Friday, May 18, 2018

Great for an attitude adjustment

“No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap.”
--C. Snow


Saturday, May 12, 2018

What Wolverines can find



























Our Wolverine kitty found a Baltimore Oriole on our front porch this week while watching the world go by at the storm door. 


Friday, May 11, 2018

Let us humble ourselves before an Almighty God!

Philippians 2:1-11
"Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, 
if there is any consolation of love, 
if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, 
if any affection and compassion, 
make my joy complete by being of the same mind, 
maintaining the same love, 
united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, 
but with humility of mind regard one another 
as more important than yourselves; 
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, 
but also for the interests of others. 

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 
who, although He existed in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 
but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, 
and being made in the likeness of men. 

Being found in appearance as a man, 
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, 
even death on a cross. 

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, 
and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 
so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, 
of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 
and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, 
to the glory of God the Father."


Do not think more highly of yourself

After a long winter our spring began to unfold with everyone's dormant grass turning now to a beautiful, lush green.  Everyone has had to mow, and perhaps, mow again.  Our whole world here is beautiful with each yard looking fabulous, no matter if they take care of their lawn with fertilizer or not.  The newness is fresh, beautiful, and clean ---

--- unless you were to walk up close and look intently at each yard.  

The lushness is sometimes a facade to what is reality. When you get up close and examine some of these lush, green lawns you may notice all the ugly imperfections which will only become worse as spring turns to a dry summer, a drier autumn, and then another bleak winter.

As with many housing developments in these last decades, the healthy top soil has been removed before any construction began.  Most of our lawns were seeded or sodded over what was left -- clay.  Soon enough, these healthy looking, lush green lawns which are not continually treated with fertilizer will begin to show their actual unhealthiness.  This unhealthiness has been there all the time -- we just do not see it through the first lushness of spring.  As our time marches into summer these lawns will not look green and lush again until the beginning of next spring when the unhealthiness is once again temporarily hidden from our sight, a facade. 

This reminds me of many Christians who have a facade. There are people who claim Jesus as their Savior who "look" extremely righteous because of their dress, their righteous words, their behavior in public, and their knowledge of God's Word, but underneath their facade, and in their privacy, there is much unrighteousness in their lives which, sadly, they do not see in themselves.  Their words are filled with gossip, falsely proving to themselves that they are better than everyone else.  Their sins run rampant in them because they have thought more highly of themselves than everyone else -- by their own measure, not God's.  They have put themselves up on a pedestal of their own making, and thus blinding themselves from their own sinful pride.

A biblically, healthy Christian, a person who claims Jesus as their Savior, and who thinks biblically right about themselves, is a sinner saved by His grace.  

This person knows they are not better than anyone else. This person knows they are never on a pedestal because they are humbled before the Almighty God who saved them from all their past and future sins. 

Humility is what others see in this biblical person's life, not pride and selfishness.  Kindnesses and compassions, caring, giving, joyfulness even in agonies, and humble praises to our God and King is what others see in a person humbly living in God's grace.

When I am around legalistic, manipulative, controlling, unteachable, selfish, prideful Christians I become mortified at first, and then I begin to grieve deeply for them.  They have made their own trap, they have dug their own pit, and while they have done this they have forgotten their first love ---if, they actually had the true LORD in the first place. LORD, help them!

It is easy to fall into sin. We all do it. 

Every one of us is a sinner, Christian or non-Christian.  

Any one of us can sin, which can lead to another sin, which can build and build until we can fool ourselves and actually believe that we are just fine, that we are better than others, that God is so proud of us. 

As Christians we can allow our sins to "blur" and become a facade of what we think is a "normal life".  Our anger can rage when another Christian has the nerve to point out our problems (our sins) within our lives.  Beware:  These are Red Flags, danger signs in our lives. Look out for them, and then run humbly to the LORD in repentance.

Romans 12
"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, 
as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without hypocrisy. 

Abhor what is evil; 

cling to what is good. 

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; 

give preference to one another in honor;

not lagging behind in diligence, 

fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 

rejoicing in hope, 

persevering in tribulation, 

devoted to prayer,

contributing to the needs of the saints, 

practicing hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Be of the same mind toward one another; 

do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. 

Do not be wise in your own estimation. 

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. 

Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, 
for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 

“But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, 
and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; 
for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 

Do not be overcome by evil, 
but overcome evil with good."



Our Source of true Joy

An Ever-Present Help

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
Psalm 46:1

Nothing is more suffocating, more soul stifling than the feeling of hopelessness. When you've tried every option, it's despairing to think that you've come to the end of your rope with no aid in sight. 

Hopelessness breeds when we fail to sense God's hand in the hardship, or the presence of His help. It's demoralizing to feel as though God is off somewhere, distracted by the needs of more obedient saints.

Hope is built on fact. And the fact is God never becomes distracted from your life. He never takes time off from tending to your needs. When troubles come, He doesn't back away to allow Satan a free hand. 

Today's verse assures that not only is the help of God available and accessible at all times, but God Himself is the always-present help in every trial.

"God understands the darkness that we face. He is right there in it with us, 'an ever-present help in trouble.' The Lord of light is your friend in darkness. The Lord of life stands beside you in death. The Lord of hope is your companion in your despair. The Prince of Peace supports you when no peace can be found. The God of all comfort waits faithfully near you. The Source of all joy is close by when death has robbed you of joy.”*

When we've hit rock bottom or are up against a wall, we are easy prey for the lies of the adversary. When we are emotionally distraught, we believe the lie that God has become a casual observer, standing at arm's length from our pain. Write out today's verse and underline the adjective. God is always present with help and hope.
  
You are my refuge and my strength, dear Lord. When troubles assault, may I never be deceived into thinking that I am beyond Your tender compassion. Thank You for being always and ever-present in my trials. I praise You for being in control!

—Joni Eareckson Tada, Pearls of Great Price, May 10

*Paul David Tripp, "You Are Never Alone in the Dark," Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation: Glenside, PA, p 5.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Love is not self-seeking

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Love is patient, 
love is kind 
and is not jealous; 
love does not brag 
and is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly; 
it does not seek its own, 
is not provoked, 
does not take into account a wrong suffered, 
does not rejoice in unrighteousness, 
but rejoices with the truth; 
bears all things, 
believes all things, 
hopes all things, 
endures all things.
Love never fails; 
*

One of the dearest picture books of mine



A charming story by Virginia Lee Burton, a classic.

"Once upon a time there was a Little House way out in the country.
She was a pretty Little House and she was strong and well built.
The man who built her so well said,
"This Little House shall never be sold for gold or silver 
and she will live to see our great-great-grandchildren's
great-great-grandchildren living in her..."

*

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Freedom in Christ

Compare the Freedom we have in Christ 
to slavery in sin, to slavery in legalisms:

Galatians 5

*"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; 
therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of 
slavery.

Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, 
Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man 
who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole 
Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be 
justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 

*For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of 
righteousness. 

*For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means 
anything, but faith working through love.

*You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? 
This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. 

*A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. I have confidence in 
you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is 
disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. 

But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted?  
Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. I wish that 
those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.

*For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your 
freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve 
one another. 

For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall 
love your neighbor as yourself.” 

But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not 
consumed by one another.

*But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire 
of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the 
Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, 
so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led 
by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, 
sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of 
anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, 
and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned 
you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of 
God.

*But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, 
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things 
there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified 
the flesh with its passions and desires.

*If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 

*Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one 
another."



Monday, May 7, 2018

Forgetting and Forgiving

Pride nourishes the remembrance of injuries,

Humility forgets as well as forgives them. 

--Robert C. Chapman

*
"A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight.
When pride comes, then comes dishonor,
But with the humble is wisdom.
The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.

*
The wicked earns deceptive wages,
But he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.
He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life,
And he who pursues evil will bring about his own death.
The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord,
But the blameless in their walk are His delight.

*
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who is wise wins souls."

Proverbs 11:1-3,18-20,30




Saturday, May 5, 2018

The LORD helps and comforts us

The Owls

Give me a sign of your goodness...for you, O Lord, 
have helped me and comforted me."
Psalm 86:17

Driving home one late afternoon, I felt empty, dry, and bone weary. From that perspective, everything I had done during the day seemed pointless...just so much wasted time. Pulling into my driveway, I whispered, "Lord, I need to see you at work. I need you to touch me in some special, unusual way tonight.”

In my bedroom an hour later, still fighting the blues, I paused by the bay window overlooking our backyard. Suddenly I spotted something in the twilight -- two somethings! -- with large wingspans, fluttering on a branch of my neighbor's pine tree. Then I saw yet a third great bird -- even larger -- perched on one of our pines. They were huge great-horned owls. Before long, the owl from my yard joined the other two. My visiting friend came into the room, grabbing binoculars. Peering into the neighbor's tree, she said, "Joni, those are baby owls!" They had been bobbing, flapping, and hopping back and forth on the branch waiting for their mother -- obviously the larger owl who had been in my tree. We even saw the mother fly away and, within minutes, come back with a mouse to feed her babies.

What a thrill to watch these unusual representatives of God's creation up close and personal! I forgot all about my dreary mood of a few moments before. When the whole escapade was over, I remembered my prayer. I would have thought God would have given me His "fresh touch" through special words from my visiting friend...or maybe a verse of Scripture...or perhaps a vase of flowers surprising me at the kitchen sink. Who would have thought owls would have been his emissaries of encouragement?

Ask the Lord to show Himself to you in new and unexpected ways today. And prepare to be surprised!
  
Lord, I don't want to miss those little "calling cards" of Your presence, Your interest, and Your care. Please keep me alert to all the ways You speak Your love.

—Joni Eareckson Tada, Pearls of Great Price, May 4


Thursday, May 3, 2018

No hammers, but grace and mercies

"If we would wisely reprove the flesh in our brethren, 
we must first, after the Lord’s example, 
remember and commend the grace in them."

--Robert C. Chapman

Galatians 6:1-5

"Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, 
you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; 
each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, 
he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, 
and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, 
and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load."



Sunday, April 29, 2018

O Father You are Sovereign

O Father You are sovereign
In all the worlds you made
Your mighty Word was spoken
And light and life obeyed
Your voice commands the seasons
And bounds the ocean's shore
Sets stars within their courses
And still the tempests' roar.

O Father you are sovereign
In all affairs of man
No powers of death or darkness
Can thwart your perfect plan
All chance and change transcending 
Supreme in time and space
You hold your trusting children
Secure in your embrace.

O Father you are sovereign
The Lord of human pain
Transmuting earthly sorrows
To gold of heavenly gain
All evil overruling
As none but Conqueror could
Your love pursues its purpose
Our souls' eternal good.

O Father you are sovereign
We see you dimly now
But soon before your triumph
Earth's every knee shall bow
With this glad hope before us
Our faith springs forth anew
Our Sovereign Lord and Savior
We trust and worship You!

--Margaret Clarkson


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Thursday, April 26, 2018

I Know Who Holds My Hand

I don't know about tomorrow,
I just live from day to day. 
I don’t borrow from its sunshine, 
For its skies may turn to gray. 
I don’t worry o’er the future 
For I know what Jesus said; 
And today I’ll walk beside Him, 
For He knows what lies ahead. 

Many things about tomorrow 
I don’t seem to understand; 
But I know who holds tomorrow, 
And I know who holds my hand. 

Every step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb;
Every burden’s getting lighter,
Every cloud is silver-lined.
There the sun is always shinning,
There no tear will dim the eye,
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky.

Many things about tomorrow 
I don’t seem to understand; 
But I know who holds tomorrow, 
And I know who holds my hand.

I don’t know about tomorrow, 
It may bring me poverty; 
But the One who feeds the sparrow 
Is the One who stands by me. 
And the path that is my portion, 
It may be through flame or flood; 
But His presence goes before me 
And I’m covered with His blood! 

Many things about tomorrow 
I don’t seem to understand; 
But I know who holds tomorrow, 
And I know who holds my hand. 

--Ira F. Stanphill


Monday, April 23, 2018

Satire on Legalisms

Thank you to satirical Babylon Bee for their Hershey’s Replaces ‘Kisses’ With More Pure ‘Sidehugs’ For Christian Market:

"...In a new attempt to court the Christian market, 
the Hershey Company unveiled Monday 
its brand-new “Hershey’s Sidehugs™️,” 
a Kiss™️-like chocolate that promises to be more pure 
and only slightly less fulfilling...

...the new chocolate treats “far more appropriate for brothers and sisters in the Lord”..."

*

Friday, April 20, 2018

That Beautiful Name

I know of a name,

A beautiful name,

That angels brought down to earth;

They whispered it low,

One night long ago,

To a maiden of lowly birth.

That beautiful Name,

That beautiful Name,

From sin has power to free us!

That beautiful Name,

That wonderful Name,

That matchless Name is Jesus!

I know of a Name,

A beautiful Name,

That unto a Babe was given;

The stars glittered bright

Throughout that glad night,

And angels praised God in Heav'n.

That beautiful Name,

That beautiful Name,

From sin has power to free us!

That beautiful Name,

That wonderful Name,

That matchless Name is Jesus!

The One of that Name,

My Savior became,

My Savior of Calvary.

My sins nailed Him there;

My burdens He bare.

He suffered all this for me.

That beautiful Name,

That beautiful Name,

From sin has power to free us!

That beautiful Name,

That wonderful Name,

That matchless Name is Jesus!

I love that blest Name,

that wonderful Name,

Made higher than all in Heav'n

'Twas whispered, 
I know,
In my heart long ago

To Jesus my life I've giv’n.

That beautiful Name,

That beautiful Name,

From sin has power to free us!

That beautiful Name,

That wonderful Name,

That matchless Name is Jesus!

--Mabel Johnston Camp


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Classic Child's Picture Book






































This classic book written sixty-two years ago by Margaret Wise Brown with beautiful illustrations by Garth Williams is a family treasure.  

Our book is a large size so the pictures are like opening up the world of a bunny. The landscapes are realistically filled with native woodland flowers all the while the little rabbit is finding a home. Perfect for reading to little ones and beautiful for any age.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Use Discernment

Salt and sugar look the same--

Be careful who you trust.
*
Psalm 50:7
Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me

Psalm 144:7-8
Stretch forth Your hand from on high;
Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters,
Out of the hand of aliens
Whose mouths speak deceit,
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

*

Monday, April 16, 2018

No One Understands Like Jesus

No one understands like Jesus;
He's a Friend beyond compare.
Meet Him at the throne of mercy;
He is waiting for You there.

No one understands like Jesus
When the days are dark and grim.
No one is so near, so dear as Jesus;
Cast your every care on Him.

No understands like Jesus;
Every woe He sees and feels.
Tenderly He whispers comfort,
And the broken heart He heals.

No one understands like Jesus
When the days are dark and grim.
No one is so near, so dear as Jesus;
Cast your every care on Him.

No one understands like Jesus
When the foes of life assail.
You should never be discouraged;
Jesus cares and will not fail.

No one understands like Jesus
When the days are dark and grim.
No one is so near, so dear as Jesus;
Cast your every care on Him.

No one understands like Jesus
When you falter on the way.
Though you fail Him, sadly fail Him,
He will pardon You today.

No one understands like Jesus
When the days are dark and grim.
No one is so near, so dear as Jesus;
Cast your every care on Him.

by John W. Peterson

Saturday, April 14, 2018

God was God, and there was work to do.

She Waited for the Call That Never Came

She waited for the call that never came;
searched every mail for a letter, or a note, or card,
that bore his name; 
and on her knees at night, 
and on her feet all day, 
she stormed Heaven’s gate in his behalf;
she pled for him in Heaven’s high court.

“Be still, and wait; and see”—
the word God gave; then she 
knew that He would do in and for and with him,
that which she never could.

So doubts ignored
she went about her chores
with joy—
knowing, though spurned,
His word was true.

The prodigal had not returned, 
but God was God,
and there was work to do.

By Ruth Bell Graham

Friday, April 13, 2018

O taste and see that the Lord is good

Here in the Midwest, like in many parts of our country, we are having a lengthened winter season, especially as it is officially spring.  I was driving into the city today where the bleak, brown-grey terrain was made even more unwelcoming with the bright, dingy overcast.  I saw no trees or bushes budding and even the evergreens lacked the luster they usually have.

Meanwhile, people everywhere talk about spring; “Why isn’t it here? When will it begin?...”

As I drove I was thinking about everything in its season, in its time.  I knew that if I had stopped the car anywhere along the road I would have found at the side of the road, or in the woodlands, little plants emerging if I was to have poked around a bit. I certainly find much tiny greens growing  in my own yard. Spring is beginning, it is arriving in its time.

The same goes for our lives.  We do what is before us, and yet we tend to think way beyond “today,” not necessarily being thankful for what we have today.  Our thoughts revolve around what we do not have yet: a diploma, a car, a family, the right house, a job, this event or that vacation…

Yes, there will always be things in our future for which we can look forward to without obsessing about them, while being thankful and satisfied with the “now”.

What is life about? Why are we here? What should we do next? How can I stop obsessing? How can I find calmness in my inner person? How can I find peace?

Psalm 119:161-168
Princes persecute me without cause,
But my heart stands in awe of Your words.

I rejoice at Your word,
As one who finds great spoil.

I hate and despise falsehood,
But I love Your law.

Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous ordinances.

Those who love Your law have great peace,
And nothing causes them to stumble.

I hope for Your salvation, O Lord,
And do Your commandments.

My soul keeps Your testimonies,
And I love them exceedingly.

I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
For all my ways are before You.

The Lord God is our calmness and our peace if we would only learn to run to Him with all of our situations, good or bad.  As we learn to come to Him in all things, we learn to trust Him more; we draw closer to Him. We read His Word and learn of Him more and more; we draw closer to Him. 

We need to come to Him all the time when life is fun and easy so that when life goes bad, crazy, and chaos reigns, it will be second nature for us to run to Him.  He is our answer right now, not later.

Sometimes a priority in what we need to learn from Him is to realize that He is in charge-- not us.  We need to know that God is working in His timing, which is the best for us.  We need to allow the Lord to work in us in all things. 

Psalm 119 is FULL of encouragements from a writer who sounds much like us. The 176 verses are divided into 8 verse sections which are easy to read and reread.  Each section points you right to the Lord for His help and guidance, plus reminding us to always be thankful for Him and His Word. 

Winter weather is still affecting us and so maybe it has become a bother to you, or maybe your life is full of struggles which look like chaos on the horizon. So if you are “worn  out” from this winter, if you are “worn out” from just living, I encourage you to open His Word and read it. 

Take the time to taste and see that the Lord God Almighty is good, and He is good all the time no matter if life is going great or just terrible.

Psalm 34
I will bless the Lord at all times;

His praise shall continually be in my mouth.


My soul will make its boast in the Lord;

The humble will hear it and rejoice.

O magnify the Lord with me,

And let us exalt His name together.

I sought the Lord, and He answered me,

And delivered me from all my fears.


They looked to Him and were radiant,

And their faces will never be ashamed.


This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him

And saved him out of all his troubles.


The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,

And rescues them.

O taste and see that the Lord is good;

How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!


O fear the Lord, you His saints;

For to those who fear Him there is no want.


The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;

But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.


Come, you children, listen to me;

I will teach you the fear of the Lord.


Who is the man who desires life

And loves length of days that he may see good?


Keep your tongue from evil

And your lips from speaking deceit.

Depart from evil and do good;

Seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous

And His ears are open to their cry.


The face of the Lord is against evildoers,

To cut off the memory of them from the earth.


The righteous cry, and the Lord hears

And delivers them out of all their troubles.


The Lord is near to the brokenhearted


And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.


He keeps all his bones, 
Not one of them is broken.


Evil shall slay the wicked,

And those who hate the righteous will be condemned.


The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,

And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.