Friday, July 15, 2011

Vacation Day

The other day I said to one of my co-workers, "When you live in a little cabin in the woods, everyday is a vacation day." Of course, that is when you don't have to get up and go to work. This is one of those days for me!

I looked up the word "Sanctuary" in the dictionary. One of its meanings is 'a place of safety'. This morning I was sitting in my new little, recently cleared, sanctuary, having coffee. This particular place is up next to our narrow country road. We get very little traffic. One could sit there for hours (which I never have actually done) and would not see a single car pass. As I sat with my feet up in the vacant chair, a car did come along the road. The driver of this particular vehicle has her pick of sanctuaries at her home, as she lives in a place that is well established with gardens and lovely flowers blooming in pretty sitting-areas. I have this one, for now; though there is potential for two more spots in the future. So, though I have no flowering bushes or flowing fountains, as I sat there looking at the morning sun peeking through our tall trees, listening to the birds and feeling the cool morning air, I thanked the Lord that, though my sanctuary is not yet flowery or very private, it is a safe and quiet area where I can talk to Him and enjoy the beauty of the place that He has surrounded me with.

This experience also made me realize that I am always in a sanctuary. It does not matter whether I am in the middle of a storm-driven sea, driving down a busy street, or climbing a sheer rock cliff (not me!); as one who has trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for my salvation, I am always in a place of safety. Even if I am taken in death, I am safe because when my spirit is absent from the body, it will immediately be present with the Lord!

There is one more way of looking at being in a place of safety. While in prayer with one of the ladies in our church on Wednesday night, I prayed that the Lord would make me ready and willing to take on any job that He might open up for me in the future. We all know what our "comfort-zone" is. As I was talking to the Lord He reminded me that the job may take me out of this zone. This came to mind again this morning. Certain tasks are those that we may not be particularly comfortable with; we may not feel "safe", or may feel a bit out of control. There is a reckless abandonment about a christian who is willing to let go and let God use him or her in absolutely ANY way. Our goal is not self-realization (as the world would like us to think) but Christ-realization!

These are just thoughts that I have had on this, my vacation day. I hope that you can enjoy a place of safety this morning, and that you'll have a quiet time to think.

I wanted to keep you up on how the oxalis is doing. See? new growth and even a blossom!

Now, it is off to the dishes, sweeping, making the bed...and all those things that make for a well-rounded vacation!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gazing Ball

Often in my travels, I have passed a garden that holds a gazing ball. Their colors vary; red, gold and bright green. I must be honest and tell you that they aren't esthetically appealing to me, but the first time I truly took the time to stoop down and gaze into one, I understood how it got its name. The scope of what a person can see in one of those spheres is magnificent! It mirrors the garden, which seems to begin 1/4 mile away, from one direction to its other far end. Of course you must try to imagine the picture without the huge nose and eyes that appear in the center of vision.

The words "glory" and "magnify", "behold", "grace" all come to my mind when I think of a garden that is mirrored in this way. Verses have been coming to me through messages I have heard lately, and during my daily reading in the Bible, that keep taking me back to the gazing ball. John 1:14"...we beheld His glory, as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." James 1:25 says, "whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth there in...shall be blessed in his deed." The word "looketh" there means "to stoop down and to peer intently into". "We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (IICor. 3:18); and finally, the most important focus of my gaze, my LIVING Savior, "Looking unto Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb. 12:2)

The Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God are the Christian's gazing ball. Our God knows everything from beginning to end. Jesus Christ is the Alpha (beginning) and the Omega (ending) of our redemption. I want to continue to make the Lord the focus of my gaze.

Next time you pass a garden that contains a gazing ball, stoop down and intently peer into it, and perhaps it will remind you of the importance of looking unto the savior, who is full of grace and glory and did the mighty work of Redemption for us!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It Only Takes A Spark

I did "breakfast", and eventually "lunch" with friends on the hill today. As I was getting ready to toast my bread at home, I decided to simply butter one side and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar; this done with anticipation of setting them on the grill over a nice warm fire when I reached the top of the hill. It turned out that there was no fire yet started, which was okay, as I am usually a fine fire-builder. Mom, our friend, Dottie, and I worked with enough hay, dried leaves and small sticks to start a 5000+ acre forest fire. After much shielding from the wind and dousing with yet more dried grass, a small ribbon of smoke rose up from the mound. The tiny flames began to dance while we added yet more sticks and hay. Finally I was able to set a grate over our little blaze and toast one side of my cinnamon bread which I greatly enjoyed with coffee.

At one point, while I was holding the lighter-flame to the base of our project, Dottie began singing, "It only takes a spark to get a fire going..." Mom and I piped in, "and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing; that's how it is with God's love, once you've experienced it; You spread His love to everyone, you want to pass it on." I hadn't heard that song in years. It took a little more than a spark for our little fire to go, but it served its purpose well!

There is little more to write about today. Our friends had to go home this afternoon and promise to return to their little camper on the hill within a few short weeks. Hopefully it will be sooner. The top of Darling Hill holds quite a few campers during the summer and it is so nice to enjoy everyone's company.

If you can find your way, we have a place for you by the fire.

Here's a lovely picture from the Hill, taken just before sunrise!

Hiking to Breakfast

I am heading to the hill to "breakfast with friends". I have filled my thermos of coffee and cooked a couple pieces of toast (which will be cold by the time I get there) and am ready to call Ruger down to take a tromp up the road. Our friend, Dennis, will have the fire going and I can warm my toast on the grill.

The sun is out and the sky looks glorious. I'll be back later to report on how many bug bites I got! I will be posting this afternoon, but for now it's coffee and toast in the morning sun.

Bye for now.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Trees are Singing

Sitting and eating cheese, crackers, veggies & watermelon with Mom at noon today; the wind was not only sending a cool breeze past us as we rocked on the porch, but as it met with the leaves of the tallest trees, Mom said, "The trees are singing." We listened and noticed that the "tones" were different depending upon which trees our ears honed in on. Maple leaves gave a lower sound, while the poplars tuned in on a higher note. The tallest poplars sounded out the loudest.

This made me think of how each one of us serves God in the little corner where we're planted. Some people are "tallest", perhaps overseers, and heard a great deal more than others who are smaller but are used to shading others from the heat or storm. There are yet others who are seldom heard at all, but are always working in the background sounding out their notes in secret.

The Lord keeps track of each of His servants. He does not forget any one of His children's labors of love, whether done openly or in the quiet corner where they have been planted.

When we lived in the South, I could walk through the woods and see a beautiful tulip tree in the middle of the forest. There she was, blooming away for few to see. Her job was simply to bloom. I was happy to meet her there, just as Mom and I enjoyed listening to the music of the trees.

I hope you can hear or see the unexpected today.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Empty, that You may Fill Me

Okay, I know, I changed the background of the blog. I hope you can stand it...I don't know if I can for long but I was getting really tired of that tan page! I went FAR from tan, huh? I do like bright colors, but sure would rather design my very own background. As you may guess, it would look kind of mossy with pieces of sticks, leaves, ferns & pinecones all over it. There's no such animal to choose from and I didn't see a 'customize' spot. I'll go back to one that's easier on the eye soon, I'm sure.

I have not had alot to write about lately. We went to a funeral yesterday - nothing very exciting to write about there. We did see people who we don't get to see often. It is always good to be with family and friends.

Today we had a wonderful day at our little country church. I love singing the old hymns; the windows thrown open and the beautiful music and voices streaming out into the air. I wish I could be walking down the road sometimes, just to listen.

It's a gorgeous afternoon on Darling Hill! Mom took Ruger for his promised walk, which is pleasing him, I'm sure. I think she enjoys it as much as he though. Syd is preparing to sell his old '53 Chevy. We had kept it in hopes of fixing it up one day. It made the best backdrop for our pictures. We had an old chevy truck that was perfect too, but sold that last year. We are now fresh out of photo backdrops!

The house is empty. The coffee carafe is full, as it just finished dripping. I'm about to get a cup. Grab a cup yourself and we'll read and write together.

Today I was reminded that God uses empty vessels. One of the Scriptures that was in the message today was II Corinthians 4:7, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." A believer's life is simply an earthen vessel which the Lord wants to fill and use for His purposes. All through my christian life, especially during my married life (since 1980), my prayer has been, "Lord, make me what you want me to be." I assume that if you are a christian, you have desired and asked for the same thing in your life. I want the Lord to help me throw out, and keep throwing out, all my expectations of what I think my life is SUPPOSED to be like, so that I am not digging in my heels while He tries to direct me in the way He wants me to go. Looking back through these 30 plus years, I know that the Lord has directed us all the way. There certainly have been setbacks, due to stubbornness on our part, but everything that He has allowed in our lives has been for our good and I trust, for His glory. In John 7:37, Jesus calls out to men and women, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Once we have received the relationship; accepted the call to salvation through Jesus Christ, God's Son, we then can come, thirsty, to the Lord, "drinking" from the water of His Word; that is when He will fill us up and allow us to be a continuous fresh spring; a river of living water to flow out to others.

Life is a steady, flowing journey. For a christian, it is one of sojourning until we are taken to our true Home in heaven. Lord, please continue to keep me, a vessel that is emptied of self and full of the Water of Life; and you have promised that as I continue to come to you, this fresh, living water will flow from my belly and out to others.

I hope you all can take some time to meditate on things from God's Word today. Have a wonderful evening.