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Passiflora Foetida, also know as Wild Passionfruit, Running Pop and Wild Maracuja

I truly believe that God loves us and wants us to be happy. I believe that because the Bible tells me so.

The phrase in the Bible that leads me to that conviction is “The LORD is good, and his love endures forever.” These words are found 11 times in the Old Testament, from 1 Chronicles (16:34) to Jeremiah (33:11). It is found most frequently in Psalms (100:5; 106:1; 107;1; 118:1; 136:1).

Most of the time, this scriptural nugget is preceded by the words, “Give thanks to the Lord” as in Psalms 106:1 and 107:1. “Give thanks to the LORD for he is good; his love endures forever.”

I try to practice that admonishment everyday. When the sun pokes its head over the horizon every morning, I tell myself and those around me, “Look, he did it again!” God doesn’t have to make the sunrise everyday, but he does because he loves us and wants us to be happy!

I am the gardener at a home for needy children in Oaxaca, Mexico. When I see the Birds of Paradise, Hibiscus, Geraniums, Canna Lilies, Bougainvilles or Roses in bloom, I can see how God is so good and loves us so much, and I happily give him thanks and praise his name. He didn’t have to give us all these beautiful flowers, but he did, because he loves us and wants us to be happy.

My wife and I have a little piece of property not too far from the home for needy children. I am constantly planting and caring for many flowers, bushes and trees that I planted. They need a lot of TLC to flourish and thrive (kinda like us humans). I was pleasantly surprised about a month ago, by the appearance of the Passion Flower pictured above. It is beautiful. I did not plant it. God did. Why? Because the LORD is Good and his Love endures forever and because he loves us and wants us to be happy. Just ask Benjamin Franklin.

“The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voice in praise to the LORD and sang:

He is good; his love endures forever.

Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God. 2 Chronicles 5:13,14

Have you ever peeled five dozen hard boiled eggs at one time?  I hadn’t before this morning.  My wife, Anita, and I cooperatehard boiled eggs with God at a home for needy children in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Anita is a cook.  She was preparing lunch for about 100 children and staff members.  Normally she has some help with this task, and normally I am working outside with landscape concerns.  This morning she was alone in the kitchen, and it was raining outside, so I helped her.  One item on the menu was potato salad, and my job was to peel the hard boiled eggs, all 60 of them.  At first it was kinda fun.  Then it just didn’t seem so bad.  After that it became  frustrating.  Finally, I ended up talking to the eggs.

“Hey Shelly, why can’t you be more like Eggbert?  His shell came off  lickety split, and yours is taking forever!”

“Yoko and Sheldon –  A little help here, huh?  You are definitely not part of the potato salad dream team!”

And so it went.  I noticed it had stopped raining.  Maybe I could slip out into the garden and do something interesting like dig  a drainage ditch or shovel compost, anything but peel eggs.  But I stayed and helped Anita finish the potato salad, baked chicken and pasta soup, because I  love her and want her to be happy; kinda the way God feels about us.

Struggling with the sticky egg shells, I began thinking about perspective.  I  realized there is a right and wrong perspective to have about everything, even peeling eggs.  A correct  and incorrect way of looking at things in life. Perspectives  that can make our existence happier or sadder; joy filled or filled with frustration.  That’s why God gave us His Word.  He created us and He tells us the proper way to look at situations.  Outlooks that improve outcomes.  He not only gives us His Word, but puts the Holy Spirit in us to work out His will and His way.  Paul prayed that the “heart eyes” of the Ephesians (chapter one) would be enlightened.  It is our “enlightened heart eyes”  that gives us wisdom, revelation and knowledge.  Paul is praying that the Ephesian Christians would be able to see situations the same way their Savior does.  Jesus never sinned, because He always had  perfect perspective, wisdom, revelation and knowledge about all situations that faced Him.  With His perspective guiding us, we will be a lot further down the road to glorifying God by enjoying Him and this life He has given us.

Thinking God’s Thoughts After Him

I took a theology class in college.  The professor defined theology as “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”  I think that is a great definition, and  more than that, a goal of my life.  When I read and study His  Word, then I find myself thinking more “God thoughts”  and less James Schwab thoughts.  Less negative thoughts enter my head, pushed at me by the world, the flesh and the devil.  Paul says to the Corinthians,”we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).  When I think God’s thoughts after Him, I take errant thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ.

Paul wrote to the Philippians that they should do “everything without grumbling or arguing” so that they could become blameless and pure, children of God, without fault in a crooked and warped generation (Phil. 2:14).  He says to the Colossians, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one  body, you were called to peace.  And be thankful“, “doing everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:15,17).

So what’s behind peeling hard boiled eggs?  What’s the inner perspective I need to have to affect my outward behavior positively?  Don’t grumble.  Don’t argue.  Let the peace of Christ rule in my heart as I  give thanks.  Give thanks for a delicious meal that I helped prepare.  Give thanks that over 100 children and staff members got a hot, nutritious lunch.  Give thanks that  it has stopped raining and back to the garden I go!

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Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.

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