Thursday, April 27, 2023

 To day my thoughts focus on GENTLE 

                                                            (source - Pinterest Karen Gritton)

On Sunday my husband and I went out for lunch.  A young couple and their baby were given a table very close to ours.  They put their baby in a high chair and it wasn't long before I was engaging with them in conversation. 
Their little girl was almost 10 months old, named Isla (eye-la). A very sweet little girl who sat calmly in the chair, her eyes brightly observing her surroundings. Her parents were so gentle in their interaction with her, their love for her so obvious.  
They spoke of her walking soon and the need for them to cushion off the fireplace so she would not stumble into it and hurt herself.  They also wanted the house to be safe so that she would not trip or get into things that could cause her harm.  
What a delight it was to me to watch this little loving family -- the child so clearly reflecting her confidence in  being secure and loved.  
Later in the day, I was reading in the Psalms and the following passage halted my attention. I saw in the words of this passage the 'picture' of the little family I met in the restaurant. 

Psalm 18:25,26  records David's words about how the Lord has loved him... It reads... 
"You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, your right hand has held me up, your gentleness has made me great and you enlarged my path under me so that my feet did not slip." 
The Hebrew word translated gentleness is the feminine form of the word translated 'humble' in Num. 12:3 where it says that Moses was the most 'humble' person who ever lived.  
Why is the feminine form used in our Psalm 18?  I think because it adds the depth only understood  when observing  the gentleness seen in a mother caring for her beloved child. 
In this we see the tender heart of God - His 'motherly' gentle care over His children.  

The salvation we have in Jesus is the shield He has given us --  a shield - a barrier between us and incoming danger.. He hovers like a watchful parent over a toddler just learning to walk, shielding them from danger and harm. . 

His right hand holds us up.  How quickly a child reaches out to grasp the hand of their parent.  In church, on Sunday, a young mom arrived late with 2 sweet little girls.  They slipped into the pew in front of us and immediately both girls wanted to hold their mother's hand.  She took both girls' hands as they exchanged gentle smiles!   There is strength and security in holding the hand of a parent - the comfort of knowing we are not alone. 
So God reaches out to hold our hand,  ensuring that we will feel neither vulnerable nor afraid. 

His gentleness has made us great!  What a delightful, encouraging environment 'gentleness' provides.  It gives room to grow, to ponder , to learn to understand.  There is no judgment or harsh criticism in gentleness -  only a  patient coming-alongside  that provides a safe  environment.   

"You enlarged my steps so my feet did not slip".   God doesn't make us walk our earthly journey on a tightrope.  Not even an adequate path.  No, He makes sure it is wide enough so that there is no way that we can slip off the edge..  He provides a 'paved highway' without uneven ridges or cracks and obstacles that could cause us to slip and fall. 

We too are encouraged to be 'gentle' in our relationships. 
Philippians 4:5 reminds us to be 'GENTLE' to all men .. because the Lord is watching!  
Colossians 3:12 encourages us to 'put on' tender mercies -- gentleness mixed with compassion toward each other .. and never forgetting that 'love' is the perfect bond! (vs.,14) 
Galatians 5:22,23 lists 'gentleness' as being part of the fruit of the Spirit.  God Himself, indwelling His children moves us to respond to others with His gentleness.  

I hope your heart is warmed by this reminder of how much and how tenderly God loves us - Too often we stumble because we fear we have caused Him to frown upon us when all the while His hand is outstretched to invite us to become 'great' in His tenderness and when we need it, His ready forgiveness! . And as we live 'in Him' we too learn to be gentle one to another living in the bond of love. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

 Dear friends ... I hope you all had a wonderful and meaningful Easter... the yearly celebrations may be over but the wonders of what Jesus accomplished for us remains for us to celebrate every day!  It is a lovely sunny day as I write this, reminding us that the Son always shines in His eternal Kingdom! 

Enjoying the beauty of God's Kingdom, let us love one another !  

Little  but Exceedingly Wise!  

God's Lists are important to study!   
There is only one kind of wisdom -- God's -  and whether we see that wisdom in His word or in His creation or in His creatures, it is all God's wisdom.  When He directs us to look at "little things that are exceedingly wise"  He is saying .. "Look, I have put my wisdom in these little weak things so that you can see how it looks -- and how very wise my wisdom is and how my wisdom when followed NEVER FAILS !"  
One of the 'little' things in God's list of exceedingly wise little things found in Proverbs 30:24 is a little creature called the rock badger or coney .  it is found only in the Middle East and in parts of Africa. 

So what does God want us to learn from the little rock badger?  Let me count the ways..
1. The rock badger knows where it is safe!  In the open the rock badger is very vulnerable to predators and easy prey.  But it wisely makes it home in the rocks, Hiding under the rocks and in the crevices,  it is safely protected from the reach of any predator. 
So also God calls us to hide in Him where we are safe and secure ... Proverbs 18:10 says "The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe."  Look how safe the badge is and consider how much safer we are if we hide in our Rock!  

2.  Finding food !  -- The badger does not leave the safety of the rocks except for about 1 hour a day and then only to find food. 
An interesting parallel to us is found in I Cor. 5:10, where Paul speaks about the company we are to keep and who to avoid  but he adds that he is not saying we need to completely come out of the world.  
"Yet I certainly did not mean with the [people]  of this world ... since then you would need to go out of the world."  Do we not need to go 'into the world'  for our food as well?  Of course, our physical needs are supplied 'in the world' and we go out to gather what we need recognizing that it is God who supplies both the righteous and the unrighteous from the abundance of supply.  

3.  They spend much of their time 'resting' in the sun, enjoying its warmth.  
How many times are we encouraged to 'rest' in the Lord .. Psalm 37:7 , "Rest in the Lord ...  " and Matt. 11:29 "Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 

3. The badger is a social creature -- lives in community with others.  He benefits from living in a  colony in several ways ... 
    a> Rock badgers do not have a very good internal thermostat and are easily cold ...  so they gather together and sleep one on top of another., being careful to face their heads away from each other so they do not suffocate .   
We as well are social creatures , and need the fellowship and comfort we offer one another..
 II Cor. 1:4  "... that we may be able to to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.. "
    b>  They stay in communication with each other in low- toned voices so not to attract predators.  And they sing to one another ..  
So also,  we fellowship with one another - protected from the enemy  -  and we sing ..."..speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs......"  Ephesians 5:19. 
    c> they watch out for one another. If the sentry on duty sees danger he emits a sharp alarm and instantly the rocks are cleared , every badger slipping into a crevice or rock shelter.  
We too are admonished to watch out for one another -  to warn of danger. In Col. 1:28 we read ..".... warning every man....."  Are we as quick as the badgers are, to take note of warnings, whether in God's word or from another believer?  
We too have 'predators' , enemies seeking to devour us and are told to be watchful. I Peter 5:8,  "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." 

4.  They are 'specially equipped' .. They have keen eyesight .  They can detect movement 1/2 mile away.  Even if an eagle is right against the sun they can see him because their eyes are equipped with a special membrane that filters the sun's rays.   
They also have special feet that sweat.  Because they sweat they create little suction cups that make it easy for them to run up smooth rocks.  
We also are equipped in every way needed.  We read in II Tim. 3:17 .. "that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly EQUIPPED for every good work."

5. They are very clean.  You will never find a flea or tick on a badger.  They have on a hind foot a handy little claw that is very effective for keeping them clean, combing through their hair keeping it clean and shiny.  
The badger also have a 'designated' toilet area that the whole colony uses to keep all other areas  clean. 
We too are admonished to 'stay clean'  "I John 1:9 "If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  and also in Ephesians 5:27 , "that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that it should be holy and without blemish." 

6. The badger is little and weak in himself, but God's wisdom makes him strong !!   So we too, are aware of our frailty - we are but dust -- yet in God our very weakness makes us strong.  God declares in II Cor. 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness ..."  and our response should be .. "for when I am weak, then I am strong!!"(vs. 10)

If God's wisdom is so evident and admirable in the little badger, allowing him to live a fulfilled life, generation after generation, how much more will God's wisdom guide us, who are His children, created in His image. How much more can we be assured His promises will always be true in our lives. 
Let us learn from the badger and humbly accept God's wisdom for us,  for in so doing we too shall be as wise as the little badger!