Saturday, September 28, 2019

Clear Out the Old to Make Room for the New

Last January, as the new year began, I wrote a post about this verse from the book of Isaiah, and as the year is winding down it's still on my mind and heart.

"Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.

Be alert, be present. 
I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is!
 I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands." 
Isaiah 43:19 MSG

I don't think God is ever about ho-hum, boring, and status quo. We may feel stuck in the rut of our ordinary life. We may feel like an old dog that's too old to learn new tricks. But our God is a God of new life, new seasons, renewal and new mercies for every new day. He wants to do something brand new in our lives.

Just a few days ago was the first day of autumn, the start of a new season. The leaves are beginning to change color and fall off of the trees making room for the new growth that will come next spring. Perhaps the reason we aren't experiencing new growth in our walk with God is because there are some things we have to clear out in order to make room for the new. (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, September 29th at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Weekly Gratitude Journal

Yesterday was busy and it wasn't until late in the day that I realized I hadn't written my weekly gratitude post! I was doing one of my favorite things, cooking and baking all afternoon for a church gathering in my home last night. Anyway, here's my gratitude journal entries from last week!
Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks, 
piling up gratitude day by day in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

-our daughter's neighbors cutting down a huge old rotten tree 
that several times has had huge limbs fall into her yard
-a beautiful break in the weather to go on a nice long walk with the youngest grandbabies in the double stroller
- a fun homemade chili and cornbread dinner at oldest daughter's house

-grocery store bouquets
-the leaves starting to change
-cooking for our small group on this cozy, rainy day
-praying together with our small group

-pumpkins for autumn decorating

-cozy new pajamas
-yummy leftovers from last night's small group

-singing and worshipping in the car
-family group texts
-a healthy body

-Friday date day with my guy
-nice enough weather to eat lunch outside by the river
-a cozy new sweater

-middle grandson crawling into our bed for snuggles 
when our daughter dropped him off early this morning for me to babysit him
-celebrating our friend's 50th anniversary
-God helping me write a blog post on a day when I had no quiet time to do so

-pink sunrise
-God's work in our church
-a rainy, cozy Sunday afternoon

still following,

Saturday, September 21, 2019

To Be Like Jesus

Have you ever looked in the mirror and realized that something has got to change? "I need to get a haircut." "It's time to get serious about losing some weight!" "This outfit is not flattering on me at all!" We can choose to respond to what we see in the mirror by making the needed changes or we may choose to respond by avoiding the mirror and the truth it reveals to us.

God's Word is the mirror that God has given us to show us the areas in our life where change is needed. Similarly to the way we may respond to the mirror that hangs in our home, we can choose to respond to God's Word by making the needed changes or by avoiding God's Word and the conviction that it brings into our lives.

When I was a young girl there was a song we used to sing that went like this, "To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus, all I ask, is to be like Him." The more we grow and mature in Christ, allowing Him to show us what needs to be changed in our lives and then letting Him help us to change, the more we become like Him.  Amazing things will happen if we dare to pray, "Lord, change me" and then yield and surrender to God as He begins to do so. (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, September 22nd at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Monday, September 16, 2019

Weekly Gratitude Journal

Though it's still summer for one more week on the calendar, where we live the weather is in full fall rainy mode. All of the autumn activities have resumed-school for the grandkids and their various sports activities. For us, we are in a busy rebuilding mode at our church, freshening up our physical building, yes, but more importantly, letting God rebuild us and each area of ministry in our church. I recently told someone that, "Lord, change me!", (and then surrendering and yielding to Him when He actually starts dealing with us), is the most powerful prayer we can pray. We're never too old to let God change us and He graciously never gives up on His desire to make us more like Jesus. This goes for individuals and for churches. It's a beautiful thing to see what God does when we let Him have His way. I'm so very grateful for what He is doing in our lives, our loved ones and our church.
Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks, 
piling up gratitude day by day in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

-our middle grandson's first day of kindergarten
-the smell of roast, potatoes and carrots slow cooking in the oven
-another evening of crazy thunder/lightening storms

-trying a new recipe for homemade tomato basil soup - everyone loved it!
-a break in the rain when I went on my walk
-oldest granddaughter and middle grandson coming by to share
 some tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches with us

-remembering God's covering over us on that 9/11 eighteen years ago
 as we were flying home from the east coast and were grounded in Chicago
-a sweet visit with B and baby E
-God at work in our youth group

-a walk with my youngest grandson
-what looked like an ending being, instead, a new beginning
-people stepping up and volunteering to help in various area in our church
 as we are walking though this season of change

-Friday date day with my guy
-fall sweaters
-a new book to read

-praying with others and encouraging one another
-dinner at Chipotle with D
-a phone chat with G

-a cozy, rainy Sunday
-seeing God at work during this time of rebuilding our church
-the dear ones from our Spanish speaking service
-a fun visit at lunch with my sister and bro-in-law who are in town

still following,

Saturday, September 14, 2019

God is Listening to What We Say About Him

Malachi 3: 13-18 The MessageGod says, “You have spoken hard, rude words to me. You ask, ‘When did we ever do that?’When you said, ‘It doesn’t pay to serve God. What do we ever get out of it? When we did what he said and went around with long faces, serious about God-of-the-Angel-Armies, what difference did it make? Those who take life into their own hands are the lucky ones. They break all the rules and get ahead anyway. They push God to the limit and get by with it.’”
 Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God’s presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God’s name.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “They’re mine, all mine. They’ll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving him.”
Recently, while reading through the book of Malachi with She Reads Truth, I was deeply convicted as well as deeply encouraged as I read this passage from chapter three. In this passage we see two groups of people-the God accusers and the God honorers. The God accusers are upset at God for what they see as unfairness. Why isn't life better for the obedient than for the disobedient? Why do the disobedient get away with the way they live? I get it. I want to see the wicked punished and the righteous blessed. I get upset when those who love and serve God suffer and I get upset when I don't see God's justice against wrongdoers. Until I'm the one who does wrong-then I want God to be merciful and long-suffering!  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, September 15th at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Bandon by the Sea

One of my favorite beaches on the southern Oregon coast is the beach by the the cute little coastal community of Bandon.
Its rocky, dramatic coastline, while beautiful, makes it more difficult to take a nice long walk like I do on the long, smooth stretches of beach on the northern Oregon coast, closer to where we live.
All the same, I love to meander around this beach. Caution is needed as, (like what happened to me), it's too easy to walk around a large rock when the tide is out, wander down the beach a bit farther, and not realize that the tide came in and now you have to wade through water to get back where you came from. Regardless of wet shoes and jeans soaked up to my knees, I loved every minute of our afternoon at this beautiful beach.

still following,

Flower Friday

Monday, September 9, 2019

Weekly Gratitude Journal

I have two weeks worth of gratitude journal entries to post again this week. We took some time away for our anniversary last week. We usually take our vacation the last week of August-first week of September but this year our vacation isn't until October. (Because we want to see Maine in autumn! I can not wait!) We've been going through a lot of transition in our ministry the last several months, it's been good, but we're tired! We both realized that we needed a few days away in order to face our very full September calendar. While our getaway to the cabin with our seven grandkids was full of fun and memory making, it was not a time of rest and relaxation. What a blessing for just the two of us to getaway to the little cabin on the Umpqua River and what a blessing to be back home again and fully immersed in the busyness of home and family and church life.

Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks, 
piling up gratitude day by day in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

-a great night's sleep
-sunflowers growing by the neighbors mailbox
-a billing error rectified

-a crabapple branches bouquet 
-our two oldest grands first day back to school
-spending some time with my little buddy

-listening to sermons online
-our church family's support for parents of newborns
-the three lush green ferns growing in our backyard flowerbed

-waking up to a good old, very loud, old fashioned Mid-West style thunderstorm
-my daughter's leg injury requiring rest, not surgery
-a really good time of prayer

-Friday date day
-fried okra dipped in spicy ranch
-God's miracle of Hope City's new building

-this morning that God made
-"You finish what You start in me. My heart will be an offering." -Always Good by the McClures
-a nice long phone chat with my sister

-God's presence even when we are going through a sad farewell
-a safe drive to the cabin
-sipping hot tea and listening to music while sitting on the deck overlooking the river

-devotions out on the deck
-river otters splashing and playing near the shore
-the morning song of the birds
-kayaking way up river
-a beautiful walk by the sea at Winchester Bay

-God hearing and answering my grandgirlie's childlike prayers 
-a beautiful day-we took a picnic lunch and drove to Bandon by the Sea
-a maple nut ice cream cone

-remembering on our anniversary Your faithfulness, provision, protection, forgiveness, mercy and grace in our lives
-the 15 of us-our three daughters and sons-in law and seven grandchildren
-a wonderful time together at our favorite restaurant in Florence 
-ending the day together standing on the deck and looking at the sky full of stars

-fog capped mountains with blue skies overhead
-a hawk fishing for its breakfast
-a huge heron flying back and forth in front of the cabin as I sit on the deck
-an evening thunderstorm producing the most beautiful pink sunset

-a safe drive home
-hugs and kisses from our two youngest grands 
-both of us loving to come back home

-waking up in the wee hours to spend time with Jesus
-a huge pot of mums for the front porch
-God working in our church

-water baptisms
-a great youth leaders/student leaders lunch and meeting at our house
-a nice long visit with R and N

still following,