But not the wicked, they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Psalm 1:4
One of the fond memories I have of growing up in Hoyt was the huge garden we planted every spring. My Dad always had (and still has) one of the most beautiful gardens in town. One of the things I enjoyed most from our garden was the popcorn. Dad had an old flywheel corn sheller we used to take the popcorn off the cob. After we finished that job, he would set a window fan on a stool and slowly pour the popcorn from one bucket to another in front of the fan to blow out the chaff. When I came across this Psalm not long ago, I couldn’t help but remember those days on the back patio watching the white chaff blow into the green grass making it look like a December snow.
Everyone in our house loved popcorn so helping with the planting and harvesting was no big chore because we knew how much we’d enjoy the fruits of our labor! When helping dad blow away the chaff, my job was to hold the bottom bucket still so it didn’t spill. As I knelt there on the patio carefully doing my assigned task, I remember asking why we had to blow that stuff out. I wondered why we had to go to all that fuss if the stuff didn’t have any flavor or didn’t cause any harm…seemed like extra work to me! Dad tolerated my chatter and my dozens of questions patiently but when I was persistent about the chaff he had to come up with something to shut me up! I still remember what he said. His reply was simple enough to make sense to a child and practical enough to stick to my mind like glue for decades. He said, “Chaff is useless; it has no purpose and no reason to be in the popcorn. If we don’t blow it away, it clumps up in the popper and prevents the popcorn from popping right. It may seem little and light and harmless but we have to get it out of the popcorn or it ruins everything.”
How many things that distract and discourage us could be considered chaff? How many things do we fuss and worry over that really have no purpose other than to clump up our hearts? I’m guessing we could all use a good driving wind to whip through our life and drive away the chaff. Maybe we have someone we need to forgive; maybe we have an apology that needs to be made or perhaps one or two of us have some people we need to make things right with. Maybe our chaff comes from bad habits that are unhealthy or contrary to God’s plan for us. Our chaff might even come from selfishness that could be standing between us and a great blessing from our Loving Father. I suppose to stretch the wisdom of my dad, chaff is anything that fills our thoughts and hearts that is useless and has no purpose in helping us love the Father who created us. Now that the warmer spring breezes are beginning to blow, maybe we should all go outside and stand in the wind and ask God to drive out our chaff and get rid of the clumps that are ruining our relationship with Him.
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of the “chaff” in your life. It could be behaviors or attitudes or feelings then take the list to the Lord and stand in His driving wind to become pure and clean!
Blessings on your day!
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17
Happy Memorial Day! Growing up this holiday was steeped in deep military, and religious significance. I come from a Navy family, dating back to WWII. There were very few months of interrupted service from the late 1930’s into the early 2000’s, so this day was a day to travel to cemeteries and honor those who served and those who raised and prayed for them. It’s a day we heard stories of people we’d never met. Some of those stories were fun to hear and others hurt my heart, but it was a day for remembering.
As I sit here typing, I’m grateful! I honor those who have defended our freedom and I will pray for their souls. I wasn’t going to post today, I was going to take the day off but I woke up early realizing the best way to honor those whose actions are the root of this celebration, was to practice the freedoms they defend for me; freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I think about Christians of long ago and Christians of today who have to share their faith in secret. Writing a blog like this would certainly put them in grave danger. How lucky am I to sit here twice a week and type freely about God and the beautiful ways his Son Jesus works in my life every day. I type without fear and you read without putting yourselves in danger. I don’t often consider what a privilege this work is or what a grace is is to be able to “share Jesus” so freely. Today seems like a good day to give that some thought and thanks.
A Seed To Plant: As I type and as you read, lets promise to hit the pause button and say a prayer for those this day was designed to honor, remember and thank.
Blessings on your day!
I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel and watch over you. Psalm 32:8
Last year the 6th grade middle lovelies started a tradition that we were happy to continue last week. They use their last all school Eucharistic Adoration to leave their younger peers with some lessons. It’s a marvelous opportunity to think back on all they’ve learned about being a Disciple of Jesus and pass on that knowledge. The little kids are great listeners and the prayer time is action packed and powerful. I thought I’d share a few little snippets of their wisdom with all of you today because they were amazing, and as a teacher, I just cried because I am so proud of them and honored to have been a part of their journey.
Lesson 1 - Be kind…even when God is the only one watching, because he is always watching. The most simple act of kindness is a smile and we can all do that.
Lesson 2 - Make good choices…life or death are the choices we have. Life choices are the ones that lead us to heaven and please God, death choices are the ones that lead us away from Jesus.
Lesson 3 - Love hard…Jesus said so. He’ll never ask us to love each other as hard as he loved us so we have a pretty easy job. Love your friends and love your enemies, thats it! Plus, he will give you the grace to do it when it's hard. When we plant the smallest seed of love God can take that seed and turn it into something huge and amazing.
Lesson 4 - Trust…God is constantly putting people in our path to help us when we stumble and loose our way but we’re usually too busy to notice it for what it is…a loving hand from God.
Lesson 5 - We are His Beloved…we need to act like we know it. We spend too much time wishing we had the gifts and talents He gave other people and we forget we have exactly the ones we need to do what he’s asking us to do.
Lesson 6 -Serve - God asks us to serve each other. Just like Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles at the last supper, we are called to care for and serve others. They chose to highlight the loving service they have seen every day by Sue, our fabulous school secretary. They even prepared a skit about a boy with a bloody nose and Sue swooping in to serve and love and help.
Lesson 7 - Be Thankful…our prayer is like a Christmas list of wishes instead of an offering of thanks and we need to change that. We have to be aware of the people, places and things God puts in our life to bring us happiness, blessings and comfort. The lovelies took this opportunity to call each teacher up by name and give them a gift and highlight one way that teacher had shown them what true discipleship looks like.
Lesson 8 - Life…respect it, protect it and value it. We are on this earth to do his work and if we give our life to him things will be perfect; not always easy, but perfect in his eyes. The only way we can truly live life well is if we keep Christ at the center of our life. In a completely tear rendering moment, all 35 of them silently flooded onto the altar and knelt around the Blessed Sacrament in a circle of prayer as a symbol of what it looks like to keep Jesus in the center of our life.
These kids are 12 and they amazed me. They have a thirst and a knowledge and a desire to draw close and hold tight to the Lord and they shared that with the whole school in a dramatic and powerful way. I just have to say once again, I have the greatest job in the world! I hope their lessons just might hit your heart today too.
A Seed To Plant: Pick one of the 8 lessons to work on as you set out on a mission to grow in holiness.
Blessings on your day!
Click on the items below to expand the options available to you to explore the Joyful Words blog.