Category: <span>thoughts by Marilyn Ehle</span>

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By Marilyn Ehle
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The resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s…greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa“  Romans 8:15 (The Message)

It was the early 1990’s. A room full of teachers sat at long wooden tables in a dimly lit, stuffy room. Magazines lay in disorderly piles on the tables along with glue, several pair of scissors, and large sheets of blank white paper. The instructions were simple: cut out pictures illustrating your view of the character of God and paste the pictures onto the paper, forming a collage.

After a few moments of silence, the teachers – accustomed, of course, to totalitarian-induced obedience – began the project and within thirty minutes, several large posters were complete.

Although the project organizers suspected what might be the general direction of the participants’ choices, they were amazed at the volatility expressed. No cute baby pictures, no frothy clouds, no pastoral scenes. Instead, the formerly blank sheets had overlapping cut outs of atomic explosions, mutilated bodies, storm-ravaged houses, bloody slaughterhouse scenes.

These were people who had not yet heard of the “tender mercy of our God“. (Luke 1:78), or “the kindnesses of the Lord” (Psalm 63:7). They didn’t know that God longed to be known as a tender, loving “Abba,” or “Papa” as Eugene Peterson translates in the word the The Message.

What pictures would you have cut out of the magazines? In Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning writes that we who are Christians have the same relationship with God as Jesus had. “He invites and calls us to share the same intimate and liberating relationship”.

How magnetic our lives could be if we only reflected to the world God’s radical and tender love.

I sometimes forget that the all-wise, all-knowing God is also my “Papa“, a God who longs for me to develop an intimate relationship. Help me, God, to express my love for you and increasingly feel your love for me.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/11/10/me_papa/


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By Marilyn Ehle
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“My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.�  Philippians 4:19

On major highways in the United States there are large signs before exits that lead to nearby cities and towns. On these signs are listed conveniences for the travelers such as gas/petrol stations, hotels, restaurants, etc. But while driving through more rural areas, occasionally one of these signs will have only two words: NO SERVICES. This is to inform travelers that at this exit there are no nearby businesses to satisfy a traveler’s needs. Drivers are free to leave the highway at these points, but they will find only fields, the occasional house or farm and less-maintained roads. There will be no resources to meet basic human needs.

As we travel down the roads of our lives, we are faced with choices similar to those facing drivers on U.S highways. God has promised to provide resources for all our needs but He allows us to make the choices. We are free to investigate all the possibilities, but frequently we turn off God’s best paths only to find that there are, “no services� at these points.  In the Bible God gives us all the information we need to make good choices; He asks only that we seek the answers.

God, thank you for providing all I need for living in such a way that you are pleased. Help me never forget how much you love and supply my needs.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/11/05/me_no-services/

Thoughts by All thoughts by Marilyn Ehle Thoughts by Women

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By Marilyn J. Ehle
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“Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.  Psalm 90:12 (Living Bible)

Do you read the obituaries in your local paper? Lately I find my attention drawn to several sobering issues as I scan this page. First, my heart aches when I read about an infant: “Born yesterday, died today.� How devastated must be these parents, grandparents and friends. Expectations of joy have suddenly been replaced with grief. Precious newly purchased baby clothes must be folded with tears and packed away.

Next, I read about equally loved elders who have lived eighty or ninety years and are now gone. These families must soon sort through papers, clothing and long-stored memorabilia—often with tears but perhaps also with gentle smiles as days in the distant past are recalled.

Perhaps most jarring are the paragraphs that detail the sudden death of a person in the prime of life. Too often in our scarred world these deaths occur because of senseless violence or tragic accidents. It is during this reading that the psalmist’s words vividly leap to mind: Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should. In The Message, Eugene Peterson paraphrases thusly: Teach us to live wisely and well.

If I knew that my obituary would be written tomorrow, would I change the activities of today? Would I alter my attitude toward today’s activities? Would I allow petty disagreements to linger? Would I harbor ill-will based on incomplete truth? Facts as well as experience teach us that life is short but we too often live as though that obituary will never be written.

Lord, help me live each day with inner joy and a “clean slate� regarding my relationship both with you and with others.

What do you need to do to make today a fresh start? Perhaps you will want to write a note of apology or gratitude. Make it a practice to enter each new day with a cleansed heart.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/09/19/me_few-days/

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Marilyn Ehle has worked closely with businesswomen in the USA setting up and participating in luncheons and discussion groups which focused on issues pertinent to today’s employed woman.
A writer, she writes devotionals for Thoughts About God  and Christian Women Today

 

Thoughts by All thoughts by Marilyn Ehle Thoughts by Women

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By Marilyn Ehle
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“God…gave us the ministry of reconciliation…He has committed to us the message of reconciliation…We are Christ’s ambassadors…� 2 Corinthians 5:20

The long flight is over and you wearily stand in the snake-like Visa Control line. Your stomach muscles tighten as you observe cultural differences even before you cross the actual border: drab clothing, unsmiling faces, unfamiliar smells. The uniformed and armed government officials you spot on the perimeter of the crowd only increase your uneasiness. You now wonder if all the information you wrote on your visa application should have been included. These people now know your home address, workplace phone number, etc.

You are one of a group of educators coming to a country that has long been unfriendly to Western ideas, yet you have been invited to participate in a seminar that will introduce new instructional techniques to local teachers. The host country is aware that you are Christian and that what you teach will have at its base morals and ethics found in the Christian faith.

While you attempt to make your face an unreadable mask, your heartbeat increases as you step up to the glassed-in booth where a young, but stern, official reaches for your passport. Feeling as though a smile and friendly word might help the process, you say the one word of greeting you know in the national language, but the official merely glances at you and then peers in amazement at the passport: “Occupation: Ambassador.� 

“Ambassador?� he queries with scorn. He can already see that you are not carrying the necessary diplomatic papers but are entering his country with only the normal tourist documents. What now?

This is not a description of an actual occurrence. We know that only authorized people can claim to be “ambassadors� in the governmental sense. And yet as citizens of the Kingdom of God, we are called to such an important post. The Apostle Paul writes that God Himself has appointed us to this position. Our job description includes faithfully carrying out the assignment: both the message and ministry of reconciliation.

I don’t advise writing the term “ambassador� on your visa papers, but it is important to make sure it is written within our hearts.

Lord, I don’t have the earthly qualifications for the post of ambassador, but thank you for appointing me to that position in your Kingdom. Help me faithfully learn about the culture where I live so I can best represent you and your values.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/08/18/me_occupation-ambassador/

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Marilyn Ehle has worked closely with businesswomen in the USA setting up and participating in luncheons and discussion groups which focused on issues pertinent to today’s employed woman.
A writer, she writes devotionals for Thoughts About God  and Christian Women Today

Thoughts by All thoughts by Marilyn Ehle Thoughts by Women

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“No one lights a lamp, then hides it in a drawer. It’s put on a lamp stand so those entering the room have light to see where they’re going.  If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don’t get musty and murky. Keep your life as well-lighted as your best-lighted room.”
Luke 11:33 (The Message)

The larger grocery stores in Bonn, West Germany always seemed busy and especially so in the late afternoon when working women crowded the aisles, filling their carts with products necessary for supper preparations. But now, in early 1990, it was more and more common to see people slowly wandering the aisles, looking in awe at row upon row of everything from toothpaste to laundry soap to every variety of canned soup. Freezer compartments held ready-to-heat meals. Produce shelves overflowed with oranges from Israel and bananas from Chile.

The Berlin Wall had fallen only weeks before and throngs of people walked over the wall’s rubble to gaze upon and perhaps buy what had formerly been only a desire. They frequently walked in speechless amazement. They truly wandered in wonder.

In his book The Singer, a novel based on the life of Christ, Calvin Miller heads one chapter with a syllogism (a form of reasoning):

Major Premise:  God is a custom.

Minor Premise:  A custom is an old, old habit.

Conclusion:  Therefore, God is an old, old habit.

It is sadly easy to get musty and murky in our spiritual lives. God becomes an old, old habit and our lamps no longer attract people to the Savior. We have become blase, no longer gazing in wonder at the beauty of Christ, God’s amazing grace and His incredible promises. Constantly must be our prayer, Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me.   Jesus healed blind people and they then gazed at him in wonder. We need His touch.

It’s not easy to look at you with fresh eyes, Father. Sometimes I’m afraid of what I might see. But you are a healing, loving God and long for me gaze upon you with wonder.

QUESTIONS:

1. How does God become an old, old habit?

2. What new aspects of God’s character have you discovered by gazing in wonder upon Him?

By: Marilyn Ehle

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You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/06/01/me_wandering/

Thoughts by All thoughts by Marilyn Ehle Thoughts by Women

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By Marilyn Ehle
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Methuselah lived 969 years and then he died.”  (Genesis 5:27)
“I will give him (Caleb)…the land he set his feet on, because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.”
  (Deuteronomy 2:36)

Amazing advances in modern medicine, sociology and psychology seek to not only extend our lives but improve the quality of those lives A mere eight words describe one man whose name has become synonymous with advanced age: “Methuselah lived 969 years and then he died.”

Fewer people recognize the name of Caleb but this man dared to go against the prevailing opinion of his compatriots, staking his reputation on what he believed: that God and His word could be trusted.

What Arthur Winston believes about God wasn’t reported by the media, but his picture and words were front page news when he recently retired at the age of 100 from his 76-year tenure with the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority. (When asked about his “retirement” plans, Arthur responded that he wants to “keep busy, keep active.” He added that he might now have time to volunteer to help some of the elderly in his community!)

Methuselah lived long; Arthur exhibited tenacity in the workplace; but it is Caleb who is the prime example for the modern businessman and woman. To follow the Lord wholeheartedly when those around grow faint will receive far more lasting benefits than “social security” of “retirement benefits.”

Lord, thank you for examples to follow. Help me set the pace of wholehearted obedience to you so that those around will choose to join me on the path.”

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/04/30/me_methuselah/

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Marilyn Ehle has worked closely with businesswomen in the USA setting up and participating in luncheons and discussion groups which focused on issues pertinent to today’s employed woman.
A writer, she writes devotionals for Thoughts About God  and Christian Women Today

Thoughts by All thoughts by Marilyn Ehle Thoughts by Women