Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Morning Mist



I have swept away your offenses
 like a cloud,
    your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
    for I have redeemed you.

Sing for joy, you heavens, 
for the LORD has done this;
    shout aloud, you earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
    you forests and all your trees.

Isaiah 44:22-23

It's good to be reminded of this.  I can't wait to walk today 
and listen to the trees "burst into song."


Monday, April 29, 2013

Keeping His Promise



 All the trees of the forest will know
 that I the Lord bring down the tall tree
 and make the low tree grow tall. 
I dry up the green tree
 and make the dry tree flourish.
“‘I the Lord have spoken,
and I will do it."
Ezekiel 17:24


Green--not my favorite color...except in Springtime.  It is then that I love green!
The tree-huggers need to read this passage of scripture and believe in tree harvesting for the promotion of natural growth, not that we need to "help" God.  It is obvious by His words that He will take care of His creation on His own. God is in control of everything and everything appears at His command and in His season.  



When I was editing my photos today (taken about two weeks ago), I noticed the juxtaposition of the tree limbs have formed a cross.  Do you see it?  I love when the "unplanned" happens to increase my faith.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Flooding



He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.
Psalm 40:2-3

There is so much flooding.  I have friends who don't have homes and family members who, a few years ago, had to be rescued from theirs.  
There is so much destruction, stress, sorrow, displacement.  People reach out to rescue...bless their hearts but the families still have to sort through what's left when the flood waters recede.

Life is like that.

When our lives are flooded, when we feel overwhelmed and are going under the third time, when we can't lift our heads because of sorrow and the flood waters of emotion rage over us...we can find hope.  Praise God, the Giver of Good Gifts, who rescues us from ourselves and our situations, who lifts our spirits, who gives us new songs of deliverance.  It doesn't happen without our asking and believing.  In so doing, He WILL help us.  He promised...
and usually our situation is even better than it was before the flood--a testament to our loving and caring God.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Being Held



The eternal God is your refuge,

    and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Deuteronomy 33:27 

God the Forever provides a comfort place for me 
by holding me with His strong arm.
(my paraphrase.) 

 I needed this verse today. 

Photo credit

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Keeping the Faith




He replied, 
“If you have faith 
as small as a mustard seed,
you can say to this mulberry tree,
 ‘Be uprooted
 and planted in the sea,’
 and it will obey you.
Luke 17:6

A dear friend's great-grandson is facing brain surgery today.  Symptoms came on suddenly and after many tests they found two lesions on his brain that are probably malignant.  
He's only four years old.  
How can a parent/grandparent/great-grandparent deal with this?  The grandpa is having a crisis of belief and asking, "How can God do this to an innocent little boy?"  
Good question.  

God is sovereign, we are not.  We don't know his plans.  All we can do is have faith and trust that He will see everything to completion--whatever that is.  Sure, easy for me to say...it's not my grandson.  No, not so easy because I envision my own little four-year-old grandson in that situation and my heart goes out to my friends.  My faith is being tested today as I pray for a miracle in his behalf.

We are only here for a short time.  
Enjoy being with each other.



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

His Lightning



His lightning lights up the world;
    the earth sees and trembles.
Psalm 97:4

Many people are afraid of lightning but I find it fascinating...
God's fireworks.
Of course, I have not been injured by it and nor has anyone in my family.   Many people are afraid of storms because of things that have happened in the past.  They are afraid of their future because of that knowledge and it imprisons them.  I remain unafraid of storms because they are totally out of my control.  I pray that God would see me through it and just sit back and enjoy it.  Now, if only I'd look at the storms of life that way.  
I must remember...
afterward the lightning, the grass is always greener.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Denial



Jesus answered, 
“I tell you, Peter, 
before the rooster crows today, 
you will deny three times 
that you know me.”
Luke 22:34

Peter, the strongest of the disciples, the most out-spoken, the most impulsive, turned from his vow to follow Jesus--even to death.  He even denied knowing Jesus when the going got rough.  He cursed, didn't even show up for his crucifixion, went into hiding with the others and didn't believe what Jesus had told them about the resurrection.

I've done that, too.  I have good intentions but find myself shirking my responsibility to share the good news of Jesus, give my money and gifts, take my time to serve others.  After such an occasion, I'm usually filled with guilt, just like Peter. But...Christ continued to use Peter anyway.  After Peter came to his senses and experienced that Christ was telling the truth, Jesus built the church of Jesus Christ with Peter as the head preacher.

There's still hope for me.

(To share my photo, please site this blog post by clicking here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Downcast



Why, my soul, are you downcast?
 Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
 for I will yet praise him,
 my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:5

I have a friend who is struggling with overwhelming sadness...it is governing my friend's life to the point of interfering with daily living and appetite.  Death of a loved one kicked my friend and getting up seems an impossibility at this point.  I feel there's nothing I can do to help...so I pray.

I've been there many times...in situations where there seems no way out; in financial difficulty; in dealing with personal sins; in the death of my Dad; in watching my mother die over a period of 18 years, bit by bit as she struggled with Alzheimer-like symptoms due to a series of small stokes--wishing God would just take her and wondering what use she was to Him anymore.  I waded through menopausal symptoms that swept over me day by day until I felt that I should commit myself...or worse.  Through these times I knew I should trust God completely and I cried out to Him incessantly and it seemed He had barred himself from me.  Through the patience of my husband and family, I was able to emerge from each situation without losing my faith in the Great Healer..but it wasn't an easy process.  Time does heal but it still hurts a lot.  Through these times God had something for me to learn and I just had to find out what.  Usually at the end of each "Sad Journey" He rewarded me with opportunities for service which I did willingly.  No, I'm far from the perfect little Christian but I can say with confidence that God never left me.  He just allowed me to see the pain so I could relate to others who were in greater pain than I.

As for my friend, I continue to pray for healing.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lord's Day

Photo credit: Tim Wilson
    This is the day 
    which the Lord hath made;
     we will rejoice
    and be glad in it. 
    Psalm 118:24
Notice:  All Servants of the Lord (and especially church staff)
This is a command.  See that it is fulfilled with a gracious heart today.
Thank you, the Management. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Rainy Day



I will send you rain in its season,
 and the ground will yield its crops
 and the trees their fruit.
Leviticus 26:4

The recital went well.  I'm so pleased that the Lord gave us calm spirits so he could sing and I could play the piano for him.  I know the Lord blessed me to be able to see the music well since I've been having major problems with my glasses, the glare on the music and blurry eyes.  It was absolutely God's gift to allow me to see the music even with a spot light shining in my eyes.  I also give him the credit for my playing nearly perfectly...and that is a feat for me.  My performance anxiety wasn't there at all!  To God be the Glory.

The rains came as predicted but no storms and the audience came anyway. I'm pleased for the vocalist that they were very receptive to his singing.

When the rains of life come, we either sink or swim.  We swam through this one...with the help of The Almighty.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Recital


Whatever you do, 
work at it with all your heart, 
as working for the Lord,
 not for men...
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

I believe I've put my heart into the work I've been doing these past two semesters...accompanying vocal students and a choir at Union University.  I've also been subbing for an organist for nine months now.  The Lord has given me these opportunities and I've done the best I can do.  One of the tests comes tonight as I accompany a young man in his vocal recital.  It's been pretty difficult for me since I have performance anxiety.  I've depended on God to pave the ways for me and give me courage and strength for each scary encounter.  This semester has been a little easier than last in that I wasn't remodeling a house.  My anxiety has waned...somewhat... but I am still in constant contact with God to give me comfort as I perform.  
You did say "whatever you do," didn't you, Lord?
You also said,
    So do not fear, for I am with you; 
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
    I will strengthen you and help you; 
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
    Isaiah 41:10
    I woke up unafraid and I will stay that way...only because God has promised that He would be with me.  As my hands play, His hand holds me.  What a relief!
    Photo Credit

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Crowns


Praise the Lord, O my soul; 
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
 and forget not all his benefits--
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 103:1-5

I listened again to a message I heard around Thanksgiving time preached by an anointed man of God, Ben Mandrell, Englewood Baptist Church.  It brought me to my knees again as I realized God at work in me.  I don't say that to be proud of who I am or what I try to do but that God Almighty deems it fit to satisfy me with good things.  His love and compassion toward me is like a crown placed on my head to honor me just because I bear his name...Christian.  I see your blessings, Lord, and praise your name along with David.

The photo attribution describes the crown pictured and it's interesting that way back then in Ethiopia, a cross adorns the top of many of the crowns of that era.  What happened to that culture?  Did they not remember God's mercies to them?  Did they not realize the blessings so generously given them?  Many people groups have ignored God and trusted in their own might and as a result, have been destroyed or not blessed.  I fear for our country.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why?


When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
You must be on your guard....
And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.
Mark 13:7-10

Unfortunate, but true...people are doing what people do...being mean to each other.
"What the world needs now is love, sweet love" lyrics popped into my head but love is far from man's intentions.

The earth is doing what it does, quake.  There's nothing new here but it is still alarming.  Why is this happening?  Why don't we have peace?

We're not expected to, according to what the Lord said.  He knew there would be destruction because he knew the heart of man and the fragility of the earth.  He warned us that these are precursors to the end and that warning was 2,000 years ago.  It is still in effect today...for a reason.  We may not like His reasoning but it is still true and we still have a responsibility to do what he expects of us.  


Monday, April 15, 2013

Remarkable Dad



...a time to weep 
and a time to laugh, 
time to mourn 
and a time to dance...
Ecclesiastes 3:3-5

The loss of my son-in-law's grandfather brought back memories of my Dad--a most remarkable man.

World War II Navy veteran
committed husband 
proud Daddy
doting Grandpa
lover of God
lover of life
lover of all people
lover of fun
big-time ham
comedian
and so much more...

The first photo is of him before I was born and just after coming home from the war in the late '40s.  The second is him hamming it up with a co-worker celebrating in the real estate office where he worked...effectively...into his eighties.  He might have been about 78 in this shot.

Just wanted to share my thoughts.  I still love him and think about him often.  I so much wish I were like him but, alas, I'm more like my Mom...staid, somber and prim.  There is a closet inside me that I open on occasion when I least expect it...usually around the people I love and trust or, in rare moments, in front of a crowd of church people.  Vacation Bible School is approaching and it brings back memories of my "hamitude" where my Dad-clone surfaced.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Valley


Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4


My son-in-law lost his Granddaddy last night. 
 My daughter knows why I posted this scripture today.



Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Light


Light shines on the righteous
    and joy on the upright in heart.
12 
Rejoice in the Lord
 you who are righteous,
    and praise his holy name.
Psalm 97:11-12

I don't count myself as being righteous, though I do seek righteousness.
I praise your name, O Lord.  I seek your face and your will.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Majesty


The Son is the radiance of God’s glory
 and the exact representation of his being, 
sustaining all things by his powerful word.
 After he had provided purification for sins,
 he sat down at the right hand 
of the Majesty in heaven.
Hebrews 1:3

Majesty...another name for the eternal God who rules all.  
I am humbled before Him.



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dark Clouds

Photo attribution here

Clouds and thick darkness
  surround him;
 righteousness and justice are
  the foundation of his throne.

Psalm 97:2


We're in for more storms today...a day in which many are afraid.  We've not feared storms because we have not been hit by a bad one yet and hope that never happens.  Many are afraid, though, because their property has been damaged by high winds.
  It's difficult to put all one's trust in God when things have not gone our way...when we've been damaged by the storms of life.  He's still on the throne and wants our trust regardless.  Are you game?  I hope I am.



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Celebrating 45



    May your fountain be blessed,
     and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 
     Proverbs 5:18
Many of our anniversaries have been spent visiting our large family--three children and fourteen grandchildren.  I would have posted our wedding picture (and may in the future) but this one is more appropriate.  This is our last grandchild as of now.  Micah was born last year.   Every child has been a blessing to us and we feel honored to have been
given such a healthy and happy family. 
 Thank you, Lord, for the 45 years
you've given us and the joy we still have with each other.


Our daughter and her family at Micah's first birthday.
Our two sons and their families two summers ago.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

God's Eye

Photo attribution here

 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of
is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven.
 
It is a land the Lord your God cares for;
the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it
from the beginning of the year to its end.

Deuteronomy 11:11-12

I take so much for granted:
day and night
sun and moon
stars
rain and snow
animals and people
family and job
comforts and discomforts.

I tend to complain more than praise and grouch more than encourage.  I don't give God the glory for the little things that mean so much to my life and realize He has a purpose for every minute that transpires.

His eye is on me all the time.  He sees and knows everything I do and will do.  He cares for me and I will give Him praise for everything...yes, everything; for it's in the acceptance of the "everythings" that show my true love for Him.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Nest in a Rock

Photo attribution here

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


It's nice to feel secure in a world that is so crazy.