Thursday, October 27, 2011

Prayer Thoughts on a Snowy Morning

As the snow falls softly down and the furnace hums its quiet, warming tune, I thank the Lord for a day off from work and for the fact that I woke up this morning and have use of all my faculties.  Still reading from the book of Mark, the account today (from chapter 9) was that of the man with the son with a "dumb spirit".  The Lord's disciples could not cast out the evil spirit.  Jesus told the boy's father, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible."  As you know, the father responded in tears with, "Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief!" How true this has been so many times in my own life.  I know that the Lord is in control of a particular situation and I believe that He is going to see it all through because He is faithful, but I am so human and shortsighted that there is a measure of "unbelief" there.

I am so thankful that we do not live simply by a black and white "set of rules".  Though the Bible is our standard for life and practice, God looks on our hearts and gives us just what we, individually, need in every circumstance. I have heard it said that some actually believe that Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane was NOT answered as he knelt, sweating as it were great drops of blood, and prayed, "Lord if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as thou wilt."  The human side of Jesus had to KNOW and have faith that God could remove him from going to the cross, but I wonder sometimes if Christ prayed this as an example for us!  One thing that we know for sure, Jesus' prayer did not go unanswered!

I have had this similar prayer offered up to the Lord before, and He answered in the same way, according to HIS WILL, not mine.  This morning I turned to the scripture passage in Mark 11:22, 23 where the Lord told his disciples "Have faith in God... whosoever shall say unto this mountain be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith." Yet, in my life and yours, we have probably prayed our hearts out about a certain situation, knowing God could do it if He chose, only to see that it did not come out the way we asked.  I'm sure it's true of your life also, our ultimate desire is for the Lord to have HIS will. He knows our hearts and I am just so thankful for a God that is "near at hand" and knows exactly what each individual needs and does not strike us down for having "unbelief" at times.

These thoughts lead me into a day full of vegetables!  We were given bags of beets, very dirty beets. I thought of laying them all out on the hood of the car and letting this wonderful SNOW wash them clean. I might just do that!  I must cut up squash and get it into the oven, then quarter my many apples that are left so I can finish up the applesauce.  It is a nice, snowy day to stay inside and work. I decided to lay a whole bag of beets out on the car to be washed(sorry the picture is so fuzzy).  Ruger looked on and was ready to come in, as the snow rested on his coat.  I believe that even HE was surprised by it this morning!

Two pictures follow; the last of the color here on the hill.  I took them the other day as I drove up our road.  I hope you all have a wonderful day.  We'll all see new leaves in the Spring!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Down from the Mount

The house is quiet this morning.  For the first time I am noticing the pink and blue of sunrise along the horizon, through our bare trees beyond the woods.  We have a northern view here, but evidently the sunrise up at Mom's is so overwhelmingly beautiful that it is spilling out its color far to the North.  We miss all of this activity in the summer months.  I have heard some refer to late Fall and winter as "stick season", and I know why, but what a view it opens up to those of us who are closed in by forest!

For weeks now I have been reading from the gospels.  Today I am in the book of Mark, chapter 9.  It is the account of Jesus' transfiguration.  He took Peter, James and John up into the  mount with him.  What a privilege to be taken to the mount and to see the things that they saw.  To see Jesus' raiment shining whiter than snow, as He later appeared to John on the isle of Patmos in the book of Revelation.  On the mount God spoke audibly, in the cloud, as it overshadowed them, "This is my beloved Son; hear him."  As they descended that mount and Jesus charged them to tell no man what they'd seen, I wonder how their countenances could have hid it away in their own hearts!

What a blessing to be with the Lord "in the mount".  Our revelation from the Word of God is not a physical one, but spiritually, He takes us there sometimes. The Holy Spirit is given to each believer, to teach and to guide us into all truth.  Any child of Jesus Christ can probably attest to some special time or times that God has opened up our eyes to him as He never had before.  And then we must "come down" to the earth again.  I recently read a quote from Oswald Chambers that says, "We are apt to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching, it is to be turned into something better than teaching, into CHARACTER.  The mount is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something." Whether this quote is completely accurate or not, it certainly is God's aim to MAKE us into someone who will bring glory to him.  He is interested in our character, not how much head knowledge we have.  There was a reason that Jesus took Peter, James and John to the mount.  God certainly used these three men in a special way as pastors and teachers to the early church!

God is so good to us. He knows exactly what we need daily to become the people He wants us to be!
I am about to walk out into the day.  More than anything I want God to be using what He has been teaching me to form strong character and Christlikeness into me.

The horizon's pinks have turned to light gold now. The blue clouds have risen higher in the sky and the hills over the North Road are gray and bare of their leaves.  There is a true beauty in this that some may call "bleakness".  The earth here will soon go into that dormant season when everything gets heavily watered and plenty of rest so that, in a few months, it will be able to BURST back "to life" again!

I hope that you have a wonderful day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gold on Gray

The backdrop of sky is as smoke from a thousand cannons;
    storm gray;  looming;  ominous.
I ascend the hill, northward
    while a line of brilliant, golden arrows appear;
    rising slowly, pointing skyward, poised for battle.
Countless, shining sentries standing guard for the smaller hills behind.
    some young and stunted, others tall and sturdy.
Together they form an unbroken battle line.
Never having left their post, these stalwart soldiers reflect, as gold buttons on the gunmetal-gray lapel.
More brilliant, lit by the very God of the universe.

On the next rise the evergreens, broken haphazardly by the rust of oaks
    and dazzling yellow of the birch trees;  an occasional pale orange cluster, resembling
    a huge peach tossed to the mountain and caught in the treetops before reaching the earth.  This,
    the towering poplar, reluctant to shed her gorgeous garb.

Soon the tamarack will drop its million quills. 
    I've tread through her soft, luxurious, saffron carpet; elegant, as in a king's palace.
Unlike all her needled cousins, sturdy tamarack will stand uncovered all Winter;
    branch and trunk laid bare to the harsh elements.

For now they shine brightly against this smoky sky;
    gold on gray.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We Went to the Place of Worship

The day started out a cool 36 degrees.  I'm grateful that there has not been a frost to kill the mums, as they're so welcoming to come home to.  It felt almost balmy as I stepped out the door this morning. The sunrise was spectacular and left the sky a pure blue with high clouds spread out through the sky.

Our Lord's days are quite full with Sunday school, morning service, lunch together then a 2:00 service in the afternoon.  Today we had a missionary speaker, John Shelley, from Rock of Ages Ministries. They minister to inmates in international and domestic military prisons.  What a blessing to see the work and hear the messages today.

Syd and I have been blessed to be involved in four local churches in our lives and we lived for 6 years in South Carolina. The Lord used this to expose us to many different styles of preaching. He has used most all these men of God, no matter what their "style", to minister to our hearts.  Today's was a wonderful southern (Virginia) preacher.  He was a sincere servant who loved the Lord and preached his heart out to us.  God spoke to me on several points, which I plan to pray earnestly about until I see a change in these areas of my life.  This missionary was not here to get us to support their ministry or to prove anything, he was here to share his love for the Lord and for our military men and woman (his wife ministers to women) who have gone to prison, and his desire to see them saved.  Pastor Shelley shared with us, "If you do the crime, you must do the time; but then there's the matter of eternity".  God uses him to lead them to changing their lives for eternity.

The morning message was from John 4.  The Samaritan woman who Jesus met at the well was asking where this 'living water' would come from, believing it to be actual water from the well wherein she had come to draw.  Jesus told her that, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."  He then told her to "go call her husband, and come hither".  She said that she did not have a husband.  Jesus knew her through and through and told her all about herself.  He knew that she was a woman of the world, involved with several men and that the man she was now with was not her husband (verse 18).  When Jesus ministered on earth, then later shed his blood upon the cross for our sins, he does not look at how much of a sinner we are.  His blood takes away ALL sin and he loves ALL people.  Any who will accept Jesus' sacrifice for their sin will be saved!

After telling him that she perceived that he was a prophet, she changed the subject to that of "worship". The Lord shared with her that people who TRULY worship the Father, worship Him in spirit and in truth, and that "the Father seeketh such to worship Him".  God is seeking for souls, still today, who will come to Him and worship in spirit and in truth, the truth of the Word of God.  One question Pastor Shelley asked was (paraphrased), "before coming here this morning, did you worship God? Not, did you come here to worship God? but, did you already worship Him this morning, and bring your worship for Him along TO this place of worship?"

One who knows Christ as their savior should start their day by worshipping God in prayer and reading the Word, then continue the worship of Him throughout their entire day; by every word spoken, each thought entertained, all of their actions -in every place that they go.  This was no new revelation to me, but what refreshments and reminders we sometimes receive when posed with a simple question?

All in all, this day was a blessing and it started me off on the right foot for the entire week.  It is the first day this season that actually looked like snow. "That sky looks like it is going to snow." That's what I heard, and that is what I thought also.  I kind of hate to say it for the first time, but we know that Winter is coming.  Come what may, we have the assurance that the Lord loves us; whether we are already His child or whether you have never yet trusted Him for salvation. The woman at the well believed and trusted in the Lord, Messiah (at this time He had not yet died on the cross, of course).  As she went into the city and told the Samaritans, they came, and many more believed, knowing that He was the Messiah, who would save them from their sins.

He loves us and wants to lead all people to the place of TRUE worship.

I leave you with flowers again.  It may be one of the last weeks that we get to enjoy their beauty.
I hope that today has prepared you for a wonderful week ahead.