Sunday, May 22, 2022

Sunday Scripture

 I'm continuing to share from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I worked on back in 2015.  With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  As you will see, I went a bit more in-depth with this study. 

The first section was Made for Community with God.  Here goes with the Scripture for the third day of that section.

S= "[That ye] may be able to comprehend, with all saints,  what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height,
"And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God."   (Ephesians 3:19-20)

O=   These verses are part of a prayer by Paul for those to whom he is writing -- "to the saints who are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus."  Here in these two verses he prays that they may be able to comprehend what is the breadth, length, depth, and height of God's love.  And he prays that they will know the love of Christ -- which passes knowledge -- that they might be filled with all the goodness of God.   

For the phrase "able to comprehend", a suggestion is given to compare Ephesians 1:18 with verse 19.  

"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.:  (Ephesians 1:18)

I think, truly, for the eyes of our understanding to be opened and for us to be able to comprehend spiritual truth -- that is what the Holy Spirit does for us as we yield ourselves to Him. 

Paul's prayer is that all saints will be able to comprehend these things. C.I. Scofield points out that a saint "is not a sinless person but a saved sinner.  It is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that a sinner becomes a saint."

This comprehension of the breadth, length, depth, and height of Christ's love will only happen as we are aided by the Holy Spirit.  It's certainly more than my finite mind can take in.  

A cross-reference of 2 Timothy 2:7 is given: "Consider what I say, and the Lord give thee understanding in all things."

Some cross-references for "love of Christ" in verse 19 include the following:

Ephesians 3:17 -- "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love..."

Ephesians 4:2 -- "With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love."

Ephesians 4:15 -- "But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things ..."

John 13:34 -- "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."

A= Paul's "prayer for all saints" is a prayer for me -- since, as a saved sinner, I am a saint.  So his prayer is that I may be able to comprehend, or understand, the breadth, length, depth, and height of God's love.  Whenever I read Ephesians 3:19-20, I am reminded of the hymn The Love of God.  I don't have a copy of the words nearby,  but part of the hymn goes something like this: 

"Could we with ink the oceans fill, and were the skies of parchment made; were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade; To write the love of God above would drain the oceans dry.  Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky."

A beautifully poetic way of saying that God's measureless love defies description!  

The only way I can even begin to comprehend God's love is with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

William MacDonald explains that being filled with the fullness of God means that the more Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, the more we are filled with all the fullness of God.  He writes: "We could never be filled with all the fullness of God, but it is a goal toward which we move ... We must say there are depths of meaning here we have not reached. As we handle the Scriptures, we are aware that we are dealing with truths that are greater than our ability to understand or explain ... we can only stand in awe at God's Word and marvel at its infinity."  Amen!

P=  "Lord, I thank You today once again for Your Word and for what a blessing it is to Your people.  (If only more of us would actually read it!)  I thank You today for all that Your Word teaches about Your unfathomable love.  I praise You for Your Holy Spirit, who helps us to comprehend the truths about You.  I praise and thank You for loving me, and I pray that You will help me to share Your love with others.  I thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

 And there's our "Made for Community" study for this week.  I hope it's a blessing to someone today!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Spring delights

 

I'll freely admit that spring is not my favorite season.  March is still winter up here in our part of New Hampshire, while April is ugly, to put it nicely.  So much mud!   May is when things begin to green up and blossom.

The deer at the top of the post was enjoying some of that fresh greenery,  nibbling ferns in the woods outside my kitchen window.  There were actually two deer, but the second wasn't close enough for us to get a picture.

We have spent much of this month helping out at The Wilds of New England, so some of these photos are from there.  Love the one soft pink tulip along with the yellow ones!


These beautiful tulips are also at The Wilds of New England.

The primroses above are at our home  and were a Mother's Day gift from friends last year.  I was thrilled that these plants survived the winter!

The video below was taken looking out of a living room window at our little cottage  around 6 a.m. last Friday.  The birdsong is truly amazing!

Last week I posted a photo of the beautiful marsh marigolds at TWNE.  I also took a little video.  Just listen to the brook!


Of course the first visit to an ice cream place each spring is very special.  We visited one on Friday but ate in the car because the picnic tables were all in the sun.  They made a mistake  on my hubby's order and gave him a waffle cone instead of the waffle bowl he had asked for.  They realized their mistake and gave him both, telling him it was his lucky day! 😀

And there are just a few of the delights of spring in New Hampshire.  Hope you have enjoyed this photo tour of them!

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sunday Scripture

 

Again this week I'm sharing from my study of the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I worked on in 2015.   With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  As you will see, I really went in-depth with this study. 

The first section was Made for Community with God.  Here goes with the verse for the second day of that section.

S= "I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.

"Jesus answered, and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words, and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him."  (John 14:18, 23) 

O=  Jesus was talking with the eleven (Judas having already left) just prior to going to the cross.  He was offering them comfort and some wonderful promises, though it's not clear how much they grasped at this point of what was to happen.  He said that He would not leave them comfortless -- literally, "orphans" -- but that He would come to them.  

He also told them that if a person loves Him, they will keep His words.  Several cross-references are given here:

"If ye love Me, keep My commandments."  (John 14:15)

"He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me."  (John 14:21)

C.I. Scofield comments, "Observe that the Lord correlates love for Him with obedience to Him.  To love Christ means to care enough about Him to keep His commandments.  But we cannot keep His commandments unless we search the Scriptures to find out what they are."

Jesus goes on to say in verse 23 that "My Father will love him [the one who keeps His words], and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him."

Believer's Bible Commentary points out, "If a person truly loves the Lord, he will want to keep all of His teachings, not just isolated commandments.  The Father loves those who are willing to obey His Son without questions or reservations.  Both Father and Son are especially dear to such loving and obedient hearts."

A= We have never seen Jesus in the flesh, or audibly heard the sound of His voice, as the eleven did.  Yet the same promise is ours: He will not leave us comfortless and He has not, for we have the Comforter (the Holy Spirit).  We also know that Jesus will come again.

If we love Jesus, we will want to keep His words.  We will want to live in obedience to His commands.  An acquaintance of mine, a professing believer,  has often told me, "I love the Lord!".  I have no doubt that she does love Him in a limited way.  But she does not obey His Word, does not in fact even know what it says because she doesn't read it.  Based on her actions, which speak louder than her words, I must draw the conclusion that her love for the Lord does not run very deep.

Yet I must admit that I too have areas in my life where I am not as obedient to God's Word as I might be.  I need to stop and think: how much do I really love the Lord?  If I truly love Him, I will pay attention to His Word and seek to live in obedience to it.

P= "Lord, I thank and praise You once again for the clarity of Your Word.  I am thankful for the comforting presence of Your Holy Spirit.  I praise You for the promise that You will come again.

"And Lord, I thank You for the clear teaching that if we love You, we will keep Your words.  Help me to assess my own love for You in light of my obedience to You.  Help me also, at some time, to be able to share this passage and its teaching with others, especially those like my acquaintance who are so emotional about their love for You.  I thank You for how You will work, in Jesus' name, Amen."

That's our study for this week!  I hope that it was a blessing to you!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Consistently late

 

 Again this week, I'm late writing a Hodgepodge post and linking up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond.   However I feel compelled to try.  Here goes!

1. What do you never get tired of? 

Seeing grandkids, spending time at our cottage, helping out at a Christian camp.

Our little cottage in the woods

2. My mother made the best ________________________________. 

Cinnamon swirl bread, maple fudge, and brownies. 

 

3. What machine or appliance in your home aggravates you the most? Why? 

Over the years it's mostly been the vacuum cleaner.   I have been so aggravated by "power  heads" that become disabled by one strand of hair.  However I must say that our current vacuum cleaners are working just fine.  At the moment, it's the dryer that is giving me fits.  My hubby just did a lot of work on it,  and it seemed to be working fine but it's now becoming pretty variable in how it actually dries the laundry.  First world problems.

4. What are three things that brighten up your day when they happen? 

Seeing the grandkids, getting a snail mail letter or card from friends or family, finding time to do needlework.  Hard to believe I once had time to make the embroidered tea towels in the photos below!  That was during a busy season of life, too, but this one feels busier.  Or maybe it's just that I'm older and have a tad less energy these days.


5. Thursday (May 12) is National Limerick Day...write a limerick about relating to spring weather, spring blooms, or a spring event (five lines, the first two lines rhyme with the fifth line, the third and fourth lines rhyme together)

Spring in New Hampshire is springing,
The birds are all cheerfully singing.
Spring blossoms bloom bright,
But our joyous delight
Is tempered by blackflies now stinging.

Seems to me the annual blackfly invasion surely qualifies as a spring event.

Lilacs are not quite here yet.  But they will be.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Helping out around The Wilds of New England this week, I took a bag of trash to the dumpster and impulsively decided to use the sliding door on the side of it rather than lifting the lid from the front.  This positioned me to see something I wouldn't have ever seen from in front of the dumpster: a gorgeous clump of marsh marigolds growing in a sparkling little brook.  I love how God is in every detail of life and He seems to delight in reminding us of that!

And that wraps up the Hodgepodge for this week!  Why not head on over to From This Side of the Pond and snag the questions to answer on your own blog? 

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Sunday Scripture

 

 I can't seem to give up writing Sunday Scripture posts, so I went looking through some of my older studies to see what I might share.  I found this Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I completed, I think, back in 2015.  My Nevada daughter and I were talking a bit about community yesterday -- and I have been seeing it played out in our volunteer work and also in our church -- so this seems like a great fit for me to share with you all.  With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  As you will see, I really went in-depth with this study. 

The first section was Made for Community with God.  Here goes with the verse for the first day of that section.

S= "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
"That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."  (Ephesians 2:6-7)

O=  We need to look back to the preceding verses to get the full context of verses 6-7.  Verses 1-3 talk about what we were prior to salvation. 
Verse 3 turns a corner.  "But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath made us alive together with Christ."  We are saved by God's amazing grace!  Then verse 6 continues with what God is doing, and verse 7 with what He will do.  

Scofield explains that "in heavenly places" literally means "in the heavenlies" and "signifies that which is heavenly in contradistinction to that which is earthly."  He adds that "the heavenlies" may be defined as "the sphere of the Christian's experience as identified with Christ in nature, life, relationships, service, suffering, inheritance, and future glory in the kingdom.  The Christian is a heavenly man [or woman], and a stranger or pilgrim on the earth."

For the phrase "riches of His grace", Scofield gives a cross-reference of Psalm 103:8-11 --

"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
"He will not always chide; neither will He keep His anger forever.
"He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
"For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him."

Dr. H.A. Ironside points out that "the ages to come is "the Greek expression for eternity.  It consists of untold millions of ages running on forevermore.  Through all the ages to come God is going to exhibit the exceeding riches of His grace."

And Ironside goes on: "Some of these days I am going to have a part in a great exhibition, when from the ends of the earth there will be gathered together all the redeemed of the Lord.  Then God will demonstrate to all created intelligence how it has been the delight of His heart to show great grace to great sinners.  That is our future -- a future that does not depend on our faithfulness but on His, who saved us by grace in order that we might show His glories forevermore."

A= This is an encouragement to me today as I consider the Christian's past, present, and future.  Like all believers, I was once "far from God, and dead in sins", as the hymnwriter has put it.  But now, because of God's great love, rich mercy, and amazing grace, my citizenship is in heaven.  I am a stranger and pilgrim in this world, just passing through.  In the ages to come I will, along with all other believers, spend eternity praising Him and will be part of His "exhibition", showing how through time He has delighted in showing great grace to great sinners.

P= "Lord, how thankful I am for all for all that You have done in my life!  I'm so thankful that You drew me to You with Your lovingkindness.  If not for Your amazing mercy and grace, I would still be dead in trespasses and sins.  Instead, I am part of Your redeemed family, a citizen of heaven even as I sojourn as a "stranger and pilgrim", an exile really, on this earth.  And so much to look forward to -- praising You for eternity!  

"Yet I must honestly admit that some days have been incredibly sad and difficult.  I have thought today how I would never have dreamed how my life would turn out.  It has had more heartache, more sadness, more time out of comfort zones, than I ever imagined.  Yet I must praise You that it has also been far more glorious and spiritually blessed, far more spiritually prosperous, than I would ever have imagined.  I praise You for all that You have brought me through, for all that You will continue to do, and for the glorious future that awaits, in Jesus' name, Amen."

And there's the first installment in my study of "Made for Community."  I hope it's a blessing to someone today!

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Maybe, a hodgepodge

 


Yes, it's just possible I may fit in time for a Hodgepodge post and link up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond.   May and motherhood are the topics this week.  Here goes!

1. May Day! May Day!...last time you shouted for help? Or maybe just asked? 

I asked my husband to make some sandwiches last night for supper, as we had just returned home from several days working out of town and I had an important document to complete and email before leaving for church.   That was the most recent (and very undramatic) call for help!

2. What's something you may do this month? 

I may find a day when my walking partner and I can get back to walking on a weekday morning.  Rain, and work and other commitments on both our parts made our walks quite sporadic in April.  So far May hasn't worked out either.

Bloodroot ... the earliest blooms in the wildflower garden

3.  'April showers bring May flowers'...is this true where you live? What's blooming? What's your favorite springtime blossom?

Actually, the first day of May was gorgeous but the rest have been showery -- more like April.  Daffodils, forsythia, dandelions, bloodroot -- that's all I see blooming around our yard,  Further south,  where we have been helping out at a camp, there are tulips, some azaleas, violets, hyacinths, and possibly more in addition to the others I mentioned.  My favorite springtime blossom?  Good question.  Maybe violets.

4. What's something you learned at your mother's knee?

The importance of keeping my room clean.   I'm glad she can't see my bedroom today ... one dresser is stuffed full of vintage paper goods I'm working at selling, and two huge covered boxes of kids' books stand nearby, ready to list and sell.  Ironically, they all came from her house!

The book below is illustrated by the inimitable Marjorie Cooper, who also illustrated many, many delightful greeting cards back in the day.

5. Share a thought about motherhood. 

Once a mother, always a mother.   I find my motherly instincts are still there whether the "children" in question are my grandkids or younger friends.  Below is a scan of a fun Mother's Day card I received from one of my daughters many years ago.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

 After several weeks with no Etsy sales at all,  I forgot to put my shop on vacation for the few days we were away this week.  When I got back, there were two nice orders.  Got those out this morning.  Below is one of the cards that sold.

And that wraps up the Hodgepodge for this week!  Why not head on over to From This Side of the Pond and snag the questions to answer on your own blog? 

Monday, May 02, 2022

Some goals for May

 

Yes, unbelievable as it seems, somehow it's May!  April was packed with activity, and already the calendar for May is filling up.  Here are a few goals for the month:

* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week if possible
* Set some yearly goals for 2022
* Continue reading through the New Testament
* Post in this blog several times per week
* Post in my Christmas blog as often as possible
*  Prepare for and host a monthly ladies' Bible study
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones
* Celebrate a couple of family birthdays
* Craft some homemade Christmas gifts and decorations
* Spend a little time on some UFO craft projects
* Continue stocking my Etsy shop and continue selling vintage items
* Spend some time on my trust responsibilities
* Spend some time volunteering at a Christian camp
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating
* Make regular visits to my mother-in-law in the nursing home

 * Get together with friends on Memorial Day

* Possibly plan a getaway with my hubby

* Plan for and help with a ladies' brunch at our church 

* Memorize several Bible verses and review some older ones
* Get back into our study of the book of Daniel with younger believers
* Continue to help a widowed friend with the challenges of life in general
* Drink enough water each day
* Walk and/or exercise at least 4 times each week

HEALTHY HABITS FOR MAY:  Drink more water/get more sleep/get more exercise/limit sugar

 And there some goals for May!  We will see how I do.  

What about you?  Do you have any specific goals for this month?