I have always loved the picture she drew of Farmer Floyd. I don't have a scanner here at home, but I did take a picture of him. I'll try to scan it later and replace the photo with a better image.
Friday, October 31, 2008
I have always loved the picture she drew of Farmer Floyd. I don't have a scanner here at home, but I did take a picture of him. I'll try to scan it later and replace the photo with a better image.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
And regardless of the camera used, who is the craftsman: my brother or the camera? Would that same camera have created the same results in my unskilled hands? NO! No matter what God uses us for, it is not for our glory. It is for His. He can use any tool He wants for any job he wants. But not every tool is suitable for every job. He could use an unsuitable tool if He chose, but think about this: It might break the tool. My brother could take his studio camera out to sea and try to take underwater shots with it, but it would ruin that very expensive tool to try to use it for something that it isn’t suited for. There are other tools made for that purpose.
I found 2 devotions along this line in a book put together by Jean Watson: In God’s Presence: daily devotions with J. I. Packer.
So, if we are God's tools, what work are we supposed to be helping in? As Christians, it is our job to tell the “truth,” that real truth that is a Person, wherever we are. But we need to keep in mind “… that while it is our responsibility to proclaim salvation, it is God who saves. It is He who brings men and women under the sound of the gospel to faith in Christ. Our evangelistic work is the instrument that He uses for this purpose, but the power that saves is not the instrument: it is in the hand of the One who uses the instrument.” (from May 19)
Sometimes we may not even recognize that we are in the shadow of His hand. We sense a gloominess around us that makes us restless. We are unsettled and feel that something needs to change. That feeling might just be God shaping us to be the tool in His hand. “The hand of God is a very big one and when it’s stretched over you, even with a purpose of protection, it may look and feel like a great black cloud, hiding the sun. …The last word of wisdom and pointer to joy in this world is the realization that here God is preparing us for another world where his light will shine on us as it never did in this one.” (from September 28)
Well, that's it. Those are all the shadows studies I have. Working on this study has made me realize something. Whether or not I said anything that spoke to you, I learned some things that spoke to me. I hope I have passed some of them on. I found some things that excited me and some things that challenged me. Mostly, I found things that gave purpose to my quiet time. Think about the things that move you, things that you are interested in. If you read something that sparks your interest, make a note of it. Later, look into it. The Bible is a BIG book. And chances are, if something is mentioned once, that theme is mentioned again and probably again. Make notes in your journal or in your bible. If you are involved in a home bible study, you could suggest your topic. You don’t have to teach the topic. If you are moved to dig into God’s Word, it is for a purpose. God’s Word will not return void. Someone, maybe you, maybe someone you know, has a need for what you are learning.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
L saw me with the camera and took the next 2 pictures of her sister's friends.
That's M standing on her buddy's head.
I consider a party a success when 1) there is enough food, 2) nobody cries (unless it's because they're watching a chick flick), and 3) they're all still friends when it's time to go home.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
God’s Hand is where the action is. His Hand is where His tools are.
Example: My brother uses a tool in his work. It is a very complex tool. It takes maintenance and preparation on his part to assure that his camera will perform the way it is supposed to when he calls upon it. He protects it from dust and extreme heat and cold. He makes sure that when it travels it is in an appropriate case and not jostled around loose. He makes sure that it is loaded with enough memory or film, depending on the camera, and armed with the right filters and flashes for the occasion. But apart from his hand, that camera is useless. Unless he puts his hand on it and uses it, it is a worthless tool: very expensive, but not fulfilling its purpose when left to itself.
Let's look at God's hand:
- Isaiah 49:2-3 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor."
- Isaiah 49:16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
What are His hands capable of? Wow!
- Isaiah 40: 12. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
- Isaiah 45: 12. It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.
- Isaiah 51:16 I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand-- I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, 'You are my people.'
Notice that every time God’s hand is mentioned, it is doing something. It is marking off the heavens or laying the foundations of the earth. And that was with no tools at all! Imagine what He can do with just a simple tool like us. All we have to do is place ourselves in His hand. Imagine being that arrow in God's quiver, ready to fly at His command. Doesn't that get you excited?
Friday, October 24, 2008
I started blogging in July of 2007 after returning from my first motorcycle trip with my husband. I figured that was a great topic to begin with, especially since I had pictures to share. I have always liked to write, though. I love words: the pictures they create, the way they fit together, the way they can take you to a place you've never been. I remember once in high school, given the choice to read and critique 3 short stories or to write one of my own, I chose to write an original. Most of my writing over the next couple of decades was poetry, but with children came stories. And some stories begin with, "Guess what happened today!!"
According to the rules governing this Major Award (does that make you think of "A Christmas Story" and a fantastic floor lamp?), I must now tap 5 others to take up this torch. And the nominees are..........
1. My eldest daughter is by far one of THE best writers I know. Andra's Nameless Blog is the first blog I check every morning: not to see what my child is up to, but to see what she has to say about it. She makes me laugh AND she makes me think. Even if she weren't my daughter, she'd be my friend. I'm glad she's both.
2. Dr. Tommy Mitchell is my pastor. His blog, The Rurban Church Blog, is a great mix of spiritual insight and rurban culture. You can find out what's happening with our church family, Dr. T's immediate family, or odd stuff he's seen around the community. He also has a link there to his house-building blog named, oddly enough, The Mitchell House. I have the utmost respect for this man of God. He guides Agricola Baptist Church with a true shepherd's heart. And he's one of my best friends.
3. Mark Williams is the equipping pastor at ABC. His blog can be found at A day in the life of ...Mark Williams. That position was formerly called the minister of education at most Baptist churches. Mark writes mostly about his 2 children and his wonderful wife. You can feel the love he has for them jumping off the page. As I write this, he is on the other side of the world, sharing his talents with other families who are working for God's kingdom. Mark's heartfelt desire is to equip families and children's workers with the tools they need to pass on a Godly heritage to the children in their care.
4. Johnny Beaver is a man I've never met in person, but feel like he's my brother. The Beaver Blogger is a place to see what this former pastor (but still man of God) has found in God's Word recently. Well...there may be some other posts not related directly to what he read today, but I bet he'll connect it before he signs off. Bro. Johnny's wisdom shows me that God will use a person as long as he is willing to be used, not merely as long as he has a pulpit.
5. Last, but certainly not least, is one of my newest friends: dhcoop. Her blog is called It's just me. If Johnny is my brother, then Coop is my sister. She is new to blogging herself, but has been a blog commenter of the highest order for quite some time. Armed with her new digital camera, Coop is ready to document her world and share it with the rest of us. I love this woman's gift of encouraging others. If she were a guy, I'd call her Barnabus (son of encouragement), but that would probably get shortened to Barney, who was a purple dinosaur, when the name Kermit would probably make her happier.
Now that I have fulfilled all of the other rules associated with the Superior Scribbler Award, I must post the rules themselves. Without further ado, they are as follows:
- Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
- Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
- Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
- Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
- Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
We were heading west on the 2-lane highway that take us into Agricola when a flash of color off to the right caught my eye. As we cleared the trees, I saw a bit of rainbow. I pointed it out to M and pretty soon we could see the entire arch stretching over our path.
She couldn't wait to get out of the car and to the bus shelter to show her friends. I wanted to take a picture of it. By the time I got to an open place that I could stop and get out the camera, it was gone.
So many of God's blessings are like that. He gives them to us to enjoy for that moment, not to stash away. I think so many times we miss a true blessing by trying to make it last. We fail to be simply carried away by the wonder of an instant.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Speaking of morning (what a transition) this was how the sky looked this morning on our way to school. Rather a deadly looking variety of cotton candy, don't you think?
And last but not least, I couldn't resist posting at least one picture from Mr. H's trip. I love this bridge. If someone ever gives me a lake with a creek running into it (ahem) I want a bridge like this one.
Okay, maybe not last, but I just remembered this picture that I took last week and couldn't resist. Yes, that is a covered wagon on a trailer turning the corner. I believe the trailer immediately in front of us is carrying the horses or mules that usually pull the wagon. Hey, I wonder if this is the same rig I spotted getting breakfast at courtyard lane last week? Nope,I looked: different wagon.
Monday, October 20, 2008
The shot below is my crew on the Gee-Wiz. M & L both brought friends. M's buddy is in the orange shirt. M has the exact same shirt at home, because they bought them together for "twin day" last week. L's buddy is on the other side of M.
As the girls were wandering around, we spotted another kid from our church. He stayed with us for most of the evening. He is a joy to be around. His folks have done a great job teaching him to be a gentleman. I don't really know the girl in the non-maroon shirt other than she is in L's buddy's class at school.
Here are the 4 of them in the Tilt-a-Whirl.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
There are spiritual things, ideas, that a lot of people don't understand because they don't have active spiritual lives. But so many of those things have a way to be explained using a comparison to something in everyday life. (Now I understand that there are those that don't understand everyday life, either, and I don't think I can help them!) This morning, my epiphany was about relationships. The idea started last night.
Last night I was watching the latest episode of NCIS on the internet. I really like that show and I missed this week's installment while we were at the fair. I got on my computer, went to CBS.com and found the show. The screen below the window that plays the show has comments from other viewers. The most recent comment at the time was one that I agreed with wholeheartedly. This is what Irm23936 had to say:
Excellent episode. This show has always been character driven since the start. The cast is so good that it is easy to just follow stories about their lives and bee entertained regardless of the crime of the week.I know exactly what this person is talking about. I would rather watch a show with characters I feel like I know than just watch the crime situations themselves. I love the Lord of the Rings movies, but my favorite is "The Fellowship of the Ring." It's the first one, the one where the relationships are formed, the one where everyone is still all together. Relationships are what life is all about. Would you rather go out to eat alone or with a friend? How about see a movie by yourself or with a buddy?
I have what my daughters call "my little cyber buddies." We talk to each other every day and on occasion get the chance to actually meet face to face. Those face to face times are great. Those who are at the face to face meetings usually take pictures to share with those who are too far away to be there. And those who can't be there are always a bit disappointed that the others can meet without them.
That's the way relationships work. God created us with a desire for relationships for a reason. He wants us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to go places with Him. He wants us to share His adventures. And the more, the merrier. He wants us to bring our friends along with us. He wants our interaction to include Him because He has so many incredible things planned for us.
Friday, October 17, 2008
1 TBSP yeast or one individual package
1/3 cup lukewarm (NOT hot) water
1/2 cup milk
3 TBSP honey
3 TBSP butter, cut up
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
3-1/4 cups (altogether) unbleached white flour, or as needed
(these last 2 are added for a flavored bread, leave them out for regular white bread)
about 7 or 8 sun-dried tomato pieces, diced
about 7 or 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
You can make this with a mixer that has a dough hook or you can mix the whole thing by hand. I've done both. One is a workout, the other isn't. I'll try to give both instructions here. I've separated the ingredients above into the sections worked together.
Start with a really big bowl or the mixing bowl of your mixer. Add the lukewarm water and yeast. Stir to dissolve the yeast. It will start to foam. That's how you know it's still active. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
Now, I use a 2 cup measuring cup for the next part. Measure the milk, honey, butter and salt into the measuring cup and microwave it for a minute or so. Watch carefully while heating milk: it tends to boil over suddenly. Take it out and stir to melt all the butter and mix up the honey. Now add the cold water (I use a few ice cubes with the water to measure up to 1/2 cup) to the milk mixture and stir to cool. As long as it's not hot, you can now add it to the yeast in the big bowl. If you are adding the tomatoes and basil, add them to the yeast/milk mixture in the bowl.
Sift 1-1/2 cups flour with the powdered milk. If you are mixing by hand, add this to the big bowl and beat with a whisk about 3 minutes. If using a mixer with a dough hook, mix on Speed 2 for about 3 minutes. Add the remaining flour and mix another 2 minutes. If dough is too sticky (doesn't start to pull away from the sides of the bowl) add a bit more flour, 1/4 cup or so. You need to be able to handle it. If you are mixing by hand, gradually add the remaining flour. You'll reach a point where you can't stir any more and need to turn it out onto a floured board (or countertop). Knead for about 5 minutes adding flour if needed until smooth.
Now you'll need a clean bowl twice as big as the dough ball. Oil the sides of the bowl.
Cover with a towel again and let it rise again in a warm place for about another hour until almost double in size. Bake in a preheated oven 350 degrees for about 30 to 35 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and let it cool before you try to slice it.
Last night I was going to get M from her football game. 7:30 is the designated time for Middle School games to end. It never happens. The past several times it has been at least 8:15. So I left the house tonight at 7:15, giving myself 30 minutes to drive to town, and maybe I wouldn't have to wait too terribly long.
The George County fair is between my house and the football stadium, so I decided to go around another way and avoid Family Night traffic. I was within 3 minutes of the stadium when my cell phone rang. It was M informing me that she was now at the band hall. "The band hall! At the Middle School? What are you doing there? I'll be there as soon as I can turn around."
The middle school is on the other side of Lucedale. I found a (very dark) place to turn around and headed back the other way. I was afraid M was going to be the last one to be picked up, but apparently I wasn't the only one that didn't like sitting in the stadium parking lot for 45 minutes. As M walked out to the car, my co-worker's daughter came out with her and asked if she could have a ride, too. Her dad and I trade kid pick-up all the time, but usually it is arranged ahead of time.
Here's the tale. The kid's mom was photographing a wedding shower. I know the bride's family. They live in Agricola, down Cemetery Road which is across from the church. The kid had tried to call the mom's cell phone, but got the voice-mail. (Agricola is pretty much a cellular black hole.) I just don't want the mom to drive all the way to town and not find her kid. I try the mom's cell phone and leave a voice-mail: " I've got your kid and I'm taking her home... um, to your home." I really don't want to get in trouble and I don't want the kid to get in trouble, either. I know there had to be some other plan for this kid to get home. She tells me that her dad and brother are hunting. She calls her house: no one is home. She's in the 7th grade. Home alone is not a good thing.
As I get into Agricola, I decide to try the dad's cell. He answers. "I've got your kid. What should I do with her?" This is getting funny, now that I'm actually talking to a real person. He asks where we are. I tell him I have just turned the corner by the church. He says hold on, he's got his wife on the phone, too. I pull into the church parking lot to wait, and pull around to face the road - Cemetery Road. He comes back on the line and says he lost his connection with his wife. Looking down Cemetery Road, I see a car coming. I tell the kid to see if that's her mom's car. As it turns out it is, but since I am driving the truck we just bought, it is unfamiliar to everyone. The mom turns left. I pull out behind her and hand the phone to her daughter, who calls her mom and tells her that we are stalking her. The mom pulls onto the side of the road and we pull in behind her. It is pitch black dark on a country road, yet these 2 women both get out of their vehicles, stand in the middle of the dark road and laugh. Dogs are barking to high heaven, a couple even run out to us barking. We stomp a foot and say "Get on!" and they retreat. As we are standing in the road in the dark, her phone buzzes and tells her she's got voice-mails! We laugh some more.
Only in a place like this can this happen and no one be worried. Only in a place like this do you sit in the church parking lot and fully expect the next person to drive by to be the one you really need to see. Have I ever mentioned how much I love living here?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
He called me about 10:15 this morning from Birmingham. They were making good time considering how foggy it was this morning.
When we first heard about this trip, I thought I might get to go. Then I learned that it was a guys only venture. Originally they were going to ride straight through to Gatlinburg. Some of the guys thought that was too far for one day's travel. The plan now is to stay overnight in Georgia, then to push on to Gatlinburg tomorrow. They plan to ride the Dragon at Deal's Gap. Mr. H and I did that last year on our trip to Ashville.
I love the name: Motorcycle Resort. It's not what you expect with a name like that!
This is the Tree of Shame. If you wreck on one of the 318 turns on this 11 mile stretch of road, you can attach some of the pieces to this tree. None of those pieces are ours: we made it without incident!
I hope they have a good time. Mr. H doesn't go out with the guys much. He and I are best friends and most of the time, that's the only company we need. He almost said "No" to the trip, when I couldn't go. I made it clear that I would not be the reason he missed this opportunity!
Have a good time, Babe! Your girls are all going shopping tomorrow after school!!!!
Update: Mr. H just called again. They are in Calhoun, GA, and all checked in at their hotel. Now they are headed to the Long Horn for dinner.
Here are the results:
They look a bit over-done here, but it's just the lighting.
L was begging to eat them.
Okay, Andra, I think these are as good as yours!! Tomorrow I'm baking sun-dried tomato & basil bread. I'll keep you posted.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Ruth 2:12 “May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
The next four are all Psalms written by David:
Psalm 17:8-9 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.
Psalm 36:7 How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 57:1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
Psalm 63:7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. (while refuge is not actually mentioned here, I love the image of singing in the shadow of His wings!)
This last one may have been a prayer of Moses. That would surprise me for some reason. I guess I never thought of Moses as a poet. If you have a chance, read the whole Psalm. (The first verse of this Psalm is my favorite Bible verse.)
Psalm 91:2-4 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Think about the times that your children come and want to sit in your lap. It’s when they are hurt, or frightened, or just need calming down before going to bed. I remember once when M woke up from a nap to find that we had company. It was people she knew, but she was still uncomfortable. She would not get down off my lap. In fact she wouldn’t even turn around and look at them. She kept her face pressed into my neck for about an hour.
When you are hurt, what do you want? To put it simply, you want someone to kiss it and make it better.
Look at the 61st Psalm. Notice how it starts, then pay attention to how it ends.
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah
For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Increase the days of the king's life, his years for many generations. May he be enthroned in God's presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. Then will I ever sing praise to your name and fulfill my vows day after day.
From Henry’s Concise Commentary on Psalm 61 (verses 1-4):
“David begins with prayers and tears, but ends with praise. Thus the soul, being lifted up to God, returns to the enjoyment of itself. Wherever we are, we have liberty to draw near to God, and may find a way open to the throne of grace. And that which separates us from other comforts, should drive us nearer to God, the fountain of all comfort. Though the heart is overwhelmed, yet it may be lifted up to God in prayer. Nay, I will cry unto thee, for by that means it will be supported and relieved. Weeping must quicken praying, and not deaden it. . . . The grace of God shall be his constant comfort.”
Take the time to look up each of the Psalms listed in this post. Each selection begins with trouble or pain but ends with praise or at least confidence of deliverance. I didn’t pick these verses because they fit that pattern. The pattern was suggested to me in Matthew Henry’s commentary for Psalm 61. Out of curiosity, I went back and looked at the verses about wings that I had picked out 3 or 4 months previously. The pattern is the same. And it’s not just David and the other Psalmists. Look at how Malachi puts it.
Malachi 4:2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
Praise must follow deliverance just as surely as prayer springs from need. The group Third Day has a song "Your Love, Oh Lord" with this line:
And I will lift my voiceUnder His wings is where we find our strength, but it's not where we use that strength. We'll look at that next time.
To worship You, my King
And I will find my strength
In the shadow of Your wings
Here's what "new greenness" is replacing: "old redness."
The old red Wheel Horse is about 40 years old. It still runs well, just not speedily. The offset trail mower will be pulled behind the new Deere and move twice as fast, significantly cutting down on time spent mowing about 8 acres. Wheel horses are collectible, so we may be able to recoup part (a small part) of the price tag for the Deere.
I'm still on the old blue Ford, but my hours are reduced because Mr. H is now up to speed.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
The silver one at the top is my oldest flute. While I played the flute all through high school and college, I didn't play this particular flute. That one fell off the back of my Mustang back in 1989 as I was driving to play with a church orchestra. It was a bad day and I'd rather not talk about it. My dad replaced it with the one you see. He was always taking care of stuff like that.
The four in the picture below are recorders. The big one is a tenor. My fingers are barely long enough to play it. It sounds really nice. The other 3 are all the same: soprano recorders. This is essentially the little flute you may have learned to play in elementary school. We actually have 2 more wooden ones: an alto which is smaller than the big one here, but bigger than the other 3. Then we have a smaller one. I'm not sure where the 2 missing ones are. I guess I need to look for them.
These are penny whistles or tin whistles. The red ones are made of tin, and the white ones are plastic. The red ones are a bit older and don't sound as good as the plastic, which disappoints me for some reason. The different sizes are in different keys: smaller=higher pitched, larger=lower pitched. Tomorrow I'm using the bigger white one to play "Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King."
This last one is called a Quena. It's a South American flute. Think of the song from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." We bought this while we were on vacation in San Antonio one Thanksgiving. I can't really get a good sound on it. I think my chin is too small to completely cover the end.
I know this is a long list but it doesn't even include Mr. H's 3 saxophones (1 tenor, 2 altos), my piccolo, L's clarinet, M's orchestra bells, or the keyboard also residing at our house.
Cruisin' the Coast is going on this weekend. I came upon this guy headed north. I guess he couldn't stay for all the festivities. I really like the trailer.
My brother and I met at 10 at the bank but weren't able to finish our stuff before another important appointment. Why I didn't take pictures I don't know, but luckily someone else did. Here are some links.
After another quick trip back to the bank, we were done there. I love my mom's banker, Terry. She and I claim to be sisters since we seemed to share my mother. Terry was not getting much help from her co-workers, but she managed to get us settled. My mom loved her and I do, too.
I had another appointment that afternoon with my brother, and then it was time to head home. But first I stopped by my mom's house to take a picture of this bedside table. I have a friend looking for some furniture to go in a new guest bedroom and wanted to see if she'd like this. (The lamp, however, is not part of the deal!)
M was spending the night with a friend and then going shopping today. She called me on the way home to see if I could bring her some money in the morning before they left. She and her buddy were shopping for Twin Day of Spirit Week. I don't know what they'll be getting, but it will match. I finally got home a bit before 9 p.m.
Taking the funds to M this morning, I stopped by Courtyard Lane for some cat food. The drivers of this vehicle were inside eating breakfast.
While I was away yesterday, Mr. H finished the swing set. The new one is wider and taller than the last one. The girls aren't so close together when they swing and the exhaust pipe of the tractor will fit beneath it when we mow the grass.
Update: my hips are too wide for this type of swing!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Then we come to verse 11 and following:
So Solomon finished the Temple of the Lord, as well as the royal palace. He completed everything he had planned to do in the construction of the Temple and the palace. Then one night the Lord appeared to Solomon and said, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart."I have heard those verses about "if my people who are called by my name..." so many times. Usually the emphasis is on the humbling and seeking and turning. I don't believe I have ever remembered the context. The people weren't in trouble here. They had just had a week long, incredible celebration in the Presence of the Almighty God. And that same God knew what would happen to His people. He knew what they were capable of. So He was reminding their leader about the purpose of that special place.
This all happened in the Old Testament. That temple that Solomon built is no longer there, but there is a new temple. Paul talked about it to the church in Corinth: God's temple is holy and we (believers) are that temple.
Now look back at what the Lord told Solomon about the temple: all that can apply to you. His ears will be attentive to every prayer made in His temple (you). He has chosen His temple and set it (you) apart to be holy. It (you) are a place where His name will be honored forever. He will always watch over it (you), for it (you) are dear to His heart.
Did you hear that? You are dear to God's heart and He will always watch over you. And that's the reason that we should do all that humbling and praying and seeking and turning. I don't want to break God's heart. I would rather He smile while He is watching over me.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I said before that you can’t enjoy any of the shadows of God’s presence, unless you know the initial one: the shadow of the Rock (salvation). [here and here, if you missed it] Well, they sort of build on one another. Unless you know God personally, spend time with Him under the tree (or in the garden, or wherever your personal place with Him is) on a regular basis, you won’t come as easily under the next shadow: the shadow of His wings. It won’t be a place you run to immediately when you need to.
When you hear people talk about the “Shadow of His wings,” you invariably hear the comparison to mother hens gathering their chicks under their wings. I was born and raised in the city. I know nothing about chickens, except that roosters are noisy. My neighbor used to keep a whole flock (or whatever you call a bunch of chickens), and they made noise all day long. I don't know about you, but chickens don’t suggest comfort to me. The picture I want you to have is a lap. If you have children, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, think back to your own childhood. Remember your favorite lap: your mom’s, your grandmother’s, the lady next door. It’s safe, it’s comfortable, it’s always available. My mother-in-law has that kind of lap. Once, a friend of hers was bringing her little daughter to “big church” for the first time. The mom asked the little girl if she was going to lay on her lap and go to sleep. The little girl said, “No. Miss Wini’s!” My sister-in-law, at age 40-something, still sits in her mom’s lap at least once every time she comes home. That’s where I want you to put yourself: in a lap, with arms as soft as wings wrapped around you, your head on a shoulder.
Dictionary.com defines refuge as shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.; a place of shelter, protection, or safety. The Bible speaks of God as a refuge many times. Next time we'll look at some of those verses.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Coming home from school last Wednesday, we got caught behind a line of peanut harvesters going a blazing 25 mph. We could only see the last one, but as they were turning the corner at the top of our hill, we saw that there were 5 in the line. Two days later I was on my way to pick up the girls from school and got caught behind the same machines headed out. These machines are 2 lanes wide and there is NO PASSING them on the roads around here. It's just part of living in George County.
This is Grisabela, our glamour cat, sound asleep on the couch. Quite often, she sleeps flat on her back with all 4 feet up in the air. Sunday afternoon, I found her like this: her bottom half is on her back, but her top half is on her side. How she sleeps like that, I don't know.
Our eldest was home this weekend. Fall break went through Tuesday. M, our middle daughter, wanted a new picture for her Facebook profile. She wanted them all to be in the picture. (Well, she wanted her older sister to be in the picture, anyway...) We were getting ready for L's first band concert, so they were all looking nice.
The concert was held in the Middle School gym. This year the 6th grade was kept at the local elementary school, so instead of one 6th grade band at the Middle School, there are 5. Mr. Slater, the band director, travels to each one, every day. Last night was the first time they had all been together. I think there were about 120 6th-grade musicians there. I couldn't get them all in one picture. Just imagine if they all stay in band throughout high school!
To cap off the musical evening, the high school band played their show for us. The guard did the standing version of their performance. I was excited to see rifles are making a comeback. You haven't seen them on the field for several years.
These last pictures are from the Fire Safety presentation for Mom's Day Out. The little man in the plaid shorts is one of my favorite people. He is a great conversationist and will try just about ANYTHING!! He was not afraid of Sparky like some of the little ones were. When the firemen demonstrated spraying the firehose, he was literally the first one in line to try it himself. When they sprayed the water from the top of the truck with the really big nozzle, creating what resembled rain, he was right there in the downpour. He's loaded with self-confidence. I wonder if he'll stay that way?