Monday, November 20, 2017

Traveling the beautiful Mid-West


A Time of Harvest

Genesis 1:14-19

“...Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 

God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 

There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day."

From Spring through Summer, and finishing in the Autumn we watch the crops germinate, grow, and mature.  What a beautiful process to witness.  The fields change and "fill up" while we get use to the crops as they continually grow.  When they become as tall as they will grow we become comfortable with their natural height.  There is a calmness, a comfort in seeing the fields full of mature crops.  

The roadsides are "hugged" by these crops and as we drive through the countrysides, and we fondly look across the green and then golden fields.  More than the comfort of seeing the crops is the knowing that they hold our future food, and food which also feeds the world.

With Autumn comes the harvest.  What joy to see the farm machinery busy, busy.  The days and weeks go by as the crops are continually harvested. 

At first the excitement of the harvest is on my mind.  As the weeks fly by each and every field is harvested until it is hard to find one which is still waiting its turn.  This is when I begin to think how empty the fields are.  There is a loneliness in the landscapes.  I loved those crops all grown and mature.  They had become a comfort to me like a warm blanket on a cool night.  I find myself thinking of the cold winter about to come upon us.

Winter is also a beautiful time so I mustn't get caught up with the normal "chatter"of how horrible the temperature is or the snow and ice.  Winter weather and winter time has its own comforts and happy memories.

Praising the LORD for the seasons!

Ecclesiastes 3
"There is an appointed time for everything. 
And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill and a time to heal;

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.

A time to search and a time to give up as lost;

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.


A time to love and a time to hate;

A time for war and a time for peace."


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Joy is a choice



In the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy

"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."

Psalm 63
*


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The LORD is with those who love Him

No Escape

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there."          
Psalm 139:7-8
  
There's hardly a soul who hasn't wrestled with the overwhelming urge to flee when faced with suffering. Whether it be from bad health, bad finances, or bad relationships, people -- even Christians -- search for an escape. Escape into daydreams. Escape into sleep. Escape into television. And a few even escape into suicide. Sometimes the strongest and most stalwart of saints are the most likely candidates.

Even a powerful prophet such as Elijah tried to escape his suffering. When the wicked queen Jezebel heard through the grapevine that Elijah had destroyed hundreds of her prophets, she went after his neck. Elijah got weak-kneed and ran for his life. "I have had enough, Lord," he said. "Take my life..." Read it for yourself in 1 Kings 19:1-9.
  
Circumstances may vary from person to person, but we can draw comfort from the fact that all of us are as vulnerable as Elijah. And if you look closer at how this mighty prophet surfaced out of his despair, you'll see that God Himself took Elijah in His arms and wiped away his tears.

The lesson of Elijah is for you. Just as surely as the angel of the Lord personally gave the prophet a sip of cool water and laid him down to rest, the Lord touches your life through the people He places around you. Elijah was able to turn the corner and get back on the track, thanks to God. And you can, too.
  
Lord, if I go up to the heavens, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn and settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me and Your right hand will hold me fast. There's no way I can escape Your love...I praise you for that!

—Joni
Diamonds in the Dust, October 31


Monday, October 30, 2017

He is there, and in the darkest of times...

2 Corinthians 12:9 "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.

"One of the great challenges in life is that of maintaining grace during times of temptation and trials.  The human spirit is prone to exasperation and despair.  It can be difficult to see the help God provides us in times of struggle when our eyes are clouded over with the pain of the moment.  It is real faith that recognizes the activity of the concerned Savior even though His work may not be seen clearly for a time and even if His presence may not be greatly felt.  He is there, and in the darkest of times He is actively involved in our struggles."

L. Edward Hazelbaker, footnote John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress,” Chapter 5.


"Thrillsville"











































Honoring Charles Schulz

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Broken Hearts


"There is no shame in a heart that is broken."

This world is fallen and it surely seems that evil is not just at our doorsteps, but far past them. 

If you are grieving at all, you are not alone.  There seems no way to distance ourselves from the agonies of life, in fact, the agonies continue to build.

If your heart is broken, run to Him with me.  The LORD is our strength, and He is our comfort in this fallen world.  

All of our hope should be in Him!

Romans 15:13
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

1 Peter 1:3-9
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again 
to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  
to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled 
and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 
who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation 
ready to be revealed in the last time. 

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, 
if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 
so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold 
which is perishable, even though tested by fire, 
may be found to result in praise and glory 
and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 
and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, 
and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, 
you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 
obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls."

Psalm 40:1-3
"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."

Monday, October 23, 2017

A "Just for fun Harvest"




















Well, I sure am thankful for grocery stores and farm stands. We have a difficult time getting good harvests.  It must be like my baking.  I use to bake and make marvelous things, but now I have to watch everything I do, and still, I have what I would call "failures".

So this year we had a small garden in a new area with more sun.  I planted fewer vegetables and thought with less, I could really do well.  So the Beef Steak tomatoes did horrible, the cherry tomatoes did all right, good brussels sprout harvest with the pumpkins surpassing every year we have grown them, and I grew them just for the fun of it to them give away! 

As a side note, we had no apples, no raspberries, and very few strawberries. It was a strange year.

I read a devotional years ago which I should have saved because I refer to it many times when encouraging women.  I think the title was, "Peaches or Pumpkins", and the encouragement was the fact that our great God is with us, He cares for us, and He takes care of us.  

The illustration in this devotional was a farmer and his family where one crop may do well, while the other crops may not. You may end up with a great peach crop or it just might be the pumpkin crop---still, the LORD is with you and takes care of you. 

We may not have needed to eat our pumpkins, but the LORD allowed us to be able to bless many people in our lives with beautiful pumpkins.  It was a joy to pass them around! 

Praising the LORD!

Psalm 20:7
"Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God."

















Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Humble yourself as a child before the LORD




















Matthew 18:1-6

"...the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 
And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 
and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 
Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 
And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

He saved us according to His mercy

Recently we were attending a wedding rehearsal with the wedding the next day. 

The man conducting the service is a reverend whose business is to arrange the whole ceremony.  Along with this he uses a traditional Christian wedding service including the LORD's and Jesus name.  This was the second time we have seen him at work in 3 years. Although serious, he was a polite, happy person with a sense of humor as he interacted with people.

It is quite interesting to watch him interact with the wedding party at the rehearsal as he explained proper ways for the groomsmen to treat the bridesmaid he is ushering her down the isle, how the groom is to treat his bride as a treasure on her special day, and how the bride is to honor her husband to be that day. It was done very well.

He explained love, respect, and honor further with the bride and groom during his service the next day. It was very well done. 

When we saw him years ago and recently, I was struck by how this man is trying to teach simple manners to these young people who have been neglected by the teachings of just proper behavior and etiquette.

Obviously, the wedding couple chose this man to do their service for a reason.  They could have chosen anyone else who would have just let every thing "go", but they chose this man. To their credit their behavior was respectful to him and to the others on both days.

My shock was how the wedding party behaved.  All were adults by age, probably towards thirty. At the rehearsal these 16 people were boisterous, barely paying attention, the women mocking "how to behave" while walking with their groomsmen...

The day of the wedding these 16, who had already been drinking, behaved rudely as they waited to walk own the isle.  What a sad commentary on beautifully dressed young people, seemingly ugly on the inside, definitely lacking the teaching of manners, who could have learned a little bit of a lesson from this preacher man if they had chosen to do so.   

The rest of the ceremony seemed to be uneventful, thankfully. We left before the party began.

By their behavior I could wonder that these people did not have Jesus as their Savior and so we can grieve for them. Even so, I do believe that the teaching of simple manners is history for most of our culture.

As for those of us who have given our lives to Jesus who is now our Savior, we have the power to overcome sinfulness and behave properly with others. Praise the LORD!

Titus 3:1-7
"Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 
to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 
whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 
so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." 


Silly Kitties











MUTTS

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Our hope is in Him no matter how long it takes

A Long Obedience

by Joni Erickson Tada

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."          
Galatians 6:9
  
When Ken and I drive north from Los Angeles to visit his relatives in Stockton, we take the interstate highway, a long, straight road through the central valley of California. Once when we were driving through Illinois, we took another long highway straight through miles and miles of cornfields. And once when I drove across Texas, I squinted to see the horizon many miles far down another long, flat road across the Texas plains.
  
When I think of the word boring, I think of those highways. One straight stretch in the same direction. No matter if it's a road, someone's two-hour lecture, or waiting in a line that stretches for blocks, it's hard not to become weary. It's hard just keeping your mind awake, your senses sharp, and your eyes focused on what's ahead.
  
We balk at developing a long obedience in the same direction. A marriage that is forever struggling, a church that seems to produce little results, or housekeeping routines that never vary from week to week. Caring for an elderly parent or a disabled child can be a long obedience in the same direction.
  
If I've described you, then you need to pay attention to the grace of God, finding daily renewal from His storehouse of fresh strength and hope. 

So be alert and be on guard. 

If you're tempted to feel that your life is like a long, boring stretch of highway, don't you dare fall asleep at the wheel! 

Don't be weary in doing good, because your heavenly destination will be worth the long obedience.
  
Please, Lord, give me Your grace today. Help me not to become weary at what needs to be done. Help me to obey!

Diamonds in the Dust
October 5


Sunday, October 1, 2017

For the LORD's child: we are all His rare gems!





























1 John 3:1-3
"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."


1 John 5:1-4
"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. 
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.


Monday, September 25, 2017

Motherhood is love




"The only explanation 
for the unselfishness, 
sacrifice, 
loyalty, 
and tenderness of 
motherhood 
is love."

Leroy Brownlow
from "Flowers for Mother"
*


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Attributes

Be tender with the young,  
compassionate with the aged,  
tolerant of the weak,
because someday in your life 
you will be all of these.
~George Washington Carver~

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sin runs rampant in the prideful

Luke 18:9-14
"And [Jesus] also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 
I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 

But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 

I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
-----------------------------------------------

I have lived and seen sin running rampant in prideful people.  I think they truly believe they are righteous before God.  

I think they may even believe that God is lucky to have them:

"They see what we have, and they want to be like us."

Pride is an ugly thing.  To watch it play out with no stops is gross. To fathom the years which fly by as their true mounting sins seemingly get a "pass" from the LORD is almost agony to behold --- until I remember that the LORD is a righteous and just God.

My desire it to know they repent before the LORD!  The LORD will hold them accountable, in fact, He is holding them accountable right now. It is not for me to know, and it is for this that I struggle.  

There are consequences to pride.

Proverbs 11:2
"When pride comes, then comes dishonor,
But with the humble is wisdom."

Proverbs 13:10 
(NIV)
"Where there is strife, there is pride,
    but wisdom is found in those who take advice."

(NAS)
"Through insolence comes nothing but strife,
But wisdom is with those who receive counsel."

Proverbs 16:5
"Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
Assuredly, he will not be unpunished."

Proverbs 16:18
"Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling."

Proverbs 18:12
"Before destruction the heart of man is haughty,
But humility goes before honor."

Proverbs 26:12
(NAS)
"Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him."

(KJV)
"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? 
there is more hope of a fool than of him."

Proverbs 29:23
"A man’s pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor."

Galatians 6:3
"For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, 
he deceives himself."

Heed the LORD while it is still today:

Galatians 6:1-10
"Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, 
you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; 
each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 

For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 

But each one must examine his own work, 
and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, 
and not in regard to another. 

For each one will bear his own load.


The one who is taught the word is to share 
all good things with the one who teaches him. 

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; 
for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, 
but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time 
we will reap if we do not grow weary. 

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, 
and especially to those who are of the household of the faith."


Pride has captured them





























Legalism:
We must always be so careful not to have any sins.  

PRIDE will capture us.  

This has been an interesting meme; 
Pride thrives on the decay of other sins
—i.e. the less of other sins you have, the more pride you have.




Monday, September 11, 2017

I don't understand it

I actually don't know why I find such comfort in so many Peanut's comics. It must be my nostalgia or just the connection I have had my whole life with Charles Shultz's ways of communicating simple concepts through his work. I am just thankful for them.  

Lately this fallen world has overwhelmed me.  The curse, although conquered by Jesus sacrifice, will be a shadow over us here as the groaning of the creation continues until His return.  Death, of course, has been in the forefront of my thoughts.  It has been the suffering and death of a precious pet, to the suffering and death of a precious, treasured, elderly Christian brother, and now a precious elderly Christian sister.

We as Believers know that this world is not our home. Those of us who trust Jesus as our Savior with our whole being, already are citizens of Heaven. 

Philippians 3:20
"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself."  

Until Jesus second coming and the culmination of all His works on our behalf, this is where we are.  We live in this world as it groans.  We cry out to God for His comfort and His strength and He mercifully showers us with His wisdom, and helps us to continue even in our sorrows.

Mostly, I can say the LORD "shields" us somehow from the brunt of our constant pain so we can continue to live "even through tears."  We find His joy, we choose to reach out, choose to smile, choose to love others in many ways while we glorify His name.  

Praises to Him for His great mercies! 

Sometimes, though, I am so overwhelmed by all my own agonies. I find myself thinking and sometimes saying to my Beloved, 

"I don't understand it"

How can we understand when all we've know is thrown away?  When all reason is thrown away?  When all we have had in our grasp has been taken from us?

This world is not our home.  

These things which we do not understand, these things which we have observed to become utter chaos, and these things which should never have happened, we can choose to give them to the LORD even if we can never "understand it".  

There can be a great comfort in giving our unexplainable sufferings to Him if we choose to allow this pain to be "held lightly" by ourselves.

*What I mean by "Held Lightly":  I say this not flippantly, but because I know that some agonies will always be deep inside of us. We are human and suffer human losses.  We can not pretend that these losses have not happened, this would be unhealthy.  We can "hold them lightly" as we allow the LORD to comfort us.  He understands our great sorrows and takes them somehow- even if we still feel the sting of the pain- somehow He shields the brunt of it all so we can go on and "do next things" for Him.

If you live in the chaos which others have made, or perhaps you have such agonies in your life that you seemingly can not function well, you can know that our great Almighty God knows your struggles. He is the One and Only God.  He made heaven and earth and all that is in it.

Jesus came to conquer sin as our one and only sacrifice, and He did so at the cross. At His Resurrection He conquered death.  Now we wait for the LORD who has His plans made for when Jesus will return His second time.  This second time Jesus will completely destroy the enemy, and take us to be in the presence of the LORD.  No more pain, no more sufferings.

The LORD allows us to know these things in His Word. We can find great comfort in knowing that He is still in charge no matter what comes.  

Sisters in Christ---Rest in Him knowing that when you are His child you are safe as can be no matter where you are in your pain and sufferings.  He is with you, holding you, comforting you, encouraging you to trust Him more and more with every aspect of your lives.

Habakuk 3:16-19
"I heard and my inward parts trembled,
At the sound my lips quivered.
Decay enters my bones,
And in my place I tremble.
Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress,
For the people to arise who will invade us.

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places."


All mothers work



"Any mother could perform the jobs 
of several air traffic controllers with ease."

--Lis Alther
*

Sunday, September 10, 2017

3 A. M. thinking








Philippians 4:6-7
"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 4:8
"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."

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart

And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He will make your paths straight."


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Life is a mist

You cannot do a kindness too soon 
-for you never know how soon it will be too late.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

James 4:14
"you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. 
What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little
while and then vanishes."


Friday, September 8, 2017

Be like Bill

I like Bill :o)

Be like Bill.  

Acts 17:11-12
"Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character 
than those in Thessalonica, 
for they received the message with great eagerness 
and examined the Scriptures every day to see 
if what Paul said was true.
As a result, many of them believed, 
as did also a number of prominent Greek women 
and many Greek men."


A Mother's heart is always for her children







































"Love...had a strange way of multiplying.  

Doubling. 

Trebling itself, 

so that, as each child arrived, 

there was always more than enough to go around."

-Rosamunde Pilcher