Thursday, February 28, 2013

In The Morning...

Revelation 21:22-27
New International Version (NIV)
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

...we shall look to that unclouded day!

"The Unclouded Day" - Our Daily Bread

Tucked In Under My God's Wings

New International Version 1984  
Psalm 91

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

I pray that this night will find you safely tucked under the Father's wings.

"Prayer" - Hayley Westenra

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My God, My Bone Doctor

Ezekiel 37:1-11
New International Version (NIV)
The Valley of Dry Bones

37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

I knew if I looked hard enough I could find out what the Bible says about rheumatoid arthritis.  I have dry bones!   At least if feels like I've got dry bones sometimes.  If my God can form an army from dry bones, then there's no telling what he can do with me!  He alone knows.  He alone does.

"Oh Great God, Give Us Rest" - David Crowder Band  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My God, My Worship Leader

James 4:8
New International Version (NIV)
8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. 

I don't buy into those who claim they don't need a church because they can worship God anywhere.  Yes, we can worship anywhere; but a believer always needs a church, not a building, but a fellowship of believers.   I do think, however, that I could worship God in a hay-filled barn with dust motes dancing in filtered light; but then I was raised to love my grandpa's barn.  As a child it was my closest thing to Heaven on earth.  

"Brethren We Have Met to Worship" - Bart Millard

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My God, My Certain Hope

Psalm 73:26
King James Version (KJV)
26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

1 Corinthians 15:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Life's sufferings cannot cancel the hope of Christ.  Yet it is ever so hard to watch people you love suffer, and ever so easy to be angry at God for allowing the suffering.  Tomorrow a family member will undergo cancer-related surgery.  I am praying.  I'm putting my trust in my God who won't give this precious soul more than he can bear, even if I'm feeling that God's got it wrong somehow, that his measure of suffering has been and still is plenty.  If I've learned anything from the life of this loved one, it would be to trust God.  He most certainly does.   So I will be in agreement with what God is doing in his life.
Still, I hate cancer.
"Amen" - Matt Papa


Friday, February 22, 2013

I Was There...

...when they crucified my Lord. 

When I was first living on my own, I didn't have the money to buy a TV set, but I did have a radio.  Every Sunday night I listened to an old time country music  program on public radio which helped me to appreciate, even as a young woman, the the heart and soul of the sounds which so often came from the African American spirituals.   Johnny Cash's version of this spiritual touched my heart tonight.

Johnny Cash - "Were You There, When They Crucified My Lord?"

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My God, My Lifeguard

The Healing at the Pool
John 5:1-8 NIV
1Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesdaa and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.b 5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

7“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

8Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

I've been water walking since my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis.  The local pool is the same one I went to when I was a kid, back in the day when the girls had to wear painfully tight bathing caps with chin straps, while the boys got to swim free.  It was a child's hangout and we were mostly unaware that we were exercising.  Now my pool peeps look so old!  What's worse is that I'm not out of place!  Wearing bathing caps now means our dye jobs stay intact.  As for the men, they have so much chest and back hair, that requiring some sort of upper body cap wouldn't be inappropriate.   Enough walkers and canes are left at the pool side to give the impression that a healing service is taking place.  Maybe there is something to be said for healing waters.  I do walk better on land now then when I was first diagnosed, walking like patient zero of the zombie apocalypse.  As it has been rightfully noted, my lifeguard walks on water.

Eva Cassidy - "Wade In the Water"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My God, My Tailor

At the Baptismal Creek, Holding the Shoes
Isaiah 61:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Matthew 5:3
New International Version (NIV)
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I love this picture of a mom, at least I think she must be a mom, holding the good white shoes for a baptismal candidate.  It's something a mom would do, sparing the good from damage and wear.  My own mother could make things last. She was recycling before it was ever the thing to do, but usually among her children.  Being the youngest of her daughters, I grew very familiar with hand-me-downs.  To my great delight, upon entering junior high school, my mother decided I would get my first new coat straight from the department store.  I was in heaven.  Of course, I gravitated to a sweet little cloth coat with princess seams.  It was the coat of my dreams; but, unfortunately, my mother wasn't a dreamer.  She found a straight-lined, buttoned coat made of some indestructible man-made synthetic fiber I didn't know existed.  It's only decoration was a faux fur collar guaranteed not to let in any cold air.  I hated it, but I wore it, all through junior high.  I couldn't loan, or lose that coat.  It was mine.

I'd been wearing an old, worn jacket over my swimming suit at the pool this winter.  I didn't bother to lock it up but hung it up on the common clothes rack, reasoning that no one would want that jacket, but someone did  It was taken and never returned, probably by one who thought that no one would miss it.  Sigh.  I hope they needed it.  It's likely my old, store bought coat still lives somewhere if they need that one too.

I've been poor but never really in want.  I think that those who truly are or have been poor, are the ones who appreciate a new garment.   While I may have obediently worn my mother's choice of coat, I was still rebellious in spirit; and I will yet remain rebellious in spirit, until Jesus is all I value.
A day is coming when my Savior will dress me in a new coat, my robe of righteousness.  I'm hoping it will have princess seams.

"Two Coats"- Patty Loveless

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Teach Me Gratitude

When I'm inclined to wine and complain help me Lord to be thankful...

...that these aren't my shoes...

...that this is not my morning commute...

...and these aren't my wounds.  God forgive my complaining soul.

1 Thessalonians 5:18
English Standard Version (ESV)
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Hebrews 12:28
English Standard Version (ESV)
28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

"Agony" by Leonard Ravenhill

Well Done

Psalm 4:8
English Standard Version (ESV)
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
My husband has already gone to bed for the night and he likely expects me to follow.  In the meantime, I've spent so much time trying to figure out what to write about that I've become to sleepy to write.   I'm done.  it's time to unplug.  No alarm needs to be set in the morning, for Saturday is here.  Sleep is one of God's great gifts to us.
I'll close this out with a song I've been enjoying a song by a young, 19 years old, singer, Moriah Peters, "Well Done."  Her freshness is refreshing.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Valentine

To be honest, I'd have to admit that it was still a good thing that my husband remembered Valentine's Day.  He's a good man.

"I Let Myself Fall" - Rosie Thomas

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My God Is Singing Over Me

If you're thinking and feeling like Charlie Brown that this year is going to be your worst Valentine's Day ever, just remember that God has your picture in a locket.

Zephaniah 3:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

"When Love Sees You" - Mac Powell

Because This is Just Beautiful

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Short People

Oh, the trials of being short.  I can understand why this little one wore the small pony tail on the top of her head, because I am short.  I was asked today how tall I was and I tried to add a smidgen to my five feet, such is my vanity and my desire.  
If Jesus came for Zacchaeus he also came for me.

Luke 19:1-10
New International Version (NIV)
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My God, My Flight Instructor

John 17:15-18
English Standard Version (ESV)

15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

Isaiah 40:31
New International Version (NIV)
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Ephesians 2:6
New International Version (NIV)
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

Philippians 3:20
English Standard Version (ESV)
20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

I sometimes wonder if the joy that comes from stretching out your arms while the wind blows comes from an inborn desire to fly.  We weren't meant to be earthbound, we who belong to the Kingdom of God.  We our citizens of Heaven.  Amazing, isn't it?  Yet while gravity holds me here, I must remember that there are others who still need flying lessons, who still need to know that this earth is also not where they belong.  A Savior is waiting who will lift them into the Heavenly realms.  
And we will fly!

Building 429: "Where I Belong"

Friday, February 8, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Some Days..

...are like this.

My God, My Pathmaker

Proverbs 16:9
English Standard Version (ESV)
9 The heart of man plans his way,
    but the Lord establishes his steps.

Colossians 1:16
English Standard Version (ESV)
16 For by[a] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

When I was a teenager in Young People's group, we fervently sang the song, "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus."  It was lovely and moving, especially if sung in front of a campfire.  When I think back to my younger self, I'm grateful that I hadn't yet counted the cost of following Jesus.  I hadn't yet counted the heartbreaks, the trials, the ills and woes that were to come.  If I had known then what I know now, would I still be following Jesus?   I'd like to think I would.  I'm thankful, though, that God only revealed what I needed to have revealed, the truth that He is God and I am not. I needed to step down from my heart's throne and place Jesus there, and there He has stayed despite any efforts I've made to dethrone Him.

Each one of us was created to be in a relationship with our Heavenly Father. To be in rebellion against God is more than being a duck out of water, it's also being a duck choosing to keep himself out of water.  God is God, whether I follow Him or not.  Still He's given me the choice and I chose to follow Him.

Jadon Lavik - "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus"

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My God, My Teacher

In my girlhood, I've never learned to dance.  My parents couldn't have afforded the lessons anyway, even if dancing wasn't of the devil.  Sigh.  

It did however get me mostly out of square dancing in PE!  

Unfortunately, I still had to wear those truly awful gym clothes, modeled here by the pretty girls.  Another sigh.

But it taught me patience in affliction, if not how to spike a ball. 

My God is a good teacher. I think now I'm finally learning.

It's time to enjoy the dance!

Monday, February 4, 2013

So God Made A Farmer

Paul Harvey - "So God Made A Farmer"

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board." So God made a farmer.

"I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife's done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain'n from 'tractor back,' put in another seventy-two hours." So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church.

"Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life 'doing what dad does.'" So God made a farmer.

I was never so impressed by a Super Bowl commercial as I was yesterday with the Dodge Ram commercial, "So God Made a Farmer."  It made me ever so proud of you and Grandpa and the legacy of the farm, the homestead.  I wished you could have watched it, but, maybe it played in Heaven's Superbowl.  I'd like to think John and June Carter Cash would have been the half-time entertainment, because it would be to your great pleasure.  

Ram Trucks Super Bowl Commercial "Farmer"

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My God, My Crossing Guard

Proverbs 4:23
New International Version (NIV)
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Psalm 5:11-12
New International Version (NIV)
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
    let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

I had the opportunity this week to drive around town the young man who lives in our house but doesn't want to be blogged about.  I quickly learned from him what a road menace I was!  I suppose it should be expected, since I'm the one who gave him permission to ride his little bike down a hill without first teaching him how to brake, something I remembered when he was halfway down.  It was a lesson learned the hard way, as most of the lessons I learn and teach.  There was another hill many years ago when I was by age if not wisdom in charge of my little brother.  When he asked me if it would be okay to take his bike down a dirt trail, I answered rather nonchalantly, "Sure."   I realized when I saw him and his bike do a 360 in the air that perhaps I should have given it more thought.  Relieved that he was still alive, I checked him out for bumps and bruises and sternly warned him not to tell Mom.  To his credit, he didn't.  

I often find myself foolishly heading down the wrong hills, ending up bruised and broken.   If only I stop running from my Lord's protection, I'd avoid so much misery.  Last night I went to bed angry and woke up still miffed that joy hadn't come in the morning.  I was fiercely guarding my heart instead of letting the fierce love of Jesus guard it for me.  It's always good to stop, look and listen.

"Broken Things" - Julie Miller

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What I'm Listening To...

Rend Collective Experiment - Come On (My Soul)

My God, My Commander in Sleep

Proverbs 6:6-8
English Standard Version (ESV)
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief,
    officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer
    and gathers her food in harvest.

Philippians 4:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

My husband has been using my computer tonight to prepare for a Bible study in the morning.  Since it's actually after midnight now that I'm writing; of course, I'm thinking of the industrious ant even as I plan on sleeping in this morning.  As it is, with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I often wake in the morning with my first thought being plans for a nap.  If you're like me and you're still up, I'll say now, "Go to bed!"  so that one day we can rise up like the mighty ant.  

"Wake Up Oh Sleeper" - Jason Crabb and Third Day