So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone…1 Samuel 17:50
Hands down David and Goliath is an Old Testament favorite among the little lovelies every year. I re-read it for about the tenth time not long ago and the sling shot seemed to stay in my mind. (no pun intended) It’s really a crazy story when you think about it. What are the chances we could really inflict great bodily harm using a sling shot? Since I can’t hit the refrigerator with a rubber band, you can probably breathe easy if I come toward you with a sling shot because odds are good my shot won’t be within 5 feet of my target! It was such an odd weapon of choice for David don’t you think? I wonder what the giant must have thought as this very young soldier stood before him with it…did he find it insulting or funny or insanely ridiculous? I wonder if it made him angry or if he just wanted to bust out laughing.
Lately I seem to be confronting the “giants” in my day with a sling shot! Although David was able to conquer with it, I’m afraid I’m not so successful. I seem to keep missing the target and I wonder what God must think as he watches me wildly fling stones around and not really conquer the things that creep between us. I’m sure on some occasions He must have a good laugh at me; I must look like a nut throwing sand at an approaching army. I do believe I often miss the WHOLE point of the David and Goliath story. It wasn’t about David and his sling shot at all…it was about the power of God working through an open, trusting and expectant heart. David didn’t doubt, he just knew God would conquer. The truth is, David could have faced that enemy with a paper clip or a cotton ball and defeated him because it was the power of God that did the work not the power of man. I’m not so good at living that part of the story. I still think with enough practice, my sling shot and I will get better…NOT! It's not about the size of the battle or the weapon, it's the size of the faith and trust that determine the outcome.
Sometimes I add to the story. I continue reading as if the words are really there and tell the story about how David did a big end zone dance joyfully proclaiming his greatness as a sling shot shooter. Then he goes to King Saul and demands more pay and more fame and tells his story of greatness again and again. I can always count on at least two or three little lovelies to realize I’m making that part up and that leads into a very important lesson in humility. Perhaps in my own quest for greatness I forget who really needs to aim my sling shot and why.
So we’ve reached the part in the story where I need to make a choice. Either I need another weapon to slay the sinful enemies and giants in my life or I need to let someone else aim my sling shot because I am a lousy shot! Let me see...I think I’ll try a little harder to go with the second choice!
A Seed To Plant: Read the story of David and Goliath and then seriously contemplate the things you’re trying to slay with a sling shot and then figure out which ones you need to hand over to God’s precise aim.
Blessings on your day!
Happy Memorial Day!
Thank you to those who served so we may sleep under a blanket of freedom! Dave and I went to Mass at the cemetery this morning and Father Fedewa said in his sermon, "we have memories so there can be roses in December." May today be a day we not only cherish those memories but create some new ones so generations to come will have roses in their Decembers.
Blessings on your day!
… “Gather the fragments left over so that nothing will be wasted.” John 6:12
I remember the Christmas I got my first baby doll. I was four and it was the best Christmas gift in the history of Christmas gifts. I would have been happy with just the doll, but she came with “stuff”. She had a baby bed, with a mattress, blanket and pillow plus 3 outfits. When I was too old to play with them, my mom put them away. I remember finding them when I was in college and I realized that the bed was made from painted wood scraps and an orange crate Dad got from my Grandpa’s grocery store. The mattress was an old flour bag mom had stuffed and stitched shut. The blanket and sheet were from a worn out bed sheet that still “had some good left” in the corner. The outfits had been made out of scraps from the clothes my mom sewed for me. My mother was the queen of letting nothing go to waste. She always used to say “waste not, want not”. That kind of resourcefulness wasn’t just based on necessity; it was based on appreciation and gratitude. I’m thankful for those lessons.
I am often troubled by our “throw-away” society. Several weeks back the coffee maker at school was on the fritz and I was in the middle of a long trail of “goofs” so the little lovelies suggested I might need some coffee. When I told them the coffee maker was broken they groaned and said we needed to throw it away and buy a new one. Shortly after the conversation we headed to the carpet for a Religion lesson and the story for the day was John’s Gospel story about the loaves and fishes. I was struck by the words in verse 12. Coming on the heels of the throw the coffee maker away conversation, I guessed the Holy Spirit was sending a message!
What strikes me about this passage is that Jesus was capable of any miracle; He could make more bread any time He felt like it so why was it so important to gather up all the scraps and make sure nothing was wasted? I’m pretty sure there is a message there about not taking things for granted and about being good stewards of our gifts and blessings. This one little line has made me think about all kinds of things I might be wasting. I thought about wasted time, wasted energy and those mystery produce items located in the bottom of the crisper drawer of the fridg that get wasted. I also thought about wasted opportunities and invitations to act as the hands and feet of Christ. How many times have I wasted a chance to bless someone else’s day by sharing a friendly hello or secretly doing a chore for someone else? I suppose the biggest things I’ve wasted are chances to pray for someone instead of judging or sticking my nose where it didn’t belong. One little sentence has given me a lot to think about; now I need to be sure I’m not wasting time thinking about it instead of doing something put these words in action. I think I’ll take a good hard look at the way I use my gifts and resources through my mother’s eyes…I think she really understood this verse!
A Seed To Plant: Give some thought to the things you waste in a day then make a plan to put this verse into action.
Blessings on your day!
Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees. ~ Corrie Ten Boom
Each year as the little lovelies come to my classroom I’m on the lookout for the storyteller. They are the one who can make a 20 word story last for 7 minutes. They are usually very animated and I love listening them bring a simple event to life with living color and spectacular detail. Unfortunately we don’t always have time to stay tuned in for the entire story and I have to ask them to skip to the end or give us the “tiny size story”. I hate to do it but sometimes I just have to. One year not so long ago I had 4 storytellers and that was the year I learned a true appreciation for the gift of telling a powerful story in just a few, choice, touching words. I just began reading a new book called God Help Me: How to Grow in Prayer by Jim Beckman and it is fabulous; he is an amazing storyteller!
Sometimes I use too many words like the storytellers in my classroom so today, I’m going to borrow some simple, powerful words from Mr. Beckman…I don’t think he’ll mind; especially if you become inspired and decide to buy the book yourself. I hope they hit your heart as hard as they hit mine.
“I previously approached prayer as a kind of drug. I used it to help me feel close to god, to give me experiences of his presence. But as with a drug, I could choose when to take it and I could sometimes go without it. Prayer now has become more like air. It’s not really an option: I can’t breathe without it; I can’t live without it.”
“There is very little in prayer that depends on me. I can’t make myself have deep spiritual experiences. I can’t create consolation for myself. I can’t make up a word from God or make myself any holier. All of that depends on God. His movements are his and I can’t do anything to make them happen. The only things that I bring to the mix are consistently showing up for prayer and the disposition of my heart when I’m there.”
How’s that for straight to the point! I don’t think there’s any need for more words today…I need to concentrate on these and see where He leads me and my prayer time.
A Seed To Plant: Take these two passages to prayer with you and see what the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart about them.
Blessings on your day!
I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me. John 10:14
I once had a pink sweater. It was the perfect shade of pink and it was soft, comfy and had very cool buttons. It was one of my favorite sweaters of all time! I use the words “once had” sadly! The demise of the famous pink sweater came at the hands of one of those dreadful “Hello My Name Is” stickers. I have never been a fan of them and I’m famous for forgetting to take them off before walking into the grocery store or gas station. I went to a conference a while back and got one of the dreaded labels and proceeded to run several errands after the conference while still wearing it. It was a long day; a rushed day; a careless laundry day and I chucked the pink sweater into the washing machine with the blue sticker still on it. The rest is laundry disaster history…blue ink streaks down the front, sticky wads of goo in a rectangular shape and purple sharpie drizzles where the name seeped through the whole sweater. It was beyond help and I blamed it all on that stupid label! I realized that day, some labels really stick.
I came across this verse in one of the Gospels recently and it made me think about labels. We are labeled as His because we are created in His likeness and image. Sometimes being labeled can be a good thing and sometimes not so much! People have been trying to stick or unstick labels for generations. Sometimes those labels can be destructive like the one on my sweater and sometimes they can bring pride and peace like the label that marks us as His. Of all the labels we have been given, the one most frequently used in Scripture is “beloved”. I like that label don’t you?
What if you were to label yourself; what would your tag say? Would it say faithful, patient, loving, trusting, honest? I guess the bigger question is, does the way you live your life match your label? I’ll be honest; sometimes my actions don’t match the label I might think I’m wearing. I may think I’m patient but am I snippy with others? I may think I’m loving but do I share that love freely with ALL people who cross my path? We are His and He knows us, our best label says we are HIS BELOVED…we should make sure we live like it. People read those “Hello My Name Is” labels and they believe what they read. Maybe I should stick one to my shirt today that says “Beloved Child of God”…that’s something that I’d like to stick! Living up to that label would never ruin anything…even my favorite sweater!
A Seed To Plant: What is the label you would most like to be known by? What is the label you’d most like to peel off and throw away? Lift both ideas up and ask the Good Shepherd who knows YOU to help with your label.
Blessings on your day!
Yet, oh Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of Your hands. Isaiah 64:
I can close my eyes and see it sitting there on the top shelf of the cupboard above the plates and cereal bowls. I couldn’t reach it, so it was always someone else’s job to put it away after I had carefully dried it. It was a turquoise blue, glass casserole dish, the only one my mom had, and it was something she treasured. My dad gave it to her for Christmas, and if she pulled it out to use for supper, I knew she was going to be making something special. One day when I was about ten, I came home from school and Mom was on her way to a meeting. She asked me to put the casserole dish in the oven at 5 o’clock. I felt so important! I quickly raced to the kitchen and peeked under the glass lid to see what she had assembled inside the dish…it was beautiful; it looked like something you’d see in a cookbook picture. Well, the appointed time had come, I opened the oven door, and as I lifted the casserole dish up to slide it into the oven, it slipped right out of my hands, crashed to the floor, and shattered into pieces. I didn’t even consider the fact that I had just ruined dinner. I just felt awful about breaking her casserole dish.
I managed to clean up the mess before Mom got home, and I even began to prepare a “plan B” supper. However, the hardest task of all was to hand Mom that collection of broken glass. She stared at it in silence for a moment, asked me if I was ok, and then said, “Well, now it’s time to get creative. Your dad and brothers will be hungry, and it’s almost time to eat.” That was it…no scolding, no lecture, no disappointed glance, it was just time to get creative and move on. It was one of those events that just stuck with me.
A year ago, I was at a teachers meeting and the speaker said, “God loves broken vessels!” My mind immediately rushed back to our kitchen in Hoyt, Kansas, when I was ten staring down at that mangled mess of turquoise-colored glass and casserole. My mom’s words echoed in my mind, “It’s time to get creative.”
We are each lovingly and perfectly crafted vessels made precisely by the hands of a compassionate potter. When we sin, it’s as if our vessels become chipped or cracked or leaky. I don’t know about you, but I’ve managed to put some real “dings” in my vessel over the years. If you get a crack or a leak in your favorite mug or dish, it no longer functions the right way. When we sin, we drift a bit from the Father’s love and, just like that broken vessel, we don’t function quite the way we’re supposed to either. Luckily, we are more valuable than mugs without a handle or casserole dishes broken into dozens of pieces. The Father is never going to throw us out! Instead, he uses our weakness to demonstrate His strength. If we have a chip or a leak, He invites us to come to Him and give Him a chance to restore us; to make us strong and purposeful again. He is the potter that created us. We are the work of His hands. So, if we need to be restored and have our purpose renewed, all we have to do is ask Him, and He will create us anew…as many times as we need it! God loves broken vessels because they require His strength, and any time we give Him the opportunity to show His strength by admitting our weakness, we are blessed.
A seed to plant: Identify a chip or a leak in your vessel, and ask God to strengthen and restore that imperfection in your life. Pick a different one tomorrow and a new one after that but don’t forget to make a list of the blessings you receive as the potter lovingly restores your vessel.
Blessings on your day!
…I came so that you might have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
How many times have you scratched your head and wondered what you could do to be a bigger promoter of the culture of life? It seems all too often that the value of human life is being diminished right before our very eyes. As stories of human trafficking, abortion and euthanasia fill the news feed I want to drag out the world’s biggest soap box and rant like a maniac! I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel a little defeated in the process…but like He often does, God takes over and demonstrates His truths in a profound, simple and beautiful way!
He sweetly whispered this morning…you demonstrate the culture of life when you allow people to witness it. That’s just what happened in first grade today! For 21 days 40 first grade “chicken parents” have lovingly and carefully turned 36 eggs inside the incubator twice each day. Every day they eagerly waited to hear the report about what the babies were developing. They are stunned to know the heart forms and beats within the first few days. They are amazed to learn that they have eyes by day 3 and tiny scales on their feet at day 14. They can hardly believe they have ears before they have feathers and that it takes 6 days for their beaks to grow hard enough to peck out of the egg. They are in awe that God would make sure on day 19 when there is almost no room left inside the egg they would turn so their head faced the air sac. Today was the day…the day they thought would never come. They got to watch their babies hatch right before their very eyes and come to life.
Every year I stand with the kids around the incubator and cheer on the little ones who just need one more push to break free. Each year I watch them hug each other and clap and cheer as each one makes its grand entrance into life. Each year I cry as their absolute priceless reactions to new life melts my heart. They are a gigantic mix of emotion; excitement, happiness, anticipation and pride. Each year I learn from them. Today I got some big lessons and as we all try to respect life I thought I’d share.
Lesson 1…Birthdays are the best day ever so we should sing Happy Birthday no matter what.
Lesson2…Beauty is in the eye of the one who loves hardest. “Mrs. Wohlfert they looked wet and ugly in the book but when I see him for real he’s beautiful because he’s ours.”
Lesson 3…It’s ok to hug the person next to you when someone is born…even if you’re a boy and the person you just excitedly grabbed is a girl. New life is worth an awkward or embarrassing moment.
Lesson 4…Struggles are part of the journey. After watching one baby struggle for more than 10 hours one of the little lovelies on the edge of tears said, “Mrs. Wohlfert can’t you just help him a little bit, he’s struggling too hard and I just can’t watch him anymore, please can’t you help him!” Before I could reply another little lovely put an arm around his shoulder and said, “It’s ok, God’s watching and He knows sometimes we have to struggle to be strong, if someone does the work for him he won’t be strong and healthy enough to survive.” They both stopped to pray for the chick. Eventually I did help a little bit and the rejoicing over that one hatch outdid all the rest!
Lesson 5…Life is magnetic! We had over 200 visitors today ranging in age from 6 months to 70 and each one shared the same smile and laughter. It’s was contagious…the first graders couldn’t wait to show the grownups their babies and they studied each other’s reactions with joy. It all left a mark!
Lesson 6…It feels great to love something more than you love yourself and it’s important to put somebody else’s needs ahead of yours…even if it is just a chick.
We are uniquely created to respect and appreciate life, I think we just forget it sometimes and need a sweet fluffy reminder! The little lovelies may not remember learning about long vowels or putting things in alphabetical order, but they will remember how precious life is and how 21 days during the spring can teach so many important lessons. I suppose God was reminding me today that the best way to promote the culture of life is to dunk somebody right into the middle of it!
A Seed To Plant: Spend some time this week praying that we become a culture with a greater respect for life.
Blessings on your day!
More of You less of me Lord. John 3:30
Do you ever get stuck in one of those funks where you become painfully aware of a weakness or failure in your life? Sometimes it’s hard to work past isn’t it! It seems that when Christ invites me to get a little closer to Him and deepen our relationship, a glaring flaw or weakness comes to light and I launch a full scale war against myself. When I contemplate my sinfulness I get frustrated because I seem to repeat the same offenses again and again. I suppose it’s all a part of our human sinfulness but I sure hope I’m not the only one in this boat!
My greatest weakness and failure can be clearly seen in the space between my shoulders and my knees! I realize without a doubt that I am perfectly and fearfully made but I do wish I didn’t struggle so much with trying not to inflate the size and shape of the original perfectly and fearfully made model. I hesitate to complain about my struggle because there are so many faithful, amazing people tackling struggles so complicated and difficult that I feel I have no right to fuss! I suppose we all have a weakness or failure that we battle. Some days those burdens are easier to bear than others. I know these struggles are God’s strongest beckoning to our heart but my response needs work. Some days as He gives me the opportunities to steer toward “more of Him and less of me” I’m clearly like a toddler with my eyes closed and my hands covering my ears yelling la-la-la-la! I was having a particularly rough day yesterday when out of the blue, I saw this quote from St. John Paul II. They were the perfect words for the day!
We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failure; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son.
That’s all I needed to hear because I realize my weakness and failure are what should draw me to Him because I can’t rise above them without His divine grace and power. As I learn to submit them to Him, that is exactly how His love can transform me closer to the image of His Son. So for all of you, who like me struggle with shortcomings, maybe we can stop today and see them as the gift that will bring us closer and that vision just might bring the strength and hope to stop hitting the repeat button!
A Seed To Plant: Put this quote somewhere where you can see it often and ask God to show you how to live it!
Blessings on your day!
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