Picking Dandelions by Catherine Hershberger

“Create in me a clean heart, O, God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10 (ESV)

Photo by Catherine Hershberger

When my daughter was young, I often had scads of dandelion bouquets on the table. We didn’t use weed killer, since I didn’t want to expose my daughter to the chemicals, and our lawn was a canvas of yellow polka dots on a green background. Day-after-day, she would come into the house after playtime, clutching as many dandelions as her tiny hands could hold. I took them with a smile, put them in a vase, and proudly displayed them. I encouraged her to pick those bright yellow flowers from our lawn whenever she saw them.

Yes, I enjoyed seeing her little face beam as she handed me her gift.

No, I never told her they were really weeds.

And yes, I did feel a bit guilty encouraging her to clean the yard of blooms. After all, no yellow dandelions dotting the grass meant a yard that at least looked weed-free. And if by some miracle she managed to pick a billion dandelions before they went to seed, I might actually have a weed-free lawn.

Or maybe not.

I knew there was no way my little weed picker would ever be able to rid the lawn of dandelions. Yet I kept encouraging her to pick those flowers.

Are you saying, “Oh, you bad mommy!” yet?

Before you do, consider this: The way I used my unsuspecting daughter to weed the lawn, is often the way we weed our lives. We pluck the tops off of our sins, effectively hiding them from the world and fooling ourselves into thinking we’re cleaning up our life. And all the while, the weed roots just grow deeper, because we haven’t taken the time to root out the bad stuff that lies below ground.

Luke 12:2 says “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” (ESV)

We can keep plucking the heads of our sins so they aren’t visible to the world, but the Lord can still see them all. So, which will you choose?  A vase full of dandelions with the potential for even more deeply rooted ones to grow? Or would you rather pluck out as many as you can root out from the stubborn soil? The latter is the more effective, and more long lasting, way to have a clean lawn … and a clean heart.

About the Author:

Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.

Hide and Seek by Barb Witt

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1 NASB)

http://Children Playing Girl – Free photo on Pixabay

Jane ducked behind the trash can in the ally. She had to catch her breath. She was small enough that the can hid her completely. Her pursuers were close on her heels. She had to make it back home before they found her. She peeked out; the coast was clear. She tiptoed to the end of the alley. Quietly, quietly. She peeked around the corner. Home was just a few feet away. And there was a big bush between her and home. If she could just run fast enough, she could get to the bush without being seen.

 One, two, three, go! She ran as quickly and quietly as she could. Whew! She made it. Now to get to the porch safely. She peeked through the branches. No one in sight. Oh, there was her brother on the other side of the house.  He was looking the other way. She might make it if she was really quiet and fast. Her brother took a few steps further down the grass on the side of the house. This was her chance. She looked around one more time. No one else in sight.

“Okay,” she whispered. “Here I go!” She ran with all her might. She even closed her eyes for a second thinking it would propel her forward faster. Almost there.

“Hey! I see you Jane,” her brother, Andy, hollered as he ran around the side of the house.

Only a few more steps. They both raced to the ribbon tied around the porch post at the top of the steps.

“You don’t have a chance, Jane. I’m bigger and faster than you,” Andy taunted.

Jane didn’t say a word. She was saving her breath to get her to the porch post. Almost there…almost… “Ha! I beat you!” Jane shouted in victory as she held onto the ribbon, trying to catch her breath just as Andy reached the bottom step. She did a victory dance on the porch, still holding onto the ribbon. Shortly, the other children started running to home base. Trying to beat Andy to the ribbon.

Melody watched her children as they played ‘Hide and Seek’. She smiled at her daughter’s victory.

Hmmm. You know, isn’t life a lot like hide and seek? she thought. We all try to make it to ‘home base’, which to me is the foot of the cross. We try to get there before Satan and his minions can catch us and keep us from reaching our goal. No matter how hard we try, there are times when we are seen, and even caught. But Jesus provides cover for us along our journey. He gives us a place to hide and refreshes us with His word. He comforts us and encourages us along the way. Isn’t that fantastic? Our Lord takes the time to accompany us along our way and even takes care of us and guides us.

She thought about her philosophy for a while. Then she looked heavenward and said, “Thank You Lord, for helping us get past the hurdles and obstacles Satan puts in our paths. Thank You for refreshing our souls and filling us with Your love every time we need it. You are truly amazing.”

As she carried a pitcher of lemonade and a plate of cookies out for the children, she smiled. They all ran to her with grins and laughter as she handed them the treats, which they gobbled down like little baby birds.

And now, we pray…

Lord, You are so amazing. It’s hard for us sometimes to understand just what You do for us day by day. Help us to give You credit and many thanks for all You do for each and every one of us. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN!

Hide and Seek (© Barb Witt 2/24/2020)

About the Author:

Barb Witt is a Christian wife, mother and grandmother who loves gardening, quilting, crafting, writing poetry and devotions, and is working on a children’s book. She has created an email devotional and prayer warrior ministry that she sends out daily. If you’re interested in being added to her email list let us know.

Flowers for the Living by Catherine Hershberger

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God .And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (ESV)

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

When my mother was alive we always went down to Kentucky on Memorial Day, May 31st, and visited the family graveyard where we put flowers on the graves of her brothers, parents, cousins, and any other graves that had been forgotten by their family members. Every year she’d walk around and point out the gravestones and tell us stories about the people who’d passed beyond the pale existence of this earth. Every year she’d admonish our young daughter not to step on the graves, like she’d warned me when I was a child. Every year she’d weep for those who had left this world before her.

Mom was raised in the church, and knew she’d see those faithful souls in her family when Christ came again as promised, but she never failed to weep at the graves of her family. It pained me to see her cry and it confused me, especially as an adult who’d made a conscious decision to celebrate the lives of my Christian family and friends when they left this world. After all, I knew without a doubt that I’d see them again when God calls us all home. The Bible tells me so.

Remembering our loved ones who have died has a place in our lives, but remembering them while they are here is even more important. Years ago I wrote a poem called Flowers for the Living. I’d like to share the poem with you today.

Flowers For the Living

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them all the ruby roses

they could hold, surrounding

them with lives of lasting love.

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them daffodils

and golden tulips, harbingers

of hope and new beginnings.

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them sunny fields

of daisies, faces turned toward

the sun reflecting back life’s glow.

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them baby’s breath

bound in pastel ribbons, tiny

bouquets of joy from Heaven’s womb.

picture courtesy of Pixabay

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them all I had

of happiness and love—then laid a

single tear-stained rose on granite.

(© Catherine Hershberger 10/16/93)

I’m not in any way suggesting we forget those who’ve gone before us. The concept of Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as my mother called it, is specifically meant to remember the dead—especially the soldiers who have died in wars helping to keep America a free nation. However, I do feel when we give everything to those we love while they are here on earth we have more peace in our hearts when they’re gone.

I also understand the need to mourn. I mourned those loved ones in my life who die. I mourned because they were physically gone from my presence. I mourned because I was sad for my loss. Do I miss them? Not as much as I used to, but I have fond memories of them that keep them alive in my heart. Am I assured that I’ll see them all again? Absolutely!

Revelation 14:15 says “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…” This assurance is one of the great blessings my faith offers me.  Knowing, that as Christians, I and my loved ones will be caught up into Heaven on judgment day and reunited gives me peace.

This year, on Memorial Day, I hope this understanding gives you comfort as you remember your loved ones who’ve gone before you. And if you don’t have this peace, I’d encourage you to seek out Christ. He’s the one who will give you blessings beyond this world and this life.

Flowers for the Living (© Catherine Hershberger 5/19/21)

About the Author:

Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.

Women’s Devotions, Memorial Day, 2nd Coming of Christ, Death, Judgement day, Everlasting life, Blessings, Poetry, Faith,

Be a Blessing to Someone Every Day by Barb Witt

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NASB)

Edna sat rocking in her chair. Eyes closed. A smile on her face. She was reliving her grandson’s graduation. He was only allowed two guests, and her daughter-in-law had generously opted to let Edna go in her place. She said she could watch it on TV. They were airing the graduation on YouTube, whatever that was. Edna had taken many pictures of him with her phone. She couldn’t wait to show Bonnie and Caroline. Preston had looked so handsome in his cap and gown. He had the most precious smile.

As Edna flipped through the pictures on her phone, a knock sounded on her door. The familiar “Ready or not, here we come” sounded from the other side. Then the door burst open to smiles and laughter of her dear friends, Bonnie and Caroline. She laughed as they both tried to wedge through the door at the same time, got stuck, had to back out and argue about who was going in first. Then Bonnie stuck her head in the door as Edna’s laughter caused tears to roll down her face.

“Uh oh,” Bonnie said. “What’s wrong? Are you upset?” That made Edna laugh even harder and she couldn’t talk.

Caroline came in behind Bonnie, and said, “What happened? You okay?”

 Finally, Edna got control of herself and said, as clearly as she could while still laughing, “Yes, I’m fine. You two just crack me up.” Another gale of laughter filled the room.

Bonnie and Caroline plunked down on Edna’s bed and watched her for a minute, then started giggling and then burst out into roars of laughter right along with her.

When everyone had settled down and stopped laughing long enough to form words clearly, Edna said, “Hello, my friends. It’s wonderful to see you both today.”

“Well, it’s good to be seen,” Bonnie replied.

 “It’s very nice to see you, too, Edna. And I’m happy you get to see me as well.”  Caroline glanced mischievously at Edna, which made her laugh again, causing the cycle of laughter to start up all over again.

The nurse stuck her head in the door and asked, “Is everything all right in here?” Which caused more laughter. As the nurse watched them, she said, “Um, I think you all are having way too much fun in here. I’m going back to my station now. Don’t hurt anything, okay?”

They finally all calmed down. Edna passed bottles of water to her friends and took one for herself, then she waved her phone in the air. “I went to my grandson, Preston’s, graduation last night. I have pictures!”

“We want to see!” Bonnie and Caroline said, in unison. They pulled two chairs from the tiny dining room table and sat on either side of Edna’s rocking chair.

 “Oh, look at him,” Bonnie said. “He’s so handsome.”

Caroline nodded in agreement. “Don’t they always look so nice in caps and gowns?”

“School wasn’t easy for him, but he made it. He wants to be a mechanic and work on engines, not just cars, all kinds of engines and motors. He works for a shop now, and they are teaching him a lot, and he’s going to a trade school to learn the things his boss can’t teach him. He wants to own his own shop one day. We’re very proud of him.”

“That’s a great profession. People always need auto mechanics,” Bonnie said.

 “Is he interested in working on train engines?” Caroline asked. “And airplanes. To me those would be fascinating.”

Edna shrugged, “Well, I’m not sure if he’ll specialize in one thing. I think he wants to leave his options open, at least for a while.”

“Now that’s smart,” Bonnie said. Caroline nodded in agreement.

Edna put her phone away and stood up, “Well, girls, I believe it’s almost lunch time. Let’s walk down to the cafeteria for a bite, then play a couple of hands of cards. Sound good?”

Bonnie and Caroline jumped up and slid their chairs back under the table. Edna grabbed her walker and they all exited, single file, out the door. As they strolled toward the cafeteria, Edna said, “You know, I sure am glad God brought you both into my life. I don’t know what I’d have done without you.”

Caroline nudged her shoulder. “Aww, we’re glad He brought you to us, too. We have a lot of fun together.”

“Yeah, you’d probably just be sitting all by yourself in your room, wishing you had two beautiful and glamorous old ladies to hang out with.” Bonnie fluffed her hair and grinned at Edna and Caroline.

The pair looked at each other and started laughing. Again. The three of them laughed all the way to the cafeteria.

(© Barb Witt 6/6/2020)

And now, we pray…

Lord, having friends to fellowship with and to spend time with is a blessing, indeed. We thank You for that blessing. Allow us to always have good friends and be good friends, sharing Your love and, yes, laughter, with those we come in contact with. You are amazing and we thank You for everything. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN!

About the Author:

Barb Witt is a Christian wife, mother and grandmother who loves gardening, quilting, crafting, writing poetry and devotions, and is working on a children’s book. She has created an email devotional and prayer warrior ministry that she sends out daily. If you’re interested in being added to her email list let us know.

Women’s Devotions, friendship, family, love, blessings

A Mother’s Day Surprise by Catherine Hershberger

 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 30:29 (ESV)

I got a visit from my mother this Mother’s Day. As we pulled out of the garage on our way to church Mother’s Day morning, Mom waved to me from the iris bed at the corner of the house.

Iris bed in Catherine’s garden

The thing is, she’s been gone for nearly 35 years—resting in the bosom of Abraham in the angelic kingdom.

Catherine’s garden–snowball viburnum and lilac bushes

Before you pronounce me nuts, let me explain. My mother resides in my garden through the plants I’ve installed to remember her by. In late April, when my snowball viburnum blooms, I see her smile at the giant snowball flower ‘bow’ I placed on a Mother’s Day gift to her when I could find no ribbon in the house. In early May, the scent of lilacs wafts up from the bushes at the end of my patio to the balcony deck, filling my senses with her signature lilac perfume.

Catherine’s garden–Mom’s triple-layer day lilies

 

In July, my orange, triple-layer day lilies burst into bloom all over the yard. No matter where I look in my garden, from July through August I see the day lilies she carried from house to house and even boxed up and sent to me when I lived in the southwest. I planted them and they bloomed in December, which was a glorious sight for a homesick daughter.

Catherine’s garden–a single Mother’s Day iris bloom

This Mother’s Day, one perfect iris, also originally from her garden, bloomed, and waved in the breeze to me. I don’t ever remember these flowers blooming on Mother’s Day. Where they are planted they normally bloom in mid-May. And because our spring has been cold and full of frost warnings, I expected this year’s blooms to be even later this year.

It isn’t only Mom’s flowers that make me think of her. I’m reminded of her every time I accomplish something new, because she always told me I could do anything I set my mind to do. I only had to work at it. I’m reminded of her whenever I get or give an honest compliment, because she always praised me for a job well done. I’m reminded of her when I’m tempted to speak unkindly or gossip, because she always admonished me to never say anything about someone that I wouldn’t say to their face.

But most of all, I’m reminded of her in matters of faith. Whenever I open the Bible, I can see her sitting in our living room, her feet tucked beneath her in her easy chair, reading God’s Word. I’m reminded of her when I praise God, because she, and my father, took me to church whenever the doors were open and made sure I knew the Lord. She instilled her faith in me, and  “…a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 30:30 (ESV)

This year make sure you tell your mother how much you love her, not just on Mother’s Day, but every day. Give her the praise she deserves. And if you can’t find something to praise her for, look harder, because every mother needs to know she’s loved by the children to whom she gave life. Our time here on this earth is short and unpredictable, so don’t waste an opportunity to express your love and thankfulness.

A Mother’s Day Surprise (© Catherine Hershberger 5/10/21)

About the Author:

Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.

A New Baby in the House by Barb Witt

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11 NIV)

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

She gazed into the face of her sleeping child and her heart plummeted. She was responsible for this tiny human. His life was quite literally in her hands. It was up to her to meet his needs. All of them. To the best of her ability. She sat down heavily in the rocking chair beside his crib and continued to regard the child who was now her whole world. She began to pray.

“Father, what am I to do with this little thing? I don’t know if I’m up to this. I guess it’s a little late now to think such thoughts. I’m going to need Your help Lord. How will I know what to do and when to do it? How do I teach him? He is so beautiful, Lord. I thank You for this blessing. And I will need You to help me bring him up to know You. Please give me guidance and show me what to do. Help me to make wise decisions and choices for him. Direct me, Lord, so that I do for this child what You would have me do. Thank You, Lord, for the honor of being his mom.”

I wonder if Mary felt the same as she gazed into the infant face of Jesus, God’s Son. She was responsible for His very life. He had been entrusted to her. It was up to her and Joseph to meet His needs, teach Him and guide Him. How overwhelming was that? The Creator of all things placed this most precious gift in her arms.

And Mary and Joseph did a fine job. Jesus, the Son of God grew into an amazing man. He spread the love of His Father everywhere He went. He made lowly fishermen into “Fishers of Men” and showed and taught them things that they would never have believed possible.

And He gave Himself up as a living sacrifice so that each and every one could choose to believe or not. He died. A slow horrible death on a cross. And then He rose again on the third day, victorious over death. And all we must do is believe and obey His word.

So, when you look into the face of that beautiful child, know that there is a place for him or her in heaven. And do everything you can to teach them about the wonders of the Creator of the Universe.

And now we pray…

Lord, what a blessing and honor it is to be a parent and grandparent. It’s not always easy, and we all make many mistakes because we are all human. With Your guidance, and through prayer, we do the best we can. Lord I ask that You touch the heart of each parent today. Give them wisdom and insight into raising their children to love and honor You. Touch each of their children and grandchildren and open their eyes and hearts to the teaching of Your will.

In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN!

A New Baby in the House (© Barb Witt 11/13/2019)

About the Author:

Barb Witt is a Christian wife, mother and grandmother who loves gardening, quilting, crafting, writing poetry and devotions, and is working on a children’s book. She has created an email devotional and prayer warrior ministry that she sends out daily. If you’re interested in being added to her email list let us know.

Running the Race by Catherine Hershberger

 “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

(2 Timothy 4:7 ESV)

Photo courtesy of Bill Brine

May 1, 2021 is the scheduled date of the next Kentucky Derby. My husband and I usually watch this famous horse race. A couple of years ago as I was watching, it occurred to me that an awful lot of time and money is spent on getting these animals ready to race. It costs over $51,000 to enter the race. According to a 2014 survey, the yearly average maintenance on a racing horse is about $45,000 a year. The cost of purchasing a race horse is between the low six to low seven figures in dollars. That’s a lot of money to spend on a two minute race, where only one horse will be the winner. 

In many ways this cycle is sad, because the thrill of winning and the resulting fortune only lasts a while. The high from the win can quickly become a low, especially if you lose the next race. The flowers on the winner’s wreath fade. The prize money gets spent, and eventually the horses are put out to pasture, old and has been.

Human athletes suffer the same cycles, too. They strive to become the best, and, if they are lucky, they may achieve that status for a while. But, like the winning race horse, the thrill of the win and their abilities eventually fade. And they are left with memories, medals and trophies, and bodies that can no longer do what they did in their youth.

Even those of us who are not athletes will see the same fate befall us and the successes we achieved. Time is not kind to us. The excitement from our achievements fades over time. Our earthly bodies wear out, whether we are athletes or not. Heaven knows I can attest to that, as I’m sure many of you can, too.

I’m glad that, unlike the horses that run their races and then decline, when my race on earth is done I will be claiming a prize that never fades.  God’s Word assures me, and you, of this in 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (ESV)

I believe an eternal prize that never fades beats a temporary one any day. Jesus paid our entry fee. He made all the sacrifices necessary to ensure we all can win. All we need do is give the Lord our love, devotion, and obedience. How hard is it to love a Father who loved us before we were even born? Running the race He set before us is, in my opinion, something worth striving toward.

What about you? Are you running the race of good faith?

 Running the Race (© Catherine Hershberger 5/14/18)

About the Author:

Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.

Celebrate God’s Earth by Catherine Hershberger

And God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to their kind, on the earth. And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:11-12 (ESV)

Catherine’s Garden 2011

As a gardener, I’ve often wondered what early earth was like, especially the Garden of Eden. I’m pretty certain there wasn’t any pollution in the garden air. No thorny weeds to scratch Adam and Eve as they plucked juicy berries from the bushes. I imagine the sun wasn’t too hot or the nights too cold. The bees probably ignored Adam when he reached into the hive for some honey. The water in the river they drank from was surely crystal clear. In short, it was a paradise. After all, God created it, and said it was good. What better guarantee of perfection could you get that that?

But somewhere along the way, Adam and Eve sinned and messed up that idyllic home. They disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge. God punished them for their disobedience by throwing them out of the garden, and he set an angel at the gates to keep them from reentering paradise.

Once mankind sinned, God’s beautiful creation, outside Eden, was never the same again.

Thanks to Adam and Eve’s sin, thorns and weeds sprang up to crowd out the perfect landscaping God had created. Adam’s job description changed from tending the garden to toiling in the ground to provide for his family.

I understand tending a garden. It’s like reaping the fruit of someone else’s labor. You just go into the garden and fill your baskets with fresh fruit and veggies that someone else planted. Along the way, if they appear, you casually pluck out a few young, shallow-rooted weeds, or crush a tomato hornworm onto the garden wall and let a bird feast on it.

I understand toiling in a garden, too. That is the back-breaking work of tilling the soil; planting the seeds; watering; hoeing the deeply rooted, stubborn weeds; running away from the ground bees’ nest you disturbed; spraying for bugs and fungal infestations; chasing away the deer, cats, raccoons, and dogs; digging up the dead plants and weeds; and starting the whole process over again next spring.

When God set Adam and Eve in the garden, he gave them the task of being caretakers. That chore falls to us, too. We are stewards of the beautiful home God gave us in which to live our mortal lives. We may not be able to take care of it in the most perfect manner, because after all we are human and have our failings. But until God comes to take us to our new forever home, we ought to do the best we can to take care of our earthly home.

Tomorrow April 22, 2021 is Earth Day, the largest secular observance in the world, and it’s centered trying to protect our planet from harmful, manmade issues. This year let’s add celebrating God’s creation of our world to that list. Because “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” AND “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:1 and 1:31 (ESV)

Prayer: God, we thank you for the magnificent world you have given us. We are so blessed to live among the beauty you created. Help us to be good stewards of the gift you’ve bestowed on us until that time when we will reside in our new forever home where the glory of your everlasting light will be more beautiful than any earthly gardens we can imagine.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Celebrate God’s Earth (© Catherine Hershberger 4/14/21)

About the Author:

Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.

A Horse of a Different Color by Barb Witt

“Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?” (Job 39:19 NIV)

Picture courtesy of pixabay  

Anna sat on the fence and watched as her dad worked with her horse. He was a yearling and their veterinarian had given the ‘okay’ to start training him under saddle. She couldn’t wait to ride him.

Her father raised Appaloosas. When he had bred the mares, he promised the next foal would be hers. She had been on pins and needles until her dad woke her up one morning, almost two years ago, and told her one of the mares was foaling. She jumped out of bed and threw on some warm clothes (it was early spring and cold outside) and sprinted to the barn. She watched the whole process and was amazed. And suddenly, the foal was born. It was a colt (male), and both he and mama did great. While his mama was still cleaning him, he stood up on those shaky little legs and started looking for food. He found his mother’s teat and began suckling with gusto. That made Anna smile. He would grow strong because he was getting nourishment.

He was a Blue Roan. She had named him Pepper, because his face was blue, his back was white, and his hind quarters were peppered with blue spots. He was beautiful! His mane and tail were dark with white mixed in. They flowed stunningly behind him when he ran. He was a sight to behold. And he was hers. She had cared for him as he grew, brushing him and mucking out his stall daily. She walked him around the ring so he could get used to being led, as her dad had taught her.

As she watched, she pondered the wonder of a horse. Those skinny legs didn’t look like they could hold the horse up, much less carry a human and run the way they do. She whispered to her heavenly Father, as she often did, “Lord, horses are amazing. How did You think of them? How did you know how to make them? And they are so incredibly beautiful. Stubborn, too. You made them smart as well. I sure do love horses. Thanks for creating them.”

After about an hour, her dad called it a day on Pepper’s training. Anna walked him around the ring to calm him and talked to him. Then she took him to the barn and brushed him down, talking the whole time and telling him how beautiful and smart he was. He snorted at her a few times and nuzzled her hands. After she took care of him, she turned him loose in the fenced in pasture so he could be with the other horses for a while. She watched as he interacted with his horse family. It made her smile. He pranced around and ran back and forth. He was happy. And that made her happy.

As she stood there, she looked up into the heavens and smiled and said, “Thank You again, Father. OnlyYou could build a horse from scratch and make it so amazing.”

And now, we pray…

A horse is an amazing creature, Lord. Everything You have made is amazing. Thank You for doing the awesome things You do. Every day is a blessing, a gift from our Father in heaven. And we thank You for it, Lord. Thank You for everything. In Jesus’ name we pray.

AMEN!

A Horse of a Different Co (© Barb Witt 8/17/2020)

About the Author:

Barb Witt is a Christian wife, mother and grandmother who loves gardening, quilting, crafting, writing poetry and devotions, and is working on a children’s book. She has created an email devotional and prayer warrior ministry that she sends out daily. If you’re interested in being added to her email list let us know.

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A Missing Day by Catherine Hershberger

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

A few years back I came across this article on the internet. I found it the other day while searching through my computer files. Unfortunately I didn’t keep the website URL. Knowing that I found it on the internet a bunch of years ago, please read this article with a grain of salt and a skeptical mindset, because many internet stories are not based in truth.

“For all the scientists out there, and for all the students who have a hard time convincing these people regarding the truth of the Bible, here’s something that shows God’s awesome creation, and that He is still in control.

Did you know that the space program is busy proving that what has been called ‘myth’ in the Bible is true? Mr. Harold Hill, President of the Curtis Engine Company in Baltimore, Maryland, and a consultant in the space program, relates the following development.

I think one of the most amazing things that God has done for us today happened recently to our astronauts and space scientists at Green Belt, Maryland. They were checking out where the positions of the sun, moon, and planets would be 100 years and 1,000 years from now. We have to know this so we won’t send up a satellite and have it bump into something later on in its orbits. We have to lay out the orbits in terms of the life of the satellite and where the planets will be so the whole thing will not bog down. They ran the computer measurement back and forth over the centuries, and it came to a halt. The computer stopped and put up a red signal, which meant that there was something wrong with either the information fed into it or with the results as compared to the standards.

They called in the service department to check it out, and they said, ‘What’s wrong?’

Well, they found there is a day missing in space in elapsed time.

They scratched their heads and tore their hair out. There was no answer. Finally a Christian man on the team said, ‘You know, one time I was in Sunday School and they talked about the sun standing still.’ While they didn’t believe him, they didn’t have an answer either, so they said, ‘Show us,’

He got a Bible and went to the book of Joshua where they found a pretty ridiculous statement for any one with ‘common sense.’ There they found the Lord saying to Joshua, ‘Fear them not, I have delivered them into thy hand; there shall not a man of them stand before Thee.’ Joshua was concerned because he was surrounded by the enemy! And if darkness fell, they would overpower them. So Joshua asked the Lord to make the sun stand still! That’s right… ‘The sun stood still and the moon stayed and lasted not to go down about a whole day!’ (Joshua 10:12-13)

The astronauts and scientists said, ‘There is the missing day!’

They checked the computers going back into the time it was written and found it was close but not close enough. The elapsed time that was missing back in Joshua’s day was 23 hours and 20 minutes, not a whole day. They read the Bible, and there it was about [approximately] a day. These little words in the Bible are important, but they were still in trouble because if you cannot account for 40 minutes, you’ll still be in trouble 1000 years from now. Forty minutes had to be found because it can be multiplied many times over in orbits.

As the Christian employee thought about it, he remembered somewhere in the Bible where it said the sun went BACKWARD. The scientists told him he was out of his mind, but they got out the Book and read these words in 2 Kings that told of the following story: Hezekiah, on his death bed, was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him that he was not going to die. Hezekiah asked for a sign as proof. Isaiah said ‘Do you want the sun to go ahead 10 degrees ?’ Hezekiah said, ‘It is nothing for the sun to go ahead 10 degrees, but let the shadow return backward 10 degrees.’ Isaiah spoke to the Lord, and the Lord brought the shadow ten degrees BACKWARD!

Ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes! Twenty-three hours and 20 minutes in Joshua, plus 40 minutes in Second Kings make the missing day in the universe! Isn’t it amazing? (References: Joshua 10:8 and 12, 13 and 2 Kings 20:9-11)”

After rereading the article I thought, Wow! This would make a great devotion, if it’s true! So I did some research. This story originated on the internet in the 70s and spread quickly through chain emails. (Personally, I hate chain emails and chain letters. But that’s a story for another day.) What I found indicates this account is an Urban Legend. In other words, this story about scientists discovering a missing day,  is not true. Multiple arguments on the internet agree with the story’s falseness, as does Answers in Genesis.

Would it be wonderful if this Urban Legend did substantiate the Bible? Of course it would. Backing up the scriptures with science would be great. A true story like this might cause persons who would never consider God to think about Him in a different way.

But does it really matter to believers if the account of finding lost time in space is an Urban Legend? Not really, other than the spreading of a false story to substantiate a truth Christians believe. That’s something we as Christians wouldn’t want to do.

Why do I say it doesn’t matter if we can’t scientifically prove the sun stood still? It doesn’t matter because of our faith.  As Christians we believe a lot of things the rest of the world laughs at. I wasn’t there when God created the world out of nothingness. Nor was I there when God stopped the sun from moving in the sky or when He turned back the sun at Hezekiah’s request. I didn’t hear Balaam’s donkey talk, or see Jesus walk on water or calm the raging sea. I didn’t watch Jesus heal the lame and the blind, or drive demons from the possessed. I didn’t see Christ after he rose from the dead, and I’ve certainly never seen Heaven or Hell. But do I believe in all those things? Absolutely!  After all, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?…” (Genesis 18:14 ESV)

And if we believe in the things the world doesn’t believe in, or won’t believe in because they can’t substantiate them through science, then we are completely in line with what God’s Word teaches, for “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”(Hebrews 11:1 ESV) And our faith in things we can’t see, but believe in anyway, leaves us in a special position in God’s eyes. For Jesus said, “Blessed are those that have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29 ESV)

While it would be great to have science back up every miracle in God’s Word, it really doesn’t matter to me. I know God’s power, and I believe in what He can do. And I rest assured that my belief in things I can’t see makes me blessed. That’s enough for me.

What about you? Do you believe in things of faith that are unseen?

Prayer: Father, thank you for all we can see that proves your existence, and thank you for blessing us even more when we believe in what you’ve done that we can’t see. Amen.

A Missing Day (© Catherine Hershberger 1/30/21)

About the Author:

Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.