Sunday, May 21, 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017

"Embrace a new season of loveliness"

This heading quote is the ending sentence of Candice Watters post of May 15, 2017,  
Don't Hide Those Gray Hairs.  In this post she speaks of her grandmother, her mother, and then her own aging, and what her choice has become now. She speaks of the scriptures which she loves and how she began to biblically understand them:

Concerning Titus 2:3-5:
"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, 
not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, 
teaching what is good, so that they may encourage 
the young women to love their husbands, 
to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, 
kind, being subject to their own husbands, 
so that the word of God will not be dishonored."

In this passage she comments, 

"I've always loved this passage, wanting to be mentored by older women when I was younger, and looking forward to being the mentor when I got older.  

But if this gospel-adorning discipleship is going to happen, the older women must be willing to acknowledge that they are, in fact, older."

(Hehe...this made me giggle.)

I love the other scriptures she showcases such as Psalm 92:12-15
"The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Planted in the house of the Lord,
They will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,
To declare that the Lord is upright;

He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."

She comments is this passage that it gives her hope and purpose for the years which remain for her.

She encourages us all at the end of her post with

2 Corinthians4:16
"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, 
yet our inner man is being renewed day by day."

About this she boldly states, 

"If you belong to Jesus, your 'inner self is being renewed day by day'.  

Let's spend ourselves for the younger women in our lives, 
looking beyond what is seen and temporary, 
to what is truly beautiful and eternal."

*And so very significant to me is her last statement:

"For the blood-bought woman, 
you're called to embrace 
a new season of loveliness 
the world will never understand." 

Thank you to Candice Watters.  Please check our her original post.

*

I have spoken before about my hair and how I seemingly cause a flurry when I am out in the world. I do not mean to do so, I am just me, but my simple hair seems to always be a topic among women.

It’s a funny thing.

My precious mother said to me once that I was born with blonde hair, but from seeing pictures I know that by my toddler age my hair had turned auburn brown.  I remember when my little sister was born with her very dark hair, and by the time she was a toddler her hair was quite blonde. It is a funny thing.

Another reason it is funny is that my hair began to have silver in it by 25 years old.  That just seemed too young to have gray hair, especially because I had listened and believed the advertising campaigns while I was growing up which said to 'me' that 25 was so young - that your life is just beginning.

Fast forward 4 decades and my ever growing silver is turning back to blonde.   

I grew up barely fitting in to my peer group, and in adulthood I definitely know I do not fit in.  

My long hair (my preference) has “bothered” the countless women I have known, but when I began to have silver throughout my head, I know so many were affected by it.  

No one has ever said, "oh, look at your hair" etc, but some women just begin to say to each other comments such as, 

“my husband won't let me have gray hair because he says it makes him look like he has an old wife.”  This comment hurt me so, for her sake, as she was a pastor’s wife.  -Real nice guy.

Other comments I have heard because of my hair were in general about how these certain women “couldn’t stop” coloring their hair “now”, or that they would fight to the end not to “look old”.  Many, many feel they "must" do so for their husbands (true or not).

The most significant thing about my own hair and my own hair color is that other women through time have been, to whatever degree, offended by my choice to just be.

Proverbs 16:31
"A gray head is a crown of glory;

It is found in the way of righteousness."

And for our men:

Proverbs 20:29
"The glory of young men is their strength,

And the honor of old men is their gray hair."

*Sisters in Christ, let us be encouraged by all of God's Word, let us be thankful for who we are no matter what our age, and let us embrace each new season of loveliness because of what our Savior has done for us.  

His Precious Blood. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What happened?


Grieving: Real Life 101

When I began the subject of grieving it was months ago and only in the chaos of my own head.  It was all bouncing around in there, with no direction, and with no order.  

Eventually I decided to write it out in some semblance of order, but not all at once or I think I would never have finished it because of the emotional toll of looking at all of it at once in my own life.  Dividing it into pieces has helped me, and perhaps those of you who have read the posts. 

Here I am all "written out".  I know I did not completely write all there is on the subject of grief.  You may be grieving in ways in which I did not even touch, and I completely understand this.  Grieving is very real and completely surprising.  It is like "this" for me, and it is like "that" for you.  

*But grieving is real, it is part of our every day lives in this extremely fallen world.  We should not run from it, but acknowledge it.  We should take time to express it in healthy ways.  Sometimes it should be expressed often, other times daily, and then, perhaps once in a while. When we bottle it up, when we squelch it, then sometime it will come out, and maybe not in appropriate ways.

Appropriate ways to handle our ongoing grieving:  This could mean talking about your sadness, or it could mean crying.  If the pain is too deep where you can not cry, then you can know the LORD is understanding your groans. 

Our pain in our grief is not lost to the LORD.  

He knows and He understands our agonies.

Grieving in our fallen world is like a class called "Real Life 101", but the curriculum is as varied as our sufferings.  Pain is pain, though, and although grieving can "look like" many things in each of us, we can know the LORD holds on to those who trust in Him completely.

My encouragement to you, sisters, is to -continue-.  

Life goes on and usually we can not just "stop" and grieve.  

So continue to live and do it for Him and for His glory. 

Do not be hard on yourself, but show compassion to yourself as you would to anyone who is grieving. Give yourself time, cry out to God, and then move on even if it still hurts.  Life will hurt until glory - that is part of life on planet earth.  

We have the ONE and ONLY who can give us strength to carry on, and to carry on in our agonies with His joy in our hearts.

*One huge caution is not to allow yourself to venture in to "Victimhood" where you are always saying to yourself and others, "poor, poor me".  When we venture into "Victimhood" we are sinning, because we are not trusting the LORD in all things.  Nobody's life is without troubles, it is the human condition.  The LORD can truly lift your head out of "Victimhood" if you are caught in it.  

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

Grieving posts:

#1 Why did I begin all this? 

#2 Pain is Pain 

#3 The only thing we need is Jesus!

#4 I do not want to be shipwrecked! 

#5 Rejoice in the LORD always 

#6  A living death

#7  Living one day at a time

#8 Agonies which haunt you

Monday, May 15, 2017

Eating outside!










Calvin and Hobbes

Agonies which haunt you: Grieving #8

As we all know, life in general is more difficult when we do not feel good and when we have chronic pain.  Everything we do, we see, we think about seems so very much worse.  It is just difficult. During these times it is difficult to capture our thoughts for the LORD and think on things above when we physically hurt.

Meanwhile, our traumas, our agonies, our sadnesses, our grieving...all of these haunt us in our physical weaknesses.  

We do not feel good, and so we seek the LORD.  We are blessed!  

But then it is "the next day" and life is still painful in the many ways it can be painful, and we are "needled" by our agonies.  

It may seem we can't get away from the thought of them, the pain of them.  Everywhere we turn we are reminded of our life's agonies. These agonizing trials and troubles haunt us.  Grief may become unbearable.  We may become so overwhelmed in our grief that we forget to trust in the LORD and call on Him.

*Do not give up, precious sisters in Christ!* 

The LORD hears your cries!  He knows your sadness, He knows your physical pains.

He has not forgotten you.  You may feel like He forgets you, but this is not in His character.  He never leaves you alone, He always hear your cries, and He will not turn away from you. 

When you trust Jesus as your LORD and Savior, you are safe in Him.

Hebrews 13:5-6
"Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, 
being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, 

“I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” 

so that we confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.

What will man do to me?


Psalm 118:5-9
"From my distress I called upon the Lord;

The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.

The Lord is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?

The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in man.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in princes."

Sisters, when you become overwhelmed in your physical pain, overwhelmed in your grief, overwhelmed in anything in your life - REMEMBER the LORD.

The LORD God Almighty is your ROCK, He gives you a "large place" where you are safe in Him.  It is in Him in which you can and will be revived when you rest in Him.

Psalm 6:6-9
"I am weary with my sighing;
Every night I make my bed swim,
I dissolve my couch with my tears.

My eye has wasted away with grief;
It has become old because of all my adversaries.

Depart from me, all you who do iniquity,

For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my supplication,

The Lord receives my prayer."

Psalm 71:17-23
O God, You have taught me from my youth,
And I still declare Your wondrous deeds.
And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to all who are to come.

For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens,
You who have done great things;
O God, who is like You?

You who have shown me many troubles and distresses
Will revive me again,
And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

May You increase my greatness
And turn to comfort me.

I will also praise You with a harp,
Even Your truth, O my God;
To You I will sing praises with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You;
And my soul, which You have redeemed."

Colossians 3:1-4

"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, 
keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, 
seated at the right hand of God. 

Set your mind on the things above, 
not on the things that are on earth. 
When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, 
then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

May we give God the glory in our joys and in our sorrows!

Praise be to God!


Sunday, May 14, 2017

O taste and see! The LORD is good!

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.


What every mother would love to hear


Friday, April 28, 2017

Growing Cats


He who promised is faithful

Hebrews 10:19-25
"...since we have confidence to enter the holy place 
by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way 
which He inaugurated for us through the veil, 
that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

let us draw near with a sincere heart 
in full assurance of faith,

having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience 
and our bodies washed with pure water. 
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,

for He who promised is faithful; 

and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 
not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, 
but encouraging one another; 
and all the more as you see the day drawing near."

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above,
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blessed;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness
Lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior all the day long.

-Fanny J. Crosby



Thursday, April 27, 2017

Living One Day at a Time: Grieving #7








I have to admit that although I may look like I have it all together, although I seem to be handling my sorrows so well, in reality sometimes actually feel like I am barely hanging on.

*Remember that 70's poster, "Hang in there" with the little kitten holding onto a rope or a tree branch? 

I feel like that kitten looks.  

Oh, LORD! I cry out to You!  I don't even know what to say, but I know You understand where I am in myself at any moment, I know You know it all.  All my sorrows, all my trials, all my rollercoaster emotions, even when I'm in the world and I am smiling, but grieving so much inside.

I certainly know that You hear me, that You hold me, that You are working in me. 

I may look like a "Super Christian" fighting the good fight 24/7, but I am so weak where He is so, so strong.  If you think I am a super Christian, praise the LORD for it is His strength and comfort shining through me.

Grieving is wearing.

I feel worn out.  I feel like I can't do another day. But I then realize that I am only to live today.  Tomorrow has enough trouble of its own.  

I MUST only live in today, and TRUST Him for tomorrow when it comes.

*

A precious missionary just responded to my recent silly e-card, which I sent to many people I know just to give them a smile.  I said only "to give you a smile", but when she wrote back to me she said something so significant.

She said she prays.

She reminded me that she prays continually for me and our desperate agonies. How precious...her sincere love and kindness to me was a gift from God when I haven't say a word to her about our trials for years.   She knows pain, she understands longstanding trials.

Never alone.

The LORD is ALWAYS with me and He is with you also when you are His child.  We can feel alone, we can feel like a kitten hanging on a rope, frightened and lost, but we have Him.  Sometimes He reminds us by giving us encouragement from other Believers.  Mostly, He reminds us in His wonderful Word.  

We MUST be in His Word often.

P.S.  Just so you, know there are NO "Super Christians" even if they look like it---just humble Believers who TRUST in the LORD God Almighty no matter what is happening in their lives.  

You can be here with us, too.  

Are you His child?  Have you given over your life to Jesus?  Do you live here in this fallen world, but you TRUST Jesus with your very life?  You can look like a super christian, but in reality be a weak, humble child living in His mighty strength.

All the glory goes to Him!


Even when you are sad...







Snoopy can bring a smile.

Monday, April 10, 2017

An improved you with greater faith

Consider It Pure Joy

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."           
James 1:2-3
  
A trial is not just an assault to be withstood, it is an opportunity to be seized. And this little verse in James is intended to inspire, showing us that trials are opportunities to prove our love and enhance our faith. With this perspective, life becomes inspiring -- not in spite of the trials but because of them.
  
The soldier who is called to the front lines is stimulated at the chance to prove his skills. The officer who is given a position of higher responsibility is roused by the rugged demands of his task. You and I are soldiers in the same way. If you are tempted to slack off from praying and instead you remain faithful, your faith develops perseverance. If you are tempted to feel sorry for yourself, you instead start thinking of the needs of others, and your character becomes refined. 

The result? 

An improved you with greater faith, and a closer fellowship with the Savior.
  
And this is where the joy comes in!
  
It's going to happen to you scores of times today. God may test you. The Devil may tempt you. And you decide the outcome. Because you can choose to either backslide or advance. You can either fudge the truth or stand firm on the facts. When it happens, consider each test and temptation an opportunity to be seized, a chance to prove your faith. Your goal? A closer friendship with God.
  
Lord, my lifetime on earth will be the only chance I will have to prove my faith, to show You how much I love You. When I go to heaven, the chance will be gone. Help me to consider it pure joy to face each trial as a glorious opportunity to be seized.


Blessings,

Joni and Friends
Diamonds in the Dust, April 10

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#6 Grieving: A living death


This world is not my home.   Every day seems to make this truth even more true.  My home is with the LORD.  We who trust Him with our lives, those of us who have Jesus as our Savior, we find our safety in Him right now, this very moment.  We live here in this fallen world, but we are safe in Him no matter what happens here.

Psalm 12
Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be,
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak falsehood to one another;
With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
The tongue that speaks great things;
Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”
“Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.”
The words of the Lord are pure words;
As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
You, O Lord, will keep them;
You will preserve him from this generation forever.
The wicked strut about on every side
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.
*

We find His peace among the chaos of our lives.  We find our safety in Him even when everything is falling around us.  He gives us a sense of calm in the tumult of traumas.

The world continues to disappoint us.  This fallen world continues to hurt us.  The only thing which helps us is our relationship with the LORD God Almighty.

Psalm 118
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting…

…Oh let those who fear the Lord say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
From my distress I called upon the Lord;
The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.
The Lord is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in man…

…you pushed me violently so that I was falling,
But the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.
The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly…

…I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the Lord…

…This is the gate of the Lord;
The righteous will enter through it.
I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me,
And You have become my salvation…

…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.
The Lord is God, and He has given us light…

…You are my God, I extol You.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
*

The LORD ultimately protects us, but in His ultimate wisdom He allows the evil of the world to affect us, to touch us personally.  As we deal with the horrors, the traumas we come to Him more and more as we learn to draw closer to Him among our trials.  The sadnesses cause us pain, but we learn of Him as each day wears on.
We have been told that our own agony is a "living death".  The solution is no where in sight,  the grieving drags on with no ending date.  The pain is only added on and on as the time continually marches forward.  There is no solution, there is no ending so we have nothing to hang on to or to let go.  Our only hope is our Great God.  The LORD is the best place to be.  His love never fails us.

Psalm 136:23-26
Who remembered us in our low estate,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And has rescued us from our adversaries,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
Who gives food to all flesh,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
*

You may feel like your life is something like I have described.  You may feel like you have nothing to hold on to.  Your situations may feel like a "living death", something you can never get away from, with no closing, and no ending.

Psalm 62
My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken…

…My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us…

…Once God has spoken;
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God;
And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord,
For You recompense a man according to his work. 

It is a numbing.  Time just goes by and you forget where you are in the time. Yes, you live, but the days fly.   A decade flies by and you wonder how it all happened.

I know that I have truly lived this "more-than-a-decade", but the blur of time is something I can not grasp.  I know it all happened.  I know I lived each day to its fullest for the LORD, and I know I more than survived, all because of the LORD.  He has been my strength, my comfort.  He has been my boldness, and I think, He has allowed me to more than survive by allowing me not to hold on to every fleeting moment.  

The facts of not realizing that the time is flying by can upset me, because it just doesn't seem right, but I must let it all go.  Perhaps the LORD has been allowing me to let go of this "blurring" and not hold on to the fleeting of time so that I will more than survive this "living death",  instead of "holding on" and grieving way too much, and ultimately becoming bitter.  I have seen BITTERNESS and it is abhorrent, it is gross.  If bitterness has overcome you in your agonies - run to the LORD! and have Him be your Helper to flee from bitterness!
*
Precious sister, if you feel numb, allow the LORD to hold you.  He is allowing the pain into our lives.  We must trust that His reasons are to draw us closer to Himself, to make us more into His image.  The numbness, although we feel afraid of it, may be a blessing He has bestowed on us to protect us from the full brunt of our agony.  He surely would not be allowing our pain unless it was for a good which we will someday know when we are with Him in glory. 

Psalm 63
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek my life to destroy it,
Will go into the depths of the earth.
They will be delivered over to the power of the sword;
They will be a prey for foxes.
But the king will rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him will glory,
For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.
*

Yes, we would love to "fast forward our pain" just like on a DVD (see Charlie Brown below), but our Great God is working in us in ways we would marvel at if we only knew. 
Let's marvel anyways.
  
I have found that I do not have to know the answers.  
I am satisfied to KNOW the LORD and that it is He who is in charge.  He is holding  me so tightly, so safely. When you are His child He holds you this way also.

Let us embrace our God as we allow Him to work in our lives, knowing all of our hope in Him is a treasure worth all our sufferings. 

The glory belongs to Him alone!
*

1 Peter 2:9-12
you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, 
so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, 
but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
*