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Sunday grace

The trees in the little woods are greening and absorbing spaces. It’s becoming harder to see through the spiky saplings as I scan the depth for a deer sighting.

The small tree attached at its root to the larger Ash is blooming full and brightens my view out the kitchen window.

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The weather warmed and dried out enough that I donned my garden clothes and bush hat to start a little clean up in Maisie’s fence and around the side of the house.  Sweet William helped me sharpen my tools, making my work easier by far.

The bushy hedge behind the house and along the sidewalk to the outbuilding always gets a shave and haircut each spring. Between raindrops, I went at it until I discovered nests tucked into branches on either end. Blue eggs belong to a robin, and she flew out and fussed at me each time I came near. A mourning dove nested on the white eggs on the other end, her calm sitting undisturbed by my pruning.

My cutting stopped short to leave concealing  foliage for each of the tender mothers who are protecting their precious progeny.

On a walk-about at the lake, Maisie and I were nearly attacked by a male goose this week, him rising up in the air waving feathers and clawed feet in our direction. Apparently we were getting too close to his gander who sat faithfully on her nest of eggs at the water’s edge.

The few days of warmth and sunshine this week were encouraging and enticed me outdoors. It is spring, even when grey days appear again and I concern myself for apple tree blossoms with forecasts predicting freezing temperatures once more. Yet I will not lose hope.

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God is in his heaven and all is right with the world.

Not that the world is all right. It certainly is not. Nightly news would fill me with dread. But my hope is not in this world and its treasures or its future. My hope is in God alone who is sovereign ruler over all.

And He is my Father. He loves me and has His eye on me. He watches my every breath and has planned for my future.

While I wait for spring to fully flourish, I know what to expect. The fullness of its beauty lies ahead.

The beauty and glory of God’s completed plan draws ever nearer for me. He designed and arranged it, and His intention is to redeem. Until that day comes, I will wait for Him.

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

On day two of this new month, the month of spring, I rise before dark as is my habit.  Coffee is first on my agenda. The coffee pot is the first thing to wake up so that its black  brew wakes me up.

I start a load of laundry, brush my teeth, then begin to turn out lights left on during the night to drive away the darkness. Maisie stirs but decides it’s too early; she curls up in her bed.

Sweet William dozes and I relish a little quiet before a new day begins, my list of to-dos weighing on my mind.

Then I spy the moon out my kitchen window. It’s full and beautiful in a clear, dark sky. After last week’s grey days, rain, and threat of floods, this sight takes my breath away. And I remember – it is a month from Passover.

The moon draws me this time of year. After today it will begin the waning cycle, ever so slightly becoming smaller and smaller until it disappears, only to re-emerge in the days following until it is full again. And then it will be Passover.

I read how there are two full moons in March this year (as there was in January with February missing out on a full moon altogether). The first one is on March 2 and the next one is March 30, the beginning of the Jewish Passover celebration.

Science books would explain its rotation and the shadows that block my view, but let me simply enjoy the beauty and mystery of it, the memories it conjures, the significance it has for me and for the whole world.

In the days that follow, I will watch the night sky, the moon cycle signaling the Passover season’s approach. Passover and the holiday of Easter are always connected, whether they are days or weeks apart. It is no accident that the remembrance of lambs slain for blood on the doorpost and the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world coincide. The events teach us if we will be willing learners.

 

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Passover was and is God’s object lesson. It was the shadow of the real and tangible Savior of the world, Jesus, the Lamb God, who alone would provide redemption for the sins of the world.

The anticipation of Passover carries me into the season of remembrance.  “Do this in remembrance of me,” Jesus said. The perfect Lamb, without spot or blemish, will provide freedom. My freedom.

“For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”

                — 1 Corinthians 5:7

Will you watch the moon with me, its orbit planned and set by our creator God in the beginning?

He is the One who promises, and He is faithful to do what He says.

Sunday grace.

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If these walls could talk

It was late summer or early fall when we moved into our house so long ago. And if the walls of this place could talk, oh the secrets they would tell.

My dad was the chief contractor when we build our first and only home in 1976. It was always his dream to build his only daughter a house. He built it strong and sturdy; it has stood the test of time and tempest for forty years.

My Sweet William and I lived in an apartments when we married, newly weds adjusting to life together as one. We were completely different personalities coming from totally different backgrounds. It was like cold and hot air moving toward each other until the swirl becomes a potential tornado.

We had no idea what we were in for.

Our son was three years old when we moved into our forever home. I recall tender, sweet memories of being his mom. High chairs, potty training, and bicycles. First grade, middle school and graduation. Drum lessons, soccer practice and boy scouts. Carefree childhood, homework, and his first real job. The accomplishments, the worry, and the prayers.

Every mother knows the joy and sorrow that accompanies raising a child. It happened within these walls.

I was with child twice more in this house, and I lost both babies.  We cried and could not understand. And how do you explain to the small son that there would not be a brother or sister coming?

We had parties, sleepovers, and play dates here. We celebrated birthdays and holidays, inviting family and friends. I fixed so many meals and cleaned up after them. I packed about a zillion lunches.

We had fun here. Games and jokes and silly antics brought relief when stress threatened to crush us. Laughter is always a good medicine.

The dating years were interesting as the one an only son brought girls here to meet us. The young woman he finally picked was his perfect match. We loved her from the start.

We held grand-babies here, one after the other, nestling them in our arms and watching them grow, loving on them every chance we had. Those were precious times when childish merriment echoed once again through the halls.

We cried a bucket of tears as well. We grieved our losses and comforted one another. We climbed hard, rocky mountains and we braved terrible storms. Sometimes we felt like we were drowning; sometimes the fires of tribulation scorched us. Sometimes we wondered if we would recover.

At times we needed spiritual surgery, our lives infected by disobedience and wayward hearts. We  were torn apart like a piece of cloth pulled in two, leaving ragged edges on our souls.

But God did not leave us there, all battered and wasted. His discipline is for our good. His purpose is to redeem the rubble, to rescue the perishing, to welcome home the prodigal.

In all these years, all these trials, all these experiences, God has been good. He was working in the darkest shadows when we were fearful. He was working in the long night seasons, and He always brought the dawn.

If these walls could talk, they would tell some tales. But the overarching story is one of redemption and triumph. God takes our feeble efforts and worthless failures and remakes them into something new and beautiful.

Even in an old house like this.

“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.” — Hosea 6:1 NIV

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Sunday grace

While there is little gardening or weeding going on these days because of one-handedness, there is beauty around me everywhere.

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Where there was winter, there is now summer.

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While we wait for death, we anticipate birth.

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Where there is brokeness, there can be healing.

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Joy and sorrow ride the same rail, side by side. During the dark seasons of our lives, we wait for the dawn, we look for the silver lining, we walk toward the ray of sunshine.

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Beauty is everywhere if we will but look for it. Let our eyes be wide open to the vision of God’s grace abounding to each of us.

Sunday grace.

The journey to the cross – the collision

Day 39 of 40 days to Resurrection day

Today’s suggestion:

Read about Jesus’ crucifixion: Matthew 27:27-66, Mark 15:21-47, Luke 23:26-56, John 19:17-42

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Today I defer to Oswald Chambers whose words about the cross of Christ stagger me.  His depth and wisdom about the event that impacted all of eternity are enough today.

Stand in awe at the price God paid for the redemption of your soul.

The Collision of God and Sin

Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.”  1 Peter 2:24

The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God’s judgment on sin.  Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ.  The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken.  There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross.  He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God.  He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.

The Cross did not happen to Jesus:  He came on purpose for it.  He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  The whole meaning of the Incarnation is the Cross.  Beware of separating God manifest in the flesh from the Son becoming sin.  The Incarnation was for the purpose of Redemption.  God became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization.  The Cross is the centre of Time and of Eternity, the answer to the enigmas of both.

The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the Cross of God can never be realized in human experience.  The Cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby any individual of the human race can enter into union with God.  When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the Cross is the gateway.

The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much.  The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened—but the crash is on the heart of God.

— My Utmost for His Highest, April 6th