Wednesday, March 30, 2011

God's Storehouse

Farm Scene at Maple Grove
"Oh, how abundant is your goodness,which you have stored up for those who fear you" (Psalm 31:19). 

While I don't so much enjoy seeing the trees bare of their leaves throughout the long winter months, one good thing I can say about it is that it opens up some scenic views that we don't get to see the rest of the year.  Most of the barns that surround our property and dot the countryside around us have been in use for many years.  The farmers use them to shelter their animals and to store up provisions of feed and hay for them.

God stores up provisions for us too. For those who love and trust in Him, He has a storehouse of goodness and blessings in such rich supply that we can't even begin to imagine.

"Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need" (Malachi 3:10).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Sundown at Maple Grove
"He made the moon to mark the seasons,
and the sun knows when to go down" (Psalm 104:19).

Spring is here.  We haven't had snow for a week now, but there's still time for more.  Where we live, the trees are bare and brown for half of the year.  I am more than ready to see green leaves again.  Yet there is beauty to be seen in the trees even when they are stripped.

God planned for all of the seasons and is in control of them.  Also the sun, the moon, the planets and stars.  He is in control of the weather, the universe....and yes our lives!  We don't always want to acknowledge that.  In the roughest of times we sometimes feel like God is not in control, but He is. We need to trust Him.  He knows best.

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body" (Philippians 3:20).

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Sky Scene at Maple Grove
 “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest" (Psalm 55:6).

There is a bird in flight high up in the sky, going where she wills.  Much higher there is a jet leaving a vapor behind it.  It's hard to believe there are dozens of people sitting inside, soaring through the air above us.

We tend to take air travel for granted these days.  When I was a young girl, I remember the impressive sights and sounds of those early high-speed jets.  "Sky scrapers!" we called them, excitedly pointing to the sky.  And we frequently heard loud sonic booms when the jets exceeded the speed of sound.  We don't hear them anymore because of regulations of aircraft speed over land.

The marvels of man at times seem so impressive, but they are nothing in comparison to the majesty and power of our great God!

"The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants" (Psalm 104:2-4).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Out of Season

Snow Scene at Maple Grove
"Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season"
(2 Timothy 4:2).

The first few days of spring usher in warmer days and sunshine, budding trees and greener grasses.  It's always so tempting to put away the snow plow, shovels and buckets of salt.  But we don't want to be caught off guard.  Winter does not give up easily and usually makes an encore performance.

We don't want to be caught off guard when it comes to spreading God's Word either.  The stresses and pressures of daily living and worldly temptations can distract us so that we lose sight of what's most important--giving God glory and sharing His message and His love with other people.  He is always with us to strengthen our faith and give us what we need to carry out His mission. 

"He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning" (Daniel 2:21).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Open and Shut


Barn Scene at Maple Grove
 I never tire of looking at this barn.  It is old.  It is rustic.  It is falling apart.  But it is so inviting!  I can't avoid looking at the door--so white and stark against the aged wood and tarnished roof!  In years past, how many times has this door been slid open to move farm equipment or let animals in or out?  This door reminds me of so many messages from God's Word.

In ages past, God instructed Noah to build an ark, and He told him to put a door on its side.  When the rains came, God told Noah's family to enter the ark.  He also led the animals in, and then God shut the door, keeping them safe inside.

"The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in"
(Genesis 7:16).

Jesus called Himself "The Door," meaning that He is the only way to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life.  Those who enter through Him are kept safe in His care forever.

 "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out, and find pasture" (John 10:9).

We don't want to be caught on the outside when the door to the Kingdom is shut. We must pay attention to Jesus' Word and listen to His voice.  We need to follow Him where He leads and receive the free gifts He has to offer.  The door opens and closes--opens to let in those who believe, and then closes to those who refuse His invitation.  The door represents both joy and sorrow.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and
the door will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7).

Super Moon

Super Moon
There was a "super moon" in the sky last night, March 19, 2011.  It is the closest the moon has been to the earth in 18 years.   It has been in the news and on the Internet.  It is big and bright and glorious!  Everyone has been talking about it saying, "Did you see the moon?  You have to see it!"

As bright and beautiful as it is, it pales in comparison to the brightness and glory of God.  Yet, I don't hear a lot of people saying, "Have you seen Him?  You have to see Him!"

"Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you" (Isaiah 60:1–2).

Moses asked God to show him His glory.  As God passed by him, He proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6).  He gave Moses a glimpse of His glory, but more was to be revealed.

"And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 40:5).

God made His glory fully known to the world through His Son, whom He sent to show us the full measure of His love.

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

"The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word" (Hebrews 1:3).

And God passes this glory on to us.

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Have you seen Him?  You have to see Him!  Meet Him in His Word, the Holy Bible.  Meet Him in the lives of those who know and love Him.  He is The Light of the world and the full glory of God!  There is nothing or no one more super!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Large and Small of It

Maple Grove Eggs
"For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest”
(Luke 9:48). 

Most of the eggs we gather at Maple Grove are of a similar size.  Larger than extra-large, I call them jumbo eggs!  Occasionally, however, we get an egg that is extremely large or extremely small. Regardless of size, each egg has a yolk, the white, and a shell, and in some way serves us in a breakfast, a casserole, a dessert, or some other tasty dish. 

God creates each of us uniquely, and He gives spiritual gifts to those who believe in Him to be used for the common good.  We don't all have the same gifts, but we each have one or more.  As we use God's gifts to serve each other, Christ's Church grows and is built up in love.  With a servant's heart like that of Jesus, the least in God's Kingdom becomes the greatest!  

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are diferent kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. . . All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines" (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11).


Friday, March 18, 2011

Foster Chicken

Foster and Rose

"Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times"
 (Mark 14:29).

One day a stray Barred Rock rooster suddenly showed up in our yard among our Rhode Island Reds. At first our chickens didn't want anything to do with the intruder.  They totally rejected him!  Eventually, however, they did warm up and let him in the flock.

I like having the rooster in our yard.  When I hear him crowing it reminds me of the tremendous sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf even though we don't deserve it.  On the night He was handed over to His enemies, our Lord told the apostle Peter that he would deny Him three times before the cock crowed twice.  It happened as He said.

"Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow" (John 18:27).

At that moment, Peter remembered Jesus' words and wept bitterly.  How many times have each of us denied Christ?  Any time we fail to acknowledge Him or tell others of His great love, or directly disobey His will, we deny Him too.  Praise God, however, for He readily forgives our shortcomings and gives us many more opportunities to love and serve Him. 

Peter denied Jesus three times that night, and after His resurrection, Jesus gave him three opportunities to express his love for Him.  Three times He asked Peter, "Do you love me?" and each time Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." 

The rooster has become a symbol in the Christian church representing denial, remorse, repentance and forgiveness.  The rooster's habit of crowing at dawn each morning is a symbol of Christ's victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and life over death.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

"Word of Life" Tree at Maple Grove
"The word of the Lord spread through the whole region" (Acts 13:49).

We light up this maple tree with green lights on March 17 to remember the mission and ministry of St. Patrick in Ireland but, more importantly, to remind us of the new life in Christ that springs from the spreading of the Word of Life.  

May the Good New of salvation through Jesus Christ spread throughout the land in our generation as it has in generations past. 

To God be the Glory!

 St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints.Born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep.  Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him. During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote: 

"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more." He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Light of Life

Lighted Path at Maple Grove
  "Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path"
(Psalm 119:105).

When darkness surrounds us it's hard to see where we are going.  We stumble and grope as if we have no sight.  A lamp deliberately placed so that it lights up the walkway keeps us from tripping and falling. 

The same is true of our spiritual walk.  We live in a world full of spiritual darkness where the truth of God is covered up with lies and deceits.  People rebel against God and reject the truth.  Groping in the dark, they stray from the right path and lose their way. 

Jesus is the Light that shines in the world of spiritual darkness.  He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).  God gave us His Word to reveal this truth to us and to show us the path to eternal life.

"You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my
darkness into light"  (2 Samuel 22:29).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Birth

Baptized into God's Family
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Of all the images of God's creation, none is more beautiful than that of the new creation in Christ Jesus.  The birth of a baby is a miracle.  The new birth through water and the Word is even more glorious! 

God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them.  Then sin entered the world and, through sin, death.  But Christ loved the world and gave His life for the salvation of all people. 

We look all around us and see the glory of God revealed in the beauty of His creation.  We look to Christ and see the mercy of God revealed in His Son.  Anyone who is baptized into Christ is a new creation with the promise of eternal life. 

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:4-7).

For more information about Christian baptism:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Empty Nest

Bird Nest at Maple Grove

"Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.  Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you" (Psalm 84:3). 

Birds, like all of God's created beings, have very strong instincts.  Last spring a pair of robins built this nest in the branches of a young maple tree.  Birds don't sleep or "live" in their nests.  They build them exclusively for breeding purposes. They build the nest, lay and hatch their eggs, feed their young, and then leave the nest. 

In the fall, when the cold weather begins to arrive, the birds instinctively migrate to southern areas for the winter.  Now, with the return of warmer days, the birds are making their way back home.  They seem to be more in touch with their Creator than are many people.  They instinctively follow the path that God laid out for them, whereas we so often resist the direction God is carving out for us.  Are you in some way struggling against God's plan rather than yielding to His will?  Isn't it time to return "home"?

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?  In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:7-10).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Clap Your Hands

Maple Tap at St. Luke
You know that spring is just around the corner when you see the sap buckets hanging on the maple trees.  The fields and trees are still brown and bare, but the air is getting warmer. In March there is a very short season when the temperatures are above freezing in the daytime and below freezing at night. That is when the sugar sap starts flowing; it is harvest time in the maple grove. This is something to celebrate!

"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands" (Isaiah 55:12).

Season by season the maple trees perform their duties and live out the purpose for which God created them . . . budding and blooming with new life in spring . . . stretching out their arms to provide shade and shelter in summer . . . blazing with rich colors of red, orange and gold in fall . . .  turning starch into sweet flowing sap in the last days of winter. . .  All of their works give praise and glory to God.  The trees are clapping their hands!

Through every season of our lives God gives us a purpose . . . His purpose! It is for this reason that He created us, saved us, and now calls us to love and serve Him and others. Do you see God's purpose in your life?  Does it give you joy to give Him glory?  Clap your hands!

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourseves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" 
(Ephesians 2:8-10).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dirty Clean

Dust Bath at Maple Grove
"Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin"
(Psalm 51:2).

Chickens love to take dust baths! They dig a shallow hole, loosen up the dirt, and proceed to get themselves absolutely as "dirty clean" as they possibly can.  Dust bathing is necessary for the chickens' health and happiness.  It keeps their feathers clean and dry and prevents parasites from finding a home in their feathers, skin and legs. The dust bath is followed by a thorough shaking to ruffle the feathers and preening. My chickens seem happiest when they are freshly "cleaned."

We humans need a regular spiritual cleansing. When we bathe ourselves with God's Word, He gives us a thorough cleansing of our hearts, our minds, and our souls.  This "bathing" with God's Word involves not only hearing and reading it, but also learning, studying, memorizing and obeying it.  As we "preen" and put into practice what we learn from God's Word, we are empowered by His Spirit to remove the parasites of sin that threaten to harm us. We are happiest when our hearts and minds are clean and we are living our lives in keeping with His Word.  Have you had your bath today?

"Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. . . How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your Word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, LORD" (Psalm 119:1,9-12).

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Crown of Creation

Moon Rise at Maple Grove
"Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies" (Psalm 148:1-4).

Day after day and night after night, all of God's creation displays the glory of the LORD and sings out praises to Him.  After creating everything in the heavens and on the earth, in the vastness of space and the depths of the seas, God created the crowning jewel of His creation: human beings.  Do we even realize how special we are to Him and how He longs for us?

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,  the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet"  (Psalm 8:3-6).

Should we, the crown of His creation, display His glory and sing His praises less than the rest of creation?  Our sinful, self-centered nature pulls us away from our Creator, but our Lord, Jesus, gave His life for the forgiveness of our sins, and the Spirit of God draws us to Him and creates new life within us.  For this we ought to give thanks and praise!

"Praise the Lord all you nations; praise Him all you people.  For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the LORD endures forever.  Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 117).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Under the Rainbow

Rainbow over Maple Grove
When I was a child I liked the idea of a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.   I never thought it was possible to see the end of a rainbow touching the ground until I saw this one. Then I joked and said, "Now we know that Maple Grove is the "pot of gold" at the end of the rainbow.  Sometimes it feels like that.  We feel so blessed by God. 

We know the real meaning and significance of a rainbow goes way beyond us, however.  God placed the rainbow in the sky following the Great Flood and promised Noah that He would never destroy the earth with a flood again.

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. . . Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth” (Genesis 9:13, 16).

The rainbow is a sign of God's solemn promise to Noah and to all people for all generations that He will never destroy the earth by flood again, but it is much more. Anytime we see a rainbow in the sky, we can be comforted and confident, knowing that God loves us and keeps all of His promises.

People may break promises, but God, who cannot lie, always keeps His promises.  Can you think of some of the many promises God made to us in His Word?  The greatest promise which God ever made to mankind is salvation. 

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Beautiful Work of Art

Gathering Rain Clouds at Maple Grove
How beautiful the sky is.  God creates a different painting on His canvas every day--never, ever the same twice!  In these gathering rain clouds God captures the colors, lights and shadows of His creation into a beautiful work of art, and they reflect His glory!

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world" (Psalm 19:1-4).

It is the same with our lives!  We, too, are God's canvas, and He creates each one of us beautifully and uniquely--no two the same.  Just as He gathers the rain clouds to bring forth water to nourish the earth, Christ gathers His people to do good works and declare His glory throughout the world. 

"Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. . . . Save us, LORD our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise" (Psalm 106:1, 47).