Category Archives: Devotionals

New Paths

New Paths photo

Red line shows the original path, now long forgotten.

Sometime last year, during one of the sudden, violent, thunderstorms that we occasionally experience in Texas, a small tree crashed across a path in our beloved park. Getting around it was no easy task. Waist-high, thick, scratchy, bull thistle and burclover attacked us as we circumnavigated begrudgingly. “Surely, someone will bring a chainsaw and clear this path soon,” I thought. But this was not one of the main trails; only a path worn by neighbors who knew the secret park entrance close to our house. Days, weeks, months, went by and no tree removal. Instead, step by step, the weeds were trampled, turned brown, and ground into dirt. As the new path slowly formed, the old one was quietly disappearing.

Today there is no trace of the original path, but Something today prompted me to take a photo and consider how establishing new, healthier habits is just like this. Uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and sometimes downright painful at first. The more we tread the new path, the easier and more comfortable it becomes until we forget about the way we used to go. Maybe we could even place our own felled trees to block those unhealthy old ways.

Psalm 139: 23, 24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”

Gratefulness is Worship

Is there a better family movie than The Sound of Music? Highly doubtful. We recently experienced its delightfulness along with four of our granddaughters. The first time  Maria joins the Van Trap family for a meal, she reminds them of our fundamental moral imperative: to be truly thankful for the food we receive. Fundamental because we are made to worship, and worship flows from gratefulness.

Gratefulness puts our world view in correct perspective. We are the creatures. We cannot take care of ourselves unless our Creator provides. We acknowledge this truth every time we give Him thanks from our hearts. Ungratefulness was the first sin. Adam and Eve were provided a vast variety of deliciousness in the garden. Rather than feast contentedly on God generosity, their ungratefulness twisted their view of God into a stingy landlord who was withholding good from them.

The more we have, the less thankful we become. It is human nature. There may be few other historical time periods, where a country has had as much abundance and variety of food as we do now in the US. We recently took our grandchildren on a field trip to HEB (our beloved Texas grocery store).

One highlight of this highly recommended tour was the marvelous Produce Man who oozed gratefulness on many levels. Surrounded by an ocean of fruits and veggies, he demonstrated their wonders and our taste buds were rejoicing. He was especially proud of the dragon fruit and jack fruit from Bangladesh, his country of origin. Perhaps he had experienced the extreme poverty that is common in parts of that region, I don’t know. But his enthusiasm and gratefulness for our profuse food bounty were contagious.

 

Gratefulness allows our hearts to soften like a ripening peach. Gratefulness is the gate to God. (Psalm 100:4) Gratefulness says, “You are a good God.” “You are a generous God who loves to give good gifts to His children.” Gratefulness acknowledges the blessed state of our utter dependence on a loving, faithful, almighty God. Gratefulness is worship.

Gratefulness is the very first ingredient in any meal plan.

For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful.

He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” Acts 14:17,18