"Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."
I am thankful, that in the midst of a world that seems to be changing with mind-numbing rapidity, the Father never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His word is true and His promises are faithful. He is the firm foundation under our feet when all else gives way. Thank You Lord.
The little robins come one by one to drink from our birdbath, and I think of the miraculous. Who whispered in his tiny ear that it was time to begin the journey north - and how does he know the way? He has a Father who is watching over Him. I am thankful.
A beautiful bouquet to celebrate forty-two years together. Years filled with everything we had hoped and so much we never dreamed of. You held us together Lord in the best of times and in the darkest of times. You have made of our love something special.
The beginning of the journey for two very special young people. Thank you for their sweet testimony of your grace in their lives.
- Thank you for another year with Dad, Lord and for bringing him safely through this difficult year. We celebrated his 89th birthday with cream puffs and thanksgiving.
- reconnecting with dear friends in our small group at Bible Study; thank You for friends who laugh, cry, share and pray together.
- sensing God speaking a message of Hope into my life
- time spent with the five grands in Dallas: laughing with delight at J's impersonations of people in the movies we watched; watching little G. cling to her Papa's hand wherever we went.
- seeing our son and daughter-in-law return from their vacation rested and refreshed
- kind, encouraging words from blogging friends - my sisters of the heart
- looking into the night sky and seeing the numberless stars piercing the darkness - astounded and deeply comforted that He knows each one by name
- the pleasure in good books - Miss Read books in particular
- sunny, sparkling days with a sky so blue it pierces my heart
- security in the midst of hard times - security in knowing my Father is watching over us.
- watching a favorite movie
- good conversation with a dear friend who always points me to Jesus
- a thunderstorm on Feb. 10th.
- an overnight with our little granddaughters - they are a delight
- answered prayer
For all these things and so much more I thank You Father. You have poured out blessing upon blessing. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear.
To participate in this gratitude journaling and see other lists of thanksgiving, visit Ann's blog.
"Then the Lord said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind'; and it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good."
Genesis 1: 24-25
They were standing there as I rounded the curve in the road and headed up the hill. They are so beautiful. I am amazed at the wonder of His creation. This is the One who loves us and cares for us. Thank You Lord, for cutting through all the noise and clamor that assaults our senses throughout the day with evidence of Your grace, mercy and faithfulness in our lives.
It was a perfect day for walking - no jackets needed and no need to worry about getting too hot. The sky was that brilliant blue that almost hurts your eyes when you look at it, and the air was crisp and clear without a trace of humidity. As I said...perfect.
You can just hear the "but" coming can't you? But...the afternoon is not my perfect time of day for doing anything that requires the least bit of energy. For some reason, when the clock begins edging toward two o'clock I begin to feel the need for a nap. I rarely give in to that feeling because I know it would mean absolutely no getting to sleep at bedtime. It's better if I keep busy even if I feel as though I'm in a bit of a fog.
So we headed out the door and up the road. I knew right from the start that I wasn't going to break any speed-walking records on this walk. Just about half way through the biggest hill my legs started to complain:
legs - "Are we there yet? This hill seems a lot longer than usual."
me - gasping for breath and ignoring the whiners - continuing the walk
legs - "Seriously, we are beginning to feel like jello. Look how far ahead he is! Can't we just wait here until he reaches the end of the road and starts back? Please....whine, whine, whine.
me - "Oh, all right if it will make you stop that incessant whining."
So, although perfectly willing to walk all the way to the end of the road, I gave in to the wimpy legs and stood waiting by the side of the road. Not wanting to look like a total slug, I began to look for fossils - a very worthwhile activity I think.
They are fairly easy to find here. I just looked around in the place where the bank had worn away, and before long this is what I found.
I'm not sure if it can technically be called a fossil.(I do believe one of us is a fossil - this little clam or me and my tired legs). The fossils we usually find have the print embedded in the rock. This is the rock that formed from what used to be a clam. Nevertheless, it was time well spent I think. When my husband "caught up to me" on his return trip I just told him I felt it was a very educational thing to do. Some things just have to take precedence :-)
Then the whiny legs and I headed home - way behind my husband who for some reason thinks you're just supposed to keep putting one foot in front of the other when you go for a walk. How silly.
"While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." Gen. 8:22
Spring is beginning to shyly show her sweet face here in South Texas. Whenever I catch that first glimpse of her, I am reminded of God's faithfulness. His promises never fail.
Have a blessed sabbath,
We have been bombarded in recent days with bad economic news. Many people are buried under such a load of debt they are losing their homes and wonder how they will have enough money to make it through the month. Our country is reeling with the news of failing businesses and job loss. People are looking for a way out - for help to lift the burden of debt from their shoulders.
I thought this morning, as I was walking, there is another debt every soul who has ever lived owes. It is such a huge debt, that there is not one person who could ever hope to repay it. There is no scheme of man grand enough, no economic guru wise enough, no amount of money sufficient enough to settle the score. It is the debt we owe the Lord for the sin in our lives, and, ironically, He is the only One with the resources to satisfy it.
He is the One who has provided the perfect plan to release each one of us from the weight of such a debt and its inevitable consequences. It requires no work on our part, for we could never earn enough. He asks only that we accept what He has done for us through the death and resurrection of His Beloved Son. We have only to believe and immediately He writes across the pages of our sin-filled lives, "Paid in Full."
The words of a song we are singing for Easter kept running through my mind:
"Oh praise the One who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead. Jesus!"
("Jesus Paid It All")
What a weight has been lifted. What hope and peace. Whatever this life brings, we can know that eternity has been settled. He paid our debt.
Yesterday, in my devotional reading in Oswald Chamber's "My Utmost For His Highest," he wrote about despair. He used as his example the time the disciples fell asleep in the garden when Jesus had asked them to watch and pray. When they realized what they had done they were filled with despair. They felt, in that moment, they could never make up for what they had done.
"The sense of the irreparable is apt to make us despair, and we say - 'It is all up now, it is no use trying any more.'"
How easily I can identify with such feelings. Whenever I fail do to something I know the Lord has asked me to do, or done what I know to be wrong I am very apt to sink into despair and have a "what's the use" attitude. I believe that is just what the enemy of our souls is after. How pleased he is when we give in to despair and allow our relationship to the Lord to suffer.
However, Jesus has a better way. "Whenever we realize that we have not done that which we had a magnificent opportunity of doing," writes Chambers, "then we are apt to sink into despair; and Jesus Christ comes and says -'Sleep on now, that opportunity is lost forever, you cannot alter it, but arise and go to the next thing.' Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ, and go out into the irresistible future with Him."
The answer is to let the past be washed in the blood of the Savior and to go on to the next thing He has. That is the glorious work of redemption and the amazing grace of our Lord. He never gives up on us. He is there to forgive us, to pick us up and dust us off and give us hope. The enemy would have us remain under the weight of guilt and shame, unable to muster up the energy to try again. Jesus extends a hand of forgiveness, mercy and grace.
"Never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action." concludes Chambers.
Behold, I will do a new thing; now shall it spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
I wrote a post about the orange one a long time ago (and can't seem to find it in my archives - sigh...). I very nearly murdered it by allowing its little feet to sit in water. I had no idea. One day it just started dropping its leaves and before long I was left with one little stalk with a measly little flower at the end of it. I decided to let it live until the flower died and then put it out of its misery.
One day I noticed some new growth. I could hardly believe it. Before long that one little stalk became several stalks and now it is back bigger and better than ever. At the time it made me think about the grace the Lord has shown in my life. There have been times when I have been all but dead spiritually, but He never gave up on me. He continued to love and forgive and eventually new life began to blossom in my heart. That plant is a constant reminder to me of God's unconditional love.
I'm old enough to remember those visits and to remember summer evenings sitting outside on the front porch with neighbors who just happened to be walking by and stopped to chat for a little while. There was a feeling of warmth and closeness that came simply from sharing the stories of our lives with one another. Whether good news or bad, laughter or tears it is all so much better when shared with someone who cares.
So....come sit on the front porch with me this Sunday afternoon. You don't need to call first or wait for a special invitation. There are comfortable, empty chairs waiting just for you. Perhaps you'd like a nice cold drink or a cup of tea. Just come as you are and let's visit.
It's been one of those weeks where every day was just filled with things "to do". It makes the days pass quickly, but I really do like to have a bit of down time if I can. Don't you? I'm thankful it's Sunday and a day to just rest.
I thought Friday would be my day to just stay home and do some of the things I enjoy doing, but we got an early morning call from my Dad. His knee had become so painful overnight that he could barely walk on it and couldn't even manage to get into his little compact car. He had a doctor's appointment for 10:30 and asked if my husband and I could take him. So off we went. It turned out that he had lots of fluid on his knee. The doctor drained it and sent us off with a couple of prescriptions to be filled. He also told my Dad he would have to get back on his water pills. His cardiologist had said he could discontinue them, but evidently he still needs them. By the time we got him home, his legs and feet were all swollen up. He is doing much better now, and we're very thankful it wasn't something more serious. We've had enough "serious" for a while.
We arrived home with only about fifteen minutes to spare before our son and daughter-in-law dropped off our two granddaughters. They were on their way to an overnight Marriage Retreat. L. and H. arrived with their backpacks full of all the Valentine goodies they'd gotten at their school Valentine parties. We had such fun with them. They are ten and six. I love just sitting and listening to them talk. Life is so much the same and yet so different from when I was a little girl.
My husband gave me a beautiful pink and white bouquet for Valentine's Day. We went to church Saturday evening (after the girls went home) and then out to dinner. We had to wait over an hour to get a table. Just between you and me, I'd have been happy to go home, heat up a bowl of soup and just relax with my husband. I must really be getting old.
Have you been listening to talk radio much this week? I begin to listen to it less and less, but I want to keep up with what's going on, so I listen to some. It has been, for me, rather depressing this past week. I begin to have some very serious misgivings about the future of our country. We sang a song this week, our special choir number, that came at a perfect time. I am going to put up the youtube video just to share it with you. There isn't a video, but the audio is wonderful. I think it is a song for our time, a call to those of us who love the Lord and desire to see a great revival in this nation. I hope it will minister to you.
How was your week? What has the Lord been speaking to your heart? How can I pray for you?
Thank you so much for visiting. You are a blessing to me.
Bright and early wednesday morning I will be here at Laced With Grace.
Please join me, and we'll talk about Zerubbabel (there's a name), plumb lines and little things.
We got a late start this morning, so it was past noon when we got home. We hurriedly unloaded and put away all the "stuff", ate a quick lunch and headed to my Mom and Dad's. Another thirty-five minutes in the car.
My Mom has a precious little Holly Hobby quilt (which I should have remembered to take my camera to photograph so this post might be just a little bit interesting) that she was ready to put on her quilting frame. It is always a four-man project, so she waits for us to come to help her.
Having accomplished that task, we sat and visited for a little while and then had dinner together. My Mom always has a delicious meal planned for us. It was meatloaf, potatoes, peas and carrots, salad and grapes for desert.
We just got home a little while ago. It is eight o'clock. I still have to take a bath, do my Bibles Study lesson and practice piano. Whoever said retired life was dull? When people ask me what I do all day, I just inwardly sigh. I don't know how it happens, but the days are always full.
All that to say, not much time for blogging today. I'd actually rather sit here and visit everyone, but I'd better be a good girl. This priority business is a difficult thing!!
These are little embroidered dishtowels that my Mom made for me years ago. When Donnetta asked for suggestions for a way to use the towels she had, I thought of them. They were packed away with all the other things I packed when I thought we had a buyer for our house.
I unpacked them and hung them up so I could show her how I usually display mine. I'm glad to have them back in their proper place again. I noticed, however, that they are a bit dingy and wrinkly - so I will give them a freshening up this week.
My Dad made the little shelf they're hanging on. I usually have a little collection of pitchers on the shelf. I'm thinking of retrieving those from their cardboard prison too!
I love the way each towel has the day's chore represented. Ah the "good old days", when it really did take all day to do the laundry. I actually love so many things about those good old days, but I am truly thankful for my modern conveniences.
Have a blessed weekend.
I could hardly wait to get started.
Many others have written insightful, wonderful posts about this study - so I won't attempt to write what has been written so well. I just want to tell you how amazing God is (I know that's not exactly new to any of you either) and how grateful I am that He is mindful of me.
I love Beth Moore's studies. She is uniquely gifted to open the truths of God's Word to women. I quite literally had goosebumps the whole time I sat watching the video and listening to her share what God had given her. However, when she came to point 2 under "Why Study the Book of Esther?" and said "IT OFFERS TREMENDOUS HOPE" I nearly jumped out of my seat.
There is was again - my word. She went on to say, "We are called to faith, courage and providence." How it encouraged my heart to hear repeated what I really already knew. "Faith" she said, "is putting God in every fill-in-the-blank. Nothing is coincidence in my life. Nothing happens by chance."
What hope (confidence, eager anticipation, longing, aspiration) that births in my spirit. The Father watches so closely that nothing escapes His notice. Circumstances that cause me to despair have not taken Him by surprise. He takes the time to reinforce in the heart of one of the least of His children that I have a HOPE. He is my hope. He is greater than any circumstance and loves me enough to be all in my life that He has promised to be. He couldn't do any less. He never does.
My memory verse this week is:
"Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled."
I chose it last week. It was part of the Bible Study this week! I hear You Lord!
I confess that I am easily confused and prone to doubting. The Lord is infinitely patient with this flaw in my character, forgiving me over and over again. What truly overwhelms me is that He not only forgives, He lovingly encourages and teaches - growing my faith.
I believe He gave me a word for this year. Not a prophecy, but rather a literal word to be planted into my heart like a tiny seed. A seed that He would nurture and grow and use to produce fruit of His choosing in my life.
Knowing the nature of my wavering heart, He kindly and gently reinforces what He has told me. I feel such a sense of gratitude at such love. It causes my love for Him and my faith in Him to grow. What a wise and loving Father.
Today I read an article in "Decision" magazine by Joseph M. Stowell. It could very well have been entitled: "To Linda from her Heavenly Father." It is all about hope. I'm going to share a few quotes that were meaningful to me in the hope that it will minister to someone else:
He began the article by saying that trouble comes to all of us. When it does, how will we handle it?
"The right answers are found by asking the right questions. And the right question is not 'Why?' Processing problems in the why zone too often leaves us cynical, hardened, angry and confused. The only right answer to why is 'I don't know why, and if I don't know why, I need to suspend judgement until I do.'"
"Hope beings when we start with the right question; 'Who?' ...It sounds simplistic to say that ultimately God is our only hope. Nevertheless, it is true that help and healing begin and end in all that He is and all that He provides. Our hope and eventual healing begins by looking in His direction."
"The only certain, steady reality when life takes a downward turn is our Father in heaven and the helping work of His Spirit through the guiding principles of His Word. God is full of certainties that provide something solid to hope in."
"When Scripture speaks of hope it literally means to trust in a present and future help that is certain. Our English word lacks this element of certainty. It is little more than a wish, a 'hope so'. Biblical hope is grounded in certainty."
"When we begin with who, we begin with Him. It may only be a determined resolve to look trustingly in His direction, but we must begin with Him. For some, hope in God will conflict with thoughts of the damage He has permitted in our lives. However, if we are willing to open our hearts and minds, we will come to know how His certainties can become realities that bring hope and eventual healing."
"When we begin to believe that He doesn't care, we cross a threshold of vulnerability to the debilitating forces of anger and cynicism that bring us further distress and eventual defeat.
We must turn to the entity over which we exercise exclusive control - our wills. My thoughts, my responses and my decisions are always within my jurisdiction. I can choose to keep looking to Him even when all is quiet in the sky."
"If we choose not to cultivate our hope in Him, where then will we place our hope? Will we hope in the gods of comfort, peace, pleasure and self-fulfillment? Or will we be children of the true and living God, who is indeed our ultimate and final hope?"
"It is an issue of where we look. We can look downward in despair and outward in fear and confusion as we survey our circumstances. Or we can look upward to Him and inward to our choices."
This has been such a long post, and I thank you for your patience with me. I have felt so encouraged just typing the words out. I want this kind of hope to sink deep within my spirit. I don't want my circumstances to put a barrier up between the Lord and me. I want to allow Him to use them to draw me ever closer.