Monthly Archives: September 2013

Worms and Wings

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tobacco hornworm gobbling tomato leaves in my garden

If you’re a gardener, you may recognize this bane of the tomato world — the tomato  hornworm and its cousin, the tobacco hornworm.  They can devour a plant’s leaves, tiny stems, and, occasionally, green tomatoes in their ravenous march toward metamorphosis.  When the larva is fully grown, nearly four inches long, it will drop off the plant, burrow in the soil, and emerge in about two weeks as a sphinx moth.

These large moths are often mistaken for hummingbirds as they hover over flowers, feeding on nectar.  It’s an amazing transformation!

God is the author of metamorphoses of all kinds, and he is in the business of transforming us.

We are being changed to become more like him . . .

2 Corinthians 3:18 NIRV

We are asked to put off our old selves and put on the new. (Ephesians 4:22-24 and Colossians 3:9,10) There may not be an immediate transition to a life of

compassion , kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience  Colossians 3:12 NIV

but I see progress.

I’m looking forward to the final metamorphosis, too, when we trade in our old bodies for heavenly ones and are completely changed from the worm to the moth.

By his power he will change our earthly bodies. They will become like his glorious body.  Philippians 3:21 NIV

But until then I’m hoping to be a little less tomato-leaf-devouring worm and a little more nectar-drinking moth each day.  I know the metamorphosis itself is God’s work.  Taking off the old self and putting on the new imply some action, as does this verse:

. . . take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.  Ephesians 4:24 The Message

What is my part?

The light is fading as the sun sets, and my back is aching.  It’s time to quit writing for the day, leave the computer desk, and find a more comfortable seat.  I find myself drawn to my cozy chair in the living room with its bright reading lamp, and I’m thirsting/hungering for something cool and sweet.  I turn off the TV and hover over my Bible, finding these verses:

The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.  Exodus 16:31 NIV

Taste and see that the Lord is good;  Psalm 34:8

For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.  John 6:33  NIV

I am the bread of life.  John 6:48  NIV

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.  John 6:51 NIV

Jesus is the nectar, the sweet manna/bread.

photo by W.S. Crenshaw/Colorado State University

photo by W.S. Crenshaw/Colorado State University

I read and pray.  I taste and know that the Lord is good.

And that odd ache in my back?  I think I’m growing wings.

Refrigerator Magnets or God’s Alphabet

Preparing for the delivery of a new refrigerator, I removed all the magnets and photos from the old model before its scheduled removal.  I carefully placed photographs of children, grandchildren, nieces & nephews in a cardboard box and dropped the variety of magnets beside the photos:

plain round magnets,

wooden hearts painted in long-past VBS crafts session,

business cards,

picture frames,

and  a lone “F,” all that remained from a set of magnetic letters given away years ago.

I have long since forgotten who the child was, but they must have struggled to learn their  alphabet.printable-alphabet 1

After the side of the new refrigerator was redecorated with magnetic smiles and frozen-in-time moments,  the “F” remained on the front.

It became, however, less a child’s educational toy and more a graded evaluation of a time in my life, “F” for failure:

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I hadn’t thought of “Sandy”  in years, but one day a sudden flood of memories of my cruel words drowned me in remorse.  I’d been happily chatting a moment before, but blue skies had turned to emotional storm clouds in a moment.  I wished I had never hurt her, and I wished I could forget this long-ago, confessed sin the way God had.

 

 For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.

Hebrews 8:12 (NIV)

I don’t know whether it is a gift of God or a product of a middle-aged memory, but as I write today, I can’t recall my cold-hearted offense toward “Sandy.”  I have removed the “F” magnet from my refrigerator and placed this photo there instead to remind me of God’s abounding love.

IMG_6349-001 lomo 7-23-2013 4-43-05 PM (2)

photo by Barb Briggs

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:8-12 (NIV)

I am grateful that God’s love is so great that he can remove and forget my sins. He does not write red-inked and large across the papers of my life:  “F” for failing.  Like my gifted magnetic letters, God’s alphabet now has no “F.”

Photos by Barb Briggs

Apple Pie with a Scoop of Discontent

As I wash the copper-bottomed saucepan in the warm, soapy water in the kitchen sink, I gaze out the window  at the apple trees in the back yard. DSC_0035 The branches are bent low, nine-months-pregnant heavy, full of crimson fruit.  I sigh, thinking of all the work I’m facing with those bushels of apples, the need to find ways to use or preserve them.

As the dishes are drying, I search cookbooks, with worn spines and splattered pages;

     Apple pie, baked apples, apple juice, apple dumplings,

faded, dog-eared, recipes on 3″ x 5″ index cards;

  apple cake, apple roll, apple bread,  dried apples, apple bars, pickled apples,

canning and freezing instruction booklets, bookmarked to favorites;cut apples 1

     apple sauce, apple jam, apple jelly, apple butter

and recipes, only a click away on the internet.

     apple cider, caramel apples, apple fritters

I sigh again, wondering if I should freeze or can or dry or bake . . . There are so many apples.

What I should do is be content and thankful for the bounty God has provided.  Usually I am discontented when I lack something, but today I am complaining about abundance.  Paul had experienced these extremes, too.

 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Philippians 4:12 NIV

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photo by Barb Briggs

I sigh again, this time with a whisper of “Thank you.”

I know what it is to have plenty.

I’ll have my apple pie with a scoop of contentment, please.

     
    

Keeping the Faith When It All Falls Apart–Jennifer Dukes Lee

Lovely story by Jennifer Dukes Lee

of God’s care and comfort

in the middle of trouble with a capital “T”

Jennifer Dukes Lee coffee cup faith

photo by Jennifer Dukes Lee

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