Are You a Blessing or a Basketcase?

Are You a Blessing or a Basketcase?

basket-artI have a very large “collection” of baskets in my home and I don’t even know where most of them came from!  Some are from gift or flower baskets and some have a more specific purpose like my Longaberger pie basket. My baskets are varied in sizes, shapes and colors. I have used part of my collection to visually share that we are uniquely designed by God for a purpose. We have different abilities, backgrounds, spiritual gifts and talents.

The term basket-case comes from WW1 British English, indicating a soldier missingstress-collage both his arms and his legs, who needed to be literally carried in a litter or “basket”.In common slang it is used to mean one made powerless or ineffective, as by nerves, panic or stress.

On the other hand a blessing can mean:  1.some kind of divine or supernatural aid, or reward. 2. good fortune   3.a thing one is glad of

The account of Jesus feeding the 5000 is in all 4 gospels but John gives us a little more detail.  “Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him 4 (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.)5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.7 Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to fishandbreadfeed them!”8 Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up.9 “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered 5,000.)11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.12 After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.”13 So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.”    John 6:3-13 (NLT)

I’m asking you, “What’s in your basket?”  You may feel like you don’t have much to offer but Jesus asks us to give whatever we have back to Him. He especially delights in using the broken fragments of our lives to help hungry, hurting people. When we are willing to do that, nothing is ever wasted.

So are you a blessing or a basket case? Are you totally incapacitated by apathy, some pain in your life, fear or stress? Give it all to Him and let Him heal your wounded heart. God designed each one of us with a void in our lives that can only be filled by Him.  Are you using your gifts and abilities for God? God created you in a unique way – one of a kind – and you were made for a purpose. I encourage you not to hide your abilities under a “basket” but instead find a way you can serve Him and others!

 

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Seeds of Potential

Seeds of Potential

WP_20150927_001Did you know that apples are not native to the US? They were introduced to North America in the 17th century by European colonists and their descendents.  My daughter lives in Leominster, MA -the birthplace of John Chapman the folk hero known as Johnny Appleseed.  It’s a really big deal. They have a Johnny Appleseed Festival in town every year. Most stories about the American folk hero are more fiction than fact. He really did plant apple orchards as far as the Midwest. He also never married, lived a very simple life and shared the message of God’s love to everyone including native Indian tribes.

An apple tree takes eight years of growing before it will bear any fruit. That’s a long time to wait while tending, watering and protecting the sapling before it produces anything. Then each year that tree will yield a varying amount of apples for many years to come.  How many apples in its lifetime?

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I keep a sign in my kitchen over the door frame and it reads:  “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple but only God can count the apples in a seed.”  Each seed has potential for life and growth and an abundant harvest. Each apple has the potential to be used in a lot of ways….eating, baking pies, muffins, pastries, making cider, applesauce, decorating and the list goes on.

The word potential means, “ having latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness”.   Synonyms for potential are possibilities, prospects, promise, capability and capacity.

The Bible tells us that most of the twelve disciples were hard working but uneducated men.  They were trying hard to understand and follow Jesus’teaching but questioned how they could possibly do what He asked.         5  The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.         Luke 17:5-6 (ESV)

Since we don’t have any mustard trees in New England, can I use the term “apple seeds of faith”?  Is your faith as small as an apple seed? When you go apple picking this season, take joy in His creation all around you.  I hope you know that God has a purpose and a plan for each of our lives. Every person has potential and so does each day. We need to find our gifts and abilities to develop and use them by reading the Bible – God’s manual and praying – or talking to the Master Gardener.   Every day we are given new opportunities and choices.  Just think of all the possibilities!           apple pie

Change or growth doesn’t happen overnight, nor can it usually be seen….just like the sapling. Sometimes we don’t see any “fruit” or results. That’s okay. Ask God to show you the potential within and take a small step forward even with “faith like an apple seed”.

 I AM A PROMISE
  I am a promise, I am a possibility
I am a promise, with a capital “P”
I am a great big bundle of potentiality.
And I am learning, to hear God’s voice
And I am trying to make the right choices,
          I’m a promise to be—anything God wants me to be.

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Why blog?    Good question!
God has impressed upon my heart to share short devotionals on a bi-weekly basis. My goal is to share observations from scripture, nature, and my own experiences with you, my friends and readers. I hope you will enjoy this journey with me and that it will cause you to pause and reflect on God’s Sovereignty and faithfulness.

Stay tuned…I look forward to having this site up in the fall.