O Those April Showers by Rev. James L. Snyder
A Microscopic View of Renewal by Jeanne Dennis
Just Like New by Rev. James L. Snyder
Shape of God’s Heart
“The Shape of God’s Heart” by Sheila Seifert
“Silent Flight” by Chris Roe
About the Art “Right Field” by Benjamin Hummel
O Those April Showers
By Reverend James L. Snyder
April showers bring May flowers. At least that’s what people say. It sounds good, and for all practical purposes, the saying is true. Think what it would be like if there were all sunshine and no rain. Where would those May flowers be without April showers—and where would we be without the “showers” that enter our lives?
Many people, myself included, complain when things don’t go the way we planned. Like small children, we dance and play in the sunshine, but mope and complain when a little rain falls on our playground, forcing us inside. We hate delays, but often they are good for us. Being laid low for some period by illness, injury, or fatigue can be beneficial for us. It gives us the needed opportunity to reflect on our lives, re-evaluate our current activities, and readjust our priorities. If we do not do this periodically, we face the danger of a breakdown somewhere down the road—usually sooner than we realize.
One reason why so many people in our society today are sick and hospital-ridden is the fast pace we have established. We make no allowances for delay or times off. We go, go, go until we cannot go anymore. We get caught up in the rat-race instead of enjoying life to its fullest. The result can be physical and emotional breakdown. What is the answer?
The answer is simple, though not easy. Our lives must be adjusted to allow the “April showers” to bring “May flowers” in our lives. Or, to put it another way, we need to realize what it is that nourishes us. It all begins with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son.
Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 KJV). He also said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Though “April showers” may come at any season, when we live a life of complete dependence upon Jesus, “May flowers” are sure to follow.
© Rev. James L. Snyder
The Reverend James L. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals, including Guideposts. Snyder’s first book, In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, won the 1992 Reader’s Choice Award from Christianity Today. Through over thirty-five years of ministry, he and his wife Martha have been involved in three church-planting projects prior to their current ministry at the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Florida. They have three children and nine grandchildren. You may visit his website at http://www.jamessnyderministries.com and read his religion column at Out To Pastor.
A Microscopic View of Renewal
by Jeanne Gowen Dennis
My husband, an entomologist, peered into the eyepieces of his stereomicroscope. “Do you want to see it?” he asked with excitement in his voice.
For the past month, I had been helping him with word processing on a scientific paper about the pupal cases of robber flies. This was my opportunity to view what I had been reading as I typed—spiracles, coxal sheaths, antennal processes, and the like. Steve moved out of the way, and I adjusted the eyepieces.
A delicate, golden-brown, opaque shell sat on the stage, bathed in light. I knew that its tissue-thin walls had once encased a developing adult robber fly that had lived and died over fifty years ago. Yet this pupal case still had a story to tell.
Every part of the case existed for a reason, perhaps for protection or mobility. The details of its structure—such as the numbers and positions of its bristles—identified it within a particular species. Its form reflected the shape of the insect that had developed inside from a fat, soft-bodied larva to a sleek, winged adult.
As I examined the specimen, I marveled at our Creator’s care in designing this stage in the fly’s lifecycle. In intricate detail, God had planned a time of growth, renewal, struggle, and then rebirth for a seemingly insignificant insect.
As Christians, we too, go through times of metamorphosis. First we are reborn as new creatures when we accept Jesus as our Lord, Savior, and Messiah (2 Corinthians 5:17). Then as we grow in our relationship with God and go through various difficulties, He changes us so that we become more and more like Jesus (Romans 8:28–29). Periods of growth require rest. Just as God planned rest for robber flies, He designed times of rest for us and set us an example by resting after He finished the work of Creation.
First of all, God gave us sleep. When we get the sleep our bodies need, we wake up refreshed and ready to face the new day. He also set aside a day for us to refrain from work and focus on Him, which the Bible calls the Sabbath. Other types of rest include conversation, contemplation, reading, relaxation, friendship, and laughter. Exercise can also be a form of rest. As it stretches our muscles and expands our lungs, moderate exercise gives us a sense of health and well-being. Rediscovering nature also brings renewal to our souls. However, we find the most refreshing rest of all when we spend time with God.
Yes, God planned rest for us, but we live harried lives that seldom allow time for rest. So we must give ourselves permission to take the time.
Will you give yourself that permission now? Will you make room for laughter, contemplation, friendship, and prayer? In your busy life, will you take time to enjoy the beauty of creation, to immerse yourself in Bible reading, and most of all to revel in your relationship with the One who loves you most?
God designed us for intimacy with Himself, and He planned for our growth and renewal in intricate detail. Let this be a season when you look through the stereoscope of your life and wonder in awe at God’s provision for you.
© Jeanne Gowen Dennis
Jeanne Gowen Dennis is the host of Heritage of Truth TV and the author of several books. She relishes discovering the wonders of Creation with her family—with or without the benefit of a microscope.
Just Like New
You probably own something that is worse for wear—perhaps a piece of furniture, a favorite keepsake, a car, a bike, a tool. This issue’s exercise is to take that item and clean, polish, restore, or paint it. Do whatever it takes to make that item look good again. As you work on it, remember to thank God for the continuing work He does in your life—forgiving, renewing, restoring, and making you a new creation in Jesus Christ.
The Shape of God’s Heart
By Sheila Seifert
Everlasting love, forever unfurled,
A rescue planned at the creation of the world.
For God so loved that He sent . . .
For God so loved that He went . . .
For God so loved that He gave . . .
For God so loved that He saved . . .
A fragrant aroma, a sacrifice,
Heavenly innocence, an offering for vice,
Fighting the fight, Setting the pace,
A living Valentine for the human race.
Sheila Seifert, an editor, author, and award winning writer and designer who is constantly amazed by God’s grace and love. To learn more about Sheila books, free writing classes, and her Kay’s Simple Literature curricula and classroom review games for public, private, and home-school students., go to http://home.rmi.net/~seifert.
By Chris Roe
In the silence,
The clarity of your voice,
Upon the eagle’s wings.
The chains of doubt
That imprison my soul
Fall away beneath my feet.
In the freedom and majesty
Of the sentinel’s gaze,
Faith is strengthened
And hope returned
To a weary heart,
Upon the silent flight
Of eagles wings.
© Chris Roe
Chris Roe lives and works in the rural county of Norfolk, England as a self-employed gardener. While most of his career has been spent in the agricultural industry in the UK, writing poetry has been his hobby for some years. He has had poetry published in a number of small press publications and magazines in the UK and on websites in the US. You may visit his website at www.silentflightpublications.com.
Roaming the Path
Here are some resources you might enjoy as you continue down the path of childlike wonder and faith:
In Quiet Places: A Woman’s Guide to Personal Retreat by Jane Rubietta is the perfect book for women needing a bit of rest and renewal. With gentleness, honesty, and vulnerability, Rubietta leads readers away from the pressing cares of life to quiet places of love, forgiveness, inspiration, and stability, hideaways of refreshment where we can enjoy the company of the One who loves us best. You may buy the book directly from Jane’s website at http://www.janerubietta.com.
If you are a teacher getting ready for some needed rest from the classroom or if you’re looking for a great gift for a teacher you know, then consider Kisses of Sunshine for Teachers by popular speaker Carol Kent and best-selling author Vicki Caruana. This collection of stories was written by teachers for teachers. A piece by Karen Allaman called “A Teacher, a Clown, a Friend” about how she befriended a sullen, troubled student is only one example of the inspirational stories that will produce laughter, tears, and joy as teachers reflect on the multiple facets of their profession.
Jim Robinson, a former alcoholic and drug addict who now operates a ministry to help free others from the lifestyle he escaped, has another winner in his new CD called Clean. Both a call to repentance and a celebration of God’s forgiveness and regeneration, this collection speaks to all, from the hopeless sinner at the point of suicide to the seasoned believer already familiar with God’s incredible love. Ranging from upbeat to mellow, the CD concludes with this reviewer’s favorite, “Thirsty,” which speaks about the Living Water that satisfies our souls so that we will “never be thirsty again.” Refresh your soul with Clean. You’ll want to listen to it again and again. Visit Jim’s website at www.prodigalsong.com for information about his ministry, books, and music.
About the Art
“Right Field” by Benjamin Hummel
Our cover painting, “Right Field,” is by Benjamin Hummel, an accomplished artist who depicts the charms and nostalgia of history and childhood in his detailed paintings. He is a student of history and works with various historical organizations to research the information necessary to recreate life as it once was. Benjamin’s manner of layering his humor and wit into his original oil paintings has often been compared to Norman Rockwell’s. Benjamin studied fine art in illustration at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design. Since then, his paintings have received various awards from local institutions and have been featured in several books and magazines.
To view more of Ben’s paintings and hear his story, please visit his website at www.paintingforlife.com.
Editor: Jeanne Gowen Dennis
Associate Editor: Sheila Seifert
Assistant Editor: Christine St. Jacques
© Heritage of Truth, LLC
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