Thursday, December 29, 2016

Spring--longing for spring

We have had so much winter weather beginning in November with practically no sunshine, but for about a week there has been a lull, and we have had “warmer” temperatures with sunshine. 

I looked out this morning and the sun was just beginning to cover the ground.  All of our snow is practically gone and the wildlife was all around the yard.  My heart sang for it “felt” like spring was just around the corner! 

Spring! ~~ I am longing for Spring!

I love winter, so what is this all about - the desiring of spring when we will most probably only begin to see it the end of  March, the beginning of April?  I am usually living in the moment, but today my heart sang for spring!

The thing is that this isn’t really about spring and what I am longing.  It is all about this world not being my home.  I am so tired of the muck. We do not have to go far to be exposed to it, after all, we ourselves are sinners!

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. 
The Lord is near. 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 4:4-7

I guess as our time marches on I am just grieving more and more, and very much groaning with creation over our condition.  I am worn with hearing, seeing, and knowing of sufferings, many of them completely needless.

I often look to the sky and observe the LORD’s beautiful skies, and I know that Jesus will return again in the clouds.

[Jesus has just told the disciples they do not need to know about certain things, but their job is to be witnesses for Him in the lands] "...And after He [Jesus] had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing [these were angels] stood beside them. 
They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? 
This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, 
will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:9-11

Looking forward to that day!

As for now, the skies, the land, and even all the people are put rightly into perspective for me.  My thinking returns to what is at hand, which is living in the moment with the LORD as my comfort and strength.

"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.

The things you have learned 
and received 
and heard 
and seen in me, 
practice these things, 
and the God of peace will be with you."
Philippians 4:8-9

I can’t stop the madness in this world.  It isn’t even my job. 

My job is only to live for Him in my sphere of living, my sphere of influence.  I can only do what is in front of me, and perhaps plan a bit out for tomorrow, but I must be ready for any changes that may come and then I must be able to continue to trust in Him for my comfort and strength right then in that very moment. Even then, I can not save anyone, I can only glorify God by living for Him in what is set before me in my life.

So, today, and any next tomorrows, I will be living in the moments, in this winter, with this world which is not my home.  

I will be leaning on the LORD, living in His strength because I have none of my own.  

I will rest in His comfort because this world is too much for me to handle.

"...for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 
I know how to get along with humble means, 
and I also know how to live in prosperity; 
in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled 
and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 
[I am very much still learning all of this!] 
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:11-13 

Precious sisters in Jesus ~ rest with me in Him, rely on Him for all things. Praising the LORD with you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

"Inner anguish melts the heart, making our souls pliable and bendable."

Inward Pain
by Joni Eareckson Tada

"A man's spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?" Proverbs 18:14

Which pain is worse, emotional or physical?  

Like you, I've faced both kinds: crushing physical pain with no position in which I can get comfortable; crushing heartache in which my head spins with grief, and I can't stop the tears. 

Physical pain is curious.  

You can almost distract yourself from it.  Sometimes you can push physical pain right out of your thoughts by crowding your time and attention with other things.  Even in a wheelchair, I've devised clever ways to forget about my paralysis. 

Ah, but inside suffering, that's another matter.  You can't put mental anguish or heartache behind you.  Those hurts create an emptiness that refuses to be pushed or crowded out of your thoughts.  It bites.  Gnaws.  Grinds away at your sanity.

You've felt that way.  Your heart has been stomped on; your feelings have been trampled.  A slandered reputation... a love relationship spurned... painful memories of abuse.  

Yes, I'm convinced emotional pain is much worse than physical pain.  

But I'm also convinced it does something to our heart that physical pain often can't.  

Inner anguish melts the heart, making our souls pliable and bendable.  Because we can't drive it from our thoughts, it forces us to embrace Him out of desperate, urgent need.

Think about the ways in which God says He will take care of inner anguish:  

-He proclaims He holds you in the palm of His hand; 

-He hides you in the cleft of His rock; 

-He carries you in His bosom.  

-He sustains you with His grace; 

-He sets your feet on a high place; 

-He shelters you underneath His wings.  

God is never closer than when your heart is aching.  

*Read the Psalms until you find one that reminds you of God's presence in your anguish.

Praise be to You, the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort.  You heal our hearts; You are the prescription for pain.  I come to You today with my urgent need.  Thank You that You've promised You will be there to catch me.


Joni and Friends

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Grizzly Bear Humor

Happiness is hugging a Grizzly

Small Steps

by Joni Eareckson Tada

"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:25

A friend of mine who suffers from migraine headaches tells me that on some mornings she wakes up thinking, How can I do this?  I don't have the will to even get out of bed.  Lord, help me just make it to the shower.  On days like this, she says she's doing great if she can make it to lunch time without collapsing back in bed from pain.

When you're hurting, life is lived in steps.  Very small steps.  The sufficiency of Christ is more than enough to meet the needs of a lifetime, but life can only be lived one day, one moment, at a time.

This is why today's verse is one of my friend's favorites.  Especially the part about keeping "in step with the Spirit."  The meaning here is not about keeping pace, as if the Spirit were racing ahead and we'd better keep up with Him; it has to do with measuring one's moments in a slow and circumspect way.  God's strength is available one day at a time (Lamentations 3:22-23).  And frankly, when you're suffering like my friend, you are only able to take one day at a time -- often, one hour at a time.

Contentment comes from many great and small acceptances in life.  What is there in your life right now that is slowing you down?  Can you thank God for it, knowing that it makes you gear down to a slower speed? Discontented people are always rushing ahead to escape the 'now' of their circumstances.  The environment in which to learn how to be content is the environment of moments and small steps.  When life isn't the way you like it, like it the way it is one day, one hour at a time... with Christ.  And you will be blessed.         

There are things in my life, Lord, which are slowing me down.  Help me to see these 'problems' as opportunities to keep in closer step with the Spirit.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Thankful Day

Today is a Thankful Day.  Oh, but yesterday was a very tough day.

Yesterday was no different.  It was a normal day, but my heart’s cry was real, and I felt our agony so very deeply.  There was no reason for me to think and feel it more than usual, but I surely did.

Over and over in my mind I asked “why?”

“Why Why Why Why”

There is no rhyme or reason.  There is no “why”.  It is just -sin- and those who choose to grasp after it.

My job is to seek the LORD’s face, to cry out to Him, not only on tough days but the really good days also.  I can not make anyone not sin, I can not make anyone not choose unjustly.  I can only do my job which is set before me everyday.  The LORD does not look to me to change the sinners.  This is His job.

Today, though, is a THANKFUL DAY.  

Yesterday after all the “whys” to the LORD I turned my focus on Him and then remembered the joys He has given us and the joys He is giving us.  He has never been unfaithful to us.  He has showered us with mercies every day.

Showers of Mercies!

We have never been alone when life was simple and great, and even now when things are tough, He never leaves us alone.  He is our strong tower which we run to and live in.  His  mercies are new every day.

Lamentations 3:22-26
"The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the Lord."

Praises to the LORD!

Cut to the Kiss

Sunday, December 11, 2016

To those who are completely His

It is another snowy, icy day.  It seems too much to leave the house so we stayed home today.

Yesterday we drove 80 miles home in what was falling.  We reverted to the old two lane highway instead of the interstate where most people were actually driving carefully, but some were making it much more dangerous.

The slower pace was safe and the few cars on the two lane were driving responsibly. We drove through each small town and all of the countryside loving the architecture and the rolling countryside now being covered in brand new snow.  

Although this two room school house was not on this particular two lane road yesterday, it is one of many found out in the countrysides of our beautiful country.

Eventually we arrived home thankful to be safe and warm.  Praising the LORD for He holds us tightly. Every day I am reminded how the LORD dearly loves His children and this verse rings in my ears:

2 Chronicles 16:9a
"For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His."

He strongly supports us!

When we are His child we can KNOW that our great God watches over us, watches out for us, and even if tragedy or death were to come upon us, we can know that He is holding us tightly in His every lasting arms.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Math is my Nemesis.

Modesty in our modern world

Thank you to Luke Gilkerson at Covenant Eyes.  I have only a small amount of his good article on modesty.  Please check out his whole work in the entire article -- it is excellent and too significant to miss.

"Modern Modesty Controversies...

Where then does modesty fit into the Christian ethic?

Paul on Modesty: 

1 Timothy 2:8-10
“I desire…that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.“

Christian women should concern themselves with modesty because the Bible does. This text is a primary example.

(For the purposes of this article, I am writing about women because Paul is writing about women in these verses. But I recognize that men should also embrace modesty.)

1. Modesty is not anti-fashion...

The question for Paul isn’t about whether a woman should ornament her body, but how.

2. Modesty is about who you worship...

Paul puts his finger on the trigger of the problem... 

A person’s manner of dress, or even their preoccupation with clothing itself (Matthew 6:28-30), is often indicative of a heart that loves self more than God.

3. Modesty is about behavior and attitude, not just clothing...

This means modesty is not simply about what we wear, but how we act, how we communicate, and how relate to others.

4. Modesty shows sensitivity to sin...

A heart of modesty is motivated by a love for one’s fellow man.

5. Modesty involves cultural discretion...

[it is] about the messages and values our clothing communicates.

6. Modesty is about true freedom, not repression...

Paul wants Christian woman to have self-mastery in their wardrobe choices, to be totally free from worldly ways of defining worth, beauty, and sexiness.

Ironically, it is not just those who are scantily dressed that are enslaved, but even those who pride themselves on their modesty. “Modest is hottest,” they say, unaware that in their own hearts, they are still enslaved to a preoccupation with their physical image, still defining their worth by their outward adornment.

Defining Modesty
Taken together, these aspects of modesty help to give us a working definition.

Modesty is a respectable manner of adorning one’s body and carrying oneself, born out of a freedom from a worldly definition of beauty and worth, and motivated by a hatred of sin and a desire to draw attention to God.

When it comes to the subject of modest clothing, the first question we should ask ourselves is: What am I trying to accomplish by what I wear?"

*Please see the whole article at: Modesty/Luke Gilkerson

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Excited Dads

Finding Meaning in our Suffering

Finding Meaning

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin."  Hebrews 4:15

Suppose you're walking down a street when you are accosted and forced to carry a huge and heavy basket on your back. You're ordered to walk three blocks, turn left, go two blocks, turn right, then proceed straight on. Staggering under the weight, you stumble on, bewildered and angry. The whole thing is meaningless and haphazard. When you are halfway down the third block, you finally bellow, "What gives?!"
The truth is then revealed. The burden you are carrying is your child, injured and unconscious. "Whaat!" On top of that, you discover you are not trudging through a meaningless rat-maze, but the most direct route to a hospital emergency room.

Immediately you straighten. Adrenaline and fresh energy quicken your pace and you move forward with a new attitude. Why the change? The suffering you're going through involves a relationship. Not just any relationship, but one with your child. Your relationship gives your burden meaning. Even your twisted path makes sense. You know where you are going. Your journey has a positive end -- the hospital -- and this instills hope.

Suffering has no meaning in itself. Left to its own, it is a frustrating and bewildering burden. But given the context of relationship, suffering suddenly has meaning.

You are not alone in your hardships. You have not been blindsided and ambushed by suffering, only to trudge on in senseless disappointment. God is with you. He is deeply involved in your circumstances. You have a Savior who can completely empathize with your weaknesses. In other words, you have relationship; and this, like nothing else, is what gives your circumstances powerful meaning. Intimacy deepens between you and God in the midst of hardships -- and intimacy makes for meaningful relationships.

Lord, press my soul up against Your breast through my pain and problems. And as You do, thank You for deepening the intimacy between us. This, like nothing else, gives my hardship meaning!


Joni and Friends

From More Precious than Silver, 1998

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A fresh blanket of snow!

Lose all your guilty stains!

There is a fountain filled with blood 
drawn from Emmanuel's veins; 
and sinners plunged beneath that flood 
lose all their guilty stains. 
Lose all their guilty stains, 
lose all their guilty stains; 
and sinners plunged beneath that flood 
lose all their guilty stains. 

The dying thief rejoiced to see 
that fountain in his day; 
and there may I, though vile as he, 
wash all my sins away. 
Wash all my sins away, 
wash all my sins away; 
and there may I, though vile as he, 
wash all my sins away. 

Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood 
shall never lose its power 
till all the ransomed church of God 
be saved, to sin no more. 
Be saved, to sin no more, 
be saved, to sin no more; 
till all the ransomed church of God 
be saved, to sin no more. 

E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream 
thy flowing wounds supply, 
redeeming love has been my theme, 
and shall be till I die. 
And shall be till I die, 
and shall be till I die; 
redeeming love has been my theme, 
and shall be till I die. 

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, 
I'll sing thy power to save, 
when this poor lisping, stammering tongue 
lies silent in the grave. 
Lies silent in the grave, 
lies silent in the grave; 
when this poor lisping, stammering tongue 
lies silent in the grave. 

by William Cowper
Zechariah 13:1
“In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Let's Learn from Linus

Ephesians 4:29
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, 
but only such a word as is good for edification 
according to the need of the moment, 
so that it will give grace to those who hear."

Sunday, December 4, 2016

My sins are as white as snow!

Our first wonderful snowy day! It brought a newness that always surprises me.

Our spring and summer ran together.  It was a very warm spring and then into a hot summer, but we received an ample amount of rain so as autumn came we had a green season. In fact, the grass is still green even now.  So there is no reason to lament that the landscapes look dead, dirty, or dingy.  Our minds didn't think we needed snow to cover the bleak countryside.  And yet it snowed and covered everything, gluing itself to everything in which it landed making absolutely everything beautiful. 

It was in those moments that His Word always comes to me:

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool."

Because I am His child my sins which are as red as scarlet are now white as snow!

We have our hope in Him! The LORD is our God! His Son is our Savior!  He cares about us and desires for us to reason with Him (listen and learn from Him).  Anyone can have eternal life right now if they choose to accept Jesus as our Savior!

Praises to the LORD God Almighty!

Isaiah 1:16-20
“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.
“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.
“If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land;
“But if you refuse and rebel,
You will be devoured by the sword.”
Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

The Joy of newness

Friday, December 2, 2016

Of Rats and Spiders

Hagar the Horrible

Our Salvation and our Security is a beautiful thing!

Our Security is in Jesus

We have an unconditional guarantee that once a person has been genuinely saved, they will never lose their relationship with God and will be preserved unto eternal life.

Our Salvation and our security is a beautiful thing!

Unconditional promises:
John 3:9-21 “…For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life…”

John 5:19-29 “…Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life…”

God’s keeping power:
John 10: 22-30 “…My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand…”

Romans 8:31-39  “…But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord…”

1 Peter 1-9  “…you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time…”

Jesus’ substitutionary death:
Romans 8:1  “…Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”

1 John 2:1-2  “…He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world…”

Jesus’ present intercession:
Romans 8:28-39   “…God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us…”

The Holy Spirit’s indwelling forever as a deposit:
John 14:11-17  I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever…”

Ephesians 1:3-14  “…In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

The Holy Spirit’s sealing unto the day of redemption:
Ephesians 1:13  “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise”

Assurance of our hope in our salvation in Christ Jesus:
Hebrews 6:1-20  “…And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end…This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast …”

Hebrews 10:18-25   “…let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful..."

Our security is perfect because it comes from Jesus’ complete sacrifice!

Sources of Assurance:

God’s WORD
1 John 5:1-15  “…the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life…”

We will strengthen our assurance of salvation by studying the WORD of God regularly. 

The Holy Spirit
Romans 8: 1- 17  “…For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God…”

In our daily lives we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us when we focus on the LORD. 

When life is too much to handle and you become afraid or fearful, run to the LORD, cry out to Him, read His WORD, and then you will remember who He is and who you are in Him:

Matthew 10:29-30   “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

Praise God!


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Choose to live in His joy

Philippians  2:12-18
"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. 

But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 

You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Another life lesson learned: Homemaking 101

I have been vacuuming for over 40 years, but I certainly learned something this weekend I will not ever forget.  

You may need to pay attention also: 

Homemaking 101:  Never bend over with your long pony tail hanging by the vacuum because your tresses may be sucked into the Impeller Wheel!

So here I was bent over to attach the extender when my pony tail was sucked into the sucky, twirly thing (the impeller wheel).   At first I thought my hair was just sucked into the inhaling pipe, but no, it was completely stuck and I could only reach the off switch in an awkward twist of the wrist.

Thankfully, my Beloved was home so I called to him for help! The only solution was scissors.  On the plus side: I already have a trim scheduled this week.

Praising the LORD that not much hair needed to be cut off to remove me from the dreaded machine!