not a clue, as usual

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unexpected beauty


We were driving along a little country road between the farms and a few residential houses on a gray drizzly fall day. I had my camera out but the fall colors that we long for here in the northeast had been deadened by warm weather and no rain. Disappointed, we drove on not quite sure what to do.

We had actually passed the tractor before its colors registered on my brain. I asked my husband to turn around and go back. I was attracted by how the crisp reds and yellows of the tractor contrasted with the muted colors of the trees and the dullness of that cloudy sky.

You have that beauty about you too, even if your surroundings are ugly. You, too, can P1030649shine even when life seems to have lost its glimmer. Without even realizing it, you stand out from the backdrop of this world because of a strength within that is at odds with the weakened culture around us. You will shine with a strength that manifests in many strange ways.

You shine with:

Your love against waves of hate

Your joy when there doesn’t seem to be much to smile about

Your peace when winds are swirling

Your patience against an immediate gratification mentality.

Your kindness in the face of cruelty

Your goodness where evil abounds

Your faithfulness even when there seems to be nothing left to believe in

Your gentleness in a rough neighborhood.

Your self – control when it’s so much easier to give in

What I would normally call a perfect fall day is not to be this year and yet I can see a different sort of beauty as the heat of summer fades. A quieter pallet of colors is being painted but it is no less beautiful. And as I find myself in different season than I expected, I can still find beauty in the unexpected places along the way.

Galatians 5:22-23



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Anchored in a Foreign Land

How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? Psalm 137:4


I hear it all the time these days. People are asking how our country could have fallen into this quagmire of conflicting ideologies that have triggered such hate and fear. Whether you are on the right or left of the political fence, confusion reigns as finger pointing spreads the blame and shame.

So how do Christians respond?

Maybe we shouldn’t be so worried about responding to the world. Truth is, we need only respond to our God who is in control of this upside down world. If we can do that, I think we would find that our actions and words would spring from love and compassion rather than knee-jerk reactionary confrontations with the world we live in.

We may feel that we live in a foreign land, one that does not recognize Christian tenets but that would be short-sighted of us. God’s fingerprints are all over this world and its inhabitants. We sometimes miss what is right in front of us because we are so overwhelmed by the anger on social media feeds fueled by often biased news reporting. No wonder the land seems so foreign to us.

So here’s the best advice I can think of; take it or leave it.

anchorAnchor your life in both heavenly and earthly realms. Your faith must be built and daily
nourished by prayer and the Scriptures. This provides that all- important “hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Heb. 6:19) that gives you an open avenue of two-way communication with God. Secondly, do not neglect the earthly anchors God has placed in your life to keep you grounded. Work to protect the relationships you have with your family and friends who love you, will pray for you, will trust you and allow you to trust them. Jesus said it all when he said, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

Finally, and this may seem contradictory, but remember that this is not your home. On the deepest level this is a foreign land; for we are spiritual creatures who will only come into our fullness when we enter into that next realm. In the meantime we have the Holy Spirit who indwells us and keeps us tethered to each world. We may at times feel adrift but we are never really drifting. We are always within reach of eternity even while grappling with a fallen world.

Go ahead and sing the songs of the LORD! Sing them with words of love, joy and peace. Sing them with actions that display the patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22,23) that comes from the Spirit within, the Father above and a Savior who bridges that gap for us.

The land may feel foreign but it’s only temporary and even the temporary can be very beautiful in its fragility.blue-sky-w-rainbow