Working on a Dream




Monday, November 16, 2015

What is the Horn of Plenty?

What is the Horn of Plenty?

"Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men."
Psalm 107:8

A Cornucopia, otherwise known as the Horn of Plenty is often seen at Thanksgiving.  The reason for its appearance is due to its origin.

At one time, the Cornucopia was made from a curved goat's horn that was hollowed out and filled with fruit and grains.
However, today, the Cornucopia is usually made from a basket type material. Maybe you have seen one as a decoration around Thanksgiving time? It is often used this way because the Cornucopia is a symbol representing the good things that we have to enjoy. I recently wrote about a dad and son taking a drive through a "poor" community only to have the experience backfire as the son realized how "poor" that he and his family really where. The Cornucopia is here to remind us of our abundantly blessed lives.

My church sits right next to a McDonald's and I am reminded that all of us can walk next door and get a belly full of food if we wanted to at any time.
No problem ... Right? 

This is not a guilt trip, just a gentle reminder to everyone that we have been generously blessed by our Lord just by living where we live. By default, we have way more than most could ever imagine.

The book of James teaches us that, "Every good & perfect gift is from above." This means God has been busy blessing you even if you have not realized it. Perhaps you may disagree, but let me remind you that you are alive reading this right now. You have legs to walk, feet to run and hands to grasp. You have eyes to see, ears to hear and lungs to breathe. He has given you a mind to create meaningful relationships and physical strength so that you may work. I could go on, but if you have not gotten this concept by now, maybe you never will ...

I do not own a Cornucopia, and to be honest, I always thought they were kinda weird, that is until I realized the deep symbolism embedded in them. I wonder, is this how the majority of us operate in our lives? Do we overlook our blessings? Are we painfully unaware of them? If I am honest, I do this more often than not. So perhaps it is time for me to go out and buy a Cornucopia. Once I have one in my possession, I will place it in my office where it will sit visibly as a year-long reminder to take inventory of my blessings.

From my family to yours.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The hot water bottle & the doll.

This is a story written by a doctor who worked in Africa : 

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates) ... And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa
it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles.

They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.
'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough,mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten -year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.'

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?' As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen?' I just did not believe that God could do this.

Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home.
Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? 
I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored.. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the ... could it really be?
I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle.--I cried.
I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!'

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?'

'Of course,' I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon.'

'Before they call, I will answer.' 
(Isaiah 65:24)

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. 
There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let's continue praying for one another...