Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Make it a new year for Him.



(12-17, 22-24)

"So, as those who have been chosen of God, 
holy and beloved, 
put on a heart of compassion, 
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 
bearing with one another, 
and forgiving each other, 
whoever has a complaint against anyone; 
just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 

Beyond all these things put on love, 
which is the perfect bond of unity. 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
to which indeed you were called in one body; 
and be thankful. 
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, 
with all wisdom 
teaching and admonishing one another 
with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 
singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 

Whatever you do in word or deed, 
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

*

Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, 
not with external service, as those who merely please men, 
but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 

Whatever you do, 
do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 
knowing that from the Lord 
you will receive the reward of the inheritance. 
It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 

*



Monday, January 1, 2018

On a mission











Thanks, Snoopy, for being out there!
----

And so, what about us?

Our Mission as His children:

1 Peter 3:8-18
"Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. 

On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 

For,  “Whoever would love life
 and see good days
 must keep their tongue from evil
 and their lips from deceitful speech.

They must turn from evil and do good;
 they must seek peace and pursue it.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
 and His ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 

"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 

But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, 
so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God..."

Glory to God!




Saturday, December 30, 2017

The first snow











MUTTS

In God's Eye's

"You are the God who sees me."           
Genesis 16:13

When I was a teenager, rushing out of the house to meet my friends, I would invariably be stopped at the door by my father who'd say, "Joni, I want you to act as though someone were always watching. Don't forget that you're an Eareckson."
  
That irked me. I didn't want someone peeking into my life, observing everything I was doing. There were private, teenage things I wanted to keep hidden. What an embarrassment to have some friend of my father's encroach on my Saturday night turf to say, "Hi there, how's your dad doing?”

But now, many years later, I'm comforted by the idea that I ought to live as though someone were always looking. It's an incentive to live an honest, responsible life. Besides, someone is watching. Your life and mine are an open book before the Lord.
  
If you love the works of darkness, that idea will embarrass you. 

If you love the light, the idea that God never takes His eyes off of you will be a comfort. 

For those who are obedient, the watchful eye of God will seem tender and protecting. 

For those who disobey, the open book of your life incites resentment and embarrassment.
  
"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" 
Hebrews 4:13
  
Fear must never be an incentive to obey, for it will only breed burdensome rule-keeping behavior. Please don't fear the watchful eye of God but draw comfort from His scrutiny into your life. Let Him protect you, let Him guard you with His eye.
  
See me, Lord, and know my every thought and action. I invite You to look into everything I do today, everything I decide or say. Watch me, please, and may Your steady and loving gaze be my incentive to love You steadily in return.

-Joni Eareckson Tada
Diamonds in the Dust, December 30


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

All was calm - for 30 minutes




















Wolverines do calm down once in a while.

This is our rowdy 8 month old little boy kitty named Wolverine.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Though He was God, He made himself nothing so that through Him we might have everything

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." 
Philippians 2:5-7

Was Jesus born in a barn?

Check out When we Understand the Text (WWUTT) to find out just what God's Word says about how Jesus came into this world.

Praise the LORD for His sacrifice for us!

-----

O holy night! the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pinning,
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

    Fall on your knees
     Oh, hear the angel voices!
    O night divine,
    O night when Christ was born!
    O night divine!
*
    He knows our need,
    To our weakness is no stranger
    Behold your King,
    Before Him lowly bend!
    Behold your King
    Before Him lowly bend!

*2nd verse omitted
     

Friday, December 15, 2017

Deal Faithfully and Delight the LORD!

It becomes easier to lie again and again when covering up a prideful life.

Proverbs 12:22
"Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
But those who deal faithfully are His delight."


Colossians 3:5-11
"Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead 
to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, 
which amounts to idolatry. 

For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will 
come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, 
when you were living in them.

But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, 
and abusive speech from your mouth. 

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self 
with its evil practices, and have put on the new self 
who is being renewed to a true knowledge according 
to the image of the One who created him— 
a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, 
circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, 
but Christ is all, and in all."

PRAISE GOD!


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Pride of Life

A prideful person needs to lie to support their pride.

1 John 2:7-17

 "Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 

On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. 

The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 
The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 

But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. 

I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.


Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever."

Christmas Kitty


A dear friend's Christmas Kitty

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sing Praise to God

Sing praise to God who reigns above, 
the God of all creation, 
the God of power, the God of love, 
the God of our salvation. 
With healing balm my soul is filled 
and every faithless murmur stilled: 
To God all praise and glory.

The Lord is never far away, 
but through all grief distressing, 
an ever present help and stay, 
our peace and joy and blessing. 
As with a mother's tender hand, 
God gently leads the chosen band: 
To God all praise and glory.

Thus all my toilsome way along, 
I sing aloud thy praises, 
that earth may hear the grateful song 
my voice unwearied raises. 
Be joyful in the Lord, my heart, 
both soul and body bear your part: 
To God all praise and glory.

Let all who name Christ's holy name 
give God all praise and glory; 
let all who own his power proclaim 
aloud the wondrous story! 
Cast each false idol from its throne, 
for Christ is Lord, and Christ alone: 
To God all praise and glory.

---Johann J. Schutz

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Different December

It has been a different December for me.  I have decorated the house with much less decor than normal -which includes no tree.  We have two kittens who wreak enough havoc without a Christmas tree and other ge-gaws to jump on, grab at, climb up, and knock off.  

Another difference this year is having my Christmas cookies already baked and delivered as of today. This is usually accomplished mid-December.

Even though things have been different there was still all the nostalgia and remembrance of all the years before from way back when I was a child to last year's memories.  

I am sentimental. I can't help it. This is me. 

I have such fond memories of my grandparents when we would drive all the way to Wisconsin to enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas with them or when they would sometimes come to Ohio to visit us.  

I remember each home, including ours, all wonderfully decorated, and the excitement of Christmas day coming.  I remember the special baking days, the special foods, all the women dressed nicely and using fancy aprons. The air was filled with Christmas music, Christmas concerts, Christmas plays, and then the special shopping days downtown with my mother, shopping in Wisconsin with my grandparents, or going with my father to the Tire store to get yearly free Christmas record.

My first year of marriage my mother allowed me to choose a handful Christmas records out of their own collection so I could begin my new traditions as my Beloved and I became a family of our own.  I still marvel at how wise she was by giving me the opportunity to leave and cleave.

So many of these joys tied us together as family. Eventually we had children of our own and continued some of the family traditions which were in place and also began new ones.

All of these memories are in my mind and come to fruition as I bake, decorate, and enjoy this precious season.

As this season commences I can't stop "here" where Jesus came into the world as a baby.  The story was in motion then and it still is.  He was to grow up among us. He came at the right time for a purpose, and then His fruition was to be our sacrifice for our owns sins.  No animal could completely free us from our sins.

Jesus' story continues as we live each day for Him until He comes again for His final victory!  Even after His victory His story will always continue as we live in glory with Him!  

The world is fallen and we continue to groan, even the creation groans.  We can't rush it, we can't save it, but we can live for Him in our own sphere of influence.  We can glorify God in our own spot by living for Him.

May you be blessed each day as you live for the LORD in His strength and His comfort as we wait in anticipation for our Savior's triumphant return!

Romans 8:18-28
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 

For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, 

with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 

and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

Glory to God!



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Do not be conformed

I have been contemplating the abuse of manipulation and control and the kinds of people who implement this in other people's lives.

UGH!  What a thing to think about!  But this subject is huge and it is real in my own life as I have had to deal with certain people.

It is difficult for me to fathom "how and why" anyone who claims the Name of Jesus in their life could be so evil in dealing with others.  

At any level of control and manipulation it is damaging, destructive, calculating, and cruel.  It is abuse.

I go through life making mistakes, hurting others, sinning, but I always know or I soon realize I am a sinner and ask forgiveness, and try to not repeat the hurt of others.

As I try to analyze the "manipulators" I have had to deal with in life, I still can not fathom the depths of evil they perpetrate on others just to get their way in life.

---

My home is "peppered" with special insignificant things.  A small maroon ottoman which was in the trash pile, silly looking ge-gaws no one desired: an elephant and giraffe, a sailboat tie-tac, a pretty pearl type necklace, little Snowwhite dolls carefully chosen, handmade airplanes made with care...

None of these things would mean anything to any one else, but what joyous memories they bring to my mind! None of these things are worth any money, and yet, they are priceless to me. Wonderful grandparents, a treasured grandma, a dear father, a precious mother, and adored children. This is why these things are valuable to me.

I love these things, but they could be destroyed, and I would still have their great value inside of me.  It is because I value each person and loved them dearly. I am so thankful to have had them in my life!

Praising the LORD for His continued grace and mercy on me!

1 Peter 1:13-16

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”


Monday, November 27, 2017

Be Thankful

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened."
Romans 1:20-21
  
What child hasn't been told a thousand times, "Now, be sure to say thank you"? It's part of good training. More than common courtesy, expressing gratitude is critical to the development of a child's character.
  
I painfully learned that lesson when, as a little girl, I failed to say "thank you" to Aunt Kitty after she gave me (under my mother's watchful eye) a charm for my bracelet. The next day I was on the telephone, rubbing my sore backside and apologizing, "Aunt Kitty, you will never know how grateful I really am."
  
It's an old story: Ingratitude carries serious penalties. Probably the oldest story is out of Romans chapter 1. It says that although men knew God, they failed to give Him thanks. And you know what happened next. God seriously punished them for their thankless hearts.
  
That should say something to you and me; because if a thankless spirit was the undoing of a generation long ago and far away, is it any different today? In fact, you know God far better than those to whom He revealed Himself through creation -- that means that you have even more to be thankful for!
  
Look around you. The blessings abound: The smiles of children, the beauty of a glorious sunset, the comfort of a warm bed at night. Small and great, there are plenty of reasons to say to God, "Thank you."
  
Lord, receive glory today through my thankful spirit. I am so grateful for who You are and what You've done. Show me more reasons today for which I can give You thanks.

From Joni Eareckson Tada, Diamonds in the Dust, November 20

Tartan Pluggers love Plaids


Friday, November 24, 2017

Thanks to God

Thanks, O God, for boundless mercy

From Thy gracious throne above

Thanks for ev’ry need provided

From the fullness of Thy love

Thanks for daily toil and labour

And for rest when shadows fall

Thanks for love of friend and neighbour

And Thy goodness unto all

Thanks for thorns as well as roses

Thanks for weakness and for health
Thanks for clouds as well as sunshine

Thanks for poverty and wealth!

Thanks for pain as well as pleasure

All Thou sendest day by day

And Thy Word our dearest treasure

Shedding light upon our way

Thanks, O God, for home and fireside

Where we share our daily bread

Thanks for hours of sweet communion

When by Thee our souls are fed!

Thanks for grace in time of sorrow

And for joy and peace in Thee

Thanks for hope today, tomorrow

And for all eternity!

-August Ludvig Storm


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Praising the LORD


Praise and Thanksgiving!


I Sing the Mighty Power of God

I sing the mighty pow’r of God, that made the mountains rise,

That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.

I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;

The moon shines full at His command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,

Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.

Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,

If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

There’s not a plant or flow’r below, but makes Thy glories known,

And clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;

While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;

And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God, art present there.

Isaac Watts


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness

“My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again;
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow’r upon my heart.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly;
Whose ev’ry promise is enough
For ev’ry step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev’ry thought is love.
For ev’ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow him.”

-Keith Getty and  Stuart Townend


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."