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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

We Got Trouble, Trouble with a Capital “T”

We got trouble

Right here in River City.

Trouble with a capital “T”

And that rhymes with “B”

And that stands for “bee!”

barb sunflower bee very close

Bees (and wasps) are trouble.

Big ones, little ones,  bumble bees, yellow jackets,  honey bees.  They’re all the send-me-to-the-emergency-room-if-they-sting-me kind of trouble.

Trouble with a capital “T.”

But who is there that doesn’t have some kind of trouble?  Becoming a Christian doesn’t give us a get-out-of-jail-free card and exempt us from all difficulties in life. We can expect trouble.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33  NIV

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What happens when (not if) troubles come into our lives?  Does God just give us a quick pat on the head, saying,  “Yeah, life is tough . . . See ya later?”  No, Jesus cares about the condition of our heart, and He wants to give us His peace in place of fear.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John14:27

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33  NIV

God is there in the middle of our difficulties to strengthen and help us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3, 4  NIV

It’s hard to see how anything good can come out of our troubles, but this verse in 2 Corinthians give us a clue.  The comfort that God extends to us is multiplied as we share that comfort with others going through their own difficult times.  We see how this multiplying works with the sunflower.  One sunflower, grown from one seed, visited and pollinated by troublesome (to me) bees can produce hundreds of seeds, and those hundreds of plants could produce thousands of seeds.

So the next time

sunflower and bee clos up Barbs

 Ya got trouble, terrible trouble

Right here in River City.

(right where you live)

Trouble with a capital “T”

And that rhymes with “P”

And that rhymes with “C”

And that stands for “pool”  “peace”

And that stands for “comfort”

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“Ya Got Trouble” from “The Music Man”

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photos by Barb Briggs

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