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