Sisters in Christ Jesus

I spend one morning each week with 5-8 women. We all attend the same church as we worship the Lord. We have been meeting weekly for about 9 months now. We are women of all ages, from 30s to 70s. Some have young families. Some are grandparents. Some live near family. Some live far apart from their parents, children, grandchildren. We live in East Texas. Some are from here. Some are from places far away, such as California, Montana, New Mexico, Louisiana. Our backgrounds are so different. Our arrival to Christianity is unique to each. Some came to Jesus as children, others as adults. Our walk with the Lord is also so different.

Yet, we are the body of Christ…all Christians, all sisters in the Lord.

…so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:5

I am amazed at the beauty that God is in our midst. He is faithful to draw us near to Him, the One Who created us, Who loves us so.

Each week, we gather around a table where we sip coffee, tea, juice. We eat muffins, fruit, nuts, other tasty treats which our hostess graciously lays out for us.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:13

One by one, we begin sharing our pray needs, concerns, praises. We each have a journal where we write down what each of our sisters need so as to jar the memory as we pray throughout the week. When the first one wraps up her words, one of us steps up to pray for her in this moment. Outloud. In sweet surrender to the Lord. Laying her at the foot of the Cross.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

We continue around the table, sharing, praying. Sometimes guidance is given. All is in love.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

Recently, I shared my heart through God’s prompting. I did not plan this as I am often rather quiet, sharing just things of the surface. But not this particular Monday. No, the women got to know me quite a bit more through words that dug deeply, to the very core of my being. Words that opened up long-ago wounds…wounds that I thought had been healed years ago. As one woman shared in a word-picture: it is healed over, but there is scar tissue all around. By that, there is still pain at times. I cried and cried for it was like it was all right at the top. These precious sisters did not know this history about me. They wept with me and loved me. They prayed for me, loving me through their words to our God, the Listener of our humble and humbling prayers.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

Each week brings different and similar prayer requests. Each week, there may be all 8 of us, or maybe only 2, 3 or 4 of us. It does not matter for we desire to pray for one another. We have grown to know one another over these months as we barely did when we began. One of the ladies drew us together for the purpose of prayer and fellowship. She chose people of various ages, various stages of life and spiritual walks. I believe God picked us each and let her know just who He desired to have around this table.

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in the Spirit, serve the Lord. Romans 12:11

We open our homes, our hearts, our minds, and souls. Some of us may be more open one week, and others at other times, but we share each week, as best we can.

We want to grow in the Lord as we pray.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

When hard things are going on in a life of a sister, we want to be shoulder-to-shoulder with her. We want to wrap her in the Word, in our love which comes from God, our Source. We want to be attentive to her needs.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:3-5

We want to share with one another what God is teaching us, whether it be through exhortation, a Scripture, arms wrapped around, a prayer lifted up.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8

All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them. Oswald Chambers

As we seek to honor the Lord, we watch the words of our mouth, that they be without gossip or slander so as to not revile His Word. As we desire to glorify His Name, we show one another the love that is His.

Praise You, LORD. You are Mighty God, the Holy One of Israel. You are the Creator of all to Whom I humbly bow. You have given me life in Christ. You have brought me by Your side and into Your Kingdom. You, O God, are my God. You have dealt with me graciously. You have given me these precious sisters of whom I love and respect. They have come alongside of me to be honest, open, sweet and prayerful. They allow me to be this one whom You wove in my mother’s womb, this one whom I am still learning about at this age for I became a new creature only 27 years ago. I am young in You, my LORD. Whatever time I have remaining in this life on earth, teach me, O LORD, teach me. Through these women, I learn. Through Your Word, I learn. Through life, I learn. Teach me for I want to know You, LORD. In the precious Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Photo/Graphic: Sisters in Christ, Forever – https://simplysharingandserving.weebly.com

Heart Graphic: http://www.fbcvan.org/womens-ministry/

Graphics: Romans 12:5 – https://www.amazingfacts.org/bible-study/scripture-pictures/the-book-of-romans

Graphic: Romans 12:13 – https://whateveryoudodowell.wordpress.com

Graphic: Romans 12:12 – https://abbashousetexas.com/2018/04/03/romans-12-prayer-for-refugees/

Graphic: Romans 12:10 – https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/romans/2/

Graphic: Romans 12:15 – https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/romans/2/

Graphic: Romans 12:11 – https://brightandclean.tumblr.com/post/48796377488/romans-1211

Photo/graphic: Romans 12:1-2 – https://www.heartlight.org/cgi-shl/praying_paul/pwp.pl?047

Photo/graphic: Romans 12:4-5 – http://www.triciagoyer.com/one-body-romans/

Graphic: Dove/Holy Spirit/Gifts – https://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2012/10/are-miraculous-spiritual-gifts-for.html

Photo/Graphic: Flowers in Jar/”Like flowers…” – sanibelsoaps.com

O Holy Night

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But the people of God will sing a song of joy,
like the songs at the holy festivals.
You will be filled with joy,
as when a flutist leads a group of pilgrims
to Jerusalem, the mountain of the LORD
to the Rock of Israel.  Isaiah 30:29

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Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.   Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?  When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.  You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.”

Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For He took notice of His lowly servant girl,
    and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
    and He has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
    to all who fear Him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
    He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
    and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped His servant Israel
    and remembered to be merciful.
For He made this promise to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and His children forever.”  Luke 1:42-55

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When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.  Luke 2:15-20

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Father God, such joyful news You have given me in the beauty of Your Son, Your One and Only.  You have brought glad tidings to us all.  May my ears be open to hear the words of the shepherds.  May my eyes be open to see this wonderful “thing” that You have done.  May my heart be open to hear Mary’s heart-words.  I thank You for blessing me with the saving grace of Christ Jesus.  I bow humbly, Father, in adoration and respect and honor.  I love You so.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

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Why, oh Why?

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A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.  Isaiah 42:3 (+ Matthew 12:20)

He will tend His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs in His arms;
He will carry them in His bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.  Isaiah 40:11

He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.  Isaiah 40:21

Jesus cares about me. He loves me more than I can even fathom.  He does not break me.  He gathers me into His arms.  He leads me into the way I should go.  He gives me strength and power.  

YET…I doubt…I worry…I fear…I mistrust.  WHY?  Why do I doubt Him?  Why do I question whether He will provide for me?  Why do I lack the trust to know that He is always…ALWAYS…with me?  WHY?  

As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him.  Psalm 103:13

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3

“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”  Jeremiah 31:25

He heals me and rains compassion upon me.  He refreshes me. 

Over and over again, the Bible tells me that I can place my trust in Him completely.  I do not need to feel the scars and holes in His body to know Who He is.  I know Jesus gave His all as the most beautiful Gift possible for me, for us all and each.  I know this, yet I doubt. 

I fall by the wayside and wonder why I feel so alone.  Yet, I am not.  I am held in the Savior’s arms and know that He will never leave me nor forsake me.  He will not drop me on my head or tail. 

I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.  I will feed them in justice.  Ezekiel 34:16

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

He gives me rest.  He gives me justice.  He carries my heavy burdens and looks for me when I am lost.  So much Jesus does for me.  He cares for me. 

I seek Your forgiveness, LORD, for my doubt, my lack of trust, my faithless spine.  I am sorry, my LORD.  I have fed myself so much self-doubt that I forget just Whose I am.  I have allowed my ears to hear lies about myself.  I shout to satan to get behind me and he does because You are with me.  I want to trust You in Your care for me.  Precious Jesus, I love You.  May my walk be along the straight and narrow pathway with You…and You alone.   Jesus, You prayed for Simon Peter and You have given the Holy Spirit to be my Intercessor.  He knows the prayers I want to utter but cannot.  He prays for me. 

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”  Luke 22:31-32

I read the many ways that God cares for me, all of the time, in so many ways, in every kind of way.  Where do I read this?  In His Word.  The Word of God is the pivotal place from which I know.  I KNOW that He loves me and cares for me because He tells me through His Word.  I KNOW His care because I feel it in my heart.  I can see it too.  I KNOW it in my head.  His Truth speaks volumes to me when I doubt…when I fall…when I mistrust…when I feel alone. 

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

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the Word of God, which is at work in you believers.  1 Thessalonians 2:13

LORD, I thank You for loving me so perfectly.  I want the hard places in me to soften and know that You are LORD.  That this body of mine is Yours and made perfectly.  That this mind was woven by Your hands in my mother’s womb and continues to function well.  That this heart is knit with the Love of Your heart for You loved me first.  That trust, faith, love, hope all come from You.  I believe.  I truly do know that just in this one heartfelt acknowledgment…belief in You…I am so filled with all of Your gifts.  Can I trust and walk in faith?  Can I love without conditions and be loved without conditions?  Can I be filled with hope?

“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

You are my Hope, my Peace, my Love.  May the hard and broken parts of me open up to You for Your loving touch, for Your gentle and tough molding so that I know that I am the one You created me to be.  I want to be a gift to those I encounter as You were and are for me.  For me!  You love me and care for me.  The Bible tells me so.  Thank You.  No more whys, LORD.  I believe and I trust in You.  In the loving Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

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Threshing Floor

 

Oxen thresh grain with hooves and men separate kernels from straw.
Oxen thresh grain with hooves and men separate kernels from straw.

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goren

from an unused root meaning to smooth; a threshing-floor (as made even); by analogy, any open area:—a barn-, corn-, threshing- floor, a threshing-, void- place before the gates of a city

Freshly harvested grain was thrown into a large pile in the very center of the floor.  It was then hand raked onto the area of the floor where the oxen would walk around and around, breaking the husks away from the actual grain. This area was called the threshing floor.  It was flat and hardened by the passing of oxen over the sheaves, sometimes pulling a sled designed to separate the grain from the husks, the tares (weeds, false grain) from the wheat.  Afterwards, the stalks and grain were thrown up into the air (winnowing) so that the wind would blow the unwanted chaff away, leaving the kernels.

The threshing floors were also important places and were often used as landmarks.  Men and royalty often sat in the gates of a city, often on or near a threshing floor.

And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.  1 King 22:10

The words, threshing floor, is one word in the King James version of the Bible.  In looking up the Hebrew, we find the same word, goren, is for both threshing and for floor.  Thus, translating the Hebrew into English gives us threshingfloor as one word.  Other versions of the Bible separate the two words but translate them individually from the one word, goren.

Joseph, with his kinsmen and Egyptian followers, halted for seven days at the threshing floor of Atad to lament the death of Jacob.

When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and grievous lamentation, and he made a mourning for his father seven days.  Genesis 50:10

Travelers might welcome a threshing floor to stop for the night as the hard, level spot would be preferable to surrounding stony fields for tents.

David bought a threshing floor to build an altar to the LORD.

1 Then satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. … 7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore He struck Israel. …  18 Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan (Araunah) the Jebusite.  …  20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat.  He turned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price.  I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 25 So David paid Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. … 28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there.   1 Chronicles 21:1, 7, 18, 20, 24-26, 28

Have we felt that something is worth more to us when it is bought and paid for by our earnings?  Do we take things for granted when they are given to us for nothing?  Is more value placed upon that which we buy, whether by money, labor, or things traded?

This same piece of property was to be where God’s Temple was to be built by Solomon.

1 Then David said, “Here shall be the house of the Lord God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” …  7 David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars.  You shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed so much blood before Me on the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies.  For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for My name.  He shall be My son, and I will be his Father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.’  11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as He has spoken concerning you.   1 Chronicles 22:1, 7-11

Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.  2 Chronicles 3:1

Mount Moriah is where Abraham sacrificed his son, Isaac, to God.

He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”  Genesis 22:2

Threshing floors were places of judgment:

Rejoice not, O Israel!  Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the whore, forsaking your God.  You have loved a prostitute’s wages on all threshing floors.  Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail them.  Hosea 9:1-2

But they do not know
    the thoughts of the Lord;
they do not understand His plan,
    that He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor Micah 4:12

Threshing floors were places of blessings as well.  Sheave offerings were laid there to the Lord.

And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, My great army which I sent among you.  And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed.  Joel 2:24-26

Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.  But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.”  And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”  Ruth 3:3-5  So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife.  And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.  Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may His name be renowned in Israel!  Ruth 4:13-14

 

Jesus bought me by His blood.  I am forgiven and paid for by the High Priest with His life.  I am to be winnowed, ridding me of the chaff.


His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” 
Matthew 3:12

Have I felt that something is worth more to me when it is bought and paid for by the sacrifice of my LORD?  Is more value placed upon that which has been purchased for me by the sacrifices of Jesus?  Is the gift of forgiveness of the debt I cannot pay and for which I owe such that I am so humbled?

 

LORD Jesus, I thank You for the love You have for me, for redeeming me.  You have blessed me beyond anything I could imagine.  I know that a day will come for my judgment.  I also know of Your forgiveness of this child.  I want to continue to be winnowed for I desire to become more pure for You with each day.  I want the chaff to be blown away, then burned.  I want only the kernels to be left so that I may make You a loaf of bread.  I know You are the Bread of Life, yet I want to give You this gift from my heart.  How can I really thank You, Jesus?  You have done so very much for me.  I am humbled with gratitude.  Thresh me on Your threshing floor, my LORD.  Separate the weeds and husk from the very grain of me.  Winnow me to purity, to wholeness, LORD, for I want to be wholly Yours.  In Your beautiful Name, I pray.  Amen.   

 

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Perishable to Imperishable Seeds

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Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Indian Blankets…so vivid and lush in the Texas Hill Country this past week.  The peak of wildflower season here…we decided to venture there for a few days.  It was beautiful.

God’s Glory shone all around us wherever we drove.  Winding Farm-to-Market roads, County Roads, and two-lane Texas Highways.  Flowers everywhere.  BUT…photographs of these flowers do not give the real carpet-effect on this screen.  Each stem stands about 6-8 inches high…some clumped together…some spread apart.  The colors are so much brighter in person.  You know what I am saying!

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A voice says, “Cry!”

And I said, “What shall I cry?”

All flesh is grass,

and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades

when the breath of the Lord blows on it;

surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God will stand forever.  Isaiah 40:6-8

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Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for

“All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.  1 Peter 1:22-25

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As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him.

 For He knows our frame;

He remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;

he flourishes like a flower of the field;

for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

and its place knows it no more.

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,

and His righteousness to children’s children,

to those who keep His covenant

and remember to do His commandments.

The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,

and His kingdom rules over all.  Psalm 103:13-19

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YES…these beautiful flowers were at their peak while we were there, but they will fade.  The season is now to see them at their best.  The beauty…clearly there.  God created these amazing flowers.  He created us…you and me.  We, too, will fade in these physical bodies, but if we are born again in Christ Jesus, we are of imperishable seed .  We will meet the Lord in Heaven one day.  These Scriptures tell us that God’s Word does not fade, nor does His love.

Father God, You are my All.  You are my Creator and the Love of my life.  You made these beautiful flowers for my eyes to behold.  The colors and the fragrances remind me that You are near.  Father, thank You for allowing us to get away for a few days in order to see the splendor of Your natural world.  We enjoyed it so.  You show us Yourself as we journeyed along the winding roadways of the Hill Country.  Oh, Father, You are truly Glorious.  You remind me that I am dust and am fading as I age, but You sent Your Son Who took my sins away.  I have been reborn with imperishable seed and will live in eternity with You.  Oh, Father, what a gift!  These little flowers remind me of the awesome sacrifice You made for me.  Truly, I pray, in the Name of Christ Jesus.  Amen.

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For a brief history of Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson’s beautification desires for the nation as well as Texas:

“Decades ago, Mrs. (Lady Bird) Johnson recognized that our country was losing its natural landscapes and its natural beauty. As much as 30 percent of the world’s native flora is at risk of extinction.”

Getting on the subject of beautification is like picking up a tangled skein of wool,” she wrote in her diary on January 27, 1965. “All the threads are interwoven — recreation and pollution and mental health, and the crime rate, and rapid transit, and highway beautification, and the war on poverty, and parks — national, state and local.  It is hard to hitch the conversation into one straight line, because everything leads to something else.”

Mrs. Johnson wanted to beautify the nation’s capital during her time as First Lady.  She and others did so much to make Washington, D.C., a capital city to be proud of as they filled the Mall, parks, and streets with flowers and new landscaping, refurbished run-down neighborhoods, and so much more.   She told the Society for a More Beautiful National Capital, “Over the past three years, the people in this room have produced nearly two and a half million dollars to take steps toward making this nation’s capital more livable and more beautiful. Not only is your handiwork enjoyed by the three million people who live and work in this city, it can be seen also by seventeen million visitors who come here each year, and our work has inspired other cities across the country.” 

She played a large part in getting the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 into and through Congress, although she would have liked it better if it had passed without so many amendments.  It called for control of outdoor advertising along the nation’s Interstate Highway System and other federal primary highway systems. It also required certain junkyards along Interstate or primary highways to be removed or screened and encouraged scenic enhancement and roadside development.

From the time Mrs. Johnson left the White House until she died in 2007, Mrs. Johnson never stopped desiring to beautify this country.  Mrs. Johnson and “actress Helen Hayes founded an organization in 1982 to protect and preserve North America’s native plants and natural landscapes.  First as the National Wildflower Research Center and later as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, this special place exists to introduce people to the beauty and diversity of wildflowers and other native plants.”  

Mrs. Johnson (and the Wildflower Center) encouraged the planting of seeds along roadways.  Many Texas highways and byways share the fruit of this labor in bright and brilliant color each Spring!

He Came….

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But as he considered these things, behold, 
an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).  When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a Son. And 
he called His name Jesus. 
Matthew 1:20-25

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

He became flesh.

He dwelt among us.

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

The Word was God.

In Him is life.

The Light is He.

The true Light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him.   John 1:9-10

This Light was coming.

For to us a Child is born,

to us a Son is given;

and the government shall be upon His shoulder,

and His name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

The Son came and will come again.

And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:10-11

Father God, You have seen us and know we are weak and are sinners.  You chose to gift us by Your Son, Your precious Son.  You came as a Babe that we would see flesh, yet have the ability to chose to receive You or reject You.  I chose, late in life, but early enough, to receive You as my God, my Lord and Savior.  I worship You, glorify Jesus, Immanuel, Son, God with us, and desire to listen and obey the Holy Spirit.  All One yet Three.  I cherish these days because I am Yours.  I cherish the moments when we are quiet together and I am in Your arms.  I cherish You, my Father, my Abba Father.  You have given me the most beautiful gift imaginable.  I pray that those of my family who do not know Jesus as their Savor and their Lord will have open eyes and ears this Christmas season to hear and see that the Babe has come.  I so very much want them to be in Heaven with us, Father.  May the stillness at the manger be in their hearts.  May the calm of the night when the shepherds followed the Star call them to Your Son this night.  May the joy of Christ truly ring in their ears.  And may the Prince of Peace come to rule in their hearts for always, for eternity.  In the Name of the Holy One, I pray.  Amen.

 

your daughter sig

holly

 

photo:  https://jsbandura.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/safe/

Jesus — Propitiation for My Sins

God, You have blessed me with Your Word, Your Truth.  You teach me as I walk with You and learn Your ways.  You are showing me that by my sins, Your wrath is real.  Yet, by my sins, Your love and mercy and grace are strong and beautiful.  You sent Your Son for me.  You love me so.

For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.

But one testified in a certain place, saying:
“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?

You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.   Hebrews 2:5-9
hebrews2Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God

Jesus, our Salvation

Jesus, our All

Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  Hebrews 2:17

ἱλάσκομαι

hilaskomai

to conciliate

to atone for (sin)

be propitious:—be merciful, make reconciliation for

propitiation (n) prō-pi-shē-ā-shǝn–

the act of appeasing the wrath and conciliating the favor of an offended person

atonement or atoning sacrifice

Jesus…

And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.  1 John 2:2

Jesus…

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  Romans 3:23-26

propitiation

Jesus…

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  1 John 4:10

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…’Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live…

from “In Christ Alone”

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Father, You could be so angry, so wrathful towards me.  I am a sinner.  But You see through me and know that I need a Savior.  I need Salvation.  You are Just.  You came to me through Your beautiful Gift, Your Son, Jesus, Who delivered me from my sins.  Through repentance and belief, I have been set free.  You are Merciful.  You have granted so much to me which I take for granted sometimes.  I am sorry, Father, for I forget all too often of the many gifts which I am allowed.  Yet, I do not forget that I can fly free from the shackles of sin because of Jesus, Your Son, Your Son’s death on the Cross for me, for others such as I.  Your Grace and Your Truth have been showered over me.  I am ever so grateful, Father.  “Here in the death of Christ I live….”  I live.  Thank You for this precious Gift. 

In Your Son’s Holy Name, I pray.  Amen. 

bwdarkgreen sig

Graphic/Photo:  http://pictures.agodman.com/spiritual-quotes/hebrews-29-but-we-see-jesus-crowned-with-glory-and-honor/

Graphic:  http://lifegatefellowship.com/wp/?m=201309

“In Christ Alone” by KOCH, DONALD A. / CRAIG, ANDREW SHAWN; Published by Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Peter’s Greetings

My husband and I have been reading Peter together this week.  The first verses of both First and Second Peter are greetings, an initial address to his audiences.  The gifts that Jesus has given to all believers are listed in these first verses.  I am so humbled by them.  They are sinking into this believer’s heart, mind, and soul.  Jesus gave it all for one such as me…for me!

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  1 Peter 1:1-5

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Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine naturehaving escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.  2 Peter 1:1-4

2peter1-4

OH!  SUCH GIFTS WHEN WE WERE YET SINNERS!!!

Peter then tells us:

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 1:5-8

Father God, I want to be effective in my walk in this world.  I want the light of Jesus to shine from me to others who may not know Him, who need encouragement, who are confused as they live in this world.  I want to stay humble and remember all that has been done for me.  You gave it all and I received Your beautiful gift of salvation, mercy and grace for my error-filled ways.  Thank You, LORD, for being gracious to me.  I love You dearly.  I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen. 

beblacksig

Two Years Ago

Dear Mama,

It has been two years on January 30th that you passed away and are with the LORD.  No matter how much I have moved along into tutoring three young children in reading and math, continue to blog, and have more time with my dear Kenneth, I STILL MISS YOU!  Can’t help it!

Mama @ Del Mar

You were a beautiful woman, inside and out.  You were fun and vivacious, smart and talented, headstrong and rather outspoken.  You lived close to me for the last fifteen years of your life.  You also lived with me in the late eighties when you came to Washington, D.C. while I was teaching first and kindergarten in the inner city.  You loved to come to school with me once a week and work with some of the children.  They called you Grandma and, of course, you thought that was the best.  The children looked forward to your regular visits.  And, of course, you loved D.C. for that was our last duty station before Daddy died.  You and Daddy were in that city when you found out that you were pregnant with me.  And you just loved the history and art that our nation’s capital offers.

 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”  Exodus 20:12

After being gone from this life for two years now, the tough times — when you were ill, or fell, needing surgery and hospitalization, or when the dementia rattled your mind so terribly — those all seem to be fading in my mind and in my heart.  I recall more of our sweet moments than I do those hard ones, although those do still surface.  Just not so often or so harshly.

Mama (yes, I called you Mom from my early teenage years until the last couple of years of your life when you became “Mama” to me; seems to be the name I call you most often now too)… your love for me, and for all of your family, feels like your heart is wrapped around mine now.  You said some sweet and loving things to me at the end of your life that I cherish.  I just wrote about journaling and caregiving for Soli Deo Gloria Connections.  It is often through those journals that the exact words you said to me are pulled out and into my heart.  I am grateful that I took the time to write, often sitting at the side of your bed as you slept.

Listen to your father who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.  Proverbs 23:22

 100_0293

Oh, Mama, you loved your baseball and the Chicago Cubs where you were born and raised.  You even came to enjoy the small town games of our minor league team for it was baseball and that is what you loved.   Mama, you even got me to these games.  You loved having this daughter (who really was not a baseball fan) to join you at the games!  (Actually, you can see that I was, truly was, having a good time!)

100_0034

In your last years, you had lost a lot of that vim and vigor, yet your heart still loved.  You loved the staff where you lived.  You loved many of those around you.  Most of all, you loved your three girls and our husbands, and your grandson.  Oh, Mama, you would love Parker Lily, your great granddaughter.  She is a dear child.  She would love you too.  You would love Zephyr’s beautiful wife, Kiki.  She is a good mother, Zeph a good daddy.  Nancy loves Kiki so much and is so happy for Zeph.  Kiki and Zeph dress Parker Lily like you would have dressed her…cute, classy, and beautifully.  Oh, I am so sorry you never met Kiki nor Parker Lily.  But you knew about your dear great granddaughter.  With the blown-up photos on your wall, you would touch little infant Parker’s, talking to her, calling her by name.

You also came to know the LORD for which I am ever grateful.  Mama, you are with Him and loving Him in all His Holiness.  I praise Him.

Mama, I needed to talk to you today.  To write this letter to you.  It barely covers any of my memories, but the most important thing I want to say is that I LOVE YOU!!!!!!   So much.

Your ~ linda lou

Thank You, LORD, for giving me this mother.  You have blessed me beyond my comprehension for I was loved by both of my parents.  I have missed my father for 54 years now, but even after all those years, the missing never stops.  The love I still feel from him has not stopped either.  You have given me life and family.  You have blessed me with knowing that Mama is with You.  O LORD, thank You.  Thank You.  I am forever grateful for Your laborers who were ready and went into Your harvest.  May I continue to walk the path that You have made for me with remembrance of my parents, honoring them.  I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.   

Give Yourself to Jesus

nativity silhouette clip art

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).  
Matthew 1:23

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”  Luke 2:14

starofbethlehem2

I am grateful, Father, for the beautiful Gift of Your Son.

May I believe with the eyes of faith.

May I see with the eyes of my heart.

May I hear with the ears of my soul.

I come to the manger with the heart of a mother.

The Cross is before me on which I nail my sins, knowing that I am forgiven.

I walk the path You have for me when I stay by Your side.

I am so glad I am Yours…

and am thankful that You are always weaving me into the one You created.

Thank You for leading me to Christ Jesus.

In His Name, I pray.

Amen.

wreath02

Thank you, sweet friends, for visiting me here at “Being Woven” as you do and for blessing me with love and comments.

May your Christmas be sweet and your hands be open to receive our Blessed Savior.