Tag Archives | Life Lessons

More Than Music & Bread

“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me: Your mercy, O Lord, endures for ever:
forsake not the works of your own hands.” Psalm 138:8

I sit here to write with a grateful heart and find it hard to put words to my thoughts.
The Lord is faithful to continue His work in me. His mercy does endure!
And no, He never does forsake His people, the work of His hands.

*****

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“When all is written and sung,
When all is sung or said,
It is only God who is really food,
It is only Love that is bread!”
~Ruby Weyburn Tobias

This month Phil and I celebrated seven years of marriage!
We were able to spend a long afternoon and evening
out doing a variety of fun and necessary things,
thanks to his mom offering to keep our children.

Everything we did was great,
but what impressed me most about the day had more to do with who I was with,
and how much fun it was to have fun together and to be in love with him! :)

Without making it sound like we’ve had major marriage issues (because we haven’t),
I’d just say that the year of building a house, career changes and holding two jobs,
and sometimes just becoming too weary or selfish in our own interests
to pursue and serve each other as we should . . .
results in less than you’d hope for in the day to day
of being married to the love of your life.

{Please tell me I’m not the only one who knows what I’m talking about,
’cause I feel a little vulnerable putting this out there . . . }

And I don’t know how it is exactly that you get through
to the other side of a dry spell
and can experience grace and mercy
and love and friendship
and romance and fun better than ever before,
but I suspect it’s the Lord and His work in us . . .
mostly that of reminding this wife to lighten up a little
and have fun and to smile and laugh,
(Thank you, Debi Pearl~again)
and to be her man’s greatest cheerleader,
even if and especially when circumstances and schedules
and things beyond our control are not exactly perfect.

 img_0196{Dinner at Annie Bailey’s in Lancaster.
Our first time there, but hopefully not our last.
Excellent, excellent food.}
img_0191{Perfect summer night at a favorite cafe for dessert & coffee,
and interestingly enough, established the year we were married.}

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“Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread.”
~Conrad Aiken

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So to say that I’m thankful for this man,
our marriage, our children,
and the life He has given us,
is really an understatement.

We are living rich and full days now . . .
they seem like the best days of our lives in many ways!
But as one Christian speaker recently said,
Because of Jesus in our lives, and the hope He gives,
Our best days are never behind us . . .
With Him at the center of our lives,
unity and oneness in marriage continue to deepen.
We can look optimistically into the future,
and believe with confidence
that the best days and years of our lives are still ahead! :)

And that is a beautiful thing.

 

Snow Falling. Prayers Rising.

Outside the sky is dark & gloomy.
But it’s not the sky that worries me.
It’s the dark and gloomy attitudes
right here within that trouble me most.

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The predicted storm has some in a stir,
but all I want it to be stirred to love Him more.
To see the selfish and sinful in my heart
blown away by a mighty rushing wind!

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And though nature around me
speaks of cold winds
and harsh existence
and things that have died
and covered over,
I know that life,
though dormant now,
lies just beneath that layer of cold.

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So I hold to that knowledge
and hold to the hope
that just beneath the layer
of hard cold in my life,
there is a heart He is waiting to revive.

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Nature has to wait for Spring,
But I can, right now,
turn to the only Life that I know . . .

I pick up the Word,
allowing ancient words to speak for this day.
I rehearse again the Roman words
I’m attempting to hide in my heart.
And we sing the faith in beautiful hymns . . .
and hold on to the hope
that He who promised is Faithful . . .
That His words never fail,
That He will perfect the things that concern us,
That even in my imperfection, He will shine through.
To my neighbors, my friends, and miracle of miracles,
perhaps even to my own family!


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So I whisper to Him this morning . . .
“Father,
My eyes are dry
My faith is old
My heart is hard
My prayers are cold.

And I know how
I ought to be
Alive to You
and dead to me.

Oh what can be done
to an old heart like mine?
Soften it up
with oil and wine.

The oil is You,
Your Spirit of Love.
Please wash me anew
in the wine of your blood.”

*****

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do want the fresh faith,
the deep desire for His presence,
the soft heart that He can use to love
the ones around me,
especially the ones I step on
and trip over every day
because they’re literally hanging out
so close to me!!

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He is the Source. And so I ask Him.
How glorious it would be to
really see His light blazing through my life today!

As my friend Barb so often quotes
from one of her sources,
“CHRISTIANS ADVERTISE DEITY”

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Advertise Deity.

What a thought.
What a sobering thought!
What a goal for this day!
To know that my little ones,
and my neighbor,
might not bump into Christ
in any other way,
except when they are with me.

Am I a good advertisement for Deity?

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These are a few of the truth words
that align my heart with His today,
that thaw out the cold
and allow His warmth to shine through.

“Set your mind on things above,

not on things on the earth.”

“Do not love the world or the things in the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth no rust destroys
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.”

“We walk by faith, not by sight.”

“We do not lose heart.
Even though our outward man is perishing,
yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”

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“For our light affliction, which is
but for a moment,
is working for us a far more exceeding
and eternal weight of glory,
while we do not look at the things
which are seen,
but at the things which are not seen.

For the things which are seen are temporary,
but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

“An inheritance incorruptible and undefiled
and that does not fade away is reserved in heaven for you.”

*****

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Last month during those beautiful snow days that we had back to back,
I was again amazed at the mystery and quiet and beauty of snow.
A couple of “snow” verses from Scripture came to mind,
and I wondered how many times snow is mentioned in Scripture.

Quite a few times, actually!
And not only is it mentioned,
but like most everything,
God uses the various aspects of His creation
as symbolism and word pictures
for greater truths He wants us to remember.

This link had a list of all the verses.
And here are just a few thoughts that I want to share
from christianshepherd.org

*****

HAST THOU ENTERED INTO THE TREASURES OF THE SNOW?
(Job 38:22)

As a symbol snow in scripture seems to speak of “whiteness” and “purity”.
In this way it is used  to describe the raiment of the Lord at His transfiguration (only in Mark 9:3),
the hair and the garment of  Him as a Judge in Dan. 7:9 and Rev. 1:14,
as well as the raiment of the angel at His resurrection (only in Matt. 28:3).

It is used, also, to show His cleansed people as pure and white when
their sins are washed in Jesus’ precious blood. (Isa. 1:18, Eph. 5:27, Rev. 1:5)

When we think of snow, it falls from Heaven pure and white (our new life).
There are no two flakes alike (like our fingerprints or D N A)
but they are all six sided figures or hexagons (six symbolizes man at his best).
A snowflake starts by forming on a piece of dust in the air and once it becomes heavy
enough it falls to the ground. When the snowflake melts the dust is left on the ground
and the ice evaporates into the atmosphere. Does this not make us think of ourselves?
Our Adam nature was created by God from dust and it will return to dust (Gen. 3:19),
but our new nature is eternal and we will all be changed at the rapture (I Cor. 15:51-55).

When snowflakes land on the earth,
they become one and form a blanket of snow (the one 
body, the church).
After snow settles on the ground it becomes contaminated and loses its whiteness.
It 
becomes contaminated both from above and below [wickedness in heavenly places (Eph. 6:12)
and the 
Church taking the character of the world (Rev. 2:13)].
Today the church has settled down and is not in 
keeping with its Heavenly character,
but in the end both His Heavenly and Earthly people will be made 
spotless. (Eph. 5:27) 

Would this be a little of what scripture means by the treasures of snow? Is it another part of
creation that is a pattern of Heavenly things (Rom. 1:20)?

~Christianshepherd.org~

*****

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O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer;
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
.
O to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wand’ring sinners to find.
.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer, others to save.
.
O to be like Thee! Lord, I am coming,
Now to receive th’ anointing divine;
All that I am and have I am bringing;
Lord, from this moment all shall be Thine.
.
O to be like Thee! While I am pleading
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love.
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit for a life which Thou wouldst approve.
.

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 This is my prayer ascending today.
To love Him and to be like Him.
Amen.

A Watchword for the Year

A word. One word to guide the year. A focal point. A goal. A watch word of sorts.

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It’s not original with me. And I don’t know who might take the credit for it. But I have learned it from Ann, and Crystal, and Sally. Women I have met and continue to watch, and whose lives are pure, holy inspiration to me.

The idea is described in this book, My One Word for the Year, that I have yet to read {it’s on my list!} though I believe Ann was talking about it long before the publishing of this book.  And maybe the idea really comes from the Creative One . . . our Creator . . . who finds names so important. Even perhaps, the naming of a year.

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The description of the book as found on Amazon reads like this, “The concept of My One Word is simple. Lose the long list of resolutions—all your sweeping promises to change—and do something about one thing this year instead of nothing about everything. Choose just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year. This single act will force clarity and concentrate your efforts. As you focus on your word over an extended period of time, you position yourself for God to form your character at a deep, sustainable level. Growth and change will result.”

Oh, I just love that!

"Lose the long list."
"Do something about one thing . . . instead of nothing about everything."

 

This is my third year to choose one word for the year. So in the last weeks and days of 2012, I began asking the Lord to help me focus and choose my “watch word” for 2013.

If you need a reminder on the definition of watch word, here is what dictionary.reference.com describes it as:

watch·word (noun)
1.a word or short phrase to be communicated, a challenge, to a sentinel or guard; password or countersign.
2.a word or phrase expressive of a principle or rule of action; slogan
3.a rallying cry of a party, club, team, etc.

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I love the thought about one word being a “challenge” or a “guard” or “rule of action”. How many times in my year do I need those exact things. Well, ok, I’ll admit it. I need those things daily! A challenging word to call me from bed in the morning, a guard word to keep my priorities focused through the minutes of the day, and a rule of action to live by when it’s just easier to let life slide instead of doing the next, right, purposeful thing.

In the last several months of 2012, two words were being impressed upon me~ two big things that I often find lacking in my own life, and consequently, our entire family suffers. That has become glaringly evident in this past, perhaps most stressful year of our lives to date. So those two words that were on my mind and are now written down as perhaps, watchwords number two and number three.

But this word grabbed my heart in a most unexpected way and in an unexpected place. I just knew as I sat there on that last Sunday of the year and heard this word brought to the congregation by one who has walked the walk and journeyed this Christian life a long while . . . that it was for me. It encapsulates desires and longings of mine. It is a command of sorts, a reminder.

Here are my favorite definitions of the word linger as found, once again, in dictionary.reference.com.

lin·ger [ling-ger] verb (used without object)
1. to remain or stay on in a place longer than is usual or expected, as if from reluctance to leave.
2. to dwell in contemplation, thought, or enjoyment: to linger over the beauty of a painting.
3. to walk slowly; saunter along.

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Linger and savor and stay a bit longer. Linger and bask in His love for me. Linger over and look long and take in the Words He has written to me. Hold them dear. Memorize them and breath them in prayer. Treasure them. May they linger in my mind and heart always . . .

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Out of that lingering with the Lord then will come the kindness and gentleness and unconditional love in action for my family that I want so much to be a characteristic of my life. Lingering long to sit across from my beloved as we sip our evening tea. Lingering to listen to his heart about all manner of dreams and hard things and valuing his opinion as dear as my own.

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Lingering to hold a child close and read just one more story when a thousand unimportant things are screaming calling to me. Looking into their eyes when they tell me the long tales, whether real or imagined.

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Lingering a second longer to memorize the sound of the lisp of my five year old with the missing teeth, or to catch the funny little wink that my three year old does because she thinks it cute {she told me so}, or the busy little antics of a certain two year old who dreams of being a princess, but can hardly manage to let go of her nuk during waking hours or to hold still long enough for one princess-style photo because she’s trying so hard to keep up with the rest of the family in, well, everything!

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Yes, these are moments to linger over.

 

 

 

 

 

And there are places and people that will be part of my life this year. People who will hurt and hunger and need. Some here. Some far away. But in God’s wisdom and design, He will want me to linger with them for a while to hear their story or to linger with pen in hand to send them an encouraging word. Perhaps it will be to stay in prayer for them one moment longer or to send a gift to meet their need.

In order to linger over one important thing, five lesser things have to be done on time, planned ahead, or maybe not happen at all {learning to say NO to too much and too busy}. So that is the challenge set before me! Learning and choosing where the lines will fall. Saying no to that, so I can say yes to something else. So that I can linger and learn and love and laugh . . . and live well the life He has given.

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