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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bubble Glass Fruit

"Bubble Glass Fruit" photo by Sally L. Smith

I will give you rains at the right season [Deut. 11:14]; the land will produce crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit.
Scripture taken from The Expanded Bible. Copyright ©2011 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The trees looked like old fashioned bubble glassware this morning, though it seems most of it is melted off here at mid-day.  The ice dripped from the branches like tiny fruit...thus the scripture above.  
I was hoping for a "snow day" but such is not the case...again.
Ho-hum, but I loved staying home this morning and watching the trees melt.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Making of Diamonds

"The Making Of Diamonds" photo by Sally L. Smith

I am making ·you [your forehead] as hard as ·a diamond [or flint; or the hardest stone], harder than ·stone [or flint]. Don’t be afraid of them or be ·frightened [terrified; dismayed] by them, though they are a ·people who turn against me [rebellious house].”
Ezekiel 3:9
The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.

It's a process: Get cold enough, make frost, send sun. Voila! Diamonds.  Click on the photo above to enlarge and you may see them too.

No, we can't make diamonds; only God can.
He can also make us like real diamonds: hard, strong,and beautiful.  He can make us shine in a dark world by sharing His light with us...the light of His Son.  We are to pass that light around and sparkle even though we are afraid to do so.  People are not receptive to that kind of light because sin hides in darkness but we have a job to do.
Go thou out and sparkle!

Friday, January 15, 2016


"Shining Through" - Photo By Sally L. Smith

...Thorns and 
 will grow in it....
Isaiah 5:6 GW

God put them here and I love the way the light shines through the fluff on these tall weeds.  Each is illuminated like a torch but they don't burn up.  They stick around all winter and entertain me with their beauty.  These are right across from our driveway so I get this view often.  Though weeds can be contentious to a gardener, many are also beautiful.  The eye is in the beholder.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Sharing the Fruit

Promises - Photo by Sally L. Smith

 Build cities for your families 
and stone fences for your flocks, 
but do what you have promised.

About 20 years ago we decided to make quilts for our grandchildren.  Many obligations have blocked our time to do so but this has put us on the path again.  This one is the tenth of 15 so we are two-thirds done!

I do the tedious work of finding a pattern, buying the fabric or finding some in our family's stash, piecing the quilt top and adding the layers with the two of us usually pinning the layers together.  Bill does the difficult work of hand quilting it on his handmade quilting rack.  Both of us find our side of the work rewarding.  I taught myself how to sew (only because I would not let my mother teach me...yes, I'm hardheaded.)  Bill, however, learned to quilt from his Grandmother Grace when he was just a boy.  Who knew we would make a team and complete something lovely and useful together!

My last post was about the fruit of our hands.  I'd say this is fruit...a heritage for our children.  There is another heritage much more meaningful than this
thing of the world and that is The God of All who lives inside our soul.  
As this quilt will be proudly displayed on the bed of one of our granddaughters after it is quilted, our lives and words have been displayed before her as well. I want the latter to be the one she remembers the most.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Fruit of Your Hands

Fiber Art by Sally L. Smith

She considers a field and buys it,
    from the fruit of her hand 
she plants a vineyard.
Proverbs 31:16 LEB

I had never related "fruit" with "my hands."  It makes sense, though.  What we do is as important as our character, how we act toward others and ourselves, and what we say.
I read my devotional for today (Proverbs 31 Ministries through Bible Gateway) and this was the scripture used.  Our hands can be fruitful and not lazy, fruitful and not hurtful, fruitful and not indifferent. Eryn Lynum, the guest author of the devotional I read uses these descriptive words for "fruitful" and I quote:

God... beckons our hearts to create something of artistry, of intrigue, of splendor, of His majesty.
 by Eryn Lynum

(Eryn Lynum is a member of a group called COMPEL, an online group that helps writers hone their skills.

Most Bible versions say something like...with her savings, she buys a field (my interpretation) but "fruit" struck home with me.  God wants women to be actively involved with more than their jobs at home, church and in the community.  He wants us to look beyond the obvious into new horizons.
I now have a different outlook by reading this passage.  Thank you, Eryn.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Just Open the Gate

"Just Open the Gate," photo by Sally L. Smith

Morning by morning he wakens me
    and opens my understanding to his will.
The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me,
    and I have listened.
    I have not rebelled or turned away.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

New Year's Resolutions are not my thing because I resolve to do better all through the year.  That's not a pious statement but one that a sinner like me has to make because...well, I'm a sinner.  

I've been in the place many times where my heart is cold and unfruitful. Farming comes to mind.

The farmer sees that the ground is ready to plow.  He realizes that he must get into the field first by opening the gate. 

 He works hard...hours, days...plowing the ground, readying it to receive the seeds. 
Equipment is necessary before there is a crop to harvest.

How does this apply to me, the sinner?

Getting into the field...I first have to open the gate and realize that I have sinned.
Plowing...I have to turn over the ground of my heart by feeling remorse over my actions and thoughts.
Equipment...I ask God to forgive my sins and guilt so seeds can be planted again. I trust that He will equip me for good works and thoughts.

The hardest thing for this rebel is getting the gate open.

Friday, January 1, 2016

There Is No Other

"From the Rising to the Setting" Photo by Sally L. Smith

 ...where the sun rises in the east...
Isaiah 45:6New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

A new year has dawned.
Only in trusting God can we get the strength we need for the year's work and life.
He, our Creator, has our lives planned for His glory and honor.  Believing this, I venture forth into the year, expecting both good and bad, knowing that He is in control of it all and will give me what I need to complete the work He has set before me.  
I am still learning about Him and will continue to learn through this year and into eternity.
Happy New Year.

(I love this version of the Holy Bible but am only allowed to use 5% of the total my text. Read verses 5-7 and see what you think.)