I have a granddaughter who plays the snare drum in a Pipe and Drum band. It was a thrill to watch her playing as she marched in a local parade. Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins all gathered along the parade route and cheered as she marched by in full Scottish attire.
My father would have loved this. He had a fondness for these bands. When I was a young girl, I was in a parade with my Brownie pack. My dad was given the task of taking photos. There may have been one or two of me but the majority were of the pipe and drum band! He would have been so proud to see a family member taking part in this activity. The only way it could have pleased him more would have been if she’d been playing the bagpipes!
Another granddaughter does Highland dancing. We have watched her in various competitions over the past year. The intricate foot movements and the swirl of her kilt show her dedication to Scottish traditional dances.
My husband was born and raised in Scotland. If I trace my family history back several generations, I also come across Scottish ancestors. We appreciate the desire of these girls to honour their heritage.
It also reminds me that as a child of God, I should be involved in activities that reflect this heritage. Do I honour God by spending time with him? Do I follow his example of loving my neighbour? Am I generous with my time and resources?
God loved me enough to call me His child and make me a member of His family. As such, my actions should reflect this heritage.
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! (1 John 3:1 NLT)
You are members of God’s family. (Ephesians 2:19 NLT)
Getting up in the morning seemed hard for me during high school years. The days often felt long—an hour bus ride beginning and end of the day, then farm chores or sibling care, and two hours of homework. My energy often flagged by the end of the week, and I could barely get out of bed.
Mom was up each morning to get our breakfast ready. My sisters and I only had to sit down and eat before catching the bus. Mom even set the kitchen clock five minutes fast. Enter a recurrent dream about missing the school bus, always near the end of summer.
In the dream, I’d be part way out our country lane, and the school bus would come. Usually the driver saw us coming, and he’d wait, but in the dream, the driver never saw us, and he’d go right by. I could never run fast enough.
One school morning, I hit the snooze button once too often and really did miss the bus. Dad would take me, but I’d have to wait until he was ready. He got me there in time, enough to grab books from my locker and get to my first class.
It took only once to realize how that extra ten minutes of sleep messed with my day. I had to make the effort to be up on time—that was my responsibility.
We can ask God for help, yet we need tomake an effort too. Solomon asked for direction to rule his kingdom (1 Kings 8); he still had to do the hard work to make it happen. In the same way, we can ask for guidance, then we must set our mind and body to the tasks before us.
Carolyn R. Wilker is an author, editor and storyteller from Ontario. Reading came easily in primary school, and she was hooked on books and words.https://www.carolynwilker.ca/
The day couldn’t have been more lovely, the sun sparkling on the lake, the beach slowly filling with families. A little red-haired girl caught my attention. She stood still on the shore, her small head bent over something in her hand. She started forward, stopped and peered at her hand, took a few more steps and stopped again. As she approached, I could see a moth cupped in her palm. She tilted her hand each time it moved, stopped when it crawled dangerously close to the edge and moved slowly forward when it was secure. Eventually the little girl reached her parent, holding her hand out for her mother to admire the precious treasure.
My delight in watching that little girl deepened as I realized God had just given me a picture of Himself. His care for each one of us is no less complete than the careful protection she provided for that small moth. Isaiah 46:4(b) says “I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” God holds us in His hand and takes great care to keep us there. In John 17:12, as Jesus prays to His Father on our behalf, He says “I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost …”
Like that child who was so pleased with her treasure, Jesus delights in presenting us to His Father. In John 17, He asked his Father to protect us, to set us apart from the evil in the world and draw us into a complete relationship with Himself. He says “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
How incredible to think God loves us as much as he does His own Son!
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from Alberta Canada where she lives with her pastor/husband. She is the author of two contemporary novels, four fantasy novels, and four devotional books. Visit her online at www.marcialeelaycock.com
I was raised in close proximity of Vancouver, British Columbia. We had occasional thunderstorms but nothing like I’ve experienced since moving to southern Alberta.
Now, those are impressive! The echo of thunder can be heard in the distance as the storm approaches. The air feels heavy and oppressive. Ominous looking clouds fill the sky and the natural light becomes dim.
A few raindrops appear and become more insistent when the thunder booms overhead and lightning flashes in the sky. At night I have seen incredible displays when both sheet and fork lightning have appeared during the same storm.
Sometimes there are hailstones, bouncing after striking the sky with incredible force.
Other times we are pounded with buckets of rain. I stand at the window and watch in awe as our street becomes a rushing torrent of water. It is exhilarating to be witness to this powerful display of nature.
When the storm subsides I step outside and breathe deeply of the air which has been refreshed by the cleansing flood. It is no longer heavy and oppressive.
The formerly dry, parched ground has been filled by the downpour that flooded the cracks with much-needed moisture.
This is the kind of restoration God brings into our lives. When I am desperate for an end to my dry and thirsty life, I need more than a little hope. A gentle shower will not be enough to quench my needs.
God is there; ready to flood my life with the healing power of his love. In the Bible, there is a story of God turning the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs. What He has done for others, I know He will also do for me.
He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; (Psalm 107:35 NIV)
Something had been troubling me since early evening. The issue had been resolved but my mind couldn’t quite let it go.
A few hours later, when I went to bed, the matter had finally been put to rest. Or, so I thought. Several times in the night I awoke after magnified scenarios of this issue took control of my dreams.
I would chastise myself for these negative thoughts and then fall back into a fitful sleep. Unsuccessful attempts to redirect my mind resulted in frustration and loss of sleep.
Eventually, I found the perfect way to calm my mind and drift into a peaceful sleep. I started to pray but instead of asking God to take away the troubling thoughts, I changed my focus. Instead, I concentrated on praising God and thanking Him for what He has done in, for and through me.
The Bible tells us, “He will keep in perfect peace, those whose minds are focused on Him.”
I experienced this fully when pleasant dreams appeared once again.
“My mouth joyfully praises you, whenever I remember you on my bed, and think about you during the nighttime hours.” Psalm 63:5-6 NET
There was a lot of flexibility in the schedule for our upcoming trip. We only had a few places that were high on the priority list. One of these was HopeStreamRadio. I produce a short weekly program for this online radio station and wanted to visit their studio.
When I let it be known I’d be in the area, this desire turned into something that far exceeded any of my expectations. Not only was a tour of the station offered, I was also given an opportunity to record any programs I’d written during my travels plus record an interview with the president of HopeStreamRadio which would become part of the programming.
Ron, the head honcho, and I have met twice. Both times were at writers’ conferences. Now, this generous man, who hardly knew me, offered to let us park our camper van on his property for a few days. This meant my husband and I had a home base in one of the areas we wanted to explore.
I was being offered so much more than I had even imagined. But wait, there’s still more. A barbeque dinner was arranged so we could meet the HSR office staff. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality and love freely given.
These unexpected blessings brought to mind the extravagant love God demonstrates. Usually, my expectations are far too small. My limited thinking is a mere fraction of what He has in store for me.
I haven’t earned his favour, nor do I deserve what is freely given to me. My hands and heart need to remain fully open because I don’t want to miss any of the gifts God has prepared for me. From past experience, I know they will be beyond my wildest imaginings.
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer. (Ephesians 1:3 GWT)
A friend told me a story about an outing with her family. At the end of a busy day, she was walking back to the vehicles with her son and young granddaughter. It was a clear night and the sky was filled with twinkling stars.
The little girl looked up in awe and then stretched her arms up high to touch them. They weren’t as close as she thought so she reached even higher. When she couldn’t come close to grasping one, she looked at her daddy and said, “Can’t reach.” The loving father picked up his little girl and placed her on his shoulders so she could be closer.
The image of a child being lifted by her daddy to reach for the stars was a powerful one for me. I can think of many times in my life when I have reached for the stars and fallen short. It was unrealistic to think I could achieve something so unattainable.
There came a time when I knew I couldn’t reach high enough and gave up trying. My dreams became more down to earth. They were no longer big dreams but now I had a chance of reaching them.
Then came the day I was asked to reach for something far beyond my limited abilities. Tearfully I replied, “I can’t – it’s too big and too far.” My heavenly father smiled and lifted me on his shoulders. He lovingly held my arms up and told me that together we could reach anything.
Entrust your efforts to the Lord and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3 GWT)
We have an area set aside in our backyard for a vegetable garden. Every year we look forward to the harvest of fresh produce to come.
Before seeds can be sown, the soil must be prepared. If the dirt is hard and compact, it needs to be broken up and turned over. The soil also needs to be fertile enough to sustain the growth we hope to achieve. The task of a gardener is ongoing throughout the season and I’m grateful my husband has taken this on.
He knows that hard, unyielding soil will not allow roots to push through and grow. Stones and undesirable roots left in the soil can hamper the growth of seeds planted.
If we are not careful weeds will quickly grow and choke the life from the seedlings. One of the roles of a gardener is to tend the plants, removing anything that will impede their growth. Without proper care, they will be unable to reach their full potential.
I think of myself as one of these seeds. Sometimes I put myself in situations that hamper my growth. God wants me to have deep roots so I can reach my full potential. When I am hard and unyielding He may need to do some digging into my life and break up the clumps of stubbornness and rebellion. The weeds of my wrong attitudes need to be removed.
This process can be quite uncomfortable but the results are worth it. The thought of being a seed, planted by the loving hands of my Heavenly Father is reassuring. There is no better gardener to nourish and care for me. His love and protection will help me reach my full potential.
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. (John 15:1 ERV)
For many, the handwritten note or letter is a thing of the past. Why would we take the time to sit down with pen and paper when it’s much quicker to log onto the computer?
However, I enjoy giving handwritten notes of encouragement and support. The feedback I receive tells me the personal touch is appreciated.
Mistakes made with ink on paper are not easily erased and corrections made on the page can look messy. In these cases, I turn to a solution made popular in the last century!
It is called whiteout. The fluid comes in a small bottle with a brush and all I have to do is cover over the error with the liquid and wait for a few seconds for it to dry. Then I can carry on as if the mistake never happened.
That might be the idea but often I either apply either too little, leaving the mistake to show through, or too much, leaving a bumpy surface that’s difficult to write on. This magic eraser also comes in a tape form which I have never been able to master. The result is my mistakes don’t always disappear as I’d like them to.
I know of something that completely blots out the big mistakes in my life. It leaves me fresh and clean and able to start over again. What is this magic formula? It is called forgiveness of my sins. I don’t have to shop for this in the store or wonder how to apply it properly. All I need is to sincerely come to God in prayer, confess my sins, and repent. God promises to forgive and give me a fresh start. I can think of no better way to get rid of my mistakes.
God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong, (1 John 1:9 GWT)
Mother’s Day has come and gone for another year. How did you celebrate it? It is about so much more than flowers, meals out or extravagant gifts. As a mother, these were not my focus.
Instead, I spent time remembering and appreciating my mom. She went to be with Jesus nineteen years ago and I still miss her. I am aware not everyone had a mother who loved them unconditionally and was their biggest supporter. I am grateful for mine and thank the Lord on a regular basis for my upbringing.
I also celebrated the privilege of being a mother. Among other things, my children have taught me patience and how fierce and protective love can be. They are an incredible gift and have helped mould me into the woman I am today. Again, I thank the Lord daily for my family.
Being a grandmother is another reason to rejoice. The only way I can describe the relationship with my grandchildren is to say it is a whole new level of love. I willingly accept the challenge to support each of their unique personalities in the way they need. My grandchildren are the treasures who make my life rich.
Mothers play an important role but so do many other nurturing women who are not called mom. I see many women loving and supporting children who are not their own. They also deserve to be celebrated on an ongoing basis.
To all the mothers, step-mothers, foster mothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers and loving friends, may God bless you richly for the role you play in building up the next generation. Who you are and what you do makes a difference.
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25 NIV)