What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Meditate on These Things

For many years I have kept the above plaque on the top of my desk, above my computer, to serve as a reminder to consider what manner of things we were reading, watching, researching and contemplating as we surfed the internet and opened windows into a world beyond which we had ever imagined before.
Prior to the computer, this same little plaque sat above our television...for the same purpose.

Here is the complete verse from the Bible, found in the book of Philippians, chapter four and verse 8:

"Finally, Brethren, 
Whatever things are true,
Whatever things are noble,
Whatever things are just,
Whatever things are pure,
Whatever things are lovely,
Whatever things are of good report,
If there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy~
Meditate on these things."
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

The following Psalm is similar in its declaration of what things are truly worthy of our contemplation and prayerful meditation:
"The Law of the Lord is perfect,
converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
and in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
and I shall be innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth
And the MEDITATIONS of my heart
Be ACCEPTABLE in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."
Psalm 19:7-14

After reading the above Bible verses I have to stop and examine my own heart and mind regarding the things I meditate upon. According to the dictionary, some synonyms for the word meditate would be: ponder, muse; ruminate; cogitate, study, think, contemplate, plan, devise, contrive.

Likewise, the meditations of my heart would be things about which I ponder, muse,  ruminate , cogitate, study, think, contemplate, plan, devise or contrive to do. 

The final verse of Psalm 19 above has long been my life verse...first taught to me by my mother when I was a young girl.  She wrote this in my autograph book:  

My First Autograph Book...I think the scribbles along the top came from
one of my children...

I didn't realize until now that my mother had written a heading to her inscription in my book:

"A thought for every day"

I wonder what she would think today if she could see that I have made this verse my life-verse, and it is also inscribed at the bottom of my blog page as a daily reminder to make sure that whatever I write on these pages is indeed acceptable in God's sight.  Her early words have truly impacted my  whole life.  Something to ponder about what we teach our own children and grandchildren...

When I sit down at my computer each day, whether at home or at work, it would be wise to re-read these verses before I click on any icon on my desk-top...and say a little prayer that God would help me to heed these warnings and admonitions before I strike the first key or open the first window. I know that there have been times that I have inadvertently hit the wrong key at the wrong time and had things pop up that I did not intend to or wish to see. Those accidental incidents were sometimes shocking and caused me to recoil as though I'd been snake-bitten. Snake-bitten, as by that old serpent himself, "The devil made me do it."  But another Bible verse comes into play here:

"Thy Word have I hid in my heart,
That I might not sin against Thee."
Psalm 119:11 KJV

The fact is, when we hide God's Word in our hearts, verses like Philippians 4:8 and Psalm 19 will come back to remind us to take our eyes off of the offensive pages and help us to keep our meditations acceptable in God's sight.   Then we can declare with the Psalmist in Psalm 119:15-16 ~

"I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will NOT forget Your Word."

Lord, please help me to remember these admonitions and exhortations from Your Word today. Forgive me when I fail to do so and help me to stay on the right track in what I say, look upon and write.  Thank you.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

This, Too, Shall Pass

This picture may not say much to you, but if you could have seen that little golden cloud passing through, you would understand this better.  The white clouds were stationary...not moving at all. But the little golden cloud was flying past like it had someplace important to get to in a big hurry.

I was outside wandering around, talking to God.  Had some things come up today that sort of threw me for a loop. Nothing about me personally, but something with the potential to wreak havoc in the lives of others. After our evening walk I found myself looking up at the sky and asking God for some direction.  I can choose to act boldly and disrupt the universe (well, maybe not THAT bad), or I can choose to step back and let it blow over and not get personally involved.  

I wonder, "What would Jesus do?"  That's what I'm asking God to show me. Give me wisdom, Lord.
James 1:5 says~

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally 
and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

Proverbs 3:5-6 says:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not unto your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct your paths."

Proverbs 3:19-23 says:

"The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
By His knowledge the depths were broken up,
And CLOUDS drop down the dew.
My son, (daughter!) let them not depart from your eyes--
keep sound wisdom and discretion;
So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.
Then you will walk safely in your way,
and your foot will not stumble."

I feel better now.  Reading from God's Word always gives me comfort and peace. I am still not certain what I am going to do, but I know that God is in this with me, and that He will guide me each step of the way.  The title above, "This, too, shall pass", is a true saying. When all is said and done, even the most traumatic events have a way of passing away in time and life goes on.  But wisdom gives us time to pause and reflect, and hopefully choose the right path, so that life can go on in peace for all concerned. That is my prayer, Lord. Thank you for listening. Thank you for speaking to my heart. Amen.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Are You Sowing or Reaping? (reposted) (again) and again!

SEPTEMBER 13, 2015....Just saw this one again and thought I'd post it again. Still appropriate today.  Happy Fall Y'all!

Sept. 1, 2013: Yep, here it is again...September..and the beginning of the "harvest time".  Everyone said yesterday at my house that I was jumping the gun on Autumn with my fall decorations out already. Just couldn't wait any longer...I am SO ready for fall...how about you? Here's what I wrote 3 years ago and updated last year, and here I am again. Happy September, everyone!

I originally posted this back in 2010, and as I was looking for something appropriate for the beginning of the harvest/fall season...this one popped up.  September is my favorite month...probably because it is my birth month...and anything to do with fall, autumn, and harvest seems to elicit warm feelings of golden sunny days with clear skies and crisp, cooler air...I will be writing more about that in the days to come just to get the thoughts of cooler weather in my mind...(living in Florida we dream a lot about fall days...)

Anyway, back to the present...or the past...or well, read on...

We used to sing a hymn in church called "Bringing in the Sheaves".  As a kid I wasn't too sure just what "sheaves" were supposed to be.  I always thought they were saying "bringing in the sheets", you know, on washday, when our mothers brought in the sheets from off the clothesline?  (Love that fragrance...there's nothing like putting clean sheets fresh off the line on the bed and falling face first into the billowy white linen and taking a deep comforting breath...aaaahhhhhh...) Pardon that brief interlude into sweet memoryville.

Sheaves of Wheat
So, just what are "sheaves" anyway? According to the dictionary they are a bundle of stalks of grain, like wheat, corn, etc., which would be the harvest of that which was sown.  The hymn no doubt was singing about the harvest of souls. The Psalmist  (see Psalm 126:5-6 below) is also talking about a type of harvest of souls, but I would like to make this more personal than that.

Many of my friends have been going through a season of sorrow during the past year, myself included. We have sown many a garden of tears and anguish.  Our sorrow and weeping have been from many different sources:  Some have lost their jobs, mates, marriage, friends, homes, health and life's dreams.  But the thing that all of my friends have in common is that during their time of sadness and disappointment, they have been sowing seeds for a better life.  In the midst of their struggles they have discovered new hope, new talents, new friends, and even new dreams.  Here is a little list of some of the new ideas and "sheaves" that are now being harvested by those who once were at the point of giving up:
  1. Starting a new business from home...pet sitting, health food sales, catering
  2. Combining households of parent and adult children/grandchildren following the death of a mate
  3. Carrying on the outreach ministry of an evangelist husband who died from cancer
  4. Starting a diet and exercise program for health reasons
  5. Writing a blog as a way to reach out and encourage others
  6. Taking a wilderness survival course
  7. Going back to school
  8. Starting a new way of life following a near-death accident that resulted in brain injury
  9. Wife stepping up to manage husband's tree-trimming business following his near-death accident that left him with some brain injury
  10. Overcoming fears to be able to travel and visit loved ones and friends
  11. Starting a brand new job after many months of searching
  12. Moving to another state to find a new job after many months of searching
  13. Starting life over after spending many years in incarceration, and facing an extremely unwelcoming and unforgiving world, but determined not to give up.
I am certain there are many more "sheaves" that are being harvested in the hearts and souls of others of whom we are not even aware.  Someone has said that everyone is fighting some kind of battle.  We can't always know what some of our closest friends are going through.

My prayer tonight is that for everyone who is still "sowing in tears", that we will soon be able to "reap in joy".  Furthermore, I pray that we will all soon be able to "come again with rejoicing", bringing our sheaves with us.  Let us not forget to give God the glory when that day comes.

"Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful."  Psalm 147:1

This is on my Grandpa Tedlie's farm, back in the early 1940's,  "bringing in the sheaves", with my cousins on the hay wagon, and my Grandma Tedlie and Aunt Belle walking together to join them.

Psalm 126:5-6  "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

Since this was originally written in 2010, some of the people "mentioned" in the list above have had their successes at their new starts in life...others may have had to sow more seeds and are still waiting for the harvest to come in.  The important thing is, they are still persevering in their faith...they haven't quit trying.  God is still blessing, and in some cases, still carrying them through the dry seasons of life.  I could add others to this list who have gone through deep trials and challenges...and who have seen doors closed and new windows opened in their lives. Life goes on...the characters in the story may change, but the plot is still much the same.  Psalm 126:5-6 is still true, no matter what. I trust you will find that to be true in your life as well.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Signs of Growth - Random Journal Day

Hello Friends out there in "Blogland"....It's Random Journal Day (click on link for more information and other great "Random Journal Day Blogs") again...time to look back in the past and bring it back to the future...you know, "That was then, and this is now..."  So here we go.  This post was originally written on 5/22/2012 ~ a little over 3 years ago.  A lot has changed in our lives since then...and in our home.  

May 22, 2012:

"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase."  I Corinthians 3:6

The front yard of our home when this was originally written 5/22/2012 - see pictures below for update
I was chatting with one of the pastors at the church where I work today about "signs of growth".  He seemed to be a little discouraged about the lack of noticeable growth in the church even after taking big steps to reach out and plant new seeds by faith.  I was certainly able to empathize with him, having spent many years in churches where my husband and I labored in what appeared to be a vain effort with no apparent signs of growth.  Oftentimes soon after we left a church feeling discouraged, another minister would come along and reap a great harvest!

Recently I have been laboring in another kind of field...planting new trees and shrubs and flowers in the yard of our new home in the forest.  I have been watering our trees and flowers faithfully every evening since we are not getting any consistent rain.  I have begun to get a bit discouraged, because the trees have not been showing any signs of new growth. Not that they appear to be dying...they just haven't sprouted any new leaves or grown any taller or fuller that I can see. 

I thought about this as I spoke with my friend today...and it occurred to me that we oftentimes cannot see the growth that is taking place because it is developing so slowly.  I said to him that in churches (or people we are caring for), like trees, the early growth is actually growing under the surface as roots are reaching deeper down into the soil in search of the pure water and rich nutrients of the earth.  The foundation is being established by daily watering with the right combination of fertilizer and sunlight and hopefully some rain.  Before the new leaves and branches can spring forth and reach up into the sky the tree has to be rooted and grounded in solid ground...or else when the storms come the tree (or person) will not be strong enough to withstand the high winds and pounding rain. 

It takes patience to be a gardener and a tiller of the soil.  It also takes patience to be a gardener in the garden of God's church.  Oftentimes the pastor-gardener becomes discouraged because he has labored long and hard, breaking up the fallow ground, planting seeds and praying for a great harvest, with no visible results.

The Apostle Paul dealt with this same issue when he wrote to the Corinthian early church . He was frustrated with the people of this young church because after much teaching, preaching, and prayer, they were still not showing any signs of spiritual growth.  And then they would compare one preacher with the other thinking one was better than the other because some showed more signs of growth under one leader than the other.

Paul admonished them regarding this way of thinking in I Corinthians 3:6-11~
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.  Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.  For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building.  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it.  But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

So, whether you are laboring in a field of trees, flowers or vegetables...or perhaps you are laboring in the field of teaching and ministering to the children of God (or even your own children)...don't lose hope when you can't see immediate results.  Be faithful to your task...cover every deed with prayer and love. When the "field" is ripe and ready for harvest or even if you find that you have to walk away and allow someone else to reap the harvest...remember that it is God Who has given the increase...in His time...in His way.  Just be faithful to do what you have been called to do and leave the results to Him.

Our Front Yard Today...September 4, 2015

And the surprise harvest of friends in the faith...a home Bible Fellowship started in our home last year...

God has truly blessed and blessed and blessed

Sometimes God surprises us with growth in places we'd never imagined when we first started...
so just be faithful to the tasks God places in your path and He will give the increase.