Monday, March 19, 2012


I’ve been reading the book of Matthew online as part of my devotional reading. This morning, I actually picked up my Bible and backtracked a little bit, to Matthew chapter 3. John the Baptist was talking to the Pharisees. He basically told them they weren’t going to skate by because they were descendants of Abraham, or because they were Pharisees or Sadducees. He warned them that they would be judged by the fruit of their lives, not on their title, or their ancestry. On Sunday, Pastor Kevin had talked about descendants of Abraham; that is wasn’t just physical descendants that the promise applied to, but all those who would believe, even the Gentiles. That’s us. Then this verse jumped out at me…

“His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matt. 3:12

At one point, I had done a study on wheat in the Bible so this really spoke to me. If memory serves me right, (I would check this online but the internet is uncooperative at the moment) when you thresh the wheat, you get the kernels of wheat, plus the stalks and the chaff. The chaff is the little husks that encase the wheat kernel, so they have the shape of wheat and look like wheat, but they are empty inside. Totally useless, yet they look like the real thing, until you make a closer inspection.

John the Baptist was talking to the religious leaders, telling them they may look good on the outside, but if their lives weren’t producing “ fruit worthy of repentance” that all the baptisms and law-keeping in the world weren’t going to save them if their hearts weren’t right. But I don’t think the application stops there.

We all have things in our lives that, like chaff, look alright on the outside, but when examined in closer light, are empty and useless. They may be harmless things, and not necessarily sin, but they don’t produce any fruit or build any character in our lives. Maybe it’s what you are reading or watching on TV, maybe it’s the time you spend shopping or playing computer solitaire. Ouch. Not that any of those things in small doses are wrong, I’m not saying you should give up TV or facebook or Farmville. We all need some down time to relax. But to be honest, we all have things in our lives that take up too much space with their “nothingness”. I guess the challenge for us, as Americans, is what to do with that down time, to make it more fruitful. Next time you have a block of time, and your first thought is a time waster, stop and ask God “What would you like me to do with this time?” Maybe it’s read a book, have some devotions with your spouse, play a game with your kids, write a letter, bake someone a cake, walk the dog, spend time in prayer, take a nap or call a friend. I’m sure if you ask Him, He’ll be glad to drop a suggestion into your spirit.

Life in our house has entered another season, as Scott heads off to his new job, I’m home alone. I am asking God to teach me how to order my house and my schedule, and lead me in the way HE would have me to go. I don’t want to be busy, with life looking good on the outside, I want to be fruitful, I want my life to have substance and value to those around me. Sometimes that just means extra time sitting at His feet, and sometimes it will mean putting wheels on my prayers. When I remember to ask Him, He will be faithful to guide me in the right direction…

On the journey, Cheryl 3/19/2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bread and Whine

Did you ever read the Bible, and wonder “How could they do that?” Over the years I have wondered how the children of Israel could see the Red Sea parted, and the mighty miracles of Exodus, and still want to go back to Egypt. They complained about manna, wanting leeks, onions and meat. Then I started thinking... are we much different? Here is the passage from Exodus...

4Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.5 And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”

When the people were stuck between the Red Sea, and Pharoah's army, they started complaining that it would have been better for them to die in Egypt. When they were traveling through the desert, they longed for the food of Egypt. When God provided manna, they wanted meat. It seems they were ungrateful, unbelieving children. But are we any different?

When we get between a rock and a hard place, do we place our trust in God, or do we whine and complain? Do we remember the miracles God has done in our lives, how He has protected us and provided for us, or do we want to run back to our old way of doing things? Do we stand in peace and wait for God to show His salvation in our distress, or do we speak out doubt and unbelief? When God gives us manna, do we miss the leeks and onions?

Recently, I was guilty of this attitude in my own life. Scott has been out of work almost 6 months, so we are living on about half of his paycheck. I am really thankful for unemployment benefits, and God has met all our needs. There is food on the table, the bills are paid, and I really don't have anything to complain about, we have had our MANNA every day. But I found myself missing the carefree days of a good paycheck and not having to measure out my daily manna, missing the OLD DAYS. I vented a bit to Scott, as he was made a job offer several months ago, but STILL has no hiring date. Sometimes my emotions forget that God is in control, and the job will start in HIS timing, not mine. I don't need to look to the job for my finances, the security of health insurance, or meeting our needs. God is the one providing for us, enough manna for the day, and we trust Him with it one day at a time. I like to have the future planned, and know what's going on, and He's wanting us to take it step by step, journeying through this phase by following His cloud of smoke by day and pillar of fire by night.

It is so easy to let the circumstances of life creep in and shift our eyes off the Lord. It's easy to miss those subtle attitude changes in our heart, that if brought to light, are so similar to the complaints we condemn the Israelites for making in the desert. It's easy to point out unbelief or ungratefulness or fear or sin in someone else. But when we let the Lord examine OUR hearts, we find out what is really there, and we can let him root it out and replace it with HIS thoughts. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.... If our hearts are open to His word, His correction, His truth, we will be transformed daily by our daily Bread. God wants us to have Bread without the WHINE.... Journeying on with Jesus, Cheryl 3/14/12

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Give us this day our daily bread

Daily Bread

Today's musings come from an unlikely event, running errands. I had a wonderful morning with my daughter Rosharon. We went to Norwich to get some highway driving practice (great job Ro!) and get her several costumes for the upcoming play at GHS. We headed to Goodwill, found her 2 outfits, 2 hats, a belt, a blouse for me, and the AMAZING find of the year.... a new breadmaker. As many of you know, I use my breadmaker a LOT. The buttons are getting worn out and you need a knife and a lot of pressure to change the settings. Also, the mechanism at the bottom of the pan is getting rickety. I happened to find the same EXACT model I have, almost brand new, with the original recipe book but missing the little dough paddle (which I already have) for only $9.99. I was SO VERY EXCITED because breadmakers run $100-$200 for a good one and this one has my "loaf of bread on the table in 58 minute" setting. With Scott out of work, I've been wanting to replace ours but not willing to spend the $100 right now. It was one of those things I wanted, and would have used, but the other still works and I was trying to be a good steward of our finances in this season of unemployment... This reminded me of the Scripture in Deuteronomy 28 (New King James Version) Blessings on Obedience

28:1 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:

3 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.

4 “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.

5 “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

I would say, to make it a modern translation, BLESSED shall be my BREADMAKER!

Thank you Lord for Your blessings finding us every which way we turn (verse 6).

6 “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

7 “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.

8 “The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

9 “The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. 10 Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. 11 And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. 14 So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Then this got me thinking of another Scripture...

Psalm 37:25

I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,

Nor his descendants begging bread.

How good is our God? He knows how much I love making things with my breadmaker, and how much my descendants enjoy eating it! We have been going through this season, for 5 months Scott has been out of work. He has an offer for a job, but no start date or shift assignment. Basically, they've left him waiting for several months, with no communication about WHEN he might start. Being a planner, this really annoys me, and I do admit to venting about it to Scott. But then God reminds me He has everything planned, in His timing, the job will come. He's got my “Daily Bread” covered, just like He always has. He's our provider, and He's been so faithful.

As I read over these verses, I appreciate God's sense of humor to remind me in a very real way that He is watching out for me in the city and in the country, and His blessing will find me around every corner, as long as I continue to seek Him and obey His word. We don't have to live in this world's economy, God has His own kingdom economy, and He is not limited. We just have to remember to look to Him for our provision, and not keep looking back at Egypt, expecting to find our answers there... Our God, who provided Manna (bread) in the wilderness, is still providing for us today! May our hearts always look thankfully and expectantly to him, trusting in His goodness and lovingkindness....

Read those verses again. That blessing is what He wants His people to walk in today.

Those promises are for ME and YOU!!!!

Be blessed!