Sunday, March 16, 2014

We need God

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

We need God. In this world I don't see how anyone can think that they do not. Unfortunately sometimes it takes a trial to realize that without Him we are really helpless and hopeless.

In August 1994, I was at a church in Philadelphia singing as a guest. Shortly after sitting down in my seat next to my husband I suffered a brain aneurysm. What followed was a great trial for me and my family, but through it all God proved Himself totally in control as we in our helplessness allowed Him to take control.  There were times during this trial that I have no memory of, but there were times when I was
conscious, that I distinctly remember God's work at hand. After they rushed me to the ER in the first hospital I remember coming awake in an X-ray room propped up in a sitting position and strapped to a gurney. I remember thinking "God I am totally relying on You to help me, I cannot move and have no control." Then there was the time right before they took me in to prep me for brain surgery and I said to God silently " I'm in Your Hands" and as I closed my eyes I "saw" four large angels surrounding my gurney, wings outstretched and touching, surrounding me. As they rolled me into the Operating room the scripture "For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways." (Psalms 91:11) settled in my spirit and mind. I was physically helpless, totally out of control and God showed me that He is still in charge.   

So many miraculous things happened. And I am eternally grateful for the many brothers and sisters in
Christ that prayed for me. God used so many to uplift and encourage me and my husband. During a time of prayer my husband said he felt God speak to his heart that I would be "unhindered" when I came through this. And indeed I was, within 10 days I walked out of the hospital free of any after or side effects and the only medication given was the routine pain meds which I did not need. God showed us in so many ways how when we are helpless and even at times hopeless, He will take us up.

I have had many people share how they had loved ones that did not make it after having an aneurysm, and I am so sorry when I hear this. I don't always understand why things happen, but I do know this, God is no respecter of persons and shows no favoritism, and things we may not understand here on this earth, we will one day understand. Even in my own personal life, I do not understand totally why the Lord allowed my precious husband to succumb to his illness, several years later. But I have hope, for you see without hope we cannot have the faith to believe that God is in control and that we will never be disappointed as we trust in Him. Trusting that one day we will see clearly and until then He will give us "...joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

We need Him, we cannot truly make it without Him.  God in His mercy allow us to think that we are in control of our lives...we may think we are succeeding, but actually it is Him and His unconditional love at work.  And my friend He is patiently waiting, waiting for us to turn to Him and invite Him in. To invite Him into our crazy world, our messes, our turmoil and yes even our issues that we think can never be fixed.  We try so hard to work it out by ourselves...aren't you tired?  God says "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Let Him give you rest, let Him give you peace, let Him give you hope...we need Him.


On another note:
 With HOPE that the spring weather will be soon to come, I've add some spring touches around the house
Living room

Foyer dresser


Bunny planter


Door basket

And Introducing Buster my new pup




 




Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Greatest of these is Love..."

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.   And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
 
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;   does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;   does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.   For we know in part and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
 I Corinthians 13

There is nothing more to say after reading these scriptures about the true meaning of Love. Nothing to be added or deleted. Thank you Lord for not only giving us the true meaning of Love, but you demonstrated it so beautifully through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

February 14th is a special day, a day to show your love ones how much you love them! It also was my wedding anniversary.  But I rejoice!  I rejoice for the people that are still able to celebrate their love ones on this earth and I rejoice because God allowed me to experience a good marriage with a precious, God fearing man. We were blessed to experience the true love of  I Corinthians 13.

Happy Valentine's Day y'all!  Show your loved ones some love today and always!

On another note, here are some pictures of my home decorations and from my favorite Tea Room from years past:

Front doors

Front porch

My favorite Tea Room!

Tea Room!

Tea Room!

A Heart Tree at the Tea Room!

Vintage Heart Pottery

Vintage Heart Pottery

Lovebirds!

Roses from my sweet sister!







 



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Whiter than snow...

"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."Psalms 51:7

There is nothing more beautiful that fresh fallen snow. In the area where I live we are now into our 4th major snow storm and though I do not like the clean up part, I confess that I love the snow when it is falling and fresh on the ground. If you go outside when the snow is beginning to fall there is a holy hush, a serene quietness, almost as if nature is standing in awe of it's own beauty.  And when it has fallen to the ground and no man nor animal has marred it's surface, it is the cleanest, purest, and most pristine sight! 


And yet the scripture says that when God cleanses us, it is even whiter than snow. What a wondrous miracle that is!  That He loves us so much that when we ask Him to take away our sins and mean it from our hearts He removes them and cleanses us of all unrighteousness. 
[I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.]


Several years ago, around this time of the year, one of my best friends, who was very ill with just a few more weeks to live on this earth said to me in a phone conversation from her bed: "When I look out the window at the snow, I think of how clean the Lord has washed my sins away." She was a person that loved the Lord with all her heart and was a blessing to her family and so many others. The illness was not kind to her, she suffered very much in her body and yet she still was at peace, so very much at peace and in her own way declared from her heart with great assurance "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

Every time I see snow at it's purest I think of her and it is a gentle reminder of God's unfailing love for us.  I don't know about you but God had a lot of cleaning up to do with me and it is still a daily practice that I ask Him to forgive me and cleanse me. And He is so faithful.







Here is an old hymn that says it all:

"O for a Heart whiter than snow"
Eliza Edmunds Hewitt (1851-1920)

O for a heart that is whiter than snow,
Kept, ever kept 'neath the life-giving flow,
Cleansed from all evil, self-seeking and pride,
Kept pure and holy by Calvary's tide!

Refrain

O for a heart whiter than snow!
Saviour divine, to whom else shall I go?
Thou who didst die, loving me so,
Give me a heart that is whiter than snow.


O for a heart that is whiter than snow,
Calm in the peace that he loves to bestow,
Daily refreshed by the heavenly dews,
Ready for service whene'er he shall choose!

Refrain

O for a heart that is whiter than snow,
With the pure flame of the Spirit aglow,
Filled with the love that is true and sincere,
Love that is able to banish all fear!

Refrain

O for a heart that is whiter than snow,
Then in his grace and his knowledge to grow,
Growing like him who my pattern shall be,
Till in his beauty my King I shall see!

On another note:  Here are some pics of my "Winter White" d├ęcor















And a "Hello" from Mr. Winter White himself!  BRUNO!









Saturday, January 4, 2014

Serendipity?

Serendipity , one definition is 'being pleasantly surprised".  I think that I have lost the capacity of being "pleasantly surprised". I read a devotional from Chuck Swindoll, one of my favorite writers, and he says "When we lose our capacity for [surprise-ability and spontaneity] we settle into life's rut. We expect little and we're seldom disappointed."
Sounds like me! I've fallen (in a big 'ol rut) and I can't get up! (laughing but not so funny)

I find that I am prone to be found in my comfort zone, where things are predictable and not hard to figure out.  I like things that are reliable and planned for ahead of time.  While these things are good qualities, sometimes we or rather I can get too comfortable and need to change.  My Mom always bought really good quality, name brand clothes for us when we were children, but she always bought them at least a size bigger than what we needed. She did this because she knew that we were in our
growing stages and no sense paying all that good money for clothes if you just grow out of them in 4 to six months.  Makes sense and good thinking!   But what doesn't make sense is that up until a few years ago I was still doing that for myself, a middle aged woman.  I would go into a store and buy clothes that were at least a size bigger because of what?  At my age I'm surely not growing, well not vertically anyway and I'm working on not growing horizontally and thank God have been successful thus far.  So why buy the bigger clothes?  Because it was a comfort zone for me, in a crazy way it represented security, being prepared.

I remember being in a leaders' meeting at the church I attended at the time many years ago and the pastor saying to me "You have quite a happy smile." And I remember thinking I FEEL happy!  I was a relatively new Christian, my husband and I were getting involved at our church and things were really on a good roll.  I felt almost invincible, to be sad as a Christian was unheard of to me. I mean how can you be sad and be a Christian at the same time?  I had found my comfort zone and I wouldn't let anyone pull me out of it. It was fine for a while then a thing called LIFE began to grab my attention through a series of events like disappointment, rejection, and even a failure in health. I was forced out of my comfort zone to confront LIFE and God reached out His hand and carried me along, never leaving me just as He said He would do.  Underneath all the howling winds of adversity, the waves of questions and the plummeting of disappointments was the constancy of God, my Father holding me and taking me through with a promise that I would make it.

I must admit that through all of this "growing up" I still seek out my comfort zone. I think that I have retreated back into what I know to be secure and reliable. While it is always good to trust in God's reliability and faithfulness, I on the other hand confess that I had begun to trust a little too much in
me. What can I do to make sure I don't get hurt again, that I don't get disappointed again, that I don't get stuck with clothes that are too tight...just in case...

My husband had a long term illness, that came with a voraciousness and then at times would be in a remitted state and a lot of the symptoms would be gone. This went on for years and together we believed that God would totally heal him one day. But when it came back the last time, he never recovered and passed away with both of us believing until the end that God would raise him up from the affliction.

In the years since his passing I believe that I have built a comfort zone around me that though it protected me somewhat from some unexpected things, it also kept out the "serendipity" that God wants for me.  Those pleasant surprises that He wants to bestow on each and everyone of us.

I love the movie "Serendipity", it's about a man and a woman that keep meeting in some crazy and strange events, in accidental, pleasant surprising ways. Ultimately  those serendipity events bring them together which was meant to be. Great chick flick!  But my prayer for 2014 is that I will allow the Lord to help me to relax and enjoy this life that He has entrusted me with.  That I get out of my comfort zone and once again believe Him for the pleasant surprises and that I will not fear of being caught without being first prepared.  My security is Him and He is always prepared.

Father, I thank You for allowing me to see another year and I pray that You take me by the hand and lead me through the purpose that You have for me. Amen!








We've been hit with snow 3 times in the last few weeks here are some pictures:

front porch
 
view from the porch
 
We got about 8 inches this time!
 
But Bruno and I are warm and safe inside!

 
 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Child-like Faith


Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”  And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them. 
 Mark 10:15-16, Luke 18:17


The innocence of a child is so precious and pure. And though an assignment from hell to steal that innocence has been around for centuries, it seems the tempo has been quickened. Proof of that can be seen every time you pick up a newspaper or read the latest news on your computer. It seems the age of the victims of this attack gets younger and younger as the years go by.  And yet I also see parents and guardians encouraging their children to grow up quickly: by making little girls wear makeup and compete to see who’s the prettiest, allowing children to be entertained by things that are designed for adults and ignoring, even finding it amusing when they, the children, adopt and mimic profane mannerisms and language. God help us, because we have helped to speed up this hellish assignment.
Jesus, I believe was so drawn to children because of their innocence and undaunted willingness to believe the TRUTH. His words fell on fresh, newly tilled soil and sprung up with an urgency to grow.  Not to grow up so that “No one will be able to tell ME what to do”, but to grow and receive more of the Truth so that a solid foundation would exist and there would be relationship with the Father.

 
I am told that when my older brother was a child, an acquaintance of his burst a balloon , so my brother got an old rusty nail and announced that  “My Da will fix it."  We always laugh at that story, but think about his faith in his father.  Oh that we would believe that Our Father could and will do the impossible for us!  Child-like faith that’s what Jesus meant.  A belief and trust that we have a Heavenly Father that loves us and wants the best for us. Maybe you didn’t have a good example for a father or did not even know your father at all…still we are without excuse because we have a Heavenly Father that is perfect. ” When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” Psalms 27:10
As we prepare to enter into a new year, we do not know what the future may hold, yet we must not fear. I believe that the greatest faith of all is not that of the great teachers and preachers across this land, but the greatest faith is that of a child that solely and purely believes that His Daddy spoke and speaks the Truth and that settles it all. We must trust God and yes even with a childlike faith believe that He is taking care of us. No matter the hopelessness that is being reported in the media we must believe that our Father is in charge and in doing so we receive the kingdom of God.

 

 

 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Time...A wonderful time of the year!

"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Christmas will be different for me this year. For the past 11 years, I have spent Christmas away from home, traveling to be with family. This year I feel the Lord saying for me to stay at home.  I don't quite understand it but feel it necessary to heed to this gentle persuading.  I am not sad about it because I know that when He asks us to do (or not to do) something it is for the greater good, the bigger picture.  So I have settled into making this holiday a very special one.

Though I will very much miss being with family, I will not miss the hustle and bustle of the airport. An 11:00AM flight for me means getting up at 4:00AM so that I can finish packing, getting the dog to the kennel, then coming back to make sure everything has been done, i.e. mail stopped, neighbors notified, water turned off (I have a story to tell  about not turning the water off once and came home to over 4 feet of water in the basement from a broken water heater), thermostat adjusted, doors and windows locked, etc., etc.  The Rapid Rover (airport shuttle) picks me up at 8:00AM, THEN it's checking in luggage , going through security and the long walk to the gate.  By the time I am finally on the plane I am exhausted.  I don't see how folks travel for a living!

No matter where we may be at Christmas, may we remember the true meaning of this Holy Day!  God sent His only Son to earth in the form of a baby.  He came in the most vulnerable form to show how much He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for us!  And as He grew in wisdom and stature as the Bible says, He fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, He IS a Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and may the Prince of Peace reign in our homes, our lives and in our hearts!

On another note:

This year I added some animal print to my decorations, here are just a couple of pictures:


Front doors

Welcome Rug

Apple & Pomegranate Topiary
 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Giving Thanks


Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.   I Chronicles 16:34

The roots of the fallen tree
Looking out of my dining room window I can see the clear blue sky, so lovely.  Before October of last year I did not have this view…my neighbor’s 40 foot tree stood in all its glory, branches reaching to the sky.  But during Hurricane Sandy of 2012 that mighty tree became a casualty of the storm.  That tree that had been there for decades was lifted roots and all and pushed to its side on the ground!  When we surveyed the damages after the storm, I looked in amazement that if the tree had fallen to the left, it would have landed on my house and 2 of the upstairs bedrooms, along with the dining and living room would have been destroyed.  Instead the tree looked as if something pushed it backwards and into the lot of a temporarily vacant home.  All I could say was “Thank You Lord” for your protection!  That even through the storm, with winds blowing over 50 miles an hour and the house sounding like it would fall apart, and I did not know what was going on outside, you kept me safe from harm!
And isn’t that how it is, when we go through a “storm”? We may not know the outcome, the situation may consume our thoughts, the tempest may roar and there is frustration, confusion and even anger BUT God wants us to trust Him that He will keep us safe and will surely work it all out.

I have so much to be thankful for, this is just one instance when I KNOW that it was Him that kept me safe.  When I look over my life, and I trace my steps through many things that maybe some would have crumbled, had a nervous breakdown, lost their mind and even just plain old given up, I can see how He has kept  me.  It is by no means a testament to my strength, because I KNOW that without Him I would not be here today.

 Many years ago when I sat on the steps of our Philadelphia row home and looked into the sky and said “God if you’re real and you hear me, show me You.”  This came from a heart that was searching for real peace, and even though I had “things”, it did not satisfy.  Having grown up in the church I knew about God, but didn’t really KNOW Him.  But after that night He made Himself known to me through a neighbor that would come to talk to me about her experience with Jesus.  I don’t even remember her full name, but I thank God for her and her faithfulness, because it started me on a road to get to know God better.
The journey has not always been easy, but this I know, God is faithful and has never left my side since I invited Him to come into my heart. I have so much to be thankful for! Through the sun, the rain, the good times, the bad times God has remained consistent, you see He never changes, He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Some people disagree that God is not good, because of something that has happened tragic in their lives.  I don’t profess to know everything, but why not ask Him?  Invite Him into your life and then ask Him, give Him the chance to love you.

Thank You Father God for Your loving kindness that endures forever, thank you Jesus for dying for my sins, for paying the penalty that I could not  pay, and thank you Holy Spirit for being my teacher, guide and comforter.  You are all three in One and I thank You! May I always keep my hand in Yours, my eyes on You and most importantly, keep my heart as Yours.  Thank You!