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820th -- Rustling Raspberries


No matter what we may go through in life, our attitude should always remain
positive and our eyes of faith focused on the Lord. It is easy to become
discouraged and disheartened when we focus only on the problem, but if we
change our mindset and know that all things will work together for our good
because we love God and are called according to His purposes then nothing
that comes our way will be able to shake our faith or discourage our 
hearts. When we face the difficult times, we should bring into remembrance
the faithfulness of God. (Romans 8:28) (Hebrews 11:4-13)

We should remember how God was with David when He faced Goliath, how He was
with Joseph when everyone else forsook him. The Lord is a very present 
help in trouble and has promised that He would never leave us nor forsake
us. We simply must call upon Him and ask for His strengthening and 
encouraging spirit to rest upon our hearts. When we call upon the Lord, 
He is faithful to hear and answer our heartfelt prayers. Be encouraged to
call upon Him and share with God everything that is on your heart. (1 Kings 9:4-5)

I hope this message encourages and inspires your heart to know that even 
though you may face difficult challenges in life, you can get through them
and become much better after the trial than you were before it.


Stealing? Well, yes -- I guess we were stealing, if you want to get all 
technical about it. But in our 13-year-old brains we were just using the 
raspberries as God intended them to be used.

The matter of ownership never occurred to us. We just knew that the 
Jordan’s had the best raspberries in the neighborhood, and that their 
bushes were always heavy with fruit. And suddenly that summer Friday night,
a handful of freshly picked raspberries sounded good.

Maybe two handfuls.

So we snuck into the Jordan’s backyard -- which, come to think of it, 
should have been our first clue that we were doing something wrong: we 
“snuck.” Anytime sneaking is involved, it means you don't want to get 
caught, which usually means you shouldn't be doing it. But we snuck into 
their backyard and positioned ourselves carefully around the bushes and 
started harvesting their sweet, juicy berries.

Now, I've got to tell you, there isn't anything that tastes better than 
vine-ripened raspberries, fresh off the bush. We were savoring every bite
of ill-gotten berry when all of a sudden the Jordan’s backyard lights 
flicked on, and Mr. Jordan came charging outside.

“What you boys doing out here?” he shouted as my friends scrambled off in
all directions, uneaten raspberries flying every which way.

He made a valiant attempt to grab one or two as they dashed past him, but
they were too quick for the older gentleman to catch, and within seconds 
the boys disappeared into the dark of the summer evening.

All except one. Uh, that would be me.

Speed was never my strength. I was tall. I was strong. But I wasn't very
fast. Fast was for the little quick guys. I was all about size and power,
neither of which come into play when you're trapped in a back yard, your 
lips red with juice from a neighbors' precious raspberries.

So I stood there, deer-in-the-headlights style, and quickly considered my
options. I could run, but I knew perfectly well that even as old as Mr. 
Jordan was, he could probably out-run me. I could lie, but I couldn't come
up with a believable story that would explain why I was in their backyard
wearing a t-shirt stained with fresh raspberry juice. Or I could just 
stand there and accept whatever punishment would surely come my way from 
the Jordan’s and my parents.

To be honest, I didn't like that last option, but I didn't really have a 
choice. I took the tongue-lashing that Mr. Jordan gave me as he marched me
down the block to my house, where my mother took over and escalated the 
harangue to new levels of righteous scolding. My friends said they could 
hear every colorful word she uttered from the darkness of our back yard, 
where they had gathered to celebrate their escape -- and to observe my capture.

They teased me about it for days afterwards, while all I could do was 
complain about how unfair it was that I had to pay the full price for 
doing the exact same thing all of them had done without any noticeable 

After about a week of this, I complained to my father about the inequity of
the situation.

“I don't think it's unfair at all,” Dad said. “You took raspberries without
asking, and you got exactly the punishment you deserved.”

“But what about the other guys?” I asked. “They didn't get punished at all!”

“That's not my concern, nor should it be yours,” Dad said. “You can't 
control what happens to other people. You can only deal with what happens
to you. You made a bad choice that night, and you were punished for it. To
me, that is completely fair.”

Back then I thought Dad just didn't get it. But through the years I come to
realize that, as usual, he knew what he was talking about.

We didn't come to earth with a guarantee that life would treat us fairly.
And it doesn't. That's why we can't get bogged down comparing the various
vicissitudes of our lives with the lives of others. Like Dad said, that 
isn't our concern.

The only thing we can actually deal with is what happens to us. How we 
choose to respond to what happens to us is truly the standard by which the
quality of our lives will be measured.

Whether or not we think it happens fairly.

By Joseph Walker

Read and meditate on these scriptures:

Psalm 91:9-12 “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even 
the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither 
shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For He shall give His angels 
charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up 
in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Psalm 34:4-8 “I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from 
all my fears. They looked unto Him, and were lightened: and their faces 
were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved
him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about
them that fear Him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the LORD is
good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.”

Psalm 61:1-4 “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of
the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to 
the rock that is higher than I. For Thou hast been a shelter for me, and 
a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever: I
will trust in the covert of Thy wings. Selah.”

Psalm 91:14-16 “Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I 
deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name. He 
shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, 
and shew him My salvation.”

All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.

Today's Selected Poem: AFTER THE RAIN
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/enpoem84.htm

Today's Selected Testimony: A BETTER WAY
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/testimony22.htm

In Christ’s Service,

Dwayne Savaya
God’s Work Ministry


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