One of the simple country pleasures that fascinates me is a spring of water that bubbles from the ground - like this one in the family pasture. The water is cool and clear and as you can see, the growth around it is lush and green. When we visited this spot recently, we couldn't see the source because of fallen limbs, but I do know the ultimate source. According to Psalm 104:10, He sends the springs into the valleys that run along the hills. A perfect, fitting scripture for this beautiful spot in the woods where John David played as a boy.
I am so thankful that God sends "springs of living water" into the valley times in our lives. This year has been filled with much sickness and the death of my father-in-law and my oldest brother. Several friends have also passed on since the beginning of 2013. But in the midst of it all, God has made His presence very real. He has not failed us! He will not fail us! He is our Source of life and strength!
Good things have happened, too! We have enjoyed wonderful times with our grandchildren, taken a few short road trips, and enjoyed some restful days. Family and friends add joy to our lives, and we realize just how blessed we are. So many - some of you bloggers - are carrying much heavier loads. Life has its ebbs and flows, but we remember Who is in charge. "Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand. But I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand." And I know that His grip is better and more secure than mine!
I have not blogged much at all recently, but I am not leaving blogging behind permanently. So at any time I may pop in again! Have a blessed summer!
did not plan this picture; in fact, I had forgotten that Daniel, a local pastor, faithfully carries the Cross up and down the streets of our town on Good
Friday. So, I was abruptly taken aback for an instant when he suddenly
came into our view as we stopped at an intersection yesterday. I like the way the pic turned out. Can you think of a more symbolic
icon of American culture than McDonalds? And notice the American flag.
I am reminded that Jesus
walks among us - faithfully . . . oh, so faithfully. To those of us who
have accepted Him as our Saviour, He says, "Stay close to me . . .
listen to Me . . . trust Me . . . obey Me . . . share Me." And to those
who do not yet know Him, He pleads, "Come unto me . . . I will give you
rest . . . invite me in . . . repent . . . find life."
I can't think of a better time to draw closer to Him, the One who carried our sins all the way to Calvary!
I was struck by the intense emotions portrayed in this unique sculpture in Galveston, TX, along the beautiful Seawall. In 1900 more than 6000 residents of Galveston Island were killed in the great storm that swept across the island. This beautiful piece honors those who lost their lives and those who began work the next day to rebuild Galveston.
I am reminded that we still need to reach up when storms come into our lives.
Love my "new" birdfeeder . . . and the birds do, too!!
Note to my blogger friends: Are any of you having trouble with Blogger? I am very frustrated! I am not able to change the format on some elements of my blog . . . such as fonts and color on my blog title. Any suggestions? I'd like to resume blogging but not until I can make everything work again.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
~I Cor. 13:4-8~
I am once again amazed at how God works! I published the above post, returned to my blog, looked across to the sidebar and read these words from "Bible Verse for the Day" (and I'm putting them here because they will change tomorrow): “And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I
carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will
deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:4) (Read by Max McLean. Provided by The Listener's Audio Bible.)
Sixteen-year-old granddaughter Emily and her family live near the Gulf Coast and have been pounded with rains and winds. Thankfully, they are safe! Yesterday she posted these words on her Facebook:
Joy (noun)- Dancing and spinning and giggling like a three-year old in the middle of a hurricane, barefoot and sopping wet, with rain pouring down and floodwater up to the scar in the middle of your shin, while your brother and sister are splashing and running and jumping and laughing around you... and realizing you haven't smiled this widely and this long in days. :) ♥
And as I smiled, I thought: I think there is a sermon or song or two, an analogy, a lesson in those lines!
I think the song has already been written! Thanks, Deron, for bringing it to my attention again this week: And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
Em's definition is a wonderful symbolic picture of dancing in the rain . . . in the storms of life. And we all have them in varying sizes,
intensities and durations.
I'm reminded that:
a "dancing-in-the-middle-of-a-hurricane" attitude is a choice
you have to risk getting wet
some will shake their heads at your attitude and actions
having a family "celebrate" with you always helps
you may be reminded of previous storms as the water sloshes
around your "scars"
"scars are a sign of healing"
feelings of joy run deep and don't depend on weather forecasts and surrounding floodwaters
joy splashes onto others
I also know that I must not be critical of those who have not yet been able to "praise You in this storm." I'm certainly not the poster child for this kind of faith, but I'm leaning and learning!
I'm thankful that "I know the Master of the winds. I know the Maker of the rain." And by way, Em knows Him, too - in a very real way!
In spite of anything and everything swirling around me,
I know that He is in control.
We followed our son's black Suburban over 4000 miles through 12 states! It was the best of times! I took this pic as we were leaving "our home" near Jackson, Wyoming, with our hearts full of gratitude for God's blessings and presence as we enjoyed His incredibly awesome creation. I'll be sharing more of my photos in the days ahead.
I'd like to share something I read this morning that spoke to me. It's too good not to share!
Hebrew word "fast" means to cover the mouth. In fact, a fast of words
is one of the fasts in Isaiah 58. Isaiah 58:9b lists not pointing
fingers in judgment and not speaking malicious words as conditions of
great blessings. Sylvia Gunter remembers the first time
God led her to fast for 40 days of all negative, complaining, critical,
and judgmental words. She wrote in a recent devotional, "About two
weeks into my fast, I was treated haughtily at a store. As I left the
store, I said to myself, 'I'll just take my business elsewhere. That is
the second time she has had an attitude with me.' "Immediately
I heard in my spirit, 'No, you are the one with the attitude.' I
wanted to fall to my knees on the sidewalk, crying out, 'I am so sick
of me!' I know how Isaiah felt when he told God, 'Woe is me! I am
ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of
unclean lips' (Isa. 6:5). O God, take a coal from the altar and purge this wicked heart of mine.
God showed me that He was dealing with a root of pride (Isa. 57:15, 1
Peter 5:5-6). I was puffed up, with no sense of my own spiritual need. "I
struggled for a while in this fast of words in what felt like
hand-to-hand warfare, but God softened and sweetened my heart. After
that season, I felt like a dog in a yard with an invisible electric
fence. Every time I opened my mouth to say anything critical, I would
get a zap from my loving Father. I reviewed my prayer notebook and was
amazed at how many Scriptural insights God gave me during that time. God
was being faithful to reveal more of Himself. "Ask God
if He is leading you to do a forty-day fast of critical, judgmental,
negative, complaining, gossiping words. You may be amazed what God
will do through it." Thank You, Jesus, for helping us guard our thoughts so that our words also please You. "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).