Friday, April 30, 2010

The joy of creating

"Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."

Sometimes all we need to do to find peace is to go back to that one activity we have loved to do from an early age. You know what it is.....the one that makes you smile without even realizing it, the one that makes you forget everything else, the one where you find yourself whistling or humming along with it.

It could be re-painting a fence, digging in the garden, puttering in the shop, baking cookies....But this simple thing, when lifted up to God can become an act of worship, consecrated, blessed. Then when we do it for someone else He smiles because He knows we have found the secret.

It is healing, it is cleansing, it is good for the soul. It is the joy of simple work.

When we create, God joins in. He can't help it, it is part of His character and ours and it is how the whole world started! My act of worship today will be chocolate chip cookies.....I will send them with a prayer and a smile, knowing a bit of God's love goes along with them.

What act of creation brings you joy today?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Earthen Vessels

"For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves." 2 Corinthians 4:7

"What do you do when you are always comparing yourself with other people? What do you do when you always feel that the people you talk to, hear of, or read about are more intelligent, more skillful, more attractive, more gentle, more generous, more practical, or more contemplative that you are? What do you do when you can't get away from measuring yourself against others, always feeling that they are the real people while you are a nobody or even less than that?" Henri J. M. Nouwen, Genesee Diary

Sometimes I am surprised to know that successful people who have accomplished what I consider great things have the same feelings I have and I confess, it makes me feel better! Sometimes I feel like I have two selves, one that I concieve in my mind, the way I would like to be and react to people and things, and the real one, the one I actually see living my life. It's crazy. Sometimes being human makes you feel crazy.

I open my Bible for a sanity check, I need God's reality not my own. I read: "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise." 2 Corinthians 10:12 and then in verse 18, "For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends."

Our world system is set up to disappoint us. It is a system masterminded by the enemy and will throw us into turmoil every time. There is always another who is smarter, better looking, more talented, one who does everything wrong and still gets rewarded, even one who seems be be more favored by God. But God's kingdom has knocked Satan's system off it axis for good. Everytime we try to live by that "old" system we get discouraged.

So today I bring you Good are a unique individual fashioned by God Himself and you are perfect! Nobody can do the things you do exactly the way you do them! Don't fight the Potter, praise Him for His excellent workmanship instead! He has given us the honor of placing His precious Holy Spirit in our humble vessel, this humble clay jug, filled with Heaven's light.

Forgive me, Lord for comparing myself to anyone else!

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Bible, fair and balanced....

I read a fictional book recently called Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury. The story revolved around two young people haunted by a decision made when they were young, one with dire consequences. Now years down the road, both are trapped by the past and can't seem to move on. One couldn't forgive herself and the one who abandoned her in her time of need, and the other refused to accept his responsibility so he buried his secret and hid behind an image he wanted the world to see. As a result they both lost their faith in God because they both blamed Him as well. Isn't that just like human nature?

He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." Genesis 3:10

We all have a past, and God knows all about it! "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" Romans 8:1

Does that mean we are automatically sinless from that point on? No, we will fail because we still have that old sin nature we fight with, but thankfully, now we have the Holy Spirit who is stronger than that "old nature." That's why the Apostle Paul says this: "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12,13

Note that he said, "work out", not "work for." The more I read and study the Bible I am amazed at just how perfectly balanced it is. It resonates with hope! We no longer have to dwell on the past, we can embrace our future with confidence, knowing we are forgiven. When God looks at me, He sees Jesus!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our future home.....

Grounds, Mt. Angel Abbey, St. Benedict, Oregon

What is the thing you most look forward to about Heaven, other than eternally being in God's presence? For me, I think it is that there will be a sense of being totally "complete." There will be a sense of rightness about it all. In this life we are always confronted with something that is just not fair, not right; there is a sense of something out of balance, even when things are right in our world, they are wrong for someone else.

I know people who are extremely happy about the immigration bill that just passed and some who are extremely upset by it. Some think it is "just" and some think it is "unjust." Until we get to Heaven that is our reality on this earth. But here is true justice, there is a way we can all go to Heaven, because God is just!

Jesus made it possible. He took all that was wrong and made it right, permanently. This is not wishful thinking this is fact......"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:3

Lord, I pray for people to find hope in You today. Circumstances change, but You never do. Thank you for the light of Your Word and Your Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth, comforts us in our distress and magnifies our joy. I pray that where there is confusion and darkness, Your light will shine forth as the noonday sun! In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Water and the Word.....

I continue counting blessings today.....
"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth, and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater...... #282

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. #283

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. #284

Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed." Isaiah 55:10-13 #285

Not too long ago I read a commentary over at Musings of a Minister about these passages that really deepened the meaning of this Scripture for me, so thank you Cliff! Hop over here to read it! So many times reading this passage I thought of it only in terms of God's word going out and producing fruit, but the deeper meaning is that God is comparing the word to water that permeates the ground that nourishes all of creation. It is in all and through all. So that everything we see is part of that Living Word "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" John 1:1 #286

So today, I lift my gratitude to God for His Word, the more I read it the more it comes alive to me. Behind every desert bloom, and every sunrise it speaks for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. Thank you Lord, for without You I never would have seen it!

#287 Cool mornings, #288 quail's plaintive cry through open windows, #289 the bloom of new life in the desert, #290 taking God along on my morning walk!

Keeping the gratitude alive, along with Ann and many others....
holy experience

All photos provided by Google....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sometimes silence is best

Went out to dinner last night and three young people came in and were seated close by. One of the guys proceeded to talk non-stop for a solid hour about himself and his particular way of eating. It was obvious that he thought his way was superior than everyone else's and it seemed like he was trying to convince his audience of two, well, four if you count my friend and I. He proceeded to tell them about the evils of things like red meat, as his friend, unfazed, went ahead and ordered a rare steak.

It was an interesting evening.

Have you ever went out with someone and had them talk non-stop about themselves?

"Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." Proverbs 17:28

Friday, April 23, 2010

The King of Peace

Grounds of Mount Angel Abbey, St. Benedict, Oregon

Good Morning, Lord! I thank You for Your Presence, Your sweet peace that rushes in when I truly open my heart, confess my fears. Your Spirit takes my sins and holds them up to the light, exposing them for what they are and yet You still love me! It humbles me more than I can say Lord, so I let my tears speak instead. Forgive me Lord, for the fear that have I have allowed to rule in my heart. Fears that have been magnified in my mind by the enemy, forgive me for giving him that control. I release them back to You, Lord once again. You have taken my fears and turned them once again to peace. Help me to not take them back......In the name of Jesus I pray all these things, Amen.

"We must carefully examine ourselves to see which virtues we are in most need of, and which we find the hardest to acquire. We should also take note of the sins that we most frequently fall into and what occasions often contribute to that fall. It is in our times of struggle with these areas that we can go before God with entire confidence and remain firm in the presence of His divine Majesty. In humble adoration, we must confess to Him our sins and weaknesses, lovingly asking for the help of His grace in our time of need. In this way, we will find that we will partake of all the virtues found in Him, even though we do not possess one of our own." Brother Lawrence

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossions 3:15

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Every day is Earth Day

God loves the earth.....
He created it, He died for it, and
He is coming back to re-create it!
Yes, we need to love it, and be good stewards of it, because He loves it.

"You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing." (Psalm 65:9-13)

We will not destroy it, we don't have the power! How can He create a new earth if we have already destroyed the old one? The Earth still belongs to Him, it is only on loan to us.

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Psalm 24:1-3

The earth is not over-crowded, we just have too many in certain areas. We are not running out of open land, just come to Arizona, or Montana, Utah, or the California desert for that matter, and see for yourself!

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:17)

Jesus is at the center stage of everything, including our earth! So to me, every day is earth day because every day belongs to Him!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Love Mercy

Love Mercy, by Lisa and Ty Samson

Going from a life of plenty in Suburban America to a life of "serving others." This is a book I recommend whole-heartedly. Lisa Samson has always been one of my favorite fictional authors, but this true story is one that you won't soon forget. It chronicles she and her daughter Ty's experiences in Swaziland, the AIDs capital of the world.

They are not prepared for what they see. Expecting to minister to others, they soon figure out that "the others" will be ministering to them....

How do we in America handle the poverty all around us? We don't have to go as far as Africa to find it. I can go about 2 blocks away and I can see its effects. Is just being thankful for what we have enough? Is sending a check to World Vision enough? This is what I asked myself this morning when I was reading from Isaiah.....

The kind of fast God wants......"Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:7,10

Lord, help me to not close my eyes and my heart to people you might send my way to help. Help me see those opportunities as gifts. May I not be so blinded by my love of safety and security that I no longer see the world outside that You died to save. I have built walls to keep the dirty, troubling, smelly world out, Lord. Help those walls not be so unyielding, Lord. That is the best I can do for now.

Lord, I so love your Word, but at times I find it troubling. Help me to be open to what it speaks to my heart, Father. Amen

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Secret Places of the Heart

Mount Angel Abbey, St. Benedict, Oregon
The basic response of the soul to the Light is internal adoration and joy, thanksgiving and worship, self surrender and listening. The secret places of the heart cease to be our noisy workshop. They become a holy sanctuary of adoration and self-oblation, where we are kept in perfect peace if our minds be stayed on Him who has found us in the inward springs of our life. And in the brief intervals of over-powering visitation we are able to carry the sanctuary frame of mind out into the world, into it's turmoil and fitfulness. Powerfully are the springs of our will moved to an abandon if singing love toward God; powerfully are we moved to a new and overcoming love toward time-blinded men and all creation.

Thomas Kelly 1893-1941 (Excerpt from A Testament of Devotion)

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:7-10

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My future belongs to Him

Today I as I was praying, I was thanking the Holy Spirit for His presence, instruction, and also for His conviction of sin in my life when He hit me with a thunderbolt almost immediately.

Lately I haven't been excited about my future.
I have allowed worry, anxiety, and fear to crowd it out.
To move, or not to move, and when......
and other things that I can't even control.

Forgive me, Lord for allowing Satan to have the upper hand for even one moment. I have allowed him to choke away my optimism and gradually he has worn me down.
How dare he!

It is easy to think that once you reach fifty that your best years are behind you, but I really don't feel that way. I don't want to. I remember feeling optimistic when I turned fifty last summer, so what has changed?

When did I forget that my pathway leads me only to more of You, Lord?
When did I stop believing that all the love around me would disappear when I got old?
I hear Your words....."I will never leave you or forsake you".....I grab hold.

Thank you Holy Spirit for this new feeling of hope! You alone hold, my past, present and future, Father. You have given me these precious days and years that are now stretched before me with hope and promise.....I bind the power of Satan right now in Jesus name, for he comes with one mission only, to kill, steal and destroy.

His power is now useless here, for You have once again exposed him for what he is!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11.

"Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16


Saturday, April 17, 2010

I hate cars....

I really don't hate cars, I know we can't live without them anymore, but I didn't want to hear them this morning. I awoke with the full expectation of not hearing that irritating, incessant hum....I want QUIET! Why did I hear it today? Isn't it Saturday?

Then I remembered, "Country Thunder" is going on right now. Drat! The country music event that attracts thousands.

Those of you who live in quiet rural areas need to count your blessings. To those of us who live near major freeways, quiet is a luxury. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to post something nice and inspirational and meditative. Right now all I can hear is the incessant HUM.

I know, this is like complaining about planes overhead when you know full well the house you bought is next to an airport, it's just that on Saturday I expect the quiet. Lord, help me to find the quiet in my soul today.

Tomorrow I will get up earlier!

Psalm 131:2
But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dawn Chorus

Cactus Wren
When morning gilds the skies
my heart awakening cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer,
to Jesus I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

I think of singing that song in the Baptist Church where I was raised. I sometimes wish to travel back to those simpler times, where after church we would go to "Helwigs Cafe" with my Grandma and have chicken on a bun. That was her favorite thing to do on a Sunday. I don't know that she ever really heard a sermon, I remember her rattling papers out loud and looking at her watch a lot. Bless her heart, I do miss her. I guess it is easy to be nostalgic about the past because we aren't in it anymore.

As dawn colored the sky this morning I went out to pray.....the first few minutes was spent just listening to the bird chorus. There were the high trills, the repetitive calls, some sounding almost comical, in the background the low coo of the mourning dove, and the quails cry on the roof next door. It really did sound like a chorus, in fact that is what it is called!

"The dawn chorus occurs when songbirds sing at the start of a new day. This is most noticeable in spring, when the birds are either defending a breeding territory or trying to attract a mate. In a given location, it is common for different species to do their dawn singing at different times." From Wikipedia

There is even an international dawn chorus day.......I had no idea!

Help me Lord, do all I need to do today with an attitude of love, letting go of what "should be" and accepting "what is"; knowing that you will be there every step of the way.

"Do everything without complaining or arguing," Philippians 2:14

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blessings in disguise

The mourning doves accompanied my prayer time this morning as I crept out early, first cup in hand. Some people might think it irreverent for prayer posture, jostling my cup out there. They might think I should put first things first and wait for my caffeine jolt, but I think He enjoys that I want to share it with Him.

I prayed at the beginning of this sabbatical away from work, this unbelievable blessing I have, 60 days with pay....what other job does that? I prayed that I would be a blessing, that I didn't want it to be all about me having time off to do whatever I wanted to do. I wanted to lift the time to Him to see what He would do.

Sometimes He gives the opportunity almost as soon as the prayer is breathed into the air. Be careful what you pray for! Dear friend's Dad went into the hospital so I have been driving her Mom who has Alzheimer's from our home to the hospital and back to her home. She has been staying here at night since she can't stay alone.

As is so often the case in this life, things happen that are just not "just." My friend has never been treated very well by her folks though she has always been the one to care for them. She is a natural caretaker and does what is right regardless. Preferential treatment brother who has caused them nothing but grief and heartache is, as usual, nowhere to be found.

So I was happy to help her bear this tremendous load. She is already taking care of two households so it is the least I can do. Yet I know it pained her to allow me to do it. I guess I will have to let her in on my prayer.....

As Christ-followers we make the choice to pick up our cross each day regardless, knowing He will be our strength. There is humor in every situation, and as my friend and I have discussed many times, Alzheimer's can sometimes be a blessing, if you can call it that, in disguise. The disease tends to wash away all old hurts and wounds until there is nothing left but the caring. The looking after from day to day, much like caring for a small child.

I can't imagine what must go on in her mind. Her Mom, once an excellent nurse who passed out meds everyday, now can't remember to take her own. Once meticulous about her appearance, she forgets to shower for days at a time, her once perfectly coiffed hair is now disheveled, though to her credit she laughs when she looks in the mirror and realizes she needs to do something with it. It is hard to watch such a metamorphosis, heartbreaking really. Hard to watch when eyes go blank and she says she understands and you know she doesn't.

I see the pain in friends eyes. It's always harder when they are your parents, I think. Emotionally anyway. But today I am asking God to help me see her Mom as a young girl with hopes and dreams. She made one very important decision in her life and that was to have my friend when everyone advised her to have an abortion, since she had cancer when she was pregnant. I think of how many lives would not have been blessed, saved really if she had not been born.

"Thank you God, for helping me to serve in this small way. You know I am one who clings to my own free time. You know everything about me and still love me patiently step by step. Help me to learn the lessons you want me to learn. I love You for loving them too God, and for allowing us to keep our sense of humor in trying times and help me see others with Your eyes. In Jesus name, Amen"

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:9-12

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Can anyone relate?

“For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,” Romans 8:13
God has been working with me to take better care of my "temple." It started a few years ago when The Spirit spoke to my heart about my drinking and I was finally ready to hear the truth. I was a habitual drinker, and if I wanted my walk with Christ to be real, I couldn't be dependant on anything but Him.

Several weeks before Easter the church I have been going to started a Daniel fast. My friend and I talked about it and didn't feel led to participate, but I wanted to give something up....I wanted to sacrifice something that I knew I would really need his help with. I had been trying to cut down on sugar anyway, so I thought this might be a boost to a new way of life. As a lifelong sugar addict, I knew it would be a real test. I have been known to hide candy in my closet, in drawers.... I had stashes!

So, I gave it up for four weeks! There were tests, but God held up His end, as always. I even bought 3 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts for co-workers and had NOT ONE. Anyone who knows me knows how big that was. But......For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Hebrews 4:15

I did it! And I felt great, I actually started eating fruit, I never ate fruit before. This was a whole new way of life for me and I never could have done it on my own.

The biggest thing I noticed is that the cravings went away. Well, for the most part. The other day it hit me like a tidal wave. I had nothing sweet in the house, but then I saw it. The can of frosting in the pantry. I had it open and had two spoonfuls before I could stop myself. I had two more all the way out to the garbage can! Sometimes putting the flesh to death is like beating a snake with a garden hoe, but it can be done! I can do all things through Christ....

Now for the exercise part.......
”No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:2

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gratitude for time off.....

Grateful today for vacation memories that have washed over me.....thankful for the time away, an unbelievable luxury that many people don't have. I thank you God, for these blessings.

Close-up view of God's creation at Monterey Bay Aquarium#272,273
Seeing the wonder of the ocean through 11 yr old joy, Elaine's Grandnephew Josh#274
One of Carmel's many secret alleyways #275
Elaine, Bobby, and Josh at Hog's Breath Inn and Restaurant, formerly owned by Clint Eastwood... many happy memories here#276

#277 The first glimpse of the ocean, may it never get old......#278 Sounds of ocean swells gulls crying overhead.....#279 Grateful to find that some places have remained the same.....#280 Finishing all the laundry....#281 Happy voices on the other end of the telephone, knowing we are home safe.....

Keeping the gratitude alive, along with Ann and many others....
holy experience

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Evening Praise

As I was walking this morning I felt an unaccountable gloominess. A flatness. I waited for the joy that usually comes when I listen to the songs of praise, but it didn't come. For someone who has just started a two month sabbatical, just coming off a wonderful vacation I should feel ecstatic, joyful. But the feeling doggedly haunted my steps. I praised God anyway. I passed some chalk drawings on the driveway, highly unusual in a retirement community; hopscotch and people with stick arms and legs. The whimsical innocent drawings of childhood made me smile, but there was also a sadness behind it. I was reminded of how much time I am missing being so far from my 7 year old niece. But my Father knew all the things I was feeling and He had a surprise.

I think sometimes He allows the gray feelings so that we can recognize the brightness of His Presence when it comes. That way He gets the glory. I settled into my "prayer chair." I thanked Him for the day, for my health, my breath, and that of my family, friends. I needed something else. I started praying for whatever and whomever came to mind, going down the list. Then as so often happens when I need to hear from God, I opened His word and this is what I saw.
Isaiah 55:6-12
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.

How did God know exactly what I needed to hear at that moment? What I got out of it was this. God is omnipresent, unchanging, omnipotent. Nothing is a surprise to Him. He knows exactly what I am feeling at any moment.....and here is the important part. He cares about His daughter enough to come down to my humble place of prayer, to quicken His Spirit within me, to completely obliterate the grayness, and totally change my outlook.....and He did, all in a matter of minutes! And if He hadn't? He would still be God, still be in control. I would still love Him just as much because He is worthy!

I may read those same verses tomorrow and it won't have the same effect at all, but today, He shone a light behind them just for me and maybe, hopefully, for someone else reading this as well. Those verses leapt off the page and into my heart, and blasted me with His brilliance and again I was caught off guard!

We really do serve an awesome God. Thank you Father, for surprising me once again with Your joy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Home again....

One last walk around old familiar places...
Cannery Row, Monterey.....Setting of many John Steinbeck novels
A bookstore in Carmel, California one of my favorite towns, Clint Eastwood was once mayor here....bookstore regretfully not open.
Highway 1, Big Sur, California....farewell to the ocean before turning inland.....
Home to the desert....

Home again after 2 books on CD and many miles and smiles later. Carrying sweet memories of family and friends. Places are magical but it's the people traveling with us and the ones we meet when we are there that make the real memories!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Evening at the marina

God has blessed us with 3 days of unbelievable sunshine, being able to watch the sun come over the lip of the ridge across the bay each morning is like standing beside God's giant prism. I took this shot with cell phone right before dinner last evening.

This morning the otters were frolicking in the surf....I will take these memories and clasp them in my heart and remember how good God is to make all this beauty for us to enjoy.

This guy was begging for food on the patio railing....just as I clicked he took flight!

"He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent, and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind." Psalm 104:2,3

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Best Breakfast

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?"
"No," they answered.
He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. John 21:4-9

Day number three unbelievable luxury of being able to wake to the sound of the ocean. I dream of it when I am back home in Arizona. Having grown up in California being able to take a weekend trip to the coast is something I dearly miss....

I was thinking about this scene this morning as I gazed at the shore watching the sunrise. I imagine their joy when they realized at last that it was Jesus greeting them. I love the fact that once again it is Peter who jumps out of the boat to meet Him. Once again I am struck that Jesus is serving, cooking breakfast for them. I bet it was the best breakfast they ever had.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Heading West.....

This was the view on the way up the coast on Easter afternoon, overcast and rainy but with a profusion of bright yellow and purple wildflowers along each side of the green hills beside the freeway, announcing a resurrection of their own; then steady and promising off to the West it appeared, the grand Pacific....beckoning me with its steady peace and rest. It always takes my breath away each time I get the first magic glimpse. How can someone not gaze at those waves, hear that thundering surf and not know that God is behind it all?

I am so grateful for this time to get away, to reflect on what the Lord has done for us, for me. To think of how He loves us to create all this beauty for us to enjoy. It was a very different Easter on the road, but it was memorable. Listening to praise music driving down Highway 1 by the sea....Thank you God, for a generosity that I can only partially glimpse, partially guess...I am in awe again when I see your Word come to life in Your creation.....

"Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt'?” Job 38:8-11

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen!

A Happy and Blessed Resurrection day to all. I am currently on vacation in beautiful Monterey California enjoying God's marvelous creation! Will be in touch.....

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Suffering Servant

Turn playlist off, music is beautiful and haunting in this video...
"The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears,
and I have not been rebellious;
I have not drawn back.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame."
Isaiah 50:4-7

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Night of sorrows

"One of you will betray me...."
An intimate celebration of Passover between close friends....the sharing of a meal, the singing of a hymn, the tenderness and humility demonstrated by Jesus during the foot-washing....and all that harmony is shattered when He says, "One of you will betray me...." and then horror and disbelief as each disciple no doubt begins to look inward, each to himself. "Surely not I, Lord." There was a foreshadowing of doom that they were all afraid to address. It began when Jesus told them what had to happen once they got to Jerusalem.

The chaos starts when Judas dips his hand with Jesus......"Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."

Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?"
Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you." Matthew 26:23-25

And then..."As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. "What you are about to do, do quickly," Jesus told him," John 13:27

I think of all the events of that sorrow filled night; I think of Peter, bold, courageous, outspoken. The one who jumped out into the storm tossed sea to run to Jesus. He wasn't a timid man by any stretch, and yet the chaotic horror of that night was too much even for him. He caved in to fear, and yet..... "Peter followed at a distance." Luke 22:54

I like this commentary by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson:

Peter is courageous and bold -- he wants to be near his Lord in his hour of need. But Peter is terrified, also. He is in danger and knows it. And as he sits near the fire, he begins to wonder what might happen. As long shadows dance in the firelight, Peter's fears continue to grow. What if I'm recognized? How can I hide when it becomes light. What should I do if I'm identified by someone who was there?

Jesus Looks Straight at Peter (22:60-61)
But then Jesus intervenes:
"Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: 'Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.' " (22:60-61)

Peter strikes a cord with all of us because he is a part of us, really. We have the same fears, failings and weaknesses. But as Jesus completely restored and forgave Peter, he forgives us. That is the grace of Easter, fellowship restored! Each new day gives us a chance to start again with Jesus.

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3