Friday, October 29, 2010

Keep Off the Fence!

Straddling a fence might be fun
For a short while if you're a child -
Especially if you're agile like Abby
And gymnastics is your style.

But straddling the fence spiritually
Is a dangerous place to be.
He asks us to make a choice -
It's life or death, you see.

He died that we may have life -
A life so full and free.
Can't you hear His gentle whisper?
"Get down. Come follow Me."
~G. Thaxton~

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
lyrics - Anonymous~

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Used Up

I've been reading one of my all-time favorite books - again.

We Really Do Need Each Other
by Reuben Welch is so full of practical truths that I need. In his unique writing style, Welch just lays it all out - plain and simple. With humor sprinkled throughout the book, he creates word pictures that all of us can relate to. The passage below is one that speaks to me when I'm tired . . . this passage and the Scripture that says: Be not weary in well doing for in due season you shall reap if you faint not. It was not a coincidence that that verse - on a tiny card - was tucked into Welch's book when I opened it yesterday. Then I read these words:
Sometimes I wonder what we are saving ourselves for . . .
You know, we want to
save ourselves
and keep ourselves
and hold ourselves back
as though the highest goal in life would be to look good
in our caskets.
It's no special blessing to come to the end of life with
love unshared
selves ungiven
activities unactivated
deeds undone
emotions unextended.
Isn't it God's intention that when we come to the end
of the line
we're just about used up?

Sometimes between now and then
we might as well be letting the candle burn
for the light
for the heat
for the warmth and sharing.
As long as we're going to live
and then die
we'd just better live for Jesus
and love and go ahead and let ourselves be used up.
Thought-provoking words for this almost-sixty-year-old retiree! But I think I get it: we're never retired from being Jesus to our hurting world. I may move at a slower pace and have to rest more often, and Satan may fight me harder than ever, but I plan to be "used up" when my life here is over!

No need to worry; I'll have a new body and mind then, and "tired" and "weary" won't even be part of my vocabulary!

Grace alone, which God provides,
Strength unknown He will provide.
Christ in us, our cornerstone,
We will go forth, in grace alone.
~Grace Alone
lyrics by Scott Brown & Jeff Nelson~

Monday, October 25, 2010

Turning to the Light

You have to
plant seeds
to get flowers

The opening
of petals
turning to
the light.

~Joyce A. Chandler~

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer,
That calls me from a world of care
And bids me at my Father's throne
Make all my wants and wishes known!
In season's of distress and grief
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter's snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer.
~Sweet Hour of Prayer - attributed to William W. Walford, 1772 - 1850~

Note: This photo shows one of the confederate rose blooms on a tree that is very special to me. Before he died with cancer, my brother Charles rooted stems from his tree and gave them to me to plant in my yard.
So these blooms are products of his effort and love.
His life is still blooming in mine!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's more than a Boy Scout motto . . .

Be prepared.
You're up against far more than you can handle on your own.
Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued,
so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet.
Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words.
Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life.
God's Word is an indispensable weapon.
In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.
Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters.
Keep your eyes open.
Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Ephesians 6:12-14
~The Message

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

His Smiling Face

I'm not a "morning person"!

I'm not at my best in the early morning hours - and I was never more aware of that than this morning! But I'm glad our Heavenly Father - the Creator of mornings and sunrises - never finds it difficult "to get going"! As I drove home from my FIL's house this morning, He showed up as always.

In the sunrise that peeked through the clouds . . .

In the yellow cheer that sways in the gentle breeze . . .

And in a four-word message via Facebook!

When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in my soul.
~Sunshine in My Soul
lyrics by Eliza E. Hewitt~

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Beauty in the Dust

An eighteen-wheeler lumbered noisily down the country dirt road,
And clouds of thick dust swirled in the late evening air.
But through the haze the sun's rays shone,
Creating beautiful effects through the trees.

Life is like that sometimes -
Dust-filled, hazy, stifling, in need of refreshing showers.
Then the Son shines through it all -
His Light creating beauty where there was none.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Scattering

Sooner or later what's inside will come out,
And others will see the real me -
Uncovered, no mask, just the stuff I'm made of.
My attitudes, my words, my actions -
Like seeds, will scatter into my world
And produce more of the same.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lift her high . . . let her wave . . .

(Click on pic to enlarge.)

Edited Tuesday, October 12
After watching our local news and the coverage of the funeral of a police officer, I may have an answer to your questions about what was occurring in this photo. As the funeral procession traveled through the streets of a nearby city today, the vehicles passed under a flag held by two cranes like these. I'm thinking that these fire trucks were in position waiting to honor the deceased, who must have been highly respected in this community. If that's the case, the photo takes on a whole new meaning.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Worn doesn't mean worthless . . .

I've never owned a cowboy hat, but I've heard that the more worn the hat is, the better it fits.

I've read that the traditional cowboy of the past spent time and effort creasing his hat and folding the brim just right. He took great pride in molding it to fit his head, and in time it softened and fit him perfectly. The scorching sun and pelting rain, sleet, and snow only added character to it. Because he spent hard-earned money purchasing his hat, it had to last a long time. Besides, along with with his boots and spurs, it was a prized possession. It became a part of who he was. Old and worn had nothing to do with its value!

In my life and yours, there are some things that could be described as "old and worn" yet are special to us. I thought of a few:
a favorite pair of old jeans
family pictures and old books
my old white Bible (which I dyed with black shoe dye!) that I read as a child
my falling-apart red leather Bible that I've used for years
old quilts made by family members and special friends
my daddy's old hair clippers
Mama's dishes and kerosene lamp
handmade cards and gifts from my two sons when they were small
the hands of a hard-working man or woman who has never been afraid to get
his/her hands "dirty"
the face of a loved one whose well-lived life is reflected on his/her face . . . every wrinkle and crease adding character
. . . and the list could go on and on . . .

And speaking of being worn . . . which of us hasn't felt just "worn out" at times? And as we age, we may be tempted to wonder if we're of much value anymore. But no matter our age, aren't you glad that God never sees us as worthless? God doesn't sort us out like we do old things; He doesn't have a "discard" or "throw away" pile!! The more years He gives us, the more time He has to mold us and shape us into His likeness.

And that's the ultimate treasure we have in these "earthen vessels" . . . even if they're old and worn - and some of them (us) with a few cracks!

O, how He loves you and me;
O, how He loves you and me . . .

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Memories at Dusk

Driving around in the pasture of one of his favorite uncles brought back special memories to John David. The weather was cool and crisp and dusk was just settling in as we puttered around in the "mule." It was the perfect time to think about the good times spent there. But I guess any time is the perfect time to remember the people and places that have influenced one's life.

"After all these years I can still hear his voice like it was yesterday. No matter what we were doing, he'd always say, 'Come on. Let's go get a sip of coffee.' " And off to the porch they'd go, unless it was winter. In that case they'd sit around the wood heater. There was always time to slow down and visit - and discuss hounds and hunting.

I read a quote recently in the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan that made me stop and think: Memories are wonderful, he wrote, but do you live differently because of them? That's something to think about, isn't it? And carrying it a bit farther, it's sobering to think that after I'm gone, my life will continue to impact others - in one way or another. How I live now will determine that.

Favorite places
Crumble and fall with decay
But not memories.

Influence lives on
Continuing to shape us
It's a timeless thing.