Last Sunday when we took communion at the end of our Zoom church services, our pastor referred to communion as our spiritual fuel for the week. I like that analogy. When I think of our Savior’s love, a love so profound that he lived and died for every single person ever born or will be born, I’m astounded by that depth of sacrificial love! I desperately need that reminder because his holy commandment is also to love others, just as he loves me. Bear with each other, forgive each other and love each other. Not always so easy, folks! That’s when that spiritual fuel has to come into play. As the song says, he is our food, our drink and the air we breathe. He is our everything!
C.S. Lewis didn’t own a car so he walked a lot. He loved his daily walks and enjoyed hiking for days with his friends around the English countryside. What is so meaningful to me, especially when he was walking alone, are his descriptions of what he saw. His walks weren’t just to get somewhere else or for exercise, he enjoyed what he experienced. He describes sounds, smells, cloud formations, flowers, trees, insects and other creatures he meets, in glowing detail. God gave us senses for our enjoyment, but we can be so distracted by what life throws at us that we can miss out on the joys God intended. Do we gulp down that first cup of coffee without fully sensing the aroma, the warmth, the sweetness or creaminess of whatever we add to it. How about mowing the yard or weeding our gardens, just chores or meaningful times with God’s nature? Let’s live in the moment!
Our pastor often encourages us to listen for God’s voice. In our relationship with God, he said communication goes both ways. If we aren’t hearing from God, we should pay more attention to that still small voice. No, not every thought that goes through our heads is from God, but we should expect to hear from him. Someone once told me they were grumbling inwardly about a contemporary song played at church, when up on the screen with the lyrics popped a scripture they knew was directed to them. They said it made it clear they needed an attitude adjustment. If you feel it might be God speaking, it’s good to write down what you hear right away so you can pray about it later. God can speak to us in many different and sometimes surprising ways. Let’s expect to hear from him!
Looked out at my backyard this morning and saw a rabbit, four or five crows and about the same number of squirrels. Butterflies and bees were swarming my golden yellow Esperanza. What I couldn’t see were the many other life forms living out there. Our earth teems with life. We have a life-giving, life-sustaining God who delights in his creation. I know he does because his pleasure shines through what he has made, inspiring us to glorify him every day. When I read John 1 and imagine how it might have been in the beginning when Jesus created everything from nothing, my mind reels! All the light and color blazing into the stark blackness must have been incredibly beautiful!
Right after posting “Well, I Did Ask!” about the tree frog on my window, I got a phone call. Daughter Liana was laughing and I was reminded of her collection of frog memorabilia. We have given her various frog-related gifts, knowing her love of all things froggy. But what I didn’t know was that FROG was an acronym she used to remind her of God’s unfailing love and concern for us, no matter what we are going through. She said for her FROG stands for Fully Rely On God. So that’s another message I received from the tree frog on the window. Thank you, God (and Liana). How many times do we need to be reminded that God is always there for us, no matter what! So whenever you see a frog from now on, let it be a reminder of what F-R-O-G stands for.
As I was pacing around talking to God one day, asking for direction and guidance in my life, I noticed a shadow on the blinds on a glass patio door. That’s odd, I thought. So I slowly opened the blinds, and looking back at me from outside, eyeball to eyeball, was a frog. I’m sure a tree frog because that little guy climbed right up that glass like Spider Man. But why would a tree frog be climbing up my patio door. Maybe it symbolized something. I found frogs symbolize transformation and productiveness (fertility) and change. Was God trying to tell me something in one of his many creative ways? I did ask after all. I want to be productive and certainly need spiritual transformation, but am I the only one who finds change a bit scary? How many times, and ways, does God have to remind us to trust his will in our lives!
When I telephone my kids, they probably wonder what’s wrong. That’s because I rarely telephone anyone. I love hearing from them though. I can enjoy hours on the phone with any of my kids. It’s not that we don’t communicate; I communicate with them daily through text and email messages. I often pray before I write, asking God’s Spirit to flow in encouraging and reassuring ways. One day, when I was praying, came these thoughts: There are people you need to call. The Holy Spirit flows through the telephone as well as through your writing. Whoa, scary! Was God expecting me to be a part of some telephone calling service? (I did call three people right away who I knew he meant for me to call.) No, God let me know later, but at times you need to call people. An email, text, even a sympathy card, is not enough. Thank you, Lord.
It’s the battle of the hummingbirds. They intimidate the butterflies and the bees when they swoop in on the flowers in my garden, but their aggressive nature defeats them. When more than one hummingbird shows up they spend most of their time dive bombing and chasing each other than attending to the flowers. This gives the butterflies and bees plenty of time to gather their nectar. We can look to nature’s beauty and be inspired by God’s glorious creation, and we can also learn from its negative aspects. As Paul wrote to the Galatians: “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Gal. 5:15, NIV). Let’s heed the apostle’s words and live in unity in Christ.
When I read about people who memorize whole books of the Bible, I’m impressed. More than impressed, I’m jealous. I know various favorite scriptures, the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23. I’ve been working on Colossians 3 for some time now. Not a whole book, not even a whole chapter, but even so it doesn’t come easy. If I don’t keep at it, I forget what I’ve already memorized. Like Psalm 23 and the Lord’s Prayer, what I memorized when I was young stays with me. But I don’t blame it all on age. For most of us, with today’s smart phones, we don’t have to memorize anything anymore. I used to have all these phone numbers in my brain. Now I hardly remember my own. Don’t get me wrong, I love the convenience of carrying around this pocket-size, super computer with me, but with every technological gain, it seems, there’s also a loss.