Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Marvelous Works

"Marvelous Works" photo by Sally L. Smith--click on photo to enloarge

 Marvelous are Your works,

And that my soul knows very well.

Though the photo is mine, it is nothing compared to the original work!  This sunset was breath-taking.

The days of 2015 are almost over and the sun is setting on the year.  I'm making plans for 2016 and many things will be different...schedules, jobs, abilities and priorities, all of which will take adjustments on my part.  I can easily be overcome if I let those dominate my thoughts.  I'm so glad that God calms my soul with His "marvelous works"...
such peace.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Peaceful Pastures

"Peaceful Pastures" by Sally L. Smith


 The Lord
 will send rain on the seeds you plant in the ground. The crops that grow will be rich and plentiful. At that time your cattle will eat grass in rolling meadows.
Isaiah 30:23 NIRV
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL READER'S VERSION®.Copyright © 1996, 1998 Biblica. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of Biblica. 


This is the scene at the end of our daughter's road...so peaceful, so serene.  I am grateful to live in the country.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Weed Seed

"Just a Weed Seed," by Sally L. Smith

... scatter seeds of justice,
 and harvest faithfulness. 
Hosea 10:12

Not everyone collects dandelion seeds but I couldn't resist this little beauty and saved it for a while on my windowsill.  One does not need to save this kind of seed because the plant is equipped to self-sow.  
I enjoy the little things in life: weeds, feathers, justice, faithfulness...yes, the little things.  

Be


He says, "Be..."
Psalm 46:10 


There is so much "do" at this time of year that I get wrapped up in the wrapping!
All the Lord wants of us is to "be."
I spent over an hour looking up what He wants us to be and I have just scratched the surface.

Be still...Psalm 46:10 
Be holy...Leviticus 19:12 
Be kind, compassionate,forgiving ...Ephesians 4:32 
Be pure, blameless...Philippians 1:10 
Be courageous, strong...Deuteronomy 31:6 
Be on your guard...1 Corinthians 16:13
Be glad...Psalm 9:2
Be loving, like-minded, sympathetic, humble...1 Peter 3:8
Be honest...Proverbs 22:2 
Be gentle,peaceable,considerate...Titus 3:2 
Be patient...Ephesians 4:2 
Be prepared with an answer to those who ask you to give a reason for the hope that you have....1 Peter 3:15 

But first, be close to Him. 
Be...because He is.


All scripture is taken from the
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.






Monday, December 7, 2015

Frosty Peace

"Frosty Walk" by Sally L. Smith


  From whose womb 
comes the ice?
      And who gives birth 
  to the sky’s pale, thick frost?


I took this photo last February after a heavy frost.  There is nothing more peaceful-looking than frost.  Every stick is a thing of beauty covered with cold lace.  Frost doesn't last long though, for as soon as the sun touches, it melts.  God creates the most fantastic things each season and I am looking  forward to winter just to see wonders such as this.




Saturday, December 5, 2015

Becoming A Reflection



My mouth will overflow with wisdom;
    the reflections of my heart will guide you to understand the nature of life.
Psalm 49:3 VOICE
Scripture taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

I wish my life was the exact reflection of Christ.  It would not be difficult to say and do the things that would uplift and help people.  Others would know God through me by my words and actions.  People would hear wisdom flowing from my mouth...
hmmmmm.
Christ is in me.  Am I all into Christ? 
He should be greatest.
I should be least.



Friday, December 4, 2015

Serenity

Photo: "Serenity" by Sally L. Smith


In the beginning God
created the heavens
    and the earth.
The earth was barren,
    with no form of life;
it was under a roaring ocean
    covered with darkness.
But the Spirit of God
    was moving over the water.
Genesis 1:1-2
 Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1991, 1992, 1995
 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.

We were blessed to spend a short time in Florida last weekend.  When I say "short" I mean it.  We stayed a total of 18 hours, 7 of which were spent sleeping.  That time, however, provided a respite from our mid-American scenery and provided some serenity we can't find where we live.  There is something majestic about the ocean/gulf because God is there in all His glory with His paint brush in hand.  It was awe-inspiring with a beauty that cannot be matched.  I took this shot with my phone from the balcony we shared with our daughter, son-in-law and their children.  That is something we will do again and will definitely stay longer next time.  No, we didn't drive that far for less than a day's stay.  We were visiting our older son in South Alabama and took the 1 1/2 hour drive to FL just to see this.  It was worth it!


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Words With A Purpose

Dead Sea Scrolls
Wikipedia Commons



"So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."



It is so important to internalize God's Word which is difficult for me since I have much trouble with memorizing anything.  Many times when life has thrown me a curve, the Word of the Lord enters my brain giving me comfort, encouragement and hope.  I still try to memorize and though I don't always have the exact words in my head or the reference in mind, the crux of The Word is there.  It gives me the answer I need for that situation...always.  The problem is that I have not hidden enough words in my heart and there are a lot of problems out there.  
Okay, I have preached to myself again.  I'm off to feed my soul with "Daily Bread" (John 6:35.)



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How Do We Line Up?

Photo: "Tree Line Up" by Sally L. Smith

 In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
And this is the name by which he will be called: “The 
Lord
 is our righteousness.”Jeremiah 23:6 NRSV
Scripture quotations are]from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

We went to "A Union Christmas" last night, a beautiful start to our Christmas season that we have enjoyed since we moved here over three years ago.  A scripture from Jeremiah was read of the foretelling of The Christ.
  The last line struck home.

"The Lord is our righteousness"
Many versions of the Bible say, in a variety of translations, "The Lord is Righteous."   This version and several more say it as stated above.  That statement makes it personal.
  
We know God is Righteous but we are not.
We can never begin to line up with The Lord.  Nothing we can do can put our lives in line with God's righteousness.  We are hopeless.
But...
in God's time, He sent His Son to allow us to be Right with Him and in Him.  That is the best gift of all this season.
Remember it and live in Christ. 




Monday, November 23, 2015

Leaning

Photo: "Leaning" by Sally L. Smith


One of the followers was next to Jesus and was leaning close to him. 
This was the one Jesus loved very much.
John 13:23 ERV



Every day I need to examine how closely I am leaning toward Jesus.  Without Him, I will fall.



Monday, November 16, 2015

Seeing Red...and Yellow....and Orange...and

Photo by Sally L. Smith



He is generous and has sent the autumn....
Joel 2:23 CEV
 Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1991, 1992, 1995
 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.



It has been a beautiful Autumn with luscious

 colors, cool temps and shorter and shorter 

days.  Things are always changing but not 

all change is bad.  God has kept His word  

and is keeping His promise of changing 

seasons.

My thanks goes to Him.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Guarding The Doorposts

Photo by Sally L. Smith


{Wisdom says:}  Happy are those who listen to me,
    watching at my door every day,
    waiting at my open doorway [guarding my doorposts].

Proverbs 8:34
Scripture taken from The Expanded Bible. Copyright ©2011 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


It was there before the fence was built... guarding what belonged to the owner.  As the years passed, it grew until it encompassed the the post that held up the gate.  It kept growing and flourishing, holding it up, giving it the support it needed to do its job.  It's still here today and thriving.  It's still doing the work given by its Creator.  The gate remains embedded in its heart and nothing can remove it until the tree is no more.  It stands guard at the doorpost gaining strength every day.


Oh, for the wisdom of God that was with God before the creation of the world.  It is that wisdom that gives His children the strength and knowledge of life and of Him.  We, His followers, need that wisdom so we can lead a happy life but how many are willing to stand watch as He shows us the way?  Who actually dares to be wise?  
Excuse me while I go open the gate and allow wisdom to enter.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Live in the Light

Photo by Sally L. Smith

Anyone who loves their brother and sister
 livein the light,
and there is nothing in them
 to make them stumble.
1 John 2:10 NIV


I love how the light shines through the trees and highlights the edges of the branches.  These trees live in the light of every day and depend on that light to make them grow into the tree God intended them to be.  
The same can be said of me if I live in the light of God's Word, love as He intends and depend on what He says to make me into the person He wants me to be.  
Does His Word highlight my life?


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Speaking Through the Fog

"Foggy Sunrise" by Sally L. Smith

You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Your life is like a fog. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away.  James 4:14 ERV

Yes, life is like a fog...some days more than others.  Usually I don't awaken from my morning fog until midway through my second cup of coffee.  I'm almost sure James wasn't using this metaphor in this context but reading it made me think how much I live in a fog.  Some of my days are so busy that I run into myself getting from one place to another.  I have to clear my thoughts and rethink my intentions.  I'm so busy in my fog that I walk by an opportunity to serve someone else or miss my chance to share a word of encouragement or to lift a helping hand.

Lord, clear the fog of self and let me see your glory in every person and experience today. Help me know the joy of serving You in every circumstance.



Monday, November 2, 2015

The Humble Persimmon

Photo by Sally L. Smith


Make sure there is no man or woman,...  whose heart turns away from the Lord our God;...make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.



THE PERSIMMON
It looks pretty, doesn't it?
However, looks aren't everything.
If you take a bite of this fruit in its present state, you will be sorry because the bitterness will make the whole inside of your mouth pucker...for a long time.  Nothing you eat or drink will dissolve that feeling.

I find something similar when I look at some people.  Inside the most beautiful ones, you may find one steeped in bitterness.  She may look pretty and seem like she has it all together, but her life's journey has culminated in her contorted outlook on life.  On the surface, she's smiling and looks happy but underneath, because of sin or hurt or dissolution, she is miserable.  She feels alone...among friends and family.  She carries guilt that engulfs her.  What is she to do to regain her true self?

Sometimes taking a look at our relationship with the Lord and returning to our first Love (Jesus, the one who purchased us with His blood) will straighten everything out and give us a different perspective on the life God wants for each of us.  It takes the effort of humbling ourselves before the Lord, turning from lingering sinful ways and thoughts and totally surrendering ourselves to the Lord Almighty who has just the right life for us.  It is not an easy road to purity, honesty and humility but it can be done with God's help.
About face! 


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Vignettes

Photo by Sally L. Smith

...the joy of the Lord is your strength.


I take pleasure in the little things in life.  I love making little vignettes of items I enjoy...bottles, pretty weeds, rocks, things made by my children and grandchildren, feathers, leaves, rose hips.  I know to the average eye, most of these things should go into the burn pile but not at my house.  My family can attest to my baskets of rocks, collections of buttons, bags of lace and hankies, old torn up books.  Why do I like these things?  I have no idea but re-purposing old and useless things gives my joy.  These things on my window sill may never find a place on my "Re-purposed Items" list but they have a place in my kitchen.  Just looking at them gives me joy and reminds me to thank God for all of his creations.  
His joy is my strength.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Long Life

Photo by Sally L. Smith


For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.



These little beauties are some of the first to arrive in Spring and close to the last to exist in Fall.  Though they have a long seasonal life span, they do die...only to arise again the next year.  We all die but it is only those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that will arise again.

I trust in God's Word.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Guide My Path

Photo by Sally L. Smith


He guides me along the right paths
 for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3 


THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

This is the view of the acorn-strewn path I walked yesterday.  The Lord provides for his creations in many ways.  Food and light come to mind when I view this photo.  He is such a good God and I praise Him for His wonders.


P.S.This is the second go-round for this post.  I decided to edit my photo made from my phone and wound up deleting my paragraph.  I've basically said the same thing except my mind is more tired now than when I only had a half-cup of coffee this morning.  Ahhh, technology and the elderly...but, He is such a good God to get me through my day!

P.S.S. I give up!  I can't get Blogger to straighten out my scripture passage into one font.  Sometimes the Big B won't respond.





Friday, October 16, 2015

Life and Peace

Photo: Sally L. Smith

The mind governed by the flesh is death, 
but the mind governed by the Spirit
 is life and peace.
Romans 8:6  NIV
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



We live in a flesh-world, not a Holy Spirit-world.  We cannot expect the world to be godly but we should expect that of Spirit-filled people.  So many of us profess to be Christ-people but our lives are far from it. Oh, to live a life free from the world, to graze in peace and bask in God's presence free from anxiety and fear of the unknown.  It is only in the solace of His company that we will know true peace.



Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I've Got My Day Planned

Photo by Sally L. Smith


In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.
Proverbs 16:9 NIV

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica,                                           Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



Whenever I read three scriptures in a row about the same subject, I take note.
Today three different devotions (one from yesterday that I didn't have time to read then) was one of those days and this scripture was Number Three.

I'm a list-maker.  When I plan my day, I seem to get a lot of things done but the longer the list, the more stress I feel.  If I let God guide my list, I feel more peace.  I need to pray, "God, if you want me to do these things today, allow me to do them but help me listen to your voice that may override anything I've planned."
When I follow my divine interruptions, I feel like I've listened to God and have a peace about my day that a finished list of worldly things doesn't give.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Best Gifts

Photo by Sally L. Smith


May the Lord bless his land...
with the best the sun brings forth...
with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness...
excerpts from Deuteronomy 33: 13-16 NIV

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
God gives the best gifts:
wild daisies, brought in by my grandsons that we keep outside on our deck so the ants don't visit the kitchen.
multiple blue bird families, enough to need two houses for them (my Mom's favorite bird)
tools and a shed/workshop for Bill; his health to do all that he does for us and many more people
a forest behind our house that brings us glimpses of wild creatures on a regular basis
a gravel road that winds its way to a pond, a grand two-mile walk that keeps me in the same sized jeans 
a place up the hill for a small garden that offered us delicious tomatoes, lettuce and green beans for the season
country air by just stepping out on the porch, along with the wasps, spiders and gnats...but who's counting?
a four-mile drive to our daughter's house and her husband and four children...a two hour drive to our other son's with his five children at home and two more within a 30 minute drive from us at college...a six-hour drive to another grandson in college, an hour away from our oldest son and his wife and remaining three children 
a church with wonderful people and young staff who are bringing in loads of young families who enjoy a blend style of worship...and who also provide an organist position for me 
the opportunity for Bill and me to teach our respective trumpet and piano lessons at a Community Music Center
working with pre-school music again at church
living near a city with a variety of musical activities to keep us highly entertained
so many gifts, and more I didn't mention.
Yes, God, the giver of the best gifts, has blessed us beyond what we deserve and it is to Him that I offer my praise.