This Christmas

This Christmas

by:Joan Meyler

“Oh, Ms.Joan, it co’lmaa” “Christmas breeze da blow” “Ms. Joan yu want a blanket fu yu bed?” These are some of the phrases I hear as the weather tries to make up its mind.
With rainy season over, the temperature fluctuating between mid 70’s and mid 80’s, cloudy and sunny days, it’s anybody’s guess what each day will be like. Welcome to “winter” in Belize.

The school term ended on November 14th and end of term exams followed close on its heels.  December saw students fervently preparing for Christmas pageants and fundraising turkey dinners prior to the end of the term in mid-month. The requests began at the end of the school term, “Gran, when are we putting up the tree?” My host’s grand-daughter implored every few days.

Finally, one day I opened the door to a smiling face which almost outshone the lights on the Christmas tree. The end of term and ensuing days made for a quiet time for me, so I busied myself in other ways. One of which was to assist with the National Resource Center for Inclusive Education’s (NARCIE)Christmas party. I made individualized Christmas ornaments for each participant.  All 38 special needs participant were very happy to receive their very own ornament.

The party was exciting. There was a horse-drawn carriage and a bouncy house both of which tested the children’s patience as they all wanted to bounce and ride at the same time. Musical chairs was hilarious! I danced my way around the chairs with the children until the end when I was left standing and they sitting laughing at me.

May the hope, peace, joy and love that this season represents be manifest in your life.

 

As for Me and My House

As for Me and My House

by: Joan Meyler

I have been thinking about Mrs. Lot recently.  You know, Lot’s wife who turned into a pillar of salt? Her. The same one. Like us. She didn’t know the twists and turns her life would take.

As a child her every need was catered to. Decisions made for her. Her parents even selected her husband. They chose a man of good reputation, handsome, a man from a wealthy family and with the ability of creating yet more wealth, ensuring her every want would be met.

In due time, they got married. What a celebration that must have been! Weeks of singing, dancing, feasting. A wedding to be envied!

After the celebrations, life began anew for Mr. and Mrs Lot. Alone together, they came face to face with themselves and each other. Two strangers who thought they knew the other. Afraid of the vulnerability demanded in the union called marriage, they retreated into the design society had created; no, demanded.  Was it the one God intended? Was there the unity, vulnerability, unconditional love demanded when “two become one”? Or did they live together, each pursuing their own needs, wants, desires under the guise of making a better life?

Like Mr. and Mrs. Lot, there comes a time of decision making.  The decision made is reflective on how the life has been lived up to that point. Loving unconditionally, there is only one decision. Conditional love demands that the ego be satisfied.  The spirit is left out of that decision.  Yet it is the most vital part of any decision making. The ego is never satisfied always wanting more, setting more conditions.

As we contemplate this season of waiting, deciding, will you, me, be like Mrs. Lot, unable to release that which cannot co-exist with the direction God is taking us? Or will we grasp the Spirit’s hand as we are led into becoming God’s unconditional love in expression?

May His kingdom be manifest in you.

Character of God on Display

Character of God on Display

by: Joan Meyler

Are you a fruit inspector? I was at the market recently purchasing fruit to supplement my lunch. As I browsed the display of oranges, melons, kiwi, apples, etc. my thoughts drifted to the times my sister and I have spent visiting “pick your own” farms where we wandered through groves of oranges or peaches or strawberry – whatever fruit was in season – selecting what we thought were the plumpest, juiciest fruit we could find. Sometimes our selections were perfect. At other times, they just appeared to be perfect until a bite was taken. It was then that we discussed the expertise fruit inspectors must have to know just when a fruit is ready. We also talked of how tired we were after fruit picking but how satisfying it was to know that we had selected what we thought was the best to be had.

Fruit in hand, I made my way back to the office and the lunch awaiting me.  The sound of footsteps behind me and the words, “Hi, are you on your lunch break?” caused me to turn and look into the face of Iyo, my nine-year-old shadow. I met Iyo at a school I visited, and we quickly became friends. Iyo is always hungry although he refuses to admit it.  He is also always in need of a hug although he is not always clean.  As I look into his smiling face, a phrase I recently read came to mind; “the fruit of the spirit is God’s character on display”.  The joy I see in Iyo’s eyes and the peace in his smile prompts me to ask myself, “How am I as a Christian displaying God’s character?”

Like the fruit in the bag I carried, the fruit of the Holy Spirit resides in me.  It is a result of God’s presence in my life.  Does the fruit inspector walking beside me see the changes my relationship with God has made in my life and is it making a difference in his?

This child has accepted me, a stranger in his midst, unconditionally. He has needs, yet he asks nothing of me.  As we walk down the street back to my office, I am thankful for the peace, joy and love God has shown me through this nine-year-old child.

May I encourage you to cultivate the fruit God has entrusted you with.

Love (1 John 3:18); Joy (Nehemiah 8:10); Peace (Philippians 4:6-8)

Forbearance (Colossians 1:11); Kindness (2 Timothy 2:24).

Goodness (3 John 11); Faithfulness (1 Corinthians 4:2).

Gentleness (Philippians 4:5); Self-Control (Titus 2:11-12)

Seekers

By: Joan Meyler

I have three suitcases packed. There are books, clothing, miscellaneous items scattered over every available piece of furniture in my bedroom. As I survey the chaotic scene in front of me, I realize something is missing. I struggle to recall everything I have packed. Yet, I know something is missing. I just cannot think of what it could be. Hurriedly, I create a clear space on my bed, grabbed suitcase number one, and struggled to get it on the bed. I unzip it and dump its contents unceremoniously in the cleared space. I glance at my typed packing list, “Nope, not there,” I say to the room before meticulously repacking number one. “Move on to number two,” I say aloud, even though I’m by myself.

Number two is even heavier than number one. “What do you have in there?” screams my arms as I lift the behemoth. “Be in here!” I say to the object of my desire. I take a little more time unpacking number two, checking every item against the three-page packing list.

Again, my search leaves me unfulfilled. Sighing, I am a little more deliberate with repacking as I ponder each item returning to the now empty suitcase. Somethings didn’t make back.  They lay forlornly on the bed as if pleading to rejoin their friends in suitcase number two. Surely it MUST be in suitcase number three, the beautiful black weekend bag I planned to keep close to me while numbers one and two travelled with the checked bags of my fellow travelers.

As I removed things I thought vital to my survival, my thoughts turned to the way we sometimes address our life. How many times do we go through life attempting to find or obtain something we know is missing? Looking at packing lists of jobs, churches, friends, etc. to fill the void in our heart. Unlike the widow in Luke 15:8-10, we don’t know what we are looking for. We just know there is an emptiness that needs to be filled. Jacob, in Genesis 32 had a void he did not recognize yet had spent his life trying to fill. It was not until he wrestled with the God at Peniel that he realized that there was something he did not have – the true blessing that comes from a relationship with God expressed through honest relationships with others. We fill our lives with things and label ourselves Christians, Disciples of Christ, etc. outwardly yet we remain unfulfilled.

Jacob had sent his family, servants and the display of his wealth ahead leaving him alone with himself. It was in this time of aloneness and silence that he came to see himself as he was and recognized his need for a deeper more satisfying relationship with God. It was then that he pleaded with God to fill the void of his life.  Might I suggest that you (and I) dear friend look belong our possessions, jobs, relationships and tenaciously seek God in the silence of our soul and allow Him to make us a visible expression of the fulfillment that comes from His relationship with us.

My Words are Alive

By: Joan Meyler

 

How are you?  How do you think Jesus answer this question? What is your usual answer to the same question? Psalm 19:14 tells us to “let these words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be pleasing . . .  to God”. Revelation 12:11 reminds us that we defeat the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  After God spoke the world into being, He asked Himself “How is it?” He did not respond ambiguously but declared “It is very good!”; meaning that everything planned and executed was of the highest standard (including you and me).

Your Words are Alive

Philippians 4:8 admonishes us to think, meditate, on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable . . . . excellent and worthy of praise, “because it is only by bringing our thoughts under control that we are able to speak life into our situations (Proverbs 23:7; 2).  Following the principles set forth in both Philippians 4:8 and Corinthians 10:5 we can change our lives for the better or worse.  Its all in our thoughts and the words we say.  Looking back at Genesis 1, God thought of the world he wanted to create; he planned it. Then He spoke it into being. Because He created us, we also have the power to create the life we want.  Remember, you create what you speak (Proverbs 18:21)

If your life is going the way you want it to, that’s wonderful; express your gratitude to God continuously (Psalm 34:1) and continue to walk in His abundant flow. If not, think about your thoughts and the words you have been saying, to yourself and others. Having negative or conflicting thoughts and speaking negative words bring negative consequences. Positive life affirming words produce positive consequences which release God’s provisions in your life, now. (Luke 17:21)

Let me encourage you to make a list of all the things you are grateful for and begin to thank our gracious, compassionate God for these blessings. Make a conscious decision to watch your words and thoughts. As you do so, you will notice the changes in all aspects of your life. Proverbs 23:7 tell us that we are what we think so why not take God at His word and prove him to be true (Malachi 3:10).

Yes, there is Power and Life in our words. Choose them wisely.