“I’m Hungry”

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We just went shopping today at our favorite grocery outlet in preparation for the coming deluge. No, we are not expecting the Tuckaseegee River to flood, although it has come close several times in the past two months. Like much of the southeast, we have had a lot of rain!

The duluge I am preparing for is the annual arrival of family and friends for our 4th of July celebration.

I LOVE IT!

We play silly games, eat, watch the fireworks from the end-of-our driveway, and celebrate the blessing of living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I have re-painted the mountain “granny and pa-paw” with the holes where you place your face for silly photographs. I also re-painted “Billy Bob” who has holes instead of eyes and mouth to throw bean bags through.(He now has a blue Smoky Mountain ball cap). Phil has mowed a place for a baseball diamond, and repaired the path that rain washed out so that golf cart riders can safely navigate the trail. We have bubble gun for the bubble blowing contest and water ballons for the toss (Will Abi and Greg reclaim the title from Salem and Tim?) Other activities are in the works.

All these preparations are fun, but probably the most important is the food. Why?

Folks need to eat.

I must be honest. Even though I look forward to the games, I realize that many family and friends will get hungry.

Jesus saw this as well during the height of his ministry. Mark 6:34-43 recounts a situation where Jesus was “teaching them many things”. Yet, folks got hungry and Jesus did not ignore that fact.

34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

Again, in the interest of full disclosure, I would much rather spend time preparing the games than preparing the food. I get tired of the “prepare food, clean up” cycle – then I turn around and someone is hungry again. Yet if Jesus took time from his teaching to feed over 5000 people, I need to see to the needs of those in my family.

I want to adjust my attitude and bring it in line with Scripture.

If Jesus thinks it is important to feed those who are hungry, than so must I.

So, I will prepare food and ask those coming to bring something to share. I certainly don’t want to keep the blessing of sharing food all to myself!

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Genetic Implications #2

Victoria Chapman 062

Yesterday was Father’s Day and I am still blessed to have my father with us, in fact my parents live in our home. In thinking about the qualities that I most appreciate about my father, it is his faithful example of being a godly man that most stands out. He taught high school Biology for 40 years, 33 at Wheaton Central High School in Wheaton, Illinois, and after taking early retirement, he taught at a mission school in Taichung, Taiwan for 7 more years. He never lost his passion for teaching or his wonder at examining the uniqueness of God’s creation. My father was respected by his peers in education as well as his students. I know this because I attended the high school where my father taught. He has a natural ability to command respect in his quiet, but firm way.

When I was a high school senior we were setting up for an art show in the lobby of the school. In those days, there were windows facing the hallway from the biology lab. (What was the architect thinking?! My fellow artists and I delivered a load of pedestals for displaying the art work using a rollong cart. On the way back – of course I rode down the hall – laughing as my classmate pushed the cart.

As my father was teaching, he glanced up, saw his daughter riding down the hall on the cart, and without missing a beat said “I wonder what the genetic implications are?” I must have heard that phrase repeated a dozen times the rest of the day as fellow students reported what they had heard my father say.

My father’s conduct in and out of the classroom was consistent. His fellow teachers saw that he lived what he preached and I was the beneficiary of that reputation. The implications of the integrity of my father’s life continue to bless me to this day. I know that his godly example of unconditional love has help me accept my heavenly Father’s love.

We know there are no spiritual grandchildren, yet I have inherited a rich treasure of spiritual ‘genes’ from my father. How much more our Heavenly Father wants us to be blessed by the spiritual treasures of our life as His children. He has SO MUCH to give us, yet we must be willing to receive from Him. Look at what Scripture says –

1 John 3: 1,2

1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Thanks be to God for blessing me with my father, Clayton Barker.

Receiving Gifts

Mom and Dad Mingus mill

After having shared our home with us for almost 9 years, my parents are moving. They are sorting and packing, deciding what to keep, what to give away, and what to take to the Goodwill. Yet there is the inevitable collection of treasured items from 65 years of marriage and almost 90/85 years of life that they will not have room for. We live in a big, old farm house and they had use of several rooms besides “their” bedroom, sitting room, bathroom and guest room, so down-sizing is a challenge.

My parents have generously offered many lovely and interesting treasures to my brothers and myself. We are now at the point of needing to downsize ourselves, so accepting some items has been a challange. To be totally upfront, many of their things are nicer than ours so accepting has NOT been a chore.

We all have “things” we keep that have emotional attachments or special meaning that no one else may share. Phil and I once agreed that we had way too many books and we needed to get rid of some. So, we agreed that we would each go through our book shelves and pull out books we no longer wanted to keep.

That did NOT work! All the books I no longer wanted to keep were significant to Phil, why I don’t know. The books he wanted to donate were books I treasured – he shouldhave known! So the result is that all those books are in our attic.

As my parents have passed on to us treasures from their past, it has caused me to think about gifts we give and receive. We sometimes think a loved one will treasure the same things we do because we think they understand how much those things mean to us.

It reminded me that God has given each of us gifts as HIS children.

Do I treasure those gifts as much as I should?

1 Peter 4:10-11 (NLT)

10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

These verses clearly state that God has given EACH of us gifts. It is vitally important in our lives as His children to not only receive those gifts, but to use them for His glory.

I plan to use the hand crocheted bedspread my mother just gave me. Not only will it remind me of her, but it will also remind me on the hours of love and care that it took to make the bedspread.

Each gift from our heavenly Father should remind us of His love and care for us.

May we use each gift He has given us for His glory!