Monthly Archives: April 2013

Psalm 2

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Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”

“I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”

10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

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Psalm 1

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Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Brand New

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I have a new pair of shoes!  Well, not exactly. 

Shoes are a low priority for me. They say that black goes with everything, and I’ve been living by that motto for the past 6+ months. (Okay, 2 years.) Every Sunday I reach for the same flat, black, nondescript shoes.  There is nothing wrong with them, other than looking old.  They’ve served me well.

A few Sundays ago, I looked down at my feet and thought it was probably about time I did something about my shoes.  That leaves me with a dilemma.  First, I just flat-out detest shoe shopping.  My feet are long, and finding some that fit can be tricky.  Secondly, I can’t seem to justify spending money on shoes if I already have something in my closet.  I feel wasteful.

Well, I came up with a solution.  Today I cut the miniscule bows off my black flats, used a leather cleaner, polished them, Krazy-glued some trim around the top edges, and sewed a button on each.  Voila!  I got to enjoy being creative, and I saved money and the headache of shopping.  I’m a happy woman.

As I was gluing on the trim, it occurred to me that all we can do is remake the outside of things, ourselves included.  Even if you go through a fast or cleanse, you’re still only altering the body.  Only Jesus Christ can change the heart.  Take a self-help course, get a personal trainer…..there is a limit to any change they can make.  Yet if you give your life to Christ, you are made anew.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new..”  (NKJV)

I pray “that He would grant you [each of us!], according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  (Ephesians 3:16-19)  Oh, how great is His love for us! 

Only He can make you anew.

Lessons from Chester

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Chester is the furry love of my life.  The moment I first looked into his eyes, I fell in love and knew that we belonged together.  He had the face of an angel and a gentleness of spirit.  I’m still smitten 12 years later.

Although Chester had been comfortable in the store where I found him, he would hide under chairs at our home and refuse to come out.  For the first couple months he only emerged at night when we were sleeping.  In the morning, his dish would be empty and the litter box used.  It was discouraging as we wondered if Chester would ever adjust.

But adjust he did.  As he investigated the house at night, Chester became familiar with his surroundings and began coming out during the day as well.  He gradually accepted our love and responded in kind. 

Several years went by before we found out why he had such trouble adjusting to life in a new setting.  His veterinarian discovered that our sweet Chester is virtually blind and was born that way.  That knowledge endears him all the more to me and gives me a much greater empathy for his shyness and fearfulness.

Chester and I are tight.  He’s a mama’s boy, and I love it that way.  When I lay my head next to him, he immediately starts purring.  Even if I am removing a mat from his fur –which he does NOT like —the purring continues. He trusts me completely, trusts my love, trusts our relationship.  I have become his sight.

As each of us grows in faith, we learn that we can trust our Lord.  Looking back on our lives, we can see His hand providing for us and leading us.  When we couldn’t see, He could.  When we were afraid, He was beside us. 

Our Lord loved us enough to send His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die in our place, for our sins, in order to bring us into a restored relationship with Him.  That’s a lot of love!  We can trust Him with everything, knowing that His love for us is immeasurable. 

Let Him be your sight and Him your heart. Place your faith in Him today.

“Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.”

Be Thou My Vision

This is perhaps my favorite hymn, the first I teach to the little ones in my family. Thanks to intothelight7 who posted it on YouTube.

Lessons from Button

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Button is the youngest and smallest member of our household.  He is a Roborovski hamster, a type of dwarf hamster. He looks like a little angel with his dark brown button eyes, pink nose, and pudgy body. His coloring is similar to what you find in Beatrix Potter’s story, “Two Bad Mice”. 

Button is also extremely fast, faster than any other hamster I’ve owned.  His legs may be thin, but they are powerful, moving him at lightening speed. Changing his cage each week is challenging. As I try to gently scoop him up in my hand, he flies around the cage at full speed and eludes my efforts. Sometimes he bites and flips from my hand. I worry that he will hurt himself.  After I finally capture him, I place him in a little holding container with bedding until I can clean his cage and return him to his home.

Yesterday I tried a different type of bedding. Instead of the usual wood shavings, I spread a white material that reminded me of very thick toilet paper.  I thought this might be softer and more pleasant for Button, yet when I returned him to his cage, he hid, dazed, behind his wheel.  The change in bedding rocked his world, regardless of it being more comfortable. Change is hard, but he has now adjusted. 

Button doesn’t offer much to me, other than cuteness, but I love him very much.  He is a precious little life, and my heart is warmed by caring for him.

Aren’t we a lot like Button?  Our God loves us with an everlasting love.  He provides for us and wants to carry us gently, and yet we run like fools from Him.  We bite him and try to avoid Him.  We don’t want changes in our small worlds, even when what He offers is far superior.  How much better when we rest in Him!  He is our God, our Creator.  I imagine he looks down at us, as I look at Button, and shakes His head as He thinks how much better our lives would be if we cooperated with Him instead of fighting Him. 

We may be unworthy of His love and often behave like tiny hamsters, yet He remains and cares and provides for us.  He alone is worthy of our praise.  “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”  (Revelation 4:11)  Let go of the fight.  Give Him your love, and rest in Him.

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

This song by Twila Paris has played an important role in my Christian life, especially when going through tough times.

Boston Marathon

Let us lift up prayers to our God for the victims of today’s Boston Marathon attack.

“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.”  (Psalm 34:15-16)

Keeping the Focus

I love to peruse antique stores.  Within their walls lie pieces of the lives of our ancestors. I’ll see an antique radio, for instance, and picture its owner bending to turn it on.  Did he hear about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on this radio?  I imagine all their mundane chores – polishing shoes or cooking dinner – suddenly ceasing at that moment, everyone gathering around the radio to hear the news.  Were he or his relatives called to war based on that announcement? It is each object’s connection to its owner and its impact which fascinate me about antiques.

Normally I don’t purchase a thing, but recently I found a pair of antique horse blinders.  I’ve wanted a pair of them for quite awhile, so the purchase was an easy decision.  A powerful horse once wore the blinders that I now own.

Do you know their purpose?  Contrary to their name, horse blinders are not for covering the horse’s eyes like a mask. The blinders keep the horse looking forward so that they will not be distracted or afraid of things going on around them as they pull a wagon or run a race. They are a means of keeping the horse focused on the proper direction. 

Paul says, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”  (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)  Horse blinders remind me of the focus Christians must have on Christ for our race.  It is part of the self-control and discipline that is required for any worthy endeavor, but this more than any.  Without focus, life can easily be frittered away.

This focus does not mean that we close our eyes to the world around us and ignore unbelievers. No, we reach out all the more, knowing that the prize ahead is the only one that ultimately matters and wanting the same for everyone.  Nor do we ignore suffering.  Only with the heart of Jesus can we reach out to others in any way of eternal significance.  Otherwise we are just slapping on Band-Aids for temporary relief.  We do, however, lay aside sin and anything else that hinders our race.

I expect some mocking for correlating horse blinders to the life of a Christian.  Without looking at their purpose, “blinders” does sound rather close-minded.  But that’s okay.  The world does not desire to understand the things of God.  As Christians, we know that we have a heavenly treasure that far outweighs any other, one abundantly worthy to receive our focus. 

Hebrews 12: 1b-2 says that we are to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Fix your eyes on Jesus, and never lose sight of the prize.

The Family of Believers

 “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And [Jesus] stretched out His hand      toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!                                        For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:48-50)

Believers, how blessed we are to have Christian brothers and sisters!  Our heavenly Father tenderly picks us up and places us in the local and corporate body of Christ, our new family.  “A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, 
Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely.”  (Psalm 68:5-6a) 

Only fellow believers share your heart for God, which is the most important part of any follower of Christ.  Personality and interests are merely garnish to the meal.  What matters most is that we are children of the most high God, and we praise Him for the salvation He has provided for us through Jesus Christ.  “I will sing to the Lord, 
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  (Psalm 13:6)

While we traverse this foreign soil, the church is a refreshing drink of water poured for us by our Maker, our Redeemer.  “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.  I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.”  (Psalm 9:1-2)

Blessed be the name of our Lord!