Archive | July 2012

Taking Off the Old

This week I started refinishing an antique iron bed frame for my daughter. Taking off the old paint to put on new.

This bed frame has been sitting in an old shed for who knows how long and most of the paint has chipped off. I thought this makeover would not take long at all.  In fact, I got the power washer out and began to blast away, but the paint stuck. I had to get out the jug of paint stripper after all. Because of the skinny round surface and grooves in the detail of ironwork, scraping the old paint became rather time consuming. I pressed on with determination and anticipation of the restored ‘new’ bed.

You know, this process is very similar to that of a growing Christian.  Just as I brushed on stripper and let it set to soften the ugly old paint, we are told

“…to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24. 

Did you catch the phrase “to be made new in the attitude of your minds”? Oh boy! Attitude can really get in the way sometimes. To grow and change to be more like God, we must begin with our attitudes; getting rid of the negative, sinful, hurtful, prideful attitudes as if scraping the old paint.

After scraping the paint, use steel wool and mineral spirits to remove the remaining residue. Changing our attitudes is not enough. We too need to remove some things.

Ephesians 4:31 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

Iron needs a good primer to keep the rust from returning. It also gives a good base for the paint to adhere. In our lives, our primer comes in verse 32

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

When we have an attitude of kindness, compassion and forgiveness, we are primed for the new self. What should the paint and top coat of our lives look like?

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Eph. 5:1,2

Well, I’m getting close to having this bed frame finished, but I will continue to work on putting off the old self and putting on the new and striving to be an imitator of God.

Ori and Oribelle

I was so delighted when I glanced out my window and saw that Ori and Oribelle had arrived for their visit.  They are such a striking couple!

The two soon made themselves right at home, building their little abode directly above our patio.  Hubby and I enjoyed watching the building process as we had breakfast and coffee outside.

The beginning of their home


Once completed, the activity changed.  Ori and Oribelle would flit and fly back and forth taking turns sitting in the nest.  When Oribelle was sitting, Ori would stand guard cheeping cheerily until others came to visit.  He did not want visitors! He would scold and fly around them trying to shoo them off his tree.

Orie on the lookout

One morning, we heard squeaky peeps coming from above.  Sure enough the family had grown! Now the two took turns bringing snacks for their babies.  The little ones have grown quickly, and are flying out and about on their own.

Although, we don’t see the family above our patio as often, Ori’s flashy orange and black attire keep us alert to their whereabouts.  In the past week, my attitude towards these fine feathered friends has taken a drastic change.  You see, I keep spotting them stealing what had been a promising grape harvest! I have put out a bowl of jelly, but they still prefer my not-yet-ripe grapes.  The thieves! I’ve been betrayed!!  The joy they brought has turned to disappointment.

Not-yet-ripe Grapes

Friends can be that way as well.  We can share some great times together, and then we get “stabbed in the back”, betrayed.  Trust is broken.  This is not new to our era.  Throughout the Bible we can read many accounts of betrayal.  It all started in the garden with Adam and Eve when they listened to the serpent and broke their trust with God. As brothers, Jacob impersonated Esau to acquire Esau’s birthright blessing. Jealousy! Sampson’s wife, Delilah, turned on him. The lure of a get rich quick scheme out weighed her love and devotion.  Jesus was betrayed by money hungry Judas.  Peter denied even knowing Jesus, not once but 3 times in one night.  The rest of Jesus’ disciples and friends scattered.  They didn’t stick around to help Jesus.  They were scared.

How should we respond when we’ve been betrayed?  Jesus gives us the perfect example – forgive. Does forgiveness mean we readily trust the betrayer again? No, not always. In John 21, Jesus questions Peter not once but three times of his love. It seems Jesus is making sure Peter really is sincere. It takes time, days, months and sometimes years for trust to be regained, but it must start with forgiveness.

Now, what to do about Ori and my grapes?

Lazy Days of Summer?

I hear people refer to the “lazy days of summer”, but I’m not sure I truly know what those lazy days are!

On the farm, summer is anything but lazy! In the fields, there is harvesting, planting, tilling, fertilizing, spraying and irrigating.  In the pastures, there is counting and checking cattle, hauling water and making sure windmills are pumping, and moving cattle from one pasture to the next as the grass gets eaten or becomes brown and crisp from lack of rain.

With the thermometer reading in the triple digits for many days now and no rain to speak of, the farmers around here will tell you these are the “dog days of summer” not the lazy days!

Having said all that, I can assure you that many a farmer, Hubby included, would not think of changing their occupation.  There seems to be something about dirt, sweat, grease under fingernails and knowing farmer has done all he can. The rest is up to God to orchestrate the weather so the seeds will grow and produce a harvest.

As my farmer goes about his busy day, he also keeps an eye on the horizon and the sky.  He is watchful of curls of smoke or a sudden flare of fire in field, ditch or pasture, or clouds building with promise of rain. He is trusting God for protection and provision.

These are not the lazy days of summer!

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:7-11

June Gifts of Joy

Can you believe 2012 is half over already?! The past six months, I’ve seen God and His blessings in some very unexpected ways.  Counting 1000 Gifts in 2012 – The Joy Dare continues to open my eyes.

Some gifts of joy for the month of June were:

  • A gift in conversation – family devotions on the beach.
  • A gift ugly beautiful – new grass shoots poking through blackened soil from spring prairie fire.
  • A gift empty – empty arms. Though I miss cuddling my young children, I praise God for the wonderful adults they have become.
  • A gift unexpected – Rain! Glorious Rain!
  • A gift smelled – the scent of my daughter’s perfume as I walked past her room. Yes, Daughter-on-the-other-side-of-of-the-world is home!
  • 3 gifts that are difficult – 1. My sis in-law was in a head-on collision. God saved her, but she will have a long, long road to recovery. 2. Surgery for sis in-law was postponed, and she received a very disappointing prognosis. Praising God that things aren’t worse than they are. 3. Being so far away from Hubby’s family. I wish I could be there to visit, encourage, take dinner to the family…yet I can pray across the miles for my dear sis in-law.

Though we may not understand, and the road may be long and difficult; God promises to never leave or forsake us.  That alone fills me with JOY!

Won’t you join me on this Joy Dare? Start intentionally looking for God’s gifts of grace and joy today. HERE is the link for the gifts we’ll count in July. JoyDare Be blessed!