Being Woven

God of the Mountain

 

mountains_pic_for_wiki

My two sister-in-laws are visiting this week.  Yesterday, one asked what the rest of a song was.  It was a song that none of us knew well enough to be able to sing or even recite the words.  So I looked it up.  As we listened to a YouTube version, all (4 of us) gathered ’round the computer and sang together as the words were displayed on screen.  What a sweet moment!  What a beautiful reminder of the faithfulness of our God.

God of the Mountain by Lynda Randle

Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain
And you’ve got peace of mind,
like you’ve never known
But things change,
when you’re down in the valley
Don’t lose faith,
for your never alone

Chorus:
For the God on the mountain,
is still God in the valley
When things go wrong,
he’ll make them right
And the God of the good times,
is still God in the bad times
The God of the day,
is still God in the night

We talk of faith way up on the mountain
But talk comes easy, when life’s at its best
Now its down in the valleys, trials and temptations
That’s where your faith is really put to the test

Chorus:
For the God on the mountain,
is still God in the valley,
When things go wrong,
he’ll make them right
And the God of the good times,
is still God in the bad times
The God of the day,
is still God in the night

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Many nations shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion the law shall go forth,
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  Micah 4:2

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 1:6-7

Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

LORD, thank You for Your reassurance in all things of this life and ever after.  You are faithful and true.  You redeem and You behold.  You love and You call to obedience.  You rejoice and You weep.  You hold time in Your hand and know the very hairs on our heads.  Thank You for being with us no matter whether we are on a mountain top or deep in a valley.  You hold us and love us always.  Grace and Glory to You and You alone, Father God.  In Your Son’s Holy Name, I pray.  Amen.

bwdarkgreen sig

linking up with:

On Monday:

http://lauraboggess.com/    PlayDates with God

http://afieldofwildflowers.blogspot.com/    Small Wonder

http://donnareidland.com    Mondays @ Soul Survival

http://www.solideogloriasisterhood.com/    Soli Deo Gloria Connections

http://www.blessedbutstressed.com/    Inspire Me Mondays

On Tuesday:

http://www.richfaithrising.com/    Unite the Bloggersphere

http://purposefulfaith.com/    Cheerleading #RaRaLinkUp

http://hollybarrett.org/    Testimony Tuesday

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/    Tell His Story

On Wednesday:

http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/    Three-Word Wednesday

http://www.w2wministries.org/    Word-Filled Wednesdays

http://holleygerth.com/    Coffee for Your Heart

http://meredithbernard.com/my-pen/    W2W Wednesdays

http://www.juanamikels.com/    Wednesday Prayer Girls

On Thursday:
http://3dlessons4life.com/   Thought-Provoking Thursday

http://www.faithbarista.com/ Beloved Brews

http://tsuzanneeller.com Live Free Thursdays

http://www.7daystime.com/   Everyday Jesus

On Friday:
http://www.missionalwomen.com/ Faith-Filled Fridays

http://arabahjoy.com Grace and Truth

http://equippinggodlywomen.com/ Fellowship Friday

http://countingmyblessings.com/blog/ Blessing Counters

http://www.simplemomentsstick.com/ Faith and Fellowship

On the Weekend:

http://www.barbieswihart.com/     The Weekend Brew

http://faith.5minutesformom.com/     Faith ‘N Friends

http://sandraheskaking.com/     Still Saturday

http://seespeakhearmama.com/     Give Me Grace

http://www.janiscox.com/        Sunday Stillness

http://www.spiritualsundays.com/     Spiritual Sundays

http://www.thebeautyinhisgrip.com/    Sharing His Beauty

A Brass Fire Pole

Fire_pole
Have you ever slid down a pole at the playground, pretending to be a fireman?  Or gone to a children’s museum where they had a brass one installed from the second floor to the first, where you put on a jacket, boots, and fireman’s hat before sliding down, landing at the foot of a real fire truck sitting inside the museum?  Or have you been at the top of such a pole and been afraid to take that leap onto the pole?

One year, while teaching in Washington, D.C., I took my K-1 class to the Children’s Museum, a bus ride and short walk away from our inner city school.  (In looking for that museum online before writing this, it looks like that building is gone now. but there is a new National Children’s Museum in Prince George County, only open a year or so now.)   It was fun and delightful for the children and for me as I watched them immerse themselves in pretending, allowing their imaginations to bloom with possibilities and dreams…careers…arts…machinery and equipment…on and on.  All of this gave these young children ways to dream as well as to escape the realities of their harsh worlds of inner city violence, drugs, sex, and other hard things, for all of us, let alone little children.

children fire engineI don’t say that we need to escape our realities for our God knows right where we are.  God is there right beside us.  But, sometimes, just sometimes, we need a break from the hard things in life.  We need the comfort of a mother’s arms, the strength of a father’s stance before and beside us, the love of family and true friends.  I watched and read Kara Tippetts and her family live death on their blog, in books, on videos, in photos.  Hard stuff.  Real life.  Kara and her family had and, now, still have all those arms, the comfort, the strength, the love near them, yet when the night falls and the family is alone, they remember that Kara has gone to be with Jesus.  The children do not have their mother.  Jason’s wife is missing from his side.  Not forever.  One day, they will all be together with the LORD.  One day.  And Kara is whole now.

We are human and fear creeps in and takes over sometimes… afraid to leap forward and grab that pole … afraid to trust God Who works all things together for good to those who love Him … fear that we will not be caught when we lean back against the unknown.  Fear holds us in its grip and we can do nothing.  The brass pole stands before us and we are frozen with fear.

woman going down pole

The LORD is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my Strength, in Whom I will trust; my Buckler, and the Horn of my salvation, and my High Tower.  Psalm 18:2

He is right there … ready to catch us …ready to hold us … ready to be All to us and for us.  We are called to trust … TRUST.

The LORD is good, a Stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.  Nahum 1:7 

The child in each of us needs to slide down that brass pole right into the arms of the LORD, into His Word, into His Truth, into forgiveness, away from sin, away from all that holds us back from the beauty that God wants for each of us.  Slide … slide onto the path that He has just for each one of us … JUST.FOR.US!  Can you sense yourself taking that quick leap onto that sturdy brass pole, wrapping your arms and legs around it and just go…go…go…to God.  I can feel the strength of this pole and the love awaiting me when I reach His arms.  Yes, LORD, I am coming to You.

And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when He had taken him in His arms, He said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in My Name, receiveth Me: and whosoever shall receive Me, receiveth not Me, but Him that sent Me.  Mark 9:36-37

Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded,
Sweetly my soul doth rest. **

Abba Father, I felt Your call upon this life of mine.  I know that You want me wholly.  Guide me away from all that defines my life as worldly, as sinful, as not-of-You.  Mold my heart to be more and more like Jesus… that I would forgive when I need to and to whom I must.  Abba Father, thank You for Your forgiveness of my many misplaced steps in this life.  I came to You as a prodigal.  You were there with arms open wide and waiting for me to step into them.  Thank You, LORD.  Thank You.  I came sliding in, at first with hesitancy, with fear, because it seems a long way to You.  I slide … I go and I come to You again and again.  Your arms are warm and filled with such love.

Father, I know this for myself.  I pray for those children whom I once taught in Washington, D.C. and ask that Your love guide them into Your arms if they are not there already.  I pray that they will recall the day at the museum and the brass pole.  For those who came down without fear, I pray they come sliding into Your arms, seeking Your face, Your forgiveness, and Your love.  For those who were afraid to go down and walked back down instead, erase any and all fear and trepidation, LORD.  I pray for family and friends who do not know You and ask the same for them whether they have played on a brass pole or not.  Give them one and may Your message be clear so that they will desire You, and only You, and come sliding to You. 

As I am sliding to You, LORD, I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus, Your Son.   Amen.  

beblacksig   

Photo: http://www.kansasfirefightersmuseum.com/main/

**Safe in the Arms of Jesus: lyrics by Fanny Jane Crosby (1820-1915), music by William Howard Doane (1832-1915)

Second Photo: by Wendy Pramik   http://www.examiner.com/article/learn-about-fire-safety-slide-down-a-pole-at-the-central-ohio-fire-museum

Fourth photo:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdkahn/5758603835/

 

linking up with:

On Monday:

http://lauraboggess.com/    PlayDates with God

http://afieldofwildflowers.blogspot.com/    Small Wonder

http://donnareidland.com    Mondays @ Soul Survival

http://www.solideogloriasisterhood.com/    Soli Deo Gloria Connections

http://www.blessedbutstressed.com/    Inspire Me Mondays

On Tuesday:

http://www.richfaithrising.com/    Unite the Bloggersphere

http://purposefulfaith.com/    Cheerleading #RaRaLinkUp

http://hollybarrett.org/    Testimony Tuesday

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/    Tell His Story

On Wednesday:

http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/    Three-Word Wednesday

http://www.w2wministries.org/    Word-Filled Wednesdays

http://holleygerth.com/    Coffee for Your Heart

http://meredithbernard.com/my-pen/    W2W Wednesdays

http://www.juanamikels.com/    Wednesday Prayer Girls

On Thursday:
http://3dlessons4life.com/   Thought-Provoking Thursday

http://www.faithbarista.com/ Beloved Brews

http://tsuzanneeller.com Live Free Thursdays

http://www.7daystime.com/   Everyday Jesus

God-Breathed

images.duckduckgo.com

“The Bible is a vein of pure gold, unalloyed by quartz, or any earthly substance.  This is a star without a speck; a sun without a blot; a light without darkness; a moon without its paleness; a glory without a dimness.  O Bible! it cannot be said of any other book, that it is perfect and pure; but of thee we can declare all wisdom is gathered up in thee, without a particle of folly.  This is the judge that ends the strife, where wit and reason fail.  This is the book untainted by any error; but is pure, unalloyed, perfect truth.”  Charles H. Spurgeon from “Daily Help”

God speaks to us, and to those who came before us, by His Word.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.   2 Timothy 3:16-17

And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  Revelation 21:5

He sent His Son to show us the Way, the Truth, and the Light.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:1-5

Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6

Father, You gave us Your gift, Your Only Son.  You sent Him here to take my sins upon Himself, to wash me clean.  He is the Word and the Word is life, my life.  I thank You.  I am gratefully Yours.   In the Name of Your Son, Immanuel, God with us, I pray.  Amen.

beblacksig

linking up with:

On Friday:
http://www.missionalwomen.com/ Faith-Filled Fridays

http://arabahjoy.com Grace and Truth

http://equippinggodlywomen.com/ Fellowship Friday

http://countingmyblessings.com/blog/ Blessing Counters

http://www.simplemomentsstick.com/ Faith and Fellowship

On the Weekend:

http://www.barbieswihart.com/     The Weekend Brew

http://faith.5minutesformom.com/     Faith ‘N Friends

http://sandraheskaking.com/     Still Saturday

http://seespeakhearmama.com/     Give Me Grace

http://www.janiscox.com/        Sunday Stillness

http://www.spiritualsundays.com/     Spiritual Sundays

http://www.thebeautyinhisgrip.com/    Sharing His Beauty

Caught But Not Trapped in New Age Religion

John1.5

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.   1 John 4:1

I was raised in a Christian home, learned about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  (Please note, for later in this conversation, that I said, “…learned about….”)  We were a Navy family and moved every two to four years, therefore changed churches without changing denominations.  I was not introduced to Jesus as Someone with Whom I could have a relationship.  In my senior and fifth year of college, I lived away from home and did not attend church at all.  Shortly after college, I married a man who never had attended a church and wanted nothing to do with one so having a spiritual conversation was not even an option.  (Let me throw another fact in to be absorbed a bit later: Before marrying him, I heard a quiet voice say to me, “You are not to marry him” which I ignored completely.”)  Upon divorce ten years later, I felt “something” was missing from my life.  I set out to find a church that I felt comfortable in and landed upon one with a very strong singles’ group.  This church was a different Christian denomination from my childhood one, yet also did not introduce me to Jesus, only spoke about Him.    [READ the rest @ Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood/Connections]

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linking up with:

On Friday:
http://www.missionalwomen.com/ Faith-Filled Fridays

http://arabahjoy.com Grace and Truth

http://equippinggodlywomen.com/ Fellowship Friday

http://countingmyblessings.com/blog/ Blessing Counters

http://www.simplemomentsstick.com/ Faith and Fellowship

On the Weekend:

http://www.barbieswihart.com/     The Weekend Brew

http://faith.5minutesformom.com/     Faith ‘N Friends

http://sandraheskaking.com/     Still Saturday

http://seespeakhearmama.com/     Give Me Grace

http://www.janiscox.com/        Sunday Stillness

http://www.spiritualsundays.com/     Spiritual Sundays

http://www.thebeautyinhisgrip.com/    Sharing His Beauty

On Monday:

http://lauraboggess.com/    PlayDates with God

http://afieldofwildflowers.blogspot.com/    Small Wonder

http://donnareidland.com    Mondays @ Soul Survival

http://www.solideogloriasisterhood.com/    Soli Deo Gloria Connections

http://www.blessedbutstressed.com/    Inspire Me Mondays

On Tuesday:

http://www.richfaithrising.com/    Unite the Bloggersphere

http://purposefulfaith.com/    Cheerleading #RaRaLinkUp

http://hollybarrett.org/    Testimony Tuesday

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/    Tell His Story

On Wednesday:

http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/    Three-Word Wednesday

http://www.w2wministries.org/    Word-Filled Wednesdays

http://holleygerth.com/    Coffee for Your Heart

http://meredithbernard.com/my-pen/    W2W Wednesdays

http://www.juanamikels.com/    Wednesday Prayer Girls

On Thursday:
http://3dlessons4life.com/   Thought-Provoking Thursday

http://www.faithbarista.com/ Beloved Brews

http://tsuzanneeller.com Live Free Thursdays

http://www.7daystime.com/   Everyday Jesus

Walk by the Spirit

galatians5_16

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  Galatians 5:16

Oh, that I walk in obedience to the LORD in ALL my steps.  But I am human and that is just not possible UNLESS I let this SELF go, placing her at the foot of the Cross and trust, TRUST, in the Holy Spirit for each and every step.  God gave me free will and I choose to pick this self up and try to do things in my own power.

I want to…

  • …walk humbly
  • …stay close
  • …live and show the fruit of the Spirit to this world in which I live in
  • …accept my inability to do these things as I am
  • …that I must be moldable and tender

 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Galatians 5:24

from Daily Help by Charles H. Spurgeon:

As a man does not make himself spiritually alive, so neither can he keep himself so.  He can feed on spiritual food, and so preserve his spiritual strength; he can walk in the commandments of the Lord, and so enjoy the rest and peace, but still the inner life is dependent upon the Spirit as much for its after existence as for its first begetting.  No man himself, even when converted, hath any power, except as that power is daily, constantly, and perpetually infused into him by the Spirit.

The motive-power of action to a believing man lies hard by the realization that God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven his iniquities.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  Galatians 5:17-25

matthew18_3

And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 18:2-3

Abba Father, may this world dim in my mind and Your Light draw me nearer to You with each day, in each moment.  May I be the clay that You desire of me that You can mold me into the Linda that You created me to be.  May I be Yours in all ways.  I want to be a light in this world, drawing others to You who live in the darkness of this world.  I want to walk in humility as Your Spirit guides my steps.  Thank You, LORD, for Your love of this imperfect one.  …for I love You.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

BW sig dark blue

Daily Help (the February 19 reading) by Charles H. Spurgeon, compiled and edited by George Perry Dixon, The Family Inspirational Library, Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap, New York

linking up with:

On the Weekend:

http://www.barbieswihart.com/     The Weekend Brew

http://faith.5minutesformom.com/     Faith ‘N Friends

http://sandraheskaking.com/     Still Saturday

http://seespeakhearmama.com/     Give Me Grace

http://www.janiscox.com/        Sunday Stillness

http://www.spiritualsundays.com/     Spiritual Sundays

http://www.thebeautyinhisgrip.com/    Sharing His Beauty

On Monday:

http://lauraboggess.com/    PlayDates with God

http://afieldofwildflowers.blogspot.com/    Small Wonder

http://donnareidland.com    Mondays @ Soul Survival

http://www.solideogloriasisterhood.com/    Soli Deo Gloria Connections

http://www.blessedbutstressed.com/    Inspire Me Mondays

On Tuesday:

http://www.richfaithrising.com/    Unite the Bloggersphere

http://purposefulfaith.com/    Cheerleading #RaRaLinkUp

http://hollybarrett.org/    Testimony Tuesday

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/    Tell His Story

On Wednesday:

http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/    Three-Word Wednesday

http://www.w2wministries.org/    Word-Filled Wednesdays

http://holleygerth.com/    Coffee for Your Heart

http://meredithbernard.com/my-pen/    W2W Wednesdays

http://www.juanamikels.com/    Wednesday Prayer Girls

On Thursday:
http://3dlessons4life.com/   Thought-Provoking Thursday

http://www.faithbarista.com/ Beloved Brews

http://tsuzanneeller.com Live Free Thursdays

http://www.7daystime.com/   Everyday Jesus

Am I an Easter Child?

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I ponder falling deeply in love, more than before, with my Jesus.  Opening God’s Word to the Gospels and Acts to read the life of resurrection with Jesus brings me repeatedly to words such as cleanse, heal, anoint, deliver.  Jesus did these things over and over again.  Resurrection in Him gives me powers unknown other than through Christ Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus called me to wait for the Holy Spirit.  He came.  He lives within me.

As Easter nears, I question my being an Easter person (per Ann Voskamp).  Oh, I am.  I was once lost but have been found, was dead and now live in Christ.  Hallelujah! 

Walking with Him yet in this world can make staying the course as an Easter person, as a Christian true to Christ, not easy.  When I am around those who know NOT Jesus as their LORD and Savoir, I struggle at times when I allow them to try to change me to be more like them, the world, rather than allow Christ to continually mold me into His Image.  I was once of this world and do not want to return to those ways.  I try to let others know my limitations, things I do not want to do, words I do not use, things that are no longer appropriate for me. I want to let them know ME, the me that is His.  I am His.  I am an Easter child.  I have been baptized with Christ and now I live.  I live this day for Him.  I ask His forgiveness when I do not open up and share Whose I am and why I am the way I am.  I want to share my spiritual heart as He surely wants me to.  I do not live wholly for Him before others sometimes and I am ashamed.  I am not ashamed of Him nor the Gospel, but am ashamed of myself.  What happens?  I sink into a hole and cannot get out.  The world begins to engulf me.  I feel like I am drowning.  I do not call for His help.  I should.  I must!  I am sorry, my LORD.  Forgive me.  You know I am Your Easter child.  Hold me and make me whole.  Let me start again.  

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26

Living the resurrected life does begin again… can begin again.  Thank You, LORD.  Living the resurrected life calls for dependence, for waiting on the Holy Spirit.  Living the resurrected life is forgiveness, forever knowing that I am His.  I want never to forget this.  Living the resurrected life is prayer, kneeful, faceful praying.  Living the resurrected life is searching, pondering, loving the Truth.  Living the resurrected life is emerging from the shelter of the cocoon, not holding tight within it.  It is spreading my wings into the world, but not being of this world, taking flight as the resurrected Easter child I have been created to be.  I am to be His, to grow, to be molded into the beauty of the LORD.  The world has no influence upon me if and when I walk with Him.  And I stand tall, turn to Him, knowing that I do let Him down, knowing that He forgives and loves me.

As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.  And I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  If then God gave the same gift to them as He gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”  When they heard these things they fell silent.  And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”  Acts 11:15-18

I am praising You, LORD.  Hallelujah!  You forgive me when I am not worthy.  You love me who does not deserve Your love.  You are God and I love You with my whole heart.  You are the Holy One of Israel Who bought the Israelites from captivity and gave them Promised Land.  You are the Blessed Savior Who has brought me out of the captive world to be Your child, Your child who looks forward to spending Eternity with You.  Oh, I am honored and unworthy at the same time.  Oh, how grateful I am to You.  I am an Easter child.  I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus.  Amen.   

beblacksig

Are You Being Spent in the King’s Service?

Dogwood with John 15-12“’Lord, I am Thine, wholly Thine; all I am, and all I have, I would devote to Thee.  Thou has bought me with Thy blood; let me spend myself and be spent in Thy service.  In life and in death let me be consecrated to Thee!’ Have we kept this resolve?” from “Daily Help” by C. H. Spurgeon

As a caregiver, I prayed this prayer and spent quiet time with the LORD to help me answer the question… much I did in God’s service and much I did not.

I spent 15 years as the primary caregiver of my mother, along with the staff of the facilities in which she lived. We needed to move Mama near one of her three daughters. For affordability reasons and because I was the one who would be able to be this primary caregiver, we moved her to Texas.  God had much to teach me and the school’s door seemed open to me 24/7 (still does!).

I attempted to hold the reins of control, to hold back the flood of change. None of us wanted to move Mama. A move is hard for anyone, but for one of 84 and strong willed, that proved especially tough. I also have one sister who truly struggled with the move and had words for me since I “seemed” to be the main decision maker in her eyes. Once the decision was made, then I held those reins for I wanted to control the physical and mental downward spiral of my mother as I watched her age and live with dementia and the related fears, anger, frustration, confusion, jealously, and so much more. Those reins were hard to hold though. Eventually, I had to give them and Mama to God.  I could not control her life nor the changes that were occurring.  I had to allow her to live out her days with the best quality I was able to oblige her and assuring the best care from the others watching over her.

During the fifteen years here, changes of residences from a senior apartment to an assisted living to a nursing home happened according to her abilities, her health.  She received the care she needed from loving staffs.  She was still able to watch her baseball games with the Chicago Cubs and the White Sox, plus the San Diego Padres.  She ate fairly well, and got to enjoy some of her favorites like ice cream sodas and sundaes, my home baked peach muffins, and fresh fruit I brought to her each time I grocery-shopped for myself. She was allowed to choose even with the diabetes.  There must be some independence no matter what the consequences.  Even though there was a narrowness of life because of the need for a nursing home, I found ways to broaden the opening.  We attended a local AA baseball game once or twice during each season, ate lunch out together when she was able or in when she did not feel up to going out. I would bring a meal treat to her as often as I could. We spent time together most every day, just the two of us, or in a small group for a Bingo game or a favorite karaoke singer.  Decisions were hers as often as she was able.  I followed through with her choices when I could.  And if not, I did as she did when I was a child saying, “We shall see, Mama,” and, by the next day, her dementia-riddled mind had usually forgotten.  But, at that moment, she was satisfied because she had made the decision.

Did I keep the resolve?  As best as I could.  I wanted God to orchestrate the care I gave to my mother.  I wanted Him to open my heart to her love, accepting it with the love He gave to me so that I could give back to her.  I wanted to be able to accept the hard and not-so-good days that often came with dementia and being 86, 98, or all those in-between. I wanted God to shield me from words that hurt, but also to help me not take those words personally when they came like grenades.  No matter what the day brought, I wanted to be able to love my mother unconditionally.  God loved me unconditionally (and still does) and I had His love through which to love my Mama. And I did.

I shared my life with many other residents at the various living facilities too.  I learned their names, addressing them when I would see them.  I sometimes was able to touch them on their backs with a little rub or by holding their hands.  I talked with them. I stopped for a conversation or a prayer.  I sat with them when Mama was asleep, when I could dawdle.  I smiled at them.  We all need someone who cares about us.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”  John 15:12

I resolved to be near my God so that I would obediently follow His will for my life, and for my Mama’s life in regards to my part in it.  More than once, I was called to the home because she was not feeling well and needed comforting. At times, she needed to eat something in order to raise her blood sugar (rather unusual for her!) so I would feed her (usually running to get her just what she would desire at the moment…eggs and bacon, an ice cream soda…!).  She, ever so sweetly, would tell me, from time to time, how much she loved me or how much she appreciated all that I did for her.  I returned the love with hugs and words, but my heart felt like it was overflowing.  I knew God was with us.  I prayed I was being spent in the service of my LORD.  (Mama was not always one to get “mushy” yet when she told me how she appreciated something that I did for her or what I meant to her, I knew that her words were really coming from her heart. She became more precious to me with each passing moment. At those moment, I felt that I was being spent in His service.)

We love, because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19

Father God, these precious moments with my mother were far more than doing her laundry or taking her for lunch or cleaning up after her. They were about being Your daughter in her presence. They were about being Your child for her in whatever way she needed me. They were about staying true to You while being there for her and for the other residents too. You are now, and were then, my Beacon from which I was guided. Thank You for lighting my path to be Your best for my Mama. Thank You for loving me so that I could love her as I did. I loved her so, Father. And I miss her now, yet it is with a peaceful heart that I came to know that I did my humanly best to keep Your resolve in the midst of many a moment…sweet ones or extremely difficult ones, all beautifully filled with Your Grace. Thank You for Your forgiveness when I failed to be in Your service for her (and now, LORD, too). Thank You, my Abba Father, for putting these tears of mine in Your bottle for they come, even now. You are the most beautiful Lighthouse, LORD. I am so grateful that You are my LORD. In the Light of Your Son’s Name, I pray. Amen.

How are you keeping this resolve? 

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Breaking for Spring

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This week is spring break in South Texas.  The kids are out of school.  I am not tutoring.  As I began thinking about this post, I was concentrating on the negatives of what can happen when teens gather on the beaches over this break.  But that is not what I really wanted to be writing here.  I decided it will be better to be praying for these young people instead, that God will touch them in His ways, for I know that He hears my prayers and the prayers of many others.

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin (or stumbling block). Ezekiel 18:30

On the other side of Spring break is Spring.  We see it in our year with little yellow and lavender flowers sprouting in clumps; the Texas Mountain Laurel is blooming like it has NEVER bloomed before.  The grass grows so quickly due to all the rain we have had in the past many months that mowing is required often.  My husband has mown around the flowers, leaving them to scream their little bright and cheery heads off while the yard looks maintained, to some delightful degree.

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Spring just may have sprung down here.  I hope that the rest of the country is having a reprieve from this harsh winter by now too.

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.  Song of Solomon 2:11-13a

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I praise You, Father, for the beauty of this earth, for the fragrance of Your Mountain Laurels, for the bright yellows of these tiny flowers.  You made Heaven and Earth to pronounce Your Glory.  I see it all around me this day, choosing to see Your beauty and to lift Your children of all ages, especially those of teen and young adult ages, to You.  Father, protect them from satan. Guard them with Your legions of angels all around.  I pray that Your saving grace touch each one to their very core that they will turn from any ways that are not of You.  May they see Your Son clearly and know Your ways are the ways of truth, love, and beauty.  I thank You Father for hearing this prayer.  In Your Son’s Name, I give thanks.  Amen.

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Cities of Refuge with Charles H. Spurgeon

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Say to the people of Israel,  ‘Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, that the manslayer who strikes any person without intent or unknowingly may flee there. They shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood.  He shall flee to one of these cities and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and explain his case to the elders of that city. Then they shall take him into the city and give him a place, and he shall remain with them.  Joshua 20:1-4 

Thus they gave to the children of Aaron the priest Hebron with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Libnah with her suburbs,…. Joshua 21:13

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This city of refuge had round it suburbs of a very great extent.  Two thousand cubits were allowed for grazing land for the cattle of the priests, and a thousand cubits within these for fields and vineyards.  Now, no sooner did the man reach the outside of the city, the suburbs, than he was safe; it was not necessary for him to get within the walls, but the suburbs themselves were sufficient protection.  Learn, hence, that if ye do but touch the hem of Christ’s garment, ye shall be made whole; if ye do but lay hold of Him with “faith as a grain of mustard seed,” with faith which is scarcely a believing, but is truly a believing, you are safe.
 (from “Daily Help” by CharlesH. Spurgeon, March 4)

And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will be made well.”  Jesus turned, and seeing her He said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.”  And instantly the woman was made well.  Matthew 9:20-22

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”  He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:19-21

Father, I know my faith wobbles to and fro.  Yet, Your Word teaches me that I am safe, protected with You and need only…ONLY…to trust You, to touch Your hem, to believe You are Who You are.  So much is possible with You.  May my roots grow deeper and deeper in You that I would know the security of You as my city of refuge.  In the Name of Your Son, I seek Your Holy Name.  Amen.

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Map: Map by S. Scott Richardson Sr. Russellville, AL  @ https://bleon1.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/10-cities-of-refuge.png

Hungry? Thirsty?

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Jesus said to them, 
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, 
and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”  
John 6:35

I come to Jesus.

I believe in Jesus. 

So how can I be hungry?  hungry for God?

I have an insatiable appetite for my God.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they shall be satisfied.”  
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So I am blessed as I hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God.
 
I will be satisfied.  I yearn for the Only One Who fills me up to full.

“The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers.  And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.   Deuteronomy 8:1-4

God reminds me of His Ways. 

My heart hungers for the taste of the One Who loves me so. His love is always waiting for me. That insatiable hunger that can never seem to be filled to the brim because I am who I am, this human being.

I hunger for His touch. I want to know He is right here. (He is, Linda. He is with you always…I remind myself.)

I hunger for His very Presence. He tells me He is in my life; He never leaves me nor forsakes me.

I hunger because I look to the world for the fulfillment of that which only God can give me completely.

God has so much more to give to me than I can possibly know.

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.  So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.  Deuteronomy 8:5-6

Only God can quench the hunger and the thirst with His Living Waters, with His Love, with Himself. He calls me to be obedient. He will discipline me. He humbles me. I may be hungry, but He will quench my hunger with Himself. (Only God, Linda.)

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.  Deuteronomy 8:7-9

The LORD my God leads me into abundance of life, of living, as I follow His ways, walk in obedience to His Voice.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But He answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”   Matthew 4:1-4

Jesus knew… He knew God’s commandments … the Truth. Jesus’ obedience is sure. His relationship with His Father brought Him through the temptation. I eat the Word. I devour His Truth. I learn of His Ways. I will not hunger nor thirst as I live by the Word.

Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O LORD, God of hosts.  Jeremiah 15:16

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And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.  Deuteronomy 8:10

I shall not live by bread alone, LORD.  I come to You with a hunger and thirst for You, for only You, knowing that You are my Fulfillment.  Forgive me when I look to the world for that filling.  Forgive me for my disobedience, for my closed eyes and ears.  You have promised to take me into Your Promised Land.  I want to eat from Your abundance, from Your Word.  I want to bless You, my Abba.  AsI thirst and hunger for more, I know You are already filling me because You love me.  And I love You, Sweet LORD.  Amen.

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