Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I encourage you to make your own Thanks Giving list. Here's mine:
Thank you, Lord,
...for strength to walk, work, and write
...for sunshine and shadows and the beauty of God's creation
...for family, friends, and even foes
...for encouragement from my readers
...for the freedom to write about Jesus in secular newspapers
...for the freedom to own and read my Bible
...for pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets, and apostles whom God uses to bring
souls into His kingdom
...for the privilege of sharing God's Word with others
...for Christian fellowship with other followers of Jesus
...for the faith to believe in God's infallible Word
...for the testimonies of other believers
...for the power of God's Word and Spirit
...for His great love, His many gifts and blessings, and His discipline
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
A Grateful Heart
A recent article I read spoke about the physical and emotional benefits of having “an attitude of gratitude” (a phrase coined by Oprah Winfrey years ago, I believe). Even before Oprah’s time, Norman Vincent Peale wrote a book about the power of positive thinking. Many churches criticized his teachings. The truth is, much of the Bible encourages—even commands—us to have a positive, thankful attitude.
Scientists have proven that a grateful attitude causes people to be happier and feel less stressed by raising levels of their body chemicals associated with pleasure and contentment. In fact, our serotonin and dopamine levels elevate even when we only pretend to be grateful.
It’s helpful to write every day what we’re thankful for. If you’re like me, it’s easy to lag behind in that habit when tough times come. A diagnosis of cancer; a divorce; or the loss of a job, our belongings, or a loved one can shift our mental gears into a state of misery and ungratefulness as fast as a blink of the eye.
And then there’s the issue of facing an enemy. How can we possibly be thankful when someone has just given us the royal once-over for something we said or did? Isn’t it easier to respond with a scathing remark or to take offense? Too often, our pride prevents us from responding with love and understanding. You’ll notice that the central letter in the word pride is I. Our selfish feelings and desires often generate stubbornness, anger, and resentment as we face our enemies.
Jesus taught us to love our enemies. A thankful heart helps us do this. Paul wrote, “(We must) give thanks always for all things to God the Father….” (Ephesians 5:20) “All things” includes the tough stuff, such as problems or people. It includes confrontations with our enemies or those with whom we disagree.
It’s a good idea after all to make a daily list of things we’re thankful for. Followers of Christ should daily thank God for sending His only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. And for His resurrection which gives us the promise of life spent with Him now and for eternity.
Lord, give us grateful hearts for all things every day. Help us to see beyond the tough times into Your perfect will. Give us the desire to follow Your example of unselfishness and forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Washburn Cultural Center book fair was a blast. I was one of nearly a dozen other authors set up to sell our books. Although the attendance was light, I enjoyed kibbitzing with the other authors, exchanging notes about how we market our books, and other subjects important to writers.
I took a trip to the U.P., where I visited the Calumet Library. I'll be giving a talk and reading there next spring sometime.
November dates are filling up fast. Here's what's scheduled so far:
Nov. 7 Display of my books at my local church during a Harvest Celebration
Nov. 15 Display/reading with other authors at Redbery Books, Cable,WI 1-3 PM
Nov. 21 Talk and reading at the Vaughn Library, Ashland, 10-11 AM
Dec. 5 Book signing, Northern Lights Bookstore, Duluth, 2-3 PM
Dec. 12-13 Signing @ Washburn Cultural Center Holiday Boutique, 10-4 & 11-3
There are lots of exciting venues to explore, lots of interesting people to meet, lots of opportunities for ministry in this new venture. I foresee an important trip to Alaska, and am considering the possible purchase of a small camper. We'll see how that plan unfolds.
Meanwhile, I'm still trying to finish outside projects! With the rain and cold, it's been put on the back burner. Now, come rain or cold, I must get it done.
I wish you happy reading, productive writing, joyful serving the Lord. Sally
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Although I'm not on an actual "book tour," I have been making frequent book signing appearances. Especially fun was time spent in Frederic at a signing, when I had a chance to visit with lots of friends from my former days, including the Northwest Regional Writers group which I belonged to for years.
This week I will be giving two talks/book readings & signings at area libraries, so today I'm going to do a practice run with my niece. Hmmm--it's always a challenge to speak aloud to someone you know well who isn't hesitant to give honest critique!
As usual, I include my latest column for your encouragement and inspiration. God's richest blessings on you.
by Sally Bair
When Good Comes From Bad
In some respects, the animal world isn’t much different from the world of humans. Regarding death or rejection, for instance, some species grieve over loss of their family members. Such as elephants that spend days at the side of a dead or dying relative. The subject of death is not always pleasant. But although we humans grieve with varying intensity and length, we know that sometimes good comes from it.
A woman who lost a child to a drunk driver took on the challenge to bring more stringent laws against drunk driving, and others were invited to join her in a massive campaign called Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. A widow might find healing and fulfillment in volunteering which could result in help for many others. A man who loses his job might go back to school and consequently find a better-suited occupation.
Epidemics bring new cures. Catastrophes bring better warning systems. Inhumane treatment of people or animals brings compassionate help and better laws.
There are countless examples of good coming from bad. The Old Testament tells of Joseph, abused and sold by his brothers and then perjured by a vengeful woman which led to his imprisonment. Because Joseph remained faithful, God eventually brought much favor and riches to him. Another example is of King David, maligned by his enemy, Shimei, who cursed him and threw stones at him. David’s servant insisted the man be killed. But David had another idea.
“It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good for (Shimei’s) cursing this day,” David said. (2 Samuel 16:12)
If only we all held the same attitude. Such an attitude is filled with hope rather than despair, with love for God rather than “why me?” thinking, and with patience and perseverance rather than futile ideas of revenge or blame.
Death cannot be avoided. Rejection can’t either, in many cases. In fact, death is a type of rejection. But our attitudes can bring good from them. It’s up to us. Rather than wallow in grief forever, like a woman I knew who mourned her husband’s abandonment year after year, we can choose, rather, to love and serve God with willing, joyful, patient hearts.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Lord, give us the strength and wisdom to look at our problems and “evils” with the hope and assurance that You will bring good from them. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Making room reminds me that we all need to make room in our hearts and lives for Christ. Since He's the provider of all good things, including His salvation and acceptance and love, it shouldn't be too hard. But we humans tend to make such things difficult for ourselves. We tend to cling to stuff and things that overflow in the closet of our minds and hearts, when we should be cleaning house!
May you call on the Holy Spirit to help you clean house.
I welcome your comments.
by Sally Bair
A hummingbird got its beak stuck in my window screen one day. With difficulty it managed to free itself, thankfully. I suppose it was after the red candy in a bowl setting on my table. I’ve heard of some hummers that even mistake red hats and clothing for flowers.
I enjoy watching hummers in my backyard as they flit from blossom to blossom. Sometimes the nectar is stored so deeply, the hummer nearly buries itself in the blossom.
Anything valuable is worth digging deeply for, like precious metals and gems that lie hidden beneath the surface of the earth. Wisdom does not come easily, either. We must dig deeply in the experiences of ourselves and others to gain it.
Unfortunately, sometimes we dig deeply for the wrong thing, thinking it holds value for us. Our “value-ometer” goes haywire and we end up like the poor hummingbird who got itself in a fix because it zoomed in on the counterfeit. Many things could apply to our tendency to settle for a cheap imitation. I think particularly of food (and drink), which has too many of us reaching deeply in the bags and boxes and bottles of goodies that are sweetened with harmful sugars and other substances. This is only one example where we can easily go wrong.
Jesus talked a lot about the riches of His kingdom. He told the parable of the woman who swept her house clean and searched carefully until she found her lost coin. Her joy spread to her neighbors for having found that one piece of money. Another parable tells about a man who lost one sheep out of a hundred, yet he went after the one and joyfully told his friends when he found it.
Treasures of any kind are worth the hunt. Yet the joy we receive in finding a treasure doesn’t compare to the joy God and His angels express when one soul opens up to Him. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10) There is cause for celebration on the part of God, the treasure hunter, and on the part of those who count Him as their new treasure.
All of us should seek the most valuable treasure of all—Christ who gives us salvation from our sins and eternal life.
Lord, help us keep our eyes on You through Your Word and prayer so we won’t be tempted, like the hummingbird, to mistake the counterfeit for our true treasure. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
TOMORROW 9/17 - my books arrive. Garage is swept, closet is cleaned, all is ready.
9/19 SATURDAY - Craft & Book Fair sponsored by Friends of the Library,Iron River, WI
9/25 FRIDAY - Northwoods Children's Book Conference at Telemark Resort, Cable, WI
9/26-27 SAT-SUN-WRWA (Wis.Regional Writers Asso) Fall Conference, Eau Claire,WI
10/2-3 FRI-SAT- Garage Sale/Book Sale here at home
10/9 FRI - Book Signing/Talk, Great Northern Outdoors (sport shop) Frederic, WI
10/11 SUN - (tentative) Celebration Party,cake & coffee, book signing/reading
at Bayview Town Hall, Washburn, WI
10/15 THURS - Book Signing/Talk, Library, Washburn, WI
10/24 SAT - Book Fair, Cultural Center, Washburn, WI
My book display includes a fishnet, starfish, rope, and fishbowl filled with Swedish fish candies; and a framed article about my son's dramatic sea rescue by the Homer, (Alaska) News.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Squeezed into the hubbub of promoting books is the usual list of Fall chores. Yes, it was a colder-than-normal summer but the tomatoes are finally ripening, fast and furiously. Pole beans are late but prolific and delicious. We're enjoying other fresh garden veggies too, and as busy as I am in the office, I still enjoy harvesting the bounty and sharing some of it with others.
My website is up and running now, and I'd love to hear from you! Click onto the Comments page and let me know what you think about the content, my book if you've read it, or anything else you'd like to share with other readers.
Have a blessed week.
by Sally Bair
Jars of Clay
A small hive of bees built a nest high in a cedar tree in my front yard, but some critter knocked it down one night. Chunks of the nest lay on the ground the next morning, with only a few displaced survivors hovering around for awhile.
There isn’t much to a bee’s nest—some honey combs inside a lightweight, fragile shell. But to the bee colony, their nest is a treasure because it holds their only source of energy—honey.
We could compare our physical bodies to that of the beehive. We’re held together with a fragile frame with our sweetness hidden inside. Sometimes our sweetness oozes out in the form of smiles and acts of kindness. Other times it’s well-hidden by the negative emotions we carry.
Those of us who are followers of Christ carry even more sweetness inside—the very presence of Christ, Himself. That’s where our real value lies. When we accept Him into our lives, He takes residence in our fragile shell of a body.
But if we are to be of any value in His kingdom, we first must spiritually die to self. “We are the clay, and You our potter; and … we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) We are mere jars of clay, meant to be broken so our sweetness can be spilled out to others like the honey in its comb.
Paul says “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7). He continues by explaining that as Christians, humble and ready to be molded by our Potter, we can expect to be afflicted and persecuted and put to the test for our faith. But we need to focus on Jesus rather than on our circumstances. “We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Christianity is not for wimps, my pastor said recently. Paul proves that point in his epistles. He and millions of other believers were—and are—ready to face death for the sake of their Savior who is the greatest treasure of all. We are merely His jars of clay, hopefully ready to be molded into His image.
Lord, though our physical house is as fragile as a beehive, we thank You for offering us eternal life—the greatest treasure of all—through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
One of their first questions is: "What's your book about?"
So I've written a short "Elevator Speech" to present and have it almost memorized. It's called an Elevator Speech because at writers' conferences, etc., if authors meet an agent or editor on the elevator, they have only a few seconds to tell about their book. Hence, the importance of brevity.
This can also serve as a short-short version of a synopsis. Presenting the bare bones of a story (its main character, setting, conflict, and resolution) can give the hearer opportunity for immediate assessment of the book's possible success with his or her company.
Now I offer you something longer than an Elevator Speech: my weekly devotional column. Enjoy the last bit of summer.
by Sally Bair
In the world of critters, the weak give in to the wants of the strong. The smaller deer submit to the bigger by slinking away. Humans also frequently submit to someone bigger, stronger, or smarter. One term for it is “cowering.”
But cowering means more than slinking into a corner out of fear. Webster says it also means “to curve, bend.” There’s an interesting spiritual application here that says we need to cower before we can receive power. We need to curve—or bend—our will to God’s in humility and submission.
Bending our will before God means to recognize His holiness and to fear Him in awe and reverence. Except for Christ, we would remain unworthy in His sight. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) God’s power is available to those who bow humbly in faith before Him. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
Further application regards Jesus sending His twelve disciples out to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. He gave them the power necessary to do the job right, but they had to follow His rules. They had to go empty-handed and count on the hospitality of strangers to house and feed them. That takes humility and bending of self-will.
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He instructed His disciples to “…tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) They would receive God’s power only after they waited for God to appear. They waited many days. Imagine spending all that time in an upstairs room crowded with 120 people. Today would we wait even a day in such crowded conditions, for something unexpected?
But they spent their time in prayer because they believed Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit for them.
Cowering before God means spending our best time with Him in prayer and Bible meditation. It means obeying His Word, as the disciples did, so He can work through us to further His kingdom of grace and love.
God blesses us in many ways when we approach Him in humility and wait on Him. How many of us are willing to wait expectantly and humbly for God’s power, for however long it takes, to serve Him by bringing healing to someone in need?
Lord, we cower before You, humbly bending to Your will, waiting for Your power so we can serve You today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Just returned from five fabulous days spent at the Green Lake (Wis.) Conference Center taking a Christian Writers workshop. It's a treat spending time on the more-than-1000-acres of wooded property. Old, stone buildings house the participants; stone bridges and narrow trails beckon visitors to explore the flora and fauna. This time around, I watched a doe and her twin fawns outside my window and had to stop my car so two wild turkey families could cross safely.
The Fiction Writers workshop, led by author Patti Lacy, inspired me to greater writing heights and helped me solidify the plot and characterization of my second novel, TROUBLE AT FISH CREEK, in the "Ways of the Williwaw" series. As I work on this exciting story in the weeks to come, I'll be sharing excerpts with you.
Here is this week's devotional column. May God bless you richly. Sally
By Sally Bair
My garden is surrounded by a fence that protects the plants from deer and other large critters. I even cover the strawberries with nylon netting to keep the birds away. Safeguards help protect us, too, from invaders or harm—home security systems; brakes on our vehicles; warning labels on some foods, drugs, and cleaners.
Societal safeguards are also necessary. Years ago, men were taught to walk on the street side of the sidewalk—the unsafe side—to protect their female companions from being splashed, hit by vehicles, or attacked by thugs. Over 100 years ago, a God-fearing woman seldom went anywhere alone with a man who wasn’t related to her. And she always dressed modestly to avoid tempting men with sexual thoughts.
Most would argue that the prudish rules of Victorian-age society went too far. But for the most part, they served well in protecting women and children from danger.
Today, however, many of society’s safeguards have disappeared. In part because of today’s accepted dress code and behavior in both women and men, sexual abuse, pornography, and promiscuity have become rampant in our country. The value and dignity of our God-created bodies has diminished to the point where it’s now common and accepted even for many Christians to dress, speak, and act immodestly.
One church leader lamented that it’s nearly impossible, even in church, to avoid the sight of girls and women wearing suggestive clothing and displaying suggestive behavior. He said that Christians must walk constantly in the light of Christ’s Word and in His power to avoid temptation. Since many are not so spiritually strong, he added, they are more open to temptation.
“Therefore let us not … put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13)
Fashion has changed greatly from Victorian times, for the better in some ways. But in the ways fashion has changed for the worse, we Christ-followers need to become a safeguard against temptation through our positive example of behavior. It’s a matter of loving our neighbor with positive words and action.
Lord, help us to use the safeguards given in your Word to keep ourselves holy and to guide others to do the same, by our example. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Friday, August 14, 2009
My book, WILLIWAW WINDS, will be available by September 20, but you may order it now on my website, which tells all about the book.
Later this month I'll be attending the Green Lake (Wis.) Christian Writers Workshop. This will be my first attempt at presenting my book. I feel like a mother who has just birthed a baby--wow! In September, my attendance at two writers' conferences will offer even more opportunities to present my book.
I'm learning that book marketing requires lots of time and energy. But it's fun--and a great learning experience. With some help from my niece, Ann, we're researching public libraries and bookstores as possible venues for book signings/readings/talks/seminars.
Besides choosing venues in my immediate vicinity, I hope to touch two birds with one stone by scheduling venues in the Upper Peninsula so I can visit my sister who lives north of Calumet.
I've received some dynamite testimonials about WILLIWAW WINDS, which I'm using on my website and brochure.
God is good. His blessings are abundant.
My weekly devotional column follows:
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES -- by Sally Bair
Last week I talked about the book I wrote, Williwaw Winds, which is based on the true story of how my son and four others were rescued by the Coast Guard when their fishing boat went down in the violent (williwaw) winds of the Bering Sea.
When they finally made it into their life raft, it quickly became tangled in the deck rigging that kept blowing around. Still tethered to its 100-foot lifeline, the raft moved steadily closer to the boat because of the tangles. At one point, the wind whipped the boat around so the raft came right up to the stern. The men knew if they couldn’t free the raft’s lifeline soon, it would become their death line. They’d go down with the boat. Once, in fact, the wind sent the boom right onto them, submerging the raft momentarily. Only when one of the men finally found his jackknife could they cut themselves free before the boat sank.
In a hugely insignificant way, I recently felt like I was being dragged under. My “To Do” list, growing longer and longer, overwhelmed me. Would I ever again feel like my head would stay above water? You must know the feeling. Yours may not involve a To Do list, but we all face overwhelming feelings of hopelessness.
Sometimes our situations are beyond our control. Oftentimes, however, we cause our own burdens. Either way, we wonder: where is the hope when we’re being dragged under by our burdens? Sometimes it’s in God’s wisdom, learning how to pace ourselves and prioritize our projects. It’s definitely in the time we spend with Him in prayer and Bible meditation, which helps us keep our focus on what’s most important. And it’s in the strength of our faith in His promises.
When Joshua took over the leadership of the Israelites after Moses died, he must have felt overwhelmed. That’s when God gave him a promise. “I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage ….” (Joshua 1:5-6)
Whether we have some control over our situations, or no control as did the fishermen who were literally at the end of their life rope, we can be assured of God’s presence and help. All we have to do is ask. And trust. That’s what the fishermen did. That’s what saved them.
Lord, we ask for Your peace that passes all understanding and that comes even when we feel like we’re being dragged under. Thank You for the promise of Your abiding presence and help. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
by Sally Bair
Whom Can We Believe?
I saw a wild turkey near my home town back when they started to return to the area after years of scarcity. My family didn’t believe I’d seen one.
It’s not fun to have our word doubted when we’re used to telling the truth. Nor is it fun being on the other end of the situation, wondering if we can trust someone’s word.
The Bible has much to say about Truth. The prophets of old lamented the absence of Truth among God’s people. Jesus espoused Truth among His followers. But even His disciples found it hard to always believe Him. Thomas refused to believe that Jesus had returned from the grave. How many of us are doubters like Thomas? How do we know when to trust someone’s word and when not to? We can’t even trust all Internet information.
When Jesus spoke to the people, He often began by saying, “Truly I say to you…” Can we really trust His word? When He was brought before Pontius Pilate to stand trial and spoke on behalf of Himself and His Father in heaven, Pilate said, “What is truth?” How ironic that Pilate did not recognize the Truth even though it stood right before him. Jesus said, “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) In His recorded prayer to the Father, He claimed God’s Word as Truth. Even David said, “His Truth shall be your shield and buckler” and “His Truth endures to all generations.”
Though we can’t always believe someone else’s word, we can always depend on God’s Word. He has proven himself to be true to His word. Yet many skeptics today choose not to believe it, and therefore cannot recognize Jesus as Truth. When many of Jesus’ followers left Him and He asked His disciples if they would leave too, Peter exclaimed, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68-69)
God’s truth is absolute and eternal. It is a precious attribute of God, one which He wants us to use as a way of life. He desires His truth in our inner being.
Lord, through faith may we all come to believe wholeheartedly that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“Double check that everything is secure,” the skipper tells Freddy and Marv. “I don’t want anything heavy breaking loose.”
While they go below to tighten the lines and loose rigging, the skipper motors for the protection of Portage Bay. But he’s too cautious to get closer than a half mile out from the bay because of the reefs and shoals.
Patrick and I go down to the galley and fill our coffee mugs while we wait for Freddy and Marv. When they return, they put on a halfway happy face, but I can tell they’re worried. Every once in awhile someone tells a joke, but it bombs.
I jump when the anchor drops with a loud rattle.
“Sure hope Dad put out all the anchor cable,” Patrick says.
Anchored as we are, the boat sways as much as ever. It’s going to be a long night.
Before I decide to go to sleep, the skipper says, “Marv, go down and shut off the main engine. It’ll save fuel.”
We’re doomed if we run out of fuel. I toss and turn on my bunk.
This time it’s the skipper who nudges me. “You’re on for anchor watch, Jake.”
Again? It seems like I just got off.
“Make sure the anchor doesn’t drag on the bottom,” he tells me as I struggle off my bunk. “We don’t want to drift out to sea. It may be rough here, but it’s even rougher out there.”
At five in the morning it’s still dark—halfway through my watch. A crescent moon slides down toward the horizon. Funny how the stars calmly shine down on us while we fight to stay afloat. When I think the winds can’t be any stronger, a huge gust from nowhere pushes the boat tight against the anchor cable.
Pow! Like a gunshot the cable snaps. We’ve lost our anchor.
WILLIWAW WINDS is almost ready for publishing. I've been researching books and websites and articles, and have concluded that my best option may be to publish my book with a Print-On-Demand publishing company. Less time wasted trying to market it to traditional publishers, more control of the process, and more royalties are tempting reasons to do so. I'll keep you informed.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
A logbook is a daily record of a ship's speed, progress, etc., and of the events in its voyage. (Webster)
This will be a weekly record of my writing progress and the events that come my way while voyaging the seas toward the home port of authorship. It is meant for other writers, readers, and lovers of words.
This week I'm spending some time editing a non-fiction book for a friend, "Victory Over Anxiety and Depression." It's an excellent book with a strong spiritual theme, perfect for anyone who is being tossed in the seas by their williwaws of anxiety and depression. I may offer occasional excerpts later.
Besides writing a new Eternal Perspectives devotional column, I am also in the final editing phase of my novel for children aged 8-12, WILLIWAW WINDS. My story is based on the true experience of my son and four others who were dramatically rescued from a storm of williwaws as they headed home from a six-week season of hair crab fishing in the Bering Sea. See "Galley Fare" for an excerpt.
"Hey, Horn! Get up here on deck pronto."
I throw my journal in my duffel bag, hoist myself out of my bunk, and wobble out to the deck where the cold, bright sunlight of late October meets my eyes. My muscles itch to kick Freddy in the shins for interrupting my writing--and calling me Horn again. I hate that name. But there's little energy or strength left in me after lying on my smelly bunk puking my guts out from seasickness. I'm only now beginning to feel halfway alive again.
"The skipper says to hurry, Horn. We're almost to the fishin' grounds," Freddy tells me and then laughs. "Should see yerself stumblin' out of the bunkroom. Shoulda got some good shots with that fancy camera ya brought along." He grins crookedly, wickedly. "Ya really are a greenhorn. Green around the gills, that is."
Greenhorn or not, I hate the name. Why did I get stuck with a crew mate like him?
Please let me know what you think of this beginning. I need your comments!)
What an Exchange! The gray, winter fur that deer shed becomes spring nesting material for birds. Faded, fragile leaves of autumn fall and then decompose, adding nutrients to the soil so other plants can grow. Dead trees become havens for bugs and birds. When the trees fall they become refuges for many critters.
God has planned it so nothing in nature is wasted. Years ago people wasted nothing also. When I was young, my mother transformed cast-off clothing and hand-me-downs into pretty, new outfits. We reused glass containers. We fixed our broken bicycles and cars and radios. We mulched our gardens with grass cuttings. We conserved our water. We mended our socks. There was no such thing as waste in our family. In fact, many families considered waste to be extravagant—even sinful.
Today we live in a throwaway society. But because of economic hardships, many people are learning how to recycle and conserve.
God’s ability to make something new out of the old is amazing. He’s in the make-over business not only in nature but in humankind. As He causes nature to revitalize itself, He teaches us through His Word how to make sure that process continues. And He shows us how to revitalize our bodies and minds.
It’s our souls He’s most concerned about, however, and there is no greater miracle than the transformation of a person’s soul. Such a miracle happens because God sent His only Son, Jesus, to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Only through the shedding of His blood could we be reborn … renewed … transformed.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Becoming new doesn’t require us to mend the rips and tears of our souls or recycle our nasty, destructive habits that steal our peace and joy. What it does require is to allow those bad habits to die, like a decayed, fallen tree, so God can transform us into a new, spiritual house—a habitat that will draw others to His protection and sustenance and love just like the critters are drawn to His natural homes of refuge.
Lord, thank You for Jesus’ promise given in Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Amen.