The Fruit of My Ground

 

 

My 7-year-old grandson and I planted lettuce and spinach seed last week in 2 whiskey barrels and some big pots and we were so proud of ourselves. Then a friend told me I was already 2 weeks behind. Lettuce should have been planted in February.

At our other house, we “farmed.” My husband always plowed up half of the backyard for the garden and we planted at least a flat of tomatoes. For those of you who don’t know, a flat of tomatoes is about 36 tomato plants. We had tomatoes to give away and lots left over to can. Oh, and squash. We had so much squash that we couldn’t give it all away.

I read a joke once about a small town, where everyone locked their car doors, not to keep them from getting stolen, but to keep someone from filling up the backseat with squash.

A lady friend from church came to visit one day and I loaded her up with squash, something she didn’t grow in her garden. She said “I just pray that God will just bless you back abundantly for what you have given me.”

I said, “Oh, no, not more squash.” That week the squash bugs moved in and killed my plants almost overnight.

My mouth determined my destiny. I got what I said, “not more squash.” It opened the door to allow the “devourer” to come in and destroy my crop of squash.

In Malachi 3:11 God says, “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground.”

And the reason He will rebuke the devourer? Malachi 3:10 says, “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’”

This year, I will talk to my plants and tell them that God has blessed the fruit of my ground and rebuked the devourer, but I am not planning to plant squash this year.

All About Jesus

 

 

 My grandson and I painted ceramics this week. We painted a decorated Easter egg, two little ceramic Easter baskets, and an Easter egg with a chick sticking his head out. Engraved on the egg were the words “Just out” which my grandson colored different colors.

I dug out my Easter decorations—candle Easter eggs, fake green grass and all the little dollar figurines I bought last year, depicting rabbit mothers pushing rabbit babies in carriages, rocking rabbit babies in cradles, around decorated houses and toadstools.

When I was a kid, we melted dye tablets in cups of water, then dipped our boiled eggs in them. Sometimes we used a candle to draw on our eggs so that after they were dipped in dye, they had swirls on them.

We hunted Easter eggs in our house the whole week before Easter, hiding them in behind the books or under the bed.

Then on Easter after church, we hunted eggs with the rest of our Sunday School classes. We carried our Easter baskets to collect chocolate eggs and marshmallow chicks and bunnies. We wore our best dresses and new shiny shoes to church.

We raised chickens so we knew about the chicks pecking their way out of the eggshell. We held baby chickens, but then we had to let them grow up and not be our pets anymore. We saw rabbits around our backyard, in the garden, and on the farm, but we didn’t really raise rabbits as pets..

We learned songs at school about Easter.  “Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail” (written by Gene Autry, by the way) but we knew that Easter was not about the Easter bunny.

Come Easter Sunday morning, we heard again the story of how Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried in a garden tomb, but the stone was rolled away by an angel and Christ arose.

And then we sang, “Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes, He arose a Victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever with His saints to reign, He arose, He arose, Hallelujah, Christ arose.”

Easter is always all about Jesus Christ and His resurrection; the rest is just fun for the kids.

Wide-Open Road in the Wilderness

 

 

This week I have been hearing a repeated thud on my 6-foot-wide picture window that overlooks the covered patio. It must have been several times before the sound penetrated my consciousness enough to make me wonder what it was. I opened the door to see if someone was knocking and happened to see a bird fly away.

The next few times I heard this, I pulled the curtain back from the door to peek out, and saw a Robin red-breast. There was bird poop on the bar chair I have sitting outside by the back door.

I have curtains plus I put two little plastic snowman on the glass so he would see them; I hung a long swirly blue plastic ornament on a hook outside the window, to blow in the wind and scare him away. This morning he hit the window eight or ten times while I dozed in the recliner. I finally got up and pulled the curtain back to scare him away. I let the dogs out and moved the bar chair away from the window.

I don’t know what that bird’s problem is, but we do the same thing.  We hit our heads on the window time and time again, doing the same thing over and over, trying to get a different result.

Winds of change are blowing all around us. God is allowing these changes, so it is time to seek God’s will in all of this for you. Let Him show you where in your life you have been hitting your head against the window.

 Do you want something to be different in your life? Now is the perfect time to change what you have been doing. This changing season could be the greatest opportunity you have ever had in your whole life.

Isaiah 43:19-20, “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert….to give drink to My people, My chosen….They shall declare My praise.”

Instead of a closed window, you will see God’s wide-open road in the wilderness.

Bride & Groom

 

 

We women just love a wedding. We get to ooooh and ahhh over the beautiful bride who never looked prettier than on her wedding day. We dream of our own romantic engagement and fondly reminisce about our wedding day. We laugh with the other guests over the antics of the ring-bearer and flower girl.

And we get misty-eyed at the taking of the vows, wishing they would have used the old church vows, “For better, for worse, in sickness and in health.”

When the couple exchange rings and vows, sometime they take communion together, then the minister pronounces them man and wife.

Many couples these days, after the seriousness of the wedding ceremony, give in to the juvenile temptation to cram the wedding cake into their new spouse’s mouth and smear it all over their face. How humiliating to show so little respect to your new husband immediately after making a life-long commitment to him. Or how unloving to smear cake on the beautifully made-up face of your dearest darling new wife, on the one day of her life that she wants to look her best. All in the name of fun.

The wedding cake represents the communion bread and the wedding drink represents the communion drink. Along with the wedding vows, this represents the making of a covenant between two parties, to enter into a legal marriage before God.

As Jesus and His disciples sat at the Passover table, the night before His crucifixion, “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.’” Luke 22:19-20

Jesus made a covenant with God for us. He gave His body to be broken and His blood to be spilled out of love for us all.

And every time I take communion, reverently eating my little cake and drinking from my little cup, I remember and renew my commitment to Jesus, the lover of my soul, my coming Bridegroom.

Gentleman Jesus

 

 

They laid Jesus’ dead body in the tomb. Their hopes and dreams for a conquering Messiah to overcome the Roman rulers lay dead, too.

 

So, their hopes all gone, and in fear for their lives, they all hid out. Life would never be the same again, but life would go on, even without the Messiah.

 

Except for the women. Their broken hearts gave them a boldness to go to the tomb that Sunday morning. What did they have to lose? They had already lost the only thing that ever mattered to them, their dear Jesus, and they had nowhere else to go, nothing else to do.

 

So they went to the tomb, as every mother and sister has for thousands of years, to touch the stone-cold hands one more time and look in the face of that precious one they loved more than life itself. They wanted to smooth oils and perfumes on that cold body to keep it from smelling one more day. In their grief, they just could not let Him go.

 

The women went to the tomb, worrying about whom they could get to move the stone that covered the entrance, but when they got there, the stone was rolled away. Jesus was gone, risen from the dead. He didn’t need to move the stone to get out. He proved that later when, in His newly resurrected body, He walked through the walls and suddenly appeared to His disciples.

 

But Jesus, being the gentleman that He is, saw to it that the stone was moved so the women could come in.

Pioneers of Change

 

 

In 1971, when I went to work for the phone company, we operators worked on the old cord board, where operators answered customers by plugging a cord into a lighted hole, At that time, customers could dial local calls, but long distance calls had to be dialed by the operator. By 1974,  customers could dial 1+ calls by themselves, but certain calls, such as collect calls, still had to be handled by the operator.

 In 1984 I transferred to a job in the dial office, as an electronics technician working on electro-mechanical equipment that had been installed in 1958. In 1995, the phone company started upgrading the whole state to digital phone systems, replacing the electro-mechanical offices with computerized or digital offices. After my home office was upgraded, I was placed on a traveling crew, going all over the state, until the last offices in Weleetka and Wetumka, Oklahoma, were replaced.

When I retired in 2003 after 32 years of service, I became an active member of the Telephone Pioneers, now serving as secretary and attending most monthly meetings. We are a service organization, serving the communities together as a club, and as individual volunteers.

I have noticed over the years that the retirees who have the best retirement are the ones who had a “life” outside the phone company, the ones who kept up an active life after they retired.

We enjoy reminiscing about how things were in the “good ol’ days,” but we live in the here-and-now.  If changes are going to be made in our community, our state, our nation, our world, it must come from those who are forward-looking, not sitting back, retired from the world. It’s okay to fondly remember, but don’t try to live in the past.

 

Paul spoke wise words to us in Philippians 3:13-14, when he said, “But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

True pioneers don’t just sit around dreaming of the past; they press on into the future.