Monday, July 2, 2018

Love beyond degree

Alas! and did my Savior bleed

And did my Sov’reign die?

Would He devote that sacred head

For such a worm as I?

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,

And the burden of my heart rolled away,

It was there by faith I received my sight,

And now I am happy all the day!

Was it for crimes that I had done

He groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,

And the burden of my heart rolled away,

It was there by faith I received my sight,

And now I am happy all the day!

Well might the sun in darkness hide

And shut his glories in,

When Christ, the mighty Maker died,

For man the creature’s sin.

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,

And the burden of my heart rolled away,

It was there by faith I received my sight,

And now I am happy all the day!

Thus might I hide my blushing face

While His dear cross appears,

Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,

And melt my eyes to tears.

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,

And the burden of my heart rolled away,

It was there by faith I received my sight,

And now I am happy all the day!

But drops of grief can ne’er repay

The debt of love I owe:

Here, Lord, I give myself away,

’Tis all that I can do.

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,

And the burden of my heart rolled away,

It was there by faith I received my sight,

And now I am happy all the day!

I do believe, I do believe
That Jesus died for me;
And through His blood, His precious blood
I am from sin set free.

--Isaac Watts: hymn
--Ralph Hudson: refrain
--Unknown: camp refrain

Thursday, June 21, 2018

He paid for our sin

“Man of Sorrows!” what a name

For the Son of God, who came

Ruined sinners to reclaim.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood;

Sealed my pardon with His blood.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;

Spotless Lamb of God was He;

“Full atonement!” can it be?

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;

“It is finished!” was His cry;

Now in Heav’n exalted high.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King

All His ransomed home to bring,

Then anew His song we’ll sing:

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

--Philip P. Bliss

See, Hymns that Preach, Ralph M.Petersen


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Kindness is free!

I have heard this sentence recently, and it was significant to me.  

Kindness should be one of the normal things we do in life. We are all sinners, but one of our normal instincts should be to be kind. Unfortunately, this is far from reality.  

Kindness is far from some people's minds as we treat our peers, parents, teachers, co-workers, and strangers unkindly. We live in a culture, in a world which has become more and more cut-throat.  It has become all about "me" and this is all which matters to so many people. We tend to think that life is all about us, who cares who we hurt to get what we desire.

In my life I have discovered that certain Christians can also be the meanest people out there.  Many are stuck on themselves, believing they are more holy than all others.  They live to take whatever they want from others, giving only emotional, and spiritual wounds back. Control and manipulation is their forte, and their selfish lives continue on as they live unkindly to all those with whom they interact.

Selfishness, meanness, cruelty is not what the LORD desires from us.  We are to be holy as He is holy.  Holiness means being set apart, sanctified for the LORD.  

So as Believers let's be set apart, holy, as God is holy.  We need to follow the LORD's ways in love as we live out our lives for Him, not living selfishly for ourselves as so many people do.

1 John 4:7-21

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; 
and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent 
His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live 
through Him.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us 
and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 

No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, 
God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 

By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, 
because He has given us of His Spirit. 

We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son 
to be the Savior of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, 
God abides in him, and he in God. 

We have come to know and have believed the love 
which God has for us. God is love, and the one who 
abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 

By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have 
confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, 
so also are we in this world. 

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, 
because fear involves punishment, and the one 
who fears is not perfected in love. 

We love, because He first loved us. 

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, 
he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother 
whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 

And this commandment we have from Him, 
that the one who loves God should love his brother also."

We must be vigilant!  Do not put yourself up on a pedestal thinking you are the highway to holiness! Seek the LORD's face in His truth, humble yourself before our mighty God! 

Be humble, be kind.

Kindness is free!



Monday, June 18, 2018

Picture book, Green Eyes, by A. Birnbaum






































Here is another sweet picture book to share with young ones.  The beautiful, simple illustrations from this book written in 1953 recounts a little kitten's life while going through the seasons.

The little kitten, Green Eyes, first remembers being in a big box in which he eventually can climb out to discover the world around him.  He then discovers each wonderful season until he is one year old and loved by his family as another year begins for him. It is a delightful story!


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away to the mountains and be at rest!























Psalm 55:1-14, 16-23

"Give ear to my prayer, O God;

And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.

Give heed to me and answer me;

I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted,

Because of the voice of the enemy,

Because of the pressure of the wicked;

For they bring down trouble upon me

And in anger they bear a grudge against me.

My heart is in anguish within me,

And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Fear and trembling come upon me,
And horror has overwhelmed me.

I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!

I would fly away and be at rest.

“Behold, I would wander far away,

I would lodge in the wilderness. 
“I would hasten to my place of refuge
From the stormy wind and tempest.”

Confuse, O Lord, divide their tongues,

For I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Day and night they go around her upon her walls,

And iniquity and mischief are in her midst.

Destruction is in her midst;

Oppression and deceit do not depart from her streets.

For it is not an enemy who reproaches me,

Then I could bear it;

Nor is it one who hates me 
who has exalted himself against me,
Then I could hide myself from him.

But it is you, a man my equal,

My companion and my familiar friend;

We who had sweet fellowship together

Walked in the house of God in the throng.

As for me, I shall call upon God,

And the Lord will save me.

Evening and morning and at noon, 
I will complain and murmur,

And He will hear my voice.

He will redeem my soul in peace 
from the battle which is against me,
For they are many who strive with me.

God will hear and answer them—

Even the one who sits enthroned from of old—
With whom there is no change,

And who do not fear God.

He has put forth his hands 
against those who were at peace with him;

He has violated his covenant.

His speech was smoother than butter,

But his heart was war;

His words were softer than oil,
Yet they were drawn swords.

Cast your burden upon the Lord 
and He will sustain you;

He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

But You, O God, 
will bring them down to the pit of destruction;

Men of bloodshed and deceit 
will not live out half their days.

But I will trust in You."

Glory to Your Name! I trust in You no matter what comes.
*


Friday, June 15, 2018

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"Red Flags": contemplate with whom you are involved












































Seek the LORD while He can be found!

Psalm 17:8-9
"Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of Your wings
from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
    from my mortal enemies who surround me."


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Remembering with grateful hearts









Thankful to the LORD for His mighty hand in the outcome of WW2, and for our freedom in Him-- which was paid with a price, Jesus' sacrifice!

Thankful for our freedoms in this country, bought with a  price by all those who have served and continue to serve.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
"do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit 
who is in you, whom you have from God, 
and that you are not your own? 
For you have been bought with a price:
therefore glorify God in your body."


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Grace abounds all the more!

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,

Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!

Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,

There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,

Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,

Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;

What can we do to wash it away?

Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,

Brighter than snow you may be today.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,

Freely bestowed on all who believe!

You that are longing to see His face,

Will you this moment His grace receive?

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

--Julia H. Johnston
*

Romans 5:20-21
"The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; 
but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign 
through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
*

Friday, June 1, 2018

Walk in Love

“God is love” 

His children please Him only so far as they are like Him, and “walk in love” 

--Robert C. Chapman


1 John 4:16
"We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. 
God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, 
and God abides in him."

Ephesians 5:2
"walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, 
an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."


Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Light of the World is Jesus

The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin,

The Light of the world is Jesus!

Like sunshine at noonday, 
His glory shone in;

The Light of the world is Jesus!

Come to the light, 
’tis shining for thee;

Sweetly the light has dawned upon me;

Once I was blind, 
but now I can see:

The Light of the world is Jesus!

No darkness have we who in Jesus abide;

The Light of the world is Jesus!

We walk in the light when we follow our Guide!

The Light of the world is Jesus!

Come to the light, 
’tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me;
Once I was blind, 
but now I can see:
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Ye dwellers in darkness with sin-blinded eyes,

The Light of the world is Jesus!

Go, wash at His bidding, 
and light will arise;

The Light of the world is Jesus!

Come to the light, 
’tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me;
Once I was blind, 
but now I can see:
The Light of the world is Jesus!

No need of the sunlight in Heaven we’re told;

The Light of the world is Jesus!

The Lamb is the Light in the city of gold,

The Light of the world is Jesus!

--Philip P. Bliss




Friday, May 25, 2018

We walk by faith, not by sight

Oh, LORD, I miss her.  I still struggle with “why” she didn’t share with me. We had always spoken about every aspect of life—- every joy and every agony——nothing was ever held back between us.

She was so very dear to me, so precious, a gift from God.  As she slipped away I longed for her to talk with me about it.  The sadness to leave, but the joy to go and see Jesus! —-no longer experience pain, no sadnesses, but only gain because of Him!

Faithful to me to the end she loved me, she rallied to be “up” and act like she was “fine".  She obviously wanted to protect me from grief before its time—-and so I allowed this for her.  At first I tried to bring her situation up in conversations so we could talk about it. I wanted to share with her how much I loved her, how much I would miss her, how we would meet again, and what joy it would be! But she wanted to love me and protect me in her own way---so I let her do so.

This precious woman loved me as a treasured daughter.  My “other mother” she would say, a true friend and a dear sister in Jesus.

Oh, LORD, I miss her. Praising You for weaving her into my life!

All my hope is in You, my precious Savior!

Philippians 1:21-26
"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 
But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; 
and I do not know which to choose. 
But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart 
and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 
yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 
Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all 
for your progress and joy in the faith, 
so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus 
through my coming to you again."

2 Corinthians 5:1-10
"For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, 
we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens. 
For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our 
dwelling from heaven, 
inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 
For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because 
we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal 
will be swallowed up by life.
Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us 
the Spirit as a pledge.

Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are 
at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 
for we walk by faith, not by sight—
we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the 
body and to be at home with the Lord. 
Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, 
to be pleasing to Him. 
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each 
one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he 
has done, whether good or bad.



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."