Thursday, April 28, 2011
There is a theory that was written about how we receive love; our love languages. I determined that mine were verbal or written affirmations of affection and spending time with me.
By those admissions I spent the day receiving and giving love to this little one. We were carrying on a tradition of new babies getting photographed in many different hats. The lass cooperated brilliantly,
not only with wonderful poses and gestures, but full of smiles and coos. If we were not already madly in love, we certainly sealed the deal today. It is a precious gift to establish fun traditions that take time with each other to accomplish. I am the Gram with the cam, I am. ...and she is the latest ham in the fam, she is!
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
2 Cor. 9:15
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I was excited to get these Indian blankets, wine cups, and campions in different stages of maturing. I get to see the lifespan of maturing flowers when I am out in the field. It makes me think about how Christ is helping us with our personal growth as we lean into his will. I want to be pleasing to my God in my thoughts and deeds. Needless to say, I fall short many times a day, Thank you, Lord, for your grace and mercy!
I had a friend tell me that she looks through the cross to everything she says and does. A very good visualization to practice! That effort will save much regret. Another tidbit of wisdom I try to practice is having restraint of pen and tongue. Again, this will save me and others much misery!
We will all have a little talk with Jesus. We reap what we sow. Makes me sweat a little! But I know above all that He loves me; that accounting will not leave me less loved, but cleaned up. I need to be concerned about my own behavior in word and deed; my own story. I long to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" We will all go through different stages as we mature. No one has been perfect but One.
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Sometimes we get so weighted down by circumstances that we cannot seem to see even a ray of hope on the horizon. Perhaps our finances are in the dumpster or we are fighting an addiction or illness. Maybe our marriage is in trouble or we have not been able to find work. Perhaps our spirits have become so dry that we are doubting the very existence of our heavenly father. But it is important, nonetheless, to not lose sight of the fact that there is nothing too hard for God. Even if things seem hopeless, with God all things are possible.
Sometimes I forget the rest of the story of Jesus. He was born of a virgin, he died on the cross, rose again from the dead, and IS COMING BACK AGAIN! When I see powerful rays like this in the sky I expect him to come bursting through any second.
Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
You may be thinking that I have too much time on my hands to be playing out in the wildflowers with stuffed animals. I have been thinking the opposite: that I need to seize the days while the flowers are blooming, because they will be seeded or mowed shortly to make way for the dry, wilted days of Texas summer. I get a kick out of collecting fun characters at garage sales and sticking them in the flowers. Call me crazy, but their personalities, though only fabrications, seem to be joyful in the flowers. I know I am happy, feel close to God, my imagination is fired, and my thinking is catapulted to peaceful and spiritual things. I hope by the capturing of their playfulness and happiness that some of that joy will be passed on to you as encouragement to guard your thoughts and practice being pure and happy. I remember a little jingle that advised, "don't worry, be happy!"
I have used the example before of a person telling you "Don't think of the color, BLUE." Well, of course something blue pops into your head. Being proactive, you might use a positive statement of "THINK of the color, PURPLE." The WORD of GOD gives us a similar course of action: the Philippian hymn in Ch. 2 starts out, "Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus!" Wow, how on earth can anyone do that? Actually, in a couple more chapters we get proactive suggestions about how to do it. We are advised in Ch. 4:8-9 to think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, and elegant. Think about the things you have received and heard from God or seen in him and put them into practice. His peace will be with you.
Those who are pure in their thinking are happy,
because they will be with God.
Monday, April 25, 2011
At the end of our sunrise service yesterday we were scattered in the wildflowers waiting for the sun to rise. I ventured out to the church property again this morning to take some pictures of the gorgeous and varied wildflowers. The Indian blankets were especially varied and colorful.
As I wandered through the wildflowers I began to sense that I was not alone. A bear here, a kitty there, a doggy in the distance. Before I knew it they were walking towards each other and gathering into a wonderful choir. I felt my heart full of gratitude as well when I heard their beautiful rendition of a St. Frances of Assissi hymn.
ALL CREATURES OF OUR GOD AND KING,
LIFT UP YOUR VOICE AND WITH US SING
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Because of the contrast of light and darkness in the stormy sky this Easter evening I found myself looking up scriptures to see what I was led to share about the photos. I could see a star shape in one photo; a face in another. A few seemed to be showing warfare between light and darkness in the heavens; a very battle for our souls.
The good news about Easter is that Light/Life/Love wins. I love the scriptures I found in 1 John, and hope they will give you great joy and confirmation about Jesus and the resurrection, and a stirring up of gratitude for the greatest gift ever given. It was to me a testimony of repeating to us that fact that these men saw him, touched him, heard him, loved him. More than that, it was a reconfirming of his identity for all time and the reason for his becoming a man and dying for us.
1 John 1-7
That which was FROM THE BEGINNING, which WE HAVE HEARD, which WE HAVE SEEN WITH OUR EYES, which WE HAVE LOOKED AT and OUR HANDS HAVE TOUCHED~~this we proclaim concerning the WORD of LIFE. The LIFE appeared, WE HAVE SEEN IT and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the ETERNAL LIFE, which WAS WITH THE FATHER and HAS APPEARED TO US. We proclaim to you what WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD, so that YOU ALSO may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the FATHER and with HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST. We write this to make our joy complete.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: GOD IS LIGHT; in him THERE IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL. if we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk IN THE LIGHT, as HE IS IN THE LIGHT, we have fellowship with one another, and THE BLOOD OF JESUS, HIS SON, PURIFIES US FROM ALL SIN.
I hope this Easter yielded deepening of your faith and a recommitment to a spiritual union with the LIGHT and LIFE of Jesus. He sacrificed himself to atone for the sins of the whole world.
HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE THE FATHER HAS LAVISHED ON US THAT WE SHOULD BE CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD! John 3:1
We no longer need to fear death because He has overcome it, and we can look forward with confidence to a future with Him. There is no fear in love; we love because he first loved us. God has given us eternal life in His son, Hallelujah!
Saturday, April 23, 2011
These photos are some of my favorite 'threes' taken in the last few months. When I see beautiful threes I am reminded not only of Jesus between the thieves, but the end of the story to the crucifixion. Jesus is risen from the dead and goes to speak to many besides his disciples. He tells them that he must leave, but will send a Helper, Counselor in his name. He promises to leave his peace with them.
The beauty of the Holy Trinity is another one of my favorite threes: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We are blessed to approach God directly through the work of the cross. Indeed, God will live in us as Spirit. He has given us beauty for ashes.
Another favorite 'three' of mine is a marriage with God at its center. I am grateful to have such a one. God is our foundation that grows us in love for one another and others.
My favorite 'three' words are: I LOVE YOU! We know that we love because He first loved us. LOVE, true LOVE, is a fruit of the Spirit. So anything that is truly love is of God. Yes, what the world needs, NOW and ALWAYS...LOVE!
Friday, April 22, 2011
Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others~~~one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
I cannot see a lovely setting of three blooms, especially around Easter, without thinking of the three crosses at Golgotha. Both of the men framing Jesus on their crosses were robbers, and deserved this death according to law. However, one of the men asked to be remembered when Jesus came into His kingdom. The other continued to hurl insults. Yet, Jesus died for all of us; not just the ones present at his side and the crowds calling for his crucifixion a short time before. Every one of us, even not yet born. All God's children.
Jesus was severely beaten, humiliated, betrayed, and nailed to a cross between thieves. In that physical condition GREAT LOVE was still able to speak these words:
"FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING."
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I saw a cloud yesterday before the storm hit. It caught my attention right away because it looked to me like a pig flying. I drew my vision of how it could be a pig and included it with the photo. Now, the rest of the story as to why I posted the picture.
We had a wonderful time at Pastor's Bible Study on Monday night using our imaginations in dramatically speaking some lines of Jesus and Thomas in response to situations presented to them. One of the readings was about the healing of a boy with an evil spirit. The father of the afflicted boy asked 'IF' Jesus could do anything to help. Jesus replied, "If I can?" Hmmm, how do you think he might have said that? In contemporary terms might he have responded, 'Seriously?' He continued on to say "Everything is possible for him who believes," and healed the boy.
The other one poignant to me was Jesus appearing to Thomas, who had not been with the other disciples when Jesus came back after the crucifixion. The disciples had relayed to Thomas that they had seen the Lord. Thomas replied in a sort of "When Pigs Fly" fashion: "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." Yes, doubting Thomas.
A week later Jesus came and stood among them. He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
In what tone of voice do you think Thomas said that last remark?
Jesus did many other miraculous signs (When Pigs Fly sorts of unbelievable things, my insert) in the presence of his disciples
(Jn 20:30,) but these (examples) are written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
I took this photo a couple of days ago. I had just finished a banner for church that included the idea of the earth shaking as Jesus gave up his spirit. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (Matt. 27:50) He conquered death and brought us redemption through his work on the cross. This pink ripple was probably a jet stream that caught the sunset color and wind to make it appear as a torn curtain.
I often stop to gaze at cloud shapes that minister to me. I love to see rays of light or rainbows, storm clouds building, and sunrise/sunsets. I have enjoyed the shapes so quickly 'here and gone' with the help of the blowing wind. They are all wispy love letters that help to build my faith and gratitude.
I must admit great frustration at trying to find religious cards for Easter, even in Christian stores. They were far outnumbered by bunnies, chicks, and chocolate themes. But the true meaning of the holiday has often been overshadowed by the commercial boon to the economy in sales of gifts, candy, decorations and cards.
Having said all that, I also know that the meaning of Easter comes down to one word: LOVE. I have been getting the eggs filled for the Easter egg hunt for my grand children. It will be a joyful time to watch them find and count their eggs, eat a traditional meal together, love each other up, and celebrate the risen Christ.
I have been spending lots of time in the wildflowers and occasionally let the 'kids' out of the bag to play in the blooms. It gives a focal point to the flowers, a perspective on their size, and makes me smile. I am about spreading the hope and joy of the Lord through my blog. So forgive the bunnies and chicks in the flowers if you think they have strayed too far from the true meaning of Easter. I want to spread lots of smiles and a little joy of the Lord. It is our strength, and how we need it! Not much carries a more loving message to others than a laughing, smiling, cheerful Christian with contagiously joyful fruit of the spirit. SO SMILE and carry the message of LOVE so that they might know the LORD!
Monday, April 18, 2011
While out on the Bluebonnet Trails we spotted a few garage sale signs. Following one such sign led us off the marked trail and to an extraordinary private residence. From the posts at the entrance we saw thick fields of wildflowers alongside a beautiful curved road leading up to the house and out buildings. As we stood gazing in amazement at the gorgeous and lush mixture of wildflowers, the owner drove alongside us to enter her place. She stopped and welcomed us to drive into the property and up to the house to take pictures! How graceful and generous! There was a small pond in the distance, but we didn't tarry into the flowers and stayed on the edge to take some photos. She had also given us advice that the large patches and ponds attract copperheads and water moccasins. Yikes!
We had a plan, but the garage sale got us off OUR plan to a new and better road to discover a place we had never seen before in our Ennis wildflower travels. We try to lean in with watchful eyes and listening ears to hear God's voice as we seek his guidance on our trips. God will use things, in this case a garage sale (by the way we found a ski helmet for me for 5 bucks!), to get you into position with every turn for a teaching or blessing.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.