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!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

"For Such A Time As This"

"Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom 
for such a time as this?"
Esther 4:14b

Have you ever come to a point in your life where you had to take a stand that might be unpopular, perhaps even dangerous to your own life situation...but yet you knew that to remain silent could be more dangerous or significantly damaging to the lives and/or circumstances of others?  Not a pleasant place to be.

Queen Esther was in such a position...and if she chose not to act it could have meant the death and destruction of the Jewish people during the time of their captivity in the Persian Empire.  However, in order to act on behalf of her people Queen Esther would need to put her own life in grave danger by requesting an audience with the King.  You can read all about this in the Old Testament book of Esther.  Esther was very courageous...and even though it was against the law for her to approach the king, she knew she had to do it.  In chapter 4, verse 16, Esther says, 
"And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!"
Esther did not perish...and neither did the Jewish people...because God had gone before her and prepared the way.  She was a chosen vessel "for such a time as this."

Perhaps you have had experiences in your life where you had to decide between right and wrong...and take a stand for the sake of "the people"...whether "the people" be your spouse, children, parents, friends...or office staff, employees, your business, place of employment,  church, school, community, neighbors.
Possibly your action meant that you might lose your job, your position in the community, church, friendships...and sadly even family relationships.

But to choose not to take action could mean something much more detrimental to "your people".

I kind of compare it to the slogan, "Friends don't let friends drive drunk"...and so you take the keys away.  You have just a moment to act...and it could change the lives of those around you forever.  When you see someone headed for destruction and you choose to remain silent, refusing to get involved...you tacitly become just as guilty when they careen into the path of another vehicle and hit them head on, possibly killing or seriously injuring innocent bystanders.  You may not be the one that goes to jail for vehicular manslaughter, but you will live for the rest of your life with the guilt of what could have been done "if only I had taken action".

As I stated in the beginning, to take such a course of action may not be widely appreciated by everyone.  However, some may never even know what you did to stem the tide of the impending sunami, diverting it away from the danger zones. The important thing is to know in your heart when it is the right thing to do...and to act accordingly, leaving the results to God...not seeking any glory for yourself...but giving thanks to the Lord for His guidance and protection for "your people"....

"Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom
for such a time as this?"

"Arise, shine; for your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
and deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
and His glory will be seen upon you."
Isaiah 60:1-2

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Favorite Chinese Proverb found in Fortune Cookie -Revisited

UPDATE:  I still love this little "Chinese Proverb" found in a fortune cookie. Even though I've posted this a couple times before in the past...this little bird statue is still on my kitchen  windowsill with the proverb attached to it, so I look at it every day.  Many of you may not have seen this before...and even if you have, it's worth reading again! (At least I think so!)  So here goes:



This is not a scripture verse found in the Bible...but there is something very biblical about this saying...This is my favorite Chinese proverb found inside a fortune cookie:

"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings while the dawn is still dark."

I keep this little message on my kitchen windowsill, which incidentally is where I do most of my bird watching.  It's interesting to note that since we have had to bring in the bird feeders each night due to bear activity in our yard, the birds still gather early in the morning while it is still dark and start singing before the sun rises.  I don't take the bird feeders back outside until daylight for my own safety...but the birds are already singing and patiently waiting in the bushes for their morning treat.  I know they took care of themselves (rather GOD took care of them) before we ever started feeding them, but I love to see them flit to and fro as they gather the seeds we place there for them each day. It's a great start to my day.  And they already have the "faith" to believe that the seeds will be provided for them each day, judging by what I have noticed in their immediate response to my putting the feeders back outside each morning.

What I really love about this little verse is the message it has for me..."Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings while the dawn is still dark..."   It reminds me of the Bible Verse found in Hebrews 11:1: 
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
   Faith is believing that prayers will be answered, trusting that God will provide all I need, even before I see the actual answers to my prayers.  The birds already understand this.  I need to observe and learn from the birds what faith is all about...


This picture came from my parent's home. It reminds me of me, learning about faith by watching the birds...

Have a blessed day my friends!  I hope you will enjoy watching the birds in YOUR neck of the woods!








Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My Father's Cane - Revisited in Honor of My Dad

(Originally posted 7/18/2011)...This was written a few of years ago, but I was thinking of my Daddy yesterday, on the 5th anniversary of the date of his entrance into heaven..and this story came to mind. Reposted today in honor of my Daddy, William F. Mursch ~ 8/9/1918 ~ 4/19/2011.  

"Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me."  Psalm 23:4b


My Father's Cane
Seldom have I been struck with anything so significant as my father's cane.  No, I don't mean struck in the literal sense...but in the spiritual and emotional sense...I have been struck by the presence of that cane, that empty cane, now in my home.

You see, for the past four or five years of my father's life he was rarely seen without the presence of his cane in his hand...or by his chair...or nearby wherever he happened to be at the time.  There were a few times (well, maybe more than just a few) in the more recent past that he forgot where he put his cane, and the hunt would be on, searching high and low, on doorknobs, windowsills, window cranks (those metal cranks that open and close the old awning style windows in my father's house), behind the door, on top of his bed, under his bed, or some other previously unthought of corner of the house...until the wandering cane could be found and returned to his anxious hands, restoring his sense of security and balance once again.  Even though in his latter days he relied more and more on a walker for his balance and footing, he still insisted on carrying that cane with him wherever he went...just in case he might need it to get himself up or down...or to retrieve an errant shoe or other item just beyond his reach.

Yes, my father's cane was a pretty significant part of his life...and we all knew it.  It sometimes became a bit of a joke with us, and he'd playfully threaten to "cane us" if we messed with his precious cane too much!  Daddy was always a bit of a jokester, but yet there was a more serious side underneath when it came to this cane. 

So it was on that day of the estate sale of his household belongings that I noticed his cane standing there alone by the door, and I knew that I had to have it.  I could not let it be sold to strangers...it was just too much a part of my Dad.  You see, this particular cane wasn't just an ordinary wooden cane...it actually had belonged to my Grandma and Grandpa before my Dad.  I can still remember the day of my Grandmother's funeral, when we went back to her home for a family gathering after her burial, that I saw her cane standing there alone in the corner of her dining room.  It struck me then that she was really gone, and I found myself wanting to go and just hold on to her cane as if it was a part of her.  Perhaps my Dad felt the same way, and that is why he ended up with the cane...and why he held on to it so tightly in his latter years. Perhaps it gave him strength...not just in the physical sense by holding him up, but maybe in an emotional sense as well...a connection to his past...to his loved ones gone on before...and maybe it was a bit like holding on to his mother's hand again as he had as a child.  Perhaps it gave him comfort. 

Last week I had some surgery, and when I came home from the hospital I was having some difficulty getting myself up and down and balancing myself while walking.  I asked my husband to bring me Daddy's cane, and he did...and as I held the well-worn handle in my hand, I found the strength I needed to get myself up...and the balance my legs were lacking in order to walk around in my home.  I was greatly comforted in holding on to my father's cane, and felt connected to him as if I was holding on to his hand and he was supporting me and lifting me up. It was an extremely special experience for me...

I think I better understand that portion of the beloved 23rd Psalm now in verse 4:
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;  For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
Yes, my Heavenly Father's cane...His rod and His staff...does comfort me, support me, and sustain me in the times of my weakness and anxiety.  Even when I may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I do not need to fear any evil...for God is with me...and...
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."  Psalm 23:6    Amen.
My Dad, Thanksgiving 2009. Notice the cane hooked over the back of his chair.
Such a precious man...sure do miss him...but I know I will see him again someday.
Until then, I'm happy to have such precious memories.


Me and my Daddy, circa 1953


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Just a Little Pep Talk -Updated

This is a rerun of a previous posting from over two years ago...but I came across it tonight and it spoke to my heart again...and I felt that God wanted me to share it with you again as well.  Perhaps there is someone out there who needs this "Little Pep Talk" tonight.  I am praying for you, whoever you are. May God bring courage and strength and hope to your heart as you read these words. 



"The Lord is my light and my salvation; 
Whom shall I fear?  
The Lord is the STRENGTH of my life; 
Of whom shall I be afraid?" 
Psalm 27:1

Fear is one of those enemies of the mind that binds us and keeps us from being able to step out on faith...or sometimes even to step out of our houses. It locks the door of our hearts and throws away the key, prohibiting us from giving or accepting love.  Fear tells us not to speak out...strangles our tongues so we can't express our thoughts freely, grasps our hands and keeps our fingers from writing the words that could set others free. We fear what others might think of us if they knew the truth...we fear we'd lose their friendship or love...if one can call it that.  God's Word tells us that "There is NO fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  (I John 4:18)   "Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in the world." (I John 4:17)

"When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes...
they stumbled and fell."
"Though an army may encamp against me, My heart SHALL NOT FEAR! Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident!"  Psalm 27:3

"And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of JOY in His tabernacle; I will SING, yes, 
I will SING praises to the Lord." 
Psalm 27:6


Sometimes we just need to give ourselves and those around us a little pep talk from God's Word! Now, doesn't that feel better?  

"The LORD is my STRENGTH and my shield;
My heart trusted in HIM, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
and with my song I will praise Him."

"The LORD is their STRENGTH, 
and HE is the saving refuge of His anointed."
Psalm 28:7-8

FINAL WORD:

"Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
and HE shall STRENGTHEN your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!"
Psalm 27:14

Monday, April 11, 2016

Some Things Are Simply Irresistible


I honestly don't know why I am so entranced with the thoughts of having clean sheets hanging on the clothesline to dry....

But here they are...

And then there is the marvelous sensation of the smell and feel of those sun-kissed, air-dried sheets when you take them off of the clothesline and fold them and put them in the basket...I literally stood there breathing in the joy of it and almost passed out from breathing so deeply and for so long...It was simply irresistible.

 Apparently the scent of clean linen is such a wonderful fragrance that many air freshener manufacturers have tried to duplicate it in a spray or other types of deodorizers for the home.  The canned artificial fragrances don't even come close in my opinion. There is nothing like the real thing.
I absolutely LOVE the delicate blue rose print on this old fashioned vintage cotton sheet. Actually...a friend of mine just gave me this sheet...she had purchased it at a church yard sale and decided she didn't need it after all, and I told her that if she truly did not want it I would LOVE to have it.

Why?  I'm not sure. It's a full size sheet and I don't even have a full-size bed!  Mine are all queen size! 










But something about this lovely little blue-flowered sheet was irresistible! It stirred up a nostalgic reaction in me that I cannot even begin to identify...and when she so sweetly gave it to me I almost broke out in tears.  (I must need a vacation or a shrink...not sure which...or both! Ha Ha!)




It's kind of like the GRACE of God...a gift that is simply irresistible...

Ephesians Chapter Two verses 1-10 describes this irresistible grace to us...I will just hit the highlights here:

1> "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins...
4>"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5>even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
8>For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it the the GIFT of GOD,
9>NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast."


God's Grace: It is an irresistible gift from God to us...that we have never fully understood how or why He would give it to us when we didn't even deserve it..but yet it is something that we needed so desperately and it would be foolish for us to resist His marvelous gift of grace.

And then...listen to THIS...WE actually become that sweet fragrance of Christ to God and the world...

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 says this:

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the FRAGRANCE of HIS knowledge in every place.
For we are to God the FRAGRANCE of Christ 
among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, 
and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. 
And who is sufficient for these things?"

I'm not totally sure how I got from hanging sheets on the line to the gift of the Grace of God and becoming the Sweet Fragrance of Christ to the world...but perhaps that is why I couldn't resist that beautiful little blue flowered sheet.  It inspired a simply irresistible story that needed to be told.

Have a blessed day my friends...and perhaps today would be a good day to hang out some sheets on the line...and breathe in the real sweet fragrance...not something artificial from a can...and become a sweet fragrance of Christ (and again, not something canned and artificial)...to someone else along the way!


By the way: This isn't the first time I've talked about hanging clothes/sheets on the line here...check out these other posts written in the past few years: "What's My Line?", and "Fresh Southern-Country Living Scents and Scenes" ...and it also isn't the first time I've talked about being the Sweet Fragrance of Christ (click on links for these posts).  Some things really are "simply irresistible".



Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Consecrated, Lord to Thee"

We sang an old hymn this morning in our Home Bible Fellowship...and I was surprised that not many of our small group were familiar with this song...

"Take my life, and let it be 
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
swift and beautiful for Thee,
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only for my King.


Take my lips, and let them be
filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.



Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.


Take my intellect, and use
every power as Thou shalt choose,
Every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own;


It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.


Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, Only, all for Thee,
Every, Only, all for Thee."

Amen
Written by Frances R. Havergal, 1836-1879.


Do you know what it means to be "Consecrated, Lord, to Thee"?  

Consecration:

"Most often used in a religious context,consecration is the act of dedicating something to God, sanctifying it and making it holy. "
In this case..."Take my LIFE , and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee." Therefore, I am asking that my whole life be dedicated to the Lord...set apart for His service...made holy by God's Holy Spirit...My moments and my days...flowing in ceaseless praise! My hands and feet...my voice, my lips, my silver and gold, my very mind and intellect...my WILL...my HEART, and my LOVE...my very SELF...ever, only all for THEE!

Quite a tall order...but when I think of all that Christ has done for me...how He gave His WHOLE LIFE so that I might be forgiven of my sins and have everlasting life...is it really such a tall order? No, rather, it is my joy and privilege to dedicate my life to serving and loving and PRAISING HIM..."Ever, Only, all for Thee!"

How about you?  Have you ever...could you ever...would you ever...ask God to "Take my life and let it be CONSECRATED, Lord to Thee"?  It's a big step...but one that has eternal rewards...and joy everlasting. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

"Why Should I Be Discouraged?"




This little wren is sitting in her nest, right out in plain view on my back porch. As I walked by the nest this morning on my way to hang up the bird feeders for the day, I almost missed the fact that she was sitting in there. She didn't even move as I swept by singing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning!" at the top of my lungs. I think she was afraid to move into the path of something so....noisy?! Anyway, I tiptoed in and out of the house quickly to get my camera, and very quietly tiptoed back to her nest asking myself, "Do I dare disturb this little wren just so I can have this wonderful picture that I know the world wants to see?" My hubby told me not to do it. But he should know better than to tell me that...you'd think he'd have learned by now... But anyway, I stood there very quietly for a moment while my camera focused and prayed that she wouldn't fly away...and this is my gift from God this morning to share with you! I quoted from the wonderful song, "His Eye is on the Sparrow, and I know He watches me." Yes, I know this is a wren, not a sparrow...but to my knowledge no one has written a song or Bible verse about a wren yet. And that message comes from the scripture found in Matthew 10:29-31:

"Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do NOT FEAR therefore; YOU ARE OF MORE VALUE THAN MANY SPARROWS!" 

I pray this little wren will bring a smile to your face today as you remember that not only does our heavenly Father watch over the birds of the nest...but that He IS ALWAYS WATCHING OVER YOU...AND YOU ARE VERY VALUABLE TO HIM! Praise God!

This is another picture of her nest...not very neat,
but it seems to suit Mrs. Wren very nicely!
I guess that is all that matters!
"Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!"

Why should I feel discouraged and why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart be lonely and long for heaven and home?
When Jesus is my portion, a constant Friend is He, 
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy; 
I sing because I'm free; 
His eye is on the sparrow (WREN!)
And I know He watches me.

Let not your heart be troubled; these tender words I hear; 
And resting on his goodness I lose my doubts and fears; 
Though by the path He leadeth but one step I may see; 
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy; 
I sing because I'm free; 
His eye is on the sparrow (WREN!)
And I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted; whenever clouds arise; 
When songs give place to sighing; when hope within me dies; 
I draw the closer to Him; from care He sets me free; 
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy; 
I sing because I'm free; 
His eye is on the sparrow (WREN!)
And I know He watches me...

(Written by Civilla D. Martin, 1905)
You can see this perky little bird has been a source of joy and delight for me for a while!

Rest peacefully little Wren...I'll try not to bother you anymore today!

AND HERE!   and HERE'S ANOTHER ONE!   It would appear that this blog has gone to the birds!  But there are so many valuable lessons to be learned from God's creation.  I never get tired of seeing what God is going to show me next!  Certainly is a wonderful way to lift our spirits, don't you agree?

Have a blessed day my friends!  Go out and see what YOU can learn from God's magnificent world around you today!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Morning Has Broken...

"Now in the morning, 
having risen a long while before daylight, 
He (Jesus) went out and departed to a solitary place;
and there He prayed."
Mark 1:35

"I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;


I will sing praise to my God
while I have my being."

May my meditation be sweet to Him;
I will be glad in the Lord."
Psalm 104:33-34


"Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me,
bless His holy name!

"Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits;

Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

Who satisfies your mouth with good things,

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."


Psalms 103:1-5

"Bless the Lord, all His works, 
in all places of His dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!"
Psalm 103:22


I hope you have enjoyed this morning meditation.  May YOUR "meditation be sweet to Him"...and may you be "glad in the Lord".  Amen.