Monday, October 03, 2022

Some wonderful ways to seek God in this season


 I'm *this* close to trying to write a post for every day in October, as a number of bloggers do.  Why would I attempt this during such a busy month?  The only possible reason is that I already have written posts for October 1 and 2.  Of course I'll be scheduling a Scripture post every Sunday.  And then, lots of plans for getaways and special times with friends means I'd have plenty to write about.  And also, October is so photogenic!

I spotted the above fall graphic from The Daily Grace Co. on Instagram and thought it could make the perfect springboard for a post.  These are all wonderful ways we can seek God this fall.  

* Spending time in His creation.  This happens so naturally in the fall.  The cool crisp air, the blue sky and colorful leaves just draw us out of doors.  Ideally I would spend time outside every day.  Some days are even warm enough to eat lunch outside!  (But not today.  It's chilly!)  Hiking, picking apples, going for a walk, even just leaf peeping and taking photos to preserve the beauty for later.  Anything that gets us out into God's creation is a plus and a great encouragement as it reminds us of His power and omniscience.

* Being present with my loved ones.  It was such a joy to have our Nevada daughter and family here for the first ten days of September.  (That's Joanna beow, holding Rosemary, her youngest, on the night they arrived at our camp.)  I'm also trying to soak up every minute with local grandchildren, especially those times when they show up at our little cottage.

* Taking time to truly rest.  Both my hubby and I got quite tired during the family's visit.  We have been on the go quite a lot since they left, too.  We are learning to go to bed early when we need to, or to take a half-hour nap.  We do have three days scheduled at a quiet place up north later this month, during which time we hope to get some good rest.  

* Finding joy and gratitude in mundane tasks.  I am learning to do this on a regular basis, more than I ever have.  I'm so thankful that God has given me a home to keep, and that alone should make it a joy.  It's a blessing as well to have homekeeping tasks to do at our little cottage.  

* Exploring new ways to be creative.  Life is so busy that I can't always be creative in the traditional ways I love.  Exploring new ways to be creative can indeed be a way in which to seek the Lord. One way I have been enjoying is creating Scripture graphics to use with my Sunday posts.   I will be interested to see what further creative opportunities He brings my way!

There are five wonderful ways to seek the Lord this fall.  Why not plan on doing one or all of these?

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Sunday Scripture

 

Again this Sunday, I'm sharing 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.  The fifth section is Living in Community with the Local Church.  So here we go with the Scripture for the fourth day of that section. Again this lesson, I took a deeper-than-usual dive into the Observation component of the study -- and the Application as well, since there is so much to apply.

S=  "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, And to esteem them very highly in love for their works' sake.  And be at peace among yourselves."  (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)

O=  In the Scofield Study Bible, C.I. Scofield notes that the theme of Paul's epistle to the Thessalonians is fourfold.  Today's verses fit with two of the four points: 1) to confirm the young converts in Thessalonica in the foundational truths already taught them; 2) to exhort them to a life of personal holiness pleasing to the Lord.

Here in verse 12 Paul beseeches the brethren to know those:

* Who labor among them
* Who are over them in the Lord
* Who admonish them.

A cross-reference for "them who labor among you" is Hebrews 13:7, 17 -- "Remember them who have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their manner of life ... Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you."

These verses shed a good bit more light concerning those who labor among us.  Verse 13 gives further instruction on how these spiritual leaders are to be treated.  They are to be esteemed very highly in love for their work's sake.  A cross-reference for "love" is 2 Thessalonians 1:3 -- "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith groweth exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth."

In addition, Paul exhorts the believers to be at peace among themselves (verse 13).  Believer's Bible Commentary notes that this last phrase "is not accidental insertion.  The #1 problem among Christians everywhere is the problem of getting along with each other.  Every believer has enough of the flesh in him to divide and wreck any local church.  Only as empowered by His Spirit can we develop the love, brokenness, forbearance, kindness, tender-heartedness, and forgiveness that are indispensable for peace."

Dr. H.A. Ironside wrote, "It is so easy to allow little things to set one Christian against another, and thus bring in strife and a spirit of quarrelsomeness among God's people.  When we realize that anything like this is in our hearts, we should take it immediately to the Lord in humiliation and self-judgment, and seek grace not to say or do anything that is likely to cause contention among God's children."

I also liked what Ironside wrote about esteeming God's servants highly in love for their work's sake: "It is not a question of simply approving their personality, but ... that God has entrusted to them the ministry of teaching, preaching, and exhorting the saints."

A= Lots to apply here!  I need to know those who are over me in the Lord, who labor among us in the local church, and who admonish us.  In addition, I'm to esteem these leaders very highly in love for their work's sake.  Not because I personally like or admire them, but for their work's sake -- because God has entrusted them with this ministry of teaching, preaching, and exhortation.  Part of esteeming them in love is praying for them.

On first reading, I thought it a bit odd that "And be at peace among yourselves" was tucked in at the end of verse 13.  It only took a moment's thought, however, to realize that Paul had very deliberately put it there.  Those who have the proper attitude toward their spiritual leaders will pay attention to promoting peace among the members of their local churches.

P= "Lord, there is so much to consider in these verses!  I pray that You will help me to take time to know those who are over me in the Lord, who are laboring among us in the church and seeking to exhort us.  I pray that You will help me to esteem them highly in love for their work's sake, and to pray for them faithfully.  

"I pray also that You will help me to promote peace among the members of our local church, and I praise You for the unity we have as a merged church.  It's a blessing to see all that You have done in bringing us together.  I praise You in Jesus' name, Amen."

There is this week's rather lengthy study.  I hope it was a blessing to someone today!


Saturday, October 01, 2022

Goals for a busy October

 


 This morning I turned the calendar to October, and it's astonishing how full the calendar squares already are.  Busy with work, busy with friends and even time to ourselves -- we're looking forward to a glorious October!  Here are some of my goals:

* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week
* Enjoy several meet-ups with friends from out of state
* Spend most of one week helping with a work project at The Wilds of New England
* Finish reading through the New Testament
* Post in this blog several times per week
* Post in my Christmas blog as often as possible
* Attend a couples' retreat at The Wilds of New England
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones
* Craft some homemade Christmas gifts and decorations
* Do some sewing projects ( a few more sachets to stave off musty odors, plus maybe curtains) for the cottage
* 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
* Enjoy a 3-day getaway up north
* 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
* Memorize several Bible verses and review some older ones
* Get back into our study of the book of Daniel with younger believers
* Finish up teaching a ladies Sunday School class
* 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 OCTOBER:  Drink more water/get more sleep/get more exercise/limit sugar

There you have it!  Is your October calendar filling up like ours is?

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Misty morning on a mountaintop

 

My hubby and I decided we would like to celebrate our anniversary with a little trip to the top of Cannon Mountain via the tram.  It's free midweek for seniors, so we made a reservation and took full advantage.

It was raining as we traveled through Franconia Notch (the weather was fine at home, but the Notch seems to be its own ecosystem) and was overcast and misty at the tramway, even more so at the top.  Still, we hiked around the Rim Trail when we got there.


As you can see, the visibility was very limited.  There should be distant mountains and great views beyond those twisted trees.



Still, we enjoyed our hike and found some of the moss on the trees to be very interesting.  It lent a bit of an enchanted forest look which we enjoyed. 

 
After our hike we were ready for some nice hot coffee and some pastries to share.  That cinnamon roll was as amazing as it looks.  The plate it is on is pretty much a full size paper plate.  The muffin was cranberry nut and it was also delicious.

 


We'll plan to take advantage of the free senior tram trips again soon.  Maybe on a pretty fall day.  But today was beautiful in its own way!


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Sunday Scripture

 


Again this Sunday, I'm sharing 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.  The fifth section is Living in Community with the Local Church.  So here we go with the Scripture for the third day of that section. Again this lesson, I took a rather deep dive into the Observation component of the study.

S= "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith,
"Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching;
"Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with liberality; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness." (Romans 12:6-8)

O= This section (12:3-8) of the letter to the Romans is titled by C.I. Scofield: "Service through gifts of the Spirit".  Scofield comments that the epistle to the Romans "is rightly placed first among the epistles, because it is the most complete exposition in the New Testament of the central truths of Christianity."

He adds that the epistle closes "by laying upon all Christians the obligation of the recipients of the 'mercies of God' (12:1) to live lives of consecrated service." 

Today's verses are part of a section titled by Scofield: "Christian Life and Service for the Glory of God."  Verses 6-8 note that as members of Christ's body, we have been given differing gifts, for use within the body.  Some examples of spiritual gifts, and how they are to be used, follow:

* Prophecy -- let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.
* Ministry -- let us wait on our ministering.
* Teaching -- let us wait on our teaching.
* Exhortation -- let us wait on our exhorting of others.
* Giving -- to be done with liberality.
* Ruling -- to be done with diligence.
* Showing mercy -- to be done with cheerfulness.

A cross-reference for "given to us" in verse 6 is John 3:27 -- "John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."

    Warren Wiersbe sheds some great light on this passage in his book Be Right: "Each believer has a gift (or gifts) to be used for the building up of the Body and the perfecting of the other members of the Body.  In short, we belong to each other, we minister to each other, and we need each other.  

"Each believer has a different gift, and God has bestowed these gifts so the local body can grow in a balanced way.  But each Christian must exercise his or her gift by faith.  We may not see the result of our ministry, but the Lord sees it and He blesses.  Note that 'exhortation' (encouragement) is just as much a spiritual ministry as preaching or teaching.  Giving and showing mercy are also important gifts.  To some people, God has given the ability to rule, or administer the various functions of the church.  Whatever gift we have must be dedicated to God, and used for the good of the whole church."

William MacDonald comments in Believer's Bible Commentary:  "God gives the necessary strength or ability to use whatever gifts we have.  So we are responsible to use these God-given abilities as good stewards ... Whatever our gift is, we should give ourselves to it wholeheartedly."

A= God has given me, and every believer, gifts to be used in our local churches and in the body of Christ in general.  He expects me to identify my gifts, to nurture them and use them.  I think that when it says we are to "wait on" some of these things, it means to exercise these gifts in faith, as Wiersbe says, realizing that we may not see the results, but God does.

I also found that reading these verses in the ESV helped with my understanding of them:

"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, so let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness."

For example, though it sounds so simple, if we serve, we are to use the spiritual gifts given to us as we serve others.  I personally believe that every believer may have the gift of serving, and that is why I chose it as my example.  Let's do as William MacDonald exhorts and give ourselves wholeheartedly to our gifts!

P= "Lord, I am so thankful for the spiritual gifts You've blessed me with.  I understand that you don't intend me to hide those gifts or to use them selfishly.  You intend them for the good of the body of Christ and for the good of my local church in particular.  I pray that You will help me to faithfully exercise these gifts You have so generously given me, and that You will help me as I seek to encourage others to recognize, develop, and use their own spiritual gifts.  I thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

And that's this week's Sunday Scripture!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Stream of consciousness hodgepodge

 


 Wednesday again, and time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  This week's questions are all over the place -- though they do sort of follow a stream of consciousness -- so they should be fun to answer.  Here goes!

1. Volume 478. Sounds like a lot. Where were you in 1978? If you weren't born where were you in 2008?

I spent three-quarters of 1978 pregnant, as my youngest daughter was born in late December that year.   Below is a photo from Christmas 1978.  We had just come in from celebrating Christmas at my parents' home.  The munchkin in my arms is 20 months old.  Her little sister was born 2 days later.

2. Raise your hand if you remember records playing at a speed of 78 rpm? What's a topic that when it comes up you 'sound like a broken record'? 

I do remember 78 rpm records and in fact recently handled quite a few of them when cleaning out my childhood home.   The fun advertisement for record players (below) is another find from the same place.

 Some may say I sound like a broken record on the subject of spiritual growth for believers.  So important.

3. What's the last thing you recorded in some way? 

I wanted to get a photo of the way the flagpole area at The Wilds of New England is decorated for fall, with hay bales, pumpkins and mums.   It was windy that day (last Thursday) so I opted to take a little video instead.  The wind was really whipping the flag around and I felt that a photo would've come out too blurry.


4. Thursday is the first day of fall (in the northern hemisphere). How do you feel about the changing seasons? Something you're looking forward to this fall? 

I love the changing seasons.   They are always such a good reminder to me of God's faithfulness.  Genesis 8:22 tells us, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."

And fall is my absolute favorite season. 

One thing I look forward to every fall is the couples' retreat at The Wilds of New England.  This fall I am also looking forward to three days up north at our favorite lake.

5. In what way (or ways) are you like the apple that didn't 'fall far from the tree'? 

I ended up living only a couple of miles from where I grew up. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Every year I love to scan some of the autumn leaves I find.   The one below had landed on one of our front steps and I found it when we were en route to somewhere, last week.  I loved the variety of colors in it.

And there is this week's hodgepodge!


Sunday, September 18, 2022

Sunday Scripture

 

Again this Sunday, I'm sharing 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.  The fifth section is Living in Community with the Local Church.  So here we go with the Scripture for the second day of that section.  I took a bit of a deeper dive into this one, as you will see.

S= "And the multitude of those that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that any of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common." (Acts 4:32)

O= In the Scofield Study Bible, C.I. Scofield titles this section "Voluntary sharing among believers at Jerusalem."  There are several cross-references here.  "Those that believed" describes the true church.  A cross-reference is Acts 5:14 -- "And believers were the more added to the Lord; multitudes both of men and women."  The same cross-reference is given for "believed".

For the phrase "one heart and one soul", Scofield gives a cross-reference of John 17:21, where Jesus had prayed, "That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that Thou has sent Me."

Our passage tells us that the believers at Jerusalem:

• were of one heart
• were of one soul
• didn't consider their personal possessions their own
• had all things common.

Scofield writes concerning this: "The experience of the Christians of the Jerusalem church in sharing their possessions is not to be taken as normative for all Christian churches or communities.  Their voluntary sharing of possessions in the time of persecution is a beautiful evidence of the oneness of the believers.  However, it should be observed that this communal sharing was 1) voluntary; 2) in a time of persecution; 3) evidently restricted to the Jerusalem church.

Warren Wiersbe writes in Be Dynamic, "One evidence of the unity of the church was the way they sacrificed and shared with one another.  When the Holy Spirit is at work, giving is a blessing and not a burden.  We must keep in mind that this ... was very unlike the political communism of our day.  What the believers did was purely voluntary and was motivated by love.  No doubt many of the new believers were visitors in Jerusalem, having come for the feasts, and they had to depend upon their Christian friends to help meet their daily needs."

He adds, "While the early church's spirit of sacrifice and loving generosity is worthy of our emulation, believers today are not required to imitate these practices ... It is the spirit of their giving that is important ... and not the letter of their system."

A= I believe that God still would have us to be "of one heart and of one soul" with our fellow believers.  We see Jesus' heart in this matter in John 17:21 -- "That they all may be one ... in Us, that the world may believe that Thou has sent Me."

I think also that believers today still cannot say any of our possessions are our own -- they belong to God.  He has allowed us to have them, and they should be used to bring Him glory.  Often that will mean sharing them with others.  We, and others we know, have even shared large possessions like vehicles with our church family, sometimes for months on end.  The "spirit of sacrifice and loving generosity" alluded to by Wiersbe is never inappropriate.

P= "Lord, I thank You for the wonderful example of the early church.  I pray that You will help me to be willing to share my possessions, even my precious time (which is not really mine at all) for the benefit of other believers.  Help our church to have a testimony of love and unity among its members, so our community may see that we are different.  I thank You for how You will work, in Jesus' name, Amen."

There is this week's study.  I hope it was a blessing to you!