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Saturday thoughts

On a snowy day when thoughts of staying warm and safe are primary, I have extra time to sit quietly and peruse some of my favorite books.

Let me share a good read with you this morning.

“We are not citizens of this world trying to make our way to Heaven; we are citizens of Heaven trying to make our way through this world.

That radical Christian insight can be life-changing.  We are not to live so as to earn God’s love, inherit Heaven, and purchase our salvation.

All those are given to us as gifts; gifts bought by Jesus on the cross and handed over to us. We are to live as God’s redeemed, as heirs of Heaven, and as citizens of another land; the Kingom of God . . .

We live as those who are on a journey home; a home we know will have the lights on and the door open and our Father waiting for us when we arrive.  That means in all adversity our worship of God is joyful, our life is hopeful, our future is secure.  There is nothing we can lose on earth that can rob us of the treasures God has given us and will give us.”

— The Landisfarne, via The Anglican Digest (from Patches of Godlight by Jan Karon)

This world is not our home friends.  No wonder we don’t feel comfortable here.  We look for a city not built by hands, but we look for one prepared for us by God our Father himself.

Travel on.  Be strong and courageous.  Walk with your eyes looking heavenward.  The end will be better than the beginning.

winter 10

winter 9

Photos by Elena Walls

 

 

 

 

Kindness

Kindness.  It’s a fruit of the Spirit.  It grows from being connected to the heart of Jesus when He is Lord of your life.

It came to our house today dressed like a guy with a snow plow.  I was wrestling my shovel, dressed like a bear in hibernation.  Sweet William was standing inside the garage because he cannot risk a slip or a slide on his fragile knees.  And I begged him not to.  He did not like standing there watching me with a shovel.  But what are we to do?

Then this kind person arrived, his truck hauling the snow plow behind it.

I remembered him from last year when we had the record breaking snowfall of February 2015.  I was stuck in my house with little dog, while Sweet William rested safely in rehab after yet another surgery on his knee.

My good Samaritan was a sight for sore eyes that day last year.  He made quick work of our driveway, and I was able to pull the little black Honda out of the garage for the first time in a week.

And here he was again.  Relief flooded me.  My back was aching from the work I’d already done.  We rejoiced in the kindness of someone we hardly see in our large church, except at a distance.

We offered to pay him.  He said no.  We offered to pray for him.  He said yes.  So there in our cleared drive, we joined our hands as members of Christ’s family and offered thanks for one so kind and asked God’s blessing on him and those he loves.

Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit.  It comes from God and shines brightest through His children.100_2761

 

White as snow

Day 8 of 40 days to Resurrection day

Today’s suggestion:

Consider the wonder of how a sinful, dark heart can be washed as white as snow by the blood of Jesus. 

Then choose to examine your heart and seek the forgiveness offered by God.

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As I anticipate digging out of another record snowfall, my back aches just thinking about it.  There is work ahead of us today.  I was hoping for an early spring, but I got another proof that winter has not turned loose just yet.

Still, there is a beauty about the snow as I watch it fall, as I look out over the landscape that speaks to me of purity and cleanness.  Snow is just so white.

I cannot help but think of King David’s psalm of repentance, his cry for forgiveness:

” . . . wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”

That I can be forgiven from my sinful ways, from my dark thoughts, from my selfish motives by the blood of the Lamb of God is still amazing grace to me.  That God can look upon this imperfect woman and see my heart white as snow because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross brings joy unspeakable and full of glory.

I am forgiven.  What a beautiful truth.  It is settled because of faith that reaches to the Son of God who gave Himself for me just because of an unfailing, ever-seeking, will-not-let-me-go love.

The exquisiteness of this good news draws me to examine my heart again, to pray with sincerity:

O God, come and search the deepest part of me where no one else can see.

You know the secrets in my heart and you test my thoughts.

You have examined me, and You know everything about me.

Point out anything you find there that makes you sad,

things like unforgiveness, envy, bitterness, hatred, lust, pride.  I could go on.

Create in me a brand new, clean heart, O God.

Fill it with clean thoughts and right desires.

Sprinkle me once again with the cleansing blood of Jesus.

Wash away the stains of sin and I shall be whiter than snow.

 (taken from selected Scriptures)

Listen and worship.

“What Can Wash Away My Sins” by Jesus Culture

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Share your thoughts in the Comment section below.  You are welcome here, friend.

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Slow day

100_3270100_3254 100_3257 100_3266We awoke to snow on the ground in mid November.  It was predicted but a surprise to me.  A nice surprise.

I love the first snow of the season, the white covering everything to make it look clean and fresh.  Even the ugly looks pretty.  Little dog is not so fond of snow when we go outside, but he endures and we both breath in the crisp coldness and beauty of the early morning.

It seems a special day, one to be cherished and celebrated.  So I fix homemade drop biscuits, something Sweet William and I don’t eat so often ever since Weight Watchers became part of our routine.  The fresh sausage and tomato omelet taste delicious. I dribble honey on my hot buttered biscuit.

The day seems to slow.  Music plays on the CD player.  I am not in a hurry to get to my list of things to do.  Dishes still soak in the sink.  I am just enjoying the snowflakes falling outside my window and the warmth of the fireplace and the company of loved ones near.

Every day does not have to be a race.  As Ann Voskamp says so wisely, “Life is not an emergency.”  There are moments to be tasted, experiences in which to delight, sights and sounds to feed my soul.  If I will slow myself down long enough to see the gift and receive it as it is, then life really can be abundant.

I’ve been given so much.  Richness is at every turn.  Beauty is free for the taking.  Love is all around.

What shall I do with it?  Ignore it in my hurry to get from here to there?  Glance at the faces in front of me while I look for other faces to connect with?  Take for granted what is here and now?

Dear Lord, forgive me for doing that too much, for not appreciating your daily bread and good gifts.

Today, I enjoy the slowness of a snow day.  Perhaps I will learn the lesson and practice it tomorrow also.

What’s your hurry?

 

It was snowing as I drove to work this morning.  A little more caution is needed on snowy days now that I drive that little black Honda.  My old car, the big blue Cadillac, was a tank on snow crusted roads, and I had no fear.  Well, not as much fear.

I left in plenty of time to get to work and still drive at a safe, slower speed.  That is until I got behind a salt truck. Actually, there were three cars ahead of me, and we all followed the truck on curvy Preston Highway.  There are only two places to pass on the entire journey.  There was no passing today.  And the truck was going at the rate of 25 mph.  Not kidding. 

Bill called while I was still a couple of miles from my destination and said, “I guess you are there now.”  No, I was not! I told him my predicament, and he explained to me that the truck needed to go slow so it could spread plenty of salt to make the road safe for travelers.  Travelers like me and the 15 or so cars that were now in line behind the truck.  OK, I understand.

When I realized I would not be able to go faster then 25 mph, I had to tell myself to relax and enjoy the ride.  You know, I have said that often as my life mantra, “Life is a journey, enjoy the ride.” Funny how I needed a reminder today.

As I drove past familiar places, I noticed things I’ve not paid attention to while doing 55 mph.  I observed the beauty of fresh fallen snow.  I prayed for people on my prayer list.  And it became a pleasant ride.

Why are we in such a hurry all the time?  Is it only me?  Often I buzz from one activity to another, from one appointment to the next.  Sometimes, I’m thinking about the next thing to do while I’m doing the present thing.  Can’t I just be in the moment and live it for what its worth?

We have become a people living in the fast lane, I’m sad to say. Sitting on the porch and waving to the neighbors is from the “olden days.” Playing sandlot ball with the cousins and the kids on the block has succumbed to organized sports and lots of scheduled practice days.  We boast of multi-tasking.  “I’m just so busy” has become our badge of worth. 

Today we have so many opportunities to do things and learn more.  Does that mean we have to do them all on the same day?

Is it any wonder we have trouble being still and knowing He is God?

The 23rd Psalm imparts these lovely words to those driving themselves frantically: 

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He restores my soul.”

I need my soul restored quite often.  It has never been the Lord’s plan for me to run myself ragged. I need to take a breath, slow my pace and simply enjoy the ride.