Thursday, June 23, 2022

Simple Goodness - Ordinary Days of Summer

"For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." 
Romans 14:17 NLT

If there is any goodness in us, it must come from God; goodness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. God is where goodness begins!

Our sacrifice of praise ~ 
Let God's goodness be manifested through us as we strive to live a life of goodness to honor God. -dho

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Ordinary Time - Ordinary Days of Summer

Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God!
Do you know how God controls the storm
and causes the lightning to flash from his clouds?
Do you understand how he moves the clouds
with wonderful perfection and skill?
When you are sweltering in your clothes
and the south wind dies down and everything is still,
he makes the skies reflect the heat like a bronze mirror.
Can you do that? Job 37:14-18

Sudden thunderstorms and high temperatures dramatically mark summer in the south. We watch the storms roll in and feel and see the rain cool the earth.. and us too! While most days pass with work as usual, summer breakups our routines. School is out, and no homework is welcomed. In someways, Summer is a transition period, a time to slow down, grow a garden, pick berries from their vines, taste the fresh peaches sold from the back of a pickup truck, cut watermelons, make homemade ice cream, play outside until the sun sets, walk on the beach, swim in the pool… just find simple delights in these ordinary days. Of course, it could just be too hot to do much else!

"Ordinary Time" is all the time during the liturgical year, excluding the season of Advent (Christmas through Epiphany) and Lent (Ash Wednesday through Pentecost). I always forget about this phrase but like the image evoked, because we all live most of our lives in ordinary time

God is with us! In the ordinary time and ordinary days we just might miss Him if we get distracted. Perhaps we sometimes forget WHO He is! As you find the beautiful and lovey joys in the ordinary everyday, remember God is both Creator and creative as He reveals himself to us. Don’t miss Him in these ordinary days of summer. Be thank-full! - dho


Thursday, June 09, 2022

Waiting with His Abundance - Ordinary Days of Summer

O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6 NKJV

Like nature, life has seasons, and sometimes we find ourselves in difficult times, facing unknowns, waiting with uncertainties, barely holding on. Scripture reminds us that in this life we will have troubles, but God remains our Constant, our Known, our Certainty. Most of us live ordinary days in ordinary ways, but the simplicity of living can get complicated.

Time after time, God has provided, and I know He continues to be with me. I don't have to look very far to know how richly blessed my life has been. Still, I would have choosen less tears or easier circumstances. My human heart wishes for simple and good, idealistic and benign paths, but a spiritual journey is challenging. The human mind questions God's answers and proposes contradictions. We are so finite that mystery escapes us, sometimes bewilders us. However, in between the what if's and inside the why not's, His Grace flows so abundantly that I find my soul secure and in pleasant places - one with the Father. So, I will wait for His plan to be revealed, Word by Word, prayer by prayer, moment by moment, opportunity by opportunity, person by person, possibility by possibility.

Father, my heart gives You the Glory for my good deeds. My offerings are simple compared to Yours - a prayer, a Scripture, a hope, a gesture - just tokens of kindness and love. You touch my soul with words written centuries ago. Oh, Lord, Your Grace pours over me like a gentle rain, refreshing and renewing. In the stillness of this moment, I accept the portion and cup You have assigned me. In my obedience, use me to reach beyond, around and through circumstances to be a witness to Your Grace. Amen. ~dho

Thursday, June 02, 2022

God’s Goodness - Ordinary Days of Summer Series


 "Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good..." Psalm 34:8

Summer calls us with garden-grown tomatoes and fresh-harvested berries, peaches, watermelons and more. Seasonal Farmer's Markets burst with colors and fragrances capturing our senses. It's true that now days we can find most fruits throughout the year, as grocers import from selective climates, but there's nothing that compares to vine-ripened and freshly gathered goodness. These sights and smells refresh and excite our senses, often bringing to mind memories of yesteryear while igniting anticipation of gatherings like picnics, cook-outs, vacations, and family reunions. 

Symbols of seasons, rooted in ancient cultures and literature and Scriptures, depict society's dependency on planting and growing and harvesting. Summer symbolizes a time of plenty and passion, a fullness of living, being in the moment. Somehow, summer's longer daylight hours expose our desires to share with others and become an offering of extra-time to gather and linger with family and friends, to meet and get to know new friends. Depending on where one lives, factors vary, but for those of us in the Southeastern United States, summer means hot weather and cool pools, warm evenings and refreshing ocean swims, steam rising from the streets with an unexpected shower and giggling children playing in sprinklers. Summer is the season to once again find the innocence and the joy of chasing fireflies on a summer's evening! ~dho

This summer I want to explore the ordinary days of summer, the simplicity of summer, the change of routines, the refreshment of less structure. Let’s look for ways to experience God's nudges to linger in His presence, to be refreshed with His goodness. Let's taste and see that the LORD is good~dho  

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Ordinary Days of Summer - May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month

 We all need some positive and uplifting thoughts and stories to remind us of God’s goodness and simple joys. It’s that time of year when kids set up homemade lemonade stands! I think if possible, you should always stop and buy a cup of innocence and hope and entrepreneurship. The smiles they return will be pure bonus! Below you will find a sweet and not-so-usual story of my nephew’s lemonade stand. 

Designed in the spring of 2009, seven year old Thomas drew his plans for his idea. Together, Thomas and his dad built his design the summer of 2009, with Thomas doing all the painting and lettering. This Lemonade Stand served countless everyday boys and girls, moms and dads, strangers and friends, police officers and sheriffs and soldiers, and probably a few dogs. It proudly stood summer after summer on the side of the road just off Main Street in Raeford, NC, and spent the winters just off ‘Me’s Road‘ (in the back yard!).

Not many can claim such distinctions, but this Lemonade Stand has been in a parade, traveled to fundraising events, appeared in several newspaper articles, and raised money for child development and a church’s new building, along with bringing awareness to Childhood Cancer and celebrating God’s healing! Even after several updates and fresh coats of varnish, sadly, its time came to an end. Immeasurable memories remain, and the ordinary days of selling lemonade will always echo a time to dream, a time to plan, a time to build, a time of simplicity, a time of purpose, a time of joy, a time of innocence, a time of moving forward… dho
Thomas, an Eagle Scout and HS Honor graduate, just finished his Sophomore year at Appalachian State University. He is a Brain Cancer Survivor, after surgery and radiation treatments in 2011!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Something God Alone Can See


Hymn of Promise

words/music: Natalie Sleeth, 1986

In the bulb there is a flower;
in the seed, an apple tree;
in cocoons, a hidden promise: 
butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter
there's a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season, 
something God alone can see.

There's a song in every silence,
seeking word and melody;
there's a dawn in every darkness,
bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future;
what it holds, a mystery,
unrevealed until its season, 
something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; 
in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing; 
in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection;
at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season, 
something God alone can see.

The first time I heard this hymn was a decade ago at my daughter's church, and this past Sunday afternoon, our Sanctuary Choir sang it again. I love the words! In its simplicity there is great depth and meaning. The theme is repeated at the end of each verse ~ no matter the time, whether a time of beginning, of waiting, of doubting, God's promise to us remains. Through all the uncertainty that life brings, we can be certain of God's goodness. His tender love for us reaches through the difficulty, through the unknown. God has a plan for each of His children and desires a relationship with each of us. Even when we cannot see the reason, the answer, or the end result, God can. Trust is the key component in every relationship. Do you trust God with everything? 

Seasons of tragedy, disappointment, and uncertainty come in unexpected ways, at unpredictable times. In these moments, we must turn to God for comfort and encouragement, seek His unfailing love and faithful provisions, find His goodness and His peace! It must be enough that God alone can see!  ~dho

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Dwelling Among Us

“There is no chance thing through which God cannot speak—even the walk from the house to the garage that you have walked ten thousand times before, even the moments when you cannot believe that there is a God who speaks at all anywhere. He speaks, I believe, and the words He speaks are incarnate in the flesh and blood of ourselves and of our own footsore and sacred journeys.” Fredrick Buechner 

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

In the first chapter of John, Scripture describes the incarnation of the Word. Jesus, the Word, becomes human and dwells among us. Both fully God and fully human, Jesus enters the world as the visible manifestation of God, His perfect love in human form. This unique Father-Son relationship offers a glimpse of possibility for the Christian. Full of grace and truth, Jesus pitches His tent and takes up residence among the people. 

Throughout all time, God has chosen to dwell in the midst His people, but when Jesus enters the world, both visible and tangible, God literally lives beside His people. Jesus is the Truth that brings Grace because He is the Perfect Sacrifice for all sins. 

Image of the Invisible God, this mystery of You coming to live among the people transcends intellectual thought. Perfect Love, You reveal the Light that darkness cannot cover and become the Grace that sin cannot destroy. Count me alive in Christ.  Be born in me! - dho

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Beauty Everywhere

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” 

I’m in a little mountain town, Ixtapan, Mexico, and find beauty all around. Since it is a vacation, I shall be brief but wanted to share some of its beauty. No pictures, however, capture the beauty of the people. Their willingness to serve and accommodate, to be kind, to smile, to greet each person in passing. No pictures capture the sounds of the birds, the coolness of the breezes, the quietness of the night sky. No pictures capture the ringing of the church bell calling the faithful to Sunday services. There is beauty everywhere. Sometimes you bring it with you or find it where you go, but I am certain that I shall bring beauty back home from here! -dho