Thursday, February 28, 2013

Continue to draw closer to the LORD in His truth


Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret
because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.

But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
The wicked plots against the righteous
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees his day is coming.
The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow
To cast down the afflicted and the needy,
To slay those who are upright in conduct.
Their sword will enter their own heart,
And their bows will be broken.
Better is the little of the righteous
Than the abundance of many wicked.
For the arms of the wicked will be broken,

But the Lord sustains the righteous.
The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
And their inheritance will be forever.
They will not be ashamed in the time of evil,
And in the days of famine they will have abundance.
But the wicked will perish;
And the enemies of the Lord will be like the glory of the pastures,
They vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
The wicked borrows and does not pay back,

But the righteous is gracious and gives.
For those blessed by Him will inherit the land,
But those cursed by Him will be cut off.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.
I have been young and now I am old,
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
Or his descendants begging bread.
All day long he is gracious and lends,
And his descendants are a blessing.
Depart from evil and do good,
So you will abide forever.
For the Lord loves justice
And does not forsake His godly ones;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.
The righteous will inherit the land
And dwell in it forever.
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
And his tongue speaks justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
His steps do not slip.
The wicked spies upon the righteous
And seeks to kill him.
The Lord will not leave him in his hand
Or let him be condemned when he is judged.

Wait for the Lord and keep His way,
And He will exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
I have seen a wicked, violent man
Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil.
Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more;
I sought for him, but he could not be found.

Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright;
For the man of peace will have a posterity.
But transgressors will be altogether destroyed;
The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.

But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He is their strength in time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them;
He delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
Because they take refuge in Him.


Psalm 37



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How do you do it?

My life is different perhaps from yours.

I live in “if you give a mouse a cookie” mode 
around the house almost everyday, so much so that I have to make myself stop finding one more thing to do, just so I can get to other things which must be done.  

I know I am not who I used to be:  able to reach tall buildings in a single bound, while keeping everything running smoothly.  But I can‘t seem to arrive at the needed  “time“ which is for practicing music, sewing, reading, sitting...


I find great comfort in knowing the LORD is with me through all of this.  Many days I remember at the opening of my work to pray for wisdom and direction so the day isn't side tracked.

Even so --- I know the LORD guides me, carries me, helps me and I do everything for His glory no matter if it is chasing that little "mouse".  He cares more about who I am in my inner person as I live and do next things for Him.

Sorry---got to go---have to see what the "mouse" wants now...


Colossians 3:12-17

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.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Grace Unadorned


"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."      
Philippians 4:12

"The winter of our discontent" is a line from Shakespeare, but it's also a line people tend to mumble this time of year. In February, many grow discontent; people are restless with the long winter. We are tired of trees that look stark. The landscape is barren, the ground, hard like iron.

But look deeper into February. There's beauty in the barren landscape. Earth is stripped of its foliage, and we see the uncluttered foundation of ground and sky. It's as though nature wears no makeup. Earth's face is unadorned and plain, like the scrubbed face of a woman whose wrinkles add to her elegance. February is not pretty; it is handsome in an unembellished manner. For those who take time to look, they will discover a deeper beauty.

Something else is hidden from view, and there's no better time than February to uncover it. Now is the time to learn the secret of contentment Paul talks about in Philippians. To live "hungry" or "in want," as Paul puts it, is a little like looking for beauty in a stark landscape. Life, stripped of its trappings and reduced to its bare essentials, shows us how lean and in need of God we really are. Embrace spiritual poverty as you would embrace the strange beauty of February. When you do, you'll find the grace of God.
________________________

If your life feels as cold and barren as the hard ground, take this month to learn the secret. God's grace will furrow the ground of your cold heart and turn its sod to the sunshine of hope. God's grace will warm and revive you, like the early breezes of spring reviving the earth.

Father God, I confess a restless spirit and a roving eye. Teach me to sit contentedly in the warm embrace of your grace this cold day.

Blessings,

Joni and Friends

Taken from More Precious Than Silver.  Copyright © 1998 by Joni Eareckson Tada

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sunny with 100% chance of napping

























by Sydney Hauser


Comfort for the weary soul

by Paul Tautges

Psalm 23 is comfort food for the weary soul. 

Read it, meditate on it, and rest in these simple truths.

My Shepherd adequately supplies all of my needs.

My Shepherd is the only sure cause of contentment.

My Shepherd leads me and satisfies my deepest thirst for wholeness.

My Shepherd is the only one who can fully restore the inner person, my soul.

My Shepherd desires my practical holiness and will do whatever it takes to lead me there for the sake of His Name.

My Shepherd never leaves my side and will never forsake me.

My Shepherd provides for my safety; therefore, I have no legitimate cause for fear.

My Shepherd’s rod of discipline and staff of protection both bring me comfort.

My Shepherd abundantly lavishes His grace upon me when the wolves attack.

My Shepherd binds up my broken bones and heals my wounds; His supply and care are abundant.

My Shepherd’s goodness and grace will be by my side from now, until death, and throughout eternity.

“I am the good shepherd. 
I know my own and my own know me, 
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; 
and I lay down my life for the sheep” 
John 10:14-15

My emphasis


Friday, February 22, 2013

He will never fail



I just keep trusting my Lord as I walk along.
I just keep trusting my Lord, and He gives me a song.

Though the storm clouds darken the sky
O’er the heavenly trail,
I just keep trusting my Lord.
He will never fail.

He’s a faithful friend, such a faithful friend,
I can count on Him to the very end.

Though the storm clouds darken the sky
O’er the heavenly trail,
I just keep trusting my Lord.
*

by John W. Peterson
*

Psalm 143:8

Let me hear Your lovingkindness 
in the morning;
                                 For I trust in You; 
Teach me the way in which 
I should walk; 
For to You I lift up my soul.
*

Nostalgia

Here we are at the end of February, and strangely enough, we have just received only the third snow of our winter, when it can be completely normal here to have a big snow storm each week beginning in November. 

Some people begin to complain about the snow long before December, although they do desire a white Christmas.  After that, I mostly hear how everyone is longing for spring.  "Spring, spring, spring"----when we are in the dead of winter.

I do understand as I also long for spring, but it is the spring in my innermost person where I long for it.  I long for renewal, the complete release of daily grief, and the beginning of joy without agony alongside of it.  I have come to somewhat accept that it may just be that I will only experience this kind of spring in glory with the Savior.  I will be fine as He carries me every day and showers His mercies on me daily so I can get up and "do next things" for Him.  I praise Him and glory in His name as I "see" His hand on me all these years.

Last night as bundled up and as toasty as can be, we walked for 30 minutes in a driving snow storm in our neighborhood where half way home I didn't think I could get there because in the only open area which was my eyes and I was being stung by the very pokey snow crystals.  YOUCH!  I know winter is harsh and bleak, but this is not what I normally think of when I think of winter.

For now on this earth, I enjoy winter.   I think it may be because it is full of nostalgia for me.  I remember the many, many winters of our marriage and with children.  Mostly it is the being inside safe and warm part after we have been outside in the weather.  The hours spent together toasty and comfortable.  The knowledge of coming home and battening down the hatches and being snowed in for the duration. 

Today as I shoveled I had a memory come to me and it was of my childhood.  So now I know that my nostalgia goes farther back to when my mother made snow days special for her children.  She began these memories in me that grew into our own memories in our marriage and so when everyone else seems to chant, "Spring, spring, spring" beginning in November, I now know why I want to hold onto my special winters

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
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.


What does the worker gain from his toil?
I have seen the burden God has laid on men.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.

He has also set eternity in the hearts of men;
yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

I know that there is nothing better for men
than to be happy and do good while they live.
That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil
—this is the gift of God.

I know that everything God does will endure forever;
nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.
God does it so that men will revere him.

Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account

Thursday, February 21, 2013

When he's not looking...


All I have to do is follow


My Lord knows the way through the wilderness.
All I have to do is follow.

My Lord knows the way through the wilderness.
All I have to do is follow.

Strength for today is mine all the way
And all I need for tomorrow.

My Lord knows the way through the wilderness.
*
by Elvera Denning

*
Psalm 37:23-24

The steps of a man are established by the Lord,

And He delights in his way.

When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,

Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.

*

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Amusement

The cat suddenly realizes she is only here for our amusement.


What he needs to hear from Dad


5 Things Every Son 
Needs to Hear From His Dad

from Daniel Darling, February 13, 2013

By God’s good grace, I’m the father of four beautiful children: 
three girls and one boy...

Just as there is something wonderful about being the father of daughters, there is something wonderful about being the father of a son... 

...Fathering your sons is a serious job, men.

And so in that spirit, I’d like to offer five things every son needs to hear from his father:


1) You are loved. 

Every boy needs to hear and know that his father loves him. Without this affirmation, a man carries deep wounds that affect his most important relationships. I’ve talked to men at all stages of life who yearn to hear those magic words that mean the most when they come from Dad: I love you. Today, my son is only four years old, so it’s easy for me to do this. I suspect as he gets older, it will become a bit more awkward. But I plan on doing it still. Behind the sometimes rough exterior of every young boy is a heart that longs to experience the love of his father. What you don’t realize is that the first image your boy will have of his Heavenly Father will be the image of the human father looking down on him. So tell your boy you love him.


2) I’m proud of you. 


I can’t tell you how many men I know who, to this day, are still living their lives in search of their fathers’ approval. Down deep in their hearts they wonder, Am I good enough? Did I make it? Is Dad proud? I’m learning that it’s important for us dads to be hard on our sons in many ways (see below), but we should never withhold our approval. They need to know, at periodic junctures in their lives, that they measure up, that there is nothing they have to do to earn our favor. Sure, at times they will disappoint and they should know and feel this. And yet we should not be taskmasters who, in trying to motivate our sons to greatness, withhold the very ingredient that will fuel their success: confidence... If your son doesn’t make Division 1, if he gets accepted into a school other than Harvard, if he becomes a truck driver instead of a pastor, don’t ever give him the impression you like him less. Don’t damage his soul this way.

3) You are not a slacker, you’re a soldier. 

Today the culture presents such a confusing picture of manhood. What is a man supposed to be, anyways? Pop culture tells him he’s sort of unnecessary and the best he can do is idle away his adolescence by satisfying his sexual urges, simulating warfare with a joystick, and lacking any kind of noble ambition. But God did not make your son or my son to be a slacker, but a soldier. Now don’t get uptight about the word soldier. It’s okay to encourage our sons to be masculine. This doesn’t have to mean a deer hunting, truck driving survivalist. Plenty of real men sip lattes, drive minivans, and hate camouflage (guys like me). There is a vision of manhood in the Bible, one of nobility and strength, of sacrifice and courage. A real man fights for what he loves. A real man cherishes the woman God gives him. He doesn’t exploit her. A real man pursues that calling God has stamped upon his soul... Nobody can help guide our sons along their mission more than us fathers. Let’s not leave our sons’ futures to chance. Let’s stand beside them, modeling for them what it looks like to live on purpose.

4) Hard Work is a Gift, Not a Curse. 

Idleness, laziness, and indecision are the devil’s best tools for ruining the lives of young men. Guys, our sons needs to see us work hard and to be encouraged, made to work hard. They need to see that work is harder because of the Fall, but was actually given by God to experience His pleasure. Getting our hands dirty, straining, struggling, sweating–these are all good things, not bad. Sadly many young men have not seen what it actually looks like for a man to work. Let’s show them that work brings joy. Work honors God. Work done well brings glory to the creator. It may be done with fingers on a keyboard or by swinging an ax-head or by maneuvering a fork lift. It can be done in air-conditioned offices, muddy swamps, and underneath a car. But make no mistake: work matters and what we do with our hands, done well, is a testament to the Creator.

5) You are gifted, but you are not God. 

Let’s imbue our sons with a sense of confidence, of approval, of dignity. But let’s remind them that while they are gifted by the Creator, they are actually not God. Let’s teach them that genuine masculinity doesn’t strut. It bows. It picks up a towel and washes feet. A real man is as comfortable praying as he is preaching. He knows that his strength isn’t found in his exploits or what he thinks people think of him. His strength comes from God. This humility will fuel his compassion and will allow him to forgive those who deeply wound him. Let’s let our sons know that their lives really begin, not when they walk down the aisle at 18 or when they get their first employment contract or when they fall in love with a woman. Their lives began on a dusty hill 2,000 years ago, at the foot of a Roman cross, where justice and forgiveness met in the bloody sacrifice of their Savior. Let’s teach them that to live their whole lives without Jesus is like playing a concerto on the deck of the Titanic. It’s beautiful while it lasts, but it ultimately ends with sorrow. 

If we do anything at all 
with our sons, men, 
let’s point them to 
the Jesus we know.

Thank you, Daniel.




Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What she needs to hear from Dad


FIVE THINGS EVERY DAUGHTER 
NEEDS TO HEAR FROM HER DAD
from Daniel Darling
I’m a father of four beautiful children, three of whom are girls. My oldest daughter is eight years old and with each passing year since her birth, I’ve become more conservative when it comes to all things that pertain to my girls. I’m not a gun enthusiast, but I could be if it meant standing at the porch waiting for the first guy who dares to ask one of my daughters on a date.


Seriously though, I love having daughters. There is something about having a daughter that softens a man, adds a certain tenderness to his soul. 

In that spirit, I’d like to share five things every daughter needs to hear from her father:
1) You are beautiful and you are loved. 

This is something you should tell your daughter at least once a day and probably more than that. Telling her once every so often doesn’t cut it. I’m no psychologist, but daughters who know their father loves them grow up with more confidence and tend to avoid looking for love in all the wrong places. Hearing she is beautiful is oxygen for your daughter’s soul. So do it often, in different and creative ways.
2) Your mother is beautiful and she is loved. 

The best gift you can give your daughter is to show her how a man treats a woman. Let her see modeled in you, however imperfectly, the God-given love between a man and a woman. Tell your wife daily that she is beautiful, that you love her, and that you are glad you married her. Tell her you are committed to her for life. And say these things, periodically, in front of your children.
3) You belong to God and were created for his glory. 

Girls frequently battles insecurity over a number of issues: their weight, their looks, their friends. Maybe sometimes they feel unimportant or unwanted, even in a home with love. This is why you, as a father, should remind them often that they are special creations formed lovingly by the Creator in His image. You should read with them the words of David, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” from Psalm 139. That passage should be well-worn in your Bible and something internalized by your daughters for moments of doubt.
4) You are forgiven. 

Your girls will mess up. They will sin. They will disappoint you. And if you don’t have the good news of the gospel at the center of your family, she may grow up wondering how to measure up or what to do with her sins. Evangelize your daughter and then disciple her. Train in her in the vital Christian practice of repentance and forgiveness. Repentance for her sin and forgiveness of others’ sins. Let her know that Christ is always ready with fresh supplies of grace. Let her know that she must apply that grace not only to herself, but toward others who will wound her.
5) You are accepted. 

Whatever you do, don’t let your daughter consume the poison of the culture which measures a woman’s worth by her independence, by her ability to give away freely her purity. Don’t for a moment let her swallow the lie that sexual license is anything but a bondage of the worst kind, the enemy’s way of stealing the creativity and beauty and purpose for which she was created. Teach her what to look for in a man (hint: not the slackers you see on TV). Also: be that man so she knows what it looks like. Make her aware of the beautiful image of womanhood painted by the Creator. Her acceptance, her sense of self, her worth are bound up in her unique calling as God’s daughter.

*

Thank you, Daniel


Monday, February 18, 2013

The Yoke

"'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."     
Matthew 11:28-29

Over the living room fireplace Ken and I have hung a family treasure. It's an old-fashioned oxen yoke hand-hewn out of wood. It's been in the family forever. As a little boy, my father would yoke his dad's oxen to haul coal. That yoke doesn't quite go with the d├ęcor in our living room, but that doesn't matter. It's a treasure. And it's an object lesson.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus called His yoke easy and light? A yoke appears to be a weighty burden, but it actually makes the workload light for the animal. A plow or a coal drag would be intolerable if it were attached to the oxen any other way (before yokes were devised, farmers of old used leather straps around the animal's neck - but it hampered their breathing). But when you work an animal by means of a yoke, the weight he has to pull doesn't harm him. The load becomes light.

A yoke is not a contrivance to make work hard. It's a gentle device to make hard labor light. A yoke is not meant to give pain but to save pain. Think of that as you read Jesus' words for today.

Work is a fact of life. Burdens are inevitable. But you have a choice: either drag your workload under your own strength or put on the yoke of Christ.
________________________

Jesus says, "Come." If you're weary and burdened, let Him give you rest. You'll find a deep, sweet, peaceable rest even in the midst of your labors when you put on Christ's yoke.

Lord, as I feel the burdens of this day, remind me that You have provided a yoke that eases the stress and keeps me from straining needlessly. Show me how to experience Your rest for my weary soul.


Blessings,

Joni and Friends

Taken from More Precious Than Silver
Copyright © 1998 by Joni Eareckson Tada