Sometimes

Lately God has been speaking. I think I am listening. Am I listening? Sometimes he even highlights the clouds outside my window to get my attention. I’m really not ready to write yet, so I will listen more

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Photo taken tonight. First sunset visible from our house in 2020 

Lets listen to God more than sometimes in 2020

Gary

Wander into Winter Wonder

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The snow quit. Winds died. Morning came after freezing fog. All was frosted. Highlights rolled in with the coming sun. Skating to work on the roads might be the best option in freezing temperatures. Look at this mornings artwork from God’s perspective. life’s deadliest winter storms will end. Only God can make beauty of it.

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The cold snows of life, a prelude to beauty

 

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Our vision is limited. All we can see is snow

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The sun is coming, the son is coming

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We may be frozen solid but God begins to warm our hearts

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Only God can warm our cold hearts and make beauty of life’s winters.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
 Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live. (Psalm 116:1-2)

Gary

Pictures taken this Monday morning after the storm  

 

From The Woods

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I’ve been in the woods and quite absent from the internet. I’m noticeably different (self diagnosis). Seemingly random thoughts tug on my mind while winters crystals defy the sun. The winter sun’s angle allows the snow to direct any radiant heat back into outer space. The sun has gone south for the winter. It’s below freezing.

I wonder about the winter seasons in my life, when the Son seems ineffective in my life. My life’s edges are frosty and cold to those around me. I am indifferent. Maybe I should get closer to the Son??

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A beautiful little pond, frozen in the woods. I’m sorry for all the brush in the way, it just grows up and multiplies. Before you know it the brush gets mighty thick, thorny and impassable in ones soul. Life is like that you know. Sometimes our beauty is hidden or terribly neglected. Cute little sprouts take over one’s life. Sometimes our prayer should be “Lord please brush out my life, I place it in your care”. It may hurt.

leaf and buds emlSomehow, when we think we are just a branch with one ole dried up leaf hanging on in the cold, God brings forth buds. They are there. It may be dormant in the cold but packed with nutrition for lives looking for browse. I’ve watched deer and grouse eat these like candy.  Like the pain of thawing out one’s frozen fingers, Thawing a heart is really tough. I know.

So I let go of the last dried up frozen leaf. Let my trophies go. It hurts.

  I Let the new creation bud. I Let those who may browse. I Let go and face the Son.

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I Face the Sun and the woods glows in it’s light. Every frozen crystal reflects it’s Glory.

I encourage you to let the Son come into your life and take complete control. Even in your seasons of coldest winter you can glow in His radiance. I know. I’m quite different (God’s diagnosis).

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

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I shall meet again with my God in the morning as I do every morning. Winter in one’s soul is just a season. Sometimes in life’s coldest moments God lays his hand on our heart. I know.

Gary

 

I Love You To Debt

I’m an introvert. I may not always act the part but when I see lots of strangers in the big city (for example) I really see a sea of ice. I don’t see “friendly” on faces. It’s a fact, I don’t always like to be around people.

So when I was reading Romans 13 this morning I was nodding my head yes when Paul says to obey authority, pay your taxes and don’t owe anyone anything; I’m good so far. I’m still nodding yes.

Except The continuing debt….. 

(I’m not nodding yes anymore) Romans 13:8 says “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another…”    I looked at this twice and said “What? I’m in debt?”

I’m sorry. I’m stuck on this continuing debt thing. If Love is money, say God’s currency, then I’m in debt and cannot get out. In fact there is a daily debt added and I’m in deep. No matter how much I love, show love, pay love money to my neighbor and fellow mankind I have just entered an alternate reality.

A verse popped into my mind “If anyone be in Christ they are a new creation...and have entered into a new reality” (well my remake of 2nd Corinthians 5:17 and I think I was frowning here).

Read on Gary…“for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law”  In other words the currency of love balances the checkbook in Gods eyes.

It’s dangerous to think outside the book but I have questions and you might have some thoughts.

So if we start every day in debt, say $200 in debt and do nothing does my debt compound? Does a smile count for more than a dollar? Do I really have to be proactive today? Do introverts have a reduced debt? Is the national debt bigger than the love debt?

Look where I just went! Am I already trying to game the system? I think so.

  Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”. John 13:34

Hey this love God and your neighbor stuff, It’s a really big deal in the market place of the eternal. We have the God Breathed book and the Holy Spirit to teach us all things. Let us be entrepreneurs about loving to debt

Gary

Note: This currency is alive but the wanted poster is out and Satan wants it dead.

Another Language

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:29

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

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Don’t worry, We do not have our lights up yet, and will not until December sometime.. I chose last years picture of a grandson communicating without words.

When Christ says “Learn of me”, I often think we who call ourselves “Followers of Jesus” honestly think Christ meant believe the right information and be good people.

I think my grandson in the picture above is going to say “sorry” for something he did. Does anyone here believe he is sorry?

It takes time to learn another language. My second language teacher was really excited when I told her I had a dream in Spanish. She figured The language had finally become me. I didn’t tell her it was more like a nightmare where I didn’t really understand what was being said, and it was all about me…in Spanish.

When we resemble the meek and lowly. When we use our hands, feet, mouth and resources for others that would normally go to taking care of…well us, is that not a part of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices?

I don’t have to go far for an example. Marriage, raising a family, neighbors and the work place all saw the language of Jesus in my mom and dad.

Everyone wants what mom and dad had. It was not so much that they had Jesus. Jesus was just the start. Actually Jesus had them and they put each other first. I have stories too numerous to count of people who wanted what they had. I witnessed radical changed lives from these two salt and light people. Neighbors, friends and strangers were attracted to them. This picture says a lot and that’s who they were.

Dad and Mom 62 years e-mail

Do you want what they had? You need Jesus to have you, and He will teach you His language. It’s different, out of this world, counter intuitive, powerful and most of all so attractive people around you will want what you have when you speak without words Christ’s language. Don’t worry, you get to talk when you earn the right to be heard.

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32

Gary

Sorry, I forgot to mention that there will be trolls, hurtful people and those who hate Christ’s language. It will be worth it though.

please add your helpful comments below.

Shaky Faith

It’s raining said the farmer as he spit into the wind…(An old saying on the farm). Yes, it’s a perception saying.

I took the above picture in the wind on my regular camera settings for still shots. Not very clear is it? In fact I spent part of the afternoon taking high speed pictures and captured some excellent mediocre shots. My subject matter was all over the place, often in the same picture.

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I think they all moved slightly

This brings me to some questions we must all ask ourselves if we claim to be people of faith. “Does the subject of your faith change? When you feel like your faith is on shaky ground is it because your faith is really on your circumstances? recent events? other people? your faith community? The cataclysmic event that just happened in your life?Rocks Cry eml I took a picture of a rock in our yard. It doesn’t move in the wind. Awhile back I wrote on it but that’s another time (The rocks cry out one of my first blogs way back).

Here is the deal. When others see us, watch us and take a look at our faith. what people see is a blurred confusing image if the subject of our faith is not Jesus Christ. He is our Rock and our salvation. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith and put to the side everything that gets in the way Hebrews 12:2 

When Our Faith is all on Jesus, others can still see Jesus through our storm. 

I put together some pictures taken in high winds from this afternoon. They may not be perfect but each one was in a protected niche from most of the wind. God is our shelter, rock, provide, protector,and I could go on…You get the picture. (Click for slide show)

 

I imagine God shelters us in ways we do not even see or understand. Consider a few lines from the old hymn “He hideth My Soul”

A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord
A wonderful Saviour to me
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
Where rivers of pleasure I see
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land
He hideth my life in the depths of his love
And covers me there with his hand (repeat)
 
A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord
He taketh my burden a-way
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved
He giveth me strength as my day 
One more thought: I put my camera on a tripod for getting clear pictures whenever I can. People who watch our lives to see if Jesus is real (and they do) often have enough things shaking their world as it is. Hey, who among us sees clearly? Let’s not present a moving target of faith for shaky people trying to get the picture.
When Our Faith is all on Jesus, others can still see Jesus through their storm. 

Gary

Check out the video of the haven of rest quartet G.W posted in the comments section. “He Hideth My Soul”

Reaching For Good Enough

As a person I’m probably smarter than you may think I am, and, quite a bit less smart than I think I am. I prove the last part of that statement daily and a couple times a year the first part seems proven (to me). OK so I got the first part wrong, moving on…

Take today for example, I refinished an ash table top that we use for a picnic table on the screen porch. The table sits outside all year. Grand kids use that table to play on with toys and sometimes my tools they think are toys. It was really beat up and looked like it was sulking and looking forlorn out there. Here is where I step it up and refinish right? Happy Table right??Black Ash Table eml

I stripped off the old finish, sanded and sanded this table. Sawdust everywhere. I set sanding and finishing records for an old black ash table top. I made it look nice, and it does from a distance. I got the old scars out and put in my own. Argh!..not again! Everywhere. Take a lookBlack Ash Table scars eml

Sander marks from using too course of sandpaper (rookie mistake) and then being in a hurry to put some finish on. Hey, it’s only a picnic table that sits outside so it’s good enough right?

Aren’t you glad God does not treat us this way? Yet some think He does. Do you think Gods version of renewing our minds (Romans 12:2) is to reach for “Good Enough?”

Oh He lets us experience all of life’s poundings and we have the scars to prove it. However, God does not abandon us, give us a rough clean up and only make us look nice from a distance. God goes for the heart of the matter. Clean inside first. Our outside might look tough until the inside is so changed it starts showing through (2 Corinthians 4:16)

God is not finished with us yet so let Him do His work. When he is done, eternity will know it. For now the world will be satisfied with seeing a “Love” construction zone in us.

We should be allowing God to produce in us what the whole world wants. 

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Finally: If God can put a flower garden and the horizon into a dew droplet (see header picture) He can put Love in your heart and a bunch of other good things!  

Gary

PS: My wife says “I like it”  This is why we have a good marriage, but that’s another topic (or is it?)

When The Dust Settles

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My thoughts as we put the urn of Dad’s ashes into the ground a few days ago…

There is nothing worse, absolutely nothing worse than waking up in eternity and finding out you were wrong.

John 14:6 : Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 10:9 I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture.

John 11:25: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.

I don’t know about you but I’m putting all my marbles on the one, the only one who didn’t stay dead.

Please don’t die forever!    

Gary

This is one cool verse

This was a piece of casual conversation with a guy I met recently who claimed to be a christian (I do not know him well but getting there). He is completing rehab treatment and hoping for a job full time soon. Try to get his perspective…and where I fit in??

Me: say, how are you planning on having different habits when you finally move into a place of your own? Him: what do you mean? Me: do you know what the word “trysting” means?  Him: No clue. Me:”Do you have a mentor yet”. Him:”Yes, I think so” (and some fill in on his potential mentor)…

I know, I know. I just kind of dive into peoples lives like this. just read on.

Me: “I hope you get a mentor that can help you read your bible and find a good quiet place to meet with God. He talks to you (mostly through the word) and you talk to him and develop and experience a very close relationship with God. Trysting is a place where two lovers meet. This is in part what it means to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and body. You should have a place you meet with God, just you and God.

Him (excited) : I gotta show you this really cool verse I read yesterday. I told my family all about it and they think I’m nut’s because they are not believers. That’s ok, they are just missing out! (picks up phone, finds it quickly and reads it to me) Jesus said this…

 “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37-38

Him: That’s the coolest verse in the bible. It’s true too!

I walked away with no doubt in my mind that this new believer with tons of life’s baggage had just experienced the same ineffable resurrection power of God in his life that Lazarus did being raised from the dead. He was dead and chained to his drugs and is now experiencing living water in his life and overflowing to those around him. 

Do not let anyone tell you that God is not at work in peoples lives today in miraculous and powerful ways.

Gary

PS: please read G.W.’s post on  ineffable Power. It’s, well, powerful. 

 

Wandering Into Highlight

Notice, be alert and unravel little mysteries. When the sun goes down look for the reds, yellows, purples and other miscellaneous colors wafted on the clouds. Look for the highlights.  When a small child yells out a command on a solemn occasion. What’s with that? When all 7 teenage boys commit their life to follow Jesus because their Sunday school teacher asks them if they would, find out the whole story. Some stories may be told for a life time. Some a short meaningful wisp. No matter what, the sun always sets.

fire Haze sunset
Wild fires hazed the sky, colored and magnified the setting sun view from our front lawn.

16 year old Alexa was getting baptized a couple weeks ago along with 20+ others as a public announcement to follow Jesus. A solemn occasion. A six year old boy yelled out “Alexa, tell me a joke!”  A very funny moment for those who knew little johnny (we will call him) lives in a smart house (can virtual Alexa tell a joke??)

Times are a changing are they not?

 

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A hot summer evening watching colors and rays appear, change and disappear.

I had coffee and an amazing conversation with a friend Sunday afternoon. Somewhere between fishing, family and church stories he mentioned that all seven of his teen boys  in Sunday school class had prayed with him to follow Jesus. I pushed him a little to know how that happened. After his normal disclaimer (it was all God and not me) the story of seven boys studying the scriptures about the basics for the past year. Things like redemption, sanctification and their biblical threads on through the ministry and purpose of Jesus death and resurrection. These boys were ready to pray. What a highlight!

 

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Another Sunset from our yard. Every night is different, every sunset unique

Just a thought:  Life’s truths are like puzzle pieces still in the box. Sometimes I am the six year old just reacting and unaware of what’s going on. Other times I am like my friend helping those around me (maybe too selectively) put some puzzle pieces together and introduce them to Jesus.

   My hope is that on my final sunset, there will be some highlights, even in my wanderings, but highlights non the less.

 Gary