Seeing life's events in the light of God's Word.

Is October A Good Month for Planting?

Luke 8:11- “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.”

Growing up, I remember my parents always had a small backyard garden. I also recall that they consulted an almanac, assuring them that they would be planting at the “right time.” Back then, the advice was pretty much straight forward.

Currently, if you want to get information on planting, you can consult one of the online almanacs and get information for your specific soil, temperature, altitude, slope of land, nearby water sources, length of day, etc.

It gets even more specific, based upon what it is that you want to plant. For example, plants vary by length of their growing season. Then, they take into account the weather predictions for those seasons (by year), type of crop, and on and on.

These websites are so all inclusive, that now they have calculators built into them for your convenience, baking tips, recipes, astronomy sections, poetry, newsletters, blogs, and web cams set up in various states.

So, as you can see, this question of “when to sow the seed” can be as complicated—or as simple—as you want to make it.

Jesus often used parables about the sowing of the seed to refer to spreading of the gospel. He talked about the ideal conditions under which the seed sown in the hearts of men would flourish (deep rich soil vs. rocky ground).

One thing he didn’t do was restrict the spreading of The Good News to a particular month, day, or season of the year. The important point being that, as Christians, we need only to be obedient to His calling and share with others as we are led.

Hearts which are fertile are everywhere, just waiting for someone to sow the seed.

Is October a good month for planting?

What do you think?

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The Power of Love

I John 4:19- “We love Him because He first loved us.”

I watch as a gray-haired lady and an adorable Yorkie enter a patient room in a nursing home in the east valley.  Although the lady they visit has been mostly unresponsive for several days, she slowly lowers her hand to pet the dog.

Many organizations, such as Hospice, have programs in which volunteers and their pets visit with patients in palliative care units, hospital rooms, nursing homes, day care centers, schools for handicapped children—even substance abuse facilities.

(Just an aside: I recently learned that it’s not always canines that are used for this purpose. Sometimes horses, pot-bellied pigs, and even turtles accompany their owners on such outings…)

So, what is so special about animals? How are they able to reach, comfort, energize and inspire certain people when no human being can do so?

One factor, I believe, is that they offer unconditional love and acceptance.

It doesn’t matter to them if the person is wearing nice clothes, has a trendy haircut or glasses, how much they weigh, or whether or not they are in a wheelchair or confined to a bed. Race, color, education, social status, religious or political affiliations—none of these matter to these animals.

In the world of human beings, then, I must conclude that people are likely to respond in a more positive way to those who love them unconditionally. People who are not judgmental. Those who extend forgiveness and grace.

Jesus showed these qualities as he walked this earth…and He still offers the gift of forgiveness, today. We are drawn to Him. He is able to reach us—touch us—in a way that no one else can.

He knows us—even our dark side—and loves us, still.

This is the kind of love to which we respond.

The is the kind of love that has the power to change hearts and lives.

The is the kind of love that meets us where we are, fully aware of our faults, and invites us to walk with Him for the rest of life’s journey—and beyond.

This is the power of unconditional love.

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Coming Into Focus

I Corinthians 13:12- For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Yesterday, I had my yearly eye exam. As we neared the end, the doctor had me compare a series of letters. He wanted to know which seemed clearer, “Row A or Row B.” Over and over, he presented examples until he felt certain that I’d chosen the one that helped me see the clearest.

Driving home, I thought about the Bible, God’s Word. I remembered reading about seeing through a glass, darkly, in I Corinthians.

Here is the conclusion I drew:

We read a verse or passage in the Bible by ourselves. Maybe the meaning is not all that clear.

We hear a sermon which helps us understand the words a little better.

We consult a commentary. Ah, now we begin to see a deeper meaning.

We have an opportunity to study the scripture, in depth, at a group Bible Study. Now, we have even better insight.

Finally, as we apply the principles we’ve learned, the Holy Spirit enlightens us even more.

Things come into focus.

We learn, I submit to you, in layers, over repeated exposure.

We may hear/read a certain passage multiple times and then one day we are reading at home or sitting in a church pew and all of a sudden the light dawns. “Eureka!”

Given our human limitations, we think we have uncovered a golden nugget of understanding. Even then, God’s Word tells us that we often cannot even fathom the deeper meaning He has for us.

But, He promises that we WILL someday. We WILL know Him—we WILL see Him—as He truly is.

Until then, we continue to grow and learn as we seek Him through His Word…until one day we arrive in Heaven and it all comes into focus and we SEE CLEARLY because we see Him face-to-face.

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A Good Name

Proverbs 22:1–  “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”

As a child, I remember wishing my name were Debbie, Linda, or Karen.

Now that I’m nearing the publication of my first book, I find myself wishing for a name that would be more memorable. One that would sound “author-ish”.

I’ve thought of changes I could make to my name to make it more visually appealing….for example, not capitalizing it, like the famous poet, e.e.cummings.

brenda poulos

Or, dropping my last name and using my middle name as the last:

Brenda Carol

No? How about changing the spelling of my middle name?

Brenda Carolle

Perhaps using just my initials:

B. C. Poulos

I asked God to help me be content with my name just the way it is:

Brenda C. Poulos

He reminded me today that the name, Jesus—the sweetest, most wonderful name to Christians—was a very ordinary name in those days. Nothing particularly special about it…but it was the name God told Joseph and Mary to give the baby.

Matthew 1:21 says, “You shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” And it is the name praised by millions every day.

Of course, there are many other names that Jesus has in the Bible—names that reflect who He is, His role, His personality: Savior, Messiah, Adonai, The Good Shepherd, The Bright and Morning Star, The Rose of Sharon, The Lord, The Lamb of God, Light of the World, and on and on. Two hundred of them in all.

I told myself that maybe I would be more content with my own name if I knew what it meant. Somewhere, I had a bookmark with its meaning. I searched in a couple of drawers before I came up with it:

“BRENDA: Enthusiastic…fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.”

Maybe it doesn’t sound like a name that will draw people to pick up a book, but maybe it is a good name, after all.

Maybe those reading the gospel message woven into the pages of Runaways: The Long Journey Home will be led to it by Jesus…our God with an ordinary name who would allow someone with a name like mine to be an instrument to point the way



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