Branching Out Blog

Let's Branch Out

Posted by Sharon Krause on Jan 29, 2024 6:00:00 AM

Next to the sidewalk that leads to our front door is a hibiscus bush in bloom. The yellow flowers seem to shout out, “Look how beautiful I am!” The buds are plentiful and large. The first big flower to open very wide seems to look the passerby right in the face and induce a smile. The flower bush has branched out in a number of directions.

This RENEW International blog is called Branching Out; perhaps it can help inspire us to branch out in our faith in our loving God this year. Sometimes we might feel stuck, mediocre, or just “same-ol’, same-ol” in expressing our Christian faith. It is very clear that our world needs redemption in many areas! Let’s branch out!

Just as the hibiscus flower has many parts, we have many areas in our lives: our family lives, our work lives, our social lives, and, above all, our faith lives. If we invite Jesus into each area each day, we open ourselves up to divine love that is full of strength, endurance, forgiveness, and healthy possibilities. These gifts can overflow and affect others we encounter. “Look how beautiful Jesus is!”

It is not always easy. We might be too tired or too busy to sit and pray. We could be overwhelmed with problems or even tragedy in our daily lives. We cannot text God and expect him to text back. There is no divine phone number to call.

But we are not alone. God knows what we are thinking. He hears our prayers even if they are short phrases: “Lord, give me wisdom!” “Jesus, save me from despair!” “Forgive me for that slip of the tongue!”

Our branching out might be facilitated by sharing faith joys with other family members, friends, or acquaintances. A short phone call, text, or chat to one of these people can be like a flower opening, bringing advice, comfort, love, or reassurance with the Lord as our powerful source.

We can read even just a few Bible verses a day. We can copy some verses onto a readily accessible index card or onto our cell phone and take a prayer break now and then. There are 150 psalms from which to draw! For example, we could share with a child a picture of some little lambs, sing the song, “Mary had a Little Lamb,” and then tell the child how we are lambs, and Jesus is our Good Shepherd..

 Maybe we could pray this week with John 15:5, 9:

    I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear

   much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.

    As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.

Remember how beautiful the Lord is! Let’s branch out from that beautiful Vine!

   

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Topics: spreading good news, Sharon Krause, renewing our faith

Thinking Farther

Posted by Sharon Krause on May 2, 2022 6:00:00 AM

A few nights ago, my husband and I were asleep in bed when, all of a sudden, I was awakened by a chirping sound. Every 30 seconds or so, I heard a chirp in the dark hallway. Ah! The smoke detector battery was dying, and it wasn’t going to go quietly. My husband’s hearing is poor, so I woke him and asked him to take the detector down from the ceiling and relieve its distress. Neither of us was happy about the untimely chore. Everything ended well, but I was a bit annoyed about being awakened. As I lay there trying to get back to sleep, I thought a little more about the trivial incident. It really is a good thing that the detector alerts us when the safety device cannot perform its function. Safety first, sleep later!

On that same night, Buddy, our elderly cat, decided not only to jump up into bed with us, but to jump again, onto our headboard whose upper edge is only about two inches wide. Have you ever watched a cat as he estimates distance before trying a jump to a certain height? Well, Buddy was considering the third phase of his caper, likely to the cluttered top of our chest of drawers, when I grabbed him and gently changed his mind. He was thinking farther ahead, but so was I! I could imagine the clock, the lamp, and a great number of pocket treasures sent flying if our “Feline Wallenda” had his way! In that case, I had to think farther and fast in that room lit only by the minimal glow streaming through the windows from the outside streetlight.

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Topics: evangelization, resurrection, spreading good news, Sharon Krause

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