Thursday, December 29, 2011

For His Eye is on the Sparrow...

I hesitate to post this.  There seems to be so much sicknesses across the states.  So I know our family isn't unique.  And yet we are. To God that is.  Each of us is special to Him.

Amy's entire family has strep.  All of Jon Abram's girls have been sick with fevers, and Melody has a touch of the pneumonia.  Our Jennifer has been in Intensive Care since Monday and seems no better, perhaps worse.  There appears to be something more than strep, pneumonia, and mono going on. Today they have called in the Infectious Disease Doctors.For those of you on Facebook, this is old news.

I just went out and filled my bird feeders and am sitting by the window.  It was as though the birds were waiting for me, for fresh provision.  As I watch them, I am once again reminded of God's endless care and concern.  Sometimes it's hard to wrap our mind around that.

This morning as I read the account of the 12 spies trip into Canaan, I saw myself in the mirror of God's Word.  He reminded me of the many Red Seas He has brought me through.  As I read of the Israelites' doubts, I felt like hanging my head in shame.  God was grieved and yes, even angry at their lack of trust in Him.So many times the fear of tomorrow seems to drown me.  I needed to be reminded and to once again focus on Him.

My Mockingbird is at this moment delighting in suet.  The chickadees are knee deep in seed.  The cardinals are hovering near.  Their beauty in color and song warms my heart...  reminding me that I too have a Great Benefactor!

For His Eye is on the Sparrow, and I know He watches me!!!!!!!!!

In His care, Linda

Monday, December 26, 2011

Trapped!!!


Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings and love on the day after Christmas. Trust yours was a blessed one!  We enjoyed family so much, next to God, it is everything!

Jon and I came home around three yesterday from Amy's.  When Jon got on the deck he hollered back to me that a Carolina Wren was trapped.  I wondered how in the world this could be.  I've done everything to make my backyard and deck a bird haven.  In addition to the large feeder hanging from the tree, close to my window, I've added a 3-tier feeder from the deck.  It has suet, seed, and fruit.  I've had such an enormous array of birds.  The Carolina Wrens especially love the suet and fruit.  They are such friendly birds, seemingly fearless of humans.  I love their noisy chatter. It sounds as though they're scolding the others!

I couldn't believe my eyes!  We've been plagued with flies the last couple of weeks. I'd gone to the farm store and in desperation bought some fly strips to hang. I hate them, but hey, like I said I was desperate. They seemed useless inside, so unbeknown to me, Jon had hung one just outside our back door.

The pathetic little Carolina Wren, attracted by the flies, thought he'd found an easy meal.  There he was, little feet and wings all gooed onto the strip.  If you know anything about these strips, you know the goo is incredibly strong stuff.

I was so horrified!  Jon and I worked to release the struggling bird.  It's little feet and wings were a mess.  We finally managed to do so, but without much hope of it's survival.  The little bird, still coated with the goo, hobbled off under the deck.  I'm sure it will never be able to fly with it's stuck wings, and I suspect, that if it didn't find some safety, that Sara will finish it off.

This morning, as I sat with my Bible by the window and watched my birds, my heart was broken.  All that smorgasbord of food available and yet, the little bird just had to stray elsewhere.  

I wondered about my distressed feeling.  I love my birds, I provide, and care for them.  How can this be?  My thoughts turned to My Father and His promise that He cares for the sparrows.  And reminds me of how much more He loves me.  How greatly He must grieve when we go astray, looking for better fair in dangerous places.  All we need, He lovingly provides, and yet the temptations of this world beckons so loudly!  There is pleasure in sin for a season, for sure.  Just as my little wren left all for what appeared to be "greener pastures," man so often, chooses instant gratification.  AND THEN...the trap is sprung.

God beckons, longs, and loves mankind.  There is a haven of safety, inside His perimeters.  God's law doesn't box us in, but fences out the heartache of this world. 

The commercials and billboards don't show the last chapter.  The destroyed lives, the broken bodies, the ruined future.  They paint it all so glamorously.  But when sin is finished, it brings forth death.

You can be sure that there will be no more fly traps on my deck.  Hopefully, no more birds will suffer such an end.

How much more our Father wants to protect us, to defend us, to entreat us....  Truly, His is a "love without measure!"  May I never take it lightly!

Linda  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Going for the Gold!


Dear Friends and Family,

Hard to believe that it's Christmas Eve's Eve!!  This year has gone so swiftly.  I hope it's been a blessed one for each of you dear ones.

This week we've had our Melinda here fromMebane and consequently Erica has spent a lot of time with us as well, since the girls are best buds.  I felt I really accomplished something this year, I managed to make cookies with Erica three different times. They've been frozen for family affairs, tomorrow at Jon Abram's and Sunday at Amy's, Lord willing.

Jon and I have enjoyed the girls so much this week. They've kept us laughing. And since they've entertained each other, Jon and I have been able to have our down time as well.

Tuesday evening I dragged the big trash can out to the road for next morning pickup(the can has wheels).  Lyndy Lou must have seen me out the window because she came running out the driveway to meet me and scold me in a loving fashion, "NANNY! You shouldn't have done that, with all due respect, you're not getting any younger, you know!"

I felt a surge of joy rush through me.  "Oh, Yes, I am, Lyndy!" I responded.  "Though the outward man perishes, the inward man is renewed day by day.  I'm growing younger everyday!"  It was like a moment of fresh revelation!  I AM GROWING YOUNGER EVERY DAY!  I'm nearer home!  It isn't a sad thought, it's a beautiful hope!

Now, don't get me wrong...  I love life, every day of it!  I cherish it and count it a joy.  Every day is a gift, and I'm thankful.  Each morning, I'm excited about living another day for God. And I'm especially happy to share that day with  my precious companion!  How very good God is to us.

But what an overwhelming thought that as this mortal body winds down, It's really "reviving up(no irreverence intended) for a better day!  My investments are in another world!  No stock market crash there!!!  

I saw a news clip the other day of how scientists are experimenting with genetics in their labs and........... someday man will live forever!  Okay!  My first response was to figuratively throw up my names and holler, "No, No, No!!  Not here!"  Hey, that's kind of like depriving someone from their life savings.  Live here, in this world?  Humm.  I dont' think so! You'd have to be nuts!  I've been planning this trip for a loooooooooong time, and no crazy scientist is going to cheat me out of it!

Many of my dear friends have lost loved ones this year.  My heart has especially felt for them as they are facing "first" holidays with that big empty spot in their hearts, around their tables, and during the Christmas Season.  But they've all "died in faith."  What a precious hope we have!  Parting is painful, but not forever!!!

So today, I really am growing younger!  I see the finish line. It's in view!  I have set my face like a flint!  I won't turn back!  I plug my ears from the sirens of this world!  I'M GOING FOR THE GOLD!

And remember....in this great race, there's not just one winner!  We can all make it across the finish line!

Merry Christmas!  Thank God, He Came!!  Thank God, He died!  Thank God, He arose!  Thank God, He lives!  Thank God, HE IS COMING AGAIN!

Love to all you fellow runners!  If you're not in the race, join up now!

Love, Linda

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sweetest Name on Mortal Tongue!

Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings and Merry Christmas to each of you!  What a most blessed time of the year!  Trust you are enjoying His Presence, what else matters so much?

Jon and I are continually recipients of His great grace, love, and care!  How we praise Him.  Going out lately has been an overwhelming struggle for us, but we are so content together in Him.  Our little tree glows reminding us that He is still THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!  Our ornaments remind us not only of Him, but the many memories of "Christmas Past," of family and friends.  The sounds of our Christmas carol cd's keep the real "Reason for the Season" ever in our minds.

Jon Abram's family is even now at closing for their new 2200 sq. ft home. We rejoice with them.  They have been crowded for so long.  Lord willing, the plans are for the family to gather Christmas Eve at their new home.!  God is good!

Today is our Melinda, Lyndy Lou's, 13 birthday!  Jon Abram and Margaret now have THREE TEENAGERS in there home!  Wow!!

Amy is recovering well from her surgery.  Last evening they were here, which is rather rare these days.  Amy was teaching JB his Bible verse for today.  As I sat, watched, and listened, my heart was overflowing.  As you know, JB has a speech impediment, but sweeter words never fell from a little fellow... 
"For unto us a child is born(JB cradles his arms,) unto us a son is given:(JB swoops his little arms out with an emphatic "giving you" motion),  and the government shall be upon his shoulder:(Here our little man thumps dramatically on his shoulders), and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace(Now JB points to his diadem).
Isaiah 9:6

Ahhhh...

"Sweetest note in seraph song,
 Sweetest name on mortal tongue;
 Sweetest carol ever sung,
 Jesus, bless├Ęd Jesus."

And so down through the ages, from the OT prophets such as Isaiah, to the angels on that Holy Night, from the lips of Mary, to the early apostles, down through the church age, from days past to this present hour...that most holy of all names, still is being heralded from majestic church choirs, from the lips of babes.  It is truly the sweetest name on mortal tongue!

I wanted to burst forth with songs of praise as my little fellow quoted last evening: His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This morning, my heart was bursting with praise as I read the words, Emmanuel...God is with us!  Yes, little JB....GOD IS WITH US!!  We can face tomorrow, because HE CAME, AND HE LIVES!!!  He lives for me, for this generation....

Sweetest carol every sung!
Jesus, blessed Jesus!

Merry CHIRSTmas!
Love, Linda

Sunday, August 28, 2011

SP'S

Today, Jon and I were too bad to go to church. I heated up Hubby some left overs, and made myself a tomato sandwich. I finished my sandwich and just sat  and looked at Jon and grinned and grinned and grinned.

I guess it was a little unnerving so finally he said, "Why are just grinning at me?"  My mind was rolling back , way back over the years to many years ago in the '60's.

In those days at Hobe Sound Bible College, your only date was a one hour supper date per week. Those dates were called SP's...Special Privileges. You can believe those were cherished moments!

So today, as I sat across from my forever Sweetheart, I was struck with the beautiful thought that after 41 years, it's still just as thrilling! I still cherish every moment with him! I still consider them "Special Privileges!"

The other day Erica was here and Papa and Nanny were having a moment of happiness, some little thing that made us laugh.

"Erica," I said, "you don't have to have riches, fame, or a lot to have a happy marriage........just God and one Godly man."

Thanking God today.....I'm so blessed!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Where Have All the Songbirds Gone?

Dear Ones,

Do you love birds?  My love for backyard songbirds has grown immensely over the last few years.

I love the glorious chorus they raise at daybreak.  Many mornings finds me, Bible and coffee cup in hand, on my back deck.  

Jon has placed several birdhouses around and the birds inhabit them year round.  I said, I guess they signed a lifetime lease.  In the fall we clean the houses out, repaint them, and the birds move right back in.

I love to see the birds play in the soft garden dirt, perch high on the shed's peaked roof, stretch long wriggly earth worms from the ground, and soar high to lofty tree tops.

Every morning and evenings, when it's cool enough, I sit outside. The yard is filled with the song and color of my many birds.  Cardinals, chickadees, titmice, gold finches, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, mourning doves have all become my friends.

Once when the grand-kids happen to be sitting with me, I referred to the birds as "my birds." 

One of the grand-kids responded with, "they're not YOUR birds, Nanny, they're just wild birds."

"Yes, they are MY birds," I answered. "I feed them and house them, I care for them. Each one is special to me.  More important, God has filled my backyard with them to bless me. To remind me of God's great handiwork. They fill the yard with beauty and song, they remind me to lift my voice in praise to God as well."

After a little thought on this, the said grandkid agreed that maybe they just might be "Nanny's birds" after all.  Ha ha...

Jon and I especially enjoyed the Carolina Wrens(we named them Caroline and Kirk), that built their nest in our hanging Begonia.  We missed them so after they shoved their young from the nest and took flight.  

About four days ago, I began to notice something unusual, my yard seemed to be eerie. I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  It soon struck me that....my birds were gone!  And I do mean gone!  No birds....  Even our permanent "residents" in our bird houses had disappeared.  I could never remember this happening before.  

I called Jon out to sit with me.  It was so  strange.  This went on for three days. In desperation, I Googled the words,"Where have my backyard birds gone?"  I was surprised at what I found.  There were comments from others, some who had feed birds as many as 28 years, that had had similar experiences.

The author of the article mentioned several possibilities.  Perhaps a predator,such as a hawk, had taken up residence in our back yard.  Perhaps, the heat or drought had driven them away. Or maybe, some neighbor had offered them a "finer fare."  At any rate, the article assured me, it was ONLY temporary and they WOULD return.

I thought about the "songbirds" of my soul. Have you ever realized suddenly that your heart doesn't seem to be "singing" anymore?  It can be a subtle thing, for sure.

Without one's awareness, a "predator" may be lurking to steal one's song.  The Enemy often comes as an "angel of shinning light" and is not so easily recognized.  He loves to rob us of our joy, of the song in our soul. "My soul be on thou guard against 10,000 foes.."

Sometimes the "heat and drought" takes a toll on our soul's music.  The intense pressures of life, that consume all our energy can drag us to a slow, steady crawl.  Dryness can smother ones song. The "outward daily perishing" must be renewed by the "inner man."  Only from His Word, and through communing with Him, can our thirst be satisfied!

Ah......... and then there's the possibility of "finer fare" elsewhere!  I think this might be the most dangerous.  Friends, entertainment, food, gadgets....more, more, more!!!!!! What absorbs my love, demands my attention, steals my affection?

Last evening, I couldn't bear to sit on the deck. I guess I hadn't really realized just how much the birds lifted my spirits and blessed my life.  They were just so much a part of what I call "MY Cathedral," the spot where I so much love to worship.  So this morning, rather than go to the deck, I went to my recliner and picked up my Bible for devotions.  After a few moments, something kept nagging at the back of my mind.  The sound finally came into focus...IT WAS A BIRD SINGING!  "Jon!," I exclaimed,"do you hear that? It's a bird singing."  I took my Bible and moved to the deck. Sure enough!  There were the black throated sparrows.  Soon a cardinal landed briefly in our tree. Then there were the sparrows lined up on the shed peaked roof.  After a while, I noticed birds perched on the garden posts, dust bathing in the driveway, and returning to the feeder.  Soon Jon came out and sat with me. I guess you can't really imagine what a difference it made.  After a little while the sparrows landed by the old newspaper box by the grapevines, they were busily working on a new nest.

I was just about to come in when I heard a familiar song. It was Caroline!  Jon and I both sat with widened eyes.  Yes, there she was on her "jumping off" spot, the shepherds hook.  We sat breathless...  She took one big spring off flight and dived into the hanging Begonia!  I felt like cheering!!!

If this sounds a little childish, maybe you should consider "taking time to smell the roses."   Well, my songbirds are back, and I'm refreshed!

Lord, keep the "songbirds of my soul" singing!  Don't let me succumb to "predators," drought and heat, or "finer fare."  Keep me aware of Your Presence!  May there ever be a "song in my heart."

Singing His song,
Linda

Monday, July 4, 2011

Power Source!!!

Dear Friends and Family,

Wishing you all a wonderful 4th.  Hope your day is blessed. Mine already has been.

I sat on the deck this morning and continued my reading through Luke.  I'm so enjoying afresh and anew, the revelations of Christ's ministry.  This morning the story of the woman who touched Christ's garment spoke to my heart in a new real way.  Jesus's response just gripped my thoughts, " Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me."

Okay.......... as the disciples pointed out, many people were milling around Christ.  Many had touched Him, but only one had touched Him in total faith and expectation.

I thought about prayer.  I wondered how often I've "milled around" Jesus.  How many times do I go through my prayer list, knowing that God answers prayer but........

What really gripped me was the thought that "power went from Him.'   When Christ answers my prayers He doesn't wave a magic wand over me.  HE GIVES OF HIMSELF!!!!!!!!  What an amazing thought.  What a source we have to draw upon!

I thought of our Little Buddy. We call him the "Battery King."  He adores batteries. Makes no difference if they're dead.  He carries around heavy pockets full of batteries.  His Uncle Brother brings him airplane batteries. He'd never part with even a dead one. The other day he was carrying one around, hugging it tightly to himself as though it were some great treasure(which indeed to him it was).

Without being sacrilegious, I though of my BATTERY KING.  All power in Heaven and earth is given unto Him. And when He hears and answers my prayers, He gives of Himself!  So true to His character, Calvary was the ultimate gift!  And He keeps on giving!!!

Why don't I trust Him more?  I just can't seem to wrap my arms around the enormity of this thought.  That God Himself, hears my prayers and gives of Himself, when my faith is as simple and trusting as this little insignificant woman.

I am humbled this morning.  What a great God!  What a source of power!  What a promise of strength!  Father, please help me to touch you this morning.  Help me when I pray to know that You are so willing to give of Yourself!  I'm so glad you are indeed the King, and Your power never "runs dry or runs out."  No dead batteries here!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank You, for Your precious Word.

I won't be attending any fireworks this evening, but I praise God for the fresh "fireworks" burning in my soul!!

Love, Linda 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Feeling, Faith, and Fact

Dear Friends and Family,

Trust you're all well. We're still thanking God for His protection from the 62 tornadoes that sat down in our stateon Sat.  At the same time we're grieving and praying for other Tar Heels that have lost precious loved ones.

It's been a busy week. Jon and I planted a few squash and tomato plants. Margaret and two of the girls came inon Friday and Amy's crew was here as well. Girls fixed us an awesome supper. Grandkids played in the yard.

It has been a glorious week as I've buried myself in the story of the cross.  So rich...every word has lived afresh and anew.  "I may never know, why He should love me so........"

Erica was saved in a chapel service this week. When JB heard that one could be a child of God, his response was, "Hey, why no one tell me dat?"  He called Nanny and told her about his new amazing revelation. I asked him if he wanted to pray. He responded with, "Nanny, I need to go to church to be saved." When Nanny assured him that he could be  saved anywhere, his words were, "But, Nanny, I only six." Once again, Nanny assured him that he could be saved at "only six." He wanted Nanny to pray with him, By the end of his simple prayer, he was bawling.  He put down the phone and cried and danced around the room, hollering, "I'm a child of God!!!" He wanted to call everyone and tell them. He couldn't wait to get to prayer meeting that night.

So...after such a special week, you can imagine my feeling by Palm Sunday morning. After reveling in the music of BBN all week with it's songs of the cross, I awoke Sunday morning feeling totally emotionless.  I know that 3 days of pain had drained me completely. My physical had demanded everything and seemingly left me with nothing.  Hey, this is Palm Sunday!  I've looked forward to it all week!!!

So glad that our salvation doesn't depend on emotion. It's so much more than that!!!
  
Three men were walking on a wall,
Feeling, Faith, and Fact,
Feeling got an awful fall, and faith was taken back,
So close was faith to feeling, he stumbled and fell too, 
But fact remained and pulled faith back,
and faith brought feeling too.

Nothing has changed. My commitment to Christ is the same.  The cross still stands. The tomb's still empty!!  I started to testify in church, because I didn't "feel "like it.  It's okay to testify when the emotions are high.  But I wanted to testify that when the feelings are gone and one feels "dead" that God hasn't changed!!!

In Jesus high priestly prayer right before His arrest, he stated that He had given His disciples His Word!!! It is enough!!!  Christ the incarnate, Christ the Word.

While on Sunday, I didn't feel any emotion, I did feel a deep bedrock assurance that "my anchor holds!" Praise His name. Did I mention that this morning, sitting on my deck, reading His Word, contemplating Calvary....that feeling came sweeping in?

I love emotions, but one can't live on the mountain.  It's in the valley where we grow and are strengthened in Christ.  It's hard when we don't feel Him. But that's when there is only "one set of footprints in the sand." He carries us.

I pray that each of us will worship Him this week!!  In music, in His Word, in His Presence..........

The Passion Week..........

My Savior, My Lord, My Lamb, My Redeemer, My Soon Coming King........

I worship You!!!!!!!!!
Linda

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Sinner Such As I...

I'm "stuck" on this verse this morning!!!!!!!!  Too overwhelmed to go on....

John 1:12

But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name!

Power to become the Sons of God!  Even me!!! This song says it all, and is filling my soul....and bursting forth with praise!


That God should love a sinner such as I,
Should yearn to change my sorrow into bliss,
Nor rest till He had planned to bring me nigh,
How wonderful is love like this!


That Christ should join so freely in the plan,
Although it meant His death on Calvary,
Was ever nobler theme sung by the tongue of man
Than love divine that ransomed me?


That for a willful outcast such as I,
The Father planned, the Savior bled and died;
Redemption for a worthless slave to buy,
Who long had law and grace defied.



And now He takes me to His heart—a son,
He asks me not to fill a servant's place;
The "Far-off country" wand'rings all are done,
Wide open are His arms of grace!


CHORUS:
Such love, such wondrous love,
Such love, such wondrous love,
That God should love a sinner such as I,
How wonderful is love like this!
Basking in the Son!!!!!!!!!
It's Him!!!!!!!!
I am redeemed!!!!!!!!!!!
Linda

Thursday, February 3, 2011

And He Stood

Dear Friends and Family,

It's a cold cloudy morning here in NC. But at least we're not buried under 2 feet of snow! Yesterday it was in the 60's.

Yesterday I read several more news articles of the death of the American missionary, Nancy Davis. This event made world news. As I've mentioned before Jon and I went to college with her husband, Sam.  I was reading some of the comments that others had emailed in at the bottom of some of the articles. I was shocked at the flood of hate mail!! Nancy was labeled as stupid, one of those ignorant Christians, etc.. Some considered she got what she deserved. Such is the world's view of those who fulfill Christ's Great Commision, who are wholefully surrendered to Him.  They are labeled "fanatics."

This morning I heard a news clip about "fans" at the super bowl. It was a medical article about how many heart attacks happen during, or follow those events.  These are folks who are whole heartedly in love with the sport. These are folks who sometimes travel many miles, brave the harsh elements of the weather, and spend lots of money to devote themselves to the "love of their life."  Winning the game is so important to them, that it seriously affects their hearts. Sometimes costing them their lives.

Where do my interests, loyalities, and commitments lie? What or who is the "love of my life?" Does it affect "my heart?"  Am I a fan, or a fanatic? Guess that depends upon who is the judge, doesn't it?

I thought this morning, of the great sacrifice that Nancy made for the Mexican people that she loved so dearly.  A lot of the hate mail was targeted at these people as well. But you can be sure, Nancy loved them even unto death.

I was reminded of the first martyr, Stephen.  He was considered a fanatic as well. Such hate that was unleashed upon him. And yet through Stephen's death, Saul became the great apostle Paul. Paul became the great Evangelist to the Gentiles, who were considered dogs by the Jews. So many of our beautiful books of the NT were penned by this great man, as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

As Stephen breathed his last breath, he looked up toward Heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God!!  Christ in all His Heavenly glory, arose to welcome Stephen home!!!

I wonder how Nancy was ushered into His Presence?  Did the Son of God stand? Who knows? Maybe...... One thing for sure, there must have been great rejoicing!  Through the many years of Nancy's faithful service, many souls were born into the family of God.  I suppose some of those redeemed ones were on the welcoming committee as well....

In I Corinthians 2, Paul penned these words:   

8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
   “What no eye has seen,
   what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”
   the things God has prepared for those who love him—
 10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

Rejoicing to be His,

Linda


Monday, January 31, 2011

Praise Brings the Victory

Good Morning, Dear Friends and Family,

I hope you're all doing well. As I clicked each of your email addresses this morning, special fond thoughts of each of you flooded my mind!!!

Jeannie, how I miss our wonderful days of friendship at Guilford Child Health! Remember all those huge teas you brought me from Chick Fillet?  Joan, how many cherished times we had together at Carolina Christian Academy!!  Dear Treasures, we'll never forget those few precious days at the old home-place in the Catskills!! Each of you wonderful friends hold a special place in the memory bank of my heart!!

This morning, I sit by the window and watch the sun rise. In the faint morning glow, cardinals and chickadees enjoy their breakfast placed in the maple tree. Such beauty, another day to live for Jesus!! How good he is to me.

This week marked my 61st birthday, and next month marks our 40th anniversary!  How did I get here so quickly? I feel so young at heart!

Today I continued my reading in II Kings and then turned to II Chronicles for chronological reading. Good King Jehoshaphat was facing a major invasion and possible annihilation. Alarmed, King Jehoshaphat resolved to seek the Lord.  The people joined him in fasting and prayer. King Jehoshaphat addressed his people with a speech that ended with this prayer, "Lord, we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We don't not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

The prophet reminded the King and the people that, "the battle is not yours, but God's. you will not have to fight this battle. Just take your positions and STAND FIRM!"

Sooooo what did King Jehoshaphat do?  Something a bit unusual. He appointed men to go ahead of the army, who AS THEY WENT, sang and praised God for the splendor ofHis Holiness!  Whooo hoo.........   God caused the enemy forces to self-destruct!! And the Israelite army joyfully returned to Jerusalem, praising God and rejoicing over their defeated enemies!!

Okay! Time out!!! I feel my well over flowing!!!!  Do I have some situations in my life that appear to be overwhelming me?  I feel as King Jehosphaphat did! Lord, I don't know what to do, but my EYES ARE UPON you!!  Do I have the answer, No! Am I a bit frightened, yes! Do some of these burdens seem so heavy, yes!  Is my heart breaking, yes!!  BUT, MY EYES ARE UPON YOU!

I am reminded too, that the battle isn't mine! It's the Lord's!  I need to stand still, hold steady, believe, obey, and remain faithful!

But that's not all....  I need to march ahead of the array with a heart filled with praise to God for the splendor of His Holiness, for His unchangeable sufficiency, for His constant steady guidance, for His proven love!!!

Today, Father, I bow my heart before you. I give you my burdens. I gaze upon Your face.  I hide in Your Word.  And I sing praises to you!!!

Have a blessed day....give it all to Jesus!

Linda

There's more with us, than be with them
Lord, open our eyes to see.
The mountains around, with chariots abound...
We're trusting, our Lord, in Thee!!
The Devil may boost and marshall his host
And march in battle array..
With Christ in the lead, we're sure to succeed
We're certain to win the day!!  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No Turning Back....

Dear Friends and Family,

Hope you're all doing well. I think this has been the worst flu season I've ever known. It seems family and friends across the states are so sick.

Strep, viruses, and pneumonia have made their way around, and around, and around our families since before Thanksgiving.  I think 5 of the 6 in Jon Abram's family are now on antibiotics.  Thankfully, other than a stomach virus, Jon and I have managed to escape the worst of it. We did get our flu shots, but I give the praise to God.

Needless to say, we've seen a lot less of the family the last 3 months. I think everyone is longing for Spring!!!!

This morning, I continued my reading in I Kings. I loved the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel and the wondrous  victory given there.  In chapter 19, I read  of God's direction and of Elijah calling Elisha to follow him as the next prophet.  Elisha was in a field with others plowing with 12 yoke of oxen.  Elisha answered the call by asking to go home to bid his parents good-bye. Elijah wasn't impressed by Elisha's priorities.

Elisha's yoke of oxen represented his total means of livelihood.  These were equivalent to our present day careers, jobs, insurance,  IRA'S, etc. As typical of his culture, these  oxen may have provided for Elisha's extended family as well.

Elisha slaughtered his oxen, burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat, gave it to the people, and they ate.  Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant, and eventually the next prophet.

Okay......... Here we see Elisha cutting permanently every tie of the past.  Leaving no entanglements, no demands, nothing to beckon him to return to his old paths. The point here isn't to ignore our families, but instead to make sure our #1 loyalty is to our God. Elisha made no provision to return to his old life. He didn't leave his team in the care of family or friend with the idea of one day using it again. Elisha was FINISHED with the old path.  He was 100% committed!  Later Elisha also demonstrates his love and determination to follow God's call upon his life, by dogging Elijah's every moment to make sure Elijah's mantle fell on him, and thus the next ordained prophet.

What a lesson!!  I don't want to hold too tightly to anything this world has to offer. I'm grateful to God for every temporal blessing, but everything I have is only a gift from Him.  I don't want this World's goods to possess me. I want all of them to be a means of serving Him better.  What do I have that I couldn't live without?  Hummmmmmmm.....That's thought provoking, isn't it?  Words come easy, but am I willing to "slay my oxen and burn my plow?"  Is everything so committed to Christ, until there is no "going back?" Do I have a "if this doesn't work out, I can always return to Egypt" attitude?

This morning I was watching a news video of the persecuted Christians in Iraq.  The camera showed the blood stains and bombed church of the Christmas Eve massacre of over 50 Christians.  Yet, these Christians weren't eager to run away.  They felt they were needed there. I was humbled by their steadfastness and determination.  I wondered, would I stand in these circumstances?

Today,God,search my heart. I want to be sure that I don't have any hidden "oxen or unburned plows" lurking in the deepest recesses of my heart. Lord, I want you to completely fill every chamber of my heart, possess me, use me...

Have a blessed day.....
Let's follow Him, let's not look back, let's burn every bridge, let's fix our eyes upon the Easter sky, maybe today...

Linda


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Are You Packing/

Dear Friends and Family,

Several have asked why I haven't blogged lately. Well, the children so seldom come home, there's just not been much to say. Jon and I aren't really "news worthy."
Today, Margaret told me she was coming down for a few hours and she could leave a critter with me until Saturday. Of course, that brightened me up!  I assumed she'd leave Jennifer who is such a big help to us.  
After I hung up, I thought of little Jessica Mae who along with JB hardly ever stays with us.  The last two grandchildren are only seeing a shadow of the Nanny that the older children once experienced.  It makes me so sad, but we're not able to keep up with their normal young childish activities.  But this would only be for two days....   Poor Jessica Mae has begged to stay for so long.... in fact it's been over a year since she's stayed with us.
While I was musing on this idea, the phone rung again and it was Margaret.  She'd had the same idea, and we agreed it would be the best time.
At the supper table tonight, Jessica Mae was telling her side of the story.  When her mother had at first told Jennifer to start packing, Jessica Mae begged to be the one allowed to stay.  Margaret said, "Just a moment..." and went to her bedroom, closed the door, and called Nanny.
After Jessica Mae related this to me, I replied, "And I bet you were in the other room praying, weren't you?" 
"Nope!" she said, "I was packing!"
That answer rolled me back on my heels, after all, the answer for over a year had been, no. Wow! What faith!  She wasn't wasting anytime doubting. She just "kept knocking" until the door opened.
She asked...and started packing.
I wonder how often, after praying, do I really believe. Believe that God is interested, able, and willing?
No wonder that Jesus said we needed to be as little children. Their
faith is so simple, so uncomplicated.
How often do I follow my petitions to God with human analysis? I've often said that God doesn't keep our requests in a file box arranged from easy to extremely difficult. It's all the same to Him.  It's only my finite mind that does thus.
Lord, help me today to come humbly and yet bodly before you.
Lord, help me to come with childlike faith.
Lord, help me to "start packing." 
Thanks, Jessica Mae, for reminding Nanny that "the answer is already on it's way."

Linda