ALABASTER JARS

Life in Abundance


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Much Like Dirty Pots

by Ruth-Ann Thompson

Unless I wash you, you have no part with me. John 13:8, New International Version.

small__6112258221It had been a particularly stressful few days—sickness, unplanned meetings, unexpected visitors, plus an assignment that took me away from home and the children for a whole day. Routine household cleaning was the last thing on my mind.

Returning home at the end of the last long day, I looked around my messy home and wasn’t sure where I should begin. But when I couldn’t have a drink of water because there wasn’t a clean glass in sight, dishwashing was the obvious place to start. Somehow, without me noticing and being somewhat too tired to care, our dishes had piled up.

I was shocked. While I was busy, my family had done nothing to help out. Every dish, cup, glass, mug, bowl and every utensil and receptacle was absolutely filthy! Some had to be soaked for a later scrubbing! Time seemed to go on forever as I scrubbed and scoured (and scowled and screamed).

And then through my frustration, I realized that my sins are far more disgusting than any stack of dirty dishes could ever be. So often I go to God with my plan expecting Him to do a quick and simple cleansing process on me and send me on my way! But then He gently reminds me that there is so much more work He has to do.

With that insight, I chose not to be angry with my family. In my attempt to remove the toothpick from their eyes, God showed me the telephone pole that was lodged in my own.

So wash me clean, dear Father. Do what you must to remove every impurity from my soul.

You can find more devotions like this in the Alabaster Jars series. The first book has 53 readings and the second 99. Consider the books as a gift for yourself or someone else. Whether you buy the paperback or the Kindle version, you’ll be making a difference in a woman’s life–100% of the proceeds go towards teaching women how to read.

photo credit: cuantofalta via photopin cc

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My Dream Bug

by Ruth-Ann Thompson

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. I Peter 5:8, King James Version.

It seems that every September I begin a new walking program. The Summer heat has curtsied to the crisp coolness of Fall, and I feel that I can breathe freely as I exercise. This morning was no exception and I was anxious to get started. After a few light stretches, I began. Just as I was picking up my pace, I saw a scary looking half-spider, half-tick, part-crab and part- monster, creepy-crawly-creature-thingy crossing my path.

Imagining that it was growling at me and following me on my walk, I decided to squash it. I skillfully lifted my right leg and paused–ever so careful to aim with precision–then slammed my foot down. Satisfied I had destroyed my target, I lifted my foot only to see millions of baby scary looking half-spider, half-tick, part-crab and part-monster creepy-crawly-creature- thingies scampering in every direction! Ewww! I gasped as I propelled forth with the speed of an Olympic sprinter. I screamed, running faster than the cars on the street nearby. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! I shivered. I stomped my feet repeatedly into a nearby puddle only to realize that my old walking shoes had a hole in the right toe.

Itching ensued as I swatted at imaginary creatures on my legs, arms, neck and everywhere else. (I’m still scratching as I write this!) Once I settled down—and believe me, it took quite awhile for that to happen—I had to smile. Even though I tried to end the life of that bug-creature-thingy, it would live on through its many babies.

We all have dreams inside of us—“thingies” that we would love to give birth to—and the devil seeks to destroy us at every turn. Let’s determine not to let him squash our dreams.


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Let the Storms Pass

by Ruth-Ann Thompson

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. John 6:51, New International Version.

We were on our way to Missouri to visit my son, Brandon. It was a beautiful day—the sky was the clearest blue, the air was calm, the road was smooth. About three hours into the trip, the weather changed suddenly—the sky was now dark and the wind was so strong, it shook the car from side to side. I was finding it very difficult to stay in my lane.

After trying very hard to keep driving and stay on the road, I realized the weather was just too much competition for us. We had to pull over and take cover from the weather. It was only then that we learned of a severe tornado warning in the area!

To think that we took for granted the clear skies and sunshine of the morning! We didn’t stop to search for weather updates or look for warning signs. Had we kept driving, the consequences could have been deadly.

While the bad weather took its course, we made the best of our respite—had a meal, rested and filled up on gas (even though it was overpriced). Surprisingly, once the storm passed us by, there were hardly any signs of it having been there. We didn’t even have to re-route our trip. We went happily on our way. In a few hours, we were enjoying our visit with Brandon.

Sometimes in life, storms arise. Just when we think everything is going well, they come with no warning. And when we least expect it, our life’s course can be re-routed. That’s when we have to stop and rest awhile to refresh ourselves with the Living Water and feast on the Word of God. Sometimes we have to pause and wait in God’s will until the storm passes us by.

 


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On Living it Up

by Ruth-Ann Thompson 

The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. Matthew 25:5, New International Version.

The meteorologists were predicting a major snowfall. It was expected to hit around seven in the evening, snow all through the night, and accumulate to at least 12 inches by morning.

As you can imagine, grocery stores, gasoline stations and drug stores were packed with people stocking up on food, medicine, bottled water, toilet paper and whatever else they felt they absolutely needed to endure inclement weather.

The children were especially happy. There’d be no school the next day. So there was no need to get homework done or go to bed at a reasonable hour. The children were going to leisurely wake up to a day off from school. After all, the prediction of a snowstorm came from scientists! Adults too stayed up late watching movies and doing odd jobs around the house in anticipation of waking up to a city virtually paralyzed by a snowstorm.

But when our town awoke the next morning, the disappointment was overwhelming. Not only were the meteorologists wrong, but there was also a heat wave of sorts. Temperatures were at record highs that day!

And so, it seemed, the snow was never going to come as predicted. And none of us were prepared to face a day of work and school.

For me, the reminder that there really is no way of making up for unpreparedness was rather unsettling.


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Just One Way

by Ruth-Ann Thompson

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6, New King James Version.

Growing up, I thought there was only one way to wash dishes. But life has taught me differently.

Think for a moment about how you do the simple, seemingly-never-ending task of keeping those plates and cups and bowls clean. Some people use a sponge or brush; some use a dishcloth. Some rinse the dishes thoroughly first, then wash them in a sink full of hot, soapy water. Some put the detergent directly on cloth, sponge or brush; others don’t use soap at all. Some rinse after washing; some dry after rinsing. Some wash the dishes before they place them in the dishwasher to wash them again.

Perhaps the doldrums of dishwashing are so routine that you don’t really stop to think about what you are doing. But today, spend some time thinking about the how’s and why’s of dishwashing. Note that your way of washing is probably different from your neighbor’s, your sister’s or even the person who taught you how.

As you wash, remember that, unlike the assortment of methods to dishwashing, there is only one way to the Kingdom—through your relationship with Jesus, our Savior and Messiah. There simply is no other way. Accept Him fully into your life today and be washed clean from all your sins and failings.

He’s waiting for you to accept Him.


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The Widow’s Husband

by Ruth-Ann Thompson

I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5, King James Version.

I am very familiar with tragedy—My husband was killed in the car accident that injured our son and me, then pregnant with our second son. But, tragedy didn’t stop with the accident. When my baby was born, my father died. So, yeah, I know all about tragedy. Yet, I was totally unprepared for the tragedy that met me when my left foot touched the basement floor.

Water swirled up around my ankles. My basement—my finished basement, complete with bedroom, living room and office furniture, laundry appliances and a piano—was flooded. As far as I could see, there was nothing but water.

I threw up my hands in frustration. A flood in the basement seemed like a man’s job, but all the men in my life were dead. I was a young widow, exhausted and overwhelmed with the responsibilities of two little boys.

My frustration turned to anger. I marched upstairs, dried off my soaking left foot and entered my bedroom. Dropping to the bed, I sobbed, “Lord, you promised you’d be a husband to the widows. So, be my husband and mop my basement!” Right there, suddenly, a wave of peace flooded over me (no pun intended). Ignoring my flooded basement, I dressed my sons and left the house. We stayed out all day. Once back home, we had worship and I tucked the boys in bed. Still filled with peace, I didn’t go down to the basement. I got in bed, did some reading and drifted into a peaceful rest.

The next morning, I felt ready to tackle the basement. Donned with old work clothes and boots, armed with bucket and mop, I descended the basement steps. Again, I was unprepared for what met me when my left foot touched the basement floor. Everything was dry! I raced to the guest room … dry! To the family room … dry! To the office … dry! Perhaps the water had subsided, but surely the furniture would be damp. I touched underneath the couch … dry! Even my piano was all right! There wasn’t a damp spot or musty odor to be found.

Thank you, Lord,” I half prayed, half shouted. “You did mop my basement! I do have the best husband in the world.”

(This is a reading from the book Alabaster Jars, Vol 1. Buy a copy of the book here. It’s also available as a Kindle ebook. Find out how you can write for the next volume here.)