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 29, 2013

The Condition of the Heart - (Updated 9/29/13)

(Originally written 2/27/10...one of my very first blog posts)

Proverbs 12:25: "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad."

Proverbs 14:30: "A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones."

Proverbs 15:13: "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 17:22: "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones."

Nowadays the grocery stores are full of "heart-smart" foods, and there is much emphasis on being "heart-smart"....in other words, eliminate cholesterol and fat from your diet, eat properly, exercise regularly, and take care of your heart! I recently had my cholesterol checked, and discovered that is was much higher than it ought to be. Of course, when we get over the age of fifty, nearly everything is higher than it ought to be...weight, blood pressure, body-fat composition, our unpaid bills...etc. About the only thing that isn't as high as it ought to be is our bank balance!

This is me with my oldest son, off on a morning walk to try and get back in
shape!  (9/28/2013)  The blaze orange vests are because hunting
season is starting and we don't want to be mistaken for deer. 

But back to the heart...as I read over the above Proverbs, I had to agree with the writer in every situation...the condition of my heart has a lot to do with the attitude of my heart. If we have anxiety in our hearts, we will become depressed...but when someone shares a word of encouragement with us, or we read in God's Word His encouraging words, it helps to dispel our anxieties and depression. Our fears are taken away, and our countenance changes to joy. Likewise, if we have envy or jealousy in our hearts, we become bitter and critical of others. We begin to complain about the "breaks" that others seem to get, while we suffer away, stuck in our little mundane world of mediocrity. It does become like rottenness inside of us, eating away at our hearts and making us very unpleasant people to be around. A broken spirit is not really a positive thing in this particular instance. Certainly we are not to have a haughty and proud spirit either, but what I believe is being referred to here is a spirit that is so defeated and cast down that the person just cannot or will not overcome it. We begin to literally dry up, shrivel up, if you please, and are no longer able to maintain a cheerful countenance. Our faces become permanently fixed into a frown, and it looks as if the whole face would crack if we tried to smile!

Have you truly looked at yourself in the mirror lately? What did you see? A cheerful face? A person ready to face the new day with joyous anticipation...or with dread and anxiety? Is it easy to smile at yourself in the mirror and laugh at your crows' feet that are appearing...or is there a frown that just won't go away, even with a concerted effort? Often when I am going through some difficult trials, I find that my face actually beings to hurt. The jaws become sore and painful from clenching my teeth and grinding them in my sleep. My jowls begin to droop, and my lips turn downward in a tight frown. The space between my eyebrows becomes tightly furrowed and compressed, and my eyes tend to squint and tighten. Then when I even try to smile, it actually is painful. The muscles won't cooperate because they have been forced in the other direction too long. By the sorrow of my heart, my spirit is broken. By the envy I feel for others, my bones begin to ache and rot. They actually feel like they are dry and cracking. My heart becomes heavy with depression because of my anxiety, and I no longer feel the joy of living. It's quite an ugly picture, I agree.

What can be done to bring back the joy...the merry heart, and the cheerful countenance? Must I just wait until the trial is over, or can I experience joy in the midst of sorrow? First, I must determine the source of the sorrow...is it self-induced by envy, needless anxiety, bitterness, fear? If so, I need to get to the root of the trouble. If there is unconfessed sin, confess it. If there is unforgiveness, forgive. But if the trial is brought on by the fact that you are who you are, a servant of God, then cast your care upon the Lord...know that He cares for you (I Peter 5:7) "Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy."(I Peter 4:13)
And SMILE!  :)
Let your heart become a good medicine to bring back the cheerful countenance and dispel the gloom! Remember, God is able!

Monday, September 16, 2013

"I Will NEVER Leave You Nor Forsake You!" Recycled

I just re-read this and felt like it needed to be said again...someone out there needs to hear this. I needed to hear it too.  Maybe this is for you today.

(Originally posted on 4/7/10 - when we had just learned that our son Matthew was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer.  Thankfully, 3 1/2 yrs. later he is still hanging in there, fighting this battle valiantly...but still in need of our prayers. Thank you to many of you who have been those prayer warriors, standing in the gap for us over these years. We thank God for you.)

Hebrews 13:5 says, "I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you."  Verse 6 says, "So we may boldly say: 'The LORD is my helper; I will NOT FEAR; What can man do to me?'" 
Then skip down to verse 8:
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever."

I could probably just stop right there and not write another word.  There really isn't anything better that I can add to that.  Jesus Christ is the same as He was 2000 years ago, when He walked upon the earth and went about doing good, giving sight to the blind, healing the sick, causing the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear. (See Matthew 11:5 and Isaiah 35:5-6) 

We may not be able to see Him physically, but we sure know He's here working...We see Him in the faces of many friends and even strangers, doctors and nurses, pastors and teachers, neighbors and co-workers, faces on facebook, and messengers on email...bringing comfort and hope and words of encouragement and answers to questions; bringing a cup of cold water to a dry and thirsty soul, sending hugs and kisses and saying prayers, and even having "little chats" with Jesus...these are the ways that God is blessing us through YOU!  That's how Jesus works today...through the people He has encouraged and motivated to be His ambassadors of hope and love...some may even be unwilling vessels, at least in their own minds, and yet God has chosen them to be a vessel of His love and grace and mercy to those of us who are hurting and uncertain of what lies ahead.

Jesus said He would never leave us or forsake us...He sent His comforter, The Holy Spirit, to indwell us and teach us and carry us when we can't keep going in our own strength. And He sent YOU. 

Thank you, dear friends, for your love. It means the world to us.
"We give thanks to God always for you, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father."  Amen.
(I Thessalonians 1:2-3)

Matt and his sweet family

Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Morning Has Broken"

Thought you'd enjoy hearing the birds singing from my morning walk today.

"Morning has broken like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken
Like the first bird
Praise for the singing!
Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing
Fresh from the Word!"

"Sweet the rain's new fall
Sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dew-fall
On the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness 
Of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness
Where His feet pass."

"Mine is the sunlight!
Mine is the morning
Born of the one Light
Eden saw play!
Praise with elation,
Praise every morning,
God's re-creation of the new day!"

Song written by Eleanor Farjeon, Mursic: Traditional Gaelic Melody

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Morning Glory

"My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up."
Psalm 5:3

Sing along with me as I give glory to God during my
early Sunday morning walk:

"When Morning Gilds the Skies"

"When morning gilds the skies,
My heart awaking cries,
May Jesus Christ be praised:
Alike at work and prayer,
To Jesus I repair;
May Jesus Christ be praised!"

"To Thee, O God above,
I cry with glowing love,
May Jesus Christ be praised:
The song of sacred joy,
It never seems to cloy;
May Jesus Christ be praised!"

"Does sadness fill my mind,
A solace here I find;
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Or fades my earthly bliss,
My comfort still is this;
May Jesus Christ be praised!"

"Be this, while life is mine,
My canticle divine;
May Jesus Christ be praised:
Be this th' eternal song,
Through all the ages long:
May Jesus Christ be praised!"


Edward Caswall, 1814-1878 ~ Joseph Barnby, 1838-1896


Friday, September 6, 2013

Update on It's Harvest Time...Reposted for RJD

Today is Random Journal Day, which means that many of my blogging friends are digging into old journals and posting their personal "blasts from the past" for you to enjoy.  This particular post I have already had on here before, but the content is drawn largely from my old journal writings from many years ago, so I believe it qualifies for "Random Journal Day".

I just noticed that the leaves are starting fall from my sycamore trees in the front of our house, so even though it isn't autumn yet technically, it has started.

This is a repost just for the "Fall Lovers" out there... like me...who are stuck in Florida where true autumn doesn't really exist except in our minds and hearts!!

Nothing like being buried in the Autumn leaves!
My three sons... (Scott, Benton, and Matthew)...many moons ago...How I wish I could go back there again...
 (Nova, Ohio, 1979...wow...where did the years go?)

My Youngest Son (Scott) now...planting fall mums for his "Mum" (me) on my birthday! (this picture was from 2011..another time, another house)
Proverbs 31:16: "She considers a field and buys it. From her profits she plants a vineyard."

I must say I've considered lots of fields and have often wished to buy them, but, alas, right now our field is of a different form. It can't be bought and sold. It's the field of the Lord, and it is "already white for harvest!" (John 4:35)

Quite a few years ago when we lived up north, our favorite thing to do on a fall Saturday morning was to get up early and get a cup of coffee and tea and a bite of breakfast at the local drive-thru, and take a nice slow ride out into the country. After a hectic week of planning sermons, visiting the sick, elderly, and newcomers, (my husband's job); preparing the bulletin, typing letters, and attending ladies' meetings, taking care of the family at home and the church family, etc....(my job), it was so refreshing to just get away from the phone, the traffic, and hustle bustle of our modern suburban living and get out into the country where people really know how to live! Our favorite route passed by many small farmsteads with fields of corn or hay or soybeans ready for the harvest. We usually wound up at one of the many local apple orchards for a cup of hot cider and fresh warm donuts and a brisk walk through the orchard. The apple farmers were just as busy as the grain farmers gathering in their crops before the winter. It's such a joyful time of year. People are excited about gathering pumpkins, squash, gourds, Indian corn, and other fall decorations to bring the beautiful fall colors into their homes. The big thing in that area was for kids to take a wagon ride out to the "pumpkin patch" and pick their very own pumpkins. I saw a lot of adults rather enjoyed it as well.  Here in Florida we don't see the real live pumpkin patch like you do up north, but we do have pumpkin patches where the pumpkins have been trucked in from other places so the kids can still have that fun experience.

Deep in my heart I longed to just linger on the farm and become a part of it. I guess because I was born on a farm I've never gotten it out of my system. The sounds, smells, and activities of farm life really make me hunger for that kind of life. But God has called me to a different kind of farm, and a different harvest field. The crop is far greater than corn or wheat or apples. It is the souls of men and women and children. Although I don't think that my particular spiritual gift is "soul-winning", there are many steps that must be taken before the harvest can be reaped. Someone must plow the field, others must plant the seed, still more are needed to water the seed and yet others must pull the weeds and watch for pests who come to destroy. All are an integral part of God's plan, and none are more important than the others.

Christ said in John 4:36-38 that "he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: One sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."

Maybe someday I'll be able to buy that field and plant a vineyard, and even though we are no longer in "the ministry" in the same way as we were in years before, I still remain in God's  harvest field and must do my part to prepare the way for His return. Perhaps someday you and I will rejoice together as sowers and reapers who have seen the fruit gathered in for eternal life! That will be a glorious day!

Matthew 9:37-38 "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."
Isaiah 6:8 "Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.'"
Are you willing to go out into God's harvest field today? He may be calling you!

This was on my Grandpa's farm back in the early 1940's. My Grandma Tedlie is on the far right. The other people are some of my cousins and my Aunt Belle. It was harvest time. Most of these people are already enjoying their eternal reward in heaven.
Now That's What I Call Autumn Leaves!

I hope you enjoyed these gleanings from the memories of my past. May your harvest days be full of joy and blessings and peace.

Now skip on over to my friends at http://beneaththesurface-dawn.blogspot.com/2013/09/random-journal-day-link-up-september.html and see what memories they have stirred up.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Just Dance

“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,

Love like you'll never be hurt,

Sing like there's nobody listening,

And live like it's heaven on earth.”

 Quote by: William_W_Purkey

Photos by Pamela M. Steiner, all rights reserved

Have a blessed and Happy Labor Day


Just dance!!!