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Rainy days get a bad rap. Just the sound of those words often paints a picture of gloom. In days gone by, before clothes dryers, rainy days were a source of real frustration. Large families with piles of dirty laundry would have to postpone wash day. For children it meant being shut in the house, restless, with their nose pressed up against the window pane. A farmer knows he needs to be out in the field; nervously he keeps checking the latest forecasts. Yes, I can see why a rainy day is not always desirable. Even then it gives you a good excuse to curl up with a favorite book.
At times a rainy day is a source of jubilation, when your area is experiencing drought. Rain becomes the motivation for prayers of gratefulness. There will be rainy days, just as those with sunshine. We need both. What was that old saying, something about into every life some rain must fall? See Matthew 7:24-27. When the rain becomes a storm, having torrential rains and flooding, accompanied by damaging winds, then we have cause for alarm. Jesus teaches us a valuable lesson, about the foundation we choose to build our lives upon. If we construct upon temporary things, we will collapse, like the house built on sand.
If our decision for the foundation is Rock, the Rock of Ages, we will stand firmly in life’s storms. One very important fact found in this scripture is a real eye opener. We all go through storms. They are not just a punishment for the wicked, though at times they face God’s judgment. We as believers are strengthened through our storms, just as the eagle flies best when fighting the winds. The next time the forecast predicts rain don’t repeat the words of Karen Carpenter, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” Instead borrow the phrase from another old song, Let a smile be your umbrella!
Easter egg decorating is fun for toddlers and a challenge for moms. Easter egg dye can be pretty messy and getting it on the eggs instead of the children, is a balancing act. Easter eggs are not only for children. Artists create masterpieces on fragile empty shells after carefully blowing out the contents of the egg through a pin point hole. Beautiful pastel colors and intricate designs are breath taking. An Easter tree makes a beautiful center-piece and brings sunshine to a dreary home, following a long winter.
Do you want to be a designer Easter egg? You can, you know. Pretend you are an egg, grouped with eleven other eggs in a box, all in neat little rows. The box represents your closest relationships, including both family and friends. Easter time comes and every egg desires to change from a sunny side up breakfast to an Easter egg. You are chosen for boiling by the cook. Wow, this water will scald me! I don’t know how much more I can take! You are relieved when that is over. Wait a minute, now I am in cold running water! Talk about extremes, this is ridiculous! What is that terrible smell? Oh, I see; that is the coloring dye I have heard about. I am getting sea sick, twirling around and around in this solution! Stop the world; I want to get off! I wish I could find a mirror; I wonder what I look like…Good, I see my reflection in that toaster on the counter. I am beautiful! I have been transformed!
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention please? If you trust Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord you can be His very special Easter egg, every day of the year. The boiling process involves the trials you are faced to endure. They are painful; but they are temporary, resulting in a surface with great strength. Your life even has more weight- God’s glory. Why the cold water? Life is filled with extremes; one moment you have mountain top faith and the next you are hurled into the valley of despair. Don’t try to escape; there are others who need your strength and comfort. God will lift you out soon; “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10 NAS).”
The dye may be compared to the circumstances we individually go through, each unique and varied, to suit us best. These are not crisis times, just daily routines and relationships that at times keep us stressed, feeling tossed around like a ship at sea. They help to shape our lives, giving us the personality we are gifted with. The final result is a transformed life, a beautiful creation made by the Masters hands. He will not use you as a centerpiece; He will put you back in the box, to influence the eggs around you. You can prepare them for the time God will reach in, take them out, and create another very special Easter egg.
I never grew out of my childhood name of Pammy Sue to Grandpa Ford. I remember happily bouncing on his knee as He sang, Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy, Jig! Grandpa delighted in checker games with all of his grandchildren. He used his talents as a craftsman, weaving cain seats in chairs, and constructing wood crafts, such as a rooster weather vane. Honey, fresh from the honeycomb gave him great pleasure.
I saw devotion to Grandma, his bride of sixty five years, at the time of her death. Grandpa enjoyed the peaceful times of rocking in a favorite chair on the back porch. A cherished memory I now recall is of Grandpa sitting in his favorite living room chair, reading his Bible. He could no longer read the small print. So, he read the scriptures with a large magnifying glass. In my family photos I have a snapshot of him with Bible and magnifying glass. It is also in safe deposit, hidden in my mind with other cherished memories. My desire is to always be as dedicated to Gods’ word. Open my eyes, Lord. (Psalms 119:18)
Guest Author: Victor Jasti
Its love in the air, Which makes the seasons, Bloom to its fullness.
You look at the spring, Its beautiful and young.
You look at the winter, Its so cozy and cool.
You look at the summer, Its so glowing bright and sunny.
You look at the autumn, To know the difference.
The weather makes for sure.
Only when in love, Do you enjoy the seasons, Full to the brim amd overflowing.
Look around and you know why, Feelings of love for nature God created.
Both go hand in hand, Without one there is no other.
As children our surroundings seem bigger than life. Things tower above us. My memories hold many of those shadowy giants. Each time I have the opportunity to return to my old neighborhood it’s such a revelation, to see how small everything actually is. I’m surprised to see the houses and especially our front yard.
A very special old house stood at the head of the road. It had been the home place of my Dad, his parents, and older brothers. Dad grew up there, when it served as a working farm. He told me stories of Grandma fixing big meals for them and their hired hands. In my earliest memories I visited Grandma and Grandpa in the big old house. Shortly after, they moved from there to live with my aunt and uncle in a smaller house on the corner. The old house featured very large rooms, both upstairs and down, and wonderful porches. An open porch wrapped all around the front and one side of the house. A big screened sun porch faced the highway from upstairs.
If this were the end of my attraction to this big house it would still be special, but the story continues. My best childhood friend made the old house her home on a couple of occasions. Her family owned the local gas station and at times she lived in a smaller home at the side of the service station. The years she spent in the big house were exciting. We played in the large closets and slept on the sun porch during hot summer nights. Her parents even transformed an old hen house into a playhouse. Together we walked the long upstairs hallway. The long stairs felt the pitter-patter of our feet.
Years passed and new owners turned the structure into an apartment house. I would visit the newest occupants in this strangely familiar setting. Under new paint and paneling, there stood that same old home place. I married and moved out of the state. During returning trips to visit my parents I felt the warmth of that old house again. My younger sister married and lived in one of the apartments with her husband and little boy. My feet again walked the floors of this historic house.
My latest update on the big old house brings sadness. On vacation last summer we drove through my old stomping ground. When we viewed the house it almost took my breath away. Signs indicated it might be close to destruction. It looked very much like homes all across America, neglected, run down, and no longer safe. So, the next time I drive through that area I am prepared to see a vacant lot, or maybe a newly constructed house. Things change and people change, but they can’t take away my memories. We have all heard the expression, if those walls could talk… I wonder what stories that old house could have shared. Maybe it would reveal stories of my Dad’s childhood pranks and laughter, or secrets of two school girl chums.
It is impossible to hide your feelings. Sooner or later the truth is revealed. If you fall in love it is affects your thoughts, speech, actions and even your appearance. It likely even changes your health. Our blood pressure may drop with a sense of well being. In excitement our pulse speeds up a bit. We are changed and love is the reason. If it is contagious start mingling. We all need to be exposed.
God is love. He loves each of more than we can ever understand. The Lord loved us before we even noticed Him. “But Christ died for us while we were still sinners. In this way God shows his great love for us (Romans 5:8 NCV).” Have you received that love? We each need to admit our sin, seek His forgiveness, and make our decision public. New believers will notice many changes in their lives. Some are instantaneous; others come gradually. One we experience right away is never ending. We love our new family. We love our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our Heavenly Father loves His children. It gives Him great joy to see us love one another. Outsiders also recognize that love. “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. All people will know you are my followers if you love each other (John 13:34-35 NCV).” Don’t try to hide it. Admit it; you are in love.
I am a Yankee with deep family roots in the Northeast. One day life changed when I met a Southern gentleman. My future husband moved up to Syracuse, New York from Louisiana, to work at a local radio station. Romance began on a blind date. He swept me off my feet with his southern charm. Other boyfriends routinely wore shirts and blue jeans for our dates. He arrived for our first date in a suit and tie and opened doors for me. The Southern gentleman treated me like a lady. His beautiful smile and blue eyes won my heart. During our courtship he led me to a personal trust in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. We were married seven months after our first date. During our forty plus years of marriage, life has been many things; boring is not one of them. We raised two children while living in several states coast to coast. We met wonderful people everywhere we went. Our main occupation has been in Broadcasting; but he also worked in many part time jobs. This recognizes him for his warmth shared with all of those he meets. Nobody is a stranger to Norm. He speaks to everyone who crosses his path.
One thing that makes me so proud to be his wife is his kindness to others. He has the rare gift of making everyone feel special. In the past he rubbed shoulders with political leaders, even interviewed two past Presidents, before they held that office, President Clinton and President George H. Bush. As a news director he interviewed them and also Ross Perot. Many years later while living in Florida he became very involved in county and state politics. At that time he met Governor Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist, the current Governor. I share all of that to draw a contrast. He has also held many menial day labor jobs, from digging ditches to shoveling sand out of condo buildings following Hurricane Opal. He also worked as a maintenance man at fast food restaurants for several years. He treated his minimum wage co-workers the same as government leaders. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).” Who is the man that greets everyone he meets? I am sure you know by now. That man is my wonderful Southern gentleman.