Being Woven

God is My Fortress

Sarzana-citadel-fortress

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;**

Fortress

מָצוּד

matsuwd

a castle, defense, fort(-ress), (strong) hold, be hunted, net, snare, strong place

(And just for clarity, the word bulwark means a defensive wall, rampart, fortification
a person, institution, or principle that acts as a defense.)

God is my Fortress.  He is the place I run to and take refuge.  He is the fortification, the wall, the stronghold behind which I crouch and know I am protected.  He is the One Who places me in the cleft of the rock where I am sheltered.  Praise Him for tucking me into a safe place no matter what I am going through or feeling.  Right now, He is my safety net.  He is the wall behind which I hide.  Thank You, my Father, for You are so much more than I could imagine.  Thank You for protecting me and caring about and for me as I walk through this valley of the shadow of death.  Oh, thank You, Lord for protecting me. 

1 And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said,
“The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer,
3 my God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge,
my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation,
my Stronghold and my Refuge,
my Savior; you save me from violence.
4 I call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.   2 Samuel 22:1-4

God is all of those to me too.  David has given me a place to see just how mighty our God truly is.  The Rock, Shield, Stronghold, Fortress…all depicting strength and power and security.  This is the God Whom I walk with daily.  I feel His sheltering Presence all around me.  Oh, how wonderful!

For You are my Rock and my Fortress;
and for Your name’s sake You lead me and guide me.  Psalm 31:3

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1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My Refuge and my Fortress,
my God, in Whom I trust.”  Psalm 91:1-2

Lord, as I walk this journey, so much of it I must walk alone for grief is different for each one of us.  There are pieces and parts that may be similar, yet never quite the same whether it is the time, the circumstances, the way one died…so many factors.  BUT…I am never really alone for You are with me…always.  You guide me and comfort me, love me and hold me.  You are the fortress to which I come and find safety.  The world cannot touch me when I abide in You for the walls of the Fortress are deep and wide.  Walking obediently in You shelters me too.  O Lord, I am so blessed.  Yet, this road I am on is so hard, so difficult.  I miss Kenneth so.  He loved me like no one else.  Yes, Mom loved me dearly.  A mother’s love is so different than a husband’s love though.  So I sense I would be comparing apples to oranges if I were to compare my mother’s love to my husband’s.  Kenneth and I had a marriage with You, Christ Jesus, our Center.  You never left us.  Thank You, Father. 

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Although that threefold cord feels broken to me now, I do not believe it is.  Kenneth has gone on ahead of me, as he told me near the end of his life on earth.  I do not know anything about life after death, but I sense that this God-given marriage is still that…given to me, to us, by You, God.  Of course, I still miss my Kenneth.  I know now that he was on loan to me for 25 years for which I am so grateful.  His time to return Home came.  Now I am learning to walk this path with You, Lord, and without Kenneth.  Sometimes I have doubts and fears.  Then You remind me of the Mighty Fortress that You are.  I stand inside the walls and know that I am safe and protected.  I am filled with gratitude for Who You are.  I pray in the Name of Christ Jesus.  Amen.  

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“Sarzana citadel fortress”:  https://www.cepolina.com/Sarzana-citadel-fortress.html

** “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”  Text: Martin Luther Trans. by Frederick H. Hedge
Music: Martin Luther Harmony from The New Hymnal for American Youth
Tune: EIN’ FESTE BURG

Psalm 59:16 – https://dailyverses.net/psalms/59/16

Christ-Centered Marriage photo: https://quotesgram.com/christ-centered-marriage-quotes/

Joy Abounds? Seriously?

Oil of Joy by Stacy Lee Christian Art

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.  Isaiah 61:3

On my recent visit with my sisters, the one I spent the most time with noticed something about me that surprised her, I believe.  She was amazed and delighted to see me with “joy” exuding from my very being.  She used the word “joy” with a sweet happiness on her face. She mentioned it again on the phone this past weekend.

The question is: how can I be exuding joy when I am in the midst of mourning my precious husband?  How can this be? My heart hurts.  It is heavy, filled with sorrow.  The tears come and they go, but they are always right there, ready to leak out.

I have been pondering all of this and believe I know what Annette is seeing, sensing, feeling in and about me.  It is the joy of the Lord It is the Holy Spirit dwelling in me.  It is the joy of the Lord as my strength.  This is the only answer.  Truly, it is!

…yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet like the deer’s;
He makes me tread on my high places.  Habakkuk 3:18-19

שָׂשׂוֹן

sasown

cheerfulness; specifically, welcome:—gladness, joy, mirth, rejoicing

Matthew Henry, in his Commentary writes about Isaiah 61:3

  • Beauty for ashes. Whereas they lay in ashes, as was usual in times of great mourning, they shall not only be raised out of their dust, but made to look pleasant. Note, The holy cheerfulness of Christians is their beauty and a great ornament to their profession.
    • (Me: As God changes the ashes to beauty, He turns sorrow into joy quickly for He speaks, and it is done.  Kenneth has been gone almost 3 months now [amazing for it seems like yesterday].  Annette not only saw this joy in me a few weeks ago, but she heard it over the phone within the first month after Kenneth died.)

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  • (Matthew Henry):The oil of joy, which make the face to shine, instead of mourning, which disfigures the countenance and makes it unlovely. This oil of joy the saints have from that oil of gladness with which Christ himself was anointed above his fellows,

“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”  Hebrews 1:9

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  • (Matthew Henry):  The garments of praise, such beautiful garments as were worn on thanksgiving-days, instead of the spirit of heaviness, dimness, or contraction-open joys for secret mournings. The spirit of heaviness they keep to themselves (Zion’s mourners weep in secret); but the joy they are recompensed with they are clothed with as with a garment in the eye of others. Observe, Where God gives the oil of joy he gives the garment of praise. Those comforts which come from God dispose the heart to, and enlarge the heart in, thanksgivings to God. Whatever we have the joy of God must have the praise and glory of.

garment-of-praise

…looking to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.   Hebrews 12:2 

“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”  John 15:9-11

“…may be full” … filled with Him.  What greater joy can there be but the joy of the LORD, the One Who went to the cross for us, to save us, to suffer for us.  He was the joy that was set before Him as He endured the cross.  We ask how?  How did He have joy as He died on the cross, the torturous death which it was?  How?  He is joy.  He endured the cross because He loved us each and all so very much.  The cross was horrible, but the purpose for which He endured that cross outweighed the horribleness of it.  It was the reason He came to earth as a human.  He came to take our sin to that cross and gave us eternal life. Joy is beautiful.  Joy is full.

As I was reading a devotional this morning in Psalm 34, I read verse 5.  It said it all:

Those who look to Him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.  ESV

Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.  NLT

Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.  NIV

They looked expectingly unto Him, And they became bright, And their faces are not ashamed.  YLT

psalm_34_4-5_3x5So I ask how can I look like joy on the outside when my heart is broken and so filled with sorrow?  Jesus.  I have Jesus.  He is my joy.  I can live each day because I have Jesus.  I am mourning, and I am comforted.  I am mourning and am filled with the love of God.  I am mourning and am filled to overflowing with the joy of the Lord.

joy of the Lord

…And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10b

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Lord, I am truly in awe of Your beauty.  You have so much love for me, Your sheep.  I fail You again and again, yet You never cease to love me.  Thank You, Lord; thank You.  You hold me near as I can feel You right here.  You fill me with unimaginable joy and love in the very midst of grief.  How wonderful You are.  Great is Your faithfulness.  You comfort me with Your touch, Your nearness, Your gentleness.  You change my ashes of sorrow to beauty.  You clothe me in garments of praise, taking the spirit of heaviness away.  And You drench me in the oil of joy while I mourn.  Joy, praise, and beauty that are each and all You projecting from me out into this world.  Thank You for such wonderful gifts, Lord.  I am on my knees before You, loving You.  I pray and I praise in the Name of all names, Christ Jesus.  Amen. 

 

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Credits:

Isaiah 61:3/Joy:  http://stacyleeart.blogspot.com/2009/04/christian-contemporary-art-series-on.html

Beauty for Ashes: https://brandinicolejm.wordpress.com/

Oil of Joy: http://belovedlove.org/

Garments of Praise: https://becomingtheoilandwine.com/2016/06/11/the-garment-of-praise/

Psalm 34:5: http://www.psalmsquotes.com/

Joy of the Lord: https://beingwoven27.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/2adff-joy2bof2bthe2blord.jpg

You Give Me Beauty:  https://mariekalake.com/2014/09/22/beauty-for-ashes/

Love

large_1x_heartI have been with family for the past two weeks.  It was a special time in San Diego, California where we spent much of our youth.  (We were a Navy family.)  We also rented a cabin in Lake Arrowhead (a place where our mother often took us during the summers).  I needed my family and they needed to see me…to see that I am doing alright, no matter if I was crying or laughing.  I love my sisters and their husbands, my nephew, his wife and 6-year-old daughter.  It was all great!  A much needed respite!

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This blog has been rather quiet for months while caring for Kenneth as his body was dying of cancer.  I am learning to be a widow.  I am learning just how close I desire to walk with my Lord…closer than ever before.   The sweet whisper of the Holy Spirit, the wind of the Spirit hovers all around me.  I am here for Him.  I want to be woven even more tightly and share this journey on Being Woven.  I pray I hear rightly and type the words of The Word here…both for me and for you, sweet friends.
Kenneth & Linda (2)
Kenneth and I had a beautiful marriage. ( I had experienced a bad marriage for ten years in the 1970s.)  Kenneth was God’s gift to me for 25 years.  I was blessed and he told me often just how much he loved me and how blessed he was too.  We walked under the Lord’s umbrella and I under Kenneth’s.  Our love grew in depth over those 25 years.  We loved each other just the way we were.  We accepted each other’s rough spots and allowed each other to be who God created us to be.  We were so right for one another.

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As I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 earlier today, God spoke to my heart.  The love which Kenneth loved me with was God’s Love.  God loves me still, although Kenneth is gone from this earth.  Kenneth loves me still, I believe.  The love I am now receiving flows from God as it did from Kenneth.  God is with me every moment of every day.  I miss Kenneth tremendously and weep over my personal loss, yet God is love.  God is my Husband:

For your Maker is your Husband,
the Lord of hosts is His name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth He is called.
For the Lord has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.   Isaiah 54:5-6 

Yes, I feel Kenneth still with me in so many ways.  God is truly with me and I am not alone.  I seek His face in the night and in the day.

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.  1 John 4:16

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1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

Losing Kenneth does not leave me without love nor to be nothing.  God created me and wove love into my very being. I desire to be obedient to Him and love Him with all of my heart, my soul, my mind, my strength. (Mark 12:30 and Deuteronomy 6:5)

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the Truth.

Kenneth was so patient and kind.  He rejoiced in God’s Truth.  God, my Husband for all ages, is patient and kind.  He does not envy nor boast. He rejoices in the Truth for He is Truth.  He wants me to rejoice in the Truth as well.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:1-13

I have never read this chapter in 1 Corinthians with such clarity.  It is about my marriage and the earthly love of my life.  BUT…it is all about God for He is Love.
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And 1 John 4 dwells upon the God of lovel:

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because He first loved us.   1 John 4:7-19

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LORD my God, You are in my midst,
You are the Mighty One Who will save;
You rejoice over me with gladness,
You quiet me with Your love,
You rejoice over me with singing. (praying Zephaniah 3:17 to myself)

You love me for You created me.  You are my Husband and will love me for always because You are God and You are Love.  You loved me first and spun Your love into a Blood red strand, the Blood of Your Son, Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior.  You continuously weave this Blood-stained strand in and throughout my life.  Praising You, Father, for loving me as I am.  One day, I, too, will be woven perfectly before You in the Heavenly realm.  In the Name of Christ, I pray.  Amen.   

 

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Heart: https://dryicons.com/free-graphics/heart?page=2  Icon by Dryicons

Umbrella: https://dryicons.com/free-icons/umbrella Icon by Dryicons

God is love graphic #1: http://righteousnessislove.org/reimaging-god-sermon-series-ty-gibson

God is love graphic #2: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/who-is-god/god-is-love/

Woven fabric: https://www.mapetitemercerie.com/en/cotton-fabric/26323-woven-cotton-fabric-josephine-red-x-10cm.html

 

My Heart — Your Dwelling Place (a Repost)

A Repost of mine from March 19, 2017.  These words of a year and a quarter ago feel like I wrote them today:

David built houses for himself in the city of David. And he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it.  1 Chronicles 15:1

אֹהֶל

‘ohel

a tent (as clearly conspicuous from a distance):—covering, (dwelling) (place), home, tabernacle, tent

I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar.   Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate to serve Me as priests Exodus 29:44

As the Israelites sojourned from place to place, they would pitch their tents where God called them to do so, and folded the tents when God called them to move on.

And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.  Exodus 25:8

While the Israelites were traveling, God had, as His dwelling place, a tabernacle in a physical tent that could be picked up and moved with the Children of God.  We, too, live in spiritual tents as we journey in this place.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.   2 Corinthians 5:1

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And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.   Deuteronomy 30:6

As I travel the highway of holiness, growing closer to God, I know that my days are numbered.  I know not how many, yet I know that one day I shall be with my Maker.  I see many signs of aging such as my gray and white hair, walking more slowly and limping at times.  I have limitations now that I did not have when I was 20, 30, even 40.  For the time remaining in my life, I walk with my LORD, staking my tent where He says, packing it up as He directs, to carry along as I go.  I am a stranger on this earth, a sojourner here until God’s time for me comes.

We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.  1 Chronicles 29:15

lord I am coming

My heart is a tabernacle for the LORD.  My life is His.  I live for Him as He lives in me.

Father God, You call me to You as we walk this way together.  I pray that I am most willing to follow You, taking up my cross daily, picking up and stretching out this tent each day.  May my heart truly be the tabernacle of Your Spirit, physically as well as spiritually, Father.  The precious thought that Your Spirit lives right in my heart delivers such love and joy to me!  No matter what the circumstances of my life look like from moment to moment of each day, I know that I am Yours and that I am not a stranger to You.  I have been known by You since before I was born, since before this earth came into existence.  Oh, that You created me and have made me Yours.  How joyous I feel all over!  The order of my days is in Your hands.  I pray that I am obedient to You.  You called me to be a citizen in Heaven with You.  So, as I walk the remainder of my days on this earth, I have Your Kingdom to look forward to, my Sweet LORD.  I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen and Amen. 

 

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Bleeding Heart Photo (graphics by me): https://pixabay.com/en/bleeding-hearts-flowers-cluster-red-55120/

Painted Heart (graphics by me): by Michal Boubin @ http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/1-painted-heart–symbol-of-love-michal-boubin.jpg

Psalm 27:8 photo: by Lana G @  https://verseography.com/2011/08/25/psalm-278-come-and-talk-with-me/

On Being a Widow

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I would call becoming a widow (widower) going through deep waters.  AND then God promises to be with me (you) during these deep-water times.  Absolutely beautiful and so very reassuring.

WIDOW!  A word I have never given much thought to for myself, but the reality is that I am one now.  I saw (and sensed) my mother become one when she was only 46 with three girls ages 13, 10, and 7 to raise.  But me?  I am into this new pathway for a wee bit over one month now at age 70 with no children, no grandchildren.  The precious peace that Kenneth and I felt during the last five months has continued to envelop me, keeping me held and gently rocked.  I cry and know that God is okay with all of my tears.  I know that His plan included this loss as part of my life.

YET…it is not easy.  I miss Kenneth so very much.  Then there is all the paperwork, changing titles, probating the will and…and….  On top of all that stuff, there are buckets of tears!  And not just from the eyes but from this heart.  It is hard Those three words say it best!

Yet, at the same time, I sense the joy of the Lord, His strength, and His love abounding in my life.  He is bringing the right people onto my path.  He sends me to a church Sunday that rained peace all over me.  He is blessing me with the peace that passes ALL understanding.  I love Him so.  I may not comprehend it all so, but I certainly will not turn any of this away for it is my journey.

My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my Salvation.  He only is my Rock and my Salvation,
My Stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.  Psalm 62:1-2

Behold, God is my Helper;
The Lord is the Sustainer of my soul.  Psalm 54:4

To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
For God is my Defense,
My God of mercy.  Psalm 59:17

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my Refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works. 
Psalm 73:28

“Behold, God is my Salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my Strength and my Song,
and He has become my Salvation.”  Isaiah 12:2

Oh, how these verses tell Who God is to me…He is all of this and so much more.

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The LORD will tear down the house of the proud,
But He will establish the boundary of the widow.  Psalm 15:25

אַלְמָנָה

‘almanah

a widow; also a desolate place:—desolate house (palace)

A widow is most often described as a woman who has lost her husband by death and has not remarried.

The LORD watches over the sojourners;
He upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.  Psalm 146:9

“Leave your fatherless children,
I will preserve them alive;
And let your widows trust in Me.” 
Jeremiah 49:11

God cares about me, about us.  He did before I became a widow and He still does.  Praise You, Father.  Praise You. 

Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.  Isaiah 1:17

In Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Isaiah 1: Seek opportunities of doing good: Relieve the oppressed, those whom you yourselves have oppressed; ease them of their burdens.  You, that have power in your hands, use it for the relief of those whom others do oppress, for that is your business.  Avenge those that suffer wrong, in a special manner concerning yourselves for the fatherless and the widow, whom, because they are weak and helpless, proud men trample upon and abuse;….  Speak for those that know not how to speak for themselves and that have not wherewithal to gratify you for your kindness.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  James 1:27

I do not consider myself weak.  I can stand up for myself…sometimes.  I can be gullible…sometimes.  Right now, as a one-month-old baby in this new widowhood, I am vulnerable.  I know that because it is hard.  I have just lost my dear Kenneth, my husband of 25 years, this man who loved me as unconditionally as any human being can.  He cared for and about me like no one else.  So I truly am vulnerable and must look to my Lord.  Focusing my eyes and the eyes of my heart upon Jesus is what I am doing.

When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.  When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.   When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.  Deuteronomy 24:19-21

God planned for widowhood.  He knew and still knows what needs to happen for them.  I think of the many widows and orphans in the world today with so many wars and such violence occurring all around this globe.  I do not consider myself one of those precious women or those innocent children.  I have so much more than they do, it seems.  I have a roof over my head and know that I have a meal.  Many of those widows are so strong in the midst of their huge struggles.  God knows each of our needs.  He knows from whence we came and where we are headed.

Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.  Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.  But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.  1 Timothy 5:3-6

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She sets her hope on God.  Oh, how I desire that for myself.  I pray, Father, that I walk the path that You have chosen for me, a straight and narrow path.  I rejoice that I have You to trust, to hope in, to love and to cherish.  Oh, I am so very grateful.  I have no parents alive now and have no children.  I come to You for You are my Redeemer.  Guide me each day, reminding me Whose I am.  Be with those widows and orphans in Africa, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and so many other areas of this world.  Provide for each one in ways that will direct their eyes to You. 

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  1 Peter 5:10

Father God, I praise You even in the midst of my sorrow.  I was so very blessed to have Kenneth for 25 years, yet I miss him so.  I know that he is free from the body that was decaying.  I know he is with You.  I know those things in my head, but my heart still is filled with pain and sorrow.  And this heart is also filled with joy because You are my Husband.  You are the One I trust.  You are my Hope and my All, Lord.  Oh, how very blessed I am. I thank You for being willing to perfect, to confirm, to strengthen and to establish me as I grow in You for the rest of my years.  The strength I have is because You are my Strength.  You are my Shield and Protector.  You are my Peace, my Jehovah-Shalom, my Healer, Jehovah-Rapha, my Provider, Jehovah-Jireh, my Shepherd, Jehovah-Raah.  Thank You for being my All.  I am eternally grateful to the One Who is Present, my Jehovah-Shammah. In the Name of Christ, I pray.  Amen.  

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Graphics:

#1:  http://godisheart.blogspot.com/2013/09/when-you-go-through-deep-waters-i-will.html

#2:  https://armyofcompassion.me/2014/09/13/lesson-2-one-god/

#3:  https://quotesblog.net/best-famous-hope-quotes-2015-hope-quotations/

 

 

Kenneth

Kenneth

Even 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

My sweet Kenneth left this earth in the early hours of Thursday, June 7th, 2018.  Peace, love and awe were written all over his face and in the ways of his still hands…truly, he showed me the way he died.  A beautiful moment, yet so hard on my heart.

He has left this harsh world for the glories of heaven.

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In January, 2018, Kenneth became very ill, was transported to Houston Methodist Hospital where Diffuse Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was diagnosed. He chose hospice versus treatment and we were blessed with five precious months! Kenneth did all he could to make sure this house was in order for me. He taught me things I would need to do and know; had me take notes for repetitive chores that I will need to remember.

We spent time talking of life and death and of our faith in Christ. We loved one another dearly and deeply. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on May 22. We had a wonderful and special marriage. I am so very grateful to God for my husband, Kenneth.

Kenneth served in the US Army as a Sergeant E-5, 3rd/506th Airborne (Combat) Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. He served in Vietnam from 4/1968-4/1969. This cancer has been identified as possibly caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
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Agent Orange

Our Vietnam War Veterans may not have been welcomed home rightly upon their return to US soil, but Kenneth received a beautiful welcome into his heavenly Home by Jesus Christ, his Lord and Savior.

Praising the Lord in my sorrow,  I ask You, Father, to watch over my steps, to guide me each day as I follow You .  Thank You for the sweet five months Kenneth and I had together at the end of his life.  I so praise You, Lord, for the peace that I saw upon my sweet Kenneth’s face.  I loved him so and thank You for the 25 years we had together.  I have You for Eternity and what a glorious thought that is to my heart.  I will look to You as my Husband and Redeemer, Lord, for You say in Isaiah 54:5:  

For your Maker is your husband,
The LORD of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.

And You care for and about the widow, as I am one now:

Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in Me.  Jeremiah 49:11

I pray in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

 

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Mercy and Mornings

 

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Merciful
Compassionate
Kind
Such words bring a sweet feeling deep in my soul.  God is merciful.  He cares about His children.  He loves us.  He is kind and compassionate towards us.  How blessed we are to be covered by His Love, His Grace, His pinion feathers.  He protects us as an eagle protects her young.  He holds us close.  His mercies, His kindness, His compassion are meant to bless us.
Mercy can also mean to pity, feel sorry for one, shame, reproach. 

But God loves to shower kindness and compassion upon us.  He is.

 חֶסֶד

checed

kindness; beauty:—favor, good deed, zeal towards anyone, love, act kindly towards, to turn or incline kindness towards anyone, merciful (kindness), mercy,  benevolence, (loving-) kindness; grace, favor, mercy of God towards men;

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Lamentations 3:21-26…

21  But this I call to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

22  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;

His mercies never come to an end;

23  they are new every morning;

great is Your faithfulness.

24  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in Him.”

25  The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,

to the soul who seeks Him.

26  It is good that one should wait quietly

for the salvation of the LORD.  

 

His mercy is new every single morning.  God wants us to know how very much He loves us every day.  Upon awakening, He shows us His sunrise, His dew on the grass, His shelter over our heads, His birds singing in the Springtime trees.  He wants us to know Him in all ways, each and every day, in every moment, if at all possible.  He wants us to feel, sense, hear, and see Him all around us…all of the time.

We want that as well so we try to keep our hearts and eyes open all of the time.  Yes, I miss His beauty when I have my head down, or His words when I have my ears and mind filled with ‘stuff’ at times, but between Kenneth and myself, we find that He is close all of the time.  We remind one another too for we do not want to miss our Creator at all, if we can help it.

בֹּקֶר

boqer

dawn (as the break of day), day, early, morning, morrow, daybreak, morning light

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My husband, Kenneth, continues to walk this earth as he lives with Lymphoma on hospice.  We are learning each day the mercies of God.  He gives Kenneth breath for each day (me too, for that matter).  He gives him eyes and ears to see and hear the beauty of God’s world outside each day.  He allows Kenneth to eat certain foods.  He gives Kenneth strength to work in the garage in order to finish unpacking from our move here last summer and to get the garage settled for me, so that I know where things are and how to use certain tools that I may or will need.  He loves getting his workshop ready for both of us now, me later.

We ponder the magnitude of our God in our quiet time.  We spend as much time as possible together throughout each day.  When I am not running errands, I want to be home with him.  Love runs between us deeply and dearly.  We feel God’s hand in our marriage, not just these two months now since the diagnosis, but for the past almost 25 years.  I spend time with Kenneth in the garage learning and helping and we are enjoying that kind of time together too.

God has given us these precious days…weeks…months to share our love, take care of one another, minister to others in whole new ways, and to be together.  We are more in love with each other than ever.  Even sweeter is that we love the LORD in whole new and precious ways too.  We are taking each day that we wake up rejoicing and thanking God…FOR TODAY!

This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

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O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for You.
Be their strength every morning,
Our salvation also in the time of distress.  Isaiah 33:2

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.  Psalm 30:5

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“The God of Israel said,
The Rock of Israel spoke to me,
‘He who rules over men righteously,
Who rules in the fear of God,

Is as the light of the morning when the sun rises,
A morning without clouds,
When the tender grass springs out of the earth,
Through sunshine after rain.’  2 Samuel 23:3-4

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns Psalm 46:4-5

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But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength;
Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For You have been my stronghold
And a refuge in the day of my distress.  Psalm 59:16

He who made the Pleiades and Orion
And changes deep darkness into morning
Who also darkens day into night,
Who calls for the waters of the sea
And pours them out on the surface of the earth,
The LORD is His name.  Amos 5:8

O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness,
That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  Psalm 90:14

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The LORD is His Name…Great is Thy Faithfulness.  O Heavenly Father, Your promises are everlasting.  Your love is forever.  You walk with us in these hard and seemingly dark places.  You bring joy to us.  You rain Your mercies upon us each and every day.  Hallelujah!  The way much of the world thinks, Kenneth and I should be sorrowful, tearful, nervous, depressed, fearful, stressed while facing a Cancer diagnosis and a final outcome of death.  I often feel guilty because I feel so at peace in You, LORD, and because I am not moping around with the “Whoa is me!” syndrome.  Yet we are living in Your Peace, Father.  Your Peace brings calm and quiet to our days.  We feel more in love with one another than ever before, more joy-filled, eyes open to the gorgeous green of Springtime, ears alert to the chirping of birds with their nestlings or fledglings.  Yes, Father, we are facing death in this household, yet there is no room for moping, for feeling sad all the time.  Yes, we feel these things, but we are not living our days in them.  We desire to stay near to You.  We sense Your presence in our lives.  You fill us with Your joy, love, and peace.  Father, these are of You.  You are in our house and in our lives.  Thank You.  We want to be close to You and feel Your Presence.  How wonderful You are, LORD!  How sweet is this time!  I never could have imagined that walking this closely with You would bring such wonder to my heart, to my eyes and ears, to my mind and soul.  Thank You.  Kenneth also feels this joy, love, wonder and peace!  How blessed we are.  We are so very grateful, Father.  In the powerful Name of Jesus, Amen. 

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“Dew on the Grass” photo by Wallpaper.com @  http://wallpoper.com/wallpaper/dew-on-grass-447065; Scripture added @ https://ipiccy.com by me.

Lavendar Field at Dawn @ http://eskipaper.com/nature-dawn-wallpaper.html

Daisies (Psalm 118:24) @ https://twitter.com/kayarthur/status/740532666160828416

Joy Comes in the Morning @ https://sensiblefaith.com/2013/10/07/your-joy-comes-in-the-morning-psalm-305/

Sunrise in Yosemite National Park with Merced River in foreground @  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/282530576598864422/

“Sun Rays Psalms 90:14” @ @}ARosePhotos~~

Every Purpose Under Heaven

 

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I continue to be woven by the hands of God through all of life’s circumstances, events, conversations, precious time spent with my husband.  God is so merciful.  He allows hard, yet quilts it with the downy feathers or soft rabbit fur as for a nest.  He gives us His grace in portions, some small, some huge.  He is so fine and so beautiful.

As many know from my last post, my husband, of almost 25 years, has been diagnosed with Lymphoma.  He has chosen to be under hospice care, and to be ushered into Heaven in God’s perfect timing.  Kenneth served in the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Infantry Division during the Vietnam War.  He was exposed to Agent Orange which could very well be the cause of this cancer.  Life is fragile any day and especially when one fights in a war.  We see affects today with our soldiers coming home from Iraq, Afghanistan, and so many other places these days.  There are prices paid when one serves this country in the Armed Services.

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For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.  Psalm 139:13-16

God created each one of us.  He made these bodies so magnificently…just think about the mechanics of all of the working parts, the symmetry between those parts, and the details of each part…the skin, the heart, the eyes, and all.  We have been built by The Master Craftsman, Architect, Creator….The Master Weaver.

My husband’s already frail body has a cancer.  He has chosen not to fight it for many of his own reasons, but the real reason is God.  He is calling him Home.  Each night, while in the hospital, God came.  He would be there with Kenneth in the quiet, in the dark.  Kenneth knew and waited, listened, believed.  On the surface, Kenneth was there in the hospital waiting for answers from the doctors.  In the depths, the real answers were coming from the LORD.

I saw Christ in Kenneth more clearly each morning when I came to visit.  I was affected dearly by what was happening to my husband.

We have been home from Houston for about six weeks.  Kenneth and I are continuing to feel God’s Peace and, now, His purposes for us.  We have new mornings for which to be grateful.  We share precious time together.

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.  Lamentations 3:22-26

We are more in love than when we got married which is hard to imagine.  We were so crazy in love 25 years ago.  We are growing in the LORD each and every day, growing closer to one another too.

Kenneth has begun teaching me things I will need to know when I am a widow.  (Yes, that is hard to write, think, say, yet, unless God has a miracle in store, I am headed that way.) He is working on small projects as he is able so as to make things better for me.  He is so delighted to have these tasks to do, not only for me, but to give him purpose for each day.  He came home to die, yet only God knows the number of days for Kenneth.  To while away the unknown number of days sitting around or lying in bed is not good for the soul…if one can help it.  Purpose of heart, purpose of mind, purpose of being are vitally important for life.  Kenneth is very much alive today.  He is being held by God.  I am in His arms as well.  Each day is a learning experience and one not to be missed.  Our eyes, ears, and hearts are wide open for this time.

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

[A time for EVERY PURPOSE under Heaven…we are living this right now…right now on earth…under Heaven.  Thank You, LORD.]

Ecclesiastes 3-1 To Everything There Is A Season Under Heaven brown

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;

A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;

A time to tear,
And a time to sew; A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;

A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Beautiful words to embrace.

Our time together is precious.  We do not know the number of days.  We only know that This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  [Psalm 118:24]  Today is the day to be God’s creations together.  He is giving us daily gifts.  When Kenneth’s days are up, I will truly be sad; I will miss him so.  He is so good to and for me.  God blessed me with this man.  So we take today.  Today is holy ground.

Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”  Exodus 3:5

God could also bring a miracle.  And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

Father, I lift my voice: “Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.” [Psalm 28:2]  …the innermost place of Your sanctuary.  Father, You have given Kenneth such insight, love, and kindness.  He shares it with me and I am so blessed.  Thank You, LORD.  I pray Your watch-care over him every day, all day.  Hold me close and never let me go.  EVER, Abba Father.  I ask You to guard my heart.  Guide me upon Your path for my life.  I thank You for loving us so.  Thank You for giving us these many years together.  And should there be more, I thank You and praise You now.  As we have been praying all along, LORD, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.  I pray in the Name of Your Son, my Savior and LORD.  Amen.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

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http://eweniquelyewe.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-bit-of-weaving.html

http://ejdodson.blogspot.com

Knowing-Jesus.com: https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/ecclesiastes-3-1-to-everything-there-is-a-season-under-heaven-brown-4101

https://www.embeddedfaith.org/embedded-faith/tweetspiration-thursdays#.Wp3GcyHw-Uk

 

Oh, to soar!

But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.   
Isaiah 40:31

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God has placed a challenge of a lifetime before me, yet I feel very little burden.  The peace and love of God rains upon me and He reigns in my heart with every step I take.

As this photograph depicts, fog is clearly in my life.  I cannot see down the road.  I can only see right where I am.  I move forward as God moves me and He meets me right where I am.

Just last week, my precious husband of almost 25 years has been diagnosed with Lymphoma.  A large blockage obstructs the Duodenum from the outside so food cannot pass from the stomach to the small intestines.  Ken has chosen no treatment as he watched a niece go through years of chemo and radiation to gain a few extra years, but through tremendous suffering and with limited quality of life.  Ken just wanted to return to our home and be under hospice care which is where we are today.

During his week-long stay in a large, excellent Houston hospital, he knew the presence of God in His life, knowing that God’s will was being orchestrated right before his eyes.  He was so filled with peace there and that peace filtered into me.

I cannot imagine life without Kenneth yet I know both our lives are in the LORD’s hands.  Jesus will not leave nor forsake us in this trial.  For now, I have Kenneth and I cherish every single moment with him.  What a privilege to serve him in this intimate way and be there for him as his needs arise.  When he is awake and desiring to fellowship with me during his waking hours, I feel so very blessed.  Oh, my!

We are privileged to know Christ Jesus as our LORD and Savior.  Jesus walked the road to the Cross.  Ken and I walk with Jesus, following Him as He wills.

In the days and weeks to come, may I ask for your prayers…for us both.

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Photo from Yosemite National Park Service Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/YosemiteNPS/

 

His Invisible Attributes

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For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.   Romans 1:20

But as for me, I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.  Psalm 71:14

How do we come to know God?  He is infinite.  He Omniscient.  He is Omnipresent.  He is Omnipotent.  He always existed.  He is the Great I AM.  How can I wrap my brain and heart around this God from this tiny life I am here on earth?  I feel so small when I think about my Creator, my Strength, my Healer, my Redeemer.  How can I know that Him?

Matthew Henry stated:  The being of God may be apprehended, but cannot be comprehended. 

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How can I call Him all of these things when I cannot even know Him?  How can I know that He will be so much for me when He is invisible to me?

As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. Ecclesiastes 11:5

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Psalm 139:15

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His Word tells me that He is all that He says He is.  The Word is the Truth.  I believe God’s Word.

I look all around me…at the trees, the birds, the flowers…seeing God’s natural beauty.

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God shows Himself in ways that are birthed in the natural.  We see His beauty all around us.

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Nevertheless He left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.  Acts 14:17

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Psalm 19:1

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Lift up your eyes on high
And see Who has created these stars,
The One Who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.  Isaiah 40:26

Summer Triangle Thru Trees

“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’”  Acts 17:24-28

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When I find these words in the Bible telling me that the LORD is, and He is all, I trust and open my heart.

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

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Father, You are God and Creator of my soul, body, and mind.  You know all.  You are over all.  Your beauty surrounds me.  I see it in the trees, the streams, the color of Fall, the flowers of Spring and Summer, the rain and the snow.  I hear it from the tops of trees…a bird’s chirping.  I see their colors.  They are of You and remind me of Your amazing touch on all.  You painted a beautiful natural world.  I see it through my eyes, hear it through my ears, and sense it in my heart and soul.  Your world is my temporary home.  One day I will be in a Home with You.  Oh, what a glorious day that will be.  The natural beauty that is here in the things around me, the National Parks, the breadth and blues of the oceans, the clouds and sky above me…these give me a glimpse of the beauty of our Heavenly Home.  Father God, You are the Artist and Creator of this natural world here.  I cannot even imagine the Heavenly Home You have prepared for us..  What beauty You have created.  Thank You, for I come to know You a bit better each day as I see my world.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

 

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  1. Christian Computer Wallpaper:  http://www.christiancomputerwallpaper.com/author/editor/
  2. Psalm Quotes for Winter, Melinda Somers, Via Karina Martínez,  http://quotesgram.com/img/psalm-quotes-for-winter/8082747/

  3. Snow on branch:  http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/cold,scripture/Interesting

  4. “Snow Falling” – http://www.bwallpapers.com/wallpaper/snow-falling-4569/

  5. Psalm Quotes for Winter, Julie Rios, http://quotesgram.com/img/psalm-quotes-for-winter/8197395/

  6. Psalm Quotes,  http://www.psalmsquotes.com/psalm-19-1-famous.htm

  7. Night Stars: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=night+stars&title=Special:Search&go=Go&searchToken=5kja8wlaa2wp6btgjd8pjw0wb

  8. “What no mind….”  http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/cold,scripture/Interesting

  9. Psalm Quotes: Veronica Herman, Psalm And Winter Scene Photograph,    http://quotesgram.com/img/psalm-quotes-for-winter/45490/