Fall Leaves Me Feeling…

2 Corinthians 5 17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Autumn is a time of change. The temperature drops, and summer annuals die with the first frost of the season. As acorns drop to the ground, squirrels quickly gather them up and bury them under dirt and mulch. Grass begins to shift from deep green to a dull, dormant wheat color. Fall leaves me feeling reflective as I consider the changes of the season.
In Illinois, one transformation that occurs during the month of October is the color change of the leaves. From the ripe shades of green, leaves turn into various autumn colors and fall off the trees. Oak leaves become different shades of brown. Maple leaves turn into a beautiful display of orange, mahogany and gold. All around, trees undergo a change that appeals to the eye.
As I ponder the dramatic changes of the leaves, I cannot help but think of the Christian life. As we ask Jesus into our heart, we are transformed into His likeness. When we humble ourselves before Him, we allow our old self to die. This permits our new life in Christ to be born and grow. Likewise, fall leaves must change color and descend to the ground. In doing so, trees are preparing for new growth in the spring. How lovely the leaves are when they transform from their shades of green to their gorgeous hues of reds and yellows! Just as the autumn leaves reveal their vibrant colors, so, too, does a committed Christian exhibit a vibrant life.
Thus, a change in the leaves is symbolic to me of a converted heart submitted to Jesus Christ. As fall approaches, the air turns cool and crisp. Pumpkins, gourds and hay are displayed on porches. However, I am moved by the dying leaves. As I observe the leaves floating to the ground and covering the grass like a protective blanket, I am reminded to continually yield my life to Christ. A committed Christian life is a beautiful life. May fall always leave me feeling this reflective!

See You At The Pole

See You At The Pole 2015
See You at the Pole Prayer Ideas
On the fourth Wednesday in September, in the United States, over three million students early in the morning gather at their schools’ flagpole to pray. In twenty other countries, students also participate in this event of prayer (syatp.com). While this event is student led, we can partner with these young men and women by praying for the schools in our communities sometime this week. Here are some topics and verses to help get you started. Please feel free to add more topics and verses in the comments below.
Students
That God is “Guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.” Proverbs 2:8
That students will “Apply their hearts to instruction and their ears to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 23:12
That students will know the love of Christ. “May have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:18
That students will grow academically and socially in a safe learning environment. “Start children off on the way they should go,and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
That students will learn Christian values and morals. “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
Administrations and School Board Members
That they will do what is right. “First of all, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2
“Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.” Romans 13:3-4
Teachers
That teachers will lead by example and have a voice of wisdom. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
That they will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit as they teach their students. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

My Agenda or God’s?

Philippians 2 4
Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
After spending a wonderful Labor Day weekend vacationing with my family, on Tuesday I found myself in my utility room, knee-deep in luggage and dirty laundry. I spent part of my day unpacking toys, shoes, pillows, food and toiletries. The remainder of the day was spent washing, drying, folding and putting away the laundry.
Between unpacking and putting the clean clothes away, I must have walked through my kitchen over 100 times. At the end of the day, I looked in the corner of my kitchen where a plant, sitting on its stand, was literally dying of thirst. I had not only forgotten to water it on the Friday before we left, but I had been so consumed with putting my utility room back in order that I didn’t even notice its wilting, brown leaves.
Was I always that busy that I overlooked others’ needs around me? What if it had been a hurting friend I passed by in the store? Would I have noticed if she was dying for a drink of God’s living water, or thirsty for a word of encouragement? Or would I be so self-focused that I wouldn’t see her needs, just as I didn’t see the need of my plant?
That Tuesday I resolved to become more considerate of those around me and less worried about my agenda.
Lord, help me to be mindful of the needs of those around me. Amen.

The Power of Unity

John 17 23

May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. John 17:23

While washing fruit at the kitchen sink one morning, I was feeling great because I was ahead of schedule for the first day of work which was teacher orientation day. Without warning, I heard a loud boom, felt my home shake, and out of the corner of my eye witnessed something fall in the direction of my house.
I screamed, “What is going on?” Frantically, I wondered if there had been an explosion at one of the chemical plants near my home.
My son, Mitch, who had a better view, yelled, “The tree fell down!” Stunned, I went to the sliding glass doors to see that the fifty foot oak tree had indeed fallen down in my backyard. Moments later, I called my husband to tell him. He asked me to check if there was any damage. Miraculously, there was none. The top branches of the tree had missed the kitchen window where I was working by mere inches.
This event took me by surprise because there was no wind or rain to cause the tree to fall. It was a perfectly calm August morning. Perplexed and curious, I walked out to the base of the tree and saw the cause. It was the power of millions of carpenter ants laboring together at the roots of the tree to take it down. WOW! Inspired by the unity of the ants, that day I recognized that no task is too big when we work as one. What a impact Christians could have on the world if we labored and loved each other in perfect unity!
God, I am so grateful that much can be accomplished when we work together for Your kingdom. Amen.
Base of Fallen Tree Window View
Trees By Deck