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Saturday, March 31, 2018



Friday Night
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
55 And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. 61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
Saturday
62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.
Today, let us grieve for what He suffered on our behalf. Let us grieve deeply and reverently, yet let us not grieve without hope. 

Because Sunday is coming . . . 

Shalom,


Friday, March 30, 2018

Inspired by . . . Holy Week: Good Friday


 


36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless[e] I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” (Matthew 26:36-46NKJV)
Jesus spent the night before His death in the garden of Gethsemane praying with His disciples. Or rather He was praying, they were sleeping. The bread and wine had grounded their bodies, the late hour made their minds sluggish. They were completely unaware of the spiritual battle surrounding them.

Jesus is in anguish as He prays. So much so that Luke tells us His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

When considering this part of the narrative how often to we miss the obvious fact that Jesus' prayer was not answered. Or more precisely, God said 'no.'

Clearly an affirmative from God is not based on our level of faith or righteousness. 

In fact, Oswald Chambers suggests the opposite:
'The Lord, when He has given great faith, has been known to test it by long delays."
Was there ever any chance that Jesus' prayer would be answered in the affirmative? I shudder to think of such a possibility.

We see the evil in our world now and think how bad it is - where is God in the midst of all this pain?

And yet it is His very hand that is restraining evil - giving those whom He created time to choose life eternal with Him rather than to live in darkness.
"You know, too, about the restraining power which ensures that he (satan) will be revealed only at his appointed time, for already the secret forces of wickedness are at work, secret only for the present until the restraining hand is removed from the scene. Then he will be revealed, the wicked one whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of His mouth and annihilate by the radiance of His presence." (2 Thess 2:6-8RE)
As Jesus knelt there in prayer, did He feel the ground tremor under the footsteps of the soldiers as they marched toward the garden? Did the man-Jesus fear the physical pain He knew He was about to endure, even as He submitted fully to His Father's will?

Let us not forget the significance of this truth: Jesus had a choice.

He chose to submit. He chose to die.

For you. For me.
Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. 51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish[f] by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”
Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled. (Matthew 26:52-56NKJV)
 Shalom,






Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Inspired by . . . Holy Week: Thursday



Maundy Thursday, as it is called. Maundy being from the Latin mandatum which means "commandment" and so named because of the new commandment Jesus gave to His disciples the night of His arrest.
31 So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. 32 If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately. 33 Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:31-35 NKJV)
Before this, John describes for us a peculiar scene:
2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. (John 13:2-5 NKJV)
It's a story some of us know well and as the verses unfold we are next told of Jesus', slightly humorous, discourse with Peter. This can distract from one truth that has always impressed itself hard upon my heart.

Jesus washed the disciples' feet.

ALL of the disciples.

What did our Lord feel when He touched the feet of His betrayer? The grief and disappointment must have been great. Yet Jesus loved him still.

What did Judas feel when Jesus knelt at his feet? We don't know for sure, however, since verse two tells us that he had already decided to betray Jesus it is likely that all he felt was scorn. He really did not want to accept this "gift" from Jesus. At this point, he had nothing but contempt for this do-gooder Who had set Himself up as God's Son.

Do these words cause you to shake your head? Unable to understand how Judas could have acted as he did, having known Jesus in the flesh. Or does your heart burn within you because his actions shed light on the truth of your own sin against God?

We have all failed Him.

Some of us are strong and determined to do things on our own. We may believe in Him but we don't need His help.

Some of us say we are unworthy of the gift He so freely gives. So we will not accept it.

Both responses are rooted in sinful pride.

Yet, just as He loved Judas in his sin, He loves us in our pride.

Some of us find it very hard to reconcile this kind of love. The kind of love that loves an enemy. We feel it is wrong somehow. That justice is not served.

But justice is served through this kind of love.

Because of the cross.

God's love, His mercy, His grace, HE is greater than any other force in all of creation.

Judas wasn't present when Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another as He had loved them. But we have received this command and are without excuse.

When we obey, when we love others as He has loved us, we become a conduit for the greatest power in all of the universe.

Take this truth with you into the darkness of the next two days.

Because Sunday is coming.

Shalom,




Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Inspired by . . . Holy Week: Wednesday





21 When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” 22 Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter, therefore, motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.25 Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. 29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.30 Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. It was night. (John 13:21-32NKJV)

***


By Wednesday of Holy Week, the conspiracy to kill Jesus is well underway. Judas' decision will give the religious leaders exactly what they need to make the arrest.

The last sentence in John's discourse says it all:

It was night.

There was a darkness in the heart of Judas that night. satan himself, we are told, entered into him.

Even with His foreknowledge, the betrayal of His friend must have been devastating to Jesus.

But Judas wasn't the only one. They all betrayed Him. Didn't they? Peter denied Him outright. The others all ran and hid, fearing for their lives.

They all betrayed Him in their own way. Didn't they?

Haven't we?

It is easy to look at Judas and judge him. Or look at Peter and judge him.

The truth is we have all betrayed Him in some way. All have denied Him at some point.

There is a night in all of our souls called sin.

But God.

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:8-10NKJV)
On Wednesday, the light begins to fade. Darker days are coming.

Will you be His disciple or will you be His executioner? There is no middle ground.

Shalom,







Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Inspired by . . . Holy Week: Tuesday




20 Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (John 12:20-26)
This passage of scripture has always been a little obscure for me. But with further study and prayer parts of it, at least, are becoming clear.

So here is the scene: Jesus is teaching, probably in one of the outer courts of the temple where anyone could come and listen to Him. And people do come. Jesus is surrounded, as He often was, by a throng of people. The scripture tells us that some who had come to listen were Gentiles (non-Jews). They apparently recognize Philip as one of Jesus' disciples and ask to see Jesus. Philip finds Andrew and they approach Jesus together and tell Him about the men who wish to see Him.

All very straightforward. You expect Jesus to answer their request. Either with a no, as He did to the Gentile woman in Mark 7 or a yes, perhaps praising their desire to come and worship God even though, as Gentiles, they would be shut out of most of the feasts, etc

Yet in true Godly fashion, meaning His ways are not our ways (!), Jesus does neither. In fact, He seems not to respond to the men's request at all. In truth, He does respond and when we shift our focus from looking for the human response to remembering Who Jesus is and why He came, His words become more clear.

These men may not have been Jews but they believed in God and had come to Jerusalem to worship Him. Travel in those days was no easy task. I think it's fair to assume that these men had to sacrifice to make the journey. They were not casual believers. 

They learned about Jesus and sought Him out. They desired to be acquainted with Him. In this way, and the way that they addressed Philip (Sir, in Greek kurios, a respectful title) they were showing Jesus honor.

Jesus responds by accepting that honor and foretelling of the honor that will be given Him and all who follow Him.

Can you imagine their joy upon hearing His words? To be accepted by Jesus and honored by the Father - as Gentiles it was far more than they could have hoped for!

John doesn't record their response most likely because Jesus is still speaking and a moment later a voice sounds from heaven! 
28 Father, glorify Your name.”Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
How is God's name to be glorified? By Jesus' death on the cross. 

Not only did Jesus conquer death, He redeemed (bought back) all men (Jews and Gentiles) to God. That is the great mystery revealed that Paul talks about in Ephesians 3.
3 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
As believers on this side of the cross, I think it may be hard for us to understand what it was like to believe and worship God and yet be shut out of the temple. No matter what they did, the Gentiles were forever unclean. 

The truth is, in that regard, nothing has changed.

No matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, we cannot fix or redeem our sin.

Only the blood of Christ can wash away our sins. Only through faith in Jesus Christ can we be reconciled (made right) with God.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Let us rejoice in this Good News that has glorified the Father and brought hope to all of mankind.


Shalom,






Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Monday, March 26, 2018

Inspired by . . . Holy Week: Monday




Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for Him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with Him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples (he who was about to betray Him), said, "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, "Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me." When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of Him but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. (Joh 12:1-11)

Mary didn't know what she was doing. She was simply responding with love from the depths of her soul to this Man Who had changed her life. 

Changed her life and asked for nothing in return.

Mary felt the reality of the cross within herself before it ever happened.

Have you ever wept at His feet? Poured out something you held in great value simply as an offering to Him?

Because of what He's done for you.

Shalom,


Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Sunday, March 25, 2018





11 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; 2 and He said to them, “Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. 3 And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.”
4 So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. 5 But some of those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?”
6 And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it. 8 And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna!‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father DavidThat comes in the name of the Lord!Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:1-11NKJV)
*** 
12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?”13 And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him.14 Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.”16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover. (Mark 14:12-16NKJV)

***

I'm struck, in these two passages of scripture, by Jesus' words. "Go, and you will find." "Go, and a man will meet you." The disciples do not seem surprised at the way their needs are met. After being with Jesus for three years they have grown so accustomed to the Lord's provision that they barely notice it happening.

Water turns to wine. A fish opens its mouth and a gold coin appears. Baskets are suddenly filled with bread and fish, enough for five thousand. Miracles of provision.

But in the passages above we see God working through ordinary men. The colt has an owner who is suddenly willing to allow two strangers to walk away with his animal. You wonder if the men looked at each other as the colt disappeared into the crowd and wondered, "What just happened here?" Were they in the crowd that shouted "Hosanna!"?

Yet, it is the provision of hospitality provided by the homeowner that really speaks to my soul. The man had a large upper room sitting vacant. We're not told why. Perhaps his family and friends that usually came up to Jerusalem for the Passover could not come that year and so the room remained empty. 

I wonder, did the disciples assume that Jesus had simply made prior arrangements with the man? Possible. But unlikely. Up until the triumphant entry, Jesus had been keeping away from Jerusalem and the evil plots of the Jews. He couldn't pick up a phone and call the homeowner, or send him a letter. And, if He had sent a follower in ahead of them to make arrangments the disciples would not have had to ask Him.

Somehow, God impressed upon the homeowner the need to prepare the room. Perhaps in a dream. Perhaps during his daily prayer time. I wonder what his servants thought as he carefully prepared a table for thirteen men to eat the Passover meal. Did they think he was crazy like Noah, building an ark when it had never rained? Or did the homeowner simply tell that someone important was coming?

We don't know the details. But we can imagine what it must have been like for the man. He was setting the table by faith. He likely realized it was for the Passover meal, given the time of year. But he likely had no idea WHO was coming to dinner.

Imagine his surprise and delight when Jesus showed up at his door! Of course, it is possible that his joy was laced with fear. After all, if the Pharisees found out he was hosting Jesus and His gang they would turn him out of the synagogue.

The man may have paid a steep price for his obedience.

Why does this man's, seemingly insignificant, act speak to my soul? Because:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10)
God has a purpose for us. And it is directly related to our relationship with Him. It's not about putting food on the table or climbing the corporate ladder. It's not even about enjoying this amazing creation He has designed for us. These things may be part of our lives and that's all fine. But Jesus didn't suffer and die on a cross so that we could have these things or so that we could be happy.

He suffered and died because He loves you and wants to have a relationship with you for eternity. 

God is all about building His kingdom. Saving souls, redeeming lives. Every time He acts, moves, or blesses, it is all about bringing one more lost sheep into the fold. 

The 'good works' He has prepared for us to do, they accomplish the same goal.

We can make His blessings and provisions about us, and we often do. But they aren't about us. They are about Him, revealing His character and glory.

The Jewish homeowner reminds me to listen. What is God asking me to do? To prepare?

The Jewish homeowner reminds me to obey. Even when it might not make sense to me or those around me.

Sometimes there is a price to pay when we obey Jesus. Nevertheless, obedience always brings a blessing.

And you never know when the Lord Himself may show up at your door!

Shalom,






Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 12:52


Better late than never, I hope. It's been a crazy busy week.

The big news around here is nesting and bathing!

The wrens are determined little folk. But make poor nesting choices. Perhaps that is why the males build multiple nests before the pair makes a final selection.

They are attracted to any and all equipment on our property. The bed liner on our pickup has four holes, one on each corner. This year they nearly had the nest complete before I caught them. I had to put rocks in the hole until my Dreamer and I could come up with a better solution. He needs to keep the holes accessible in case he has to tie something in the bed, so filling them in isn't an option.





They get an A+ for determination. The pair spent a long time pecking at the rock and talking to each other about how to gain access to their nest!



The other big news is the new water fountain, ahem, birdbath. I bought one that I hoped would attract the hummingbirds. It's working!  I haven't been able to catch the hummers on film yet but the lesser goldfinches are loving it, too! I need to add a few more river rocks to give them places to perch.





There are signs of spring inside and out. I'm enjoying a bouquet of tulips and had some photoshop fun to show them off. Enjoy!




What are you seeing through your lens this week?


Have a wonder-filled week, friends!

PS "on film" did you catch that? A nearly archaic term. In another ten years, kids will be Googling what it means!

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, March 15, 2018

Inspired by . . . Winter's Growth


I thought it might be a little difficult to continue writing about Winter once Spring started to make her appearance. But then, two noreasters blew through the eastern states and this morning I woke up to 32 degrees and frosty windows! I know that many of you have snow for the first time all winter.

Spring can be a tease and Winter a hard taskmaster. We can experience similar seasons in our spiritual lives. Just when we think we're ready to zoom and bloom, God tells us to slow down and wait.

Unlike snow and ice that gives no thought to what it might destroy in its wake, God's timing is always perfect - - seeking only our good. Rather than be frustrated when God asks us to wait, we should view the time as an opportunity for growing in faith and seeking deeper communion with Him. [click to tweet]

Our culture has taught against this but waiting is a gift, an opportunity to invest our "talents" wisely until the Lord returns. (Matthew 25:18-30)

My flower beds don't look like much right now; brown dirt and dead leaves. 



It's only when I rake away the dead leaves that I can see the growth underneath. During the long wait of winter, the perennials have rested, dormant, waiting. Their growth hidden beneath the ground and decaying leaves.



Our spiritual growth can be like that sometimes. We don't always realize how God is equipping us until the challenge (good or bad) appears. In my own life, I've found that God is often working most profoundly during those times when I feel the weakest - - when I am most unaware. Those slow and restful walks down from the mountaintop experiences prepare us to cross the valleys below. [click to tweet]

It is important to remember that the valleys are not always dry, harsh places of pain and wandering. Often they are valleys of vision. A place where God speaks to us and gives us words and works to share with others. (Eze 3:22) Sometimes they are valleys of strength where God provides rest and refreshment. (Psalm 84:6-7)

No matter which valley you find yourself traveling in today, I hope that this season of spring with its tender shoots of new growth will be a reminder to you that God is working. He's working quietly in our lives and in the world around us. 

His work is a redeeming work of mercy and grace. A work of rendering broken hearts and making them whole again; preparing them to walk in another valley one day. It is a valley wide and deep with little bands of pilgrims scattered here and there. All of them walking beside the river of the water of life. A river that shines as bright as a crystal flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb. (Rev 22)




I hope to see you there.


Shalom,


Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 11:52



Texas is known for its unusual weather but even this forecast is a little ridiculous.



The temps have actually cooled again this week. We did have one, very warm day this past weekend and it was enough to encourage this little guy to stop and say hello!



I hope to see more of them soon! 

I haven't been able to confirm any nesting sites yet but there continues to be a lot of activity at the feeders and around the yard.



The gold-fronted woodpeckers love the peanut suet!

A flock of meadowlarks have been hanging around for the last week or so. Finally, finally, I was able to get some decent shots of these elusive, flighty birds!

These were taken in the brightness of the morning sun and were a bit challenging to edit but I think they came out fair enough. Best of all, you can see the bird's beautiful markings.






What are you seeing through your lens this week?


Have a wonder-filled week, friends!




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, March 8, 2018



There were only two Souls walking around the cemetery that day. My Dreamer and me.

Far from being a place of macabre, for me, the cemetery is a place of peace and tranquility. Of shelter and protection.

There is nothing sacred in ashes and bone. Nothing divine or holy resides in this place. Yet, what remains should be kept safe and free from defilement.

The part of us that is sacred, that part that has been set apart and sanctified, does not linger once it is released from the bounds of this earthly body. It immediately seeks its true home, complete in Christ. That which we knew in part has finally become whole.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1Co 13:12)
Some have a different view. They come and speak to the stones. They leave letters and trinkets. Little gifts of remembrance meant to comfort. 


Only the living are comforted. The dead remain.

We came searching for names. Sketching out the half-drawn branches on the family tree. As we walked, we remembered. And our memories brought the dead to life and clothed them in story. Each name fleshed out in a place and time. A blessing. A tragedy. A life well-lived.

Our lives may be just a vapor but they have a purpose. When we live for Christ we leave His divine imprint on every life we touch.

The seeds of faith are planted, or watered, or fertilized.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (1Co 3:6)

Remembering is like stirring the potpourri.  Our words release the scent of blessing again to another generation.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. (2Ti 1:5)



We honor the dead by telling their stories and in the telling, we bestow a blessing on those who will listen.

Who has left a divine imprint on your life?


Blessings,



Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace