Thursday, January 13, 2011

This and That

Since Monday this has been the view from my front porch and back patio. Really beautiful and because I have been sick, I have felt free to enjoy and not fret about what isn't being accomplished. Since we are empty nesters and our grandkids aren't near by it has been very serene. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have kids sledding and building snowmen, running in and out, tracking in snow, creating more laundry than usual, but that's not what's happening. I have bronchitis and an fluid in my ears so life has taken on a different rhythm and I'm just resting and enjoying what is. Every season of life has its joys, jobs, and challenges.

One benefit of the snow is the delightful way it amplifies the beauty of the birds at our feeders. Rufous sided towhees, cardinals, purple finches, tufted titmice, wrens, and chickadees all contending for their time at the feeders. One poor little wren flew into a window and knocked herself out. We brought her in and placed her on a pad, put a little water in a flat container, and covered her with a large mesh strainer so that if she survived and revived she wouldn't fly about and sustain another injury. It took her about half an hour to move from her side to her feet and another half hour to finally hop a little. We released her and off she flew into a large tree. Felt great.

The only other excitement we had was after my return trip from the doctor's office on Tuesday. My husband had cleared the sidewalk and positioned the truck so that I could step down onto the sidewalk. We had used the excursion to restock some groceries and it made it easier to be right at the sidewalk. However, that meant the back tires were on an incline and not on the large flat part of our driveway. Even though it was in park with the engine off a short time later Rell discovered his truck had slid down the driveway into a ditch. We were really grateful because it stopped its trajectory toward the side of our garage. Fortunately he was able to drive it out. Thank heavens for 4 wheel drive. Of course a neighbor we call, "The Mayor of Hanging Dog," had seen our predicament and offered his assistance if Rell's attempt failed. Love it when that happens.
Hope whatever season or circumstance you find yourself in that you will also find as Matthew 11:29-30 The Message says, “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly." Even sick and home bound.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Religion is Basically Guilt

I am a collector of good quotes. I found one this morning that I absolutely loved.

All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt, with different holidays. ~Cathy Ladman

Cathy is a comedian and I am sure she was trying to be funny as well as speak the truth as she has observed it.

You may be surprised that I agree 100 percent. I was raised in a Protestant church. I grew up filled with guilt. That really is all religion is good for.

· I knew the stories but not the Great Storyteller.
· I knew the basics of how to be saved, but I didn’t know the Savior.
· I knew the list of do’s and don’ts. I didn’t know the One who canceled out the written code consisting of decrees against me and which was hostile to me; and He had taken it out of the way, having nailed it to His cross. Colossians 2:14

The kindest thing the Lord ever did for me was allow my religious veneer to be stripped off so one day I could come into a true relationship with Him.

Romans 8:1“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” His Holy Spirit will convict us when we fall short. He will be specific and empowering. We confess that we have blown it and allow Him to wash our feet from defilement. There is no need to be weighed down by guilt or condemnation. No one is perfect. Our right standing with God is still dependent on what Christ did for us on the cross.

The blood that Jesus shed for me, way back on Calvary, the blood that gives me strength from day to day, it will never lose it power. We find mercy and grace continuously as we look to the finished work of Christ on the cross. No guilt. My sins not in part, but the whole are nailed to the cross and I bear them no more, praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, Oh my soul.

If you are reading this and you do not know the beauty of a relationship with Jesus Christ I ask you to enter in. There is only one way. Jesus said, “No man can come to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6 Repent, admit you have sinned and gone your own way and made a mess of things. Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God sent to live a sinless life and to give Himself for us. He paid our debt so that we may have peace with God. Enter into a love relationship with Him. Read his letter to you. Talk to him in prayer. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. No condemnation. Receive His forgiveness and cleansing. No religious guilt needed. Walk with the Master. He said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He meant it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Two Great Prayers

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I went to a Jason Gray concert last Sunday and was so glad I had the opportunity. He quoted someone who said the two greatest prayers we can pray are, “Help me, help me, help me!” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Today my granddaughter and I experienced how true that is.

She’s eight years old and has beautiful, thick, brown hair. We decided to eat dinner out and everyone was going in different directions getting ready. Her mom told her to brush out her freshly shampooed hair. We are visiting in their home and I am sharing the bathroom with the children. She picked up my small cylindrical hairbrush meant for styling short hair. She got her long hair tangled in the brush and couldn’t pull it out. She thought the logical thing to do was rotate it in the opposite direction which only wound it more tightly until it was firmly affixed to her scalp. I wish now I had taken a picture of her predicament, but she wouldn’t have appreciated it. She was afraid the only solution was going to be a haircut. Honestly, that thought crossed my mind too. I told her that we needed to pray for help in untangling the mess and we did. Approximately 15 minutes later with a few, trying to be brave tears, flowing down her cheeks I had her untangled. She bowed her head with no prompting and said, “Jesus, thank you, thank you, thank you.” I loved it and I’m sure He did too.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

More Like a Love Affair

Went to His Place Church in Burlington, Washington today with our daughter. Jason Gray did a concert and it was absolutely wonderful. Right up there with Michael Card and Rich Mullins in depth and the ability to express the deep heartfelt things of God. I enjoyed it so much because even though the church early service was packed Jason seemed to talk heart to heart. The Holy Spirit was so tangible. Jason wrote More Like Falling in Love from this G. K.Chesterton quote, "Our Christianity should look less like a theory and more like a love affair." I can only say, "Amen, may it be so Lord." I've included the video of the song with the lyrics. If you don't know the words please listen and read along as Jason sings.