Wednesday, September 18, 2019

He raises those bowed down with anguish!

Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah, O My Soul

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Put no confidence in princes,
Nor for help on man depend;
He shall die, to dust returning,
And His purposes shall end.

Happy is the man that chooses
Israel's God to be his aid;
He is blessed whose hope of blessing
On the Lord his God is stayed.
Heav'n and earth the Lord created,
Seas and all that they contain;
He delivers from oppression,
Righteousness He will maintain.

Food He daily gives the hungry,
Sets the mourning prisoner free,
Raises those bowed down with anguish,
Makes the sightless eyes to see.
Well Jehovah loves the righteous,
And the stranger He befriends,
Helps the fatherless and widow,
Judgment on the wicked sends.

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Over all God reigns for ever,
Through all ages He is king;
Unto Him, your God, O Zion,
Joyful hallelujahs sing.

Trinity Hymnal, 1990

Friday, September 13, 2019

What? Algebra!

Actually, I believe "Story Problems" are the worst of all! 

The irony is that life is FULL of story problems!


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

God's Marvelous Grace

the Grace of God 
is the Key 
to Christian Living.
John 1:14
"And the Word became flesh, 
and dwelt among us, 
and we saw His glory, 
glory as of the only begotten from the Father, 
full of grace and truth." 
Titus 2:11-14
"For the grace of God has appeared, 
bringing salvation to all men, 
instructing us to deny ungodliness 
and worldly desires and to live sensibly, 
righteously and godly in the present age,
looking for the blessed hope and the appearing 
of the glory of our great God and Savior, 
Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us 
to redeem us from every lawless deed, 
and to purify for Himself a people 
for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."
Ephesians 2:1-10
 "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, 
according to the prince of the power of the air, 
of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, 
indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, 
and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

But God, being rich in mercy, 
because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions, 
made us alive together with Christ 
(by grace you have been saved),
and raised us up with Him, 
and seated us with Him 
in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
so that in the ages to come 
He might show the surpassing riches of His grace 
in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; 
and that not of yourselves, 
it is the gift of God;
not as a result of works, 
so that no one may boast.

For we are His workmanship, 
created in Christ Jesus for good works, 
which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."
Romans 1:1-6
 "Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, 
set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand 
through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,
concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant 
of David with power by the resurrection from the dead, 
according to the Spirit of holiness, 
Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom 
we have received grace and apostleship 
to bring about the obedience of faith 
among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake,
among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;"
1 Corinthians 12:8-10 
Concerning this 
I implored the Lord three times that it [his struggles] might leave me.

And He has said to me, 
“My grace is sufficient for you, 
for power is perfected in weakness.” 

Most gladly, therefore, 
I will rather boast about my weaknesses, 
so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, 
with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, 
with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; 
for when I am weak, then I am strong."
We who believe in Jesus as our Savior can also say this, 
that God's grace is sufficient, 
for His power is perfected in our weaknesses.
Glory to God!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

When We All Get to Heaven

--Brad Paisley

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus
Sing his mercy and his grace
In the mansions bright and blessed
He'll prepare for us a place

When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be
When we all see Jesus
We'll sing and shout the victory

While we walk the pilgrim pathway
Clouds will overspread the sky
But when travlin' days are over
Not a shadow, not a sigh

When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be
When we all see Jesus
We'll sing and shout the victory

Onward to the prize before us
Soon his beauty we'll behold
Soon the pearly gates will open
We shall tread the streets of gold

When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be
When we all see Jesus
We'll sing and shout the victory
"1 Now I make known to you, brethren, 
the gospel which I preached to you, 
which also you received, in which also you stand, 
2 by which also you are saved, 
if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, 
unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, 
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 
4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day 
according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared...

...50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood 
cannot inherit the kingdom of God; 
nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, 
but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, 
at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, 
and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 

53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, 
and this mortal must put on immortality. 

54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, 
and this mortal will have put on immortality, 
then will come about the saying that is written, 

“Death is swallowed up in victory. 
55 O death, where is your victory? 
O death, where is your sting?” 

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 
57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory 
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, 
immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, 
knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."

Praise God!

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Devil Prowls Around Seeking to Devour

We have an indoor cat who really should have been a barn cat. He is big and burly, and pure muscle. 

I literally can not hold him in my arms like a normal cat with his front feet in my one hand and his back feet in my other hand. I either hold his bottom and then his front feet or draped him across my hip like carrying a wolverine.

photo from "The Wolverine Way" by D. Chadwick

This cat's feet are huge, designed to grab and hold on. He can leap in the air quicker than the eye to catch whatever you throw for him to play with, or when he is trying to humor me, all he has to do is reach out his long arm and he will catch this "prey" with his huge paw.  Even more amazing is his jaw which is designed to catch and kill.  

If this guy wasn't such a sweetheart of a kitty he would be very dangerous.

This morning while it was a bit rainy I went out into the fenced back yard. It was the perfect time to fit in a supervised jaunt for him and his little sister. One minute later our nemesis, the vole, was caught by our would-be barn cat. Excitement filled the air as little sister kitty wanted to see and our wolverine proudly carried his prey here and there.

Soon enough I confiscated the vole and our wolverine was on the hunt for another one. He knows all the myriad places to look and he spent the next half hour loping from one spot to the next and then he would begin again.

Our wolverine didn't catch another vole, but I watched in amazement as his fluid movements of running, loping, jumping, and grabbing. He is good at hunting and catching his prey no matter if it is a live vole or a fuzzy toy.

All of this behavior brought to my mind our great nemesis, our evil adversary, the devil or satan who is always on the prowl, like sin as it crouches at our doorsteps. 

In Genesis 4:7 the LORD said to Cain, "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

..."Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. 

Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen..."

Over these long years I have seen and I have known so many parents who have raised up their precious children well in the LORD and His Truth.

*not legalistically, cruelly, contemptuously, selfishly, flippantly, heartlessly, possessively, disrespectfully...

These children had the freedom of Christ in their hands, many of them strong second generation Believers, but when grown up they seemingly have thrown this freedom all away for selfish, worldly reasons. Meanwhile, the parents are in constant anguish over the radical changes in their behaviors.

 Yes, sin was crouching at their door steps, and even though they had been taught God's Word in His truth, they followed after their own heart's desires which were actually gift wrapped poison by the evil one. 

How does this happen to people who have had the truth in their hands which we thought set them free?

There is no time to give all the scenarios which have a choice of wrong thinking ...drugs, power, politics, violence, legalism, alcohol, childishness, etc...but there is a way to understand many of the "whys?" from this article by Daniel Greenfield:

..."Brainwashing isn’t a secretive event that takes place in hidden rooms. No hypnotists or vials full of chemicals are required. It takes place every day on a massive scale across the United States... 

...Brainwashing isn’t magic, but it can look like magic. The sleight of hand that causes us to think so is our firm belief in our reason and free will. 

It’s easier to believe in changing minds through hypnotism and drugs, than to understand, what the successful practitioners of brainwashing do, that the human mind is more malleable than we like to think, and that the subconscious is more powerful than the conscious.

The art and science of brainwashing is well known. We don’t know it because we choose not to.

Brainwashing happens every day. It doesn’t have to mean a complete transformation of identity. On the simplest level, it means compelling someone to believe something that isn’t true...

... The key elements of brainwashing are ...

...control, crisis and emotional resonance. 

To successfully brainwash someone, 
you have to control their environment, 
force a crisis on them, 
and then tap into core emotions, 
and guide them through the crisis by accepting and internalizing a new belief.

The belief can be anything, but the pseudo-religious ritual taps into an emotional core requiring them to believe that they were bad people, and that by accepting this new belief, they are now good people.

This false conversion is the essence of brainwashing and of leftist political awakening narratives.

The human mind, like the human body, adapts to a crisis with a fight-or-flight response. 

Brainwashing forces the mind into a flight response. 

Once in flight mode, the mind can rationalize a new belief as a protective behavior that will keep it safe. 

Even when, as in the case of the suspect, (in the article on line) the new belief will actually destroy his life. 

Fight or flight mode inhibits long term thinking. 

In panic mode, destructive and suicidal behaviors seem like solutions because they offer an escape from unbearable chemical stresses..."

Please go to FRONTPAGEmag to read the entire article, and then reread it to begin to understand what has been happening to our children and our nation.

A big thank you to Mr. Greenfield for explaining this difficult-to-understand subject of Brainwashing.

Psalm 28:6-7
"Blessed be the Lord, 
Because He has heard the voice of my supplication.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him."

Saturday, September 7, 2019

All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands!

Seventeen years of beautiful blooms, lovely views, a myriad of birds, squirrels, and heart-shaped leaves which shaded our lives ended when our Red Bud Tree died this spring.

We cut it down over many days, certain sections at a time until the final cuts ended with a two foot stump. The best part of all was that we had no major injuries in all of this cutting. Thankful!

This whole time of deciding to remove the dead tree now, and then beginning to cut away our once beautiful tree, was one of grieving this loss of beauty -- but it was also introspective for me.

I loved this tree for so many reasons, but I don't need this tree to go on with life. The loss will be remembered--how could it not be when such a huge living thing is no longer giving its wonderful shade and lending its safety to the little creatures it sheltered. It also had been an anchor to our front yard, our porch, and gardens. 

As we came to the end of all the cutting we had already been planning the garden which would be changed around the new Red Bud Tree stump/pedestal for the birdbath. All of the bird feeders had already been moved further out into another mature tree. The birds and squirrels had already found it and felt the new safety. Now all they waited for was a drinking station.  

As for me, I choose to live for the LORD no matter what happens. I have seen His faithfulness in my life. He has held me tightly as my world has shaken. I know what it is to wait on the LORD, to abide with Him, and to continue living for Him even when what seemingly matters the most to me never changes. He is my God and my Savior, He is my Rock whom I cling to, and preciously, He clings to me when I falter!

Isaiah 55 
“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk

Without money and without cost.

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread,

And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,

And delight yourself in abundance.

“Incline your ear and come to Me.

Listen, that you may live;

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,

According to the faithful mercies shown to David.

“Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples,

A leader and commander for the peoples.

“Behold, you will call a nation you do not know,

And a nation which knows you not will run to you,

Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel;

For He has glorified you.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found;

Call upon Him while He is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

And let him return to the Lord,

And He will have compassion on him,

And to our God,

For He will abundantly pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,

And do not return there without watering the earth

And making it bear and sprout,

And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;

It will not return to Me empty,

Without accomplishing what I desire,

And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

“For you will go out with joy

And be led forth with peace;

The mountains and the hills will 
break forth into shouts of joy before you,

And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

“Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up,

And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up,

And it will be a memorial to the Lord,

For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.”

Patriotism in the Mid-West

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Remember: The joy of the Lord is your strength!

“Most folks are about as happy 
as they make up their minds to be.”
Abraham Lincoln
"...9 Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest 
and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people 
said to all the people, 

“This day is holy to the Lord your God; 
do not mourn or weep.” 

For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. 
Then he said to them, 

“Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, 
and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; 
for this day is holy to our Lord. 
Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 

So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, 

“Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 

All the people went away to eat, to drink, 
to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, 
because they understood the words 
which had been made known to them..."

May we choose the joy of the LORD!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

What more do I need when I have You, LORD?

God is our constant: 
no matter what happens, 
God is enough.
Hebrews 4:12-16
"...the word of God is living and active 
and sharper than any two-edged sword, 
and piercing as far as 
the division of soul and spirit, 
of both joints and marrow, 
and able to judge the thoughts 
and intentions of the heart. 

And there is no creature 
hidden from His sight, 
but all things are open 
and laid bare to the eyes of Him 
with whom we have to do.

Therefore, since we have 
a great high priest who 
has passed through the heavens, 
Jesus the Son of God, 
let us hold fast our confession.

For we do not have a high priest 
who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, 
but One who has been tempted 
in all things as we are, 
yet without sin.

Therefore let us draw near 
with confidence to the throne of grace, 
so that we may receive mercy 
and find grace to help in time of need.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Liars, Chancers, and Cheats

Listen! you Liars, Chancers, and Cheats!

Proverbs 15
 A gentle answer turns away wrath,

*But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,

*But the mouth of fools spouts folly.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good.
A soothing tongue is a tree of life,

*But perversion in it crushes the spirit.
*A fool rejects his father’s discipline,

But he who regards reproof is sensible.
Great wealth is in the house of the righteous,

*But trouble is in the income of the wicked.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge,

*But the hearts of fools are not so.
*The sacrifice of the wicked 
is an abomination to the Lord,

But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
*The way of the wicked is 
an abomination to the Lord,

But He loves one who pursues righteousness.
*Grievous punishment is 
for him who forsakes the way;
He who hates reproof will die.
Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord,
How much more the hearts of men!
*A scoffer does not love one who reproves him,
He will not go to the wise.
A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,

*But when the heart is sad, 
the spirit is broken.
The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge,

*But the mouth of fools feeds on folly.
*All the days of the afflicted are bad,

But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Better is a little with the fear of the Lord

*Than great treasure and turmoil with it.
Better is a dish of vegetables where love is

*Than a fattened ox served with hatred.
*A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,

But the slow to anger calms a dispute.
*The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns,

But the path of the upright is a highway.
A wise son makes a father glad,

*But a foolish man despises his mother.
*Folly is joy to him who lacks sense,

But a man of understanding walks straight.
*Without consultation, plans are frustrated,

But with many counselors they succeed.
A man has joy in an apt answer,
And how delightful is a timely word!
The path of life leads upward for the wise
That he may keep away from Sheol below.
*The Lord will tear down the house of the proud,

But He will establish the boundary of the widow.
*Evil plans are an abomination to the Lord,

But pleasant words are pure.
*He who profits illicitly troubles his own house,

But he who hates bribes will live.
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,

*But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
*The Lord is far from the wicked,

But He hears the prayer of the righteous.
Bright eyes gladden the heart;
Good news puts fat on the bones.
He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof
Will dwell among the wise.
*He who neglects discipline despises himself,

But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.
The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom,
And before honor comes humility.

Friday, August 30, 2019

A Wonderful, Wordless Book!

Anyone would love this Peter Spier's wordless book titled, Rain.

His illustrations are many and so intricate they are completely fascinating 
to absorb. If you have never enjoyed a wordless book you will 
discover that you can "read" even without words! 
Search this one out and you will never be the same!


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

"You can always plant another one."

Today I lamented with a woman I know that I was going home to begin to cut down a beloved tree which died after it bloomed this spring. 

Not able to understand the deep feelings I was sharing with her, she told me to "just plant another one".

How can I explain that this 17 years of growth in our yard meant more than just a tree to me.

It is part of my legacy. It ties me to my dear father, to my precious mother, to my childhood home of hills and the beautiful Red Buds growing all down those hills.  Every spring they were in beautiful bloom, then changing to heart shaped leaves until autumn, and in the winter the architecture of a Red Bud was always amazing. 

Red Bud trees are so beautiful even without foliage.

Every home in which we have lived we have planted Red Bud trees. They have tied me, anchored me to memories, to sweetness, to creation, to my gracious God.  Seventeen years ago the Red Bud was the first tree we planted here. It symbolized in me a stability some how. Our world had caved in, blown up, seemingly destroying everything, but "us".

We could not look out front without seeing it every season. Every year growing taller and more full, birds of every kind stopping by, squirrels up and down, 3 kinds of feeders, beautiful flowers circling it, birdbaths, garden paths, and the cool shade it gave to our front walk and porch has always been cherished.

Oh, it is just a tree. 

I remember all the times I looked out from upstairs over its beautiful branches spending time with the LORD. So many prayers, so many cries to Him, so many times, and He always comforted me, held me. I am His, I am His child, and He cares for me.

Psalm 72:12-14
"For He will deliver the needy when he cries for help,
The afflicted also, and him who has no helper.

He will have compassion on the poor and needy,
And the lives of the needy He will save.

He will rescue their life from oppression and violence,
And their blood will be precious in His sight"

A dear woman of God years ago lamented with me over a beautiful tree in her backyard which had recently died. I knew which one as I had seen it before.  It was a beautiful, huge Magnolia. How lovely it had been for so many years. Her marriage had begun with it, all her beloved children had played and grown under it, and eventually, played in it. She had loved this tree through a difficult marriage, all those children, and then when her beloved husband turned to the LORD for his salvation, she had 24 more loving years with him as a new creation. She had so many memories involving that special tree and now it had to be cut down. I had grieved with her then, and I do so again. I understand. It was more than just a tree.

Yes, I will transplant a baby Red Bud from one of my gardens. It may or may not survive. I may or may not be here to watch it grow. I have another Red Bud in the backyard which survived its transplanting a few years back. It is now as tall as I am, surviving rabbits, droughts, and winters, but never blooming. 

I have the LORD no matter if I have a Red Bud tree in the front yard or not. 

He is my Solid Rock, He is my All in All.

He hears my cries, and holds my tears.

Psalm 56 
"Be gracious to me, O God, 
for man has trampled upon me;

Fighting all day long he oppresses me.

My foes have trampled upon me all day long,

For they are many who fight proudly against me.

When I am afraid,

I will put my trust in You.

In God, whose word I praise,

In God I have put my trust;

I shall not be afraid.

What can mere man do to me?

All day long they distort my words;

All their thoughts are against me for evil.

They attack, 
they lurk,

They watch my steps,

As they have waited to take my life.

Because of wickedness, cast them forth,

In anger put down the peoples, O God!

You have taken account of my wanderings;

Put my tears in Your bottle.

Are they not in Your book?

Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;

This I know, that God is for me.

In God, whose word I praise,

In the Lord, whose word I praise,

In God I have put my trust, 
I shall not be afraid.

What can man do to me?

Your vows are binding upon me, O God;

I will render thank offerings to You.

For You have delivered my soul from death,

Indeed my feet from stumbling,

So that I may walk before God

In the light of the living.

Glory to God on High!