Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Word of Encouragement

Twice this month I've received an unexpected card in the mail from a friend filled with words of encouragement and hope.  Both lifted my spirits and gave timely courage to keep looking up and pressing on.  The first was from a friend that I correspond with regularly, but the card was filled with words of blessing and friendship.  This same friend has been sending cards daily to a weary, floundering sister in the LORD going through a hard time.  What a wonderful ministry!  Yesterday's card came to my husband and me from a man we went to Bible College with 30 years ago.  He was in our area last winter and stayed with us and we had a blessed time reconnecting.  His encouraging card came unexpectedly and was such a lift to our spirits!! It seemed especially unusual to receive a card like this from a man (it was written by him but signed from both him and his wife).  His card came with this message: 

  Life's Pathway 
 an inspirational Message by Emily Matthews

At times, life's path
seems filled with things
that make the going rough,
And we wish there were
a smoother road,
for we feel we've had enough...
But if we pause a moment 
and remember Who's in charge,
The hills that loom ahead of us
no longer seem so large,
And every rock before us,
when we know we're not alone,
Becomes, not just a stumbling block,
but one more stepping stone.

These words along with his personal words of comfort and blessing were a huge lift to our spirits.  Who in your life might benefit from a card?  In this day of instant messaging and e-mails a card in the mailbox can mean a tremendous amount.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stay faithful

"Whatever you do, stay faithful to the LORD yourself," she said to me, "So many fall away when their children rebel.  They go into the world themselves and then when the children want to get right, they have nowhere to go - nothing to come back to."  As the pastor's wife I had just met at our church youth camp spoke to me I realized that the temptation that has sometimes nagged me is common to those whose children have strayed from the truth.  The temptation has come to just go back to "middle of the road" Christianity - maybe if we weren't so "radical" our children wouldn't reject our faith.    It is painful to be rejected by any relative or friend but even more so by the children we have poured our hearts and lives into.  The devil whispers that if we just softened the truth a bit maybe they would come back and maybe we could be more acceptable to them.  The thought has come when my children don't want to go to church because they don't fit in, that we could find a church where they felt comfortable.  Sometimes I become weary of standing and fighting for the standards our family has set. I long for peace and sweet relationship and am tempted to move in their direction by just giving in to their rebellion.  As I write I recognize the danger in this thinking and the fallacy of "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy.  I wouldn't say I've ever seriously considered letting go of the truths of scripture we've come to practice, but I must admit the tempter has certainly run the thoughts past me on occasion and I was thankful for a "heads-up" to keep my eyes open for this deception and stay strong in the faith and in prayer.  To keep fighting for right and truth and standing strong with the LORD's help.  I had a candid conversation with one of my wayward sons yesterday. I sense his longing for right living and his regret over the messes he's made in his life and the consequences, yet he said he just wasn't quite ready to yield yet. Wayward children know the truth and even they, I believe, want to know that there are those still standing strong for the right.  To know that when they want to come back - we'll be waiting with open arms right behind the LORD to welcome them into the Kingdom of light.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Broken Glass

              BROKEN GLASS
Shattered dreams like broken glass,
Sparkling shards, glittering mass,
Crushed on the concrete floor of life.

Bridges of life that won't be crossed;
Vision gone, hope seems lost,
Dropped in the chasm of yesterday.

Helpless wond'ring what will come?
Darkness reigns, senses numb;
Upper room waiting for the day.

All night long we cannot see,
Peering long, restlessly,
Wond'ring what God has in mind.

Slowly dawns a ray of light;
Trembling faith, feeble sight,
God's not hindered by brokenness.

"Give them up," I hear Him say,
"Let them go, it's My way";
He now delights to pick them up.  

Gently He takes up each bit,
chosen piece, arranges it;
What are shards to Mighty God?

Lovingly He redefines,
recreates a new design;
This was His purpose all along.

Sharpened tools have done their work, 
Cutting deep, precise work;
Melt on the solder, hold it fast.

Light streams colored through the glass,
Making sense of the past,
Traced on the concrete floor of life.

Lifting Thanks

I have found that the lift is really for me.  When I make my list of thanks my eyes are lifted upward and my spirit is lightened and lifted.  So perhaps I'm selfishly motivated, but here's another Thanks list...

191.  Comfortable sunny, breezy days
192.  Lots of garden produce and sweet girls to help put it all up
193.  Cuddly kitties
194.  Progress on Fall housecleaning - clean white kitchen curtains
195.  The dryer working again
196.  Time with my Mom (afternoon tea, a shopping trip to the second hand store, and supper here)
197.  Fall vacation on the North Shore to look forward to
198.  Friends who share their cabin there with us
199.  Children who prefer tenting even to the cabin and don't mind sleeping on the ground
200.  Access to beautiful music, art and poetry
201.  Inspiring books to read aloud
202.  A friend's listening ear as I spilled out my pain all raw and her words of hope - miracle stories of
          others transformed by the LORD
203.  My friends' miracle of forgiveness and grace experienced this week, spilling out onto all of us onlookers
204.  Daddy spending time with his little ones
205.  Singing hymns of praise with our church family
206.  Hospitality and a feeling of belonging
207.  Rachael's Dahlia from Ludmilla in the Ukraine blooming lovely big blooms
208.  Recent rainbows representing hope extended to us
209.  A couple of boxes of apples off our trees this year and Lizzy's fresh hot apple crisp
210.  A freshly tuned piano

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Miracle!!

Dear friends recently experienced a miracle touch of God on their lives - His grace poured out in forgiveness and transformation.  Here it is in poem form by our dear friend Hope Byler.

I wish
you could have seen them --
their glow,
their twinkling smiles
into each other's eyes,
the grace
that has softened
hardened and anger-filled faces . . .

She with the blush of a bride.
He the epitome of protective gentleman . . .
They stood there
telling us all
gathered in the stuffy little church foyer
about the gift of grace . . .
the out-pouring,
the 4 a.m. deluge
that streamed down golden
from heaven.

Arms encircled,
fingers entwined,
we stood agape.
They tell us -
it's better than the first time
better than the honeymoon . . .
and their starry eyes
invite us to believe . . .

The 30-plus years of marriage
have been a spiral down
for decades . . .
distance . . .
it was all there.
And more.
Much more.
Prayers winged heavenward
from many hearts.

Their dozen-less-one children
have been staggering through life -
trying to find hope
amid despair.
amid chaos.
amid death.

The past week
had seen it all escalated --
till fights and police
and lawyers
entered the scenario.
It was the bottom.
The bottom of the bottom.

But it was in the middle
of a hate-filled, angry,
wee-hours-of-the-morning tirade
that the windows of heaven opened . . .
and could you have seen
the golden waterfall,
the sparkling dazzling stream
of light
beaming downward --
you, like Saul,
would have fallen to the ground
blinded by it's beauty.

A gift so unimaginable
so beyond what we could ask
or think --
a grace so amazing --
flowed from the heart
of the Father
into two battle-weary souls.

Bitterness fled
at the Face of Love.
Resentments melted.
Apologies began to flow
into air
still writhing
from the seething words
spat into it
moments before.
The sweet water of forgiveness
flowed into soul-gouges
clawed deep by death-words.

The curtain of heaven
was gently moved aside
by a scarred Hand -
to allow through
a beam of light
and mercy
and indescribable grace.

And I look around the foyer.
Children smile.
They never stop.
Eyes are all aglow.
Her face radiant.
His eyes mist.
"It was all God," he says.
"It was all grace."

And we raise hands of wild praise
to the Only and Always Good.
We prostrate in worship.
We bow humble before
Almighty God
who holds every detail -
all of life -
in the palm of His hand.
And we know that we know -
with a fresh, wonder-filled faith
that God.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Things to give thanks for

171-  Green grass in August
172-  Plenty of moisture for the garden
173-  Apples on our trees
174-  Fun and laughter while we put up produce
175-  Lots and lots of peaches and blueberries
176-  Herbal remedies
177-  Friends that understand

178-  A praying Sunday School class
179-  Plans and direction for school in September
180-  Our nature class - lots of learning and fun
181-  Imaginative children
182-  Wonderful books to read aloud
183-  Lively conversations with my Mom
184-  Light bread again - a solution to our wheat that makes flat bread
185-  Good neighbors
186-  A bucket of raspberries
187-  Cool breeze and lower humidity for canning weeks
188-  Twin grandbabies on the way
189-  A little boy with a wonderful creative vocabulary
190-  Frogs and Toads in terrariums

Thursday, September 1, 2011

We Must Be Obedient

I've been slowly reading F.B.Meyer's book Elijah.  The following paragraphs really stood out to me and I wonder how much I miss of what God has for me because I am not quick and sensitive to obey small promptings.  I have made it a practice to obey what I know in the Word of God but even there I know of areas where I have not brought my practice up to the level of what I know.  The life of blessedness held out as a result of living in obedience is very attractive to me. I highly recommend F.B.Meyer's biblical biographies  including this one -- they are full of insights.

"We have already insisted on this, but it is so indispensable that repeated emphasis must be laid upon it.  Christ reiterated His appeals for the keeping of his commands in almost every sentence of His closing discourses with His disciples (John 14:15, 21, 23, 24).  He gives the secret of His own abiding in His Father's love in these striking words:  "As the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do.  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love."  (John 14:31, 15:10).  Instant and implicit obedience to the teaching of the Word, and to the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit, in an absolute condition of keeping, or increasing, the store of sacred influence.  On the contrary, one little item of disobedience persisted in is quite sufficient to check all further bestowments, and even to deprive us of what we have.  "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword."  Nor is such obedience hard; for all God's commands are enablings, and His grace is sufficient.  Look out for it.  If only every believer who reads these lines would resolve from this hour to imitate Elijah, who went and with the thought of merit, but beneath the inspiration of love;  not in the weightier matters only, but in the crossins of the t's and in the dottings of the i's --he would find at once that there would open before him a life of almost inconceivable glory.  It is the wide and open sea of blessedness.  The exact obedience of Elijah is the inviolable condition of receiving and keeping "the spirit and power of Elijah."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Giving Thanks: the remedy for a heavy heart....

I'm long overdue for looking for and listing blessings to be thankful for:

151.  A beautiful garden with a deer fence to protect our labors
152.  A laboring husband who loves to grow things
153.  Healthy, energetic little ones
154.  Hard working girls who help keep the house clean.
155.  Time at the lake with friends
156.  Beautiful sunset and time to paint in my nature journal
157.  An encouraging phone call from Adam - stories of God's faithful provision
158.  Conviction and confession followed by forgiveness and a new start
159.  Quiet moments with my Mom to talk and be refreshed
160.  Flowers blooming in my gardens
161.  Loaded apple trees
162.  Our own strawberries and blueberries
163.  A church family to be part of
164.  Bills paid and jobs planned
165.  Little one's learning to read
166.  Laughter and late conversations with my "big girls"
167.  Cool breezes at the end of hot days
168.  Good books to read aloud at bedtime
169.  Phone conversations with grown boys.
170.  Hope that hangs on

Friday, May 6, 2011

Labor and Delivery

Parenting wayward teens can feel much like a long hard labor and delivery.  Things are out of your control. Fear haunts you, panic grips you by the throat.  You want to quit or run away but there is no escaping - there is no way out but through...  This is your own flesh and blood.  No one but God knows when it's going to end or how it will turn out.  The pain comes in incredible waves and you can only hang on and cry out to God.  You long for birth, to witness the first breath of new life.  But as in the first laboring for this child, God IS in control - He is not surprised by any detail of it and He is completely and intensely present. We will risk our very lives and give in the most intense and intimate ways, being humbled and laid low, but if we believe we will experience the salvation of God and see and know Him in new ways. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Taking Time For Tea

My dear friend Delight feels the same about her mother and her daughters as I do about mine. She is very faithful about taking time for tea.   Here she is sharing tea with her sweet girls.
My mom only lives 3 miles away and we can always e-mail or talk by phone, but there is something special about visiting face to face.  I hadn't been to her house for several weeks so we arranged to have tea Friday afternoon.  I always come away blessed after visiting with my Mom.  Her house is quiet and clean and her heart is warm and understanding.  The conversation is animated as she has many interests and we share the love of our family and many people we've known through the years.  She likes to read and is always interesting to talk to.   She understands me and wants the best for me as much or more now than when I was a little girl.  She lets me into her life and  shares her heart, allowing me to be her friend, too.  When I share things I know that she will take them to our Heavenly Father in prayer.  

Some years ago after her three girls were grown and on their own, she wrote an article about parenting being a 20-year investment.  We got to talking about that Friday and she said she realizes now that it isn't just 20 years, but a lifetime commitment.  Not only is She still caring about and praying through for me, but she also is praying for my children and grandchildren.  She actually carries prayer burdens for many more now than when she just had the three of us. I used to think it was busy and challenging when I had 20 years of pregnancy and nursing but I realize now that those years were a breeze, when my children's needs could be met by simply cuddling and nursing them or changing their diaper.  Now I find myself actively involved in spiritual battles for the souls of my children and the futures of my grandchildren. I thank God that I am not alone, but that He has placed me in a godly family where My Mother still partners with me in love and prayer.  

Not only do I have my wonderful Mom, but I now have my older daughters sharing in the spiritual battles and blending their hearts and lives with mine in intimate friendships.  My Mother and my daughters know me intimately and still love me, they know my history and they are happy to share my future.  We speak each other's "language" and have learned to graciously pass over the flaws.   Then there is the joy of building for the future with the younger ones and the grandbabies!  I am so blessed by God's design for a lifetime of love within families. I hope my girls will always take time for tea with me and be as blessed as I am when I take time to have tea with my Mom!!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Day With Davie

Grandbaby cuddled close
Big blue eyes burrowing into mine
Hair damp and curling
Our hearts entwine.

We rock and fall asleep
Quietly doze, cuddled up close we rest
slowly we wake
Our hearts are blessed.

Playing's a way to learn
Turn the page, learning the names of things
Animal sounds laughed
Our hearts on wings.

Stacking the blocks so high
Now your turn, You knock them all away
Stack them again now
Our hearts at play.

Sitting in your high chair
Cheerios grasped with your little hand
I "zoom" the vegies
Our hearts feel grand.

Grandbaby, the day is done
keys in hand, I say "good-bye" and sigh
I have to go, but
Our hearts stay nigh.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Springtime Blessings

141 - Two Robins, a sure sign of Spring
142 - A work trip for Brian to Texas
143 - God giving him courage to fly
144 - The garbage in the yard picked up
145 - The camaraderie and feeling of belonging at KEY
146 - A letter in the mail from a faithful friend
147 - A young friend full of passion for the LORD
148 - Another young friend sweetly sharing her spiritual journal and trusting me to keep her accountable
149 - peanut butter and tea with creamer
150 - Sweet little ones cuddling close at storytime

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

So Much to Be Thankful For!!

131.  Millions of Frost Diamonds sparkling on the grass, bushes and trees.
132.  Time to hold and love my Grandbabies
133.  Date night with Brian, holding hands and watching a movie
134.  Scriptural promises being fulfilled before my eyes
135.  God's hand picking up where I have fallen far short
136.  Melting snow and bare hillsides
137.  Girls to laugh and work with - Spring Cleaning underway with music and laughter
138.  Frozen strawberries and blueberries with milk - date night treat
139.  My children's bright young minds
140.  Good books to discover and read aloud

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Treasured Days to Savor

Today my Dad will come to watercolor paint with me.  We've made a practice of painting Saturday mornings for months now and I look forward to each time and treasure the time together.  We don't necessarily say a lot but we will occasionally comment on each others work or a warm smile will pass between us and those moments carry me through the week.  I always feel privileged that He wants to take time with me.  Because he is on hospice with lung cancer each occasion we are together I am acutely aware of the preciousness of the time.  What a blessing it is that God has given us this awareness so we can slow down and savor it.  


Notes from a message by 
Keith Dehn

* When we're confident that God is with us, we can face anything.  Genesis 45:1-15
  Joseph trusted in God's sovereignty.
* When someone wrongs me I can believe that God is in it and will redeem it.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1.  Be born again - understand we've been forgiven. 
Be filled with the Holy Spirit
2.  Let go of the pain
3.  Trust in God's sovereignty - accept what come from God.
4.  See the offender through God's eyes.
5.  Move toward the offender instead of moving away.  Serve and pray.  Serve or give to the one who has hurt me.  ( He gave the exception of physical or emotional abuse).
6.  Pray for miracles to happen in my heart and the others.
7.  Romans 12:19 Revenge not yourselves.  Leave vengeance to God.

I found this message to be very helpful and timely.  I hope it is a blessing to you, too.  If you want to listen to it you can use the following link:  http://kitchi.astitch.biz/sermonpg.htm  It is Forgiveness Part III  from February 6, 2011.  I also highly recommend Part I and Part II.  I noticed when I went back to listen again that I missed a lot of good things in my notes, so I hope you get time to listen to this wonderful series of messages.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

116.  Adversity that makes us cling to God
117.  Melting snow making rivers in the driveway
118.  An Eagle's nests and mating birds with their tinkly calls - signs of Spring
119.  Faithful, uncomplaining daughters who think up incredible food with what's left in the freezer
120.  The ice thawing in a daughter's heart
121.  Words of hope from Rachael for a situation that seems almost hopeless to me
122.  Wonderful books and evenings of treasured time to read aloud
123.  Dad feeling better this week - less fluid retention (a turnaround the hospice nurse has never seen)
124.  Blueberry coffeecake
125.  Strawberry kiefer
126.  A helium balloon, chocolate, new books to read, and a new wallet - a happy birthday!
127.  Beautiful pink roses
128.  Fayetta home
129.  Laughter over the dishes every night
130.  My friends at KEY

Monday, March 14, 2011

Photo courtesy of Brian Lofgren

101.  Fiery sun through the trees early in the morning
102.  Bright blue shadows on the white snow in the afternoon
103.  My praying Sunday School class
104.  A houseful of girls and one precious little boy
105.  God's steady faithfulness even when I falter
106.  Painting with Dad!
107.  Good books and time to read them aloud together
108.  Sister love
109.  That God is good even when life is hard
110.  Supernatural help to forgive
111.  A tea party with my girls, the cousins and Charissa
112.  A nature walk to the river
113.  Building snowmen
114.  Melting snow
115.  Spring after a long Minnesota winter

Photo courtesy of Rachael Lofgren

Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm Thankful For...

70-80 listed privately
81.  God' miraculous intervention in Melissa's birth
82.  Holding that brand new beautiful and perfect baby girl
83.  Midwives who spend their days and nights for others
84.  Our dear Midwife Becky - "safely Home"
85.  Fresh snow like chips of mica glittering in the yardlight
86.  Luminous stars in the night sky
87.  Warm wood fires and good wood to make them
88.  Two quiet days alone with just Rachael and Aaron
89.  A son fired from his job
90.  A godly man to disciple that same son, making all the difference
91.  Butter on bread
92.  Anna buying groceries
93.  Chickadees calling
94.  Snow crust frozen for exploring outdoors
95.  A nature walk on the river with my four youngest
96.  The fresh enthusiasm and delight of young hearts
97.  A bouquet of dried weeds - inspiration for painting
98.  Sunshine streaming through the window
99.  The Word of God, speaking to me fresh each morning
100.  Friends who pray for us making a difference

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Giving Thanks in ALL things

Gratitude - the giving of thanks, this I can do in good times.  When I receive good gifts I naturally feel grateful, but when those good gifts are withheld or removed, then can I still give thanks?  This is the harder lesson I find myself being asked to embrace, and I am floundering.  Swimming in the shallows is easy - it's when you're in over your head that you find out if you really can swim. Will I clench my fists and hold tightly to what I feel is mine, grasping for the things that elude me, the things that are slipping from me, or will I open my hands in childlike trust, believing that what He takes and what He withholds are for good.  As Ann Voscamp voiced the question, do I believe that God is good? If I believe that He is good, then this test, this loss, this lack is ultimately for good and I can hold my hands open and I can raise my voice in thanksgiving even in this.  I CAN give thanks in everything because there is nothing that He can't redeem and use for good - HE IS GOOD and He works all things together for good for us, who are called, chosen, loved. 


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Grateful List

56.  Sun sparkling on the snow like diamonds
57.  The cat sitting contentedly in the sun
58.  A valentine's banquet and a valentine to go with
59.  Dad well enough to go on a "vacation" to Fargo
60.  Gas money - answer to prayer
61.  Time with Denise and Melissa
62.  Beautiful music
63.  Laughter and games - family night
64.  Aaron's haircut
65.  Words of hope kindly spoken
66.  A praying church
67.  Sweet friendships
68.  Poetry and Winnie the Pooh
69.  A warm house in the howling wind and icy storm
70.  Grandbabies!!....

Davie playing in a box

Sunday, February 13, 2011

People who Give

I've been pondering the past few days what it means to be a person who gives.  Friday I went to a funeral with my parents for a girl that was a neighbor when I was a little girl. I wept sitting beside my parents knowing that soon it could be our family having a funeral.   I thought of my Dad, weak and frail, going to another's funeral to be a blessing to that family sitting in pain through a service that he could hardly hear.  Dad, always giving, always thinking of others.  The message was beautiful from Deuteronomy where Moses charged Joshua to go forward with courage.  Even my always composed mother shed a few tears.  After the funeral in the few minutes we could stay before Dad needed to head home, I noticed Mom giving encouraging words, reaching out, thinking of others.  The next day we had another funeral.  This time out of town.  Dad traveled five hours to go to his cousin's funeral - not because he was up to it or enjoys social things, but because he cares about others in the family.  So again, he was thinking not of himself, but of others.  As I sat behind him, watching him nod off during the two hour funeral, I wept thinking of his sacrifice to be there and how even in these last days he is thinking about others rather than his own comfort.    Mom, too wraps her life around caring for Dad focusing on what will be best for him, treasuring the moments and living life as he chooses to live it in these last weeks.  The memorial service we attended was for Dad's cousin and it was a celebration of her life - a life again, lived for others.  There were many testimonies of her giving spirit and she'd told me some time ago that she prayed daily for my children, so I have been the recipient of that giving.   I'm beginning to see a thread here....  Many of these going on to heaven are givers, those who have poured their lives into me and others.  I'm wondering if I can fill the shoes they leave empty. It doesn't feel like a natural fit.   My visionary sister Joan says, anyone can be a Dave Smith (our dad).  And maybe she's right, with the help of God we can all become givers.  May the Lord strengthen us to take up the baton....   

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jesus, Our Daysman

A "daysman" is an "umpire or arbitrator; a mediator" in its archaic usage, according to the OED. From a 16th century legal source we have, "If neighbors were at variance, they ran not straight to law: Daysmen took up the matter, and cost them not a straw." Or, in another case, "They had some common arbitrators, or dayesmen, in every towne, that made a friendly composition between man and man."  
Job lamented, speaking of God, "For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, and we should come together in judgment.  Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both."  Job 9:32,33 There was a huge gulf between Job and God, like an ant trying to communicate with a man.  As I read this I realized what a treasure it is that I do have a daysman! I John 2:1 says, "...we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:..."  Job in his trials had no one to go between him and God, to take his part, or to explain God to him.  We have, in Jesus Christ, both an explanation of God to us and an advocate with God on our behalf - in fact Jesus Christ Himself covers our debts (spiritually speaking).  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.   Hebrews 4:16

Thursday, February 10, 2011

why standest thou afar off? O Lord?

Pilgrim in the Slough of Despond

"Why standest thou afar off, O Lord?  Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?"  Psalm 10:1

"Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble:  thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear."  Psalm 10:17

Faith is believing that God is at work when he "appears" to be standing afar off, determinedly counting on Him when He is hidden and I am in trouble.  When my feet are in miry clay and every step is a major effort, when I'm hemmed in by circumstances and life is a horrible pit then faith has its greatest opportunity to shine.  Perhaps like Job you have lived a righteous life and don't "deserve" to suffer like you are suffering, or maybe you are reaping the fruits of your own sin.  Either way you are on a stage and God, people around you, and angels both good and evil are watching to see whether your faith will prevail.  Will you trust God, though he leaves you in the pit a bit longer?  Will you continue to believe in His goodness though He leads you on a path through the mire and leaves you floundering without provision?  In Psalm 10 David felt that God was standing far off, hidden while he was in trouble.  But in verse 17 he states that the Lord has heard the desire of the humble.  He points out that God will prepare their heart and cause his ear to hear.  God is doing a work in our hearts during these times.  He is much more concerned with burning the dross off of our souls so we are pure gold than ensuring our temporary comfort.  If we humble ourselves, He will prepare our heart for both the trouble and for His coming answers.  He Listens (causes His ear to hear)!  and as Psalm 40:1-4 testifies,  "I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me and heard my cry.  He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.  and he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.  Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.  Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust..."  Hang on, He is listening and He will set your feet on solid ground again and establish your goings, giving you a new praise song to the LORD and bringing much glory to Himself through your life.  Truly, blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust.

Painting of  Pilgrim by Thomas Cole

Friday, February 4, 2011

Life's Disappointments are Veiled Love's Appointments

"Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee"  Rembrandt

"This thing is from me."  (I Kings 12:24)

 Life's disappointments are veiled love's appointments.  Rev. C. A. Fox

     My child, I have a message for you today; let me whisper it in your ear, that it may gild with glory any storm clouds which may arise, and smooth the rough places upon which you may have to tread.  It is short, only five words, but let them sink into your inmost soul; use them as a pillow upon which to rest your weary head.  This thing is from ME.
Have you ever thought of it, that all that concerns you concerns Me too?  For, "he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye" (Zech. 2:8).  You are very precious in My sight (Isa. 43:4).  Therefore, it is My special delight to educate you.
      I would have you learn when temptations assail you, and the "enemy comes in like a flood," that this thing is from Me, that your weakness needs My might, and your safety lies in letting Me fight for you.
     Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, who never consult your taste, who put you in the background?  This thing is from Me.  I am the God of circumstances.  Thou camest not to thy place by accident, it is the very place God meant for thee.
     Have you not asked to be made humble?  See then, I have placed you in the very school where this lesson is taught, your surroundings and companions are only working out My will.
     Are you in money difficulties?  Is it hard to make both ends meet?  This thing is from Me, for I am your purse-bearer and would have you draw from and depend upon Me.  My supplies are limitless (Phil. 4:19).  I would have you prove my promises.  Let it not be said of you, "In this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God" (Deut. 1:32).
     Are you passing through a night of sorrow?  This thing is from Me.  I am the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief.  I have let earthly comforters fail you, that by turning to Me you may obtain everlasting consolation (2 Thess. 2:16-17).  Have you longed to do some great work for Me and instead have been laid aside on a bed of pain and weakness?  This thing is from Me.  I could not get your attention in your busy days and I want to teach you some of My deepest lessons.  "They also serve who only stand and wait."  Some of my greatest workers are those shut out from active service, that they may learn to wield the weapon of all-prayer.
     This day I place in your hand this pot of holy oil.  Make use of it free, My child.  Let every circumstance that arises, every word that pains you, every interruption that would make you impatient, every revelation of your weakness be anointed with it.  The sting will go as you learn to see Me in all things.     Laura A. Barter Snow 

This post is from Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman,  February 1 entry

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Grateful List

51.  Icicles glistening in the sun
52.  Cheerful little voices singing
53.  Baby Weston David
54.  Church Family Prayers
55.  Enthusiastic students

Happy Grandma with Baby Weston David

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Things I'm Thankful For

51.  Wood heat in winter
52.  Painting "masterpieces" with my Dad
53.  The Word made flesh - for me
54.  Sweet Anna's hot breakfasts
55.  Faithful Lizzy's good cooking
56.  Rachael's poetry - food for the soul
57.  Little ones attentively listening to stories
58.  A sledding  hill
59.  Lots of good books
60.  Extended family who know the Lord
61.  Secrets and surprises in the house
62.  My Mother's love and support
63.  That the One I am counting on is the same one who spoke the world into being.
64.  Warm sledding weather
65.  Little ones with rosy cheeks and laughter
66.  Things to study and learn
67.  Children to teach
68.  A faithful ladies prayer group at church
69.  Godly church elders who faithfully serve
70.  Timely sermon on forgiveness
71.  God's power to work forgiveness in my wavering heart
72.  That that forgiveness is based on Him not on me
73.  His Word new every morning
74.  Prayer warriors in the house
75.  Good neighbors
76,  Young ones busy with clay, making pots and creating things
77.  Quiet mornings with the Lord
78.  Full moon on the snow
79.  Heaven to look forward to
80.  A personal letter in the mailbox