My son asked me the other day....as I was making a kitchen full of goodies for the holiday season.....and he was sampling.....and they were sooooo good...”Why can’t we have these wonderful treats any time we want them during the year?” And I struggled for a moment, because I had never really pondered that question...hmmmm....my thoughts wondered (and wandered). We just do.... that’s all....out of habit...out of custom... because of expectation of others? But then I explained...
” Well, if we had these treats all year they wouldn’t be special...and we would probably be unhealthy if we indulged in these rich foods on a regular basis...and the grocery bill would break us. But because Christmas comes but once a year, yes, we can splurge and enjoy/indulge in some treats to remind us that this is a special time of year.” He nodded in agreement, and picked up another scoop of salted, roasted, aromatic pecans as he smiled.
That simple encounter set me to thinking about all the extravagant things we do at Christmas. It is truly the most extravagant time of the year. We extravagantly decorate our living spaces and worship places. We string lights, we hang tinsel, we pull out ornaments that remind us of times and people we love who may or may not still be with us. We give (sometimes more than we have) to make sure Christmas is special for those we love and cherish. We reminisce about Christmases past. Sometimes we lament when we are reminded that some parts of Christmas will never be the same again.
We bake extravagantly. We sing extravagantly. We sometimes are overworked and under rested. The children get overexcited. It is an extravagant season in SO many ways.
As I thought about this extravagance of Christmas, it has actually struck a chord of joy in me for two reasons.
One reason is because of the simple fact that (unless you are the Grinch or Scrooge) giving just simply brings joy. Contemplating what another needs/wants/wishes for then being able to fulfill this just makes the heart grow bigger and warmer inside. Putting others first and putting self aside, though counter culture for most of the year seems, to work its way into the best and worst of us during the Christmas season!
But the most impactful thought that has been with me constantly this season is the extravagance of God’s love for us...all of us.... His gift to us was and is the most extravagant gift of all. The extravagance of Christmas is a direct correlation to the extravagant gift that was given to us by the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
The following excerpt and verses exemplify/explain the extravagant spirit of Christmas:
complete joy... same mind...the same love...united in spirit.... having one purpose... Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity... in humility.....treat one another as more important than yourself....concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others.....
Having the same attitude toward one another that Jesus had...though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but EMPTIED himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing human nature. He humbled himself...becoming obedient to the point of death...even death on a cross!
As a result, God exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow ....and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Now THERE is the EXTRAVAGANT love/gift poured out on us beyond what we can comprehend. We must remember the EXTRAVAGANT love that causes us to put others first and love them well during this season...
While we cannot be extravagant in all ways in all seasons due to the constraints of energy, time, and resources, it is my prayer that we can be extravagant in loving others well no matter what the season, remembering that we have been given the MOST extravagant gift that “keeps on giving” throughout our days and nights and across time and space, throughout eternity, and forevermore. AMEN
Living under the banner of the Stars and Stripes is such an honor! We enjoy the rights and privileges of citizenship. It's as American as Apple Pie! And we are free in the home of the brave! We live under the banner of freedom!
The Israelites had lived under the Egyptian banner for 400 years. Their lives were not their own. The Egyptians owned them, and they were under the bondage of slavery.
But their lives were predictable. Under the banner of Egypt they were required to work hard. They were oppressed. But they knew what was expected of them and they knew they would have a place to live and enough to eat to keep them strong (to the Egyptian's advantage).
BUT THEN GOD used Moses to free them...... and showed them His power through all He did to set them free. The plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, their liberation from Egypt and Pharaoh, left them jubilant as they BROKE the chains and escaped their bondage! How glorious to be FREE! How ecstatic they were!
But they were not prepared for the challenges that lay before them. They were not prepared to walk in freedom. After all God had done, they were still not prepared to rely on Him and TRUST Him. They grumbled. They complained. And they did not TRUST Him to provide.
But He did.
He provided fresh water and sweet mana to eat as well as quail. He provided divine protection as the Israelites had to face their first battle (with the Amalekites). God proved that HE was their banner. They now lived under the BANNER of Jehovah! They lived in freedom.
We shake our heads and ask why they could not TRUST God. Why were they not able to embrace freedom from captivity? But are we not just like the children of Israel when life gets unpredictable? Don't we grumble and question Him when life gets tough?
Walking in freedom is many times harder than living in bondage. Bondage feels familiar. Bondage feels safe. In bondage, we have a place to lay blame. In bondage, we have a cause for our predicament. We are not bound as slaves in a foreign country. But our bondage comes in many forms. What keeps you from walking in freedom? What are you a slave to? (worry, perfectionism, technology, intellectualism, pride, , laziness, co-dependency, self-love, self-loathing, unhealthy appetites.......)
God provided for the Israelites again and again to show them He was worthy of their trust. As we walk in freedom He will do the same for us.
A life of freedom requires so much more responsibility than a life of bondage. We have to willingly take up the banner of Christ and trust Him in all things.
We can TRUST Him even when the way is confusing. With Him as our Banner we have protection and provision. We can REST and be calm even when releasing area of bondage causes confusion and pain. He is our Banner and will fight our battles for us just as He did for the Children of Israel.
We can put all our cares on Him. Because He cares for us. He is our Banner.
Exodus 16 - 17
Dear God, be our banner. Help us to walk in freedom as we trust in you. Help us walk without complaining. Help us realize that the prison of bondage has walls that feel safe even though they are NOT safe! When the walls of bondage are broken, we are exposed to confusion until we recognize that God is our Banner and will turn confusion into wisdom and love. Only by raising YOUR banner can we conquer the confusion when our haven of bondage is broken. In Jesus name, AMEN
Remember that wonderful, old hymn! It’s been on my mind quite a bit this season as I ponder REDEMPTION and what it actually means in the life of believer. How should redemption affect me and my life on a daily basis?
A quick search of the word “redeem” reveal the following secular definitions:
The “theological” definition is “to deliver from sin and its consequences by means of sacrifice offered for the sinner”.
Isn’t it amazing that redemption’s secular AND theological definitions were all fulfilled by Christ and God’s ultimate plan for the redemption of His human creation?
Christ, himself, compensated for our faults and sins by being the PERFECT LAMB OF GOD.
Christ allowed God to regain possession of us by paying the price for our sin.
Christ paid in full our debt to sin.
Christ recovered our souls by COVERING our sins.
Christ exchanged HIMSELF for us and took our punishment so we could be free.
Christ provided for the Old Testament pledges and promises of God to be fulfilled.
Christ made amends and offset our faults and shortcomings and CONTINUES to do this through the work of His Holy Spirit living in us.
Christ paid the RANSOM so we would not have to live in captivity to sin any longer.
Christ was the ultimate sacrifice of God Himself as He took our sins to be nailed to the cross.
God Himself redeemed His Son when He raised him up to live again to spite death and to prove once and for all that HE IS LORD.
Have we considered the meaning of REDEMPTION? Or have we lost the mind-blowing, heart tugging, value of its true meaning?
Dear God I don’t want to be complacent with the gift of redemption. I want its definition and reality to define me, sustain me, fulfill me, and allow me to know that I am not my own. I have been bought with a price. All earthly treasures pale in comparison to this treasure given by you, God, for the Redemption of your kingdom. We are ultimately the richest people in all creation – the REDEEMED. There is no earthly inheritance or legacy that compares to the inheritance freely given to us because of the purchase of our souls by the REDEMPTION offered through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Keep me mindful of the price you paid to pay my debt, to cover my sins, to exchange my sin for life in you and though you, forevermore! AMEN
Galatians 3:13-14 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…...so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
Psalms 130:7-8 Our hope is in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. He will redeem us ……. from all our iniquities.
1 Peter 1:18-21 Knowing that you were ransomed from your futile ways……. not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ the lamb without blemish or spot…... He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in these times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God……your faith and hope are in God.
Job 19:25 For I know that my Redeemer lives!
Hebrews 9: 13-15 For if the blood of goats and bulls …. sanctify …...how much more will the blood of Christ…...offered himself without blemish to God. He is the mediator of a new covenant…that redeems us from transgression.
Redeemed How I Love to Proclaim It…...Redeemed by the blood of the lamb…. Redeemed through His infinite mercy…. His child and forever I am……
Jesus disciples were in the boat. Jesus was with them. But He was resting. There was a storm. The disciples were afraid. When they woke Him up He chided them and questioned their faith.....Then He calmed the wind and the sea. (Matthew 8:23 - 27)
I am a collector. I collect old stuff. I sell my extra old stuff in an antique booth. I keep the old stuff I love and find a place for it at my house – much to the dismay of my practical husband. You wouldn’t believe the cool stuff we have found since we began junkin’ and hunting for vintage treasures. I KNOW……. antiques are not all the rage with some of the younger crowd. They are wanting to get RID of their parents’ old junk. But there are some young’uns who are finding value in the vintage, some who express their creative style by repurposing and some who just love the idea of the chic hominess that exudes from the Chip and Joanna style (shiplap and all).
I collect books. I read some of them. But I cannot let a good book go to waste! I discovered A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in a pile of books in the neighborhood center median, discarded during a clean out session. It was a 1940’s edition. I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. My research determined that it was a classic. I could have told you that after the first paragraph! If I find an old book I usually read it before I shelve it or sell it! You should see my bookcases! My husband says they are a mess…. I say they have character!
I’m not a pristine sort of person. I could never live in a home that looks like a Hampton Inn, all neat and minimal. I like crushed cushions and nicked-character filled old stuff that tells the story and history of our family. Couches to be sat on…. ottomans to prop feet on… fans – many fans for a cool breeze in any room of the house and/or porches, too. I’ll just keep the old stuff, and cool breezes, thank you, and leave IKEA to the young’uns.
I collect memories. Coming to a reflective age and having so many memories to reflect on, I like to think makes us wiser…… (Does wise always denote age? I thought I was very wise when I was 35. Now I realize I didn’t have a clue!) I believe we see things from a different perspective and point of view as each decade brings new awareness. We are given the gift of understanding our parents (especially) and grandparents in a whole new way.
I see my mother as resilient and strong rather than somber and stoic. My dad mapped out a survival plan on a continual basis and was a fun-loving Daddy figure I always enjoyed, however, bent toward co-dependence. One grandparent instilled “children should be seen and not heard”, but now I understand that attitude was born of hardship. Another grandparent instilled creativity, beauty, and kindness…and forever changed me – for the better – I hope. I have developed respect for them all that did not exist until I reached a “certain age”. Oh, the joys of growing older……. (When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. I reasoned like a child. Now I have put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11)
Our recollection of experiences, hardships, joys, and sorrows continually change us as we observe growth in ourselves, in those we love, our children, our spouses, our family and friends.
I am humbled to see how God has worked in all! He is at work, even in the darkest days. He is at work during the delightful moments of joy and fulfillment. He is at work. All. The. Time.
So…. for today….. let’s place our trust and faith in Him.
You are in someone’s memory collection already.
Today is a new day. Make it a day worth remembering.
My mom had a poem in her Bible that I taped to the door of my vanity closet right beside my mirror. It is called "This New Day" and the author is not listed. It goes like this:
This brand new day is mine to spend
Exactly as I choose -
To mark with real accomplishment
Or squander and misuse
To fill with love and cheerfulness
Or bitterness and pain -
It is MY choice to make this day
A total loss - or gain.
So, counsel and direct me, Lord
That when this day shall end
I may rejoice at work well-done,
Be richer by a friend .
And when I sleep, may angels pause
Beside Your throne and tell
That I have lived this day of mine
Not wastefully - but well!
I do love this little poem, and it speaks to my heart each day as I read it. Just wanted to share this. Nothing profound today.... just this little poem....
Have you ever asked yourself, "What am I doing here?" or "How did I get here?"
Elijah found God asking him, "Elijah, what ARE YOU doing HERE?" (1 Kings 19)
Elijah was in a situation that propelled him into doubt, disappointment, and despair. God's prophet was hiding in a cave! Have there have been times in your life that you wished for a cave or a place to just hide until everything just worked itself out? Maybe you haven't, but I know I have!!!
We are all subject to finding ourselves in circumstances that invite us to follow Elijah into self-destructive pits of one kind or another! People were out to kill Elijah. But God had a plan for Elijah, and he has a plan for you as well! Overcoming doubt, disappointment, and despair is a theme at work in Elijah's story that can be applied to our stories as well. (God's Word is consistently appropriate for ALL times.)
Have all your valiant efforts been for naught? Elijah had devoted his life to proving God's power in desperate situations. He had "given his all" so to speak. Yet at this time things had not turned out as he had expected.
Have you ever "given your all" only to have things turn out in a way you didn't expect? Maybe there were misunderstandings, lapses in judgement, or forces beyond your control that caused doubt and disappointment in circumstances ...... or people. ........ Being a part of the human condition - is dealing with disappointment. (Perhaps beginning early with the Santa experience.....)
Elijah found himself plagued with doubt which led to disappointment. Just like Elijah, we are all susceptible to that downward spiral when life does not meet our expectations. Elijah was in the throes of despair, wishing his life away, wondering how he ever came to this!
Elijah couldn't even function! All he could do was sleep!! God provided the example that ignoring our physical needs when in emotional turmoil is not a good way to find healing! God provided food, water, and rest for His prophet before dealing with the situation! If we are in a difficult place we MUST have plenty of rest and good food. (This is why we take FOOD to the grieving - you know all those casseroles are invitations to take care of physical needs!)
Elijah's depressed attitude skewed the truth for him. Have you ever assumed something only to find out later it was just not so? Elijah couldn't even remember the victories God had provided for His people because he was so focused on His current problem. (Queen Jezebel was after his head, after all - a definite problem.)
But then...... God asked the question, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
And then God showed his power just for Elijah by way of strong wind, an earthquake, and then fire. But Elijah was not harmed. (Has God ever tried to get your attention????)
But then Elijah heard Gods "still small voice" in the form of a whisper. And God asked a second time, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
What a mountaintop experience!!!!! (But remember, it came on the heels of an experience in a cave AND a PIT!)
Elijah did not give God the "church answer". He was transparent before God. He poured out his heart! In a nutshell - "I have done all the right things, God. So how can you let me be in this sorry situation? I have given you my all, and now they are coming after me."
We can be transparent before God in our most challenging situations! He already knows our heart. But we must acknowledge what He already knows!!
And God instructed Elijah to go and prepare others to carry out His plan. Anoint a new king and a new prophet. Let go control and watch God do wondrous things that only He can do. It's not all about YOU, Elijah!
Sometimes we have to just let go and know that God in His wisdom has a plan, and that plan might be to use us (or maybe others) to carry on and carry out justice, bring situations to a positive conclusion, or whatever....... It is really freeing to know that ultimate control belongs to Him.
We should be transparent with Him about our disappointments and longings, just as Elijah was. And then He will speak.
He doesn't want us to succumb to a downward spiral!
Rest of story......
Elijah became a mentor to Elisha the new prophet, and later was taken up to Heaven from his chariot. God had a plan. It was better than Elijah's plan. And Elijah wasted many days in despair because he doubted God's provision. (2 Kings 2)
We can't live on the mountain forever - but the mountaintop experiences help us in the valley of everyday life.
When DOUBT threatens to throw us into DISAPPOINTMENT - listen to His "still small voice". He will make a way and lift us out of our DESPAIR and into His peace, contentment, and wonder!
Elijah had experience with a cave, a pit, and a mountain! Which do you prefer?
Thank you, God, that you are always available to lift us when we find ourselves doubting you or disappointed in our circumstances. Help us to listen to you daily. Help us to be transparent as we pour out our hearts out to you. Help us follow your instruction and leave the results to you. Amen.
Do you crave a championship? To be younger or older? Or to grasp some more time with those you love and have loved?
Do you crave an opportunity to go back to the "old home place" and relive earlier times, places, and opportunities?
What do you (and I) crave?
Do we crave the past or look to the future?
Do we crave to reclaim our bodies and make promises (we hope) we will keep?
We make plans. We have visions of what might be.
We let go of the old. We try on the new. We make claims about our hopes and dreams - whether we say them out loud or not.
What do you long for? What do you crave?
As January - this month of renewal ends let's take stock of our cravings (food or otherwise) and remember His promises for the coming months, for this year and for always.
Let's crave Him. Let's crave His Word. Let's crave His Spirit. Let's crave fellowship with His people!!!
(3) Trust in the Lord and do good. (4) Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. (6) He will make our righteousness shine like the dawn; the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. (9) For those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
(4) For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by. (12) Teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (17) May the favor of the Lord rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us.
(4) He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness with be your shield. (5) You will not fear.
My prayer for this new year is that He will go before you and guide you in every endeavor. I pray that He will wrap you in His love and give you hopes and dreams, and visions of His plan(s) for your life. I pray that you will stay grounded in His Word and infused with His Wisdom. I pray that you will find alone time to come before Him and to align your will with His. I pray that your daily steps will be guided by Him and that your REAL craving will be for more of Him every day. Amen.
Now! Go and let His radiant love shine through you!
Ah! The New England colors were spectacular!
Today, however, I am still and quiet for a time taking in some Alabama fresh air and sunshine as I recover from a WHIRLWIND trip to the New England area! I was in and out so quickly that I only had a glimpse of the beautiful fall colors between the hotel, airport and schools! But what I saw was truly inspirational! The beauty He plants in nature is so powerful and proves just how much He loves us! Oh! To become more like Him!!!
Romans 1:20 - 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.
As I was reading Oswald Chambers this morning, I was reminded that becoming like Him is a "transaction" of implicit faith and HIS Atonement for us. This Gift is such a marvelous mystery that we should ALWAYS approach life and our relationship to Jesus with an attitude of profound humility.
Oswald states, "There is no such thing as proud holiness."
Therefore, if we find ourselves reveling in our own goodness, we can be sure that we are not attaining a relationship/attitude/stance that will honor Him or make us more like Him.
We must remember that if we are proud of our holiness then we have missed the mark, because only in complete humility will we truly be made more like Him. The wonder of the Atonement must constantly be with us!
What He did for our Atonement - He did for all - even the unloved and the unlovely (the people we like and the people we don't like). Internal pride about our "holy state" is a sign that we are not in a "holy state" at all!
1st Thessalonians 4:7 - For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
Thank you, our powerful God, creator of all good things, for providing such beauty in nature. This beauty points us to Your Goodness, Grace, and Love! Thank you, Jesus, for your obedience to the Father - as You provided the gift of Atonement for all who choose to accept You! I am forever in awe and wonder of the beauty of creation AND the atoning love and obedience of a Savior who would fulfill God's plan for man to meet God.
I am consistently humbled by every Holy gift You have given and continue to give. Keep me in a state of humility so I can become more like You. Keep me from vain comparisons and cheap vanity. Amen
My Master Gardener just happens to be the Source of living water and Sonshine to my soul!
As I look for the Fruit of the Spirit in my life, I am reminded that I can only attain divine fruit from Source and Son by staying EVER so close to the Master, filling my life with His wisdom as I follow His leading in (everyday) service to Him.
Serving Him vs. the To-Do List
So do I begin my day thinking up things I can do FOR Him? What does He need from me????
Hmmmm.......the Creator of the universe - does he need my pretty little list of to do's or would he prefer my submission (and listening spirit) so He can make my list for me?
The question is not, "What can I do for You today, dear God?" (working under my own puny power - with the focus on Me, Myself, and I)
The question is, "What can YOU do through me to accomplish Your purpose?" (working within His power and guidance)
He gives the supernatural power to accomplish His purpose. How much easier it is to work in His strength!
My yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30
Divine Fruit Comes from Divine Guidance! (How long will it take for that to register with me???)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22
I am the Vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in me will produce much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. John 15:5
What would You have me do this day to accomplish Your purpose? What can I do to serve You? You do not need my self-centered, conceited, prideful list of things I think up to do FOR you. Please, lead me in the path of Your love, wisdom, and guidance. Make Your "to do list" for me today and provide me with Your supernatural power to accomplish Your purpose this day. Allow Your fruit to be evident in my life. You are the Source. You are the Gardener. Amen
I love Valentine's Day!
Images of Love
from the past and present.
For God so LOVED the world......
Thank you dear Jesus for giving the word LOVE a deeper meaning than the one we know here on this earth. You know I LOVE all things beautiful, kind, and good. Help me to LOVE the unlovely as you did. Help me to follow your example. We know about love here in our human way. Teach us to love better in YOUR way. AMEN
Wow! I have been a busy girl for the past six months and way out of my comfort zone!!! As I reflect on the opportunities God has provided for me since "retirement",
I am amazed and awed and just continue to love, love, love this life He is giving me (struggles and all)!!!
I have had to rely on Him DAILY as I have taken on the role of "traveling educational consultant" for a major publishing company. I have literally texted/called Jimmy night and morning asking for him to PRAY continuallly to get me through the day. And bless my sweet husband - so dilligent to pray, encourage, support, and hold the fort down on the home front - he and GOD got me through these initial months of learning the ropes of traveling and effectively supporting teachers from one end of the country to the other!
On the road, not long ago, I was praying for confirmation that I was, indeed, following His will and plan for my life with all this going and doing - AND that very day I met a sweet, little ole bilingual teacher who put her arms around me and said (please insert the accent), "I am a Believer. I think you must be one, also. Thank you for coming and teaching our teachers. One day when you learn Spanish we may read the Bible together in that language." (I was probably the ONLY one in the building who was not bilingual! Bless her, she had hope for me!) And thus I met a sweet sister in New Jersey! I ALSO spotted a door decoration for the Crimson Tide in another school that week and cold chills literally went up and down my spine. It was like a MESSAGE that Someone had known I was coming and posted a welcome for me. (Well, of course, Someone DID know!)
AND now - not quite so busy during the winter months. Thanksgiving - what a blessing to have family together. Christmas - a sweet memory. NOW to reclaim some "MARGINS" in my life! (Thank you, Brother John, for the concept of margins.) Now, Brother John refers to "margins" as gaps in the busy life that allow for the working of HIM. And although He has been working overtime to get me through the past six months, I have had little time to reflect, rest, ponder, and just simply BREATHE!!! But I am extending the MARGIN concept a bit to include not only TIME, but SPACE as well.
Space margins have grown exponentially during my subsequent purge of excess. The charity bins overflow! I hope my stuff finds a new home! (Have you read the book, 7 - An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess ?) Jen Hatmaker was my inspiration here. She just got me started. I plan to do more. I have been cleaning and organizing like crazy just to increase my margins in this area!!!
Time margins are another matter entirely. Retirement opens up a new spectrum of possibities for use of time. So, now that my parttime job (that sometimes feels like fulltime), has eased up a bit, I am finding time to plug in more reflection time, thus my current reentry to the blog scene!!! When I contemplated retirement, I thought I would be reading, studying, reflecting and blogging daily, then lunching with buddies!!! Not a bad plan - just not HIS plan!!
Getting up a bit earlier to have some quiet time and reflection and letting Him guide my "to do" list increases my daily margins - believe it or not!!! I still have the same amount of time. Yet I find that with Him guiding the day - there is not this URGENCY to move on to the next thing. If He is making my plan - I can be current and intentional with whatever I am doing, because I know it is HIS plan not my plan! And I can contemplate how He will use this activity for my good or for the good of another. Daily RENEWAL imparts a sense of PEACE.
Reflect, Reclaim, Renew - That's what I'm after this New Year!
Please help me develop healthy margins in my life that honor You and allow for You to work daily to guide my thoughts, words, and actions. Amen
A few family photos.
I am reflecting on His Goodness, Love, and Provision. As I think about Him and His loving Proof of divineness throughout the scripture, I am amazed, overcome, and dazzled by it. Just as the Scarlet Thread throughout the Bible was woven by so many weavers, at various times throughout history - ultimately being fulfilled with the crucifiction and resurrection of our Lord - the binding/blending of all these depictions of Christ and His death and His resurrection and His Provision for OUR saving - dispose me to awe and wonder and joy. As the heart and mind open to these love-acts of our Savior/God/Creator, how can we be anything but joyful in the deep down soul-place where we find His Provision, Love, and Sustenance? When He is all we need, all we want, and all we crave His Grace is sufficient to provide Joy for the moment, the day, the lifetime.
Ephesians 1:18 - I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you.
Dear Giver of All Good Gifts - I thank You for your gifts in my life. You ARE the giver of all the good things, whether we recognize them or not. Allow me to live with eyes and heart open to know You and Your Gifts for what they are - messages of Your Love and Full Capability to work Your Purpose in my life and the lives of those I love. My mind cannot fathom Your Greatness. So I simply stand in wonder and awe and recognize my smallness as I rely on You to work according to your Plan.
Who would have know that 41 years later, through all the ups and downs, that God would have blessed us so! Happy anniversary to my love, my sweet husband! You young folks won't believe this, but life gets better and better. When you have been through 41 years together and can read each other's minds and complete each other's sentences, it is a very sweet, special thing. When you have forgiven each other's faults and embraced each other during trials and triumphs, God grows a love that knows no comparison!!! We just THOUGHT we loved each other on that special day 41 years ago!!! We really didn't even know what love was back then. It was just an idea. The full grown reality is so much better!!!
I have been neglecting my blog! But I plan to resume my writing very soon! Entering retirement has been a busy, comsuming season of my life.
Thank you, O Lord, for all the seasons of life. Thank you that you are with us through each moment of each mimute, hour, and day. Thank you, O Lord, that you are our Rock, Shield, and Fortress, and that you have planned our days in advance to accomplish your purpose in each season of life. I love you, O Lord, and I thank you for pursuing me and keeping me in your fold each day.
The "Red Thread" Yahweh sacrificed the first animals - shed the blood to cover Adam and Eve.
The "Red Thread"
Abraham was willing to give his only son.
The "Red Thread"
Blood on the doorposts as the spirit of death invaded and took the firstborn males in all houses not covered in the blood of the "Passover" sacrifice.
The "Red Thread"
The Ultimate Sacrifice.
I thank you God for your divine plan. I am unable to keep the law - your law.
You knew I could not. You knew we would not. Thank you for the plan you had to lift us all out of the muck and mire of sin.
You cannot look on anything, or anyone who is not as an unblemished lamb. Pure and holy. Thank you for your Lamb, Jesus. They were told He would come. We know that He DID come.
Thank you, that by belonging to Him - we have His blood over the doorposts of our lives. Death will pass over this house of flesh. Our body may decay, but our spirit will soar, because our earthly shell of a home - is covered in the blood of the unblemished Lamb.
Thank you that your blood covers my sin, and I will enter your presence that day. Thank you that the reality of You causes me to give my life to you fresh and new each day. For You, O Lord, are strong enough for any problem we face HERE. Amen.
God is more valuable than gold because he is wonderful. God is powerful. He knows everything.
He is awesome. He is loyal. He is royal.
One of our precious children writes about Him at school today. God influences her sweet life and makes Himself known to her in some way. She does not have a "church" background.
Will you help me pray for this sweet one to grow and learn more about Him?
I pray for this dear one. I pray that she will continue to be persued by You her entire life. I pray that her wisdom will increase daily. I pray that You will reveal Your special plan for her life. May the ones that touch her life lead her to know more of You.
Worship - commonly signifies our gatherings - our Sunday places - our Sunday doings.
We are going to the Worship Service.
This is the Worship Center of our church.
I just love the Worship portion of our services.
Worship - A common noun? A common adjective? A common verb?
Do I use the word Worship in a common fashion when I am really referring to an uncommon concept that encompasses the very essence of who I am?
So - I look it up - my trusty Webster says: a feeling of adoring reverence or regard.
My prayer for this day -
Dear Jesus, help me adore You with greatest reverence and most uncommon regard. My worship is reserved for You and You alone. Help me focus on understanding the GREATNESS of your power, the GOODNESS of your nature, and the WONDER that you hold in your Eternal Being. Help me live my life as a constant act of worship to You.
I will not consciously place any other on the throne of my life. Help me be mindful that only You, O Lord, are worthy of true adoration and praise.
Help me worship You in a way that is pleasing and honest. I tend to be a "pleaser". I wish to please You FIRST and foremost each day in my thoughts, words, and actions. Please help me do this through your strength, power, and wisdom.
As Abraham and Isaac made the trip to the land of Moriah, I can imagine the devastation that Abraham must have felt as he knew what Yahweh was asking him to do. He had failed God in the past. But Abraham had grown in faith over the years. He knew that he must obey Him, even in the face of great anguish.
But on the THIRD day, Yahweh provided a LAMB caught in the THORNY bushes for the SACRIFICE on a mountain in the land of Moriah, which some scholars believe to be the same location now known as CALVARY !
What trust Abraham placed in Yahweh in the face of a great trial!
When I am caught in the thorny day-to-day events that seem to tangle my life, pierce my soul, and destroy my peace, please let me remember that by placing my trust in You, dear Yahweh, You will meet every need.
You will PROVIDE what I need in every circumstance, if I trust You to do just that!
No matter what I face this day. I will rely on You to go before me and make a path for me to follow. I am confident that You, dear Yahweh, will provide.
Thank you for Your provision in the past.
Take care of this day and lead me in Your wisdom, giving me thoughts, words, and actions that are pleasing to You.
Forgive me for my haughty spirit and pride. I am humbled and know that all good things come from You.