Pillowland



August 31
Pillowland is the place where all our couch cushions come off and create a cozy landing pad!
It's a place where you can sore, giggle, cheer one another on, and have your day brightened!
God wants us to live in that kind of joy and be an encouragement to one another.
Listen to these words penned by Paul concerning daily living.
He would have loved Pillowland.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Colossians 3:15-17

These are the Words I Would Say


In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:6-7


August 29-30
This has been a whammy of a week for us.  Beyond the shootings, you'd never believe me if I shared the totally unrelated pain, total despair, grief and fear we have walked through with nine others.
By Friday, we were saying "Come back Jesus!"
Walking on Thursday morning I plugged into some music and this song ministered to my spirit.
I hope you find solace in the words of this song by Sidewalk Prophets.
The music is beautiful.

It's called "These are the Words I Would Say"

I love all of you and Deke and I have prayed this morning over each of the situations those of you have shared this week, but these lyrics this morning are dedicated to Deke's godson and his wife, who  lost their precious baby daughter Monday, two weeks before her delivery date.
Please know you are loved and that sweet child is with Jesus.  Our hearts ache deeply with you and all of your family.

Lyrics
Three in the morning, and I'm still awake, so I picked up a pen and a page
And I started writing just what I'd say If we were face to face.

I'd tell you just what you mean to me, tell you these simple truths.
Chorus
Be strong in the Lord and never give up hope
You're gonna do great things I already know 
God's got His hand on you so don't live life in fear
Forgive and forget
But don't forget why you're here
Take your time and pray, these are the words I would say.

Last time we spoke you said you were hurting and I felt your pain in my heart
want to tell thou that I keep on praying that love will find you where you are

I know cause I've already been there so please hear these simple truths.

Be strong in the Lord and never give up hope
You're gonna do great things I already know 
God's got His hand on you so don't live life in fear
Forgive and forget
But don't forget why you're here
Take your time and pray, these are the words I would say.



Which Egg Are You?


August 28

These are our "Eggpressions."
When grieving, as so many are in our community after the shootings, the first four of these eggpressions become quite visible.  When I was sixteen years old, my grandfather was murdered in broad daylight in a parking lot.  This week's shootings have brought back to mind many of my emotions at that time.  

Sadness      A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.
                   Proverbs 15:13
Anger         In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Eph.4:26
Fear            Do not fear...for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you.  Isaiah 41:10  
Shy/Timid  For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
                   2 Timothy 1:7
Excited       Be joyful always. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Happy        You made me so happy, God. I saw your work and I shouted for joy.
                   How magnificent you work.  Psalm 92:4-5 The MSG

Let's keep praying for all those affected by this tragedy and reach out as Christ would to be a comfort.

In The Twinkling of An Eye

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3 
This morning, I'm awaiting the arrival of the senior class from the school where my husband works. Today is a special retreat day for them here at our home and the highlight was to be a boat adventure to Bridgewater Marina for lunch.
Life can change in a moment.

August  27
Thanks to all of you who have texted, emailed and called.  It has been a tragic time for our laid back, out of the way lake community and our hometown, Roanoke.

As our granddaughter would say, "I was an early bird" yesterday.  By 6:50AM I was headed out on a morning walk.  Moments later I heard sirens, which is quite strange out here in the country.  At 7:00 my phone rang and my husband said he'd had 12 sheriffs' and state troopers' cars fly past him on the way to work.  We both knew something was very, very wrong.  By 8:00 he called telling me a shooter was on the loose.  We chose not to worry our children, but by 8:30 it was national news and they were calling us. Law enforcement recommended my husband, who is the head of a Christian School here in Franklin County, take precautions, so they went on low level lockdown.  So many people, children included, had seen the shootings on live TV that morning.  One of his students lives right across from the marina and heard the shots, but they had no idea what it was. Disbelief and shock set in throughout our county and the Roanoke Valley where the three victims were all appreciated and adored.

A text crossed my phone screen from an out of town friend saying, 
"At least you can be light!"
How do you be light when you are numb and filled with grief.
Around 1:00 a friend texted and asked, "Do you have a prayer?"  I didn't.  Every time I opened my Bible, the phone would ring, a text would come or I'd turn the sound back on the TV, which I had muted.

Sadness is all around at the thought of these two young lives taken in such a horrific manner.
Taking to Facebook...

A godly young woman in Nashville, who knew both of the WDBJ employees, wrote on Facebook:  "Evidence that our world is fallen and broken. Mourning with those who mourn. The evil one fought hard today, but I am thankful that we know who wins in the end."  Annie Lawrence. 

Another...
"Dear God, fill our hearts with unifying love that creates quilts of comfort for our hearts and minds."  Marlene Groth

A work colleague , Melissa Gaona, of Adam Ward's wrote that Adam was a godly man and they would often pray together in their truck before going live. 

That is where the light and peace began to creep in for me.  To know this young man is with Jesus. When life spirals out of control and evil lifts its ugly head...we must turn our eyes upon Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.

While I can't grasp how the parents, lovers, friends and co-workers of these individuals will walk through the days, weeks, and a lifetime with the images they are carrying of those last moments, I pray that God will use it for good and people who have hesitated to come to the Lord will surrender to his love.

May we all take notice and consider what the phrase..."In a twinkling of an eye" means.

Alone


August 26
My feet hit the pavement for my morning walk, but it's not nearly as much fun without my boyfriend.  Taking every thought of quitting captive, I persevered and asked the Father what business he had today. (My usual question for my husband.)
A woman, who was plugged into her head phones, passed by and said, "Awe, all alone."  That tugged at my heart.  Sensing a bit of sarcasm, I wondered if I was widowed, divorced or single (as she is) if she would have said that to me.

Only a few yards further, I passed the home of a widower whom I have rarely seen come out of his house.  With a theme of loneliness on my heart I began to pray for a friend who called recently to say her husband had asked for a divorce.  Whew. These thoughts weren't putting a bounce in my step.

As I watched the pavement pass below me, I remembered walking to elementary school.  The walk always started off alone, until I met my girlfriend a few blocks down the mountain.  The return wasn't  as lonely, as it ended in my grandmother's kitchen eating a Kool-pop.  I hoped she looked forward to those afternoons as much as I did.

I"m thinking back now, who were the kids who walked alone to school. The ones who had no friends with whom to laugh.  When their lunch bag ripped, no one stooped down with them to help gather things up.

Ugh...here comes the assignment.  I had no clue where these thoughts were headed.  Two weeks ago, I sat beside an area principal at a wedding.  Now I know, I'm to seek out a lonely one and make a difference.  Maybe there is a child who has no one to pound the pavement towards the playground with after school.  Could there be a need for a lonely little hearts club (led by Jesus, not Sgt. Pepper) in your community?

The Lord God said,
"It's not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a helper suitable for him."
Genesis 2:18

A Quiet Place

August 25
Jesus and I have been doing our Daniel study together in front of this window.  
Yes, you guessed it, He gave me the comfy chair!
Take time for a few quiet minutes and listen to how real David's relationship with God was.

Psalm 27
Light, space, zest-that's God!
So, with him on my side I'm fearless, afraid of no one and nothing.
When vandal hordes ride down ready to eat me alive,
Those bullies and toughs fall flat on their faces.

When besieged, I'm calm as a baby.
When all hell breaks loose, I'm collected and cool.
I'm asking God for one thing, only one thing:
To live with him in his house my whole life long.
I'll contemplate his beauty; I'll study at his feet.

That's the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic.
God holds me head and shoulders above all who try to pull me down.
I'm headed for his place to offer anthems that will raise the roof!
Already I'm singing God-songs; I'm making music to God.

Listen, God, I"m calling at the top of my lungs:
"Be good to me! Answer me!"
When my heart whispered, 'Seek God," my whole being replied,
"I'm seeking him!" 
Don't hide from me now!

You've alway been right there for me; don't turn your back on me now.
Don't throw me out, don't abandon me;
you've always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me, but God took me in.

Point me down your highway, God; direct me along a well-lighted street;
show my enemies whose side you're on.
Don't throw me to the dogs, those liars who are out to get me, 
filling the wire with their threats.

I"m sure  now I'll see God's goodness in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God!
Take heart.
Don't quit.
I"ll say it again:
STAY WITH GOD.

Turn Your Face

Our daughter, Jiewon's, self-portrait painted from the perspective of looking to God.

August 24

Just the other day, I was telling a friend about a time when God told me to turn my face from one person, whom I felt was on the attack towards me,  to another person in the room and I would see who the real accuser was.  Oh, how often we "get it wrong" when we are left to our own understanding.
A couple hours later I opened my email and there was this verse from a godly, godly woman.

Turn us again to yourself, O God.  Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.
Psalm 80:3

We need to take the example of our fore fathers and keep turning our face towards God and seeking His face for understanding.

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalm 16:8

The Psalms and Proverbs are filled with David and Solomon's thoughts on understanding.  Just plug the word understanding into Biblegateway.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which SURPASSES all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6-7

Be Noticed

 These photos are of a childless widow,whom I met in 1978 and invited her into our family.
She lived to be 104!
I told her our children would be her children.  They loved her well.

August 22-23
While picking through some produced, one of the grocery store workers said, "Finding everything you need?"  "The red onions," I replied, "they are no longer on the refrigerated shelves."  Then I said, "You and Fred are without a doubt the friendliest, most cheerful and helpful employees here at Kroger."  Looking at his name tag, I said, "Doug, my name is Boo."
Bless his heart, he fumbled and said, "Doug, you don't know about Fred do you?  Fred, didn't show up for work one day last month and he's never done that.  We called his mother in law and she sent someone to the house who found him dead in his bed."

Shocked and saddened, I looked at Doug and told him that ever since Fred's wife died last year we had talked a lot about Jesus. I told Doug I knew Fred was in heaven.  Doug's response was that seeing Fred go quickly like that made him want to be a nicer person.  I know...I need to have a follow up with Doug, but at that moment I was truly grieving the loss of this sweet man.

What has grieved me most in the hours which have passed is that most people who shop there don't even know that Fred, the produce man,  is missing.

This weekend we are hosting a Young Life staff retreat.  All of these young people work full-time jobs, 90% are teachers, and then they volunteer for this ministry. They are making a huge difference in the lives of many kids, who might otherwise go unnoticed.

Proverbs 7:6-7 and the adulterous woman story came to mind..."At the window of my house I looked down through the lattice. I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who had no sense. He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in...."

Let's ask the Lord this weekend to show us someone who needs to be noticed and invite them into our lives in some way.

Summer's Harvest

YUM! From a neighbor's garden!

August 21
I do not want summer's harvest to end.  It's easy to be a vegetarian in the summertime!  Currently, I'm in a study on Daniel through She Reads Truth. The author of an article posted there the other day made an excellent point.  Daniel's desire to abstain from the King's food 

Daniel determined that he would not defile himself.  Daniel 1:8

...is not to call us all to be vegetarians, but is much richer than that.  The author states the lesson is not about what Daniel could do, but:

"God working in him and through him."

She places the emphasis on verse 9: 

God had granted Daniel favor and compassion from the guard.

"Who granted Daniel favor and compassion from the guard? God. God did!  And that is the point. God had a plan that he accomplished through this faithful servant Daniel." SRT

Oh sweet brothers and sister in the faith, just think...God has a plan he wants to accomplish through us today!  There is a summer harvest ahead for each of us.

Steeple Chase

August 20
A sweet sister in Christ stopped by to share this book,that a friend of her made of steeples in our county. What amazed me was how many churches I had never even noticed. That got me thinking of how my mind is often on other things and not what God has placed right in front of me.  I think we miss so much of the Father's business, because we are consumed with our busy-ness.

Proverbs 12:11 says,
Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.

We could head out on a steeple chase today, but what would be more impactful is if we chased, raced with our Bibles to our quiet spot with God and listened for instructions and for the work He has planned for us to do today.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.  Psalm 32:8

Y'all Be Good

Three tough footed little ones venturing off to visit a neighbor on our gravel drive.

August 19
On one of our last summer walks together, before the faculty reported back to full time duties and my husband's job requires him to depart for work in the dark, we encountered a younger man we had not seen all summer.  After exchanging pleasantries and catching up on his family we turned to continue on our way and his departing words for these two "old" folks were..."Y'all be good!"  My husband chuckled sarcastically in my ear, "Oh, we'll be good alright."  I on the other hand was honored that his comment suggested we could still get into trouble!

Immediately my mind shifted to the Lord and I contemplated if we listened clearly enough during prayer would God possibly exit the conversation saying..."Y'all be good today."

"Let the message of Christ dwell among your richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:16-18

Holding Onto Papa



August 18
This 35 year old three wheeled tryke was a fun purchase of my father's.  His great grandchildren are still enjoying it.  These pictures teach such a lesson.  The younger grands hold onto their Papa for dear life, but as the children have reached six and up they start wanting to take the controls!

We come into this world dependent on God for that first breathe and on our parents/care givers for the the formidable years to follow, but gradually along the way our independence surfaces and we head off the track into our own adventure,  We forget to hold onto our creator and connect to the fellowship He designed us for.

Yesterday, I started a 17 Day online Study of Daniel.  You know the guy in the lion's den and the one whose three friends were tossed in the fiery furnace. (Check out Shereadstruth.com and Hereadstruth.com).  The author writes this introduction: "In 606 BC, the Babylonians captured Judah and Daniel was included in this captivity... God's people were tossed back and forth under enemy rulers and in camps of exile.  They struggled to obey God's laws and maintain their Jewish heritage  while living like strangers in strange lands.  Obedience and preservation of culture in exile are big themes for the book of Daniel."  Rebecca Faires

"So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile."
2 Kings 17:23

Reliance on God and not self is a BIG take away for me in this book too.  Daniel never tries to take control of the situation, but submits to God and obeys without wavering, even if it means death.

One of the Bibles by my bedside is The Grandmother's Bible published by Zondervan.  On the Daniel Chapter 1 page it states: 

"Obedience honors God and witnesses to others."

Then it poses this question: "When has your obedience to God been a witness to others?"

Let's hold onto our Papa and enjoy the benefits of walking in obedience with Him.

S'more

August  17
Roasting S'mores is a treat no matter the season.  It's a fun word! If you use it as southern slang you might say...I'll take s'more pecan pie please!

What s'more do you want from life?

To know Jesus more deeply.  Follow Him more sweetly, day by day!  :-)

Solomon knew what to ask for!
God said to Solomon, "Since this is your heart's desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you.  And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have."
2 Chronicles 1:11-12

Rechargable


August 15-16
An alert popped up on the computer screen notifying me our keyboard batteries were VERY LOW.
Fumbling around, I finally realized I needed a coin to open the battery cover.  Inside were two rechargeable batteries.  Hmm, where do I recharge them?
Not willing to Google the solution and living no where near an Apple store,  I placed two regular batteries inside and received the screen flash message: connected!  

My mind wandered, as it often does, to consider where we go to recharge. There are many options and our various personalities cause us to find relief from a barrage of activities.
A luxurious vacation, a trip to a local spa for a massage, or a simple "Calgon take me away" bath.
A long run, a good book, etc.  The question is...To whom do they connect us?

Listen to Jesus' advice.

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you'll recover your life.  I'll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."  Matthew 11:28-30


Connect with Jesus this weekend.

No Clue

I have no clue why today's August 14th post is posting below the 13th

There are things about God that leave us clueless as well!

"Take a long hard look. See how great he is-infinite, greater than anything you could ever imagine or figure out!"  Job 36:26

Filled Up

LOL.  These little fellows took over our granddaughter's tea party tent!
Filling up cups is fun whether they are pink or blue!


August 13
What good is filling ourselves up, if we aren't willing to be poured out?

Jake Sumner wrote an excellent article on being "filled up" in "Blueprint for Life."  He states, "The secret to getting full is to empty yourself...The secret to fulfillment is twofold.  You must regularly spend time filling yourself up and you must regularly spend time emptying yourself out.  If you spend all your time filling yourself up, you're lazy and selfish.  if you spend all your time pouring yourself our, you're exhausted and headed for burnout."

Leslie Basham wrote, "A joyful, fulfilling life begins at the point of surrender."

When was the last time you evaluated what/who you are putting into your life?
Personalize the categories below and consider each from the perspectives of priority and percentage
in your life.

Things adding to my:
1)   Spiritual Growth, Praise and Prayer Time
2)   Quality Family Time
3)   Work/Volunteer Time
4)   Joy/Laughter
5)   Concern and Contact with Others
6)   Physical Benefits...Eating/Excercise
7)   World Event Knowledge
8)   Education
9)   Just for me time. TV/Computer/Fiction/Shopping/Extra Curricular
10) Fear/Anger/Bitterness


You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.  Psalm 16:11

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  Matthew 5:6

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.   Acts 4:31

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   Romans 15:13

Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.   2 Timothy 1:4

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.  1 Peter 1:8


Do Your Friends Make You Better?


August 14
Some colored leaves are already falling from a few trees in our yard, reminding me the changes of a new season are nearing.  God changes the seasons of our lives as well.  Normally, by this time He has given me a women's study for Monday mornings in the fall, but I haven't received that direction from him. What I have received is a prompting to be intention to seek out fellowship each month with a friend who challenges me to go deeper in my knowledge of who God is and my relationship/identity with Christ.
Such a friend has been here with me this week and it has been such a blessing.  She never leads me down the wrong path, but always gently sways me back if she sees me heading in an ungodly direction. Although staying in the very same house, we emailed insight back and forth to each other after we got in bed or before we got up.  The other day she shared a devotional which she had received from a ministry called The Father's Business.  The writer was laying out how self-sufficient  we are and how we want to control of the circumstances surrounding our lives.
Taking Psalm 9 she divided it into God's Part/My Part.

Psalm 9
My Part
1) I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.
2) I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
God's Part
3)You make my enemies turn back;
4) For you have upheld my right and my cause; You have sat on your throne, judging righteously.
5) You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
6) Endless ruin has overtaken the enemy, You have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them
    has perished.
7) You reign as Lord forever; You have established your throne for judgment.
8) You will judge the world in righteousness; You will govern the peoples with justice.
9) You, Lord, are a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
My Part
10) I know your name and will trust in you.
God's Part
10) He has never forsaken those who seek him.
My Part
11)I will sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; I will proclaim among the nations what he has
    done.
God's Part
12) He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.
My Part
13) O Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!  Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death.
God's Part
16) The Lord is known by his justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
18) But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.
19) Arise, O Lord, let not man triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence,
My Part
14) That I may declare your praises in the gates...And there rejoice in your salvation.

The writer closes saying, "In the Amplified Bible Proverbs 16:3 says, "Roll your works upon the Lord. Commit and trust them wholly to Him; (He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and) so shall your plans be established and succeed."  Who can do the most, you or the God of heaven and earth?

Make your own list.  Roll everything over onto the shoulders of the God of heaven and earth. Experience the relief from the burden of carrying responsibility that you are not meant to bear.  Declare his praises and rejoice in him.


Busy Bee

August 12
Took this photo high in the Allegheny Mountains! There were some busy bees on this flower!
I hate to see summer coming to an end.  The buses were rolling through our community Monday, as the public schools resumed and began a new school year.

This summer I vowed to be a Mary not a Martha and my house looks like it!  A house guest this past weekend felt guilty leaving with things so askew, knowing I had more guests arriving. Her final offer was..."Do you have a bucket I could use to go through the house and pick up all the toys!"  I assured her there would be rainy or maybe even snowing days ahead when I could get things back in order, but right now I wanted to enjoy people and not worry about the house or food!

"The Lord answer her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.'"
Luke 10:41-42

Sibling Support

August 11
Not everyone is given a sibling.  Not every sibling is kind to the other.  When push comes to shove, it may be off a wall or dock, but usually a protective element kicks in when dire situations arrive.  Years ago one of our sons was falsely accused of something, by a teacher in elementary school.  His brother, who is 4 years younger and was in kindergarten at the time, passed the teacher in the hallway and looked up at her and said, "Why were you mean to my brudder?"
Going on the defensive the teacher went to the principal and reported the incident. I was called into a meeting with the principal, who told me we should not discuss such situations as a family with all our children. She also wanted me to make our kindergartener apologize to the teacher.
Politely, I explained we were a family who shared joys and sorrows and prayed through difficult situations.  Also, I expressed my decision not to discipline our son for sticking up for his brother, by making the inquiry of the teacher.

Whether those we call brother/sister are related by blood or through the body of Christ they are a blessing to be loved and cherished.  The above picture of our grandson and granddaughter thrills my heart!  My guess is he will be her protector the rest of her life!

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.   Hebrews 13:1

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.     Proverbs 18:24

Mountain Top Experience

August 10
We had the privilege of traveling with these two grandchildren last weekend and stopped at an overlook to gaze at the mountain views and talk about God's amazing creation.  The wild flowers were also incredible.   Creation gives such testimony to the glory of God!  While I hate to see summer ending and will miss my summer swims, there is something quite exiting about the anticipation of fall bursting forth!

"Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy."
Psalm 98:8

Cocoon-It's a Wrap!



August 8-9
This tightly wrapped youngster came for a visit last week and his mama wrapped him snuggly and placed him on the rocks near our beach for a nap.  Nearby we found a caterpillar who resembled the babe!
Thinking about things that are wrapped, I went to scripture and Dr. Luke writes that not only was Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloths at birth, he was wrapped in linen cloths and laid in a borrowed tomb at the end of his life.

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
Luke 2:12

Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which now one had yet been laid.   Luke 23:53

Wrap is defined: cover in soft cloth; clasp, embrace.   I look forward to the day when I am wrapped in the warm embrace of Jesus!

To Love and to Cherish

August 7
Last weekend we watched this precious couple vow to love, honor and cherish one another until death do they part.  It was truly one of the most Christ centered ceremonies I've ever attended. The bride walked down the aisle to Psalm 23 being sung!  The pastor held back no punches in the charges he made to this two, their attendants, families and friends in the congregation.

A charge given to the wedding party and wedding guest was to vow to do everything in their power to strengthen this union and to abstain from any comments or actions that might create division.  He also said that more importantly than this being a legal union, this was a spiritual union between two professing believers and thus was a "holy" union before God almighty.

Just before the end of the ceremony and the much anticipated kiss, another pastor shared the gospel and gave any guests, who had never prayed to receive Jesus as their savior, the opportunity to do so.  One guest did so and it was such a fitting end to an oh, so perfect wedding!  Well, ok. a couple ushers had quite a struggle with the aisle cloth, it was questionable if the ring bearer would make it down the aisle at the snail's pace he was going and I think the groom dropped one of the unity candles, but those incidents are needed to release the tension that can build up for a bride and groom.

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24

Restoration for Future Growth



August 6
Our camilla bushes took a hard hit this past winter.  The buds turned brown and never bloomed.  At some point I started the process of removing the dead buds, but spring chores set in, the company started coming to Shiloh and I forgot the bushes. I realized over the years one of the bushes had grown and was partially blocking a bedroom sliding door.  As I began to cut it back, God began to work in my heart.
When sin/death enters our relationships/churches we not only lose our appealing appearance,  we stifle the movement of the Spirit.  New growth can still spring forth, but there isn't the vibrance God intended.

Working my way through the branches I came across a bird's nest. That signified that even in a broken state God can use someone for good, until they are restored to a flourishing state.

Also, as I began to prune away the dead branches and damaged ones, I had to use great care not to disturb the new buds. If I just whacked away without precision a lot of damage would be done to the future growth.

My mind ran back to Nehemiah who was obedient to restore the walls of Jerusalem.
"Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, 'The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.'"  Nehemiah 4:10

Rubble had to be cleared away before the new construction could begin.  Even during the process, protection had to be provided against outside elements/invaders who plotted harm.  Afterwards, people had to be brought in to provide for the daily needs of Jerusalem.

Ask God to reveal a relationship in your own life or the life of your church where some pruning needs to take place and to speak to your heart about where he needs you to stand to strength those relationships or your church.

Buddy

Our favorite butterfly of the season.

August 5
Earlier in the summer, I nicknamed one of our yellow butterflies, Buddy.  We’ve had grandchildren with us all summer and Buddy has become a daily presence. I go out and sing for him in the morning and there he is!  He follows us from one side of the property to the other and even got on the inside of a covered raft with us one day.  I’m prepared to find Buddy dead one day and have to go through the learning experience of a burial or memorial with the butterfly mounted in a glass box.  Hmm, we may even include a field trip to the funeral home.  I thank God for the simple joy this butterfly has brought us this summer and the reminder he is of God's presence.

At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place.  The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them.  But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.  
Luke 4:42-43

Differences





August 4
Our grandsons had a wonderful day exploring along our creek bank and our woods.  Frogs jumped out in front of us, spiders crossed our paths and caterpillars, beetles and wiggly worms prompted squeals of delight.  I"m not sure our granddaughters would have found as much enjoyment getting stuck in the mud and rummaging through the dirt for critters, but they would have loved picking dandelions!
We are all different, but our differences can't compare to how different we are from God.  This verse
in 1 Samuel 16:7 MSG is a good remaindered that God's perspective on us comes from a level which we really aren't even capable of comprehending.

"But God told Samuel, 'Looks aren't everything.  Don't be impressed with his looks and stature. I've already eliminated him.  God judges persons differently than humans do.  Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart."


Blackberries


Our blackberry bush!

August 3
Paul says in Philippians 4:11-13  "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”

“True contentment is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.”
Karen Ehman

What a fun list to make…A “Thank You, God,” list for what I have.

A few Sundays ago our pastor shared a statistic that 80% of what we say is negative. That has really stuck with me and I’ve tried to capture those negative thoughts before they fly out of my mouth.  Not being content is a negative status. I’m working on allowing the Spirit to keep me living more in the positive column!  Those living around me will be so glad!

Into the Sunset

August 1-2

Liz Curtis Higgs writes:

Whenever I lose sight of His staggering creative powers, I take a page from Isaiah and walk outside on a clear summer night. “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name” (Isaiah 40:26).
The One who names the stars calls you by name and calls you His.
When He knit you in your mother’s womb, our creative God was just getting started. In due time, you were born—a miracle!—and then, Lord willing, you were born again. Another miracle! “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
He is not finished creating you, beloved. You can be “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Especially in those moments when we feel undone, isn’t it comforting to know He’s not done?