Monday, September 22, 2014

Ocean. Grace

 Praise God! We're  blessed with another week at His ocean, to hear the sound of  waves rushing to shore in rhythm of the tides; to experience once again all the sights and sounds that have endeared and drawn  us to the ocean year after year.
For me though, this is my second ocean retreat- my time with the Lord, walking along the shore, in the presence of the Lord, listening to the reading of His Word ,and drawing strength. It's our time alone.

 Gary and I have a routine, have had this same routine for every ocean visit, now numbering over 20 years to the same location. We rise early and with coffee and camera in hand, we stand amazed at His glorious handiwork- His sunrise!

 My husband knows every mile of this island, biking for hours every day, this being his routine now.
I know the same sandy spot where I have sat with our children building sand castles, or digging deep, filling with water, making mud pies to smear over each other, then rushing to catch a wave and wash clean again. Blessed memories of cherished times- all grace gifts received with a thankful heart.

Living room of our rented condo

 Hilton Head Baptist Church, where we attend while visiting. This church truly feels like home to us.
It was here last year, on my first ocean retreat with the Lord, that God granted my deep desire to be baptized in the ocean.
Today is the one year anniversary!
September 22, 2014

                                                    Grace Given

                                                                            Grace Received

 Bird friends even at the ocean!
 From the rising of the sun to its setting, 
 the name of the Lord is to be praised !
 Psalm 113:3

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Grace

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock
          of our salvation!

Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to Him with
          songs of praise!...

 For He is our God,
        and we are the people of His pasture,
        and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you hear His voice,
          do not harden your hearts...

Psalm 95: 1-2, 7 
 Today was a special Sunday;  plans made to attend
The Church in Aurora with my brother and sister-in-law, celebrating her birthday.

Pastor's sermon was from 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Thoughts of these verses ran through my mind all day.
Hard verses actually- all with verbs in the imperative mood:

rejoice,        pray,          give   

It's not easy to rejoice when we see the world in such chaos, and out of control, or to pray continually when prayers don't seem to be answered, or God not hearing the cries from our heart, and  to give thanks in all circumstances seems impossible when the  diagnosis is terminal, or the pain excruciating, the loss unbearable, or the job just not there, or the fractured family falling apart, and oh, the daily news drips with anguish of a mother's bleeding heart loss for her son's life taken at the hand of evil intent.
 These imperatives, rejoice, pray, give, penned by Paul to the Thessalonians are meant for us too.
Hard ? Yes. but Jesus took it all to the Cross- all this pain, sorrow, suffering, sin- He paid it all. Only in Jesus, can we give thanks in all circumstances, for we have His promise.

"Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and My burden is light."                         Matthew 11:28-30  

May your burdens, friends, be lighter this week as you lean hard on Jesus. 

After church, we returned to my brother's home, where my sister-in-law had a luncheon feast prepared.
At the sight of this beautiful table, words whirled in my mind from the book I finished yesterday, (read for the fourth time),which began on a Sunday around a dinner table and ended on a Sunday around a feast-filled table  where grace was extended to healing hearts.
"Then there's the complex kind of pity you feel when somebody you love has failed, especially when the failure has in some way hurt you. If you don't watch it, the pity can go directly into anger and stay there. But the thing to keep remembering is that failure could have been your own. It wasn't this time, but it could have been. And your own day of failure will come. The thing to pray for is grace, to give it now and maybe receive it later."    from A Garden To Keep, by Jamie Langston Turner
And my favorite book ends with the words, "...before we eat our feast, we shall say grace."

And my birthday gift to my sister-in-law, an avid reader like myself, a new book by my friend, Jamie Langston Turner called, To See the Moon Again.

Blessed today to try out my new macro lens set, capturing the beauty of His creation gifts.

Grace Greater Than Our Sin

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

    Grace, grace, God's grace,
    Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
    Grace, grace God's grace,
    Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
What can we do to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

                                                                      Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
                                                                      Freely bestowed on all who believe!
                                                                      You that are longing to see His face,
                                                                      Will you this moment His grace receive?
                                                   Hymn by Julia H. Johnston, published 1911
                                                                        Scripture verse: Romans 5:20

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Living the Gift of a Perfect Day and Giving Thanks

Sunday, the day was perfect;
blue skies, soft, white clouds, fall coolness in the air changing to autumn warmth by mid-day.

So what to do with such a beautiful day? Walk with us as I share the beauty of this estate and our joy in the moment.

We went to Stan Hywet Gardens and shot 140 frames of "Save the Date" shots to share the excitement of next year's wedding date for daughter, Rachael and Dan.  visit this site or better yet, spend an afternoon taking in the beauty of the estate in Akron.

Rachael and I had such fun stenciling and painting this plaque, on cherry wood, the week before.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of a perfect day amidst the beauty You have placed around us. Our joy is overflowing for Your loving care over us. May You receive all the honor and glory!

Monday, September 1, 2014

9 1 1: Pray for Jerusalem • AnGeL Ministries • Anne Graham Lotz

click here to view Anne's message
9 1 1: Pray for Jerusalem • AnGeL Ministries • Anne Graham Lotz 

 Please join me in prayer on the first day of September, for one hour of fasting and fervent prayer before the
                         King of kings  for His city of Jerusalem, and all of Israel.
Anne has asked us to pray :
 *" For God to pour out a Spirit of grace and supplication on the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all of Israel

*For God to open their eyes to recognize their Messiah...Yeshua...Jesus

*For God to break their hearts for their sin and rejection of Him

*For God to save them spiritually and physically as they cry out to Him"

          Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
            "May they be secure who love You!
            Peace be within your walls
                and security within your towers!"
            For my brothers and companions' sake
                I will say, "Peace be within you."
                                                                         Psalm 122:6

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Kristene Mueller "Homeward Bound" w/Lyrics

please silence blog music, lower left and enjoy this song by Kristene Mueller about the love
of our Savior, Jesus Christ for us.
Yes, I can't wait to see His Face!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"I will run this race, and I will do it all for love"

Wednesdays are very special to me because of my two dear Chinese friends, Nancy(Chen) and her husband, Yang, to whom I just spoke to via our weekly Skype call; today's call lasting two hours!
I have been blessed beyond measure to chat with them for 3 months now and our time together is truly the highlight of my Wednesday mornings!  They give to me far more than my English grammar lessons give to them. Such fun we have sharing each others culture, getting involved in each others' lives with true caring and love.
We have been discussing Francis Chan's book, Crazy Love, about God's amazing love for each of us, as our heavenly Father, and His extreme love in sending His Son to die upon a cross for our redemption from our sins. Amazing love!
"A huge view of God changes everything."   
                                                                       Francis Chan  from Crazy Love
Question: Do you remember when the love of the Father became so real to you? 

 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."   John 3:16

"... let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."   Hebrews 12:1-2

Thank you, Nancy and Yang, for letting me share my testimony with you this morning.  My story of God reaching down, touching my life, and bringing me to the foot of the cross in repentance, pouring abundant grace over me, drawing me to my Savior and Lord!
" Now, I will run the race, and I will do it all for love.
                                                                              Your love compels me..."

God bless you, Nancy and Yang..... 
                                                        I love you!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Early Morning Summer-Sights, Sounds, Smells

 This is the visitor I spotted early, sitting atop the basketball back-board. I've never seen an owl before in our yard. Such a grand surprise!
I read in my Book of North American Birds that it could be  Barn Owl.

Shortly after, I captured a picture of this creature.
Same owl? Don't know.

 My bird friends are so used to me intruding on breakfast time that I just sit close by the feeder, now, clicking shutter,
one frame after another.

Hearing sounds of distant drums reminds me of school days approaching and outdoor band practice carried in the air

 Morning friends!

Such joy they give me in exchange for  few seeds!
 Table brightness every morning,

lavender fragrance
  with  smells of simmering tomato soup
             laced with fresh lemon thyme
               and sweet basil

Hours upon hours does the gardener spend  laboring the soil
 for the freshness we enjoy on our summer table and winter's  freezer feasts.

Front porch flowers and fern

So what's this yellow grossness growing in our yard?

Is this a touch of fall approaching ?
(hope not)