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!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Do You Long for Peace?

Sometimes we just get so tired of the rat race of this life...and all the distractions of things, wars, strife, anger, circumstances beyond our control...and we find ourselves longing for something we can't put our finger on...a release from the stress, fear, anxieties, and frustrations of not being able to cope with the way we see things going in the world...how the younger generation seems to not have any clue as to why we members of the baby-boomer generation cannot accept the changes we see taking place in our nation, government, so-called church hierarchies, and the world in general.

I've had a week like that. I'm beginning to wonder if I am getting too old for this world.  Not so much in age, but in my mind and spirit. When I try to express my concerns about the things that I see happening that have a much deeper and farther reaching effect than what the younger generation seems to recognize I discover that I am wasting my breath.

Anyway, rather than continue this litany of frustration...I want to share with you the way the Lord helped me this morning.

First of all...think how Jesus must have felt as He entered Jerusalem...

"And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.
Then, as he was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives,
the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God
with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:

'Blessed is the King
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!'

And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd,
'Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.'

But He answered and said to them,
"I tell you that if these should keep silent,
the stones would immediately cry out."

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying:
"If you had known, even you, especially in this your day,
the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an 
embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,
and level you, and your children within you, to the ground;
and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, 
because you did not know the time of your visitation."

Luke 19:36-44

As I was expressing my frustrations to my husband this morning during our time of Bible reading and devotions he suggested that I just let go of the battle I was trying to fight alone. The individuals that I was trying so hard to reach weren't listening...nor did they comprehend my concerns or fears. The generational gap was too great. I was crying out much like Jesus did as He entered Jerusalem the week of His passion...the ones He was ready to die for had no comprehension and were totally missing the purpose of His fervor.  My wise husband suggested that I just pray for them, pray for our nation, pray for our world, pray for peace, and leave the results to God.  And then we both started humming and singing this chorus to an old hymn in harmony....

"Peace, peace, wonderful peace, 
Coming down from the Father above,
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray,
In fathomless billows of love!

(The Hymn is "Wonderful Peace" by W.D. Cornell)

As we sang this precious little chorus together the tears rolled down my cheeks...we were reading excerpts from Psalm 119, and the verses that touched my heart were these:

"The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
I opened my mouth and panted,
for I longed for Your commandments.
Look upon me and be merciful to me,
As Your custom is toward those who love Your name.
Direct my steps by Your Word,
and let no iniquity have dominion over me.
Redeem me from the oppression of man,
That I may keep your precepts.
Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
and teach me Your statutes.
Rivers of water run down from my eyes,
Because men do not keep Your law."
Psalm 119:130-136

What was it that was helping me?  "The entrance of Your word gives light..."

"Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven...
Your faithfulness endures to all generations...
You established the earth, and it abides..."
(Psalm 119:89-90)

I began to realize that I was not responsible for trying to change the hearts and minds of the younger generation. I have to leave that to God. His Word is settled in heaven....Forever!  His faithfulness endures to ALL generations...He established the earth...and it still abides.  And it will always abide. His Word will always abide...forever!  

"Peace, peace, wonderful peace, 
Coming down from the Father above,
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray,
In fathomless billows of love!

I don't have to worry or fear.  God is in control! Forever!  That gives me great peace. "Forever, O Lord, Your word is SETTLED in heaven!"  Hallelujah!

Oh...by the way, have you ever seen this particular video or heard this song?"Forever" by Kari Jobe
I encourage you to listen and watch all the way through to the end of this song/video. If this song doesn't move your spirit, you may want to pinch yourself to see if you are still alive.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

More Clues...if you need them...

Last week's post left a few clues here... 
I mentioned last week that this little table was built by my husband's maternal grandfather, and was used for something very special in their home throughout the years.  My Mother-in-law, who is now 91 years old, has been spending her days between my brother-in-law's home and ours.  She has been with us for several weekends lately, and has shared her memories with us regarding the use of this little table in the home in which she grew up.

Today's clues are pretty revealing I think...

My husband's grandparents were members of a Bible fellowship known as the "Plymouth Brethren", which met in their home, and had a traveling evangelist come periodically to share God's Word and serve Holy Communion.  It was a time of true Christian worship, fellowship, and prayer, much like the very first church described in the 2nd Chapter of Acts...

"And they continued steadfastly 
in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship,
in the
and in PRAYERS.
Then fear came upon every soul, 
and many wonders and signs were done
through the apostles.

Now all who believed were together,
and had all things in common,
and sold their possessions and goods,
and divided them among all,
as anyone had need.

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple,
they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."
Acts 2:42-47

My husband has some very early memories of that precious time of fellowship with his mother and grandparents when he was a young child.  The influence of those Godly men and women who came to their home was very powerful, and helped plant the seeds in my husband's heart that later blossomed into the Call to serve God and to preach the Word...which he did faithfully for many years.

I am not sure just exactly what God is planning to do in our home at this time...but I will tell you this much, that which Jesus taught His disciples in the Gospel of Matthew 18:18-20...

"Assuredly, I say to you, that whatever you bind on earth 
will be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Again I say to you that 
if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask,
it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
For where two or three are gathered together
I AM there in the midst of them."

This little table has come full circle... 
It is now a part of our home, and the blessing which was bestowed upon it so many years ago in the home of my husband's grandparents is being continued in our home.

All the clues are not complete yet, but we are walking day by day in faith,
trusting God to lead us and show us His plans.  This is just the continuation of the work that He began so many years ago... like over 2000 years ago!

Again, I say, Stay tuned for further developments...
and keep praying! God is at work in our midst.

I'd like to close this particular post today with the words to the song that we sang together this morning here in our home as we gathered together to worship the Lord...I found this song very comforting in light of the things that are happening in our world and nation today. Perhaps you will appreciate them also:

"O soul, are you weary and troubled? 
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!


Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion--
For more than conquerors we are!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

His Word shall not fail you-He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well;
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace."

Written by: Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Little This, A Little That

What do you do when you are feeling kind of hemmed in by circumstances beyond your control? You know, when you'd like to be out doing things you enjoy, but you've taken on a responsibility that is a bit confining, at least for awhile...and you struggle against feelings of rebellion because you can't do what you want to do...

You stop and realize that this minor restriction is only temporary...and that perhaps your little inconvenience might actually be something that is a huge blessing to someone who is very dear to you.  You put aside your selfish ambitions and do whatever it takes to bring a smile to another and restore a sense of security and peace to one who may be feeling a bit lost and alone.

You search for ways to include such a one in your normal routine so that he/she feels accepted, loved and useful again.

That may not always be an easy task, especially if the one you love is struggling with the onset of dementia and has had to leave his/her home, give up independence and become dependent upon others who are still very active,,,and who are trying very hard to understand the changes that are taking place in the one they love...

It isn't an easy task when the dear one truly dislikes having to become dependent, but cannot remember that he/she has told you the same thing over and over again several times in the last hour or even few minutes.  Or when it becomes obvious that the once strong, beautiful, generous and intelligent person no longer finds it possible to manage simple tasks or prepare food, drive a car, take proper medications, or take a shower without a struggle and a lot of fear.

A wonderful flea market find...a vintage bowl...
So you do a little of this, and a little of that...take short walks around the yard with the loved one instead of the long delightful walk you have always enjoyed morning and evening on your days off from work.  You find simple tasks that can be done without too much danger or confusion...such as putting the silverware and napkins on the table at mealtimes...drying a few dishes,  or folding some towels.

 Take a little ride and enjoy the beautiful scenery within a few miles of your home, but not venturing too far from places where one can stop for a restroom if necessary.  If possible, check out the local flea market and take a short walk in and out, looking at interesting items that may bring back memories of the "good old days".   Maybe even purchase something that seemed to bring a smile to a previously unsmiling face.

And a vintage sugar bowl...

These are little things that are simple to do now...but as the disease progresses we know that even these little things may become more and more difficult.  So...we thank the Lord for the good days that we have now. We take it one day at a time as far as any major decisions or plans for the future. We are thankful that we are sharing this load with other family members and not bearing the full responsibility alone.  We thank the Good Lord for the many years of blessing and joy this loved one has brought us...and the many ways she has blessed us with her love and generosity and kindness over the years.  I inwardly thank my mate who remembers to give thanks for this dear one at each meal while asking the blessing...and helping her to feel that love and appreciation for her presence with us.

Yes, a little this, and a little that...to help ease the moments that are sometimes awkward and frustrating and create instead moments of joy and laughter whenever possible.

That's what is really important. Not my selfish ambitions or my momentary inconveniences.

For previous thoughts on this subject go back here.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Few More Clues and a Mystery to Solve

A week ago I promised a sequel to the post (click here) "Unusual Discoveries".  It is still in the making, but each week seems to be a continuation of what has been previously "discovered"...and I will just advise you to continue to stay tuned for further developments.  Here is another clue:

What does this little antique table pictured above have to do with these guest books as discussed in the previously mentioned post?

And also with these two ancestors pictured below?

Well, yes, the little antique table pictured above did belong to these ancestors...who happen to be my husband's maternal grandparents.  Actually, his grandfather built that little table...and it was used in their home for many years for something very special. And now it seems to have come full circle...

But I think I will leave it there for now and let you keep guessing.  Let us just say that God is still putting this all together...something for His honor and glory and our joy and blessing...and hopefully for the joy and blessing of many others in the days and years to come.

Honestly, I can't tell you the whole story yet because it is still being written.  Not by me; but by God Himself.  I am just the innocent (and sometimes stubborn) bystander and scribe as the story unfolds.

"Then He (Jesus) said to them, 'Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.'"
Matthew 13:52

Have you ever noticed that verse before? I had never seen it until this morning during our time of Bible Study...here...in our home...(another clue?).  And this particular verse wasn't even one of the ones being read...but it was on the tail end of the passage we were reading (Matthew 13:36-50), and I kept reading ahead and saw this verse and it really struck me as being a part of God's message to me today.

I will tell you that I was having a struggle this morning between my flesh and personal sacrifice of energy and time and my spirit and personal joy in what God was planning to do with my energy and time. I almost let my flesh win...and that would have been a huge loss for me and for others. Thankfully, God won out...because He had some true treasures of things new and old that He wanted to get across to me (us).

I will also tell you that this may go down as an example of "Closed Doors and Open Windows"...but we will have to wait and see just how.

Have I given you enough clues to whet your appetite for the rest of the mystery? I hope so...because I'd love for you to come along with me on this adventure and find out exactly what God is up to...right along with me.  I am still walking along by faith and not by sight...letting God lead the way one step at a time. So you will have to travel with me to reach our destination.  Hopefully we will all end up in a very positive place of joy and blessing.

Again, I say, stay tuned for further developments!

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
Matthew 13:44

(not trying to mislead you here...not planning on buying or selling anything...at least not that I am aware of at the present time...)

That's all for now!  Keep praying...and come back again soon.  Maybe you'd like to sign my guestbook!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Random Journal Day: A Letter to a New Pastor's Wife

Here it is again...Random Journal Day...the day when the bravest among us open our old journals and share things that we wrote in the past...hopefully for your edification in some form or another...

In my perusal of old notebooks and journals, I came across a copy of a letter that I wrote to a young woman who was about to become a pastor's wife.  She was already married to her husband...and he was about to become a pastor for the first time.  They were members of the church in which my husband was the pastor, and thus I was "the pastor's wife".  So I felt somewhat qualified to share these thoughts with her as they prepared to begin this new adventure.  Look over my shoulder and read what I wrote way back in March of 1990:

Dear Julie,

This is just a personal note from me to you as you prepare to begin this exciting journey into "ministry".  It appears inevitable that you will someday soon join the ranks of those privileged women known as "Pastor's Wives".  It is truly a privilege and a high calling to be the wife of a man called of God into full time Christian service.  However, there are several things you should try to remember:

  • First, you are the PASTOR'S wife, not the CHURCH'S wife...your first ministry should be in the home, as a wife, mother, counselor, helpmeet, lover, encourager, and perhaps even exhorter.  You will find this aspect of your "calling" to be the most challenging, most rewarding, most exciting, and most fulfilling.  If you neglect it for any other "ministry", no matter how important it may seem, not only will you suffer, but your husband and family will suffer also.  Always remember you are to be the "helpmeet" for your husband, the Pastor, and not the "helpmeet" for the church.  All other areas of ministry must come second to that of being the wife of the Pastor.
  • Second, don't let the demands and needs of the ministry rob you of your joy in serving Christ.  There will be times when you will feel a real need to get away from the "maddening crowd", and find a place of refuge and retreat.  Don't wait too long to set aside that time.  Not just for yourself, but for your husband also.  Keep your relationship with Christ alive and exciting by spending time alone with Him daily, and then special times set apart for retreat and recuperation.
  • Keep your relationship with your husband alive and exciting by spending time alone with him daily, and then special times set apart for retreat and recuperation.  Both relationships are equally important, and both relationships need equal time and care.  But I warn you, you will have to remind yourself from time to time that this is most important.  Your schedules will get so hectic and wild that you will feel like a stranger to Christ...and you will feel like a stranger to your husband. Guard against this, Julie, with all your heart, and plan ahead.  Try to always build into your schedules time for rest, recuperation, and recreation.  Don't allow the pressures of the masses close in on you.  God is able to take care of their needs with or without your help...and He can use your talents and gifts best when you are rested and happy.
Your life in serving Christ will be an adventure everyday.  He has wonderful plans for you. (Jeremiah 29:11).  Just keep your eyes on Jesus.  He will never let you down.  (Hebrews 12;1-3).

"Now to Him Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us..." (Ephesians 3:20-21)...

Julie, I commit you into His loving, powerful, capable hands.  Please keep in touch with us, and know that we are praying for you both daily.

As I re-read this letter written so many years ago...now from the perspective of a "old pastor's wife"whose husband has since retired from active ministry, I find myself saying "Amen" to all that was written.  I wish that I had remembered to heed my own words throughout all of our years of service in the church...there were too many times that I let the needs of the church dictate my time and rob me of my energy and strength so that I was not able to be the "helpmeet" that my husband needed most.  Looking back, I know that we truly needed to take that time out as a couple to rest, recuperate and "recreate", and we didn't do it.  We allowed ourselves to burn out and thus became weary, sad and miserable in our calling.  We listened to the wrong voices and did not heed the VOICE of our Lord whispering to our hearts to come apart for awhile and be blessed in His presence.  If I had it to do over again, I know I would try harder to listen to what God was telling me to write to "Julie" almost 25 years ago. Things might have turned out differently.  Hindsight is always 20-20. Today I am just thankful that we survived and that we still have each other to enjoy...and we still have our love for the Lord.  We are just expressing it differently these days.  And that's okay too. God understands.

Now, go check out this link and see what others are writing.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Unusual Discoveries...

Have you ever come across something that you saved and you have no idea when or why you ever saved it in the first place...and how is it that you have just now discovered it?

That just happened to me.  I was looking for something else, and I found this cancelled 25 cent postage stamp with a picture of a Barred Owl on it.  I checked the dates for the years that this particular stamp might have been in circulation, and it had to have been somewhere between 1988-1991. I have no idea why I saved this stamp. I do not collect stamps. And back during those particular years I had absolutely no knowledge of or interest in Barred Owls. Nada...None...Never...Not one bit.

However, if you jump forward about 19 or 20 years, as evidenced by the following links, you will see that I became quite interested in Barred Owls... (You can go back and read these posts later at your leisure...)

1. Waiting on the Lord

2. The Last Farewell

3. He Watches Me-We

I found this quite unusual and strange that I saved this stamp so many years ago...but who knows why it caught my interest? I am sure I don't know...and I am not suggesting anything supernatural here. Just thought it was odd.

In my life I have discovered that God often works in mysterious ways. This really has nothing to do with the owl stamp...at least I don't think it does.  Maybe the owl stamp got me thinking about the mysterious ways God works.

 See, I discovered the owl stamp while I was rummaging through our antique secretary desk looking for an unused guest book that could be used to...well...record guests...what else? And why was I doing that, you may ask? Well, I have always made it a practice to have a guest book in my home.  This practice began when we started our life in the ministry, and we wanted to keep track of the many wonderful people who blessed our home with their presence over the years.

These guest books became a type of journal, with memories of joyous times of fellowship with family and friends, and sometimes even signatures of total strangers who became ambassadors of God's love and ministry to us.
There are also many signatures of loved ones and friends who are no longer with us here on this earth, but whom we look forward to reuniting with someday in the great banquet hall of heaven, where our names are written in the Book of all books...the Book of Life (Revelation 20:11-15)

 So, how is all this connected to my search today?  I already have a guest book in use, and it isn't full yet. I really shouldn't need to start a new one.

But God may have a reason. He may want to record a new group of names...the beginning of a new type of ministry...here, in our home. This was suggested to us today by one who hopes to participate in that new ministry with us.

That suggestion reminded me of a Bible verse I was reading just this morning and reflecting on what it might mean...

"And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;
But now you also must complete the doing of it..."
II Corinthians 8:10-11

and also the following verse:

"Let brotherly love continue.
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels..."
Hebrews 13:1-2

These verses and thoughts go along with a previous post that I reposted a few days ago: "Blessed to Be A Blessing".  It seems as though God is confirming those thoughts today...and by faith we are acting upon this apparent direction.

Tonight I am not certain exactly where this is going to lead, but I am trusting God to guide us one step at a time. If this is indeed ordained by Him, He will show the way...and will provide everything that we need. He may have already provided interesting clues along the way that we did not fully comprehend at the time...kind of like that Barred Owl Stamp that had no significance whatsoever when I first saved it...

Yes, God does work in mysterious ways...

"Jesus answered and said unto him, 'What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.'"  John 13:7

Stay tuned for further developments...and pray for us if you are so inclined. Thank you.