Thursday, January 21, 2016


“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:6-8).

Gifts. I don’t know about you, but I have a bit of a complicated relationship with the whole idea of gifts. I’m pretty much a low-clutter person, so sometimes a gift, no matter how well-intentioned, can be a bit intimidating. I don’t care for having a great deal of anything material; I’m much more content with opening a drawer or cabinet and being able to see everything rather than combing through numerous items. Just a few helpful, meaningful pieces keep me quite content.
I would like to think that I am a better gift giver than a receiver. However, after listening to a very good sermon last weekend, I’m wondering if I try to keep my gift giving a little too low clutter as well. Romans 12:6-8 very clearly tells us that we all are given the best gifts in the world—given from God to share with the world. Yet, how many times have I convinced myself that I wasn’t “gifted” enough to share my gifts from God with others?
I believe that God has given me a gift of expression through writing. Nevertheless, there are so many times that I convince myself that what I put down on paper is of little worth. There are, after all, tremendous writers out there with much greater talent and training than I possess. But is talent and training really what is concerned with gracious gifts from God? I don’t necessarily think so. I know last year while Kurt was going through the pre- and post-transplant process, it wasn’t my talent or training that drove me every day to write about the experience. It was a practice in something much more important—it was my daily practice of faith in God. These words were my prayers; what entered into my heart during these prayers was God’s love that was so over-whelmingly generous that it literally overflowed onto the page.  What a gift indeed.
So, this is my belief concerning gifts—the everyday ones are fine and, if given with thought rather than obligation, are appreciated. If I give one of these material gifts to someone and, later, it becomes a gift that should be passed on to another as a thoughtful gesture, so be it. These are tokens, after all. The true gifts that God gives us through the sharing of faith, mercy, support, or enlightenment of God’s love—share them and they will never go away from the original one gifted. They continue for as long as they are shared. Amen!

Peace be with you all.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Precious Snippets

January is a cleaning up and clearing out month for me. Like many people, I find myself encouraged to "freshen up" the house with the arrival of the New Year. 

Yesterday evening, as I was clearing out a section of the downstairs study, I took down a bulletin board in anticipation of eventually painting the wall. The board had pretty much taken on a life of its own in becoming a memory book of sorts. Among the many addresses of old friends, items from various occasions, and assorted old pictures, I started unearthing a number of snippets and short items of a Biblical nature. I halted my cleaning for the next several minutes and sat down to read these precious snippets. Once I read each one, becoming more energized by the beautiful messages of God's love through Jesus that were penned on these various pieces of paper, I decided they were "Bible worthy"...those of you who have a Bible that is well-used know what that means. Just as our favorite cookbooks that we've had for decades or have been passed down to us are stuffed with precious bits and pieces of generations-old scraps of paper that carry on them prized recipes that appear at family gatherings and other special occasions, our Bibles are full of similar bits of paper that contain "recipes" for better living.

My recipe books and my Bibles get a reprieve from the annual "cleaning out"; there's nothing but precious snippets in each one.

Peace be with you.