Thursday, October 5, 2017

Autumn ~ The Mellow Season

Youth is like spring, but autumn is the mellow season.

What we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.
~Samuel Butler

Image ~ Pumpkins, by Maxx Girr
via pixabay CC0 Creative Commons

Monday, September 25, 2017

Our Reading Challenge
The New Book, George Goodwin Kilburne 1839-1924

This was our last week in the Spiritual Disciplines class, and we finished with discussion on learning for the purpose of godliness. While there are various avenues for learning, we were challenged to broaden our reading. None of us know it all, and there's much to be gained from those who know more than we do.

As someone mentioned in class, reading what someone else has written may help to change or solidify our own thinking toward biblical truth. We may be affirmed by what is written, or we may be challenged to seek answers to questions that arise with what the author is saying.

The goal in learning as a spiritual discipline is seeking out truth and understanding God's ways, growth in godliness. Whether it's a book on theology or a book on science, fiction or nonfiction, books can show us more about God and His ways. Just because someone's words are printed in a book, however, doesn't mean it's inherently worth reading. Some books aren't even contenders, so we must choose with discernment.

We were given a Reading Challenge handout in class composed of 104 book suggestions. I find the list to be especially helpful because there are no book titles, simply a variety of book types. For example: a biography, a book on science, a book from a theological viewpoint you disagree with, a book with an ugly cover, a photo essay book, and the list goes on.

That sounds doable to me. I'm a slow reader, so I'm not sure how long it will take me to finish the list, but I find the approach rather intriguing. If you'd like to see the list and consider the challenge, it's at Tim Challies blog site.

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
Proverbs 18:15 ESV 

Painting via Wikimedia Commons
public domain 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday Ponderings

 Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen
Vincent Van Gogh 1884
Thinking about the speaker today at our church service and the pressures and hardships they face as believers and followers of Christ in the Pacific Rim in which they minister to the various people groups there. It is such a simple thing for us here in America to attend any church service we choose, yet we so often are slothful toward our corporate worship. I do hope you were able and chose to get up and go today, dear one.

But as for me, by Thine abundant lovingkindness I will enter Thy house, 
At Thy holy temple I will bow in reverence of Thee.
Psalm 5:7

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Weekend Daybook
Charles Dana Gibson, 1911
Outside My Window...
Someone mowing the lawn next door. May be getting new neighbors soon. The realty sign is gone.

Noticing the sound of...
Thunder in the distance

My brother, who was in the Air Force in Vietnam, was visiting a few days for Dad’s 91st birthday and took him to see the B-17 bomber Sentimental Journey while it was at a nearby airport on the Flying Legends of Victory Tour. Dad was allowed to get up into the plane (with help), and he and my brother spent some time reminiscing about their military days. It was a good day for them both. 

Brought a smile...
Thinking about my dad getting into the Sentimental Journey B-17
The fruit of my hands...
Took the meal for Dad's birthday. We had planned to have the party here, but My Beloved hasn't been doing well in the evenings for awhile.

That it will be a blessing to have Dad's devotional journal for the grandchildren when he completes it.

Hoping to...
Find out why My Beloved has been feeling bad for the past several weeks. Should be getting the report from his CT scan in a couple of days.

How to find public domain images. The site I had been using had allowed use of their images with link backs, but it appears they've changed ownership and that has changed. I noticed that the site was functioning differently recently and dug deeper. I began to wonder why it was okay for people to pin the same images to Pinterest. Hmmm. Seems that's not so. Found this article. I've used some of my blogging time to replace some images. I think images enhance the message, but it's slow going.

"A durable yearning for learning characterizes all those who are truly wise."
Donald S. Whitney in Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. p.279

Tomorrow is our last class in this book. Much food for thought.

In the Kitchen...
White Bean and Ham soup simmering on the stove

In the Sewing Room..
Began a new pattern this week for a little girl dress. Don't really care for the sleeves, though, so I'll look for something different.

Around the house...
Not much going on except for typical keeping the pathways clear.
Reading... the hearts of children isn't just for parents. This is a great resource for parents, grandparents, and anyone who has the privilege of touching a child's heart with gospel principles. If you click on the image, you can read the introduction and first chapter.

Friday, September 22, 2017

From One Generation to Another

Our Sunday School class had talked last week about the spiritual benefits of keeping a journal. Talk turned to letters and journals that some in the class have from family members passed down through the years and what a blessing they are. I got to thinking about my own parents and grandchildren and that I have many letters and a couple of my mother's journals from years past, but I don't have anything written by my dad.

So yesterday was my Dad's 91st birthday, and I gave him a devotional journal with a letter tucked inside. I began: Happy 91st birthday, Dad! I've been thinking about your life and faith and how God has been faithful to you through these many years. I've also been thinking how Elijah and Anna and Daniel could be encouraged by your example as they would learn how God has been faithful.... As they grow older they will face difficulties and challenges, as you have, and I'm sure that knowing how God has been faithful to Grandpa would be an encouragement to them as they face similar times....  

I know that whatever Dad may write in his journal will be a blessing to those who will read and ponder its pages. And his words will be treasured for generations to come.

One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.
Psalm 145:4

Monday, September 18, 2017

But God...
Goose Girl, Seymour Joseph Guy 1824-1910
A young friend and I were talking yesterday about the joys and challenges of parenting. She's one of those I've mentioned who finds joy in telling the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.  I've heard some mothers say that they don't like their children, and they'll be glad when they grow up and move out. That's a sad condition to be in, but I think most of us truly want what's best for our children. I know that there were times, though, when I fell into default mode of self, times when I didn't make good choices, or I simply didn't know what the better path was. But God does know the pathway. He laid it out.

"But God." That's the truth my friend and I rejoiced in as we talked about His faithfulness in our uncertainties or weakness, that in Him we aren't stuck with just what we ourselves know or can do. I came across that phrase again in my Bible reading today. But God, being rich in His mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us ... (Eph.2:4).

And who knows better how life is to be lived than the creator of life?! He is rich in mercy to redeem us from ourselves, from our mistakes, from our weaknesses. Why does He want to do that? Because of His great love with which He loved us. Awesome, isn't it?!

I know that I love my children and my grandchildren far beyond anything I could have ever imagined before they came along. If you're a mother or grandmother, you probably feel the same. Our love isn't perfect, though, but God's love is. So I prayed that God would give wisdom to train up my children in the [path]way they should go, and I now pray the same for my grandchildren. We don't see them often, but when they are with us, we want to be wise as we're entrusted with their care. I pray, too, that God would fill their parents with His wisdom as they live in a city that this day marks the 500th homicide in a little over 8 months. Much wisdom is needed.
For the Lord gives wisdom, out of His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright. He is a shield to those who walk in integrity. 
Proverbs 2:6-7
I do hope, dear one, that you are intimately acquainted with the giver of life. What a privilege and benefit to be able to seek His wisdom as we do this thing called parenting and grandparenting!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Then What?

The Letter, William K. Blacklock
The Letter, William K.  Blacklock 1872-1924
We know that the dread of what might happen is often worse than what actually does happen. But sometimes what we dread does come to our doorstep. Then what? Charles Spurgeon gives such good counsel that I want to share his words with you today. I hope it encourages you as it did me when I read it this morning, to look upon what arrives with a lively hope.
Psalm 112:7
He shall not be afraid of evil tidings.
Christian, you ought not to dread the arrival of evil tidings; because if you are distressed by them, what do you more than other men? Other men have not your God to fly to; they have never proved His faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear: but you profess to be of another spirit; you have been begotten again unto a lively hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things; now, if you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace which you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature which you claim to possess? Again, if you should be filled with alarm, as others are, you would, doubtless, be led into the sins so common to others under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by evil tidings, rebel against God; they murmur, and think that God deals hardly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do? Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Your wisest course is to do as Moses did at the Red Sea, "Stand still and see the salvation of God." For if you give way to fear when you hear of evil tidings, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure which nerves for duty, and sustains under adversity. How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God's high praises in the fires, but will your doubting and desponding, as if you had none to help you, magnify the Most High? Then take courage, and relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, "let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
~ from C.H. Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotionals
You can read more of Spurgeon's Devotionals here

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thankful Thursday ~ Some Young Women I Know
Not Too Much To Carry (1895) 
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)
Thankful today for some young women I know who are seeking God with all their heart, all their soul, all their mind. I hear them saying they are wanting God in all they do, through the joys and the struggles.

They are such an encouragement to me as I see their energies being poured out in telling the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.

I thank God for them, and pray that He will give them a spirit of wisdom through knowing Him. I pray that the eyes of their heart will be more and more enlightened in His ways, that they will find joy and gladness in their journey (Eph. 1:17-19).

I hope you know the God of their salvation, too, dear one, and that your days are being filled with joy and gladness through His power.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

As Families Must Do I mentioned the book, The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt: Letters from 1920s Farm Wives and the 111 Blocks They Inspired sometime last year. I picked it up again today as it caught my eye in my sewing room. I'm not a farmer's wife, but I have a dear friend who is, and she had sent me the book, knowing I like to quilt. She loves being a farmer's wife, and whenever I see it, I think of her. It includes letters from women who share the good things they experience about being a farmer's wife.

I think many of us share the same sentiments in regard to our own homes and desires for our children, be it on the farm or in the neighborhood. Sharing a brief excerpt with you today. I do have modern conveniences, but I still relate to this thought. I think you might as well. If you'd like to know more about the book, just click on the image.

We live in one of those much-talked-about homes where folks do not have all the modern conveniences but we do have good books, good music and a wealth of flowers and growing things about us. Above all else, we live together, working and playing and planning together, as families must do, if the love and unity of that family are to become an inspiration to its members and to the community in which they live. 

~C. McD. B., Marion County, Indiana in The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt: Letters from 1920s Farm Wives and the 111 Blocks They Inspired

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Changed Vantage Point
When my mind begins to spin with anxiety, one of my go-to verses of scripture is Philippians 4:8--Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Oftentimes this is helpful because, for example, I may be thinking wrong thoughts. I'm imagining things that may not be true about a situation, and my imaginations bring about my anxiety.

But oftentimes, and today was one of those times, there is more that is needful. I could not think my way out of my anxiety. Sometimes when I feel anxious, I need to back up to verses 6-7: Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. There are times when I need to do more than cling to a Bible verse for my anxious thoughts. I need to talk to Father God about it.

I struggled today with something that I was asked to do, a situation that I thought would be stressful. I was anxious and uptight about it. I've been growing some in this area, to just do what needs to be done as if I'm doing it for Jesus, to give that cup of cold water. And I pray and ask God to strengthen me. 

But today he did more than that. He asked me if I would be a willing instrument in his hand to show his loving care to someone, if I would work alongside him to meet that need. That cast an entirely different light on the situation. What a privilege! My thoughts were no longer on what I was about to face, but rather on working alongside Father God. The situation was still somewhat stressful, and I came home tired, but He had changed my vantage point--from mine to his. 

Painting ~ Girl Reading in An Interior, Carl Holsoe 1863-1935


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