• Approach life with interest, flavor, and zest • Treasure those memories of special moments frozen in time • Cold hearts lead to a dreary life but warm hearts provide cheer to many • True friendship is like a taste of creamy goodness • Live honestly that your true colors reflect integrity • Sharing compassionately arises from brokenness • Do not allow frosty responses to dim your peace • Be your positive and add color and flavor to life • When coldness invades, allow warmth to savor goodness • God can melt the most cold and stubborn heart • Seek what refreshes and strengthens you and give thanks • Missed opportunities can result from frozen indecision • Let go of worries and enjoy good fruits of life • Your center support is God’s strong presence
From “Reflections from the Everyday” Charlotte-Anne Allen
I was thinking about all the ways I use the word “good” … both positively and negatively!
That’s good. You need anything? … I’m good. Thanks Have a good day! This is no good. Good morning! That tastes good. Be good… Good Lord!
And what does “good” really mean anyway? Many a debate or disagreement boils down to a different perception or opinion of what is good. We try to teach children to make good choices and to use good behavior and manners. What one person thinks is good may not be good at all to another person. I may decide that something is a good idea, only to change my mind about it later… Changing situations and differences in how we grew up or our current culture, among other things, leads to some differences.
Yet there are many common things for which “good” is very apparent. The Bible sets our standard for goodness using different examples and teachings. I love how it shows real people struggling through life, some failing dramatically and others accomplishing great or positive things for the good of many. Micah said it well!
He has told you, mortal one, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 NASB
How do we decide what is good for a given situation or for life in general? What helps us to decide what is good. I find that taking time for self-reflection helps keep me on track. Just stopping, praying, reading God’s Word, listening, and considering recent actions or thoughts and perceptions is a great way to steer back in the right direction! I realize areas where I need to improve and to hopefully consider where I have grown and learned. Do I “do justice” … and what does that mean anyway? It is a high goal – to be founded on love, be honest, have integrity, be true, and be faithful. “To love kindness” is something that attracts, to care for others and to be cared about. When we walk humbly with God, we recognize His sovereignty or authority and our own imperfect nature and we follow Him, secure in His presence and knowing that He walks with us always.
What is good? That which lives out our love for God, our love for others, and His faithfulness and mercy.
Elijah! I love Elijah. Mighty prophet of God. Strong. Assured. Obedient to God’s commands. Through Elijah, God displayed His authority and great power to the people of Israel who had turned away! Fire from heaven burned up the soaking wet sacrifice… after futile attempts by the priests of Baal, god of fertility and nature, were unsuccessful. “Your god is no god!” … and 450 prophets of Baal perished.
Through Elijah, God withheld rain and a great drought resulted.
Through Elijah, God ended this drought with wind and abundant water… and Elijah miraculously ran before the chariot of King Ahab to a town fourteen miles away.
…Then a vengeful Queen Jezebel declared death to Elijah and he ran away in fear… and ran… and ran… until he ended up in a faraway cave in which to hide.
There God spoke to him, “What are you doing here Elijah?
And Elijah replied, I have given you my all God!Haven’t I obeyed you as best I can? I’ve been very busy doing all these things for You.Now look at these hard-headed, self-centered, angry people! They have rejected you and killed all your other prophets and now I’m the only one left!It’s useless. I might as well die too!”
I love Elijah! Doesn’t his story express the fear and discouragement we all feel at times?!
So, God passed by before that cave. There came a great wind, earthquake, and fire… but God was not in them. He who had spoken so forcefully and powerfully previously so that all would know His authority, did not speak through them this time… God had Elijah’s full attention! But where was God?!
Then there came a still small voice, a quiet calm. Elijah heard the voice of God asking the same question He had asked before, “What are you doing here Elijah?” …and, still focused on himself, Elijah gave the same answer!
But in the quiet of that moment, came assurance that God was with him. “Go back Elijah. I have a job for you. There will be others to help you, kings to anoint and a prophet to succeed you. Why, there are 7000 prophets who will rise up to serve me!”
I love Elijah! His story gives us all hope and assurance. “Go back. I’m with you. You are not alone,” God says. And so, He speaks in that still small voice, in quiet calm amidst our storms. God had not given up on them. He hadn’t given up on Elijah and He hasn’t given up on us! He is mighty. He is faithful.
May we find rest and courage in Him, giving thanks for His promise and faithful presence. Amen.
“Sit with me! Stay with me just a little longer, please!” Similar plaints of a sleepy child at bedtime speak of need and trust… and a hope of delaying sleep and reluctance to acknowledge the day’s end.
While we often treasure quiet time alone, there is also within us an appreciation and a need of another’s comforting presence, isn’t there?!
“Come on in. Stay a while,” others may say. Spending time with family, friends, and new acquaintances can have many benefits. Shared experiences and interests often bring us together, whether through enjoyment or trials. Spending time together can bring a sense of security, unity, and mutual understanding… especially when we face changes or prepare for a different future than that expected or hoped for.
There is a bonding and strengthening, both in times of loss and of celebration, when someone thinks of us and shares their time and presence. It cheers the heart and turns our eyes toward our Creator God.
All this and more seems to open my heart and understanding to God Himself, to realize His great love and the sacrifice He made to come among us, His children. God offered us His very presence, a Light among us, and invited us to join Him!… How wonderfully amazing is that?!
Through the simple willingness of Mary, Jesus Christ (God’s Son) entered the word to live among us and with us… and to bring us hope and new life.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23
As God came to be with us, didn’t He also open the door for us to come to Him? In coming to God, as we believe in Him, we receive the promise that He will be with us always. I love that we were not left as lonely lost children when earthly Jesus moved back to His heavenly quarters. God’s full presence continued through the Holy Spirit, and He is still with us. *
Wherever we are in life today, may we find comfort and joy in God’s presence. May we come as a little child, remembering the gift of the child and resting with the One who understands and loves us. God be with us.
• Joy and peace sound out from the heart • Words and actions will peal far and wide • A soft voice, like a carillon, sooths, calms, and brings enjoyment • A welcome call for meals announces care and fellowship • What we choose to consume in life brings nourishment or illness • Unexpected announcements bring excitement or dread • Be vigilant and heed warning signals when they come • The tolling of bells draws attention to our own mortality • Guard your senses and cling to faith to drive away harmful impulses • Welcome joyful messengers both great and small • Simple hands and strong cords are each of great value • Victory celebrations and shouts of triumph lift spirits • God’s calm strength rings out to all nations • The ringing bell herds us back to the Shepherd
from “Reflections from the Everyday” Charlotte-Anne Allen