Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Pumpkin Patch Gospel

Several years ago I saw this devotional that gives new meaning to the annual tradition of carving pumpkins. This story appeals to me since I would much rather celebrate life and the harvest season instead of celebrating death and the ghouls, ghosts, and witches of the season. This parable is much like the stories that Jesus told when he took common items and gave them spiritual meaning.
“First, God picks you from the pumpkin patch and brings you in from the field. The Bible says He selects us out of the world. We are in the world, but no longer of the world.

He then washes all the “dirt” off the outside that we received from being around all the other pumpkins. All the outside influences of our former life must be cleaned up. Old things are passed away and all things are become new.

Then, He carefully removes all the “yucky stuff” called “sin” out from the inside. Look at this! Yuk! Sin will not have such internal power. He then changes us from the inside out by the Power of His Word. That’s why it is important to go the church and learn about God’s Word.

He carefully removes all those seeds of doubt, hate, greed, and fear. He replaces them with the seeds of faith, hope and love. After Jesus is invited inside, you begin to experience the changing power of God’s love in your life.

Then He carves a new smiling face. Our countenance is changed by the power of His presence in our life. We then become so grateful. It can even show on our face!

Now we are going to light this candle inside. Look! This pumpkin now reflects the light from inside out. So too, when Jesus, who is called the Son of Light, lives inside of us, He shines through our life for all to see. We can let His light reflect through us to reveal His presence. “Let your light so shine before men that they may be able to see your good works and glorify your Father, who is in heaven.”

So you see, we Christians are really like this pumpkin! We will never be the same with Jesus inside of us. We can say like this jack-o-lantern, “Thy presence, my light!”

Now that Halloween is almost over, I can't wait for the annual Thanksgiving tradition of eating pumpkin pie!

Friday, October 17, 2014

It's a Scary Month

October is turning out to be a very scary month on a number of fronts. When I visit my local drugstore, there is a ghoulish figure dressed in a shroud carrying a scythe standing by the front door. In addition, there is a whole rack of freakish rubber masks. The place supposedly devoted to my health tries to scare me to death. Yup! Halloween is just around the corner.
The spooky stuff connected to Halloween, is not nearly as frightening as the real news I see on TV and online websites. Who doesn't get freaked over the gruesome images of ISIS soldiers inflicting terror on everyone who doesn't agree with their interpretation of the Koran? It’s hard to comprehend how humans can be so cruel to their fellow countrymen, especially innocent women and children.

The deadly Ebola virus ravishing West Africa is now in the US and proving to be more difficult to control than first expected. Granted many other viruses, like the flu, have proven to be much more deadly. But I’ll take my chances with flu any day of the week. Mel Robbins, a CNN commentator, has invented a name for a new virus “Fear-bola.” The irrational fear of coming in contact with someone who has been around someone with Ebola is becoming the real October scary event.
Then there is the Stock Market. I do NOT like roller coasters—the real kind or the financial kind. For those of us who are in our senior years without a lot of time to recoup losses when the markets crash, it can be particularly painful. It’s not just because we want to “tear down our barns and build bigger ones,” but because we want to have funds to contribute to our church’s building fund or other charitable causes as well as provide for ourselves financially.

So where do we turn and what can we do when life gets SCARY! Many words of consolation can be found in the Bible. Here are some of my favorites from the Old and New Testament.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. Psalms. 56:3

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil.4:6-7

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

We can choose fear or faith to get us through life. Faith is my best option. What about you?