Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pure, Undefiled and True

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." James 1:27

I do not question my salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, but I often question how it is being "worked out" in my life. I am to work out my own salvation, but the Word also says..."for it is Christ who worketh in you..." He is the one who gives the grace and who does the actual 'work', to make me like Jesus Christ.

A few days ago I mentioned that I wonder sometimes whether I just ask God for things and then sit like a lump before Him, waiting for His answers and blessings. The passage in James certainly teaches just the opposite of this. "Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (1:22)
As a new believer I remember being more conscious not to let anything into my life that would influence me back into worldliness or defile the new life of Christ in me. Reading this passage afresh today, I am reminded that if I drift through this Christian life - gaining head knowledge ('knowledge puffeth up') without DOing and obeying, by God's grace, everything that God directs my heart to through the precious Word, will lead to a life of deception. To be a deceived Christian is probably worse than not being a Christian at all, except that we will be saved, 'yet as by fire', in the end.

I remember our pastor in South Carolina saying, "how long should you dig into a particular passage, praying for victory over a particular sin? until you're DOING it on a regular basis!" What wonderful advice.

"But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." James 1:25

These meditations brought this to mind: Those of us who are Christians know that if we simply 'talk the talk' we will deceive ourselves into thinking that we're walking the walk, when we may actually appear to the world as 'glorified unbeliever'. It does matter what the world sees, but it matters most what the Lord thinks of us. 

His Word ministered to me this morning and has given me much to meditate upon today. I thank you for stopping by the Hill and hope your day is a blessing.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Have you been in my Garden?

 It is 4:15 in the morning and I just got my hubby off to work. He called yesterday and left a message on our answering machine, "Guess what, I don't have to start work at 6:00 tomorrow morning...I start at 5:00!" We're just praising the Lord for a good job that has plenty of business!! He came home a bit early from prayer meeting and got right into bed by 8:00 and we're 'no worse for the wear'. Since I don't start work for another four hours, I thought I'd take this quiet time and write to you.

Eddy has been a dear friend of our family, church member and good neighbor to us for many years. Due to health issues, at 97, he is now living with his daughters in a nearby state.

The following account came to me because of a recent card Syd made and sent to Eddy. We've told the story a few times, but I'd never written it down, so will try to relay it here.

Eddy was an avid gardener. He raised and shared many vegetables throughout his lifetime. His favorite squash being the 'crook neck' variety. He also had a large potato patch located up the road on an old piece of his property that borders ours on Darling Hill. Syd often joked with Eddy that he was going to sneak over there one night and plant one corn kernel, so Eddy would have one stalk of corn among his potatoes!

When Syd was working at one particular job, sales at a furniture store, they were changing over some of their accessories. Among the fake plants that they were throwing away was a very large, silk banana plant in a large basket/pot. Syd just couldn't pass it up. He put it in the back of his truck and that evening, 'planted' it in Eddy's garden. Eddy came to church on Sunday, walked right up to Syd and said, "Have you been in my garden?" They got a good chuckle out of it!

A year or so later, as was Eddy's habit, he planted his favorite squashes, and like a good farmer, waited for the precious fruit. When the fruit came, he approached Syd at church one Sunday morning, "Hey, have you been in my garden?" Syd responded with, "No, Eddy, why would you think I'd been in your garden?" Eddy's reply was, "I planted my squash, and got these", showing Syd a handful of zucchini. Eddy does not like zucchini. They both laughed, while Syd assured him that he had not made the switch! The following day or so Eddy said that the packaging  and seeds had been switched before he even got them. They've joked about that story for some years now. The church ladies took Eddy's zucchini and made him lots of bread and cakes from it. He likes it that way!

My brother, Dennis, usually a very  mild-mannered man -not known for practical jokes, came over to us on the hill one day. He was carrying a handful of rocks, all of which looked very much like potatoes. Dennis is a stone wall builder and has many opportunities to look over rocks. He said, "I thought of planting these over in Eddy's garden (he'd heard the stories), what do you think?" Syd, of course thought this a wonderful idea. Dennis left them with him. A couple of them were just too gray in color, so Syd rubbed brown shoe polish on them. When it was nearly time for Eddy to dig potatoes, Syd "planted" them together near the end of one of the rows. We fully expected to see all of those either at the bottom or at the top of our yearly bucket of potatoes that he always gave us. Nope, they weren't in there! Finally, Syd's curiosity could hold out  no longer, "Eddy, didn't you find anything strange in one of the rows of potatoes?" he asked him. "Yup" was the answer. "What did you think of them? and were did they go?" "I just threw them in my little rock pile there", Eddy said.
THAT one backfired!!

I had shared in a post many months ago that we had a volunteer pumpkin plant in our compost, at the top of our driveway this year. You'll remember, it produced a lovely pumpkin. Originally thinking it was a squash plant, we were looking for squashes. Syd parted the leaves one day and, behold, a large round pumpkin. We were happy and Syd thought immediately of Eddy! We sent a box of things up to him last week. Syd printed off the following picture onto card stock and made a card which did read, "Have you been in my garden?"

There are many stories to tell of Eddy, I'm sure. On the day we started clearing our land, at least nine years ago, Ed was in his late eighties. He was the first to show up, chainsaw in hand. He stopped only for lunch then went right back to cutting trees until suppertime. Here is a photo of him on that day. Five men from our church cleared ALOT of land that day! Thank you!!

When we started building the house, some months later, Eddy would show up almost on a daily basis, to lend a hand in any way he could. He is a blessed servant of God. We love him very much. I don't know if he had a garden this year, but maybe he will next year and we can sneak up there with a little something to add to it!

Eddy, with us (and Coco) on his summer 2012 visit home
Eddy and the Zorns, helping Syd with flooring
Brad, Dad, Eddy, Dallas and Syd, putting up the walls. I think our friend Denny, is there in the corner too
often Eddy just came up to hang out and have some coffee

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wrestling? or Lazy?

I was so blessed in listening to a message, via, this morning. It was written by C.H.Spurgeon in 1858, entitled A New Heart. What an age we live in, when we can go to a website and retrieve these blessed messages from writings of old! One thing I have taken from the Word this morning is the amazing fact that God gave fallen man a 'second chance'; man, made in God's image...while the fallen angels were left to eventually be sent to the lake of fire. The message was so full that I couldn't begin to share all that was contained therein. One thing is for sure, when God gives us a new heart, He does not build up the old flesh. He gives us new life, as we were so completely in ruin from sin that we had to be totally made anew! We serve such a perfect, all-knowing God, don't we?

The Scripture that God was leading me through earlier on, this morning was from Ephesians 6:13-18. "Take unto you the whole armor of God...praying always...watching thereunto..."  We wrestle against principalities and powers all around us! Am I wrestling, or just sitting back and taking in truths, lazily floating through my days? Am I wrestling; discovering within my heart what God is telling me to do, and obediently doing it? "Work(ing) out (my) own salvation with fear and trembling"? I was reminded this day not to just sit lazily before the Lord, bringing my petitions to Him, and waiting for Him to drop blessings in my lap.

These little reminders make for huge meditations throughout the day. I hope that you have much to meditate upon from God's Word today. Thanks so much for stopping by the hill. I'm sorry that I have not been more vigilant in posting lately. I wish for days to be home more often, but that is not what the Lord has for us at this time.  Take care, friends.