Friday, September 27, 2013
This new season brings some burdens with it for our family. My mom has some health issues right now and I would ask you for prayers for her. Whenever there is a burden to bear I look at two scriptures. The first is the one above, "And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him." (Daniel 2:21-22)
The second scripture I seek is, "For I am the Lord, I change not." (Malachai 3:6) God has promised to love us, to strengthen us and bear our burdens. He will give us wisdom if we ask and the grace to go through.
Whatever difficulty we are passing through, it is only for a season. Time continues on and circumstances will change but God is unchanging. When I look at the colors that are beginning to fringe the trees I see another season beginning - another gateway I will pass through holding on to the hand of the one who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
May our unchanging God bless you today!
Thursday, September 26, 2013
I was feeling a little less than productive....and I was reminded of John 15:5, "I am the vine ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I let him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."
When you want an apple (fruit) you have to go where the apples are. The best apples are right off of the tree (vine). An apple from any different source is a little less fresh...
If we are trying to be fruitful on our own - we cut ourselves off from the vine - the true source of nourishment and substance - which is Jesus. Our fruit is going to be less juicy and tasty - even bland. Apart from Him - we can do nothing of importance. With Him, our purpose becomes fruitful.
Go to the orchard today and bring in a harvest.
Illustration Note: This is my 5 yr old granddaughter who proudly showed me how she could climb a tree. I had to capture it for my scrapbook.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
I had a preplanned lunch with a dear friend....then just when I got back home to work in my office the phone rang.
It was our youngest daughter. She was out and about with our grandson (19 mo) and wanted to know if I wanted to take a little car ride. It was a beautiful fall day today....blue skies....trees starting to turn....stuffy house.....I said YES.
We drove out in a direction I've never taken and discovered a small farm, with a farm animal petting zoo and pumpkins. It was a $1 per person. I'd spent all my cash at lunch. So we scrounged the bottom of our purses and came up with $2...$1 short. The farmer's wife said don't worry about it and even insisted we take a little pumpkin for Lincoln.
So I got to pet a horse, goats, a donkey and cow, ponies and this turkey. The farmer's wife said he is wild. He wandered on to their farm 2 years ago and stayed. She scratched his head and stroked his sides and told us to go ahead and try. He was amazingly soft and sooo colorful. This picture doesn't do him justice. His head is PURPLE and his wattle bright red. And I was amazed at his demeanor. I always thought male turkeys were a little mean. Not this guy. I had prejudged this poor turkey.
Kind of reminds me of the scripture in James 2:2-10 which talks about a man with a gold ring and a poor man coming into the assembly. The man with the bright clothes and gold ring is given the best seat. The poor man is told to sit on the floor. James says we have despised the poor, simply because of their appearance and that is judging which is a sin.
I judged that turkey based on his rather repulsive appearance. A wrinkly, warty head, and a long dangly thing from his nose..uh beak... is not exactly beauty contest material. Yet he was rather a kindly gentleman and quickly became a favorite.
Are there people we have shunned or ignored simply because of their appearance? They don't fit our definition of 'beauty' so we turn our backs. Man looks on the outside, God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). We need to love our neighbors as ourselves....that fulfills all the law.
I learned today to not judge a turkey by his appearance--glad I didn't miss that autumn opportunity.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Sometimes it is difficult to wait for things...to see the results and outcome of a project, be it a garden, a painting, a diet, remodeling, or our time invested for the Lord's work.
Within each piece of personal art I share with you there are many processes:
- Brain time (coming up with the concept).
- Sketching & planning
- Coloring - the make-it or break-it part - also the most 'dangerous'...because in watercolor, charcoal, pastels and colored pencil, a lovely drawing can be quite easily ruined. (in acrylics or oils sometimes a mistake can be corrected) Now in digital art (computer) the original can be preserved and easily reworked. Although I have lost work on the computer too.
- Critiquing & Finishing touches
- The Reveal: the finished work.
There can be great frustration as well as great satisfaction in the whole process. But unless time is put into the project....nothing will be accomplished or completed.
It's a simple formula: 0 time + 0 effort = Nothing Sown. Nothing sown is always nothing reaped, whether personal, business or for God. If we do nothing for the Lord, we will not reap bountifully for him.
Sowing is labor, sometimes painful, but the reward is joy. Psalm 126:6 states, "He that goeth forth and weepeth bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
Sow today what you desire to reap tomorrow, and may your harvest be bountiful.
Illustration Notes: The above is a photograph I took of my flowers. The purpose of this final product was two-fold. I wanted to try and learn more of the features in my Photoshop computer software. And second, I wanted to see if I could make this photo look like an oil painting. It took about an hour, (adding a canvas texture, some filters, and effects and finally some touchups.)
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
A week or so ago hubby wasn't feeling up to par and he went to bed early. When I went to bed later I did not turn on a light so as not to wake hubby. Big. Mistake.
Earlier that day I'd been folding clothes and putting them away - but failed to close a dresser drawer. You guessed it. I ran into it in the dark...twice....! Yeah...it's complicated. (But I didn't wake up hubby, but I scared the dog.)
Anyway I wound up with a technicolor shin bone and two big scrapes. Fast forward a couple days to Sunday. Grandkids were here. My oldest grandson (22 mo) had a sore finger which he showed me. I promptly kissed it for him. Then I showed him my shin bone. He looked at me with his big blue eyes then leaned over and kissed my sore leg.
It touched my heart so deeply. He recognized a hurt and quickly did what he thought would help.
I started thinking about it. When we see hurting people, do we quickly respond with what can help? Or do we have to discuss it in our mind, debate what is the correct course of action to meet the need, and then assume that we aren't equipped, or someone else will handle it, or the person might reject our assistance or take offense?
Fast forward to the grocery store - a cashier (we'll call her Sue) was having an obviously bad day. While I was waiting for my turn, I had that little conversation in my head...not wanting to become involved for fear of not having the right words, or being told to butt out. When it was my turn to check out Sue said robotically, "Hi, how are you?" I responded, "I'm okay. But it sounds like you're having a tough day." She immediately teared up and told me she got a call from her sitter telling her her daughter was very sick. She had tried to get off - but her manager said no because there was no one else to cover.
Have you ever not responded to someone who was hurting? It is easy to help little children, or family members. But, what about acquaintances or even strangers. How many times have I just said, "oh- I'm so sorry to hear" and walked away not doing what I knew would help? Why do we not invoke the Name of the One who CAN help in all things? Fear? Embarrassment? Shame?
James 4:17 says, "Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." If someone were drowning would we debate about throwing a life ring?
I reached over to Sue and laid my hand on top of hers and said, "Lord, be with Sue's little girl and help Sue to be able to get off early. Amen." It took about 5 seconds. I squeezed her hand and said "it's going to be okay." She teared up again and nodded. I had a large order and she proceeded to check me out without saying anything. As I was paying my bill the manager came over. She told Sue, 'I called so-and-so...she said she'd come in. She'll be here in about 20 minutes if you can wait until then.' Sue nodded to her manager and then turned to me and said 'thank you.' I smiled and said, "God is good."
Make a difference today - demonstrate God's compassion.
On a personal note - there is a friend of mine whose son is going to have a 4th brain surgery for severe epilepsy. There medical expenses are huge as is their lodging while at the hospital. Please pray for their needs. There is also a fund raising site for them, if you could help it would be such a blessing. More of their story is on my other blog http://grandmamiller.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/grandmas-boo-boo-helping-renn/
Saturday, September 14, 2013
I did this very rough sketch thinking of my oldest daughter. I don't know how she does all she does. I watched 1 grandchild today for 3 hours and I was exhausted. Guess that's why we have children at a young age so we can keep up.
This week has been particularly rough for our daughter. She had 3 sick children and just found out she won't have her regular part-time teaching job at the college (no students for her subject). When she told me about not teaching this semester, she was already assuring me that the budget would be a little tighter, but they would be just fine.
There are days like this for all of us! When just One... More... Thing... is going to tip the cart, break the camel's back, or spill the milk. In those times there is only one thing to do and that is cry out to the Lord. That phrase is repeated so many times in scripture I don't have room to list them all here.
David says in the Psalms, "from the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Psalm 61:2). When we put our trust in the Lord our burdens become lighter. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "For my yoke is easy, and my burden light"(v. 30).
Did you get that? It is Jesus' job to bear the load, to take it on his shoulders. He does not want us to worry or do His job. And when we give it to Him, that's when we get the wings of a dove to fly high and be free of the burden, whether it is job loss, indebtedness, relationships, or just plain frustration. He'll find us a job, he'll change relationships, he'll free us from debt IF YOU LET HIM.
Cry out to the Lord today, he's waiting to hear from you.
P.S. Kasey has written 6 books, and is working on another, along with helping me finalize mine. She's writes a regular blog ministering to moms, she does website design and is a virtual assistant. She and her husband also have a Christian writing ministry together. You can read more about all of this at her blog.
Friday, September 13, 2013
Did you realize that PRAISING God is a sacrifice we bring to God? Hebrews 13:15 states, "...let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name."
Something that is so easy for us to do...simply praise God for who He is and all He has done. To thank Him for loving us, for giving us all we have. Yet God considers that a pure and holy sacrifice to Him.
I realize I may spend too little time in bringing that sacrifice...my thanks is too often abbreviated, and hastily placed before my 'gimmes.' I'm going to try and spend more time in praising the Lord and reverently place those praises before Him. I love the last verse of Amazing Grace:
When we've been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun,
we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we'd first begun.
Thank God today and praise Him for what He means to you.