Thursday, January 19, 2017

As political as I get: Signs

God can work in our circumstances

Exchange the Meaning

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.’ 

Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.
Exodus 14:15-16; 17:9

When God parted the Red Sea, He told Moses to “raise your staff.”  After the glorious miracle occurred, Moses was careful to refer to it as “the staff of God.”  It was just an ordinary stick of wood, but when the LORD chose it for His tool, the staff took on new ownership and meaning.

God can exchange the tragic meaning behind accidents or injuries for something new and positive.  

The cross is a good example.  What was once a symbol of torture and pain now represents hope and salvation.  My wheelchair, which once signified tragedy and confinement, is the very thing that now gives me freedom and mobility.

When God uses for His glory the most ordinary things ---- such as a staff, or a cross, or a wheel chair --- He gives each one unique and special meaning.

What are the symbols of tragedy in your life?  

A crutch? Or hearing aide?  Where you live?   Your appearance or abilities?

God can exchange the meaning of the heartbreak for something hopeful and positive. God did it at the Cross, and He can do it for you.

Father, I present to You today the disappointing things in my life that hold sad or tragic meaning.  Turn my darkness into light.  Exchange the sadness for hope. Let me see these things as symbols of Your loving and sovereign touch.  I will praise You, for You are the God who turns weeping into joy.

Joni Eareckson Tada, Diamonds in the Dust, January 4.

Monday, January 16, 2017

What's in your mind?

Snoopy doesn't have to know anything theologically, but the LORD desires His children to know Him through His Word.

Let's get busy!

1 Peter 1:13-16
"...prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

1 Peter 3:15
"...sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you..."

Deuteronomy 6
 "...These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates..."

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

When will it snow again?

I want to build a Polar Bear in my front yard, too!

Hymns that preach


**See the entire blog post.  Thank you to Hymns that Preach, Ralph M. Petersen.

The writer explains his former thoughts of this hymn and then researches:

"...Carl Gustaf Boberg, a Swedish pastor, editor, and member of the Swedish parliament, was out walking one day when a severe wind began to blow and suddenly, a fierce, crashing thunderstorm came out of nowhere.

After the storm passed, he gazed out over the beauty of the landscape and the calm, clear bay.   Then he heard a church bell in the distance and the chirping of the birds around him.  He must have sensed the power of God in that storm much the way the writer of Psalm 29 did when he wrote: "The God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.”

And with the sudden calmness and peace at the end of the storm, the words to a poem began to form in his mind....
...One of the world’s greatest hymns had a very long and difficult beginning until it was copyrighted and published by Dr. Cyrus Nelson of Gospel Light Publications, and sung, by George Beverly Shea, at Billy Graham’s London Crusade of 1954....  

...In nearly every listing of the greatest hymns ever written, the number one hymn is almost always Amazing Grace.   But, How Great Thou Art, is consistently ranked as number two -" 

**This part is so significant:

"-probably because, sadly, number one has, in many publications, become so adulterated by politically correct language that is not offensive to the egocentric sensitivities of the unregenerate masses.  

For example, the phrase, “…that saved a wretch like me,” has been changed to, “…that saved and set me free.”  Apparently, most people, today, have a hard time agreeing with God about their wretchedness.  

Amazing Grace is the secular world’s favorite hymn; it can be safely sung without any acknowledgment of sin or any reference to a specific deity.  

And besides, it sounds good when played on the bagpipes at funerals..." 

**well, this is true.  

Mr. Petersen ends concerning this hymn:

[it] " truly one of the world’s most magnificent Hymns of praise to the awesome power of our great God, and our hope in His soon return.  And right between those two themes, is the incredible Gospel message of verse three: “And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in, that on the cross, my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin.”

Praise the LORD!

How Great Thou Art

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

And when I think of God,
His son not sparing,
Sent Him to die,
I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden
gladly bearing He bled and died
to take away my sin

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

When Christ shall come
With shout of acclamation
And take me home
What joy shall fill my heart*
Then I shall bow
With humble adoration
And then proclaim My God
How great Thou art

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

We used to have 2 dish washers.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Good Grief!

I never noticed these "choice" comics when Mr. Schultz was publishing them.  I suppose I was but a child, and had not lived long enough to recognize mean, controlling people. 

This comic, though, is a perfect "word picture" that can be used to explain manipulation, control, and mental abuse in a very simple way.  

Here we have Lucy relishing in the keeping of certain kinds of bugs "in their place" (where SHE believes they should be kept), but in real life each of us could easily be controlled, mentally abused, and manipulated by another person or persons for what ever their reasons by the same behavior, albeit more subtle.

Whoever we happen to be, we are all fragile human beings who need to draw closer to the LORD God in His Word, so that we know Him more and more, so that we trust Him with all of our being, and so that we will be able to have that "Uh Oh" feeling when something isn't quite right.

*So sisters in Christ let's gird up our loins, and let's get busy learning His truth!

Ephesians 6:10-18
..."Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 

Put on the full armor of God, 
so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, 
but against the rulers, against the powers, 
against the world forces of this darkness, 
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, 
so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, 
and having done everything, to stand firm. 

Stand firm therefore, 
having girded your loins with truth, 
and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 
and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 
in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 
And take the helmet of salvation, 
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, 
and with this in view, 
be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints"...


I need two more kitties so I can make this!

*Found this online.  Not my niece.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The LORD hears our cries

Psalm 40

"...I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, 
out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, 
a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord.
How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, 
nor to those who lapse into falsehood..."

Psalm 94

"...He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
He who chastens the nations, will He not rebuke,
Even He who teaches man knowledge?
The Lord knows the thoughts of man,
That they are a mere breath..."

Psalm 27

"...I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord."

Psalm 118

"...This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
O Lord, do save, we beseech You;
O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord;
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord..."

**Precious sisters in the LORD do not despair!  I know you suffer and I understand long standing agonies.  

Life seems too much and maybe it is too much, but do not despair! the LORD is with you!

He sees you, He knows you.  

Continue to run to Him for you will find safety and comfort in Him.  He will guide you and help you.  

Your circumstances may never change, but the LORD will be your strength!

Continually give your suffering to Him and it just may be that in the land of the living you may yet see His hand's work, but if not ~ He is still working and you will see His beautiful handwork in glory.

Meanwhile, let us give Him the glory due to His marvelous name right now while we have life!

Praise to the LORD God Almighty!

A Plugger's Memory

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Spring--longing for spring

We have had so much winter weather beginning in November with practically no sunshine, but for about a week there has been a lull, and we have had “warmer” temperatures with sunshine. 

I looked out this morning and the sun was just beginning to cover the ground.  All of our snow is practically gone and the wildlife was all around the yard.  My heart sang for it “felt” like spring was just around the corner! 

Spring! ~~ I am longing for Spring!

I love winter, so what is this all about - the desiring of spring when we will most probably only begin to see it the end of  March, the beginning of April?  I am usually living in the moment, but today my heart sang for spring!

The thing is that this isn’t really about spring and what I am longing.  It is all about this world not being my home.  I am so tired of the muck. We do not have to go far to be exposed to it, after all, we ourselves are sinners!

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. 
The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, 
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving 
let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:4-7

I guess as our time marches on I am just grieving more and more, and very much groaning with creation over our condition.  I am worn with hearing, seeing, and knowing of sufferings, many of them completely needless.

I often look to the sky and observe the LORD’s beautiful skies, and I know that Jesus will return again in the clouds.

[Jesus has just told the disciples they do not need to know about certain things, but their job is to be witnesses for Him in the lands] "...And after He [Jesus] had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing [these were angels] stood beside them. 
They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? 
This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, 
will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:9-11

Looking forward to that day!

As for now, the skies, the land, and even all the people are put rightly into perspective for me.  My thinking returns to what is at hand, which is living in the moment with the LORD as my comfort and strength.

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, 
whatever is honorable, 
whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, 
whatever is of good repute, 
if there is any excellence 
and if anything worthy of praise, 
dwell on these things.

The things you have learned 
and received 
and heard 
and seen in me, 
practice these things, 
and the God of peace will be with you."
Philippians 4:8-9

I can’t stop the madness in this world.  It isn’t even my job. 

My job is only to live for Him in my sphere of living, my sphere of influence.  I can only do what is in front of me, and perhaps plan a bit out for tomorrow, but I must be ready for any changes that may come and then I must be able to continue to trust in Him for my comfort and strength right then in that very moment. Even then, I can not save anyone, I can only glorify God by living for Him in what is set before me in my life.

So, today, and any next tomorrows, I will be living in the moments, in this winter, with this world which is not my home.  

I will be leaning on the LORD, living in His strength because I have none of my own.  

I will rest in His comfort because this world is too much for me to handle.

"...for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 
I know how to get along with humble means, 
and I also know how to live in prosperity; 
in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled 
and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 
[I am very much still learning all of this!] 
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:11-13 

Precious sisters in Jesus ~ rest with me in Him, rely on Him for all things. Praising the LORD with you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

"Inner anguish melts the heart, making our souls pliable and bendable."

Inward Pain
by Joni Eareckson Tada

"A man's spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?" Proverbs 18:14

Which pain is worse, emotional or physical?  

Like you, I've faced both kinds: crushing physical pain with no position in which I can get comfortable; crushing heartache in which my head spins with grief, and I can't stop the tears. 

Physical pain is curious.  

You can almost distract yourself from it.  Sometimes you can push physical pain right out of your thoughts by crowding your time and attention with other things.  Even in a wheelchair, I've devised clever ways to forget about my paralysis. 

Ah, but inside suffering, that's another matter.  You can't put mental anguish or heartache behind you.  Those hurts create an emptiness that refuses to be pushed or crowded out of your thoughts.  It bites.  Gnaws.  Grinds away at your sanity.

You've felt that way.  Your heart has been stomped on; your feelings have been trampled.  A slandered reputation... a love relationship spurned... painful memories of abuse.  

Yes, I'm convinced emotional pain is much worse than physical pain.  

But I'm also convinced it does something to our heart that physical pain often can't.  

Inner anguish melts the heart, making our souls pliable and bendable.  Because we can't drive it from our thoughts, it forces us to embrace Him out of desperate, urgent need.

Think about the ways in which God says He will take care of inner anguish:  

-He proclaims He holds you in the palm of His hand; 

-He hides you in the cleft of His rock; 

-He carries you in His bosom.  

-He sustains you with His grace; 

-He sets your feet on a high place; 

-He shelters you underneath His wings.  

God is never closer than when your heart is aching.  

*Read the Psalms until you find one that reminds you of God's presence in your anguish.

Praise be to You, the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort.  You heal our hearts; You are the prescription for pain.  I come to You today with my urgent need.  Thank You that You've promised You will be there to catch me.


Joni and Friends

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Grizzly Bear Humor

Happiness is hugging a Grizzly

Small Steps

by Joni Eareckson Tada

"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:25

A friend of mine who suffers from migraine headaches tells me that on some mornings she wakes up thinking, How can I do this?  I don't have the will to even get out of bed.  Lord, help me just make it to the shower.  On days like this, she says she's doing great if she can make it to lunch time without collapsing back in bed from pain.

When you're hurting, life is lived in steps.  Very small steps.  The sufficiency of Christ is more than enough to meet the needs of a lifetime, but life can only be lived one day, one moment, at a time.

This is why today's verse is one of my friend's favorites.  Especially the part about keeping "in step with the Spirit."  The meaning here is not about keeping pace, as if the Spirit were racing ahead and we'd better keep up with Him; it has to do with measuring one's moments in a slow and circumspect way.  God's strength is available one day at a time (Lamentations 3:22-23).  And frankly, when you're suffering like my friend, you are only able to take one day at a time -- often, one hour at a time.

Contentment comes from many great and small acceptances in life.  What is there in your life right now that is slowing you down?  Can you thank God for it, knowing that it makes you gear down to a slower speed? Discontented people are always rushing ahead to escape the 'now' of their circumstances.  The environment in which to learn how to be content is the environment of moments and small steps.  When life isn't the way you like it, like it the way it is one day, one hour at a time... with Christ.  And you will be blessed.         

There are things in my life, Lord, which are slowing me down.  Help me to see these 'problems' as opportunities to keep in closer step with the Spirit.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Thankful Day

Today is a Thankful Day.  Oh, but yesterday was a very tough day.

Yesterday was no different.  It was a normal day, but my heart’s cry was real, and I felt our agony so very deeply.  There was no reason for me to think and feel it more than usual, but I surely did.

Over and over in my mind I asked “why?”

“Why Why Why Why”

There is no rhyme or reason.  There is no “why”.  It is just -sin- and those who choose to grasp after it.

My job is to seek the LORD’s face, to cry out to Him, not only on tough days but the really good days also.  I can not make anyone not sin, I can not make anyone not choose unjustly.  I can only do my job which is set before me everyday.  The LORD does not look to me to change the sinners.  This is His job.

Today, though, is a THANKFUL DAY.  

Yesterday after all the “whys” to the LORD I turned my focus on Him and then remembered the joys He has given us and the joys He is giving us.  He has never been unfaithful to us.  He has showered us with mercies every day.

Showers of Mercies!

We have never been alone when life was simple and great, and even now when things are tough, He never leaves us alone.  He is our strong tower which we run to and live in.  His  mercies are new every day.

Lamentations 3:22-26
"The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the Lord."

Praises to the LORD!

Cut to the Kiss

Sunday, December 11, 2016

To those who are completely His

It is another snowy, icy day.  It seems too much to leave the house so we stayed home today.

Yesterday we drove 80 miles home in what was falling.  We reverted to the old two lane highway instead of the interstate where most people were actually driving carefully, but some were making it much more dangerous.

The slower pace was safe and the few cars on the two lane were driving responsibly. We drove through each small town and all of the countryside loving the architecture and the rolling countryside now being covered in brand new snow.  

Although this two room school house was not on this particular two lane road yesterday, it is one of many found out in the countrysides of our beautiful country.

Eventually we arrived home thankful to be safe and warm.  Praising the LORD for He holds us tightly. Every day I am reminded how the LORD dearly loves His children and this verse rings in my ears:

2 Chronicles 16:9a
"For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His."

He strongly supports us!

When we are His child we can KNOW that our great God watches over us, watches out for us, and even if tragedy or death were to come upon us, we can know that He is holding us tightly in His every lasting arms.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Math is my Nemesis.

Modesty in our modern world

Thank you to Luke Gilkerson at Covenant Eyes.  I have only a small amount of his good article on modesty.  Please check out his whole work in the entire article -- it is excellent and too significant to miss.

"Modern Modesty Controversies...

Where then does modesty fit into the Christian ethic?

Paul on Modesty: 

1 Timothy 2:8-10
“I desire…that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.“

Christian women should concern themselves with modesty because the Bible does. This text is a primary example.

(For the purposes of this article, I am writing about women because Paul is writing about women in these verses. But I recognize that men should also embrace modesty.)

1. Modesty is not anti-fashion...

The question for Paul isn’t about whether a woman should ornament her body, but how.

2. Modesty is about who you worship...

Paul puts his finger on the trigger of the problem... 

A person’s manner of dress, or even their preoccupation with clothing itself (Matthew 6:28-30), is often indicative of a heart that loves self more than God.

3. Modesty is about behavior and attitude, not just clothing...

This means modesty is not simply about what we wear, but how we act, how we communicate, and how relate to others.

4. Modesty shows sensitivity to sin...

A heart of modesty is motivated by a love for one’s fellow man.

5. Modesty involves cultural discretion...

[it is] about the messages and values our clothing communicates.

6. Modesty is about true freedom, not repression...

Paul wants Christian woman to have self-mastery in their wardrobe choices, to be totally free from worldly ways of defining worth, beauty, and sexiness.

Ironically, it is not just those who are scantily dressed that are enslaved, but even those who pride themselves on their modesty. “Modest is hottest,” they say, unaware that in their own hearts, they are still enslaved to a preoccupation with their physical image, still defining their worth by their outward adornment.

Defining Modesty
Taken together, these aspects of modesty help to give us a working definition.

Modesty is a respectable manner of adorning one’s body and carrying oneself, born out of a freedom from a worldly definition of beauty and worth, and motivated by a hatred of sin and a desire to draw attention to God.

When it comes to the subject of modest clothing, the first question we should ask ourselves is: What am I trying to accomplish by what I wear?"

*Please see the whole article at: Modesty/Luke Gilkerson

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Excited Dads

Finding Meaning in our Suffering

Finding Meaning

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin."  Hebrews 4:15

Suppose you're walking down a street when you are accosted and forced to carry a huge and heavy basket on your back. You're ordered to walk three blocks, turn left, go two blocks, turn right, then proceed straight on. Staggering under the weight, you stumble on, bewildered and angry. The whole thing is meaningless and haphazard. When you are halfway down the third block, you finally bellow, "What gives?!"
The truth is then revealed. The burden you are carrying is your child, injured and unconscious. "Whaat!" On top of that, you discover you are not trudging through a meaningless rat-maze, but the most direct route to a hospital emergency room.

Immediately you straighten. Adrenaline and fresh energy quicken your pace and you move forward with a new attitude. Why the change? The suffering you're going through involves a relationship. Not just any relationship, but one with your child. Your relationship gives your burden meaning. Even your twisted path makes sense. You know where you are going. Your journey has a positive end -- the hospital -- and this instills hope.

Suffering has no meaning in itself. Left to its own, it is a frustrating and bewildering burden. But given the context of relationship, suffering suddenly has meaning.

You are not alone in your hardships. You have not been blindsided and ambushed by suffering, only to trudge on in senseless disappointment. God is with you. He is deeply involved in your circumstances. You have a Savior who can completely empathize with your weaknesses. In other words, you have relationship; and this, like nothing else, is what gives your circumstances powerful meaning. Intimacy deepens between you and God in the midst of hardships -- and intimacy makes for meaningful relationships.

Lord, press my soul up against Your breast through my pain and problems. And as You do, thank You for deepening the intimacy between us. This, like nothing else, gives my hardship meaning!


Joni and Friends

From More Precious than Silver, 1998

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A fresh blanket of snow!

Lose all your guilty stains!

There is a fountain filled with blood 
drawn from Emmanuel's veins; 
and sinners plunged beneath that flood 
lose all their guilty stains. 
Lose all their guilty stains, 
lose all their guilty stains; 
and sinners plunged beneath that flood 
lose all their guilty stains. 

The dying thief rejoiced to see 
that fountain in his day; 
and there may I, though vile as he, 
wash all my sins away. 
Wash all my sins away, 
wash all my sins away; 
and there may I, though vile as he, 
wash all my sins away. 

Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood 
shall never lose its power 
till all the ransomed church of God 
be saved, to sin no more. 
Be saved, to sin no more, 
be saved, to sin no more; 
till all the ransomed church of God 
be saved, to sin no more. 

E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream 
thy flowing wounds supply, 
redeeming love has been my theme, 
and shall be till I die. 
And shall be till I die, 
and shall be till I die; 
redeeming love has been my theme, 
and shall be till I die. 

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, 
I'll sing thy power to save, 
when this poor lisping, stammering tongue 
lies silent in the grave. 
Lies silent in the grave, 
lies silent in the grave; 
when this poor lisping, stammering tongue 
lies silent in the grave. 

by William Cowper
Zechariah 13:1
“In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.