Wednesday, November 30, 2011

God's Silence

Silence can be deafening especially when you are waiting on the LORD.

In times of silence, God is preparing His best.

In times of silence.....while you are waiting on the LORD~~~perhaps in agony...God is preparing His best.

In times of silence, God is preparing His best...which He does in private and someday you will see it also.

In times of silence, God is preparing His best...sometimes He pulls back the curtain and allows you to see just a bit and this gives you hope.

In times of silence, God is preparing His best...even when all you hear is...silence. 

In times of silence....continue to run to God while...God is preparing His best.

Psalm 56:3
"When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust: I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?"

Psalm 56:13
"For You have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life."

With great love and thanks to you, Charlotte. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

"It was a Fragile Facade"

How the LORD must grieve over how we tend to twist God's Word to suit our own desires. 

LORD, have mercy on us...

Over on Recovering Grace, November 21, 2011, "Keeping up With Appearances" sounds like an all too familiar a story of control and manipulation of people~~~ mainly children - children in homes of Christian parents using the LORD's name to spiritually abuse their children of any age as a way of controlling their "holiness".  One poignant statement of the writer, Kristiana, concerning the all consuming "job" of making their lives appear to be perfect was:  "It was a fragile facade." 

Personally knowing people who sound very much like Kristiana's family, I can totally understand this statement.  Appearances are everything to people who live by law and not by God's grace, so the facade is always on the edge of falling apart when a least one person is balking at the "rules".  It is not an easy life when you are always "in trouble" with the leader.

Bill Gothard's teachings are not the only ones twisting God's Words to suit the leader; all it takes is one person who wants to control and manipulate others who follow them.

The LORD is our God of recovery!  We can overcome the pain we have endured or are enduring.  Run to Him if you are in pain of any kind.  He will be your hiding place of recovery in Him, and you will be able to sing songs of deliverance!

Psalm 32:7
"You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance."

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Beauty of Grace

From Joni's Devotional, Diamonds in the Dust, April 17:

Ephesians 4:7
"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it."

Grace is what beauty looks like when it moves.  God's grace is what He looks like when He moves, acting out His will through us.

Those on whom God's grace rests are truly...gracious.  They are truly beautiful.  The cerebral-palsied young man who smiles despite a dreay existence in a nursing home.  The elderly woman who always seems to think of others rather than her aches and pains.  The mother of two toddlers who is happy to baby-sit the neighbor's little boy.  The pastor and his wife who take in a homeless couple for a week while they look for lodging.  These people shine with a hint of glory.  They shine because of God's grace.

Grace is God's energy, all bright, beautiful, and full of power.   And grace is most beautiful when God is moving through us to touch the lives of others who hurt.

Grace binds you with far stronger cords
than the cords of duty or obligation can bind you.
Grace is free, but when once you take it,
you are bound forever to the Giver and bound to
catch the spirit of the Giver.  Like produces like.
Grace makes you gracious, the Giver makes you give."
E. Stanley Jones: Draper, Edythe, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christain World, Tyndale House Pub., Inc., Wheaton, Ill., 1992, p. 282.

Do you desire to be gracious?   Christ apportions grace.   First, a small measure in accordance with your faith, which may be small.  But then, like morning sun dawning, your faith grows and grace fills you with its full and excellent brightness.

God of grace, I long to be beautiful in You, I long to be gracious to others.   May Your beauty shine through me today as I move in Your will.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Who's the lucky one??

by Charles Schultz

Although I will agree with Snoopy that he is lucky,
biblically we are the ones who are more than lucky!
We are so blessed to have the opportunity to choose
to trust in the One and Only Almighty God who is full
of love and compassion for His people that He would
send His only Son to be our sacrifice for our sins. 

The LORD is not only compassionate for us one time, but
for all the times we sin and come to Him in repentance.
Praise the LORD, O my soul!

Psalm 103
"Praise the LORD, O my soul; 
all my inmost being, praise His holy name. 
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all His Benefits---
who forgives all your sins and heals all  your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known His ways to Moses,
His deeds to the people of Israel:

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will He harbor His anger forever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His love for those who fear Him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him;
for He knows how we are formed,
He remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD's love is with those who fear Him,
and His righteousness with their children's children---
with those who keep His covenant
and remember to obey His precepts.

The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
 and His kingdom rules over all.

Praise the LORD, you His angels,
you mighty ones who do His bidding,
who obey His word.
Praise the LORD, all His heavenly hosts,
you His servants who do His will.
Praise the LORD, all His works everywhere in His dominion.
Praise the LORD, O my soul."

Monday, November 14, 2011

by Charles Schultz

Made in America!

I was out cleaning our heated bird bath early this morning.  It was decades ago when we began heating the water for the birds all winter.  It has been well worth it for the joy of seeing them come and use it and then visit our feeders.

Our temperatures have gone up to the 50's during the day again.  The wind yesterday blew all of our leaves somewhere so the lawn is green.  As I walked outside to clean the bath I was enjoying the crisp air and the green yard when I saw it.

A real live, made in America Ladybug.  You know the ones.  The tiny red oval with black spots that used to be so plentiful here and now we rarely see them.  I actually do not know if they originated from America, and I do not know the "why" of where they have gone.  Is it because of pesticides?  The invasion of the bigger, "bitey", orange Asian “ladybug”?,  or some other reason?

All I know is that little red ladybug gave me such joy this morning.  It was the Joy of the LORD that was bursting out of me!  After a tough week of capturing my thoughts to Him and struggling with "life," He has continued to shower me with His mercies, and this little bug was one of His mercies.

Praising the LORD with you for His creation! 

Praising the LORD with you for His continual mercies!

Psalm 146:1-2
"Praise the LORD!  Praise the LORD, O my soul!  I will praise the LORD while I live;  I will sing praises to my God while I have my being."

A Real Man vs a Boy

This statement speaks volumes. 

Dear women, be encouraged to wait for a gentleman, counsel other women to wait for a gentleman, counsel your daughters and granddaughters to wait for a gentleman.

If you are married to a boy then draw near to God every moment of every day and pray.  Let God do the work in that boy.  He is the One and Only who can do far more than we can imagine.

Ephesians 3:20-21
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." 

Your job is to glorify the LORD.  You can not make your boy choose to be a man.  

You can glorify God, live for Him, and do next things for Him while you pray and give your boy to God.

1Peter 3:1-6
"...they (husbands) may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives...your beauty should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight..." 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

1 Corinthians 13 for Real

Please enjoy this incredible post from November 9, 2011 by A Gentle Mother.

If I could only be like her

I was inspired to write the following article after a struggle I had had in my own life. The Lord brought a woman into my life whom I quickly began to place in a higher place and thus began the compare game. Thankfully it did not go on for long and the Lord dealt ever so gently with my heart. This woman is now one of the best friends I have ever had!! The Lord has used her in my life to help me through intense healing that needed to take place in my life. I am thankful Iwas able to go from “If I could only be like her” to “I look forward to walking this life together and helping eachother grow in the Lord!”
We all know her. She is the woman who has it all together. She has the love of 1 Corinthians 13 down pat and she never falters. She always smiles at her husband and is his constant encouragement. She is gentle and kind and practices unwavering patience with her children.
And when difficult times come? She never doubts or even dares to question the Lord. Her faith stays strong and steady. We can almost bet on it that her home is orderly and constantly peaceful. She never reaches her limit.
And her children!! So polite and helpful are the older ones, and the little ones so obedient and cheerful! Her husband adores her and is never cross at her. He must make a sufficient living, too, so they never go without.
We think about her, watch her and are amazed, but after a while of doing so we grow discouraged. “I can never be like her,” we say. “What is wrong with me to be lacking all of that in my life?” We compare. We grow frustrated and we may even begin to judge her. We may even go as far as deciding we do not like “little miss perfect”. Yes, jealousy is usually the root that begins to grow deep in this soil here.
But what if…just what if she was able to ask us if she could come off of the pedestal, please. Afterall, she did not place herself there, we did. What if she could tell us that she does not have it all together and though she does long to live 1 Corinthians 13 out in every area of her life, she will never perfect it this side of Heaven. She will not stop trying, but she grows discouraged too.
What if we knew she scowled at her husband this morning, after her short night’s sleep and hardly feels strong enough to encourage him to face his giants for the day. She is not always gentle, does not always want to be kind and her patience does run thinner than thin at times, just as our own.
When difficult times come, she is not exempt from the grief process that the rest of us feel. She trusts, but she struggles.
Order and peace do not always reign. She strives for this, but does not always succeed, and she wants to be free in us knowing this.
Her children are not perfect and she wants us to be fair in allowing them to be as they are, where they are at, without any pressures to perform.
Sometimes her husband’s smile fades and caves under intense pressures. Sometimes he struggles to provide.
She really wants us to know these things. She doesn’t want us to long to be like her, but to love her and to walk this life’s journey beside her. She wants us to know she does try. She does CHOOSE God’s strength and His joy, but none of it comes easily.
She doesn’t want to be put up in a higher place in view of others, or to be compared with others any more than we would.

And who knows? Who knows that if we can let all of this go we might just find the friend we were always waiting for.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The simple gift of a little emerald, green bottle.

It was a beautiful spring day in town at a friend's home.  We were just a few moms who educated at home with our children for a time together.  The others had mostly boys with my son being the oldest.  He enjoyed these times with all the guys and they enjoyed him as they looked up to him. It was a joy to see and hear their fun throughout that morning.

Although this was in town, it was an old neighborhood and the backyard connected to a big park.  Soon enough all the boys were bustling around the house eating snacks before they headed out to the wide open spaces of the park.  This filled the morning and soon enough it was time to go home.  As the boys straggled in we smiled at their sweaty, dirty bodies and were thankful for their fellowship time.

After all the "good-byes" my son came over to me before we got into the car.  He showed me the treasures he had found in the stream where the boys played.  An old Coke bottle and a very small bottle with a tiny, stream pebble caught in it for all time.  I congratulated him for his find.  He told me that they were both for me and then with his big, beautiful smile he said he had saved the best for last.

He then opened his hand and passed me his best treasure.  It was a little emerald-green bottle.  This almost-grown child knew the simple joys of his mother, and he had blessed me with a priceless gift. It was not only the gift itself, but the thought of how he found it, washed it, and planned to present it to me as his greatest treasure. 

I'll never forget that day as it is precious in my memory as I handle this little green bottle this morning.  It was only a small, glass Excedrin bottle, but worth more than gold to me.  I keep it by my window sill and see it every day.  It holds air mostly as the light shines through, but has its moments with tiny forget-me-nots, wood violets, and just yesterday the very last miniature rose bud before our first snow today.

Thank you , LORD, for simple gifts.

Psalm 16:5-8
"The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;  You support my lot.  The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;  Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.  I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;  Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.  I have set the LORD continually before me;  Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Owney the Postal Dog

Owney was apparently some sort of terrier mix

Just before the beginning of the last century, Albany was known all around the world. Because of a dog.

Owney was a stray dog who wandered into the Albany, New York, post office in 1888. The clerks let him stay the night, and he fell asleep on a pile of empty mailbags. Owney was attracted to the texture or scent of the mailbags and began to follow them, first onto mail wagons and then onto mail trains. Owney began to ride with the bags on Railway Post Office (RPO) train cars across the state, and then the country. The RPO clerks adopted Owney as their unofficial mascot, marking his travels by placing medals and tags from his stops on his collar.

Owney accumulated so many medals that they started to weigh down his neck. The Postmaster General heard about this problem and ordered a special vest be made so that Owney could wear his medals and still get around.

In 1895, Owney was sent on a trip around the world -- in part via registered mail (classification: "Registered Dog Package") -- and made it back in a little more than four months, a feat which was front page news.

The New York Times described Owney as "[not] a handsome dog, but he has excellent qualities, and is kindly and intelligent."

A childrens book of Owney

July 27, 2011 the U.S. Postal System offered a stamp honoring Owney in a Forever stamp.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Justified by faith!

by Charles Schultz

We can't help but love Snoopy.  Charles Schultz gave us such joy in his using this special dog in his comics.

I know my existence is justified. 
1 Peter 2:21
"For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps."

Ephesians 2:10
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."

Romans 5:1-5
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand;  and we exult in hope of the glory of God.  And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

Your Special Purpose, 11-1-11, on Winging it by Stan

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Resist the devil

Life is tough, but do not lose heart in doing next things for Him.

Galations 6:9
"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."

1 Peter 5:6-9
"...But resist the devil, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world."

The LORD sees you. He hears you.  You have not been forgotten.  Stay your course, always seeking His face!  Glorify God!

Lovingkindnesses and Compassions

"The LORD's lovingkindnesses
indeed never cease,
For His compassions
never fail."
Lamentations 3:22

Can you fathom this? 

I keep thinking and thinking on this scripture and it boggles my mind.  As Christians we can show lovingkindnessses and we can show great compassions, but in our humanness we fail.  If we have been hurt or betrayed, it can be very difficult to forgive, much less show compassion or lovingkindness.

But God---

He can do this.  We can commit terrible sins and finally come to Him in repentance.   He is able to truly forgive us and then He promises to remember our sins no more, never bringing them up to us again.  He can then shower us with His grace and mercy so He is able to show great compassions and lovingkindnesses without begrudging us.

Gentle ladies, let's be open to learn from our great teacher, the LORD God Almighty, so we can be molded into His image in the opportunities we have to show forgiveness, lovingkindness, and compassion.  In this we will glorify God, and even the angels will marvel.