“For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.
They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
when there is no peace.
Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,”
says the LORD.
Thus says the LORD:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
Where do you find rest for your soul?
Life is crazy. Kids are cranky. Spouses are tired. Work is demanding. Satan is prowling. Sin is certain. Tragedies happen. Disappointments abound. Failure is frequent.
God never promised us that life would be easy or that things would be fair. That is sometimes so hard for us to remember. (Believe me, I know) But when deadlines are looming, kids are screaming, the phone is ringing, dinner is burning, the car is in the shop, tragedy strikes and the computer is on the fritz, it is important to remember The One who gives us all things....The One from whom our help comes.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. ~Psalm 121
Being a grown up really stinks sometimes. I mean, you spend a lot of childhood thinking that life will be rosy when you are "just a little older". But because we live in a sin-filled world, things are never perfect. There are many blessings, to be certain, but there are lots of tribulations, too. The older I get, the more I love the below hymn...for a variety of reasons. No matter how challenging life can be, I need only remember that "I'm a child of paradise."
God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It
God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth’s treasures many? I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free, Lasting to eternity!
Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ!
I have comfort even stronger: Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice.
Should a guilty conscience seize me, since my baptism did release me
In a dear forgiving flood, sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?
Satan, hear this proclamation: I am baptized into Christ!
Drop your ugly accusation; I am not so soon enticed.
Now that to the font I’ve traveled, all your might has come unraveled,
And, against your tyranny, God, my Lord, unites with me!
Death, you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness to inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes faith’s assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine to make life immortal mine.
There is nothing worth comparing to this lifelong comfort sure!
Open-eyed my grave is staring: Even there I’ll sleep secure.
Though my flesh awaits its raising, still my soul continues praising:
I am baptized into Christ; I’m a child of paradise!
Here in the South (and especially at our church), we love to feed people. If you've had a baby, surgery, a death in the family or even if you haven't....we'll feed you.
I have had the opportunity to cook for many families in many different situations. Over the years, I've fed people many different kinds of food, but lately, I've been delivering "breakfast for dinner"...usually, a breakfast casserole, a coffee cake and some fresh fruit.
More often than not, the coffee cake is a version of my sainted mother-in-law's "Steve's Banana Cake". (I sometimes add a cinnamon sugar streusel topping to the recipe you see above.) My mother-in-law made this for us almost every time we'd visit her home, and it's always been a family favorite. Any time I make it for someone, they rave about it. I know what you're thinking, but this is not just simple banana bread, y'all. I don't know what's so special about it -- maybe it's the family history of making it (no, we don't know who Steve is...), or maybe it's the love that's baked into to....but it is very, very special.
I find that when I'm preparing a meal for folks....whether they are celebrating a new baby, mourning the loss of a loved one or recovering from unexpected surgery...the prep and cooking time is time for me to pray for them. To think of all they might be dealing with or dreading or enjoying or experiencing. To ask God to bless them with peace, comfort, patience and understanding.
I love to feed people. But feeding my friends and loved ones is more than filling tummies. It's also a time for me to be in prayer for those that I love. To thank God for the blessings in my life. And to ask God to show us His mercy and continue to shower us with His unfailing love.