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Kodak Moments

To me remains nor place, nor time;
My country is in every clime;
I can be calm and free from care
On any shore, since God is there.

After  settling back into our non-routine routine life, I finally found made some time to compile a little photo log of our journey over the past several weeks; or, one might call it, “really great excuses as to why I haven’t been blogging.”  I think my husband’s seven-year old Kodak 612Z camera still does a pretty good job capturing and highlighting our days.

After Easter, we moved out of our cute little spot in Ottawa.

Then we stayed on the “other” side of the Ottawa River a while with friends:

with dear friend, Elaine!

and moved our “schtuff” into their basement…

Guess I got a little too comfortable in their basement!

Then, it was time to say “See you later” (not goodbye), to some friends…

With Mitch at the Coffee House (JRCM)

Dave speaking at Jericho Road Coffee House

Kim’s surprise party was a success!! ♪ Happy 50th Birthday dear Friend ♪ !!

Last day–Brunch with Mack, Ray, Gloria, JL, and Charlene (taking the pic)

As we headed out of town, some colourful tulips peaking through the snow caught our eye.

At Dow’s Lake, these early blooms held up well to the late snow

Delicate, but tough

Then we drove south, and south, and east a bit…to enjoy an extended stay in Virginia Beach for my mom’s 80th birthday celebration, shared with our daughters and grandkids!  These are just a few pics of all that were taken from our blessed time together:

With my beautiful mom. Willa

With my mom, Hope (& her baby-to-be), and Gracey!

Joy, my mom, Grace with Eva, and moi

All smiles with Gracey and Joy (and her baby-to-be)

Sisters with child(ren)

Say Cheese!! Grace, Joy, Steve, and Eva!

Cousins get reacquainted

Protected and Protector

On stage at the Kid’s Place

Eva is a star too!!

Busch Gardens with Hope, Jon and Andrew

Joy and Eva are not persuaded that the ponies are entirely safe at the Petting Zoo 🙂

John Deere meets John and Jon!

Wrapping up a morning at the Petting Zoo

Time for piggies in the sand!

The whole world’s a Beach for Poppop and Jonathan

Eva’s beach time with Pop-Pop

A few minutes of relaxin’ for lovely Nurse Grace

All done….

After spending time with our blessings, it was time to meet the road again.

highway to the hills

As Bilbo sang in The Hobbit,

Roads go ever ever on,

Over rock and under tree,

By caves where never sun has shone,

By streams that never find the sea;

Over snow by winter sown,

And through the merry flowers of June,

Over grass and over stone,

And under mountains in the moon.

So we return, for a bit, to our hollow in the hills, giving praise to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and seeking Him for whatever lies ahead.

Your decrees have been the theme of my songs wherever I have lived. Psalm 119:5

While place we seek, or place we shun,
The soul finds happiness in none;
But with a God to guide our way,
“tis equal joy to go or stay.

Jeanne Marie Guyon, 1722

What have you been up to lately?

Some thoughts on Anger

“Everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”     James 1:19, 20

We are to take extreme CARE with the emotion of anger.  I’ve heard it’s okay to be angry, because after all, the Word says “Be angry and don’t sin.”  But I find there’s quite a blurry line in my life between anger and sin, one I can’t see very well, so perhaps I should avoid that contested boundary if at all possible.

Jonah offers an interesting contrast between man’s anger and the Lord’s.  One is quick.  The other, slow.

But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.

He prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

But the Lord replied, “Have you any right to be angry?”

Jonah also illustrates the great chasm between our anger and God’s forgiveness.  Jonah gets angry over a plant dying!  Yet, for the life of him, he can’t grasp God’s mercy towards the 120,000 people (and their cattle) He spares due to their sincere repentance!

He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” “I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.”

But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

In the book of Job we read, that even when we feel sick and tormented, a rash and angry response will undoubtedly lead to sin. “Beware that wrath does not entice you to scoffing” (Job 36:18).

However, God’s slowness to anger always results in compassionate redemption:

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.

He will not always strive with us,  nor will He keep His anger forever.

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:8-13

And finally, our anger often usually leads to unforgiveness.  Jesus is pretty clear how he feels about that in his parable on the unforgiving servant:

“Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?”  Matthew 18:33

Ultimately, humans have a bad track record with anger.  We are encouraged to put it aside, along with all the junk it creates in our minds (and bodies).  So….

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:29-32

~~~

Dear Lord, Help us to have mercy on others as you have had towards us.  Help us to forgive as we’ve been forgiven, and love as You have loved.  Only then can we experience release from the burden of anger, draw others to You, and accomplish Your redemptive purpose.  You are so merciful, Lord.  Amen.

 

P.S.  A little ♪ note on mercy can be heard in the Music Box above.  It’s a new song by Sovereign Grace Music called, Have Mercy on Me.  You can listen on this site, and dowload at Amazon.com or Sov Grace’s website.

Even better…

Here’s a little Post Script to What’s Your ___ for 2012?

The Psalmist reminds us that no matter what our goals, longings, or desires are, there is something Better!

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.”  Psalm 63:1-3

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10

 

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What’s your _____ for 2012?

“The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing.”  Eccl.1:8

What’s your _____??

I’m wondering what you think will make you happier in 2012 than in 2011?

You say, I will be happy if _____.

I’ll be content if I can accomplish _____.

If I can have ____, then life is GOOD!

~~

We all have something we think will make us happy, fully satisfied and will fill that BLANK if our lives.  “If I just had a bit more money in the bank….”  “If only my spouse would go to church, show me more consideration, or love me more….” “If I could just have that gorgeous person in my life….” “Once I have the latest iPhone/Pod/Pad then….”  “If only I could be healed from….”

But, even IF we could have all those things and more, there’s something else to long for just around the corner.  More money, more fun, a sexier man/woman, newer car, greater security… Where does it end?

Jesus told a woman in a dusty little village that if she drank water from their earthly well, she would thirst again.  That’s our human predicament.  We thirst again, lust again, covet again, and WANT again.  Otherwise, why would children want more toys after a bountiful Christmas?  Or, if you can handle it, my husband says it this way:

“Why publish monthly issues of Penthouse? Shouldn’t one suffice?”

What/who can ever satisfy our parched thirst for more, and more, and more??

Christ alone.

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again…

…but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life!

If the Lord isn’t our BLANK, our One Thing, we will keep coming up empty, thirsty, and dissatisfied.

…your one thing will control your heart, and whatever controls your heart will exercise inescapable influence over your words, choices, and actions.  Your one thing will become that which shapes and directs your responses to the situations and relationships of your daily life.  If the Lord isn’t your one thing, the thing that is your one thing will be your lord!”  Paul Tripp, A Shelter in a Time of Storm, page 38.

I fall prey to the illusive concept of satisfaction, even as life’s decades pile high.  I need to be reminded that my blanks will never be filled in adequately apart from Christ–I will thirst again, want new toys, *need* new things.

May we be more like David, when he prayed in Psalm 27:

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

Be THOU my Vision, Oh Lord. 

Jesus alone satisfies and He will never disappoint!

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.   Romans 5:5

~~

O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Psalm 80:14

~~~

[Check out my post, Enough, for more encouragement on this subject.]

A Psalm for this New Year

 In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 

Psalm 139:1

Psalm 139 is where I head for New Years, birthdays, and any day I need a reminder that someone Greater than I is ordering my life!

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Psalm 139 

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 

 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 

 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 

 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 

 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 

 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 

 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.a Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!

They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain!b

Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?

I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

~~~

Scales of Suffering?

Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD; Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
Psalm 30:1

Do you think God won’t help you find your keys because it’s not a big enough concern?  There are more important things to Him, such as feeding the poor, defeating the Taliban, hovering over cancer wards, or preparing the world for Jesus’ return, right?  So why would He bother to help find those keys?

Or maybe, when a migraine, cold, fever, or a yucky flu bug brings you down,  do you silently doubt that God will answer your prayer for healing, because, after all, “it’s not cancer”?

If so, welcome to my world!

I constantly gauge my needs, pain, or “suffering” by other’s.  In fact, I even had a hard time writing the word “suffering” because I don’t really think I know what it is—in comparison to rest of the world.  If you’re like me, you may be encouraged by reading this article, No More Minimizing Pain, by Ed Welch of Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF):

“There is no suffering gauge in Scripture, as if being burned at the stake scores a 100, Stage IV cancer is an 85, a broken friendship is a 50 and uncomfortable shoes are a 5.  If there were such a system, a person whose suffering topped out at 80 would have to defer to the one who measures 81.   The one with the less severe suffering would have to suffer in silence. He or she would have no right to seek the comfort of others or God.  To do so would be hogging time that could be better used by more qualified sufferers.  
Dr. Ed Welch, CCEF

I wish I had written this!  But I couldn’t, because I live in the comparison world of meters, gauges, and deference.  I question if my suffering is even on the charts!! Maybe a .003 on the scale of world-wide problems.  Those lost keys, forget about them.  And no hope for my headache as long as a thousands of parents are visiting their children in Pediatric Cancer wards.  But, Dr. Welch goes on to say,

“The danger in establishing a pecking order within suffering is that you feel authorized to call out to the Lord when things are really bad, but you remain isolated and silent if your pain is below the national average.”

So the biggest fault, or sin, of minimizing pain and suffering is that it keeps us from calling on the Lord. And, for me, this attitude creates a dangerously false god, who doesn’t want me to bother Him unless it’s really Bad…somewhere between 75-100.

What a dreadful trap to fall into, even though it appears rather noble.  It reveals my lack of understanding of God’s love and unbounded mercy.

“..when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.”
2 Corinthians 10:12

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The entire article may be found HERE.   Thank you, Dr. Welch!

Timely Word for the Journey

My favourite Christian author, preacher, writer, and teacher is Charles H. Spurgeon.  Anyone who’s read my blog for even a week has probably figured that one out!  The devotional I’ve worn out for the past 7 years is Morning by Morning.  Each page offers insight, encouragement, and Scriptures that always point to Jesus.  His daily meditations have never ceased to offer timely words for my journey.

Sometimes I share little blurbs, other time composites of Spurgeon thought, but today I must share the devotional in its entirety.  It’s That good!  May it connect with someone’s heart and need today, and lift up a weary pilgrim along the way:

“He led them forth by the right way.”  Psalm 107:9

Changing circumstances often causes the anxious believer to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” I looked for light, but darkness came; for peace, but faced trouble. I said in my heart, my mountain stands firm, I shall never be moved.  Lord, You hide Your face, and I am troubled. Only yesterday I could read my title clearly; but today my evidences are blurred, and my hopes are clouded.  Yesterday I could climb the mountain and view the landscape and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; today my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no joys, but great distress.

Is this part of God’s plan for me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven?

Yes, it is even so. The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope–all these things are just parts of God’s method of making you ready for the great inheritance, which you will soon enjoy.

These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith–they are waves that wash you further upon the rock–they are winds that steer your ship more quickly toward the desired haven. What David wrote then will be true of you: “He brought them to their desired haven” (verse 30). By honor and dishonor, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace–by all these things your spiritual life is maintained, and by each of these you are helped on your way.

Do not think, believer, that your sorrows are out of God’s plan; they are necessary parts of it. “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom.” Learn, then, to “count it all joy . . . when you meet trials of various kinds.”

O let my trembling soul be still,
And trust Thy wise, Thy holy will!
I cannot, Lord, Thy purpose see,
Yet all is well since ruled by Thee.

~~~

If you would like some daily encouragement from Spurgeon, you can buy his devotionals HERE, or read it online HERE.