February 18

Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

Does this include winter? The season of winter has a bad reputation. Most people I ask would say winter is their least favorite season. Not too many of us embrace winter: too dark, too cold, too long. Ice, snow, blustery winds. But we don’t want to miss the gifts of winter: the quietness of snow falling, the icy trees that glisten in the bright sun and look like Christmas decorations, the crisp clean air, the clear blue sky, and the clear night sky that reveals stars not seen in other seasons. 

A former TUMC pastor said “winter offers us a time to reflect, remember and give thanks. There is a grace in the quietness and solitude of winter which is unlike any other season.” I find it interesting that Lent, a time of reflection, begins in winter. Many folks try to escape winter, but I think God gave us winter to teach us the lessons of slowing down, refreshing, reflecting and resting. 

The Lord says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” Isaiah 55:10-11

“May your winter places be kissed by light.” - John O’Donohue


February 8

Ice and freezing rain are not usually amusing. They are dangerous, inconvenient, and miserable. But, I had to laugh at my dog and his reaction to the ice this past week. He was so obviously disgusted by the whole thing! He refused to go down our porch steps, refused to go into the street, and gingerly stalked around the crystalline grass. I'm grateful that he is small and easily carried. I'm grateful for the giggles in an otherwise grim weather event.

Thank you, Lord, for my funny little dog. Thank you that we didn't take a tumble down those steps. Thank you for the warmth of our house when we returned after our adventurous walk. Amen.


January 29

We live in an age in which it seems the predominant emotion is hatred, and nobody is immune to it. Hatred can range from the seemingly trivial, as in “I hate it when I have to restart my computer,” to the much more serious “I hate those [fill in the blank] people! They don’t belong here! Let’s get rid of them!”
            Hatred is one of those things that should not belong in a Christian (or any other) society, yet it keeps cropping up. And the sheer negativity of the hatred is often enough to overpower its opposite, love. I think it should be reasonably clear that the God as revealed by Jesus is a God of love, and it must grieve Him when he sees so much hatred in the world.
            The Bible is also clear on what it says about hatred. 1 John 4:20 reminds us, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” And Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”

            We, as humans and, thus, as children of God, have a choice. We can either choose love or hate. And though hate may be the easier choice, it is also the path that leads to ruin. Therefore, let us choose love; it may be more difficult than hate, but the end result will be far better.


January 21

     Encouraging others is a way of serving God. It shows that you value that person, and you want to help them be the person that God wants them to be. We all need encouragement at some time in our life. A few words of encouragement can make a difference to a person who is struggling. Ask God to guide you to those people who need encouragement. Sometimes God nudges us to encourage people who have hurt us. This can be a challenge, but God will help you find the words. Encourage someone in your life today!
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

                                                                                                         I Thessalonians 5:11                                                                     

January 14

We are renewing our baptism at church this month. This got me thinking about water. We cannot live without it. We often take it for granted, we sometimes don’t even notice it. 
It can be refreshing, cold, hot, frozen, scarce, plenteous, and powerful. It can be both beautiful and destructive. When we do pay attention to it, often we are mesmerized, captivated, and soothed by it.  Many of my friends as well as my sister love the beach and consider it one of their favorite places to be. The waves continually come in and go out and you can look forever toward the distant horizon. The sound of water can be very calming and you hear it differently in lapping waves, impressive waterfalls, streams gurgling over rocks, and rain falling gently on a roof. I also love the reflective quality of water - sun or moonlight shining on water has delighted humankind for years. Light and water can even combine to form a dazzling rainbow.
I think when God created water, his intention was to remind us of Him. He used water over and over again in the Bible as a symbol for many things including spiritual cleansing, new birth, life and deliverance. Water and God have many of the same characteristics. Something to ponder.

Isaiah 55:1 
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters…”

Gracious Father,

Help us to see You when we look at water. Help us not to take it for granted or waste it. Help us to remember You and that it reflects Your beauty.