Thursday, August 30, 2012

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

     I invite you to follow my blog with Bloglovin'.  Bloglovin' will help you to keep track of the blogs you love to read.  My friend Jenny posted a tutorial on how to set up your account.
     Meanwhile, I am joining her Bloglovin' Blog Hop.  Hop over to see what is happening.


 Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.  ~ Psalm 116: 7
          Even in the midst of business and activity, our souls can rest in Him. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What Is Your Life Verse?

     Christian leaders were asked, "What is your life verse and why is it meaningful to you?"  Their answers are as interesting as they are inspirational.  Watch for Wess Stafford of Compassion International.

     There are two verses that I believe God has given me.
     The first verse that called me is Jude 22.
And of some have compassion, making a difference.
     I have always wanted my life to count for something, to make a difference in this world, to leave it better in some small way for my having been here.
     The other verse is Psalm 27:4
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
     Do you have a life verse?  What is it?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Enchanted: Milk Glass Snack Plates

     A few weeks ago I found a set of 22 karat gold trimmed milk glass dishes at our local thrift store.  The teacup sits in a circular rim on the rectangular snack plate.  The dishes were made by Anchor Hocking in the 1960‘s (1963-1972)  I have been told that ladies used them for tea and cookies or soup and sandwiches at their afternoon bridge games.
      I was immediately enchanted.  I envisioned myself sipping an herbal tea, cookies scattered across the plate while reading a book on a cold winter night or perhaps having a tea party with the girls.  The plates were $4 each and the cups were $3.  There were four sets.
     I wondered about the woman who had owned them.  She must have treasured them.  Although considered dishwasher safe, I guessed that she had gently hand washed them. They still had their delicate gold trim.  I wondered what memories had been served on their milky surface.
     Regretfully I left them on the shelf.  I did not want to tell Pat that I had spent $28.00 on used and impractical dishes.
     However, when I arrived at the register, the cashier mentioned that blue ticketed items were half price.  Instead of spending $28, I could report to my husband that I had saved $14 dollars.  I gleefully handed over fifteen dollars - for the four sets and an extra cup.
     There have been times in my life when I have felt like a thrift store item sitting on a dusty shelf.  Haven’t you?  Impractical.  Certainly not stylish.  Worn.  Cast aside.  With out obvious value.  Not useful.
     But God doesn’t love us because of what we can do for Him or even the ways we can be used.
     On a Friday 2,000 years ago, a thief woke at sunrise, left his prison cell, carried timbers up a hill and was hung on a cross beside the cross of Jesus.  This thief looked over at Jesus and saw not a man, but a King.  Not a king, but the King of Kings.  He begged, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
     And Jesus looked over at this dusty, insignificant, no longer useful man, and said, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
     The thief on the cross really did have nothing left to give.  He did not have time to go to a church service, make an offering, feed the poor, or do good works.  He could offer nothing in return, but himself.  The thief had value to Jesus just because he was.
      Our worth is not because of what we do or even will do for God.   Like the thief on the cross our value rests firmly and securely in God’s reckless, unconditional, unfailing love.  The God of the universe is madly in love with us.
Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. You are precious in my eyes, because you are honored and I love you… the mountains may depart, hills may be shaken, but my love for you will never leave you and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken. – Is 43:1,4; 54:10
     God loves us because He does.  Paul wrote to the Ephesians.
 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  ~ Ephesians 3:16-19
     Jesus loves us.  Used, impractical, and in need of cleansing.  He, too, is enchanted.

Update:  This post was featured by Angie Ouellette-Tower at God's Growing Garden.   Thank you, Angie!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sunset Over Otter Lake, PA

So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.  ~ Luke 5:11

Thursday, August 16, 2012

On Fire!

From my devotional archives:
       August 23, 2009
Recent s'more picture

     Pat and I and our youngest three children recently returned from camping in the Pocono’s.   We went with our dear friends Denis & Lori.  We did all of the typical camping things.  Biking, walking, swimming, early morning kayaking around the lake, big screen movies on a 7 inch TV, soggy sleeping bags dried with an electric box fan, and of course, campfires.  Campfires are cheerful things to set around.  The flickering light, the snap and crackle, the smell of the burning wood, and the heat that warms you in the cool of the evening.  Campfires even provide a great excuse to eat a s'more.
     Most evenings our campfire was started with crumpled paper, kindling, and a few chunks of log, but on our last two evenings, a lot of effort went into creating fire.  We had had a deluge of rain.  The rain fell heavy, hard, and even sideways.  Our wood was wet.
     On Friday evening the men stacked the wood for maximum fire potential and soaked it with lighter fluid for good measure.  The match was lit, the fire caught along the edge of the logs and whooosh!  We had a glorious crackling fire.  We arranged our chairs.  I ran in for marshmallows and chocolate and when I got back our fire was smoke.  Clearly our campfire was nothing but a flash in the pan.  Lori looked at me and muttered something about going inside to read.  I gathered the kids for a movie.
     Saturday evening Denis and Pat were determined that we would have FIRE!  Once again the careful arrangement of wood and kindling.  The dousing with lighter fluid.  Another match, an even bigger Whoosh!  The flames above our fire circle shot ten feet into the air.  We heard the crackle begin, but the flames seemed to be sinking lower and lower.  Then desperation, I mean, inspiration, struck.  Pat yelled, “Get the fan,” and ran off.  Confused, but always the obedient, respectful wife...I put down the chocolates and got out the box fan.  Pat returned like a superhero waving an extension cord.  Pat balanced the fan on one of the children’s chairs, plugged it in and directed the breeze at our languishing fire.  The flames immediately picked back up and it was s’mores all around!  Our fire burned merrily with the continuous wind from the fan blowing on it.
     Did you know that fire is mentioned more than 500 times in the Bible?
     One of my favorite verses is, “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire.” (Deut. 4:24)
    Our God has always had campfires.  There was the burning bush, the brazen altar in the tabernacle, Elijah’s altar, and tongues of fire on the Day of Pentecost.  God places Holy Spirit campfires in the hearts of His people.
       Sometimes our wood is wet and we make more smoke than flame.  At other times we have a strong, crackling fire that others can be warmed by.
      God longs to set you on fire for Him.  He wants to consume us with His fiery presence so we shine for His glory.  John Wesley put it like this, when the fire of God touches your life people will come and see you burn.

     What is the state of the fire in your heart?
     Do you need a fan and an extension cord?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dwell in the Vine

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes  so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  ~John 15:1-5
     Jesus tells us that He is our true vine.  Our life is hid with Christ in God.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fishing Isn't The Same As Catching

The Chesapeake Bay at sunset.
     Our family recently returned from a trip to Virginia to see my Mom and Dad.  My parents are fortunate to live on the Chesapeake Bay.  A canal goes from their back yard into the deep waters of the bay.   Dad loves to be in his boats.  One of the highlight's of our trip is when he takes us  fishing.
Captain Don
      We motor out to where there is a sand bar hidden about thirty feet under the water.  The water is shallow enough for the fish to enjoy the warmth of the sun.  This is one of his preferred fishing spots.
      Dad always offers the privilege of putting the bait on the hooks to anyone who would like the job.  My kids will do almost anything - but not that.  There are no takers.  My boys chime, "That's gross, Grandpa."  Patty murmurs, "Nope," with a quick shake of her head.  I explain that, "I'm not a bait kinda girl."  My Dad cheerfully cuts, dices, and selects various yucky things that he thinks a fish would like to chew on a hook for.
     For me, fishing isn't about the fish.  I enjoy sitting on a gently rocking boat, holding a pole, chatting with family.  I do not care if I ever catch a fish.  My children, however, are not so complacent.  They are happy and excited when someone catches a fish,  but in their heart of hearts each wants to be the one who reels in the biggest fish.
Patty -the fisher"man" of the day
     Patty is a patient fisher.  She casts out on her assigned corner.  She waits until she feels a tug on the line, or sees the end of the pole arch as a fish gives her bait an experimental tug.  When she reels it in there is a fish on the end, or her bait has been nibbled away.  On this trip, Patty caught two fish.
     Anthony and Connor fish with enthusiasm.  They cast their lines about causing everyone near to duck fearful of being snagged by a hook.  When their bait settles near the bottom, contrary to all fishing wisdom, they begin to reel it back in.  Sometimes, this fast and furious pace works for them.   This time, not so much.
Connor squinting into the sun
     Our oldest son, Patrick, came with us, too.  He caught a crab.  The little creature was determined not to lose her meal, so she held on tight and took an elevator ride up to the boat.  When she hit the deck she scuttled about causing the kids to shriek and tangle their poles.  This crab had a bright egg sack on her underside.  We were able to get her back in the water by giving her a piece of rope to pinch her snapping claws on and gently lift her back over the side.

     Pat missed the trip this year, but when he comes, he wisely sits well out of range of the action of the children, the poles, flying hooks, gushy bait, and flapping fish.  His motto is, "If it's from the sea, it's not for me!"
     Fishing trips always remind me that many of the disciples were fishermen.
     As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men.  At onece they left their nets and followed him.  ~Mark 1:16
     Jesus called us to fishers of men, too, but we're not in this alone.  The  Holy Spirit is the One who causes the response.  There is a difference between being a fisher and a catcher.  All we are required to do is to fish.
     Think about your life journey.  How often did God use a person to drop a hook in front of you before you grabbed a hold of the new life you found in Christ?  I know God cast a lot of lines in my direction before I believed.
Buoy to mark a crab pot riding the waves in the sunset.
     My husband, Pat, was rather like the little crab.  When he saw the gospel he grabbed on so tight that he was pulled right up.  He has been known to cause people to shriek and run about, too.
     When a person decides to follow Jesus, to allow themselves to be caught up in the cause of the King,  even the angels in heaven rejoice.  Forgiveness is gained.  Broken hearts are mended.  Wounds are healed.  Lives are transformed.
     Jesus got into Simon's boat and sat down to teach the crowd of people.  When He had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."  Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets."  When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.  So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.  So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.  ~Luke 5
     Do you go fishing with your family?  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day Trip: New York City

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  ~Isaiah 55:8-9
In Grand Central.  Patty, Anthony, James, Nina and in front, Connor.
     My son, James, and his wife, Nina came to visit from their home in Georgia.  I enjoyed having them with us.  I miss them terribly because they are so far away.
     We took a trip into New York City to see the sights.  We go into the city about four or five times a year, but we had never ridden on one of those double decker sightseeing buses.   There is just so much to see from up there.  Riders were cautioned to remain seated as anyone foolish enough to stand could be struck by traffic lights or tree branches.
      We listened to the commentary from the guides about the history of different areas and things to see as we traveled about.  We saw the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, the South Street Seaport, and Times Square.  Children splashed in fountains and played in small parks.  We visited street vendors and stores.
Connor was thrilled to visit a three story MacDonald’s in China Town
Street Performers with musical instruments they made out of found items.  They were very talented.  
The boys bought baseball caps at the South Street Seaport.    
      I was reminded of my first time visiting New York when I was eighteen.  My friend Linda was going to nursing school at Beth Israel Hospital and had a tiny apartment nearby.    Linda met me at Grand Central because she knew that I was too country to come to her.  I walked through Grand Central looking up at the night sky depicted on its high ceilings.  When we reached the streets I continued to gaze up in wonder at the tall buildings.  Yokel that I was, I practically walked into people I was so busy looking up.  Linda complained, “Donna, stop looking up like that.  You look like a tourist!”
     I have to confess, although I have been to the city many times since then, I still look like a tourist.   I am enchanted with the towering buildings and the people rushing here and there.  So many people and God loves every single one.
Corner of Broadway and Times Square
     We too are tourists, pilgrims, sojourners passing through a land that is not our home.  We look out for one another, pray for each other, and splash in fountains of praise together.  Like Abraham living as a stranger in a strange land.  We are looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:10
Brooklyn Bridge
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;  for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.                ~Psalm 103:8-14

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

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