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Christian Blog Christian Living

Hunger Stone

Confession: one of my favorite pass times is checking what’s trending on Wikipedia. Last night I found a captivating article about hunger stones. These are large rocks set into river banks during times of extreme drought. Meant to serve as cautionary signs for those in the future, when such markers become visible it means hard times have returned.

The hunger stone pictured above sits on a bank of the Elbe river in the Czech Republic. There are low-water dates chiseled into the rock, the oldest readable one being from 1616! Long ago, someone also carved a message into this particular stone: “Wenn du mich Siehst, dann weine.” (lit. “If you see me, weep.”)

When I read the translation, my first thought was, “How sad it would be to read this and decide the situation was hopeless.” Just because some folks back in the 17th century had a hard time, is it guaranteed to happen again?

Confession #2: as a person of faith, I find it unproductive to be negative about the future. As long as God is in charge, there will be a lot more that’s right with the world than wrong. But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s the prophet Joel:

To you, O Lord, I call, for fire has devoured the open pastures and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the open pastures.

Joel 1:19-20 (NIV)

Ok, that’s a bit of a downer. But hone in on the first six words, “To you, O Lord, I call…”

Kind reader, the hope of heaven will be readily available–no matter how low the river goes. The prophet Joel believed it, and so should we.

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.

Joel 2:13 (NIV)

Thank you for reading. πŸ™β€οΈ prayers and love.


Photo by Dr. Bernd Gross, Wikipedia

Categories
Christian Living spiritual growth

One Piece at a Time

The singer Johnny Cash has a humorous song that’s a classic “Country boy outsmarts the establishment” story.

According to the song, in 1949 a young man from Kentucky takes a job on an assembly line in Detroit, Michigan building Cadillacs. He is in awe of the beautiful sedans, but is saddened by the fact that he can’t afford one.

One day, he comes up with a daring plan which is revealed in the chorus: 🎢 “I’ll get it one piece at a time, and it won’t cost me a dime.”🎢 Slowly, over the next twenty-odd years, the man sneaks out Cadillac parts–a few at a time–until he has a whole car.

Finally, when he’s ready to retire, he and his friends from the auto plant decide to assemble the one-of-a-kind Caddy. However, they quickly discover that many of the parts, from different year models, don’t fit together.

So they drill new holes for bolts and use an adapter kit to make the 1973 engine work with the 1949 transmission. Soon enough the car is running and driving, but then the guys realize it has only one tail fin and three head lights!

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power if from God and not from us.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)

The other day I complained (just a wee bit) to God. πŸ™ Lord, as a teenager I dedicated my life to serve You in the gospel ministry. Remember that? But 14 years later everything fell apart. Why?

Kind reader, did you ever long for a brand new spiritual “Cadillac,” only to realize you couldn’t afford one? Me too. But then God said something –the same thing He told the Apostle Paul:

My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9a (NIV)

In other words, God gives us what we need. One piece at a time. And His generosity doesn’t cost us a dime. Yet, unlike the song, we aren’t sneaking off with the unaffordable. This custom ride is a gift.

A fender here, a door there, over the course of many years walking with the Lord. Does it matter all that much if they don’t match?

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9b (NIV)

Thank you for reading. πŸ™β€οΈ prayers and love.


Photo by carlos aranda on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Blog Humility

Fears in the Ears

It started innocently enough. Friends and family began to mumble in everyday conversation. It got harder to understand them, especially if there was any background noise. “What’s going on?” I thought to myself. “Doesn’t anyone speak clearly these days?!”

Around this same time, I had a telephone conversation with my oldest son. I’m sitting on the back porch one night telling him how it’s been such a dry summer there aren’t any crickets. Of course, I had him on speaker; nobody talks clearly on the phone these days either.πŸ™ƒ

“Hold up, dad. Stop talking,” he said. Several seconds of awkward silence followed. Finally, my son came back on the line. “I can hear plenty of crickets on your end. You should get your hearing checked.”

It was tough for a middle-aged guy to admit, but maybe, just maybe, he was right. What if everyone wasn’t mumbling, and all the crickets weren’t dead? Perhaps the problem was mine.

“But I can hear and understand you fine,” I told the audiologist, sitting in his well-appointed exam room. “Yes, but it’s quiet in here,” he said. “What about when there’s noise in the background–like a crowded restaurant? Do people sound like they’re mumbling? Are they hard to understand?

To make a long story short: a hearing test revealed moderate-to-severe high frequency hearing loss. The prescription? Hearing aids. Just typing these two words sends a chill up my spine.😳

My wife and I talked it over. We decided to make the investment. “But I’m not calling them hearing aids,” I said. “They’re ear buds with accessories.” About a week later, I got my “little helpers,” Suddenly, I heard the strangest things: creaking hinges, the click of an ink pen, crumpling up paper, and crickets!

Ears that hear and eyes that see–the Lord has made them both

Proverbs 20:12 (NIV)

This was the scripture verse for my devotional one recent morning. It was God’s way of saying, “Son, I’ve got this.” He knew I’d been feeling self-conscious about wearing my hearing aids around others. I didn’t want to look weak. It was pride, pure and simple. I kept wrestling.

A few days later, I wore them to church for the first time. I was uneasy during the welcome, while walking around and greeting folks. “Do they see them? What will they think?” But my fears eased as I realized I could clearly understand every conversation!

Later, during the sermon, our pastor talked about turning our doubts over to the Lord. Twice, I heard him say something peculiar (for the context): “Surrender your ears to God.” A few sentences later, for good measure, “Surrender your ears to God.” He said it at least once more, but this time I heard what the congregation did–“Surrender your fears to God.”

Kind reader, like me, has your pride kept you from surrendering something to God? It was a bitter pill–swallowing my self-sufficiency– but, after that Sunday sermon, I gave my ears to The Lord. Is there something you need to give Him?

Now I praise and exalt and glorify the King of Heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.

King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4:37 (NIV)

Thank you for reading. πŸ™β€οΈprayers and love.


Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com