Hosea 11

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called My son. The more they were called,
the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them.
Hosea 11:1-3

and I became to them as one Who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.
Hosea 11:4b

How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me; My compassion grows warm and tender. Hosea 11:8

Admah and Zeboiim are cities like Sodom and Gomorrah…all destroyed by God for the abandonment of the covenant He made with His children. Moses reviewed the covenant, impressing upon the Israelites the relationship they have with their God and why keeping these is vital to life itself.

…the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and wrath—all the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’ Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt, and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom He had not allotted to them. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book, and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.” Deuteronomy 29:23-28

In Hosea 11, God makes promises to His children:

they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
and like doves from the land of Assyria,
and I will return them to their homes, declares the LORD.
Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit,
but Judah still walks with God and is faithful to the Holy One.
Hosea 11:9-12 (starting in the photo of the lion to the words “Holy One.”)

These are promises of what God will NOT do to His people as well as promises that He will fulfill. God so loves His people no matter how, where, why they wander.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.”
Isaiah 49:15-16

Is Ephraim My dear son?
Is he My darling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I do remember him still.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 31:20

This small book of Hosea is so rich with God’s love and so prevalent are the sins of man.

Father God, I pray that I will walk with You in obedience to Your Word. I ask that You hold me near, guiding my steps so that I do not stray. Should I, though, please pull me back, disciplining me to learn the lessons You need me to grasp so that I will remain faithful. I have strayed so far that I did not even know I was lost. I did not know You as I do now, yet I knew enough to feel the shame in my ways. Thank You for Your forgiveness and Your love. I am Yours and want to stay in Your protective arms. Thank You for this book of Hosea for it is showing me Your enduring love for Your children and Your overwhelming desire for them (for me) to turn back to You and want to stay near to You. In the powerful Name of Your Son, I pray. Amen.

Hosea

Graphic: Hosea 11 – http://preachingsource.com/journal/hosea-11-yahwehs-persistent-love/

Graphic: Hosea 11:4 –https://www.flickr.com/photos/wvagent/7995873895/

Graphic: Hosea 11:10 –http://wordoftruthlighthouse.blogspot.com/2015/09/god-said.html

Simply Jesus

 

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

As we seek the LORD, following the star, may our hearts know the way to the Savior.  May we find the way.  May sweet and simple be the journey.  As we ponder this season, this season of plenty, this season of giving, this season of gathering, this season of family and friends, food and feast, may we remember Why we celebrate CHRISTmas.  May the eyes of our hearts see the One, see Jesus, and know that He is all that we need.  The gifts may mean a lot to some for some time.  Yet…The Gift changes everything forever.

My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice Psalm 34:2

CHRISTmas is the touch upon my heart to know the One Who came to save my life, to change my life, to love me to death and love me into His Kingdom.  Praising God.

For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you.  He is your example, and you must follow in His steps. 1 Peter 2:21

CHRISTmas takes me from the beginnings of this Child wrapped in swaddling clothes here on earth.  His time began long before that when He was with God, the time of  creation, yet I have come to truly know Him from this poignant point called CHRISTmas, His birth.  I must look upon this Child to see Who He is, to follow Him.  I am His sheep.  He is my Shepherd.   I am ever so grateful LORD.

“I am the Good Shepherd; I know My own sheep, and they know Me, just as My Father knows Me and I know the Father.  So I sacrifice My life for the sheep.”  John 10:14-15

LORD, You came…You came to call me to Yourself, to call me one of Your own.  As a Baby, You were just a baby to most.  Some knew You were to be King of the Jews.  Some knew that yet did not understand.  Some knew You would be the Savior.  I saw You as a baby until I really saw You as God, as my Savior, as my LORD, as my Shepherd.  Oh, Jesus, thank You for opening my eyes, for coming to me, for me, desiring my hearts and wishing to make a home in it.  Oh, I am so very blessed.  LORD, You are the tiny Baby under the star.  You are the Boy Who could talk to the rabbis.  You are the Man Who taught thousands.  You are the One Who was crucified and died on the Cross for me, for so many millions more.  Thank You.  You are God.  You are One in Three…God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. 

A Baby.  As You were protected once by Your mother, Mary, You cover me and keep me safe now.  As Your parents taught You, You teach me.  You are the Holy One of Israel.  You rule over my heart.  Father God, this Gift You have given, Your One and Only Son, the One Whom we celebrate His birth each year, thank You.  Thank You.  In the Name of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, I pray.  Amen.  

 

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Letting Go

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There are things that we never want to let go of, people we never want to leave behind.  But keep in mind that letting go isn’t the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new life.

— Author Unknown

Can’t you feel this droplet of water so ready to drop from the tiny blade of grass?  It’s weight is making it heavier and heavier so that soon it can fall to the ground and water that which is below. Letting go is a difficult part of life as we tend to hang on, for releasing that which we know is harder than walking into that which we know nothing about.  Life changes happen for all of us.  It is the way we handle them that makes the difference.

Born to a Navy doctor and his wife in 1947, I learned to be uprooted, moving to a new place (Daddy’s next duty station).  Sometimes, he went away (deployed as we know today), leaving us behind.  One time, he had to go a way, and we (my mother and two younger sisters) moved to Chicago to live with my grandparents for about a year.  So letting go of friends, neighbors, school, a place, and a home were just a part of life.  I loved to move, to change.  I did not leave well though for I did not let go of all that I left behind, not just the people, but the child-world I lived in…on bases, in neighborhoods, being around other Navy children and families.  I missed people more than anything.  I still, to this day, write to a girl I met in the first grade.  It may be just Christmas cards now, but it began with many handwritten letters and postcards.  There were several times when she and I lived near again and we spent a week in the summer together; another time as adults, we met for lunch.  She is just one of the many I have kept in touch with over the years.

I did not let go as we are called to do. 
 
O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me.  Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me.  O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever Psalm 131:1-3 
 

But I was just a child and knew none of this then!

My dear father died when I was 12.  I truly did not let go.  He was so special to me and I was just at that age to need my Daddy more than I could have imagined.  He was gone forever, yet not out of my mind and especially not out of my heart.

I did not let him go well either.  

Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me!  Psalm 38:21

Oh! How I needed those words!  But I did not have them in my heart then.

I was married out of college to a man that was not good for me.  Ten years later, we divorced.  I left as much as I could behind, but my heart and my inside-self were flat as a pancake, run over by a Mack truck … hurt, angry, sad, feeling as a failure with no self-esteem.

I let go as best I could because I was so ready, yet I was crushed and needed a lot of care.  I carried much baggage with me.

“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

These words minister to me now.  Only if I had known them then!

I began searching for a gap-filling something.  I thought it might be “church” and met a great singles group that did care about and for me.  They were special in my life.  I had a few other special women who tenderly loved me back to a better place, yet I moved away, leaving those friends behind.  I also left the “church” behind.  Thinking about that particular church, it now seems so shallow to me.  I attended other “churches” that gave me the warm fuzzies that I thought I needed, but they were what I now know to be new age churches.  I tried to let them go, working at leaving their messages behind.

We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him.  Romans 6:6-8 

I did not know!

One day, I met Jesus.  He filled me with the Truth.  He covered me with His Love.  He came in and sat with me.  He told me what I needed to hear, made me feel loved and wanted.  He came alongside me to teach and guide me.  The words that are in the past tense above in this paragraph are always in the present tense now.  He does not leave me.  He is with me in the hard moments, illnesses, trials.  He also does not leave me in the beautiful moments, the flowers blooming, new Spring growth on the trees, the butterflies and ladybugs fluttering by, the gift of Kenneth as my husband who loves me dearly.

When He was at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. And He vanished from their sight.  They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?”  Luke 24:30-32  

The Light shone before me and I finally saw!  All that I ever needed was and is Jesus.  Just Jesus.

Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:21-24 

Yes, I know now.  I am His.  And I am learning to let go of past hurts and worries, future concerns, and current struggles.  I walk with the One Who has all of the answers.  I sit at His feet learning the Truth.  I bow before Him and worship my King.  And I kneel before the cross with my life in my hands to lay at His feet.  I don’t need to say, “If only I had known….”  I have Jesus and He has me and that’s all that matters.

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

 

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LORD, I thank You for bringing me through so many changes in my life.  Thank You for loving me as I took so many wrong turns, for helping me carry heavy loads.  You have guided me into the Truth.  You teach me more and more each and every day.  Hold me near for I desire to always walk out the plans You have for my life.  Shelter me when I am in the storms of life, and comfort me as I learn to let go of that which needs to go.  I love You, LORD, and praise Your Holy Name.  Amen. 

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Photo:   http://funpulp.com/morning-dew-photography/

Graphic:  http://www.heallovenow.com/2011/05/letting-go.html

God is Sovereign

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This is what the Sovereign LORD,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to Me
and resting in Me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
But you would have none of it.  Isaiah 30:15

אֲדֹנָי

‘Adonay

The LORD

used only of God

where God is submissively and reverently addressed

Other interpretations in various Bible translations:

Sovereign LORD

LORD

Lord GOD

Lord Jehovah

the master, the LORD

LORD GOD, the Holy One of Israel

As I read the news, even just the headlines, all seems chaotic, disorderly, out-of-control in our world.  YET…God is in control.  It is His world.  It always has been.  ‘My small world,’ the one in which I curl up within, seems much calmer, quieter, more peace-filled, but I also live in this big world, this world of so many unknowns.  I know the world has been through many awful periods – wars, famines, droughts, annihilation, etc…from the beginning of time.  Yet, I do not want this chaos now.  I just want peace.  I do not have control, though.  What I continue to unravel is that my peace only lies in the One Who does have the reins in His hands.  He has absolute control of His creation…each and every bit of His creation.  He is sovereign.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 
Ecclesiastes 3:11

In Psalm 147, we see that He has all in His power:

He counts the stars
and calls them all by name.  verse 4

He sends the snow like white wool;
He scatters frost upon the ground like ashes.  verse 16

He hurls the hail like stones.  verse 17a

He sends His winds, and the ice thaws. verse 18b

and in Amos 4:

“I kept the rain from falling
when your crops needed it the most.
I sent rain on one town
but withheld it from another.
Rain fell on one field,
while another field withered away.”  verse 7

“I struck your farms and vineyards with blight and mildew.
Locusts devoured all your fig and olive trees.”  verse 9a

“I sent plagues on you
like the plagues I sent on Egypt long ago.
I killed your young men in war
and led all your horses away.
The stench of death filled the air!”  verse 10a

God can do all – everything and anything.  At the end of many verses in the Bible, the words that sting me are: “But still you would not return to Me,” says the LORD.

Oh, that we would turn from our wicked ways and return to our Creator, the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel.  God’s heart is towards us and He wants us each and all to repent, coming back to Him.  Let us each begin with ourselves.  Do not expect everyone else to go first.  One at a time, we face ourselves and then face our God with humility and repentance, handing our hearts back to the One Who molded those hearts.

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Look at the gifts that await us when we turn to God:

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;

He utters His voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,

how He has brought desolations on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;

He burns the chariots with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah  Psalm 46

Most Sovereign God, I pray for Your world and all that is in it.  You created everyone and everything.  May Your mercies flow upon this earth.  May we each and all repent of our ways, returning to You just as there was a turning of Your people (during the reign of King Hezekiah):

Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD and come to His sanctuary, which He has consecrated forever, and serve the LORD your God, that His fierce anger may turn away from you.  2 Chronicles 30:8

“For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away His face from you, if you return to Him.”  2 Chronicles 30:9b

At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the LORD 2 Chronicles 30:12

Oh, LORD, that we would follow You and Your Word, trusting in Your sovereignty.  You are the One Who loved us first and Who loves us still.  Thank You for cherishing us, my Father.  In Your Powerful Name, I pray.  Amen. 

Turn to Me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.”  Isaiah 45:22

There is no other.  Amen and Amen.

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Graphic: https://livingselah.com/

Sojourner

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“You shall not oppress a sojourner.  You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.  Exodus 23:9

גָּר

ger

properly, a guest; by implication, a foreigner:—alien, sojourner, stranger

a person living out of his own country

foreign shepherds, nomadic tribes wandering about in the land

I have been a wanderer much of my life.  I was born into a Navy family, Daddy being a Navy doctor and officer.  We changed duty stations about every two to four years, but he died early in life.  By the age of thirteen, I was no longer a traveler via the United States Navy.

But my mother loved to travel.  She packed us onto a train one Christmas to spend the holiday with her family in Chicago.  When we moved away from the Washington, D.C. area after Daddy died, she took about six weeks to go from the nation’s capitol to San Diego, California.  We stopped to visit friends and family and to see just about every sight she could find along the route.  Many Fridays after school, she would tell us kids, “Pack a suitcase because we are going to ….”  (wherever she had decided to go for the weekend) and we did!

Even in college, I was blessed with one whole semester aboard World Campus Afloat (now called Semester at Sea), traveling from port to port – South America, Africa, and Europe.  What an experience, gaining 14 college credit hours!

I became an adult and that wanderlust was still there.  I settled down for wee bits of time, but found new jobs, moved to where I would want to be or transferred and then I would find a teaching job (or something new).  Mom had told me, before college, that I would always be able to find a teaching job if I would go to college to become a teacher.  I did and found her wisdom was almost always true!

I have sojourned hither and yon.  I was a stranger or a guest most everywhere I went, at least for a time.

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

Then one day, 23+ years ago, I came to know Christ Jesus.  I found that my heart had a home.  My heart belonged to Him and I would travel this earth as a sojourner, a pilgrim, yet had a real Home in Heaven.  I may wander more on this earth, in this life.  As long as I stay close to Jesus, I will not feel as an alien.  I am by His side and know my true Home.

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.   Genesis 12:1

Abram left his home and sojourned in many countries among many peoples.

Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.  From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east.  And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the Name of the LORD.  Genesis 12:7-8

Abram built altars in remembrance of all that God was doing for him and his descendants, for the covenants He made with Abram, for guidance as God took them from place to place.

“Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went.  Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities.” Jeremiah 31:21

What kind of road markers, guideposts am I leaving to remind me of what God has done in my life?

  • my salvation – God blessed me with forgiveness and a new life in Christ.  I built a written altar in my journal along with the date of this momentous event.  I praise God for my salvation.
  • marriage to Kenneth, the husband God gave to me – I have a written altar of this beautiful date, a marriage license as well as the life he and I have built together.  We try to live as an altar unto God.
  • blessed me with parents who loved me; allowed me to care for my mother in her last fifteen years – another written guidepost, one which I have been blessed to share through Being Woven as well; my journal of many days throughout those years filled with the sweet memories of Mama.  The hard times are written there and are important too.
  • sisters who are caring and loving toward me – Thank You, LORD.  – my road mark is the love we share now, along with the memories through words and pictures, road markers in my mind and heart of when we were children together.
  • and many, many more!

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not Thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with Thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.  Psalm 39:12

Father God, Thank You for dwelling with me as I journey through this world.  Each day is new as I listen for Your voice.  Thank You for directing me from one place to the next.  I pray that I am aware of Your nearness, LORD.  Thank You for comforting me, for guiding me, for loving me.  Build my strength each day, Father, so that I may walk in obedience and humbly.  Thank You for Your Presence in my life.  I love You so.  I am a sojourner.  Yes, I was born in the country in which I live, but anywhere on this earth is not my true home.  With You, in Heaven, …my real and only Home.  Thank You LORD.  I pray in the Name of Your Son Jesus.  Amen.

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Photo and quote:  https://mybible.com/ and https://billygraham.org/

Birds and Me

BE FOREWARNED:  many photos and two short videos  : )

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I have been watching birds on cameras through Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology or American Eagle Foundation/USDA.  I watch the Albatross in Kauai, Hawaii, the Bald Eagles in Washington, D.C., Ospreys in Missoula, Montana, and the Red-Tailed Hawks in Ithaca, NY.  There are others as well, but these have been my favorites to watch.  Yes, I am a birdwatcher in real life too, but these birds either do not visit South Texas or they are hard to spot.  I certainly do not get to watch them raise their young.

Birds species can be so unique in the way they care for their young.  These that I am watching have laid the eggs and then sat upon them, frequently tidying up the nest around them.  The mate that is off the eggs goes hunting or fishing, bringing the feast back to the nest.  With some species, only the female sits on the eggs while the male hunts and gathers, whereas other species share in both the nest and hunting duties.  It is quite interesting to me.  These same ways continue once the eggs have hatched and they have their nestlings.  When very young, the parent continues to sit upon the babies until food arrives.  The parents are so careful in the way they straddle and finally sit over the young.  Take a look at this video to see this phenomenon.  Those large yellow talons never touch the chicks.  (The video is only 53 seconds.)

As they grow, there is less sitting over the nestling and more sitting with the nestling.  This young Laysan Albatross cuddles up to a parent in the nest.

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Red-Tailed Hawk parent gently feeds first of three born to this family in Ithaca, New York on the Cornell University campus.

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Mr. President and The First Lady in the National Arboretum — 2016 with Freedom and Liberty:

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From tiny (above) to juvenile (below)

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Parent birds teach their young.  The juvenile bird begins to imitate the parents in feeding themselves with food brought by a parent, flapping their wings and hopping, practicing for that day when they will fledge (fly on their own).

This is Liberty and Freedom dancing in the rain.  The video is 9:35 minutes long, but just watch the first few minutes of practice and more practice.  It will make you smile when they begin hopping too:

 In the case of Albatross, the parents head to sea, leaving their young to practice alone for their big day of flight before heading out to sea.  It is on its own for food for a time as well.

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One of the three Red-Tailed Hawks takes flight from near the nest:

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A fledgling often stays near the nest, continuing to be fed by the parents for some time.  Once flying becomes second nature to the juvenile bird, most receive lessons in hunting and fishing.

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“The eagle is observed to have a strong affection for her young, and to show it, not only as other creatures by protecting them and making provision for them, but by educating them and teaching them to fly.  For this purpose she stirs them out of the nest where they lie dozing, flutters over them, to show them how they must use their wings….”  Matthew Henry

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“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”  Matthew 6:26

learntowalk
We are similar in a number of ways:

  • Parents care for their young: both may be involved, but not always.
  • As infants, we depend upon our parents to feed us, change us, place us into bed.
  • As children, we continue to depend upon our parents for many years, although we begin to spread our wings, gaining some feeling of independence.
  • One day, when we are old enough, and, hopefully, mature enough, we spread those wings and take flight.
  • …to name a few

Parents teach their young, guiding them to walk by holding their hands, eventually stepping out away from them so they begin to take steps toward the parent.

‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.  Exodus 19:4

God is our Father, teaching us.  He is a patient Father.  He waits as we take steps.  He reteaches, if necessary (usually so! at least for me!).  He draws us out to walk in His Way, to be obedient to His commandments.  He loves us and nurtures us.  He keeps His hand in ours.

And God said, Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth Genesis 1:26

I ponder the ways of these birds and my own existence.  You created me…ME!

For You formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13

Father God, You blessed me with wonderful earthly parents who cared for me tenderly and dearly.  They loved me.  They raised me up that I could fly.  And I have flown and hope I will continue to fly.  My earthly parents are with You now, yet their love is still with me.  Thank You for them, Father.  You care for me so much more than I can know…yet one day, I will know You, Your Holiness, Your Sovereignty, Your Love.  You are my God. 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matthew 6:33-34

I seek Your Kingdom, Father.  Show me the way. 

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

I want to fly with You for the rest of my earthly life and then on to Heaven to be with You…one day. 

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I’LL FLY AWAY by Albert Brumley **

Some glad morning when this life is o’er,
I’ll fly away;
To a home on God’s celestial shore,
I’ll fly away.

CHORUS:
I’ll fly away, O glory,
I’ll fly away;
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I’ll fly away.

beblacksig

 

 

“A Regal Couple” —  http://www.eagles.org/dceaglecam/about.html

Video:   American Eagle Foundation/DCEagleCam — http://www.slate.com/articles/video/video/2016/03/bald_eagle_chicks_hatched_at_national_arboretum_video.html

Laysan Albatross by Linda van den Heever:  https://twitter.com/LindavdHeever/status/738811736409681921/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Red-Tailed Hawk feeding newborn by keysfishin:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/81381146@N06/26491567641/in/photostream/

Bald Eagles with two eaglets:  https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Ckhh94GWUAA2AxS.jpg

Bald Eagle with Freedom and Liberty: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23dceaglecam&src=tyah

Video of Liberty & Freedom dancing in the rain/© 2016 American Eagle Foundation, EAGLES.ORG”

Laysan Albatross chick practicing wing-flapping skills:  https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CkiOKYCVAAAsLbL.jpg

Red-Tailed Hawk taking flight by keysfishin:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/81381146@N06/26953158963/

Bald Eagle adult with juvenile:  https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=juvenile+bald+eagle+fishing+with+adult&view=detailv2&&id=B46BB7286E88F6C4170CC1682DC880085885587F&selectedIndex=1&ccid=NqGIBWck&simid=607997538543667549&thid=OIP.M36a188056724e13121ed5f3373687b56o0&ajaxhist=0

Baby Learning to Walk photo:  http://www.fellowship.ca/AWordFromSteve

Flying Bald Eaglehttps://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Free+Pictures+of+Bald+Eagles+In-Flight&view=detailv2&&id=371DEF5AFFC30C6C9055F494279CDFB0566974F0&selectedIndex=56&ccid=SSmBjioE&simid=608035965620391302&thid=OIP.M4929818e2a049a1f248cb977a990d061o0&ajaxhist=0

**  LYRICS “I’LL FLY AWAY” AS REPRINTED IN “ALBERT E. BRUMLEY’S OLDE CAMP MEETIN’ SONGS.” Camdenton, Missouri, 1971, p. 11;© 1932, renewed 1960 Albert E. Brumley and Sons.

Father God

To ponder…

Does God feel like a loving Father to you?  Does He feel like the kind of Father that you could crawl up in His lap and snuggle with or swing in a swing with?

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He is.  I know because I snuggle.  I climb into His lap.  I swing with Him.  I know that I am held firmly and securely no matter where I am with Him.  He is my Protector and the Love of my eternal life.  I must trust Him in order to sit in the vulnerable position as the child above.  I am learning to trust more and more.

For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the One Who helps you.”  Isaiah 41:13

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.   Psalm 29:7

“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  Luke 18:17

Abba Father, You are the best.  You love me the way I am.  You strengthen me to do what You have called me to do and to be.  You hold me close that I know You are with me.  You teach me trust by being Who You are…my Father, my Protector, my Strength.  You are my All, Abba.  I want to learn and be the clay in Your hands.  I am sorry when I become afraid and lose my ability to trust You.  I am learning.  I thank You for Your patience with me and for being my Teacher.  I love You, Abba Father.  I pray in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

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Photo: by Antranias (Manfred Antranias Zimmer From Bernau am Chiemsee, Germany)  https://pixabay.com/en/family-leisure-parents-child-440607/

Children Are a Heritage From the Lord

backtoschool2School starts around here on Monday, August 24th.  Signs along the streets near schools or over the highways remind us that children are back in school, to drive safely.  Flashing lights warn us to slow down to 20 miles per hour because we are in a school zone.  Children are crossing streets under a school guard’s care.  The signs and signals warn us of the caution we should be taking as we near schools in our neighborhoods…young lives are at risk.

But does anything warn us of the ways of the world entering into the minds of our children whether at school, in front of the television or the internet, in the park, or even in the home?

“I believe that at birth, all children bear the stamp of their Creator.  Their purity and innocence is a great gift.  Once it has been lost, it cannot be replaced.  All the more, it must be guarded as a treasure which no one has a right to destroy.”   ** Johann Christoph Arnold, p. 133

“If we are going to protect innocence in a child, we need to cleanse our own hearts of pollution.  Our response upon encountering a child must be nothing less than reverence.  Perhaps because the word sounds old-fashioned, its true meaning has been blurred.  Reverence is more than just love.  It includes an appreciation for the qualities children possess (and which we ourselves have lost), a readiness to rediscover their value, and the humility to learn from them.  Reverence is also an attitude of deep respect….”  ** Johann Christoph Arnold,  p. 133-134

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  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.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”  Matthew 18:1-6

Children are beautiful creations and we need to protect them.  We need to teach them God’s values and what is important to Him.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven.”  Matthew 18:10-11

“For whatever else might define childhood, one thing is constant: it is the gathering place of life’s first and most indelible memories — the unalterable frame for all the experiences that accompany us through life.  And thus, in the end, the task of bringing up children is not only a question of effective parenting, and even less one of educational insights, theories, or ideals.  It is, first and foremost, a matter of the love we give them, which has power to awaken more of the same, even years down the road.”  ** Johann Christoph Arnold,  p. 161

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Psalm 127:1-3

Let us pray for our children and their teachers.  I am not a parent, but I taught and now I tutor.  I want to be the image of Christ in their little lives, as well as to their parents.  I want to do the right thing for and with these children.

Father God, our children are returning to school.  I pray for their safety, their protection by your legions of angels.  I pray for a loving, respectful teacher to guide them in the matters of learning.  I pray that the parents, grandparents, foster parents, be an example of Your Son to these children.  They need You more than anything this world can offer.  They need Your salvation as they raise these young ones.  May they each and every one come to know Your Son as Lord and Savior.  Father, please give the parents the wisdom to raise their children in Your Name, by Your Word.  Teach them what they need in order to raise their children.  Open their eyes to You, Lord.  By this, they can truly raise their children in the Name of Jesus.  Oh, how I want that because I want that for the innocent ones.  Children are precious in Your sight.  Save them from this evil world, Father.  I thank You that You have a plan for them and love them dearly.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

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** Arnold, Johann Christoph, Their Name is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World, 2014, Plough Publishing House, New York
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P.S.  This book is excellent and will be doing a book review on it soon on my “The Reader and The Book” blog.

backtoschool

A Brass Fire Pole

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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.

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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/

 

100 + Whole-Hearted Books To Fight Back the Culture | Guest Post

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I would like to introduce Jacqueline of “Deep Roots at Home” as my guest on “The Reader and the Book.”  From her blog, she writes: “For 40 years, I have been a wife to my husband and a teacher of our children in the home. Now a new season has come, and with the blessing of my husband, I write this blog as an encouragement to myself and others. (Titus 2: 3-5) How important is this role of speaking into the lives of younger women! The habits of the home in one generation become the morals of society in the next. As William Ross Wallace said: ‘The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.'”

She has a post on her site that was relinked a month or so ago to where I found it.  Being a teacher and children’s librarian who has taught reading and encouraged children to read, read, read, I am pleased to be able to share this post with you.  It is a list of some of the best books for children from Preschool through 10th grade.

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Many of you have asked for a reading list of great story books for children, the kind that contain wholesome adventure and inspire a young heart to courageous living. I have been busy and did just as you requested. What fun I had compiling it!

If you want even more, there is Sarah Clarkson’s Read for the Heart: Whole Books for WholeHearted Families. From timeless classics to modern favorites, from picture books to adventure novels to read-aloud favorites, more than 1,000 wonderful stories for young people are recommended.

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We are all aware that there is a battle raging in our culture for the minds and hearts of our children, but how do we as parents prepare them to live in the world? How do we teach values and build character at home on a day to day basis to equip them for a lifetime?

One of the best ways is to choose and read books that will champion and uphold what is noble, good, right and true. Most of these will be found at your library, or you can request they get it in for you.

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Sarah Clarkson says,

“The first thing a young heart needs is an education in all that is good.  The classic children’s stories are a persuasive picture of beauty and goodness.  They create an inner world that is a secret world for children’s souls, showing them through thrilling stories and stouthearted characters exactly what it means to be noble, good, and even holy.”  My parents…began with the great story of Scripture, filling my mind with the hero tales of the Bible.  To this they added the innocent beauty of classic children’s books, never underestimating the power of a good story to affirm and further illuminate the truths they were teaching me form Scripture.  I was formed in my earliest childhood by an imagination filled with stories, Biblical and classic, that set my appetite for all that was righteous, true, and lovely.  “Great literature also guides children through the second and harder wakening to an awareness of what is wrong.  Insightful stories gradually confront children with the power of sin as it enters the tale of their lives and the stories they love.  Characters like brave Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia or David Balfour from Kidnapped who value what is beautiful and defend what is right will teach children that evil is something to resist and help them perceive the choice that must be made between right and wrong.”

~S.C. from Read for the Heart: Whole Books for WholeHearted Families

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I love this picture of two young boys. It captures the essence of reading – the gentle power and immense soul-stirring delight a great book can offer. I see evidence of the way a well-crafted story lights up the heart of a child. The boys’ expressions reflect the newness of deep thought, the hearty joy in discovering new horizons, the heart and soul expanded by beauty. The dappled sunlight hints that the story is opening their minds to the mysteries of the world God gave to mankind and of their own place in it.

“Books can become powerful companions – teachers that will fan the flames of your child’s heart and mind to life! Great stories, first in the Bible and then in classic literature can tune the inner workings of the heart from which, even in adulthood, one will make decisions and form values.” ~S. Clarkson

What follows is a listing of just a few of the beloved books that we have read over the years. These are books that our children will be reading to their own children some day:

IMPORTANT NOTE:
The age designations for this list are only approximate. A child’s listening level will often be several grades higher than their personal reading levelit is OK to choose books from an older list if you’re planning on reading aloud to your children. I began reading aloud to our children from chapter books (such as Mr. Popper’s Penguins) before their third birthdays. Often I would take one at a time until they were hooked on wonderful stories and snuggling on the couch! Don’t underestimate your child’s ability to comprehend or listen to fairly advanced material.

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Preschool (read-aloud)

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The Hat, by Jan Brett (boardbook)
Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever, by Richard Scarry (our favorite pre-reader ever)
Good Night Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown
Aesop’s Fables, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
Storytime and the Millers, by Mildred A. Martin
The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Read-aloud/Grade 1 (beginning reading)

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Grade 2 (excellent read-alouds as well as early readers)

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Grade 3

Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink
Sarah Whitcher’s Story, by Elizabeth Yates
Thee, Hannah!, by Marguerite De Angeli
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, by Alice Dalgliesh
Paul Bunyan and His Great Blue Ox, by Wallace Wadsworth
Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress, by Oliver Hunkin
Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter
Twig the Collie, by Craig Massey
The Borrowers, by Mary Norton
Mountain Born, by Elizabeth Yates
Stuart Little, by E.B. White
Story Times With Grandma, by M.E. Yoder
More Story Times With Grandma, by M.E. Yoder

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For more through Grade 10 and beyond, please continue reading over at Deep Roots at Home …

http://www.deeprootsathome.com/100-whole-hearted-books-to-fight-back-the-culture-a-giveaway/

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I hope you will look earnestly at these titles for your children.  ~ linda