"I hold on to You for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post..." Psalm 63

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankfulness...

I have an endless list of things to be thankful for today...

*my children
*my family
*my friends
*my home
*food at each meal
*a tank full of fuel oil
*clothes in my closet
*a healthy family
*a car that runs
*peace
*joy

And so much more...
I woke with a heart of gratitude today.  My family will be gathering at my sister's house in just a few hours.  The feasting preparations began two days ago...


my eldest nephew, Justin, will be preparing our whole meal!  It's always a treat to eat what his hands have prepared!  He is most excellent in his musical talent, and his cooking skills are pretty close to the same!  (makes Great Grandma's jello salad that I'm bringing pale in comparison!)  We've not had alot of time together in these last few months, so we're looking forward to gathering together
today to eat, play, and laugh!





Blessings upon each of you and your households as you gather to celebrate thankful lives.  In this time of difficult economy, job loss and other hardships may you have hearts that seek after the only One who brings joy midst the trouble.  Even when life looks bleak, there is SO much that each of us has to give thanks for.

"Give THANKS to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever....
Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story...
Let them give THANKS to the Lord for His unfailing love
and His wonderful deeds for mankind...."
Psalm 107

Friday, November 20, 2009

The crossroad




Ever felt like this???!!! 
I WANT to move forward...am willing to...but how do I move if there is no clear direction?  Most days I just patiently wait...not like there's much choice. I'm waiting, might as well be patient.  But today I woke up with this sense of unrest...an urgency to move forward.  But this sign is a picture of the direction I'm getting....still. 

"If you hold on to me for dear life," says God.  "I'll get you out of any trouble.  I'll give you
the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me.  Call me and I'll answer, be at
your side in bad times; I'll rescue you then throw you a party!"
Psalm 91:14,15 (The Message)

...still holding on for dear life....


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Freedom...

I'm about to head to bed..say goodbye to another weekend.  A great weekend, actually.  Though busy with a youth conference Friday and Saturday, it was highlighted with a visit from the college boy....always a welcomed addition to our house. 

The other two kids attended a "Pure Freedom" conference with the youth group....I was not sure what to expect, but was totally impressed by the speakers as well as the content of the weekend.  I highly recommend both the books and the conferences that "Pure Freedom" offers teens.  The theme of purity, modesty, and living a life that is intentionally God-centered hit a mark with so many of these kids. 

I guess it hit a mark with me, too...in a different way.  I've spoken with so many hurting youth lately.  Some who struggle so heavily with sexual tempation from boy/girlfriends- some who have given in.  Some who just buy into the lies of the world around them.  My heart was so heavy throughout the weekend as faces of some of these dear students that are struggling kept imbedding themselves in my mind.  I ache for them to understand how important it is to protect the gift of self respect and honor.  I ache because some of them have no idea the fire they are playing with...the cycle of rejection and pain they are spinning in their lives.  I ache for the years it may take them to forgive themselves, forgive others or move past the pain of disappointment.

The reoccuring theme of the weekend was freedom.  Freedom from lies, freedom from addictions, freedom from pain...freedom from everything the enemy sets against us.  Freedom found only at the feet of Jesus...found only when we finally give up the grip we have on our lives and surrender them to Him.  I was impressed by the students who boldly shared the freedom they were choosing this weekend.  Saw HOPE in the eyes of many.

There is a generation of revolutionaries among us....they are bursting with unrealized potential.  Oh, if they would only shift their eyes off the "what if's", the "I'm nots", the "so whats"....if they would only rise up and refuse to accept the lies the enemy deviantly throws at them....then they would see that they are valuable...worthwhile...precious in God's sight.  If they would turn their eyes to God's ways and intentionally follow them, that unrealized potential could change the world around them.  It could change youth groups, it could change schools, it could change workplaces and families. 

If they stop believing the lies that the world insists they conform to and really work to understand who God is and the obedience He lovingly requires of them for their good...what freedom and contentment!  If they could understand that God's grace is bigger than any situation they've involved themself in and accept it...they'd realize that sin does not own them, they can walk the other way.  They CAN be free!

This is my prayer for those faces that repeatedly flash before me.  That they look back one day, having found freedom and redemption, and vow never to walk that way again because this Grace can only be attributed to the HUGE hand of  the God of the Universe who rejoices over them with singing....

May it be soon, but let it be complete.


Photo by Amber

"That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don't give it the time of day. Don't even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you've been raised from the dead!—into God's way of doing things. Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer.
You're living in the freedom of God."
Romans 6:12

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Streams in the desert...

Years ago my mom gifted me with a book called "Streams in the Desert" by Mrs. Charles E Cowman.  She gave it to me at a time when I craved encouragement and peace...and I devoured the book every morning for several years.  It's a devotional book, put together with scripture and great quotes that Mrs. Cowman gathered in the early 1920s.  There's something about the old English it's written in that I just enjoy (which would TOTALLY shock Mr. Ide and Mr. Little, my high school English teachers...I don't necessarily care for it as a habit, but in this book, yes!) so occasionally I get it out and start it over again.  And, usually it speaks right to whatever it is I am currently dealing with.
Here's what I read this morning:

"He commonly brings His help in our greatest extremity, that His finger may plainly appear in our deliverance.  And this method He chooses that we may not trust upon anything that we see or feel, as we are always apt to do, but only upon His bare Word, which we
 may depend upon in every state." 
C.H. Von Bogatzky

"Remember it is the very time for faith to work when sight ceases.  The greater the difficulties,
the easier for faith; as long as there remain certain natural prospects, faith does not
get on even as easily as where natural prospects fail."
George Mueller


"It is the very time for faith to work when sight ceases"




Although I eagerly await some clear answers, I rest here knowing that the way will not be hidden forever...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Christmas Open House...

The last few weeks have been a little busy around here while I've gotten ready for
"The Cottonwood House at Home" Christmas Show.  My friend Verna is opening up her home and barn starting today until Sunday for a huge Christmas Sale.  There are 10 other women coming together to combine alot of GREAT items:  everything from home furnishings, Christmas decor, Boutique items, kitchen accessories and MORE.  Even though it's only the beginning of November, it feels like Christmas at Verna's this week!  I was shocked to see how her home has been transformed into a beautiful store!  I highly recommend making the trip to Cochranville this weekend if you're looking for something to do.  It's a great place to get a jumpstart on your Christmas list!
(* The address is 3480 Homeville Road, Cochranville, PA)
Open:
Thurs - Fri 4-8pm
Sat 10-5pm
Sun 1-5pm


This is what my house has looked like for the last few weeks...

glitter everywhere...

lots of projects...


Hats...


jewelry


MORE jewelry...

Now that everything is set up at Verna's, my house is back to normal...most of my weekend will be spent at the Open House, so hopefully it stays that way!

 It's been good to feel creative again...as much as I've enjoyed some time off these last few months, it's been nice to get my feet back in it a little again.  There are still many unknowns for the shop...for me.  But, the Lord has graciously continued to provide as He has me waiting for answers and directions.  And...I shouldn't be surprised, because He always does.  His faithfulness doesn't change...HE is STILL who HE has ALWAYS been.  In charge.  All knowing.  Totally in control.

"God is predictable in His character, but He is completely unpredictable in His activity." 

CAN I HEAR AN AMEN!?!
I have never been able to predict what comes next for me.  Never been able to take one step in front of Him and anticipate His next big move.  He, thankfully, keeps me a step behind Him...to follow Him instead of lead Him.  No doubt I would have lead Him to some pretty unpleasant places in a vain attempt to satisfy my own selfish desires.  While I often have resented not being allowed to have things my way...in retrospect, I'd rather be tied to a post than be left to my own guidance.  Thankfully, such measures are not required for obedience.  But, I think I've learned that if it took a yard of rope to tie me to obedience, I'd do it....I think I'd do it just because I'd rather obey God than live with the consequences of having my own way.  My way scares the pants off of me...I don't ever want to be free of the desire to abandon myself to obedience.  The way is awful quiet and lonely somedays....but there's no fear.  I'm not looking over my shoulder wondering if I'll get caught.  I'm doing the only thing I CAN do right now. 
Standing still and shutting up.
(Granted, sometimes I have to clamp my hand over my mouth and duct tape it there...
but my job is to shuttie-uppie until God says "get out of jail and PASS GO".)

"Cease striving and know that I AM GOD."
Psalm 46:10




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