God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill" (Numbers 23: 19).

You can learn more about Sarah and how she received God's promise of a son even though she had been barren most of her life. Just go to Amazon Kindle where you can purchase my book Women For All Seasons for just $2. 99.  

Friday, February 13, 2015

A True Love Story For Valentine's Day

The Book of Ruth (novel)
The Book of Ruth (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What is your favorite Valentine's Day activity? If you say curling up with your honey and reading a good love story, then you may be in tandem with some other people. So, if you're looking for a good love story to read this weekend, why not read the book of Ruth? Aww, that's the Bible, you might say. True, but reading this story has several benefits:
1) If you feel guilty because you haven't been reading your Bible, this is a way to assuage your guilt.
2) If you love romance, this is one of the best romances ever.
3) It's true.

So, here's the story of Ruth.

Ruth was a young widow who decided to follow Naomi her mother-in-law to Bethlehem because there was a famine in the land where they lived. Naomi had recently lost her husband and, feeling very bitter, thought she would be better off relocating. She and Ruth got to Bethlehem at the beginning of the harvest, and no sooner had they settled in than Ruth decided to go in search of work.

She went straight to the field of Boaz, who just happened to be Naomi's relative. Boaz came in to inspect his field and his eyes lit on Ruth. "Who is that?" he asked. When the other workers told him who she was, he invited her to have lunch with him. How many of us have been invited to lunch with the boss on the first day? That evening when Ruth told Naomi where she'd worked that day, Naomi began to hear wedding bells. When the harvest came to an end, she instructed Ruth to put on her best clothes and go down to the threshing floor where Boaz would sleep after threshing wheat that night. Ruth obeyed her mother-in-law, and the rest, as we say, is history.

I'm not going to tell you the whole story because I want you to read it for yourself. But, like all romances, it does have a very happy ending. Ruth's story is the story of every believer. Boaz represents Jesus Christ and Ruth represents us, His bride. Ruth was a Moabitess, a race of people who were outside the covenant of God. We were Gentiles, outside the covenant of God. Just as Boaz redeemed Ruth and made her his own, just so Christ has redeemed us and made us His own. Isn't that beautiful? Read the story for yourself. You will fall in love again. Happy Valentine's Day.

For a limited time, you can learn more about Ruth and other women of the Bible by purchasing my book Women For All Seasons from the Amazon Kindle store for just  $2.99 cents. Or, if you prefer the print copy, go to

Sunday, February 08, 2015

If God Be For Us: A Black History Moment

English: Frontispiece to Phillis Wheatley's Po...
English: Frontispiece to Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects... Русский: Филлис Уитли, портрет из сборника её стихов. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today, in honor of Black History month, I'd like to honor Phyllis Wheatley, the first published African American woman and the second African American to publish a book of poems. Phyllis was born in Senegal in 1753, kidnapped at the age of 8 and brought to Boston on a slave ship named Phillis, after which she was named. Phyllis' fate could have been similar to that of other slave girls - work, suffer cruelty, and die a slave. Or, if you were brave and lucky enough, you could run away, eventually gain freedom and marry a former slave.

However, Phyllis's life demonstrates that if God be for us, who can be against us (Romans 8: 31). Phyllis was not a healthy girl, but she had a brain. When her mistress, Susana Wheatley discovered this, she did not allow Phyllis to be trained as a servant. Instead, Phyllis received lessons in theology, English, Latin and Greek. She was also taught ancient history, mythology and literature. Education of a slave was definitely not the norm at the time. Slaves who happened to learn to read and write did so under risk of being severely punished. To have her slave owner provide the means for Phyllis's education was nothing short of God's providence. 

Phyllis was treated as a member of the family, and at the age of 12, published her first poem. Other poems followed, and in 1772, she completed her first and  only book of poems: Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.  However, Phyllis was not accepted as a poet by the colonists in Boston and had to appear in court to prove that she had indeed written the poems. After careful examination, the panel conceded that she was indeed the author and wrote an attestation which was included in the preface of the book. Susana Wheatley encouraged Phyllis to journey to London where she published her book and received widespread acclaim. 

Here's an excerpt from one of her poems:

Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
"Their colour is a diabolic dye."
Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Battle Is Not Yours

Thure de Thulstrup - L. Prang and Co. - Battle of Gettysburg - Restoration by Adam Cuerden.jpgWars appear to be an unending factor in the world we live in. Even in biblical times, battles were fierce and frequent. The Bible tells us that it's only when Jesus returns that wars will cease. The same is true in our own lives. No sooner have we come out of one battle than another one faces us.

In 1 Samuel 17, we read of a young lad named David who slew the giant Goliath. At that time, the Israelites were about to do battle with the Philistines. Among them was a nine-foot giant named Goliath who terrified the Israelites with his great size and his taunts. David inquired what would be the reward for the man who killed Goliath. King Saul heard of David's inquiry and sent for him. The king tried to dissuade David from going up against Goliath, who was not only a giant but had been fighting since his youth. But David replied, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine" (v 37).

We must notice a few things about David's approach to this battle:

1. Saul dressed David in full battle gear, complete with sword and helmet, but David took them off because he was not used to them. Beware of trying to fight your battle with someone else's armor. Know your strengths and your limitations.

2. Goliath ridiculed David, saying, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" (43)  David replied, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty" (v 45).  That was the key to David's victory over Goliath. He didn't go in his strength alone, but in God's strength. The Bible tells us, "we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8: 37).

So, whether your Goliath is addiction, relationship issues, illness, debt, whatever it is, you can learn from David's strategy. Don't depend on someone else's strength, and go in the name of the Lord.  May God bless you.