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, February 28, 2016

Only Believe

Have you ever sung the song, "Only Believe"? 
The chorus is probably most familiar...it goes like this:

"Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe;
Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe."

This morning in the Bible Fellowship that meets in our home each Sunday we sang this little song; in particular the first and last verses:

"Fear not, little flock,
from the cross to the throne,
From death into life He went for His own;
All power in earth, all power above, 
Is given to Him for the flock of His love.

(chorus)








Fear not, little flock, whatever your lot;
He enters all rooms, 'the doors being shut'.

He never forsakes, He never is gone-
So count on His presence in darkness and dawn.

(Composer: Paul Rader, 1921)






Then we read the following passage from the Bible:

"And after eight days His (Jesus') disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them.  
Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, 
'Peace to you!'
Then He said to Thomas, 
'Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; 
and reach your hand here, and put it into My side.  
Do not be unbelieving, but believing.
And Thomas answered and said to Him, 
'My Lord and my God!'
Jesus said to him, 
'Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed.  
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'"
John 20:26-29 NKJV


Perhaps you've had a week where you found it difficult to believe that anything good could happen for you.  Possibly you've had some setbacks in life, either in health, employment, financial, or other personal issues. I can relate to this. Even in our "little flock" of people who meet with us each week for worship and Bible Study, we've had many serious trials and struggles.  Recently we had to say goodbye to one of our members, who passed away after a prolonged illness. Another has had serious family issues for many months, and today we joyfully learned that God had answered our prayers on her behalf. Still another is having major health concerns and needs a healing touch from God. 

As we read Jesus' encounter with Thomas, a.k.a. "Doubting Thomas", we saw how Jesus was already well aware of Thomas' doubts even without having been present when Thomas expressed his thoughts to the other disciples.  Jesus suddenly appeared to Thomas and the others in a room where they were gathered with the doors already being shut. Jesus appeared...and encouraged Thomas to believe in Him. Thomas fell at His feet and declared Jesus as "My Lord and my God!"

This little episode gave our little flock much hope...hope that Jesus is already aware of our hurts and heartaches and concerns. And peace in knowing that He is already there...ready to show us His nail-scarred hands and the wound in His side that was suffered for us...because He loves us so much He was willing to die for us.  If He was willing to die for us, then how much more is He willing to take care of all our needs...if we will "only believe"?

Sing along with me...

 "Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe;
Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe."


Do YOU believe?


Postscript...I kept putting off finishing this post tonight. But God kept pushing me back to the computer and wouldn't let me rest until it was done. Someone needs these words of encouragement to believe tonight. Perhaps it is you? Whoever you are, Jesus is already there...He already knows...and He's standing there in the room with you, asking you to believe.  Just go ahead and let Christ show you His nail scarred hands. He's waiting for you.  Be blessed my friend.  Only Believe...All things ARE possible!

P.S.S.; For previous thoughts on this same topic, click HERE!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Moments of Grace: Reflections of Praise



"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever."
Psalm 30:11-12




This past week was our son's birthday. Our son who is in heaven, that is. He left this earth almost two years ago, at the age of 41.  This year would have been his 43rd birthday. I don't write this to make you feel sad or to feel sorry for me. Perhaps I am writing this for myself...as a way of dealing with the grief.  Even though we still miss our son and will always long to see his face again and hear his voice and laughter...I can honestly say that God has given me a true sense of peace and gladness.  You see, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will see my son again someday. There is no doubt in my mind that he had accepted God's free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, (see Ephesians 2:8-9) and that when he left his earthly home he went immediately into the Presence of God Almighty. Therefore, I have joy in my heart...and I can sing praise to God and not be silent.

For his birthday, to honor the memory of our son, we planted two trees in our yard.
Our sons planted two apple trees in the front yard.
Hopefully they will grow and prosper and bear much fruit!
 Something alive and growing and beautiful to remind us of his beautiful life...and to remind us also that he is still alive. He's just a breath away in heaven.














We actually started this "tradition" the very week of his memorial service, by building an arbor and establishing a small memorial garden in our backyard.  This has become a special place to sit and pray, watch the birds, enjoy a time of communion with the Lord and His beautiful creation.




My sister donated this beautiful wind-spinner
in memory of our son.
 On the first anniversary of his passing, we planted a tree in the front yard.  That idea has now spread to other parts of the yard, so that everywhere I look outside I am reminded of the life of my son.



















You may think this is a bit morbid or even eccentric. Well, perhaps if these "memorials" caused us to become sorrowful or even a bit depressed or angry, that could possibly be construed as carrying grief too far.  But what I have discovered is by having these living reminders of our son, it has "turned for me my mourning into dancing"...and has helped to "put off my sackcloth and has clothed me with gladness."

I could not do this if I did not have total faith in God and His provision for salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.  Without that hope and promise there would be no reason to rejoice or dance again. But because Christ lives, I know that not only my son, but I, too, shall live!

I can sing along with Job (Job 19:25-27)

"For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, 
and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!"



And as the Psalmist said above:

To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever."

In loving memory of our son
Matthew E. Steiner
2/25/1973-5/25/2014
"Weeping may endure for a night,
but joy comes in the morning."
Psalm 30:5b

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Discoveries and Stuff

One of the "joys" of retirement is having the time to work on "projects" that you've put off until...well, retirement!  I know we all have those little "lists" in the recesses of our minds of the things that we hope to accomplish when we finally have the "time" to do so.  

A word to the wise:
  • Retirement doesn't really give you any more time than what you had before.  
  • There are still only 24 hours to every day, seven days in a week, etc., etc., 
  • If you don't organize and prioritize your time wisely, you will still be wondering when you will ever get those "projects" done.
So, here I am, about 3 months into my retirement, and my list is still there...and it seems to be growing instead of shrinking.  Of course, I've had a few interruptions here and there. My retirement began a few days before Thanksgiving...and then there was Christmas...and of course January is always busy recovering from the holidays and getting used to the fact that it is a New Year...and then there was company coming again in February, and so on and so on. All good stuff. Happy stuff! I wouldn't change a moment of it! But NOW...it is time to get to that "list"!  

One of the first things on my list is to reorganize our closets and dresser drawers. Trust me, it is a project that is long overdue.  So yesterday I was determined to get started on my side of the closet and dresser.  
Of course, dresser drawers can lead to many discoveries. I should never have started with my small top drawer. That is the one where I store my first big journal,(click on the link for more about that), odds and ends of pictures, scraps of stuff that need to go into a scrapbook or other permanent places to preserve them, old jewelry, and, well, just stuff





Among these "treasures" I discovered an envelope with my Dad's handwriting on it:



Apparently he had been going through some boxes of old pictures and discovered some copies of our wedding pictures, among other older photos of me as a child, and decided to give them to me on our 35th wedding anniversary.  (Hmmm, that would have been almost 12 years ago now, so this envelope has been stuffed in my drawer for 12 years...yes...this job is long overdue!)

Of course, the envelope alone is a treasure to me, because my sweet Daddy has been gone to heaven now for almost five years, and to have something that he put together and presented to me in his latter years is pretty special.

Anyway, back to my story...you can see how easily I get side-tracked with memories and "stuff".  




In amongst the wedding pictures was this photograph that I truly don't recall ever seeing before:


This was me at age six, striking quite a pose! I had to study this picture for a few minutes to be certain that it really was me! But it has my name written on the back in my mother's handwriting, so that cinches it! 

Upon looking at this picture my first impression was that I was quite a sassy little ham. Anyone who knows me well would probably corroborate that impression...and most likely state that nothing much has changed in the numerous years since!

I'm not sure why this little photo has captivated my imagination so much, but I have not been able to get it out of my mind. Hence, here I am even writing about it today! I look at that sassy little girl and see such determination and purpose in her stance. I am standing in front of a "closed door"...Oh my goodness! That is another revelation that has just now this moment occurred to me!  Standing in front of a CLOSED DOOR? Perhaps looking toward an "OPEN WINDOW"...the future?  MY future?  

Wow!  Little did I know at that precise moment in time just what my future would hold. My life was still a mystery awaiting discovery. But guess what? GOD knew! God knew me!  God knew who I was then, and who I would become. How do I know this?  Listen:

"For You (GOD) formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise You,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
and that my soul know very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was made in secret, 
and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in YOUR book they all were written,
the days fashioned for me,
when as yet there were none of them."
Psalm 139:13-16

God knew who and what I would become...and even though my accomplishments are not that great in the world's view, I trust that they are exactly what God had planned. I know that my life is not over yet, and God may still have some new discoveries and plans to fulfill in and through me.  It will be a continual adventure until the day He calls me home. 

Until then, this is my prayer:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
and see if there is any wicked way in me,
and LEAD ME in the way everlasting."
Amen.

Psalm 139:23-24

How about you?


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Moments of Grace: Evening Reflections

These are my evening reflections...





"Be strong and of good courage, 
do not fear nor be afraid of them;
For the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you.
He will not leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

"And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you.
He will be with you.
He will not leave you nor forsake you;
Do not fear nor be dismayed."
Deuteronomy 31:8

Perhaps someone out there needs to hear these words of hope and strength and courage today. Perhaps that someone is me...or you...

And then I turned the pages in my Bible and landed on these encouraging words of healing in 
Luke 8:48 ~


"Daughter, be of good cheer;
Your faith has made you well.
Go in peace."

Dear friends, I know there are many out there in need of healing; whether it be physical, emotional, spiritual, or even material healing; i.e; financial, home, employment, too much or not enough...whatever the case may be...Jesus wants to bring healing to you.  

In this particular situation found in Luke 8:43-48, there was a woman who had suffered for many, many years.  She had spent all her livelihood on doctors who could not heal her. And as Jesus was passing through her region, many multitudes of people thronged about Him...reaching out and calling to Him, begging Him to heal them. Envision a current day rock star or popular politician or leader trying to work His way through the crowds with so many clamoring to be recognized...and imagine this person suddenly stopping in the midst of the crowd and asking, "Who touched Me?" I am sure we would respond much like Peter did, "Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'"   But Jesus knew that power had gone out from Him, and that someone was reaching out to Him in faith.  When the woman realized that Jesus was aware of her, she fell down before Him and "declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately."  And then Jesus said to Her the words highlighted above from verse 48.  


Do you have any burdens today that have become too hard to bear? My Bible tells me that if I just reach out in faith, believing, God will take care of me.  It also tells me not to fear...and that He will never forsake me.

Reflect on these words...


Such amazing grace! "Daughter, be of good cheer!"

Such beautiful words..."Your faith has made you well...go in peace!"

Such words of hope and comfort..."Do not fear nor be dismayed!"

Thank you, Lord, for these promises and words of hope tonight.
As we reflect on these words, 
may they encourage, comfort and heal those who might be afraid or in need of a touch from You.
Amen.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Moments of Grace: Sunday "MediCation"

SUNDAY Medication  MEDITATION!   

For some reason, my fingers always want to hit the C button when I am typing "meditation", rendering it to become "mediCation".  Perhaps that is a type of "Freudian slip".  Maybe my "Sunday MediTation" is really a  "MediCation" for the soul!  Read these words discovered in God's Word this morning and see if it brings peace, comfort and a healing balm to your soul:

"Ah, Lord God! 

Behold, You have made the heavens


and the earth by Your great power

and outstretched arm.


There is NOTHING too hard for you!"

Jeremiah 32:17





I stumbled onto these verses this morning as I was reading my devotions, and it literally thrilled my soul!  Especially the last phrase:

"There is NOTHING too hard for You!"

Then I started singing the chorus:

"Ah, Lord God"  (click on the link to sing along)


Ah, Lord God, Thou has made the heavens
And the earth by Thy great power
Ah, Lord God, Thou has made the heavens
And the earth by Thine out - stretched arm

Nothing is too difficult for Thee
Nothing is too difficult for Thee
Great and mighty God
Great in counsel and mighty in deed
Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing
Nothing is too difficult for Thee!


In Mark 10:27, "Jesus looked at them (His disciples)and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."  (NKJV)

In Luke 1:37, the angel Gabriel said to Mary,
"For with God nothing will be impossible."  (NKJV)

I could go on and on and list all the amazing things recorded in the Bible that God did for mankind that would appear to be impossible for man to do...but this blog is not big enough to contain even a fraction of His miraculous works.

Suffice it to say, if you need hope and reassurance today that God is able to take care of your problems...just start reading God's Word from Genesis to Revelation and you will see beyond a shadow of doubt that

"There is NOTHING too difficult for You! (GOD)"










I hope this has been a MediTation of "MediCation"  for your soul today.
It certainly has soothed mine.

"Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and
health to the bones."
Proverbs 16:24 NKJV





Friday, February 5, 2016

"People Who Need People" Updated for RJD

I just discovered that today is our very last Random Journal Day. (click on link for more details)..after four years of sharing our hearts from our journals, we've decided to bring this little journey to an end. But it has been a journey of love and dreams and hopes and adventures shared between friends who, for the most part, have never met each other in person.  Just a group of "friends" who discovered each other through our blogging...and God has blessed us with a friendship that I sincerely hope will continue on long after we close this chapter in our lives.  I feel a little sad even writing this. My thanks to Dawn Paoletta of http://enthusiasticallydawn.com/, for being the hostess with the mostest on this journey. She has kept us motivated and inspired and connected, often when we were lacking the enthusiasm necessary to keep going.  Dawn is a true encourager and motivator, and her blog title "Enthusiastically Dawn" is a perfect description!  Thank you, Dawn. You are such a blessing to all of us!

Susie Klein, our lovely co-host, is also known as "Recovering Church Lady", and she has just graduated from blogger to bonafide author!!! Her new book, "Walking Butterfly-Comfy Cocoon to Flying Free" has just been published this past week and can be purchased at Amazon.com today! I can't wait to receive my copies in the mail this next week!  I've already had a sneak preview, and I can assure you it is a love story you won't want to put down.

Please check out the rest of our wonderful blogging/journaling friends at the link up here:http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=605689.  

Now, here is my entry for today.  This was originally written exactly four years ago, when we were getting ready to move into our current home.  We've been through a lot of changes since this was written, but I can assure you that we are still "People Who Need People"...and we are the "luckiest BLESSED people in the world!".  God has blessed our home here in so many ways...and beyond the actual relationships with people in our immediate world, He has blessed us with these marvelous cyber-friends as well.  Some day we will all meet for real, whether here on earth, or in heaven above, and we will rejoice in the gift of friendship for eternity.




"Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!  They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness they are exalted.  for You are the glory of their strength, and in Your favor our horn is exalted."  Psalm 89: 15-17


Barbra Streisand singing "People"   Remember this song? Click on the link to take a step back in time...and then please come back and finish reading this...


Last night I was having a time of reflecting over the past few weeks' activities, and I suddenly became overwhelmed with joy at what the Lord was doing in our lives.  Although you may think this is crazy, I was in the shower cleaning up from a long day of painting and cleaning at our soon to be new home...and as I thought about all the people in our lives who have been bending over backwards to help us get ready for this big move, and for those people who actually have made it possible for us to even consider such a move,  I suddenly broke out into singing "People Who Need People are the luckiest people in the world..." Barbra Streisand style...   No, I don't proclaim to be as good of a singer as Barbra Streisand, and I am certain my family members sitting in the other room trying to watch TV will agree to that, especially when I sang it over and over and over again, louder and louder...mostly the same words over and over because I couldn't remember all the verses...but it was a celebration of joy...I was actually thanking the Lord for bringing people into our lives...other "people who need people" just like us...and I realized what that song was really all about.  "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world", (although I would probably say they are the most blessed people in the world since I don't really believe in the word "luck"). 

There is something wonderful about needing other people...and other people needing you as well...and when God brings those people together to encourage one another and actually help out when someone is in need, both parties benefit from the united effort.  The people who needed the people are blessed, and the people who responded to help are also blessed. I really think that's what God intended for His people to do...need each other, and then do something to help each other. 

Our new house is actually a fulfillment of a life-long dream...perhaps in a small way, but also in a beautiful way. http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com/2011/02/some-yearnings-of-my-soul.html  This reference is a link to a previous post that I shared with you last year about "my dream home".  That particular post was kind of skimming the surface of the whole dream of the kind of home I wanted to have someday...and although this particular new home does not quite meet all of those specifications, I have begun to realize that God is in fact answering my prayers.  He is creating a "home that is a haven for people who need to feel ‘at home’", just like I requested.  The people He has already brought into our midst who are right there helping us get the house ready to move into are exactly that..."people who need to feel at home", and we are more than happy to welcome them into our home.  I guess the realization of this is why I was just so elated that I had to break out into singing last night! 


"Oh sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.  Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.  For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods."..."Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Give to the Lord glory and strength.  Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come into His courts.  Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!"
Psalm 96:1-4, 7-9

Our "Camp in the Woods" House...Don't judge a book (or a house) by its cover...the love inside may surprise you!
"Mi Casa es su Casa", which in Spanish says, "My house is your house"...so y'all come! Oh, and bring your best talents and ideas, 'cause we are "people who need people" with good ideas and abilities!  :)
Thank you Lord, for bringing "people who need people" into our lives, because we too, are a needy people, and we consider ourselves very lucky (BLESSED) indeed.  I can't wait to meet all the new people You are going to send our way.  Thank you, Jesus, for answering our prayers. Amen.


This is how our home looks now, 4 years later!
 (picture taken in the summer when the sycamore trees where in full foliage)