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.

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.