Thursday, March 17, 2016

1 Peter Devotions

It is March in Northern New York (NNY). For those of you who don't understand what that means, let me help you. Gray, overcast skies. Muddy brown fields and yards. Drizzle and cold damp.

Some might consider those less than optimal conditions for happy living. There is some truth to that.
But, God's word has some sage truth as well.
For He who would would love life and see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit, Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.  1 Peter 3:10,11
If you would love life there are some simple but challenging practices: 
  1. refrain from wrongful speaking about anyone or anything (pretty tough in election season, eh?)
  2. do good (there is no better way to say that)
  3. look for peace and follow after it
Many things can threaten to take away our love of life, our vitality and strength. You may be facing difficult times. Perhaps transition is in the air. Maybe it is March in NNY in more ways than one.
I am challenged this morning to refrain, do, look and pursue.

1. What or who is the subject of your negative speech? Fix it. Drop it. Don't go there. Don't say grumpy, mean, or disparaging things about them. There is so much of that already in the world. Wouldn't it be refreshing to just not grumble? Wouldn't that make your world nicer? So just stop when it starts to ooze out. Repent and ask for help from Him to control that tongue.

2. Begin instead to speak words of blessing over that person or situation. Pray. Invest energy in a positive way. And if He should inspire an action, obey. Do that thing in your heart for that person or in that situation.

3. God is the Prince of Peace. He wants to calm your soul, bring peace to you and through you to others. Pray for creative ways to be a peacemaker in your world - in your marriage, in your home, with your neighbors and community. When you learn to make peace and bring peace, you will find reward. 
Today, in spite of a NNY March sky, because of His great plan, I intend to love life and see good days. 

What a good, good Father He is.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

1 Peter 1 Reading in This Morning's Devotional

Love each other fervently with a pure heart. (v. 22)

Well, that's simple enough -- to understand, that is. To do? Not always. It is not quite as automatic as this might sound for the plain ol' reason of humanity. We are made of the stuff of humanity. Saved and filled with the Holy Spirit may be, but working out that salvation and walk day by day.

So - the doing requires, more often than not, inventory followed by repentance and then a request for grace. Then action (don't forget the doing part) so that it is put into place, much like a stone laid in a foundation.

Inventory: How am I honestly treating my spouse, my sibling, my sister or brother in the Lord? Is there someone I feel slightly irritated by on a regular basis? Someone I avoid by walking the other way when I see them? Are my words toward my spouse filled with a frustrated response rather than patience and appreciation, pointed teasing and jabs, rolled eyes (that's my personal favorite - unfortunately)? How about my siblings, my co-workers? Am I speaking edifying words about a sister in the Lord with that friend as we drink our coffee, or is there a disparaging word shared here and there? Come on, let's be honest. Let's not shy away from the truth by cloaking it with, "Well, it's not often." Or "Honestly, no one can be perfect -- and everyone says this stuff." We, my dear one, are not everyone. We have been bought with a price, a precious price, for good works, not less than that.

Repent to Him and ask for grace to walk in Love. After all, there will be plenty of opportunities for those around us to experience a lack of love. Instead, we can provide a glimpse of His love to the precious people placed in our lives.

So you've repented to God and sought His grace. Now the situation may call for you to repent to that spouse or sibling or co-worker. Yes. Tell them you are sorry. Acknowledge that you rolled your eyes, or that the teasing actually was a subtle leaking of your frustration, your displeasure. Tell that sister that your irritation resulted in sharp words and you are sorry for a lack of patience and appreciation. Repent to the fellow gossiper for your part in the conversation. Admit to them all that you failed them, not that they failed you.

And then act in love. Ah, yes. Fervent love: devout, passionate, zealous.

Those words beg for action. Devout love may result in earnest prayer of blessing. Passionate love begs to communicate the dearness of the object of affection. And zealous love is bursting with a longing to serve and bless and DO SOMETHING for that person. Acting - doing, investing energy and time - will cement your commitment to love.

Simple instruction this morning from Peter. Let's not merely read these words, nod, and go on our way. Let's pursue fervent love. It's His desire for us today!

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


Yesterday I watched four Dunphey grandchildren so Danica could get her teeth cleaned at the dentist. She brought Cecily with her, of course. The kids were just finishing lunch and starting KP as I arrived and the changing of the guard took place.

After that, they all dressed for winter and went out to play, donned in a myriad of boots, mittens, and suits. Black size 10, Orange was a 7/8, size 4 Red suit, and Purple 2, marching across the snow in perfect order.

There they were, all playing together in a huge white expanse which all sloped downward, covered in a sheet of ice. Jump on the saucer and whiz down the whole of it, right to the shrubbery thickly bordering the entire bottom edge.

They looked like tiny doll house figures with the whole winter world as a blank canvas backdrop. Poetry in motion.

I smiled as I looked out on that field through the large picture window and saw those precious figures lined up, marching to the starting place. I laughed at the antics as they zipped down, then turned and ran, and eventually trudged, back to the top to do it all again.

And I cried a bit too, knowing they would not always be there doing that, remembering, too, my own snow-suited and mittened children running and laughing in my own backyard once upon a time while I stood watching out my own picture window, just as I was today, happy yet touched with sorrow, wanting to hold that moment forever and knowing I could not.

And so, a poem for all my daughters and their children:

Day follows day
They work, they play
They belong to each other.

They squabble, they share
They learn to care
They belong to each other.

Like stars in the night,
Like candles and light,
They belong to each other.

Ordained by God
To grow in love
They belong to each other.