Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion August 21, 2019

Greetings!
I have always had a fascination with alligators.  I just think they are nifty looking and a very mysterious.  The sainted husband who sometimes has this quirky sense of humor wants to get a blow up alligator and put it on the edge of our pond, in the weeds, for people to see and ponder….. Is there really an alligator there?
We haven’t done that but for years I really wanted to see a real live alligator.  Once we went to my son’s house in Mississippi and we drove around and I saw some swamp areas and was really hoping to see an alligator but didn’t and I was quite disappointed.  I did notice they actually had signs up places for ‘Alligator Tours’ but there wasn’t time for that and no one else seemed to be particularly interested in looking for alligators.
So my desire to see an alligator traveled with me through the years as I kept thinking how neat it would be to see an alligator.  Even though I read these reports about people and animals getting snatched by alligators as they walked along paths I was sure that would never happen to me and if I did get to see an alligator I would respectfully stay far enough away from said alligator that I probably wouldn’t be snatched.  
In fact there were family members who would shake their heads at me whenever an alligator would come on TV or there would be some other alligator reference somewhere because they would know that whenever the alligator image appeared they would hear me say - ‘Boy, some day I would like to see an alligator’.  Eye rolls would accompany the shaking of heads and I am really surprised they didn’t take up a collection to send me somewhere to see an alligator and I imagine at that very moment they wouldn’t be disappointed if I was snatched by that alligator - at least they wouldn’t have to listen to me say repeatedly that I wanted to see an alligator.
Then it happened!!  And I am here to tell the tale but I wasn’t very smart and I figure there were angel protectors around me because I didn't think the alligator seeiing through very well!
The sainted husband and I took a couple days to go to the beach - and there came hurricane warnings as soon as we checked into our hotel on the beach so we weren’t allowed on the beach.  We, of course, needed to find alternate means of entertainment because the sainted husband didn’t like the idea of just sitting on the balcony reading all day which sounded perfectly fine to me! So he spent some time googling all the ‘other than the beach’ activities in the area and found some civil war site and that became our entertainment option for the day.  It was my turn to roll my eyes but I went anyway.
On the way to the Civil War site we passed a bog with a body of water and bullrushes and cat tails and such and a sign that said, “Beware of the Alligators” and I insisted we stop on the side of the road by the sign because I was sure there were alligators hanging out by the sign or they wouldn’t have put the sign there.  Maybe my time had finally come and I was going to get to see my alligator!
And I wasn’t disappointed! There, literally right below the “Beware of the Alligators” sign was an alligator.  Now all you could see was the top of his head - you know alligators and how they lurk in the water and all you see are these two eyes above the water as it waits to capture its prey - That is what makes alligators fascinating; that mysterious almost underwater reptile patiently waiting for just the right moment…
So in my excitement I jump out of the car and run towards the bog and the waiting alligator, the sainted husband yells “Get back in the car”, I realize he is right that this lying in wait gator could at any moment have decided that I looked like a nice juicy meal and from the nature shows on TV I know they can jump out of that water in a flash and so I got back in the car and the gator must have been well fed because it raised up his head to prove to me he really was a gator and that I was pretty dumb and pretty lucky… but I finally got to see a gator and now no one has to listen to me say, “I want to see an alligator” and I am sure they are glad about that!
My insistent saying of “I want to see an alligator” reminds me of God’s call to each of us to be a witness to the love and grace of Jesus Christ.  Jesus told us to go and tell people what he has taught us, but I think there are ways to do that where people actually listen and ways to do that which cause people to roll their eyes and shake their heads and actually avoid us….
The best way to show our faith and trust in Jesus Christ is not by exasperating people with our constant banter, but to live our lives in the manner Jesus modeled for us.  People notice - we don’t have to point it out or draw attention to it or remind people, “Look at me, I’m living as Jesus told me to”.  People notice.
Of course we have the opportunity to say something when people ask us and we should, but like my alligator weary family, if we drone on and on about how they ‘need Jesus’ they just tune it out or avoid us and that certainly doesn’t help in our desire for others to live in the joy and peace of a life lived for Jesus.  
You know my family got to the point they were switching the channel quickly on the TV whenever the hint of an alligator would appear, so don't live a life where people tune you out because you keep prattling on but live a life of love and commitment and know that through the work of God and the Holy Spirit people will come to know Jesus through you - and you won’t have to say a word!
Amen!

Devotion 8/14/19

Greetings All!
I have one important responsibility at our new farm - well, actually I have more than one responsibility but one important job that I need to keep on top of because it is a job I can do and one I actually enjoy - and also a responsibility that the sainted husband does not like to do so it all works out well for the two of us - I enjoy it, he doesn’t and so the job became mine and that works out well! 
When we go to the farm every couple of weeks we immediately go into our house, change into our working on the farm clothes (I put on my working on the farm armor because of previous instances of being allergic to something and I’m still a little paranoid….).  Once we put on our working on the farm outfits we head out for our respective jobs - the sainted husband begins to mow and I have the honor and privilege of string trimming - first and foremost is the dog pound and second is the growth around the air conditioner - the sainted husband use to work in the air conditioner business and is extremely sensitive to growth around the air conditioner so that has to be a priority in my string trimming responsibilities……
I then have other areas which are next on the list and I know my routine very well.
When we first bought the farm one of the first purchases was the string trimmer.  We went to the store and went to the string trimmer sales area and I tried each string trimmer for my being able to hold it and use it.  
I am not the strongest person so the priority for the string trimmer was not only the ability of the trimmer to trim, but whether or not I could hold it and actually do the work.  
We decided on one of those string trimmers that had the rechargeable battery because I was a little leery of one where I had to  drag a cord around because I was convinced there would be the moment where I would cut the cord in half or some such equally devastating accident…
With the battery powered string trimmer in hand, we headed to the check out and I proudly brought my very own string trimmer to the farm!  
It was a little disappointing that I had to charge the battery before I could begin my job but once we were all charged up and did my first round of string trimming and I admit I really enjoyed it.  There is something therapeutic about chopping down all those plants and cleaning out an area.  I admit I over did it a bit and for the rest of the evening my arms continued to vibrate long after I had ended my task….
So the routine continues - go to the farm, change clothes, grab the string trimmer and off I go to my removing growing plants in undesirable areas responsibility!  
A couple of days ago we went to the farm, the sainted husband jumped on his tractor to mow and I went and retrieved the string trimmer and went to put the battery on it…. and I had forgotten to charge my battery the last time I used the machine.  Sad frowny face…..Not only did I not get to fulfill my responsibilities, but I enjoy this string trimming work and I was deprived of that at well!
Our life in the church requires us to be ‘charged up’ as well.  The work God asks us to do can be hard and time consuming and difficult.  We may really enjoy his work, but unless we have spent time with God - in prayer, in reading his word, in community with others of God’s family - we can’t do the work the God would like us to do; we can’t enjoy being able to do what God has called us to do; we get fatigued and disillusioned and overwhelmed and ineffective.
If we truly want to do what God wants us to do, it is essential to spend the time to ‘charge up’.  It is not a step we can skip.  
So plug yourself in - pray, read God’s word, spend your time in relationship with God’s people - and you will be ready and able to do what God has called you to do!!
                                                         
 Joanne!