Butterflies – Portraits of Peace

I was sitting on our deck the other morning enjoying some sunshine and Sonshine before I began my tasks of the day. Soon a butterfly fluttered through the air and alighted upon the railing of the deck. It was a beautiful addition to my surroundings. As I peered at this lovely winged creature, I sensed the presence and peace of God. My mind then reflected upon some specific scriptures.

My Reader, join me today as I gaze upon the beauty of butterflies and ponder some peaceful promises.

butterfly-deep-purplethe Lord blesses his people with PEACE.
Psalm 29:11b

butterfly-blue

You (the Lord) will keep in perfect PEACE
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you
Isaiah 26:3 
butterfly-pinkPEACE I (Jesus) leave with you; my PEACE I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27  butterfly-redFor God is not a God of disorder but of PEACE
I Corinthians 14:3

butterfly-lite-purpleAnd the PEACE of God, which transcends all understanding
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 butterfly-yellowNow may the Lord of PEACE himself
give you PEACE at all times and in every way.
The Lord be with all of you.
II Thessalonians 3:16
butterfly-greenPEACE to all of you who are in Christ.
I Peter 5:14

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Note: The capitalization of PEACE in each scripture is author’s choice.

 

 

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“Knowledge Comes but Wisdom Lingers”

 

booksKNOWLEDGE

bibleWISDOM

7d01-tmpCLASS OF 1964

 “Knowledge Comes but Wisdom Lingers”
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

“Knowledge Comes but Wisdom Lingers” was the class motto for our high school graduating class. Since my husband and I recently attended a milestone class reunion, I have been reflecting upon these words. Fifty years ago, Gary and I spent time with these classmates gaining book knowledge five days a week. Now in May 2014, we spent time with these same people sharing wisdom gained through life. Tests were used for grades when we were acquiring knowledge in high school but now testings have given us opportunities for growth while attaining wisdom in life.

For each of us, our circle of family and friends had expanded over the years but we still had room for our friendships of OHS. Some things change while other things never change. We had all put aside the textbooks we used to gain knowledge but I saw evidence of wisdom, including Biblical wisdom, fulfilled in our lives.

And we know that in all things
God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

During our reunion, we talked of the joys of our journeys as well as some of the rough roads along the paths of life. While the feelings of worth and warmth within the hearts of each classmate dominated, we also shared some of the aches and breaks of our hearts. However, it was evident that God was using each experience of each of us for His good. Each classmate was able to share his or her triumphs and/or hardships and not be rejected by former friends. Fifty years ago competition and popularity were important while now our priority was compassion and concern.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

This scripture was proven true as we as classmates of OHS 1964 told of our careers, families and travels. God’s plans and purposes have been and still are being attained. Even as we enter the retirement phase of our lives, there is a desire for each of us to find a common denominator between our intentions and God’s goals. Every person has his or her unique talents and interests to use in a way honoring to God. After fifty years, we still have a future filled with hope. Our conversations looked forward as well as backward.

Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?
To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.
Job 12:12-13

Yes, after 50 years, my classmates and I have to admit that we are nearing the group of people known as the aged. We may have some wisdom that is lingering in our minds along with the knowledge we gained in our years as students, but true wisdom for all of us comes only from God. As students, we attended public school together gaining knowledge. Some were together in the same classes from kindergarten through high school. After graduation, we scattered as everyone went his or her own direction. Unique experiences have allowed each of us to grow and gain personal wisdom.

Although there were only 38 in our graduating class, 25 of us traveled the roads of many miles of many states to be reunited for two evenings. We shared our memories of 50 years ago but we also created new memories in less than 50 hours. We did not talk about our book knowledge but we did verbalize some words of wisdom. I guess our class motto still has some truth. Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, especially when that wisdom comes from the Lord!

 Joyfully,
Cheryl
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For all my Readers: Even though you may not have been a member of this particular high school class, take time to apply the motto of “Knowledge Comes but Wisdom Lingers” to your own life. Most likely these words of Alfred Lord Tennyson will relay some wisdom from the Lord for you personally.

 

 

My Farmer Father

 

father-and-son-mfKnow therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God,
keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations
of those who love him and keep his commandments.
Deuteronomy 7:9

 A farmer reflects an accurate father image of our Heavenly Father. With this coming Sunday being Father’s Day, my thoughts turn towards my biological father. He was a Nebraska farmer through and through. The land he farmed was originally homesteaded by my great-grandfather when he immigrated from Ireland. The farm was passed down from my great-grandfather to my grandfather, to my father, and now is possessed by me. The land is farmed by my dad’s step grandson with the help of Dad’s step great grandsons. This is quite a heritage! However, my dad has passed on an even greater heritage than this ground. My dad was well-grounded in his faith in God and he has passed that on to me as well. Yes, I know God has no grandchildren and I am a child of God because of my own choice, but Dad was a positive influence to help me find my own faith. Like my Heavenly Father, my dad was loving and influenced multiple generations in multiple ways. My Farmer Father exemplified our Heavenly Father.

field-mfBut the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word
and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop,
yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
Matthew 13:223

 I am reminded of the parable of the sower recorded in Matthew 13:3-8 with the parable explanation in Matthew 13:18-23. As Dad planted seed in the soil of his fields, some crops would produce better yields than others depending upon such factors as the amounts of rainfall and insect invasions. The soil condition was affected by the plowing and cultivating of the land as well as the amounts of fertilizer applied. Dad was also a diligent father who took excellent care of his family financially and spiritually. Dad planted corn and soy bean seeds into the soil to produce crops that he could sell to provide for Mom and me. He also sowed
imperishable seeds of God’s Word into my soul to provide for spiritual growth. He was an excellent farmer of faith as well as a farmer of fields. Because of his agricultural background, he knew the condition of the soil was important for him to plant crops that would produce high yields. Because of his spiritual background, he knew the condition of the heart was important for God’s seed to produce lives yielded to Him.  Prayer was the tool he utilized to cultivate the soil of my heart. My father’s faith reflected the “good soil” referred to in the Parable of the Sower. He not only passed on to me the “good soil” of the farm land but also the “good soil” of the soul where faith grows. I am very thankful to him for that. Yes, there is value in the land I now own but I place a higher value upon my faith in Christ. My Farmer Father exemplified our Heavenly Father.

book-for-wisdomListen, my son, to your father’s instruction….
let the wise listen and add to their learning….
Proverbs 1:8&5

 God has imparted many words of wisdom to me through scripture, especially Proverbs which is known as the book of wisdom. As I reflect upon Proverbs 1:8, I see how “your father’s instruction” can refer to both my biological father and my Heavenly Father. My dad often sowed seeds of wisdom into my life. After he retired, I remember his telling me that he liked to rent the farm by shares which meant the renter got a certain percentage of the income and the landlord got a certain percentage. He felt this was the fairest way to do business because if it was a good year both participants received a good income but if it was a bad year both parties experienced a decrease in income. However, he went on to say that he could understand why “some women” who owned farms preferred cash rent which meant the renter paid the landlord a set price regardless of the yearly yield. Overall, it was fair because the good and the bad years usually balanced out. I agreed with his comments. Years later when I became the owner of the farm, I understood the viewpoint of cash rent that he shared with me was wisdom for me. Essentially, Dad was releasing me from the hands on decisions of a landlord and giving me his permission to use cash rent in my dealings with the farm. This has been a blessing to me regarding how I now handle farm business. My father has blessed me with financial wisdom as well as spiritual wisdom. My Farmer Father exemplified our Heavenly Father.

shoes-combatHonor your father and your mother,
so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Exodus 20:`12

 My dad wore work boots when he was in the field. Consequently, I honor him with this image because they remind me of him. I also realize his shoes are not easy for me to fill, but I will follow in his footsteps.  In Romans 4:12, Paul refers to Abraham as being the father of those who walk in the footsteps of the faith.  I am blessed to be able to say that as I walkout my faith today I am walking in the footsteps of my father, Howard McKeag. My Farmer Father exemplified our Heavenly Father. My Reader, thank you for allowing me to share my reflections of my Farmer Father with you. Now, how do you want to honor your father on Father’s Day? Your dad’s shoes probably look very different from those of my dad, but that is the way it should be. Each father is unique. No matter what his occupation, he can still leave for you footsteps of faith that exemplify our Heavenly Father.

 Happy Father’s Day to all Fathers!

 Joyfully,
Cheryl
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For an Audience of One

pink-flowerAn Audience of One


Envision with me an old ornate concert hall with row upon row of plush seats filling the balcony, mezzanine and main levels.  At the front of the auditorium, there is a stage surrounded with velvet curtains with a grand piano center stage.  A concert pianist takes her seat and performs a repertoire of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.  Her talented fingers move easily up and down the keyboard producing beautiful music.  Her eyes are blinded by the bright spotlights so she is unaware of the number of seats occupied for her recital.  She is not concerned because she is confident her talent is worthy of a large audience.  However, when she concludes  her performance there is the applause of only one person.

Reality causes confusion in her mind.  Why has she just performed for an audience of one?   I reflect, how would I feel if this were me?   My Reader, how would you, feel if this were you?

pink-flowerAn Audience of One
In all your ways acknowledge him (the Lord) – Proverbs 3:6
Commit to the Lord whatever you do – Proverbs 16:3
Commit your way to the Lord – Psalm 37:5

 One person can paint a field of flowers for display in a gallery where hundreds of people will see it, while I may only pick a single flower and give it to a lonely neighbor. Both actions are important when done as unto the Lord – when done for an audience of One.   A teacher can prepare a lesson to share with a dozen or more students, yet only one person may attend the class.  That is okay if it is done unto the Lord – done for an audience of One.  Maybe the message of this lesson is a divine appointment for a particular person.  One person or a hundred and one people, it does not matter if the action is done for an audience of One, namely God.  I must remember that who is in the audience is more important than how many are in the audience.

pink-flowerAn Audience of One
After he (Jesus) had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.  When evening came, he was there alone. – Matthew 14:23
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. – Luke 5:16
He (Jesus) withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them knelt down and prayed. – Luke 22:41

God the Father was the audience of One for Jesus when He prayed.  The Father listened attentively to the words of His Son because what Jesus said was important to Him.  Mathematically, 1+1=2, but spiritually for God the Father and Jesus the Son 1+1=1.  Jesus says in John 5:19&20, “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.” In John 10:10, Jesus also says, “I and the Father are one.” This was possible because each was an Audience of One to the other.

 God listening to the prayers of Jesus is one example of an audience of One. God calling such men as Abraham, Moses, Samuel and Isaiah is another example of an audience of one. I believe that each of these men had a one on one conversation with the Lord when He revealed His specific plan to each individual. Each of these men became a spokesman for a large audience, the nation of Israel, but I think each man would have been obedient to the call of God even if he had only been asked to serve an audience of One, namely God.  I like the scripture in Psalm 99:6 saying, “Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel was among those who called on his name; they called on the Lord and he answered them.”  Not only did God personally call each man, but He also allowed each of them the privilege of an audience of One when they prayed to Him.

pink-flowerAn Audience of One
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise – Psalm 100:4
the Lord inhabits the praises of his people –Psalm 22:3 New American Standard
Come to me, … and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28
Come near to God and he will come near to you. – James 4:8

 As I read these scriptures, I realize God is willing to make me His audience of one if I am willing to take the time to seek Him as my audience of One.  He listens to my prayers just as sincerely as He listened to the prayers of Jesus.   He can extend His call to me just as well as He called Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), Moses (Exodus 3), Samuel (I Samuel 3) and Isaiah (Isaiah 6).  I desire to listen for the still small voice of God as He may be seeking me to be His audience of one right now. 

If God allows me to be an audience of one before Him, then I must be content to live my life for Him alone, my Audience of One.  As long as God is pleased with what I say or do, nothing else matters.  As long as I hear His voice, no other words are important. To Him, and Him alone, be all the glory and power and praise! 

Joyfully,
Cheryl

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Question for the week:  Who is in your audience?