Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My God For All Seasons

Genesis 8:22
New International Version (NIV)
22 “As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

Charlie Brown: Who are you writing to, Linus? 
Linus: This is the time of year to write to the Great Pumpkin. On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of his pumpkin patch and flies through the air with his bag of toys for all the children! 
Charlie Brown: You must be crazy. When are you going to stop believing in something that isn't true? 
Linus: When *you* stop believing in that fellow with a red suit and the white beard who goes, "Ho, ho, ho!" 
Charlie Brown: We're obviously separated by denominational differences. 

The candy is ready but no trick-or-treaters have found their way down the muddy path to our front door.  Yes, it's a rainy Halloween.  On TV "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" finds Linus once again sitting in the pumpkin patch.  Sally is there too, waiting impatiently.  The season is passing and soon it will be . . . Christmas.  Life continues.  Our unchanging God remains good. 

"God is Love" - The Innocence Mission

What I'm Listening To...

"Kings & Queens" Audio Adrenaline

Monday, October 29, 2012

My God Gives Peace

Since the news is full of Hurricane Sandy, my thoughts are full as well.  This seemed to be good Scripture to  share for those in the midst of the storm, and even for those who are only watching it on TV.  Stay close to Jesus, the giver of perfect peace.

"Perfect Peace" - Laura Story

Christ In The Storm

" Christ In The Storm" - Rembrandt

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Waiting For The Storm

Mark 4:35-41
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Calms the Storm

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

I'm grateful to be living far from Hurricane Sandy.  My prayers are with those who aren't.  God is in control of even the wind and the waves.  He, who can calm the storm, can also calm me and you.  Here are two songs for storm watchers.  May God's blessings rain down.  

"When The Rain Comes" - Third Day

"Waiting For The Rain" - Misty Edwards

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sunday Go To Meeting

Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV)
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Psalm 55:14 (NIV)
14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
    at the house of God,
as we walked about
    among the worshipers.

In a town full of seagulls, I found myself today interested and amused by a unusually large flock of pigeons outside the outlet bread store.  They gathered by its doors, waiting expectantly for customers who left laden with bread.  They were such little beggars!   I wondered how creatures with such small brains had discerned where to gather.  When my husband with his bounty of bread climbed into our car, I asked, "Do you have any bread for your flock?"  

This reminds me that tomorrow morning I will be with my own church flock being generously fed the bread of life.  It's not something I should ever take for granted, this freedom to gather and worship.  I pray now that your own Sunday fellowship will be sweet.

"Brethren We Have Met to Worship" - Bart Millard

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Deep and Wide God

I can remember singing the song "Deep and Wide" in Sunday School without really understanding it's meaning.  I find I'm still learning how wide and long, and wide and deep the love of God is.  I know I may never comprehend it this side of Glory, but I'm trusting God to continue to teach me.  I pray that I will remain a willing student.

"There's A Fountain Flowing Deep and Wide"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Abba, Dad!

Galatians 4:6
English Standard Version (ESV)
6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

This picture sure brought back memories of riding in the wagon with the siblings and cousins.  How did you do it?  None of us were ever buckled in and we survived without a scratch.  You were an amazing driver.  I remember how hard it was to give up your license, but you did, you knew it was time.  You were a strong and courageous man.  You were a dad.  

"You Cannot Lose My Love" - Sara Groves

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Night Watch

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
 ~C.S. Lewis

Psalm 119:148
New International Version (NIV)
148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
    that I may meditate on your promises.

Job 6:10 
This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

2 Corinthians 12:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I easily fall into the trap of measuring my days by the level of pain I've experienced.  I may stop for a moment and rejoice that I was walking like a normal person.  Then I can turn around and worry about a new pain and wonder where it's going to lead.   My mind can travel faster than the speed of light from contentment to disaster.  Rheumatoid Arthritis challenges me to be a better witness of God's mercy and grace, and I don't always feel up to the challenge; but that's okay, God is.   He is my strength in my weakness, my hope in my despair, my comfort in my pain.  God is my joy and my song.

"How Emptiness Sings" - Christa Wells

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My God of Peace

Philippians 4:7
New International Version (NIV)
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

"There Is A Peace" - Sojourn

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Growing Old

Do you remember all the times you told me not to sit so close to the TV or I'd ruin my eyes?   Well, guess what!  I still have pretty good vision.  It's the other things that are falling apart.  I'm developing horizontal and vertical lines that have nothing to do with the TV screen.  Rheumatoid arthritis?  I've decided to blame Mom's side of the family, so you're in the clear there.  Mom, however,  is wondering why it skipped a generation, since she's been relatively healthy.  I've since learned that having and nursing babies may help in not developing RA.  You did do your part in keeping Mom healthy.  Well done, Dad, well done.  
God did bless your love.

"Grow Old With Me" - Mary Chapin Carpenter

A Good Quote

Friday, October 19, 2012

For the Love of Cows

Cows are amongst the gentlest of breathing creatures; none show more passionate tenderness to their young when deprived of them; and, in short, I am not ashamed to profess a deep love for these quiet creatures. 
Thomas de Quincey

Should any of my family read this blog post, they'll understand why I wanted to share this picture.  I hope others will enjoy it too.

The View From Pooh Corner

Matthew 26: 25-24

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifeb?

28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Sometimes I miss the days spent in The Hundred Acre Wood with the young man who lives in our house but doesn't want to be blogged about.  Happening upon this image and quote today has brought that sweetness back.  Today is as good a day as any to be my favorite day.  Perhaps tomorrow will be as well.

The Theme Song for Winnie the Pooh

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Green Pastures

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

I am reminded that this little house under the weeping willow tree is where my Shepherd led me and I should now rest and be content.  I am no longer a lost sheep and I'm safe in my Lord's care.  
Father, forgive my discontent.  

"Hymn" - Brooke Fraser

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Not Too Small for God

Psalm 31:16
Make your face shine on your servant;  save me in your steadfast love!

Sometimes it feels as if I am too small and God is too big to notice my problems.  When the difficulties and sorrows  mount up higher than I can climb, I see no way over them.  But God can.  Not only does He know what's on the other side, but He promises to that He will work it out for my good. He, who is mighty to save, will save even me.   

Chris August tells the story of "The Upside of Down"

"The Upside of Down" - Chris August

Monday, October 15, 2012

My God of Good Cheer

Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

I've been enjoying, probably too much, emailing funny pet pictures to the young man who lives in our house but doesn't want to be blogged about.   It helps raise my spirits if not his.  Since rheumatoid arthritis is attacking my joints, I need all the help I can get.  My initial relief at finally being diagnosed and getting needed help, doesn't always carry me through bad days.  Keeping a cheerful heart does.   I also know one day Jesus will keep the gate open for me.  He is my hope and my song.  

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

"In Christ Alone" - Eden's Edge

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My God, The Rainmaker

Matthew 5:45
King James Version (KJV)
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Rain has returned to my part of the world and my willow tree weeps.  This is what we know here, gray, overcast skies and perpetual dampness.  The hoods on our hoodies come up as if we're all in the same gang, The Raindrop
Runners, because we usually don't bother with umbrellas.  (Does Rain Runners sound tougher?)  Sunglasses will soon be forgotten, hiding in drawers or under car seats out of a sense of shame and uselessness.  The stretch of sunny days was wonderful but we are resigned to the rain.  

It can be easy to forget in my spiritual life that rain can be good.  I'm afraid to open a medical bill, forgetting that God will somehow make provision for it.  I expect that the possible bad side effects of the medicine for rheumatoid arthritis will play out, even though I pray every time that I swallow them that God will make me tougher than the pills.  Rain does fall on the just and the unjust, but for children of the Heavenly Father it is measured out as grace.

"Grace Like Rain" -Aaron Keys

Saturday, October 13, 2012

God Doesn't Make Mistakes!

"Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" - Matthew West

Asleep At The Keyboard

Psalm 139:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

I've been waiting on a YouTube upload to finish processing and have discovered once again that it is possible to fall asleep at the computer.  Yes, I'm fearfully and wonderfully made, even if I don't look so wonderful as I snooze.  It seems God has engineered our bodies to sleep and He doesn't consider it an option.
I just checked.  The song is still being processed.  I like to wait because I don't always know if the record company will allow the upload and an email will be sent if they don't.  It will give me time to delete the song before loyal subscribers try to watch it.  It's looking more and more that I'll have to leave its progress until the morning.  
Sleep well.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Just Because They're Cute

The young man who lives in my house but doesn't want to be blogged about tells me that the internet exists primarily to show cuddly cat pictures.   He may be right!  What about a kitten and a baby?  That works for me too!  I did want a bit of post-debate escapism.  

Where The Ground Is Level

Isaiah 40:21-24

21Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

This Scripture came to mind as the vice presidential debate played on the TV.  Don't fret, heirs of the kingdom, God is safely on His throne.  I uploaded this song four years ago during the last election.  

"The Ground Is Level At The Foot of The Cross" - Blue Highway

A Good Thought...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Night Under God's Stars

Psalm 147:4
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.

We've been blessed by an unusually dry and sunny fall this year on the edge of the rainforest.  Since we are soon, however, to be deluged with rain, my husband decided to drive his family back out into the national park to get one more glimpse of a starry night.  I was tired and in pain from this rheumatoid arthritis and content on the couch under a favorite quilt, but I could see he needed to do this.  He was right, of course; when each clear day is a gift from God rather than an expectation, they shouldn't be wasted.   So we all stood under the stars tonight and marveled.  I hope God marveled back at us, also His creation.  I know He knows our names.  

"How Great Thou Art" - Alan Jackson

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My God, My Refuge and Fortress

Swallows Nest Castle, Yalta, Ukraine

This photo has had me thinking about God as my refuge and my fortress.  I may find temporal refuge in this little house under the weeping willow tree, but only God gives me an eternal refuge.  To think otherwise is to be like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand.  What I learned in Sunday School still holds true.
Father, it is upon your rock, I build and I will not be truly shaken.

New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Monday, October 8, 2012

Walt, Mickey, and Me

Luke 12:32
Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Okay, I admit it.  I want to go back to Disneyland.   I just knew if I looked hard enough I'd find a Bible verse to justify it.  I want to take one more turn on the Matterhorn with my family laughing and screaming for all the right reasons.  We were actually on our way to Disneyland when our car met the semi truck and the screaming wasn't good.  Later we did go by way of  the lovely Amtrak's Coast Starlight.   It was a time to rest and be pampered before thrusting ourselves fully into the Magic Kingdom and then to rest again on the way back home.

I grew up watching "The Wonderful World of Disney" and hanging on Walt Disney's every word.  I was sure he was the greatest man ever given to children, and that Disneyland was a child's heaven on earth.  Now I know that this work of a mere man will pale in comparison to God's kingdom.  So while I'm thankful that God made Walt,  I'm even more thankful that God made a Kingdom for his very own children, me included.

Still, I want to go back to Disneyland before the young man who lives in my house but doesn't want to be blogged about takes wing, and possibly before rheumatoid arthritis makes it only a memory.  I want to grasp Dumbo's feather and fly.  God, who knows the desires of my heart, can be trusted with this one.

Why Walk When You Can Fly - Mary Chapin Carpenter

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What I'm Listening To...

Aaron Keyes - Psalm 62

Doing All Things Well

Mark 7:37 NIV
People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He has done everything well," they said. "He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

I'm up late tonight because I've been caught up in what I thought would be an easy song to upload to YouTube, but has turned out otherwise.  I wanted to make a video that would honor my friend's life and death, and I asked my husband to watch it expecting and wanting his approval.   He honestly told me that the images in the slide show went by too fast.   That wasn't what I wanted to hear!   I think I became so besotted with the pretty pictures that I failed to see just how many I was using.  So now I've been caught up in redoing it because my friend deserves a good tribute and my God my best effort.  I want to do all things well, especially what is intended to glorify my God; and that requires a sacrifice of time and a higher level of commitment.  I will still likely have too many images for my husband's taste but not for mine.  

I learned our differences early on in our marriage, when I saw how long it took my husband to open a wedding gift.  Each one received his greatest care and admiration and not just the gift but also the card and even the wrapping paper.  On the other hand, I was eager to just tear into the wrapping paper just to finish the job.  We were as different as our families of origin.  

Tonight we drove up the crooked road that my great-grandfather had laid out.  He wanted an easier way from point A to point B so he made his own road, but he did it my family's way.  When a big stump blocked the straight path, he just detoured  around it.  If it had been my husband's ancestor, I'm sure the road would be smooth and straight, no matter how many stumps had to be dynamited out of the ground. 

If we had an easy button for life's trials, how many would use it?  I know that I'd be in that number.  Even though God promises to refine us by fire and water, I would be still be wearing out the button from all my pushing.  

God, help me to do all things well.

"All The Way My Savior Leads Me" - Rich Mullins

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Put On A Happy Face

Psalm 43:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Psalm 34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Some days it can be really hard to put on a happy face.  The last few days have been difficult, as in please, Lord, let me steal away and cry.   Still, I can choose joy over happiness.  Too often I don't.  It's good to have a forgiving God.  Whatever we can't do of our own accord, He can.     He's just that kind of God.  
"Does Jesus Care - The Isacs 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Turning In

I had a desire to create something beautiful today, but I've been working too long on its creation.  Once again I realize the need for sleep should override the creative process.  It's time to call it a night.  Goodnight to you and sleep well.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Elephant In The Room

Psalm 55:22 ESV

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

I think that sometimes I'm too attached to my burdens to leave them with my Lord.  I have pet burdens, ones I turn over to Jesus only to take them back.  They define me more and more, as I grow used to them.  It's hard to serve my Lord when I'm loving my sins.  
Disengage, child.  God can take care of the elephant freeing you up to serve him.  He's been doing it long before you were born and will continue to do so.  

"Wash Me Away" - Point of Grace

What I'm Listening To...

"My Jesus I Love Thee" - Jadon Lavik from his Roots Run Deeper album.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Falling For Fall

Ezekiel 17: 9
He took some of the seed of your land and put it in fertile soil. He planted it like a willow by abundant water,

Howling wind arrived with the first of October.  Even now it's blowing through the branches of our willow tree, signaling a change in seasons.  I really didn't want our lovely September to end. It was a beautiful month replacing the summer I lost to illness.   The clothes I had hung outside to dry had to be brought in before they blew away.   I fear our outdoors loving dog has spent her last night outside, since she is now snoring at my feet.  The young man who lives in our house but doesn't want to be blogged about is doing his college homework.  My husband is enjoying yet another football game.  I may have to surrender to fall after all.  We are snug, really snug, actually really cramped, in this little house under the willow tree.   Still, I'm thankful.  God remains good.
Life goes on. 

"Move" - MercyMe