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Monday, October 31, 2016

Inspired by . . . October: a look back

October is my golden month. The only month of the year when I consistently get to enjoy the sunrise. It's almost enough to make a morning person out of me. 



Almost.

This year October was about returning and resting. Having just arrived home from a month-long trip to take my dad home we needed time to settle in and regroup. I missed participating in #write31days but not taking the challenge this year was the right decision.

Instead, I nested and rested. Mums and pumpkins and happy little pansy faces make any home, even a temporary one, a joy to which to return.




Days filled with responsibilities were sandwiched between mornings and evenings spent savoring this life.

Soul food: a new bible study from #wordwriters is growing my faith
"When we spend time with Him, we know God better by being in His presence."
Self-care: two of my loves, embroidery, and creative coloring provide time to rest and reflect

Home-building: my Dreamer has the "hill" prepared and the ground leveled and ready for the foundation of our new home

Kinship: connecting with all of you, sharing our struggles and our passions is an inspiration and encouragement

Words: Christie Purifoy's Roots & Sky sat on my shelf for months before I cracked the spine. Somehow I sensed her words would speak to me and so I waited for just the right time. Her story begins with Autumn. And Autumn was the perfect time to begin my journey into her pages.
"I am convinced the world is saturated with meaning. We trample messages like scattered leaves beneath our feet. If only we have eyes to see them. Ears to hear them."
More Words: for the last several months a dear friend and I have been reading through Jerry Bridges book The Discipline of Grace. If the concepts of grace and discipline seem antithetical to you, then I recommend you pick up a copy of this expositional book. Reading and discussing the content with a friend is an added bonus!
"Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace."
Linking up with Mona's Picturesque for A Month In Photos


“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, 
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!” 
~Humbert Wolfe


When you look back at your October
what do you see?

Blessings,





Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Nature Notes, Through My Lens, Life thru the Lens,
Our World TuesdayCommunity Global, Photo Friday,
Little Things Thursday

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 43:52

My IG feed is overflowing with autumn grandeur.

fiddlejill is gifted with the art of capturing the essence of a fallen leaf. back.road.ramblers teases me with bold pictures of my {former} New England home and jodyo52's prose and pictures radiate the soul of the season.



My view of the season is different. Autumn comes slowly and softly to southern Texas. Some might argue it never comes at all. But the birds and the butterflies tell a different story.



Nature isn't stagnant. She's constantly moving to the rhythm set out for her before time began.




The days shorten. The flowers fall to seed. Birds and butterflies move southward stopping here and there along the way to enchant and delight us.



The only crimson in my world may be found on the occasional blade of grass but the breezes tell a story as they dance around the grassy heads. And if I listen I can learn.



The breezes hint of things Divine. They profess a Creator Who knows the name of the farthest star and understands the deepest desire of my inner heart.

The crimson blade calls to mind His blood. Shed for me. And for you. 



With that reminder, the shorter days seem a prelude to prayer. The cooling darkness a holy covering that surrounds us as we prepare our hearts for His coming.




The season of Advent, when all things begin anew.

Blessings,



Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Nature Notes, Through My LensSaturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 42:52
Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. (Gen 6:14-16)
For a man like Noah, living in a world that had yet to see a drop of rain, had no power tools, no electricity, this directive must have seemed insurmountable!

Far from being a simple children's story, the account of the building of the ark and the great flood is a breathtaking example of one man's faith and a glimpse into God's plan of redemption for all mankind.

And now, thanks to the Answers in Genesis project, you don't have to rely on your imagination any longer. A slice of pasture in Williamstown, Kentucky is now home to a life-size replica of Noah's Ark
This marvel of engineering is seven stories tall and is a football field and a half long. It is the largest timber-frame structure in the world, full of world-class exhibits designed to answer your questions about the biblical account of Noah’s Ark.
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Heb 11:7)

There is so much more to this structure than pegs and beams.





Once inside you experience the Greatest Story every told.




I was really not prepared for the quality and sheer volume of information presented. The why and how of the Ark are presented in detail.



Water, waste, you name it - they cover it. They explain which animals are included and why.



Signs like this one answer common questions:



Noah and his family are so palpable I kept waiting for them to turn and look at me, or say something. Actually, Noah did just exactly that!











Every aspect of life in the Ark was showcased.






Every detail tells it's own story.



But this encounter is about much more than a big boat and a flood. The exhibits inside take you through the history of the earth. They show you, from the fossil record, how the earth was formed and how she grew into the world we know today. These exhibits answer your questions and dispell your doubts.
And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded. Then the LORD shut the door behind Noah. (Gen 7:16)

Once God shut the door to the Ark there was no going back. What man can open a door God has shut?

Noah and his family probably didn't fully understand what was about to happen, even though they had been warned. They were completely dependent upon God to see them through.



Although God has given us His promise to never again send a flood to destroy the earth (Gen 9:11), there is a day of judgment coming. We have been warned, just as the people in Noah's day were warned.
For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Mat 24:38-39)
All the exhibits, Noah's family, the animals, the fossil record, all are fascinating and fun. But the powerful takeaway of the Ark Encounter is the Gospel - the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

Because we know that the flood did not restore righteousness and goodness to our world. Only One born of God, perfect and sinless in every way could do that - and He did.


 "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (Joh 3:16-18)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1Jn 1:8) There is a penalty (debt) for sin. That penalty (debt) is death. 

This, my friends, is the Good News: Jesus paid our debt. He bore the penalty of our sin, so that we might have life, life eternal.

The Ark Encounter is definitely worth the price of the ticket and the trip to northern Kentucky. 


@toddcravens

What Jesus offers is free
and you can receive it right where you are, right now.

Blessings,


Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty, Through My Lens,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the LensOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Friday, October 14, 2016

Inspired by . . . know your enemy

Know your enemy. 

While this adage may be key in the military world, it doesn't translate to the Christian life. In fact, scripture teaches just the opposite.
After the LORD destroys those nations, make sure that you don't follow their religious practices, because that would be fatal. Don't try to find out how they worship their gods, so that you can worship in the same way. (Deu 12:30)
God knows we're curious, particularly about spiritual things. After all, He made us that way! But God also knows how easily we can allow ourselves to be deceived. That's why His word is filled with warnings against occult activity and worldly worship. God knows that dabbling in such activities can quickly become an obsession and we can easily be ensnared by the enemy's schemes.

Success doesn't determine truth. Krista Williams, First5.org

God even warns that some of the false prophet's dreams may come true. 
"Prophets or interpreters of dreams may promise a miracle or a wonder, in order to lead you to worship and serve gods that you have not worshiped before. Even if what they promise comes true, do not pay any attention to them. The LORD your God is using them to test you, to see if you love the LORD with all your heart. (Deu 13:1-3)
This warning applies to even seemingly innocent things like your daily horoscope (which has been strangely on target lately?) or a fun game with the ouija board. If you believe yourself to be a strong Christian, strong enough to engage the enemy and inquire into the realm of darkness, know this: he has already bewitched you!

No one can stand against the enemy except God Himself.

Not even the chief angel Michael did this. In his quarrel with the Devil, when they argued about who would have the body of Moses, Michael did not dare condemn the Devil with insulting words, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (Jud 1:9)

These warnings are not just for the nation of Isreal about Old Testament prophets. Take heed of what Paul warns us in 2 Thessalonians:

The Wicked One will come with the power of Satan and perform all kinds of false miracles and wonders, and use every kind of wicked deceit on those who will perish. They will perish because they did not welcome and love the truth so as to be saved. (2Th 2:9-10)
So what are we to do to protect ourselves? The same thing we do to protect ourselves from all sin:

Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's evil tricks. (Eph 6:11)

  • Protect your mind by reading God's word. Fill your heart and mind with His truth.
  • Continually seek to live your life in obedience to His word
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance, checking every message you hear against the truth of God's word
Remember, the enemy often comes clothed as an angel of light. In other words, these things will look good and sound good but in reality, they will turn your heart away from Jesus. 


So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground. (Eph 6:13)

Blessings,



Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty

Monday, October 10, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 41:52



Up over mountains, down into valleys, through tunnels and over bridges, thousands and thousands of miles of iron track snake through our country from east to west and north to south.

When the first tracks were laid with blood, sweat, and tears in the early 1800's it was the beginning of the transportation revolution. Although the railroads grew gradually at first, they produced rapid growth of cities and towns; some of which are only ghost towns today.

By the mid-1900's the railroads were experiencing their heyday and would forever be a symbol of America's progress.

For most of us, the iron horses have faded far from our daily lives. Yet, whenever we hear that whistle blow we're transported back in time.



Railway museums like The Historic Railpark in Bowling Green, KY help keep the romance of the rails alive for the next generation. The museum is housed in the L&N Depot and includes tours of the E-8 engine and five rail cars.

My favorite, hands down, was the Railway Post Office car (RPO). It was the first time my Dreamer and I had ever seen one and it really is a neat piece of history.




This particular rail car's history was made all the more endearing by the story of Owney, Mascot of the Railway Mail Service. Owney traveled all over the US and even to Asia and Europe on trains and steamships protecting the mailbags. In the US he was considered a good luck charm as no train Owney rode was ever in a wreck.


Source
Touring the old rail cars is interesting but it's the human (and canine) aspect that really brings history to life!




While it may be the romance of the rails that draws us in, it's important we don't gloss over the, sometimes, harsh realities of our nation's history. What I appreciated about this museum was that it presented all aspects of life on the rails. From the rich socialites to the hobos to the black servants employed by the railways, the museum shared their stories.



I believe the stories from our past, sometimes heartwarming, sometimes tragic are vital to our future.




Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. 
~George Santayana

What part of history fascinates you the most?

Have a wonder-filled day,

In an effort to honor Lisa's Autumn Colors Photography Challenge, I'm sharing a pic of these mini pumpkins, textured with Kim's autumnburst texture.

Happy Fall, y'all!
#ColorsofAutumn_Pumpkin


Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Inspired by . . . what's your idol ?


The black Ford rolled up, blocking my view. "Why does he have to park there, anyway?" I grumbled under my breath. "Like I really want to look at that while I'm doing my morning devotions? Not exactly the serene, peaceful setting I was hoping for." I continued grumbling to myself.

I sat down, opened my bible and tried to ignore the black elephant in my dooryard. Funny, how being in the Word softens our spirit and brings clarity.

"He's been parking there for years," I chided myself, "He's not doing it to irritate you."

The engine roared and the truck rolled away leaving a view of trees and rolling hills in its wake. Ah, the peaceful setting for which I had been hoping!



Moments later my phone chimed with the First 5 app.

"God does not tolerate divided affection."  ~Whitney Capps

The topic this morning is No Place for Idols, Deuteronomy 7:5-6

For us, it's probably not about worshipping images of other gods. Idol worship today is much more subtle and just as dangerous as it was back then. Ask yourself, is there anything in my life that I desire more than God, or even desire as much as I desire God? 

As I prayed for God to help me identify the idols in my own life a deep conviction settled over my soul.

Have I made peace an idol? Is having peace in my life more important to me than God?

"Of course not!" was my immediate response. The natural urge is to brush these convictions away. Shrug them off. Ignore them.

But what if it were true?

I value peace. I seek it. Mostly I seek it through Him. And this is good. But remembering my response to the black Ford made me wonder - Am I seeking peace above seeking Him?
But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." (Luk 10:40-42)
What is my response when I don't get the peace I seek? Am I fretting over many things, instead of first sitting at His feet?  Have I forgotten that He will give me a peace that surpasses all understanding even when - - maybe especially when - - my world is in chaos?
...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Php 4:6-7)

Lord, help us to identify the idols in our lives. Give us the will and the strength to bravely destroy them, rather than ignore them. May we first seek Your face, knowing that only when we have clothed ourselves with Your righteousness can we face the battles of this life. In Jesus name, Amen.


Shalom,

Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty