Monday, April 11, 2016

Tomorrow? and Tomorrow!

"Tomorrow?...!" photo by Sally L. Smith

"This sign will occur tomorrow.’” Exodus 8:23
"Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.”
 Exodus 9:5
"...at this time tomorrow I will send..." Exodus 9:18
"...by this time tomorrow I will hand..." Joshua 11:6
"Go, for tomorrow I will give..." Judges 20:28


Sometimes tomorrow seems like a long time but God does things in His time, not ours.  Sometimes we just have to wait for good things to come.  God promised that He would take care of us but we spin our wheels worrying about needless things.  Worry is a miserable place to be and it will only make us feel worse?
Why don't we just trust Him?
He does hold our tomorrow, doesn't He?
If we actually trust Him, He will give us the peace we need until our "tomorrow" comes...
maybe even...
Tomorrow!


Friday, April 8, 2016

Violets...Ahhh.

"My Favorite Spring Flower" photo by Sally L. Smith

Flowers appear on the earth;...
Song of Songs 2:12

It's here...Spring!
As I write this, however, I just heard that there is snow in Central Illinois.  It's supposed to be freezing here tonight.  One of many things about the Lord is His sense of humor.  It's a good thing I took this picture this week!


Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Rock...True Love



Your dwelling place is secure, 
your nest is set in a rock;...
Numbers 24:21

We tend to build nests...we mothers and grandmothers and wives and sisters.  We want our home to be comfortable and the people that live within to be loved and nurtured.  It is a rare occasion when that love is reciprocated in a meaningful and lasting way
but
such was the case the other day.

My grandson went for a walk with Grandpa the other day and returned with this heart rock.  I have a few that I have saved for myself and he said, "Grandma, I found this heart rock and I thought you might like to add it to your collection."  How sweet!  I was so touched that he thought of me and as a rock lover himself, he sacrificed his find for me. 
 That is true love...
something you love and sacrifice for another.

That is what God did for us when He sent His Son to die for our sins.
That is true love!





Friday, March 25, 2016

Perfect Unity

"Holy Week Sunset" photo by Sally L. Smith


“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—  I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me... Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God
John 17:20-23

It amazes me that Jesus was thinking of those of us who WILL come to know him even after his disciples die.  He wrote these words for us and He expects us to get along with each other, to be united with no fighting, backbiting, arguing or hateful speech,no gossip, idle talk or ridicule...just love.
Sounds easy but we know it is not.  Only through understanding the perfect love of Christ can we get along with everyone around us, even those who get on our nerves, even those who think they are a god, even those who do not love us back.  Sounds easy but we know it is not...not without the love of God through Christ in us.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Path to Love

"Sky Islands" photo by Sally L. Smith

... make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control;  and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8

I have heard this scripture preached for years but never paid attention to the process it describes.  Today, after reading it again, these thoughts came.

The Bible tells us that believing in Jesus is a commitment process.  Following His teachings and living a life like His should be our goal and our whole life should be straining toward that goal.

So, you've accepted that Christ was and is,  now you will want to lead a better life. How do you do it?  Maybe following the progression in the scripture above will help.


Try goodness for starters: Do something good for someone.  Simple? Yes, but you must act and not just think.  Continue walking this path as you...

 gain more knowledge about Jesus.  Reading the Bible, especially Jesus' words, is a good start toward what He expects from us.  This is a life-long process since He reveals new things every time we read.

Try a little self-control. Start with the little things and work (yes, I said "work") at it.  This does not come easy for one who has had no control over his/her own life.

Gaining control over oneself takes perseverance.  It is a stick-to-it road and not something that comes over night.  Persevering puts us closer to Christ because it is a sacrifice to stick with it.

As we grow in all these things we gain godliness, thinking and doing things as God would.  We listen to our "leanings" toward godliness and act on those thoughts and feelings from the Holy Spirit.

We look for others with whom we can share our God-experience...those who share this passion to be more godly.  We find a mutual affection with them and we work together for good and God.  That affection helps us reach out to non-believers to share His hope with them.

Then we can truly love because we can better understand God's love for us.

Each is a step in the right direction.  Should one decide that it is just too difficult to do all this, then he/she does not really want to be an effective and productive Christian. (Sitting in a pew is  much easier.) Yes, we stumble but He picks us up. We then start on the path of love again where we got off because our goal is to be like Him and live with Him in His Glorious Forever. 

It's not always easy to be a Christian, especially in our fallen world, but it is not impossible.  We just have to take it step by step everyday.  You may have to start at the top some days but this progression has been given to us for a reason...to gain a love like His.




Monday, March 7, 2016

The Spotlight

"Sundown Spotlight" photo by Sally L. Smith

See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:24  NIV


The Lord doesn't have to look long to find my "offensive way."  Oh, if I had only one!  Mine come in multiples and yet, He still loves me and forgives me when I ask.  Even after spotlighting my faults, He continues to provide peace at the end of the day.  
Oh, sweet forgiveness!

(I don't know why my phone's camera highlighted something in the middle of the page with a ray from the sun.  It reminded me of God spotlighting my sins and loving me anyway.)

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Palette in the Sky

"God's Sky Painting" photo by Sally L. Smith

Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens,
 your faithfulness to the skies.
Psalm 36:5

I never get tired of looking at the clouds.  They are a constant reminder of their Creator.  The closest man can come to making a cloud is exhaust of some kind and that does not bring rain to nurture the earth.  Clouds are proof that God loves everyone.  

These clouds were so beautiful that I had to pull over to take a picture.  What a palette!





Thursday, March 3, 2016

Growing Up

"Two Growing Boys" photo by Sally L. Smith

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk,  
so that by it you may grow up in your salvation...
1 Peter 2:2 NIV

Our baby grandsons are growing up.  One turned two a week ago and today his brother is four.  My, how the time flies.  Today is also the birthday of another of our grandsons who is 16.  How did that happen so fast?

Each is growing at his own pace, that which is set by our God who created them.  Each is different in his own way, just as God has decided.  If we raise them to be just like us, we have messed with God's design.  We treat them as individuals who were created to perform a special purpose in God's creation.  I'm eager to experience each as he grows...both physically and spiritually.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Seeking His Paths

Photo, "Path in the Woods," by Sally L. Smith

Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken 
those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10 NIV

My husband, the "Always Alert Deer Hunter," is always seeking deer paths on our walks.  The one above is a "Man Path" created as a short cut to a field on which the land owner can drive his heavy equipment.  There is not a lot going on this time of year so the path has become strewn with leaves and debris.  Deer paths are less noticeable and are shortcuts through the woods to the deer's feeding ground.  He wants to know where the deer are so he can determine the best place to set up his deer stand.  We eat the venison during the year and share it with our family. (It takes two TN deer compared to one IL deer so we never seem to have enough).  He provides for our family and saves us money.  Plus, we like our deer meat.
 If we follow His Paths, God provides for us.  He will lead us to His Plans for our lives if we are alert to the signs He leaves for us, do the work He gives us and thank Him for the privilege of serving Him afterward.
Thank you, God, for your Paths.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

There Was This Rock...

ON THE KITCHEN TABLE

ON THE TABLE BY BILL'S BIBLE AND GLASSES


ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER


IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DINING TABLE


JUST SCRATCHING THE SURFACE OF MY OWN COLLECTION


Where did they get their love of rocks?
...by one who loves rocks.
Where did they get their love of working outside?
...from the one who loves to work outside.
Where did they get their love of reading?
...from the one who is the avid reader and read to them when they were so young they couldn't even focus yet.
Where did they get their love of wild play?
...from the man who throws them in the air, chases them through the house and keeps them busy while Mom get dinner.
Where did they learn to pray?
...from the ones who prayed at bedtime and at meals.

Where do they get their love of Jesus?
Well, from ones who love Jesus, of course.

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2 NIV


Photos by Sally L. Smith

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Blue Jays and Water Oaks

Blue Jay and Water Oak by Sally L. Smith

But you remain the same,
 and your years will never end.
Psalm 102:27

Every year they come in droves and fill our trees as they look for the leftovers from our Water Oaks.  Though the acorns are small they are little treats this time of year for the birds.  It is a joy to see them right outside our back windows.

It's the little joys in life that give help me through the day.  I can easily lose perspective when schedules mount and overlap.  It is then that I need to remember to be thankful for the little things...and the big things.
Keep a list of everything for which you are thankful as they come into your life today.  It may give you encouragement in times of distress to remember the little things and that God's love never ends.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Apple Roses!


He carved cherubim, palm trees 
and open flowers on them 
and overlaid them with 
gold hammered evenly over the carvings.

He carved juicy apples into petals with the skins still on the edges
and overlaid them with apricot jelly and 
pressed pie crust evenly over the petals.

Bill found another wonderful recipe and outdid himself with his Valentine surprise for me.  I countered with walnut and chocolate chunk brownies but he won the contest!  What a surprise they were and so good, too.  Even manly men can make beautiful and tasty things for their wives.  It's certainly OK with me.

The Lord gives skills to those who are willing to do the work. Take a look at the number of artisans that helped decorate the temple...from beams and walls to flowers and woven cloth. They were no doubt manly men but God gifted them with the ability to create beauty. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I Will Sing!

"In the Morning I Will Sing" photo by Sally L. Smith

But I will sing of your strength,
    in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
    my refuge in times of trouble.
Psalm 59:16 NIV

Every day is a good day because God is in it.  Sometimes we have to look for Him and some days He is very evident.  On the days I try to find Him, I have to command myself, as the Psalmist did in the first line of this scripture.  "I will sing!"...but not today.  Today I am looking forward to the busy.

I had a great birthday yesterday and I am appreciative of all the birthday wishes I received from friends and family.
Today is a big day with lots of extra planning and ends to tie together.  It is a good thing God is in it!

La-La-La

Friday, January 29, 2016

Laser Light

"Laser Light" photo by Sally L. Smith

Then Jesus said,
 “Did I not tell you that if you believe,
 you will see the glory of God?”
John 11:40

It was a glorious cold day with the sun rising over the meadow just beyond my house.  I caught the picture to get the lighted fronds in the background but came up with this giant ray of light directing its beam through the trees and onto the road like a laser.

That is how Jesus touches us when we truly believe He is God in flesh.  He will shine a light in us that will radiate into a dark world and illuminate truth.  A true God-filled Christian radiates light through their eyes and smile and breaks through the darkness of a person's soul.  There are so many dark souls in this world, so much sin, so much distress.  People want to be loved and understood.  Sometimes it's just too much trouble to spread light.  I'm either not confident that I have the right words to help them or think they will reject what I say so I don't even pick up my laser.  When that happens, I haven't truly believed that God can work through me and later I realize, when it is too late, that I just missed the glory of God.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Just Shadows

"Just Shadows" photo by Sally L. Smith

They spring up like flowers and wither away;
    like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.
Job 14:2 NIV

Turn, and they're gone...forever.  Such was the case of the little two-year-old boy who wandered away from a close family member who was distracted a short time helping his sibling.  She looked, they looked, the whole community looked and he couldn't be found until a week later.  It was the last effort and the searchers were returning home without finding him.  One of the men walked right up on him, body curled tight, no mark on him, asleep, or so it seemed.  He had died of hypothermia and no one could have done anything about it. 

I have run the gamut of emotions this last week and a half: shock, fear, sadness, anger, blaming, deep sorrow and depression...all of which are signs of grief.  I've been miserable but my feelings cannot even begin to describe what this family must feel.
  
The memorial service is tonight.  Though I cannot go because of my own church obligations, I'm sure the community will turn out in force like they did for the search.

However, there is a faction of the community that is still dealing with the anger portion of grief.  They cannot let go and have to blame someone for his death. They have started a petition for justice for him.

I do not blame the family at all!  I know how difficult it is to keep track of an active boy. I've "lost" mine more than once and was so grateful to have found them in a short time. We get distracted and it doesn't take long for them to get away.  I hope the blame-ers come to their senses soon and don't make trouble.  They are not perfect either.  I hope they can let the family grieve without producing more grief for them.