“When you were born, everyone was happy, and you were the only one crying. When you die, will everyone be crying while you’re the only one happy?” (Dr. James Bradford). Life and death put everything in perspective. No matter who we are or claim to be, we all face the same fate. When we look at the world through God’s eyes, through His perspective on the bigger picture, it all begins to become clear.
“I’m free! I have rights!” This is portrayed in a lot of different ways lately. The right to free speech, however volatile it may be. The right to post, pin, and tweet–whatever goes. We have the right to say whatever or act however we want. Right? But is it right?
In our pursuit of liberty and happiness, there is another right we should have – the right of dependence. Our forefathers fought hard to give us independence and freedom. Our military and law enforcement strive to keep these liberties and freedoms for future generations. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of them, and to those who follow in their footsteps.
Everyone wants their independence, but think how dependent we are each and every moment….
The Right of Dependence
We must be dependent on the Lord to give us another day and the breath to breathe each morning. We depend upon our body to obey our mind’s commands to walk, eat, or sleep. We depend upon the sun to keep our earth warmed by day, and for the moon to keep our oceans in place and for gravity to keep balance aligned.
We depend on inanimate objects and other entities as well. We need our appliances to work and serve us well; for our vehicles to get us to work, and on a job that will keep on bringing in the paychecks. We depend on the government to uphold law and order in an effort to keep job security and our family safe. We depend upon farmers to keep sowing crops and raising livestock to keep us fed, and then for shopkeepers to treat us fairly. We depend upon hospitals and churches to keep us healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually and for ministers and advisors to inspire and encourage.
Life holds a great paradox
In order to be really free and independent, we must be willing to serve and be dependent on one another. We must voluntarily give ourselves away before we can receive again. We must lose ourselves before we can be found, and empty ourselves before we can be filled and fulfilled again.Everyone must depend on others daily. We could not survive without each other. Everyone has his or her own purpose and mission to fulfill in this life. We need each other, whether we like it or not.
How? By serving others and putting others before our own needs. By treating others the way we want to be treated. By freely giving of ourselves, our time, our energy, our talents, our money, our efforts to help someone else with no thought of a favor returned, we can find what it is to be free indeed. Giving simply because we want to – and that lifestyle leads to the greatest satisfaction and independence of all.
Every day can be an independence day as we learn to think and live for one another.
“When someone staggers, we help steady the load. If he is straining, we help bear the burden. And if he stumbles, we lift him up. Helping Christian believers is fulfilling what Christ wants us to do.” (Galatians 6:2/paraphrased)
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They say your eyes are the windows to your soul. Warm, glowing eyes speak love. Narrowed eyes can shoot daggers. It is easy to understand the saying, “If looks could kill.” You can easily read people’s feelings through their eyes. You can see shyness or pride, a look of disdain or a look of acceptance. Pain is apparent, as is loneliness or rejection. Happy eyes sparkle; vacant eyes show hopelessness or depression.
My father had soft brown eyes. He used his eyes to correct, to approve, to disapprove, and to honor. His eyes were gentle and loving. I never saw hate in those eyes against anyone. If there was anger, it was directed towards an object or circumstance, but not a person. His eyes spoke acceptance and friendship to all. He never raised his hand to strike or spank, nor can I remember any harsh words…but I remember his eyes.
I never wanted to get that ‘look.’ His eyes showed disappointment when I did something that brought him displeasure because he knew I was capable of better. And in that look, I knew I could and would do better the next time. I didn’t want to disappoint my dad. I didn’t fear that look, but it hurt my heart to hurt his. Dad guided with his eyes.
Our Father God’s eyes are ever watchful over his children too. Eyes full of compassion and love, mercy and grace. Everything is open before him and nothing can be hidden. “The eye is the lamp of the body. You draw light into your body through your eyes, and light shines out to the world through your eyes. So if your eye is well and shows you what is true, then your whole body will be filled with light.” (Matthew 6:22)
May we be so filled with light, so full of might so that everything we do, will be right in His sight.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)
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There are advantages to being born last. With brother and sisters grown and gone, I grew up like an only child. Having a child all to herself in her middle-age years, Mother wasn’t lonely.
Violet Agnes Iverson was born a twin on June 4, 1909. She lost her twin sister, Nora, to a bout of pneumonia combined with the flu in 1926 when she was only 17 years old. Two years later, Violet met the love of her life and married Esten Woodland, twelve years her senior, on October 29, 1929. It was the day the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. They lived through tough and meager years, lost the first child to an early death, birthed three more children, and decided their family was done. Thirteen years after their youngest was born, a surprise came their way — me.
What I Learned Growing Up Last
Who is God?
Creator of Heaven and Earth
Master of the Universe – the Omnipotent,
What is God?
Unfathomable, Omniscient One Who knows all – sees all.
He is the Deep beyond deep going into the depths of my soul.
Where is God?
Everywhere – at all times – at all places:
the Omnipresent One
Who will never leave me nor forsake me
no matter the heights I soar
or the lowest hell to which I descend.
When is God?
Forever and for always.
The Alpha and the Omega.
Accepted by Museum Contempo (Olympia, WA)juried in for the fine arts museum and the book, Who is God? Creations (My paintings are done with spray paint and a spatula).
God made the tree on which His Son hung. It was on that tree, which was formed into a rugged cross, that Jesus died for you and me. It’s overwhelming to think that God in His wonderful plan of salvation knew the exact moment when that tiny seed was placed into the ground. He watched the sapling grow tall and stately, all the time knowing that it would be the place on earth for His Son to die. No doubt that beautiful tree had been tested by storms and fierce winds, but it majestically withstood until it could complete God’s plan for it.
Today we hang symbolic crosses on our walls and wear them for pins and necklaces. But two thousand years ago, the cross was not a symbol of faith, but one of lawlessness and utter shame. There Jesus hung in pain, exhausted, hungry, and thirsty while the crowds mocked.
I’m so thankful He made this final sacrifice so that all can have eternal life. While that sacrifice is cherished, my focus is not Jesus on the cross. The old wooden tree was only the climax of the Easter story. My focus is on the empty cross! I can rejoice that He rose again and ascended into Heaven. More than that, He has given me and you the gift of salvation. We are the Resurrection people, so let His seed of love grow and be nourished in our hearts.
We are the Resurrection people, so let His seed of love grow and be nourished in our hearts.
Guest Post by my sister, Nancy Woodland Reoh (1937-1999), who wrote this many years ago for a magazine article.
Over 100 Devotions will be available in Thoughts for Evening Time: Devotions to Ponder. To be released this summer on Amazon.