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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stirring Up Memories

Clang! Clang! Clang! The spoon hit the edge of the sauce pan as it emptied the tomato paste. Yum! That meant my mom was making spaghetti gravy for a pasta dinner. Yes, we called it gravy some prefer spaghetti sauce. But I am Italian and we call it gravy.

As I was making my homemade spaghetti gravy and was adding the tomato paste I was reminded of hearing that sound when I was a child. Back in the day when my mom made her gravy early in the morning and the clanging of the spoon hit the edge of the sauce pan it was way too loud. The only benefit to the clanging was that meant dinner would be some kind of pasta and I loved pasta.

As I clang the spoon now it brings good memories of growing up and my mom taking the time to make something homemade. Remembering that makes me smile! Do you have a noise, smell or object that conjures up a good memory? Something you will never forget?

I suspect it worked the same way in Bible times. I find it interesting that many great things happened with Jesus when fish and bread were involved. After He was raised from the dead, Jesus appeared to the disciples. John landed and described this scene: a fire burning of coals with fish on it, and some bread.

When the spoon clanged the pan in my childhood it meant pasta night! When the disciples smelled that fish and saw it cooking on the fire, it meant Jesus was back! Jesus invited them “come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.

Why do you think Jesus fed the disciples? Clearly, the disciples were always blessed when they took the time to sit and eat with Jesus. We, too, are always blessed when we spend time with Jesus. Jesus used that time with the disciples to pass a message to us to feed our flock. We can translate that into our own personal journey and spend time together eating with friends or family so we can bring joy and share Christ with them.

At the end of day, when anyone lays his head on a pillow, his basic desire is to feel loved. Showing hospitality is always a great way to demonstrate that love.

Who do you want to include in your next meal?

PRAYER: Jesus, thank You for showing us how important it is to show hospitality. Who is it You are calling me to show Your love?

BIBLE VERSE: “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13 NIV).

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!

“Lord heal my knee in the powerful name of Jesus, thank you Lord,” boldly I prayed.

I woke up with this constant pain in my knee that made walking difficult. “Last week I did a long bike ride and other activities and I was fine,” I said to myself. “Why all this pain today?”

I caught myself rationalizing, reasoning, imagining and being emotional. The book, Oh, The Thinks You Can Think, by Dr. Seuss comes to mind. It is about the many amazing ‘thinks’ one can think and the endless possibilities and dreams that our imaginations can create.

Talking to myself again, I asked “What’s the point of all this thinking and wasted time?” God has been teaching me for years about the mind and how much time I waste on my thoughts. I have come so far with my thought life and this was just a test. God has trained my brain with discipline. I gladly accepted the discipline years ago when I found myself exhausted at the end of a day and realized I had not even exerted any physical energy. Back then it would have been days before I stopped worrying about aches, pains and thoughts like “something must be seriously wrong with me.”

At some point we need to go further with God and understand just how important what we think affects our walk with God. One day a whisper came: “Read Hebrews 12.” For weeks I read it over and over again. It’s the chapter on God loving us so much he disciplines us. Reading it helped me realize that God the Father loves me so much that he does not want me to stay where I am at. In order for me to move, he needed to correct my thought patterns and emotions. I often think of Paul being disciplined by God and how humble he became. Throughout history and even still today, Paul’s changed life helps others to grow closer to God.

Listening and learning from God has helped me to captivate my thoughts and build my life of obedience into maturity. Quite often, our aches and pains get our attention and stop us from thinking about things that are more important in life. Watch out! Oh, the thinks you can think!

AUTHOR QUOTE: Think about what you are thinking, you may be thinking too much!

BIBLE VERSE: “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. ‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed” (Hebrews 12:12-13 NIV).