Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Thursday 7 #8

     Okay!  This is the eighth post for this series!  For me, it has really made me focus on what God is doing in my life, or has done.  I do not wish to take anything for granted.  So, with that thought, what are seven things for which I can thank Him?

  1. I want to thank Him, always and forever, for saving my soul and adopting me as His own.  Many times, I neglect to muse upon that fact, and allow it to flood my soul.  Yet, the times I do sit and ponder these facts, I am overwhelmed by His great love.
  2. I want to thank Him that I have a copy of His word.  It is by His word that I learned of my need of His salvation.  It is by His word that I learn of Him, and what He wants me to know.  When I reflect upon the fact that many souls perished, so that I (and all of humanity) could have a copy of the Bible, in their native tongue, I cannot take it lightly; too often I do, though.  Nevertheless, He reminds me at what precious cost I have received numerous copies of the Bible:  for which I am eternally grateful.  
  3. I am thankful for His mercy in my life.  Oh, how often have I failed Him!  How ever faithful is He!  The fact that my Lord Jesus Christ is interceding for me, right now, is too marvelous for words.
  4. I am thankful to have my Lord Jesus Christ.  Oh, what a friend is He!  What a beautiful Lord!  How tender and compassionate, true and just, loving and kind--how approachable!  Oh, I am blessed to be known of Him, and to know Him!
  5. I am thankful to the Lord, for each day He gives us, and the sustenance He provides.  Many times, I take for granted everything.  Then, I receive reminders that everything should not be taken for granted.  So, remembering that He is the reason I exist, and all that I "have" is of Him:  I thank Him, immensely.  
  6. I thank Him for the reminders to totally rely upon Him.  Nothing can be done right, and definitely not in His Spirit, unless He fills me with Himself.  Indeed, if I desire to produce the fruit of the Spirit, and not the works of the flesh, then I must stay submitted to Him.  I know that the flesh is my daily enemy, in this regard, yet I know that He is more powerful!  Oh, moment by moment, I desire to be yielded to Him.  
  7. I thank Him for the good hymns and spiritual songs, that have been passed down through the centuries.  So often, they do more to explain my heart, than I could otherwise.  There is something about singing "Once For All," "Just As I Am," "All The Way My Saviour Leads Me," "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross," "Redeemed, Redeemed," and countless others, that lifts my soul heaven-ward.  I can pour out my heart to Him.  I can reflect upon Him, as those songs minister to my heart.  What a blessing good music is!
**Would you like to share in this "testimony time?"  Just add your praises, in the comments section below.  I look forward to praising the Lord with you!**

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A New Dispensation

     Like with everyone else, I can see definite distinctions in my life.  My childhood, adolescence, and currently, my young adulthood.  In each one of these dispensations, I can see further divisions:  where I had to learn how to walk, talk, feed myself, clothe myself; where I had to learn from my teachers, learn how to function with people (still learning that one!), greater responsibilities; and now, oh, so much fun...Like, say, paying bills. :)
     Just as in my natural, carnal life, I see distinctions in my Christian life.  Lately, I have been trying to figure out what this newest phase of my life is.  After all, I am in a new area, and pretty much starting over.  There have been many changes in our lives, the past year or so.
     It is taking a bit of an adjustment for me.  For many years, I knew exactly who I was, and what was expected of me.  I knew what roles I filled.  I knew my surroundings, the people, our goals, and more.  Now, it seems like our slate has been wiped clean, and God says:  "Start over."
     Yet, we are taking a bit of wisdom into this next round, that we did not have, years ago.  I am so grateful, too!  What a shame, if we were complete buffoons!
     I know that these are just "growing pains."  I have not always responded well to them, but, I am seeking to do better.  I do not want to fight against the Lord's will for my life.
     For a while, I have been wondering what my specific ministry out here, was.  For many years, I knew my ministry, and loved every minute of it.  My church family was my ministry, (after Dear).  I poured myself into trying to bless those I loved so dear.  I was blessed to have been an adopted auntie to many of the children there; or, an adopted older sister.  Some even adopted me as a second mommy.  :)
     When the Lord decided to change the direction of our life, that meant moving.  That also meant that I no longer was able to minister to my church family, as I once had.  There were parts of it that were devastating to me, yet, always a time of learning and growth.
     So, as I sit and wonder, many days, how best to minister in our new area, I am many times stumped.  As I said in a previous post, God has shown me ways in which to bless; though, I do realize that these are different people, with some different needs/wants.  I know I am not going to be functioning in the exact same way as I did, previously.
     Lately, I believe that God has been showing me what may be the focus of my attention.  I was dumbfounded, and still am, at this "revelation."  No, He did not audibly speak to me, divining some spiritually provocative calling.  Yet, it is a calling of utmost importance:


     To both the shock and awe of Dear and myself, we are parents!  We found out the news, about a month ago.  To say we are flabbergasted, is an understatement.
     Years ago, I shared with you my feelings on being infertile.  Yet, I sit here, today, carrying a child in that "Empty Womb!"  Over a decade of prayers and tears, and we are stunned!
     We are stunned, because for years, we were accustomed to not being with child.  Ever.  Not once.  Now, in our new home, for whatever the reason, God has opened my womb.  How can I adequately convey my thoughts and emotions to that gift?
     Every day, moment by moment, I am praying to Him.  I am no better than another, who has suffered through infertility.  I know it is not based on merits.  No one is worthy--I get that fact.  Yet, to say I am humbled, is another understatement.
     What a task before us!  The absolutely only way we will do well with this child, is by Jesus leading us all the way.  Oh, what an honour!  I cannot fathom that He saw us worthy!
     I do not know what lies ahead for us.  I pray that the child and I safely journey through this pregnancy, and ensuing delivery.  Even more, I pray that Dear and I bring up this child to know, love, and cherish our most amazing Lord Jesus Christ.
So, I do ask for your prayers.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Thursday 7 #7

     It has been what feels like too long, since I last sat down to write in my blog.  To be honest, sometimes I just do not know what would be worthwhile to write.  I kind of need to be in the "mood."
     So, now that I am in the "mood," it also happens to be when I typically write out seven things, for which I can give thanks to God.  Coincidence?  I think not.  God always seems to know, *wink-wink*, how to motivate me.
So, what are the seven things for which I can thank Him, this week?

  1. That my beloved uncle, is finally HOME.  He passed away, early Sunday morning.  Though I cannot be there today, as they lay his body in the ground, I think of those who will be there.  I am thankful that I could call this man my uncle.  He was quite the example of gentleness and kindness.  
  2. That I can turn to Christ for comfort.  So many things occur in life, that is out of my control.  If I keep communicating to the Lord, and keep trusting Him, I will find that comfort I need.  So often, the devil wants me to live in fear; and, I can be an easy prey.  Yet, when I submit to the Lord, the devil flees.  Oh, what comfort, indeed!
  3. That Christ is teaching me that He is my truest friend.  I know I have said it, numerous times.  I have heard others say it, too.  Yet, when I ponder all He is to me, and what He has done, it is an overwhelming understatement.  I find that "friend" is not strong enough a word, yet a very apt description.  
  4. That God blessed me with a surprise in the mail this week.  The Fed Ex man showed up at my home, and gave me this medium-sized box from "The Republic of Tea."  Now, I enjoy tea, but do not remember ordering from them.  When I opened the package, I soon discovered that someone had decided to bless me with some delightful gifts from this company!  Not only were the items a blessing to me, but the very thought.  It was given to me on a day, too, when the Lord knew that I needed a lift in my spirits.  Indeed, it cheered my heart!  Thank you, sweet sister!
  5. That God is letting me rest, when I need it.  I do not want to take it for granted.  I know I will not always be able to nap when I want/need; so, I enjoy it now.
  6. That God has given me the husband I have.  Not always do I keep that mindset within me; but, God is faithful to right my wrong thinking.  He reminds me that we both are sinners, who have been washed by His Son's precious blood.  He reminds me of all the good I have received, because of Dear.  Do I want to live a life of complaint, or thanksgiving?  It is not easy, to have a good marriage--but, the effort and reliance upon the Lord, is worth it all.
  7. That God is who He says He is.  That He does what He says He will do.  That I get to call Him, "Father."
Alright, now it is your turn!  What are seven things for which you can give God praise?  Share them below! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Eating Properly

     I remember when I first purposed to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  Oh, how many times had I started, and stopped?  It was always easy for me to read from Genesis to Exodus, but once I came across Leviticus...Let us just say, I decided I would try the New Testament.
     When I started in Matthew, just reading the genealogy was a struggle.  Sometimes, I would make it as far as the sermon on the mount.  Nevertheless, I did not quite read the Bible, in its entirety, for some time.
      So, when I finally did read it through all the way, I was so excited!  Wow!  So much was there, that I had been missing!  Yet, I was learning it now, and it was like a treasure hunt.
     There were those things that I read, that I pretty much had to force myself to read, in order to truly read the Bible, in its entirety.  I knew that there was a reason for everything written in it; even if I did not know the reasons, yet.
      And...I am still learning.  Granted, there are things I understand now, that I did not understand years ago.  I am so thankful, too!  It is so easy to become dependent upon a church, a pastor, a teacher, or someone else, for your thoughts on Biblical matters; never having a mind of your own.  I have been blessed, with said persons, as I seek to understand the Bible.  However, they do not constitute my thoughts.
     Nowadays, I find that it takes even more effort on my part, to "get" something from the Bible.  It used to be that every page was exhilarating:  because it was all new!  I am still encouraged and reminded of things I need to know, though it is not new to me.  Yet, now I go on to the meat, and wean off of the milk.

Glass Milk Bottle Stock Photo

     Of course, I cannot just swallow meat, like I could with milk.  I have to chew.  That chewing takes time.
     Oh, and, I have to cut it up, too.  I cannot just take a piece of steak, and chew the whole thing!  (Well, I could try, if I wanted to be barbaric...)  I must use the proper utensils, and get it in bite-size portions.
     Meat is much more effort on my part, than just drinking milk.  But, oh, so much tastier!  I am not going to experience things the same way, as when I was just starting in the Bible.

Juicy Bbq Grilled Rib Eye ,ribeye Steak And Vegetables Stock Photo

     Yet, I have been so frustrated, that things are not as they first were.  I feel as though something is wrong with me.  Maybe there is.  Maybe I am approaching the Bible in a way, that is not conducive to meat-chewing.
     I guess if I keep approaching it as a baby to a bottle, I should expect the same results.  Yet, if I tried to approach it as one with knife and fork in-hand, maybe I will get somewhere!  What a novel idea, Renee! :)
     Just discussing this matter has helped me see what I was not seeing.  I am no longer a baby...I am in my adolescent years; at the very least, old enough to eat some meat.  Milk is not going to sustain me as it once did, though I still need it for strong bones. ;)  I need some meat in my diet, to give me good muscles.  Therefore, I need to go about things differently.
     Why did I not see it this way?  Why did I stay so frustrated?  I feel like one of those children who is way too big for the baby swing, but still tries to fit inside it, because they remember how much fun it was when they were younger.  Do they not know how much more fun the larger, "grown up" swing will be?  Sure, it may be a bit intimidating.  Yet, it is fun, and you still get to swing!
     God is so patient with me.  All this time, I am asking for His help, and it is right in front of my face...I was just approaching things all wrong!  I do not have to approach my Bible reading, as I once did as a young believer.  It is okay for me to change it up, to suit my learning abilities.  Oh, I am so glad for it, too!  You may think it silly, but for me, this is a light bulb moment!
    If any of you out there, who have been struggling as I have, with feeding from God's word, I pray this "revelation" gives you hope.  Have you been approaching it, without adjusting it to your growth spurts?  Maybe it is time to do it differently?  Maybe we can share together the various ways God shows us how we can chew the meat.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Scripture: "The Spirit World-- Part One," By Pastor Charles Lawson

     How much do you know about the unseen world around us?  We are told that we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers.  We see all throughout the Bible, wherein angels visit folks:  Samson's mother was first visited by one, then his father with his mother; Mary was visited by Gabriel, an angel; Peter was delivered from prison by one; Lot was delivered by two; Elisha asked the Lord to open the eyes of his servant, so that he could see the innumerable army of angels, fighting on their behalf.
     What about today?  Well, as I mentioned earlier, our warfare is with spiritual principalities and powers, not that of men.  Here is a series, that helps us focus in on that truth, that is not much talked about today:

Friday, November 14, 2014

2014 November Day Book

Outside My Window:

...Is a gloriously sunny, autumn day.

I Am Thinking:

...About all the Lord has done for us, this past year.

I Am Thankful For:

...The Lord not giving up on us; the Lord being in our lives; and, all the Lord has given us.

I Am Learning:

...About being an introvert.  It has been quite fascinating!  Here is just one of many articles I have read, learning about being one.  I found most of their descriptions, I fit (except the fact that I am not married to an extrovert) :) :  

From The Kitchen:

...Me thinks I will be concocting a curry stew, tonight.

I Am Wearing:

...Warmer clothing, since we dipped into the mid-thirties and forties, out yonder.

I Am Creating:

...More pages for my Homemaker's Binder.

I Am Going:

...To keep my heart focused on the Lord.

I Am Reading:

"Living Virtuously," by Erin Harrison.

I Am Hoping:

...As always, in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ:  not me, myself, or I.

I Am Hearing:

...My phone "ting," every time I get a text from my "li'l sis."

I Am Noticing:

...How hard Satan works, to try and divide and conquer.

I Am Wondering:

...If and when, the Lord may allow us to be parents.

I Am Realizing:

...As always, how desperately I need Jesus!

Pondering These Words:

...Charity...Family...Fruits of the Spirit...Works of the flesh...

Around The House:

...Are rooms filled with the charity of others:  conduits of God's temporal blessings in our lives.

One Of My Favorite Things:

...Is not really a "thing," but rather, deep, strong relationships:  centered, based, and thriving in the Lord.  I love those folks who will dive into the awe of the Lord, and His word, with me; those who look after my heart, and allow me the same blessing for them; and, together, worship and love our Lord.

A Few Plans For The Week:

...Prepare for our church group's Thanksgiving "eatin'-meetin'..."
...Try to get in a visit, with a gal from said-group, who was just released from the hospital...
...Try to finish up a project, that Dear and I started a while back...
...Work on some care packages...

Here Is A Picture Thought I Am Sharing:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Scripture: "Pride Destroys Fellowship," By Pastor Charles Lawson

     Pride.  We ALL have dealt with it, are dealing with it, in one way or another.  Whether we are the recipient of one's sin of pride, or we are the one dishing out pride, we are experienced with the effects of this sin.  How has it affected us?  What is its appearance?

Pharaoh's Horses 1848
John Frederick Herring

     Well, this pastor blessedly points out some of the problems in the Corinthian church, that has also manifested itself today.  Truly, nothing is new under the sun.  I was immensely blessed by this teaching.  I have learned much, and am seeking to be more discerning:  so as not to allow pride in my life, as well as allow others' pride to encourage it in me.
     I pray that you avail yourself of this less-than-an-hour message.  Oh, it will do your spirit good!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Thursday 7 #6

Another week has passed.  Another opportunity, to think of seven gifts the Lord has given me.  Here we go!

  1. I was able, briefly, to experience a chilly, autumn morning!  Being in the hot and humid southern area of the United States, having that coolness was quite the treat!
  2. Receiving sound wisdom.  I think I take it for granted, too often, good counselors, in whom I can find a wealth of God-fearing wisdom.  
  3. A husband who makes God is number one "hobby."  He delights in studying the Bible, discussing the Lord and His teachings with me, and others.  Much of his spare time is given over to God, in this way.  I have been blessed, because of it!
  4. My sewing machine, and the thoughtful friend who gave it to me.  Every time I use it, look at it, speak of it...I think of her, and her family.  It was a cheerful sacrifice on her/their part.  I am always humbled by that example, and love.
  5. Speaking of friends, I am thankful for the gifts of friendships.  Strong (in the Lord) friendships, are a rarity. I have learned so much from my dear friends.
  6. My Cracker Barrel serving plate!  A dear friend of mine gifted it to me, a few years ago.  I currently have it in a plate stand on my kitchen counter.  It is beautifully decorated with autumn colors, with the wording, "Count Your Blessings," in the center.  I look at it every day; and, every day, I am reminded of her, our friendship, and the Lord.  Many times He has used it to put me back in my proper mindset.  Every day, I am cheered at its presence and message.
  7. Okay...This next one may seem a bit silly, but I am thankful for it!  The scent of my laundry detergent...Yes, I am thankful for it:  It is so pleasing!  I love its scent, as it gently wafts through the house.  I love its linger upon our laundry.  Curious as to the brand?  It is the "Ecos" brand, and the scent is "Magnolia and Lily."  
**Alright!  Here are my seven for the week!  Care to join me?  Share your link, or list of seven, in the comments section below.  Looking forward to hearing your praises!**

Graced Simplicity

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

W.o.W. Wednesday: "The Pineapple Story," By Otto Koning

     Have you ever heard of "The Pineapple Story?"  Have you ever heard of the evangelist, Otto Koning?  I just recently became acquainted with both.  Get ready for a blessing!
     This man shares his story, of ministering in the foreign field.  He is definitely a gifted story teller.  His experiences have made me muse upon my attitude, in difficulties.
     He shares these lessons, in a humorous way.  Yet, they are profound.  I especially love how he explains struggles, as "grades:"  meaning, "first grade...second grade...," and so forth. :)
     His lessons, observations, and the like, are good for me, as a homemaker.  It helps me to get a right perspective, as I minister as an help meet to Dear.  It encourages me in evangelizing, even from home. 
     This video is just shy of an hour in length.  I pray that you take the opportunity to hear him.  It is definitely worth it!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Give Away Alert!

     Hello, friends!  I just wanted to give a quick notice of a give away that is happening, over at Living In The Shoe.  She is hosting a give away, where the prize is a 2015 Homemaker's Daily Planner.  I do not know about you, but I know I am in need of one!  Why do you not join me, and see if God allows you to win this prize?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Thursday 7 #5

     It has been a little while, since I last took the time, to write out seven things, for which I could thank the Lord.  Oh, life becomes a wee bit more active, and I neglect it.  Hormones kick in, and I do not quite feel up to task.  Nevertheless, I need not forget to thank the Lord!
     What about you?  Are there some things that come to mind, that you would not mind sharing?  It is always a joyful thing, to rejoice with those who rejoice!  Care to join me?

  1. Always and forever, I am thankful for my relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ!  Ahh, were it not for Him...He is such a sweetheart!  I love Him so!  He is ever so patient and kind to me.  He always knows what I need, and sees to it to provide it to :  whether it be a lesson, something temporal...He meets my needs.  He cares for my heart, and takes great care to nurture it.  Oh, I can go on and on about Him!
  2. I am thankful for growing pains.  Yes, pain.  My mom is allergic to pain, and I believe I am, too.  Yet, it is through the pains of growing, that I have found that the Lord's grace is sufficient for me...And that it would be His grace that sustains me.  
  3. I am thankful for the blue skies I get to see.  Oh, in spite of sin, God's beauty still abounds!  I cannot fathom the beauty of the skies, in their sinless perfection!
  4. I am thankful for our animals.  They are such a delight to observe.  Our dog is so interesting!  I enjoy playing with him, and experiencing his God-given intelligence.  Our ducks--oh, how fascinating!  I love watching them, as I let them out to roam.  So beautiful!
  5. I am thankful for our potted herbs.  You know, I can easily become disgruntled, because of my ignorance and intimidation of farming.  Yet, this morning as I tended to the herbs on our front porch, God showed me that I can, by His enablement, farm...Even if I am starting in pots.  Already, my basil will need a larger pot.  I am even thinking of constructing some small-ish box for it.  My parsley is needing some more room, as well as our rosemary.  So, little by little, I am getting there.
  6. I am thankful for my husband's employer.  He has shown much grace to Dear.  He has been a kind, fine example for Dear to follow.  I am always blessed, when Dear comes home.  This boss has been the first one, with whom He can fellowship in the Lord.  Such a rare gift!
  7. I am thankful for diaries; or rather, the keeping of them.  I have learned much, by seeing from whence the Lord has brought me.  It is fascinating to read my innermost thoughts, and see how the Lord dealt with them.  It is amazing to see answers to prayer.  I am currently living in an answer to prayer!  Oh, yes, I am thankful for recorded history. :)
**Now it is your turn!  Will you not join me?  Just think of seven things that you can share with us.  Just enter them in the comments section below!  If you have a blog, just share the link in the comments section, so that folks can go visit. Blessings!**

Graced Simplicity

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What Can I Offer?

     Sometimes, life experiences can jade a person.  They can discourage a soul.  I know, because it has happened to me.
     When things happen, that are difficult, it has been my observation and experience, that a person changes; even if for a brief moment in time.  Without turning to the Lord to make what sense can be made out of it, and trusting in Him to continue being the type of person He wants you to be, a person can become:  bitter, despondent, downtrodden, angry, and so on.
     For me, one of my struggles, was finding my worth.  After some serious hardships, I had forgotten that it was in Christ, and no one could take that from me.  I became bitter, despondent, worthless (in my own mind), downtrodden, angry, skeptical, and so on.

"Her Eyes Are With Thoughts And They Are Far Away"
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

     The Lord is so good, though!  He did not want me functioning in that manner.  He wanted me to look to Him:  to see my worth; to find my abilities; to keep my trust in Him.
     Yet now, many times, I feel as though I have not much of anything, in which to offer someone.  I see myself lacking in funds, creativity, certain abilities, functionality...Oh, I can show you many ways I am incapable.
     Yet, the Lord does not allow me to be of that mindset.  Sure, I may not be capable of some things, in which He has enabled another.  That is okay.  It does not negate my abilities in Him!

So, what are some things that I can offer?

     Prayer is an invaluable gift I can offer someone.  I so delight, and am honored, when I get to pray for and with a sister in Christ!  I do not believe they understand the gift they give me, when they allow me to minister to them, in that way.  And, the Lord tells us to:  

"Pray without ceasing."  1 Thessalonians 5:17

"The Difference"

     How often has a burden been lifted off of my shoulders, when someone prays with and/or for me?  How often have I been blessed, because someone cared enough to bring me into their conversation with our Saviour?  Can I not, too, offer the same blessing?
     I know it may seem trite, to say that I can pray.  Yet, all throughout the scriptures, we see the necessity, and blessings, of prayer.  I have yet to fully avail myself of this opportunity, but as I write, the desire to do so increases!

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
Ephesians 6:18

     I can listen.  Oh, how sweet it is, to have a tender, listening ear!  How I desire to return in kind!  Of course, that needs to be done in wisdom.  It is all too easy to become a place of gossip, unholy venting, a crutch for someone who needs to lean upon the Saviour, and the like.  
     Yet, to have someone to whom you know you can discuss matters; someone whom you know has your best interest in heart; someone who wants to hear you, rather than themselves; someone who gives you freedom to speak; a safe place in which to confide...Someone who cares.  
     I have been blessed, in my short lifetime, to have been given folks with those kind of hearts.  I am eternally grateful for them.  I, too, have desired to give back to the Lord, as He has given to me, in this way.  I am still a work in progress, though.  Yet, seeing that I have two ears and one mouth, I am practicing keeping the one closed, and the two open. :)  I want to be a soul who puts others before myself, and so I see listening as a great gift I can give!

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
Ephesians 4:29

     I can encourage.  To be edified, in truth, is such a rare blessing.  I constantly see flattery abounding.  Flattery is just fluffy nonsense.  It carries no real substance.  It is only a means of ingratiating oneself to another, and puffing up the one receiving the flattery.  Both are selfish.  
     Encouragement, on the other hand, can do wonders!  First, it points the soul to the beautiful Saviour:  His might, His love, Him.  It releases the burden from the person, and reminds them that whatever the burden was that they were carrying, is in the hands of the Saviour.  Sure, they might need to do some things, or not do some things.  Nevertheless, edification will remind the person, of the greatness of God, and how He carries the saints' burdens!  They will then be reminded that all they have to do, is trust Him.
     It also gives them the strength they need, to keep trusting Him.  We are always being shot at with fiery darts, and sometimes we succumb, (more times than we probably care to admit).  Oh, how many times the Lord sends an encouraging, edifying sister my way, when I have been overwhelmed!  Getting me to turn my eyes back to my Saviour, and off of myself (or others), immediately starts rejuvenating me!  Reminding me of what the Lord says in His holy word, brings more nourishment.  Can I not do the same?

"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." 
1 Thessalonians 5:11

"Two Women Leaning On A Fence Rail"
Edgar Degas

     I can assist.  Granted, I still have duties, as a keeper at home.  Yet, I do have opportunities, whilst waiting upon li'l blessings.  
     Just recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to be support for a friend, who was delivering her family's eighth child at home!  I was free to be on call, when she needed me.  Dear was glad to let me help, and he was more than capable of holding down our small fort, while I was away.  It was a beautiful gift that they gave me:  in asking me to be there for them, to support in this most crucial of life events.  I was glad to be of assistance!
     Sometimes, helping is watching a mother's children, as she gets groceries.  Sometimes, it is tidying up a room/home, because she is ill/unable.  Sometimes, it is just giving her a "breath of fresh air:"  watching the children, whilst she and her husband go on an anniversary date.
     Other forms of assistance, can be found in the church body.  Do they need help setting up, or tearing down, for an event?  Do they need some cleaning done?  Is there a need amongst the group, that God is clearly showing I can fulfill?  
     I clearly remember many times in my life, when a church group of which I was a part, came to me in my time of need. One such group, met my needs in the following ways:  a home in which to live, until I was capable to live on my own; driver's education; a car; assistance in a job search (I was in a situation, wherein I needed to care for my own needs); a family; endless rides to wherever I needed to go, until I was able to drive on my own; endless meals...Oh, how I will never forget their love!  
     Later on, in my early married years, a church we attended helped us in the following ways:  giving us a vehicle, when we were in need of one; repair helps; endless rides and meals; prayers; counseling; friendships; family; food, when we were low; bus ticket to the airport, when I needed to go to Ohio to see my dying father...Oh, again, the list continues; and, I will never forget their love, too!
     Our current group of believers, with whom we meet, have blessed us.  Because of the Lord using them:  Dear has a job; we have an abode in which to dwell; we have some much needed furnishings; we have friendships; when his vehicle broke down, and we needed help, they were right there, ready to assist; we have been given wise counsel...The list continues.  The love they have shown us, is a precious gift!
     Can I not return in kind?  I may be stunted, in some ways, at this time.  But, whatever the Lord shows me to do, can I not do it?  In His strength, I can!  Helping folks can be manifested in various ways, and I just need to look to the Lord, so that I do the right kind of helping.

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."  Galatians 6:2

"The Gleaners"
Frederick Morgan

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
Philippians 2:3, 4

     I can offer love.  I can love by being affectionate:  a hug, a smile, a handshake.  I can offer love by how I pray, encourage, listen, and help.  I can love others, by loving God as He desires.  I can love, by trudging on when the going gets tough.  I can love, by keeping on doing what God wants me to do, in spite of others' behaviours (so much easier to say, than to do, at times!).  Yes, I can love.

"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this:  Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  Galatians 5:14

     These are some things, that He has been showing me, wherein I may minister.  I may have been in the ditches, for a while.  I will probably fall into them again.  Yet, as I recall having listened to Jackie Kenaston, I am reminded that I can:  stand up, dust myself off, straighten up my clothing, and start walking out of that ditch; until I get back on the road, again.   
     In Christ, I have something to offer.  Maybe to others, it is not much.  Maybe to others, it is much, but I just do not see its worth, in their eyes.  
     Maybe you, too, have forgotten that God can use you.  He can use your experiences, to help others.  As you listen to them, you can encourage them in the Lord.  As you help them along their life's journey, you can pray for them.  Always, loving others by loving Christ, is the best gift I have found to give.

"Jesus said unto them, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."  Matthew 22:37-40

"Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."
Romans 12:15
"The Farmhouse At Lieu-Bailly 1871"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Thursday 7 #4

     Such a needed way to start my day:  in thanksgiving.  By God's grace, I will have a thankful heart, rather than a bitter one.  Well, He has given me many things, then, for which to thank Him!

  1. Having Him as my Father:  As time passes, I am finding His love to be ever so tender and sweet.  I may not understand why He chooses to do what He does, but that does not change His sweet love.  I am blessed to be a recipient of His love!
  2. Getting to know Him more:  Again, as time passes, I am finding Him that much more desirable.  Though Satan would like me to think otherwise, He is the most approachable person I know:  thanks to Jesus Christ!  I love His heart.
  3. Freedom from religion:  Knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, belonging to Him, has freed me from the bonds of religion.  There are times I find myself, slipping back into self-righteousness.  Yet, God is ever so faithful to remind me that I am secure in His grace; and, that the reason I live the way I do, is to be out of love for Him, and no other reason.  I love that He has given me the freedom to love Him, to follow Him, and to live for Him:  that I do not bear the weight of my salvation--He does.
  4. Second...Third...Fourth...Gazillion chances!  Oh, if I only had one opportunity to "get it right," whatever that "it" is, oh, my!  Yet, I have been blessed with too many opportunities to count, to try again.  Oh, the mercy of the Lord, truly is abundant and abounding!
  5. My Comforter, Teacher, and Friend:  The Holy Ghost has been an amazing Friend to me.  His relationship with me is totally unmerited, on my part.  I, again, am blessed to have Him indwelling me:  comforting me, teaching me, convicting me, protecting me...And, oh, so much more!  
  6. YouTube:  though there are many things on there, that I would not recommend, there are many things, that I would recommend!  I have been blessed to learn from many teachers, such as:  Sister Eleanor , Brother Bryan, Brother Mike and Sister Debi, Temple Baptist Church (pastored by Brother Charles Lawson), and many others.  I have been able to find countless fix-it videos, to aid in home/vehicle repairs; lessons on recipes, that we have thoroughly enjoyed; lessons of becoming more self-sufficient (though, I admit, I have yet to put many of these things to practice).  As I heard katzcradul put it one time, and I affectionately call it now:  "YouTube University."
  7. Books:  I am thankful for books!  Oh, how I have often enjoyed a good book!  I hope to replenish our depleted library (due to many losses in a storage flood).  I had gotten carried away, for a time, with watching television:  all.the.time.  Prior to which, I filled my mind with good (and, not good) writings.  By the grace of God, I will have more discernment of what I read.  Oh, I just love sitting in a bookstore, or a library, surrounded by literature!  I used to be a librarian's assistant at school, and seriously contemplated going to school to get a Library Science's degree.  Alas, I did not.  And, no, I cannot recount the Dewey Decimal System for you.  And, yes, I do enjoy separating non-fiction and fiction; biographies from autobiographies; and, of course, alphabetically.  I also enjoy categorizing them, according to their function.  Have I started that up, yet, in my new abode....Not quite.  Does that make me strange?  Well, I just look at myself as being "peculiar."  I do believe that God says something about that, somewhere in the New Testament. ;)
**I do hope you are enjoying this series.  I pray that they are edifying to you, and encouraging you to find all the things for which you can thank the Lord.  I do hope you consider joining, as I do so enjoy celebrating in others' praises!  It is a glorious thing, to praise the Lord, together!  Will you not join?  It need not be elaborate, unless your heart so desires, for the glory of God.  Sometimes the simplest things, are the most profound.  Elaborate, simple, a mixture of both, giving praise to God is wonderful!  If you would like to join me, please write a post, akin to this one.  Then, share the link in the box below.  If you do not have a blog, please share your thanksgivings in the comments section below.  I look forward to hearing your praises!**

Graced Simplicity

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

He WILL Finish It

     I love the new verse, at the header of this blog.  I purposefully chose this one.  I wanted a constant reminder, of whence cometh my confidence.
     I know I have a lot of growing to do.  There are so many areas of my life, that need refining.  I have not  "arrived."
     So often, I have taken it upon myself to live as God wants me to live.  I try to go at it, in my own strength.  I am incapable of the strength I need, whereby I walk with Him.  I am incapable of living as I ought, in my flesh.  Try as I might, I will fail.
     Daily walking close to the Saviour.  Daily being fed by His word.  Daily going to Him, for the grace I need to walk with Him.  Christ Jesus is my strength.
     Christ does not expect me to do it on my own.  He expects me to rely totally upon Him.  He expects me to be "...Confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:", Philippians 1:6.

Sheep Reposing Dalby Bay Isle of Man
Basil Bradley

     Ahh, sister.  Are you confident in Him?  Wherein lieth your confidence?
     Do you see yourself as trying to trust Him, but are failing at everything?  I have been there.  It seems that every time I purpose to obey His word, I utterly fail.  Utterly fail.
     I go to Him, with a head hung low.  I feel as though He has just got to be exhausted with me.  Then, He reminds me:

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"  Philippians 1:6

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  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 4:15, 16

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."  1 Peter 5:7

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness...My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:"  
1 John 1:9; 2:1

And, lest I forget the heart that Christ has for me, all I have to do is read these verses:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:  and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  
Matthew 11:28-30

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
Matthew 23:37

"And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them:  and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,"  Mark 9:36

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.  And they parted his raiment, and cast lots."  Luke 23:34

     I am ever reminded of the incredibly tender heart that my Saviour has.  Yes, I know He is supremely, entirely, holy.  Yes, He is absolutely just.  Yet, He is completely, utterly, amazingly, tender.
     These verses, and a whole lot more, remind me of His heart.  Since trusting in Him as my Saviour, I have had access to that heart.  Even before I was saved, His heart was to see me born again: that I would be spared a devil's Hell.  What compassion.
     I need not hang my head low, when I approach my Lord Jesus Christ.  Yes, I am ashamed of my sin.  Yet, I need not hang my head low, as if He is disgusted with me; as if He would be done with me.  Nay, His love for me is eternal.
     I can go to Him, when I err, knowing that He pities me.  He loves me as a dear child:  that sometimes needs a chastening hand.  Yet, even in His chastening, there is love.  It is never done with an evil motive.  Always as a Father loving His daughter:  

"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence:  shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous:  nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."  
Hebrews 12:6-13

     Not always are we being refined by chastening, though.  Sometimes, it is the trials of life, tribulations, persecutions, that grow us as the Father desires:  

"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."  
1 Peter 1:6-9  

     Peter also says, in the second epistle he wrote:  

"And beside all this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."  
2 Peter 1:5-8

     So, whether it be chastening, it is for our good.  If we are suffering for our faith in Him, it is to bring Him great honour.  Just as the apostles who were consistently, and constantly, persecuted for their faith, and rejoiced to be counted worthy of such honour, may we look at it that way, too.  Granted, we are not apostles.  We are women:  wives, mothers, widows, childless, sisters, friends...But, that does not mean we have not been given opportunities to bless His name in our lives. Just by obeying what the Lord says for us to do and be, (as seen in Titus 2:3-5, for one example), we remove the opportunity for God's name to be blasphemed; and, in turn, give great opportunity to have His name glorified!  

Where is our strength for that ability to obey:  It is in trusting Christ, and not our own understanding.

     So, we failed in submitting to our husbands, (or, if unmarried and at home, our parents), what do we do?  We seek Christ, admitting our sin.   We seek His grace to forsake that sin.  We also seek His grace, to submit as He wishes.
     We failed at using our time wisely.  What do we do?  The same as the previous paragraph states:  confess, forsake, and ask for grace to do right.  
     We failed at _________________.  What do we do?  As the hymn goes:  "Trust and obey..."

     It is all about Christ.  Oh, how worthy is He of our love and devotion!  Though we fail, He never has, and never will.  When our hearts are towards Him, and not just our lips, He can do so many marvelous things with us!
     His ways may seem overwhelming, but, they are not; when done in His strength.  His ways may seem ridiculous, but, they are not.  They just happen to go completely contrary to the ways of the world.  
     When we have tender hearts in His hands--those beautiful, nail-scarred hands--we will get to witness Him working in us, through us, and with us.  It may not seem much, in the eyes of the world, or the worldly, but, it is much to Him!  And, you know what?  The relationship just gets sweeter as time passes.
     Do not fret, dear sisters.  I know the weariness.  Yet, take heart.  God has us in His hands:  Those marvelous, loving, nail-scarred hands.  Just trust Him.  Satan, this world, and others may want us to fear, doubt, take the responsibility all upon ourselves.  They may mock us, scorn us, ridicule us, and/or more.  Do not give up, or give in.  Do not trust in the arm of the flesh.  And yet, if you do, remember that Christ is our Great High Priest, who is approachable, and who advocates for us with His shed blood.
     Keep your eyes on Him.  When times are really tough, for whatever the reason, just keep trusting Christ.  Let Him be your first love.  Let Him control your heart.  He will never abuse it.  

The Garden of Gethsemane
Edward Lear

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"
Philippians 1:6

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dust Bunnies, And More...

     It seems to never fail that on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, I find myself asking the Lord:  "Help me!"  Monday, I ask for help, because I am facing a day of cleaning...Same as on Tuesday...Oh, yes, on Wednesday, as well...Thursday has the same activity...So does Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, actually.  Did I mention that I am to cook on those days, too?  Yes, I need help!
     Some days, I just want to get to the fun stuff.  Fun can be crocheting, visiting with friends, reading, or a whole host of other things.  Work has to come first, before play (in my mind); because, if I start playing first, work will usually not get accomplished...
     So, this morning, as I came down the hallway, I noticed all those gleeful dust bunnies, mocking me.  "You can't catch me!"
     "Just watch me catch you."
     Yes, I do not particularly enjoy dust bunnies.  Yet, I love my dog, who facilitates in procreating them.  Alas, a constant battle.  I do believe I could create a business, utilizing all this hair.  Certainly someone is in need of beautiful blonde hair!
     Oh, and as I enter the bathroom?  Of course, awaiting me were a dirty sink and counter, a mirror needing swiped, and a toilet needing scrubbed.  Do you think they were helpful, by cleaning themselves?  Why, of course not!
    "So, umm, lady...When ya gonna take care of me?  I need a bath."
     "I'll get to you, just as soon as I take care of your friends, the dust bunnies."
     "Ok.  Whatever.  I'll be here, just waiting for you."
     "Aren't you so kind."
     Of course, the dishes were waiting for me, the kitchen counters, and other areas of the household.  All through the process (beginning, during, and after), I am talking to my Lord Jesus.  There is no way I am facing this mockery, without Him!  I mean, after all, I just took care of them the other day!  Could they at least have given me a break?  Do they not realize that I would like to do other things?
     I am so glad I have Him!  When I get frustrated, overwhelmed, unthankful...You name it, I have probably felt it...I go to Christ.  He fixes my mind, gives me the wherewithal, and gladness in my heart!  After all, my home and my life are gifts from Him!  I want to do Him right, and not be ungrateful.  I must nip in the bud any sin that wants to root itself within me.  Rather, I need to let God pluck it out of me!

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;" 
Philippians 2:13-15


Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Thursday 7 #3

     So far, my week has gone smoothly.  Today, I received some saddening news:  a loved one's husband, is gravely ill, and needing a touch from the Lord; also, an uncle is consumed with cancer (yet, he knows the Lord, so there is no sadness in my heart at his departing; only his current suffering!).  Yet, there are still things for which I can thank the Lord:

  1. I was able to hear my baby brother's voice.  It had been quite some time since I last spoke with him.  I'm so very glad to see how much of a man he's become.
  2. My uncle, who knows Christ.  Though his leaving will inevitably bring sadness, it is only temporary!  I will get to see him, again!
  3. My husband's ability to learn a whole new trade, in a whole new area of the world.  God graciously gave him a man from whom to learn, who is a fellow brother in Christ:  who took a chance, investing in him.  Seeing the fruit that has been borne, through this relationship, as well as my husband's new skills, is very humbling, exciting, and great cause for thanksgiving!
  4. My new schefflera tree, that Dear bought for me at the store.  It was a spontaneous, inexpensive, but thoughtful gift!  I love indoor plants, and this is just one of many I hope to bring into our new abode.
  5. Modern technology:  through which, I'm able to stay in communication with those I love, and vice versa.
  6. Wiser saints:  from whom I learn how to be, and get to witness the Lord using them, marvelously!
  7. Conviction of the Holy Ghost:  through Whom I am corrected, guided, instructed, and comforted, to say the least!

**Would you like to share 7 things for which you thank God?  Add your post in the link-up below, or add them in the comments section below.**

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Thursday 7 #2

     Here I am, in week two of a new series I want to employ!  I hope you will consider joining me; as I can speak for myself:  it has encouraged me to have a more thankful spirit!  May you be blessed, as you think of 7 things, for which you can give thanks!

Here are my 7:

  1. The fresh air that is currently blowing through my house.
  2. The softness of autumn.  The summer was a more difficult one for us, but manageable.  We are thoroughly enjoying the pleasantries of autumn, though!
  3. My relationship with God.  I am so delighted at all the little things He's teaching me, in regards to Himself.  He's quite fascinating!
  4. Having a better morning schedule!  I know there have been folks praying for me, and with me, on this matter.  It is so encouraging to wake up at the appointed time, get much more accomplished, and truly see fruit bearing in my life!
  5. Watching my husband minister to his coworkers!  It is an humbling, exciting time in his life.  I'm honored I get to live alongside this man.
  6. Our brother in the Lord, whom I'll call "Brudder K."  He's such an encouragement to us!  We always enjoy our times of communication with him, as he lives far from us.  Such a blessing to us!
  7. Our sister in Christ, whom I'll call "Sissy K."  She and I have been blessed to help one another, for quite a while now.  She and I are like long-lost sisters.  Love her!
**Want to join?  Just share your post of 7 thanks, by linking in the box below.  Or, if you don't have a blog, just share your thanksgivings in the comments-section below!**

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Thursday 7

     I wanted to start a new habit:  for myself, and, hopefully, an encouraging one for others.  I would like to, each week, find seven things for which I can thank/praise God.  I am sure there are many things I will find, for which to praise Him!
     So, I am starting now.  Please, feel free to join!  Just do a post, linking back to here, where you have shared seven praises unto God!  If you do not blog, then just share your list of seven things, in the comments section, below.  Let us see what will happen, when we keep a thankful heart!

  1. I'm thankful for being saved!  My life is meaningless, outside of Jesus Christ!  No other joy can compare, than knowing, being known, loving, and being loved, by Him!
  2. I'm thankful for my marriage!  God truly has redeemed it!  Even with all the struggles, I can definitely see the beauty of God in it.
  3. I'm thankful for my church family.  God has used them to minister to me, in so many different ways.  I'm blessed!
  4. I'm thankful that the Lord has brought me through every hardship I've ever faced:  self-imposed, or otherwise.  He always shows Himself strong, capable, and glorious, in them!
  5. I'm thankful for our new abode!  Though there is much work, it is an incredible blessing from the Lord; that I'll not soon forget!
  6. I'm thankful for my family.  God has used them to teach me much.
  7. I'm thankful for my friends.  Again, God uses them in my life, to teach me much.
**Do not forget:  if you want to join in, please link back, or share your "thanks" in the comments section below.  I look forward to hearing your praises!**

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