Friday, April 24, 2009

Ant Hills of Evidence

Leave a comment here or send an email to writecat at and I’ll enter you name into the March drawing for either The Stained Glass Pickup ~ Glimpses of God’s Uncommon Wisdom or A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts ~ Stories to Warm Your Heart and Tips to Simplify Your Holiday

Ant Hills of Evidence

Southeast Texas is dotted with ant beds popping up every where. And if you are looking for illustrated Bible lessons about work, just sit and watch the activity around an ant mound for a few minutes.

Noted as one of the wisest men, King Solomon advised some spring and summer sightseeing: “Go the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8).

With over 11,000 known species of ants on this planet and ants far outnumbering humans, there are plenty of teachers to go around. In my yard, fire ant mounds have cropped up like chill bumps on arms, although probably not the species Solomon watched. Most likely, he observed the industrious harvester ants, living in arid parts of the world.

Harvester ants collect seeds then they carry them into underground chambers, just beneath the crust of the earth. There, workers husk the seeds, and then refuse is carried to the surface while other workers ferry the nutritious part of the seed to storage areas. If the seed is too moist, it is taken above ground to air-dry in the sun. These ants also make bread from seed kernels, food for their larvae.

Many fascinating ant species share our world. Leaf cutter ants farm miniature fungi to supply their colony with food. Aphid-tending ants keep bug-cattle, “milking” them for a honey dew substance. Weaver ants build their homes in trees.

Weaver baby ants forego their cocoon silk while gluing leaves together for the colony’s home. Leaving them vulnerable, the infants are tended in a special nursery until adulthood. God’s ant workers are true marvels.

Ants are not lazy. If they loll around through the summer they go hungry in the winter. I can’t imagine them getting sidetracked as often as I do. Some of life’s current attractions are real time wasters. If time is not spent wisely, my days go into the red, and my week goes bankrupt.

Another Solomon work-proverb is, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). I think Solomon is saying life will not go on forever; a worker is to stay focused, keeping mind and hands on the same project. Half-heartedness is a salute to laziness, not God.

Hard work has many benefits. One is getting to eat. Other advantages are peace about finished projects, helping our sluggard economy, and guiltless nights of rest when we’ve labored with gusto. This is all very true.

A little ant told me.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Worry Dolls

Leave a comment here or send an email to and I’ll enter you name into the March drawing for either The Stained Glass Pickup ~ Glimpses of God’s Uncommon Wisdom or A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts ~ Stories to Warm Your Heart and Tips to Simplify Your Holiday


Some Guatemalans hide a worry doll under their pillows at night to chase away fears. Cute as a button and about the size of one, these dolls are about a dollar a dozen.

If one teensy, colorful charm doll could chase away troubles, then I wonder what 50 under a pillow would do? They are whimsical and cute and will fit into a birthday card to a worrier, but even if 25 were held in hand, how could a little figurine solve real problems.

What do you do when worry plows a furrow in your brow? Do you fret to any who will listen? Do you whine? Do you count your blessings, hoping to minimize your troubles?

John Jay Chapman says, “People get so in the habit of worry that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate and muffins they wonder whether they are catching cold.”

Statisticians tell us that less than one percent of what we worry about happening ever comes true. Worry is non-productive. I take that back. Worry can cause actual physical ailments. I guess that’s production even though worry-results are negative. A better word to describe worry is “worthless.” Worry is frivolous, a real waste of thought power. How do you best combat worry?

Ralph Gower in The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times tells about ancient, walled cities and how the entrance gates were often very small so that enemies could not storm the gates in droves and gain entrance.

This presented a problem when wagon loads of grain or caravans of camels loaded with goods arrived. However, the cities had a plan. When merchants appeared at the undersized city gates, porters were hired to shoulder the loads. Large bundles were divided into smaller portions and the goods were toted inside the walls.

This picture of porters reminds me of prayer. When troubles mount, the best possible way to “take a load off” is to be a prayer porter. We frail, made-of-dust creatures are not capable of handling the oversized burdens that life often places at our small gates. But God has opened wide heaven’s gates through the life and gift of Jesus Christ. We can take the whole load into our King’s throne room and lay them down.

Belief and trust in God is vital to our physical and spiritual health. I love the comfort found in 2 Samuel 22:17, when David cried out in prayer and describes the help he received from God: “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.”

If you buy worry dolls, do so as cute decorations but not for solutions. Next time you’re tempted to worry, grab your burdens and tote them through heaven’s massive gates. A prayer porter’s wages are strength, confidence, and joy. It’s one of the best salaries in today’s economy.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Resurrect God's Love

Leave a comment here or send an email to and I’ll enter you name into the April drawing for either The Stained Glass Pickup ~ Glimpses of God’s Uncommon Wisdom or A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts ~ Stories to Warm Your Heart and Tips to Simplify Your Holiday

Resurrection Sunday, Easter, is a celebration of God’s extravagant love.

Genuine personal love, like none this world had ever experienced, marked the beginning, the middle, and the end of Jesus’ public ministry. At the beginning, Jesus attended a wedding, an embarrassing event where the host ran out of wine. Without a showy display, Jesus changed water into wine, not several decanters, but an extravagant 75-115 liters. From that time on, Judea, Galilee, and surrounding areas were about to experience unparalleled displays of love, grace, and mercy.

Throughout three years Jesus continued portraying the Heavenly Father with exact measure. The writer of Hebrews described Jesus as “the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being" (1:3). Jesus gave in the same way the Heavenly Father gives—over abundantly.

Jesus freely gave over-the-top care to the needy: withered limbs re-muscled; fishermen's nets overflowed; thousands ate from heaven's bread basket; massive waves and atmospheric elements obeyed his voice and ceased their violent nature — because extravagant God trod the earth in the person of Jesus Christ.

Nature’s obstacles weren't the only places Jesus mirrored the Holy God of heaven. He also crossed social and racial barriers. He esteemed women, often looked upon as mere property. Jesus conversed with a Samaritan woman, and her village hosted Jesus and his disciples for several days. He touched a woman, who was “unclean" because of illness. The outcasts of society, the unwanted, and the shunned ate at the same table with the Master of reconciliation.

As Jesus' last days drew near, in yet another loving kindness, he caused life to return to dead Lazarus, and a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. In attendance, Mary sensed the Master would soon depart this earth and what the exit would cost him. Through a reverent gift she expressed her love.

She poured about two cups of very expensive nard, worth a year’s wages, on Jesus’ feet. The scent permeated the air as she rubbed the rich emollients into his skin, and wiped the excess off with her hair. She had learned over-the-top giving from her superior Teacher.

A few dinners later, Jesus washed his disciples’ dust laden feet, and he called them to carry on his generous mission and calling them to love each other. Within hours, heaven’s mountainous mercy continued at the cross and the tomb where Jesus took on the sins of the world. There, he received undeserved punishment and his death became our rescue. Three days later, Jesus’ body was resurrected.

We resurrect and rekindle Jesus’ loving kindness each time we allow his generosity to flow through the beginning, middle and end of our walk with him.

Happy Resurrection Sunday.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Untie the Colt

Leave a comment here or send an email to and I’ll enter you name into the March drawing for either The Stained Glass Pickup ~ Glimpses of God’s Uncommon Wisdom or A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts ~ Stories to Warm Your Heart and Tips to Simplify Your Holiday


Two strangers walked up to the donkey, untying it from the hitching post. Astounded, the owners watched while the two men unknotted the leather strap in bright daylight. How brazen! Most thieves preferred moonless nights for rustling cattle.

The owners approached, not accusing of theft, but asking, “Why are you untying our colt?”

The only answer the two men gave, “The Savior needs it.”

When the owners heard the reply, they signaled OK, and Jesus’ disciples walked away, leash in hand, colt in tow. When they reached Jesus, they threw their garments over the colt, as a makeshift saddle blanket.

While reading chapter 19 of Luke, a few new lessons emerged for me. Jesus had told two of his followers to go to a nearby village where they would see a tethered donkey colt. Jesus’ instructions were to “untie the colt,” and “if anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Savior needs it.’”

From the text, several phrases kept bleeping back into mind. “Untie the colt” is one. When I get wrapped up in my tiny world, binding myself to too many possessions and unhealthy obsessions, the Lord calls me to let go for the kingdom’s sake.

The “colt” and the disciples’ “garments” is a second reminder. Pooled resources underwrote the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. A colt willingly given and disciples’ garments spread upon its back were combined gifts that ushered the Savior into the city where he received deserved praise and recognition.

In Jerusalem some loved Jesus and some didn’t. One day, a group of hundreds became a welcome committee shouting “Hosanna” and lining the path with small branches. A few days later, denouncing rings of “Crucify him” echoed in the streets. Human nature is mirrored in the contrast.

Inviting a miracle worker into my needy life is easy. Dedicating my resources to the miracle worker’s cause is more difficult. On the same day Jesus’ disciples borrowed the donkey, a chorus of praise rang out for King Jesus. Several sunsets later, Jesus’ innocent blood seeped into the soil outside the city gates.

What do I need to losen my grip from, so I may be a devoted servant to the Savior, the kind who gives him the praise and recognition he deserves?

“Untie the colt and bring it here” resonates in my heart. Because “the Savior needs it” is the call I’m hearing.

Have a blessed Palm Sunday.