Sunday, March 31, 2024

Sunday Scripture for Easter 2024

 


Years ago (2014) I did a "Why Easter Matters" study from Good Morning Girls and have written only a few posts from that study -- one in 2014 and two in 2022.  Since today is Easter Sunday, and since it really does matter tremendously to us, I felt it was important to take a break from our regular Sunday Scripture posts and share more of my study with you.  The Scripture passage to be SOAPed today is 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, but I will write out verses 54-58 to help with context.  It is from the third week of the Easter study.  The week is titled "Why the Resurrection Matters".

S= "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
"O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?
"The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
"But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, inasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."  (1 Corinthians 15:54-58)

O= Verse 55 asks, "O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?"

We see the answer to this question in verse 54: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

This "saying" as Paul puts it, is a quote from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah:

"He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth; for the LORD hath spoken it.
"And it shall be said in that day,  Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."  (Isaiah 26:8-9)

William MacDonald notes that this saying will be "brought to pass when the dead in Christ are raised and the living changed with them ... How magnificent!"

He adds, "Through faith in Christ, we have victory over death and the grave.  Death is robbed of its sting. 
"The truth of resurrection changes everything.  It provides hope and steadfastness, and enables us to go on in the face of overwhelming and difficult circumstances."

A= We can be so thankful to God, who gives us the victory over death and the grave by way of Christ's sacrificial death and His glorious resurrection.  Because of this, we can be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,  We can be confident that our labor for Him is not in vain.

How grateful I am that Christ was victorious over death!  Because of His sacrificial death and His miraculous resurrection, I need not fear death.  It has no sting for me -- and the grave is not the end.  Christ has swallowed up death in victory.

And so I can move forward steadfast and grounded in my faith, abounding in the Lord's work in confidence that my labor is not in vain.  One day my faithful service will be rewarded.

Warren Wiersbe outlines 1 Corinthians chapter 15 like this:

* We have a living Lord (v. 1-19).  Jesus is alive, and the gospel message is true!  Witnesses who saw Him have passed along their testimony to us.  When you trust Him, you receive resurrection life, eternal life; death can hold you no more.

* We have a living hope (v. 20-49).  Jesus Christ will come again, and the dead in Christ will be raised.  We will have glorified bodies like Christ's body.

* We have a living dynamic (v. 50-58).  We have no reason to give up because Jesus has conquered sin and death.  If you really believe in the resurrection and return of Jesus, verse 58 will characterize your life.  The best is yet to come, so let us give Him our best now. -- Warren Wiersbe, With the Word

P= "Lord, I thank You so much for your promise of eternal life.  I praise You that death has no sting for believers, and that the grave is not our final resting place.  I praise You for giving us the victory over death, through Christ.

"I pray that You will help me to be steadfast and grounded and to always abide in Your work.  I know that labor done as unto You, and in Your strength, will never be in vain.  Help me to serve You faithfully throughout my life, I pray in Jesus' name, Amen."

And there is our simple Easter study.  I hope it was a blessing to you today and that you will enjoy a blessed Resurrection Day with family or church family.  Because He lives, we will live also!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Marching on with the Hodgepodge

 

It's Wednesday again, and that means it's 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.   After several weeks of neglecting this linkup, I'm attempting to jump back in once again.  Here goes!

 1.What do you love about your life right now? 

The flexibility of being retired.

2. March 26th is National Spinach Day...are you a fan? If so, how do you like yours prepared/served? 
 
I do like spinach, although I seldom eat it anymore.   I guess my favorite way would probably be in a salad with other greens, plus fruit, nuts and feta cheese.
Easter hutch, 2010

3. In this current season would you say you need to spend more time looking inward or that you need to get out of your head? Tell us why. 

Some of both, I guess.   Spending enough time looking inward to nurture my relationship with my heavenly Father and closeness to Him, for sure.  Getting out of my own head with its "what ifs" and "if onlys" is important too.  What does God's word say?  That is truer than anything I may be thinking or feeling.


4. Are you following the 'March Madness' madness? (That's US college basketball in case you're out of the loop) What's something that feels like actual madness to you right now? 

No, I am not following it.  The insane leftist agenda in our country and world feels like actual madness to me right now.   Actually, it doesn't just feel like madness.  It IS madness.

5. How will you celebrate the Easter/Passover holiday this year? 

We will have an early outdoor service at church, followed by a delicious breakfast together and an 11 am Easter worship service.

My local daughter and I are putting our heads together for some type of celebratory meal, but we haven't decided on a menu yet.  I know, I know, nothing like leaving it to the last minute.  But we'll produce a suitable feast!


6. Insert your own random thought here.

Over twenty inches of snow last weekend! 



Up until then it really was looking like an early spring ...
 

And there is the Hodgepodge for this week!

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Sunday Scripture

 


 Here's another in our new series for Sunday Scripture!  Back in 2018, I did a simple study from Rachel Wojo called Everything Beautiful.  You can read about it here: Everything Beautiful Bible reading plan. My answers and input on this series are a combination of what I learned back then, and what I found in looking over the Scriptures now, six years later.  I'm going to attempt to SOAP the passages too, though some of them are longer. 

S= "O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the people.
"Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him: talk ye of all His wondrous works.
"Glory ye in His holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
"Seek the LORD, and His strength: seek His face evermore.
"Remember His marvellous works that He hath done; His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth;
"O ye seed of Abraham His servant, ye children of Jacob His chosen.
"He is the LORD our God: His judgments are in all the earth."  

(Psalm 105:1-7)

O= This psalm is titled by C.I. Scofield in the Scofield Reference Bible, "God's faithfulness to Israel."  He also notes that Psalms 104 through 106 comprise the "one particular section" of Psalms that "is historical throughout" and that these three Psalms "begin with the creation and end with the captivity."

    The psalmist gives a number of simple directives addressed to "ye seed of Abraham, His servant, ye children of Jacob, His chosen" (v. 6) in regard to "the LORD our God", [whose] judgments are in all the earth" (v. 7)     

The psalmist directs:

* Oh, give thanks unto the LORD" (v.1)
* Call upon His name (v.1)
* Make His deeds known among the people (v.1)
* Sing unto Him (v.2)
* Sing psalms unto Him (v.2)
* Talk of all His wondrous works (v.2)
* Glory in His holy name (v.3)
* Rejoice in heart as you seek Him (v.3)
* Seek the LORD (v.4)
* Seek His strength (v. 4)
* Seek His face evermore (v.4)
* Remember His marvelous works that He has done (v.5)
* Remember His wonders (v.5)
* Remember the judgments of His mouth (v.5)

A cross-reference for "give thanks" is this:  "And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted."  (Isaiah 12:4)

Cross-references for the words "make known" are unusual in that they include two entire chapters of Psalms.  I'll share a couple of verses from each one.

Psalm 78 is titled by Scofield "God at work in Israel's history".  The verses detailing His work are prefaced by these words among many others: 

"We will not hide them from our children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done.
"For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children."  (Psalm 78:4-5)

Psalm 106 is composed of 48 verses detailing Israel's unfaithfulness and begins with the words 

"Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD?  Who can show forth all His praise?"(Psalm 106:2)

Cross-reference for "seek His face evermore" --  "When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face", my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek."  (Psalm 27:8) 

For "remember His marvelous works" (v.5) -- "I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Thy wonders of old."  (Psalm 77:11)

For "judgments" (v.7) -- "With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me I will seek Thee early; for when Thy judgments are in the earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."  (Isaiah 26:9)

What a day that will be!

A= For this Scripture, there were a number of ways to apply it as prompted in the journal.  

"God's magnificent wonderful work shows up in the darkest spaces." -- Rachel Wojo

The question was asked: What one thought can I surrender to create room for seeing moments of grace?

My response in 2018: The thought that this physical difficulty is all my own fault.  (Can you tell I had heard a few times that if I had only not tried to avoid the mud by stepping on the ice, I wouldn't have fallen?) The truth is, God allowed me to fall, though He knew how painful the result will be.  He has a plan and purpose, even in the darkest spaces, as noted above.

Answering this same question in 2024

My response:  Concern and dread about the future, perhaps.  We're in a very concerning place as a country, without exaggeration.  I have deep concerns, yet I must let those go (while still taking a stand for truth and right) and remember that God is in full control of all things and I will see moments of grace even in a dark space.

This prompt was given, along with a list: Today I will keep my eyes open for God's beauty in one or more of these places.

These are the places I circled: The words I read; the places I go; the music I hear; the air I breathe; the people I encounter; the weather I experience; the rest I receive.

In 2024 I can note that the places I go include stately old buildings in New Hampshire's capital city.  Built by man, yes, but with God-given vision and skill. 

 For the music I hear, I noted this: The music at our church -- piano and strings -- is truly beautiful and God-honoring.

For the food I eat, I mentioned how I enjoyed the colors and textures of vegetables I was preparing for roasting -- carrots, green peppers, onions, sweet potatoes.

For the weather I experience, I noted: A gorgeous sunny day, perfect for a long walk.

And for the rest I receive, I thanked God that we sleep so well at our little cottage, even when we stay there in the midst of winter.

A journaling prompt was this: Everything God made is beautiful.  Where have I noticed God's beauty in the last 24 hours?

My response in 2018: In the kindness of my husband's care for me; in the concern of friends; in the beauty of falling snow and a snow-covered landscape; in blue skies, winter sunshine, and the lengthening days.

My response in 2024: In the gorgeous blue-green color of a lake we were driving by; in the precise stripes of a chipmunk (a sign of spring!) darting into a stone wall; the symmetry of an evergreen tree in our woods -- like a child's drawing; in pale green lichens against gray stone.

P= "Lord, I thank and praise You so much for hearing and answering my prayers back in 2018.  One of the things I had asked was that You would help me to regain my strength as quickly as possible so that I could return to serving you more actively.

I can't thank You enough for answering that prayer.  Later that same year we were able to take our daughter and family on a wonderful Western trip to visit her sister and family.  

And now, I'm in a much healthier place, though aging is an ongoing challenge.  I praise You for the health and energy You give!  

I'm still not sue why You allowed that fall in 2018, but one thing it surely did was to increase my empathy for those who live with debilitating back pain, or any sort of chronic health issues.  It has helped me to pray in a more informed way for them, as well.

I praise You for all You have done and are doing, in Jesus' name, Amen."

And there is the Sunday Scripture for this week!  I'd love some input on this series so far.  Wouldn't you like to share your thoughts with me? 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

A surprising vintage find

 


Back while cleaning out the old homestead in 2020, there were many fun vintage finds that we uncovered.  Among them were boxes that evidently accompanied my mother when she left home to get married.  They held mementos and other things from her childhood, college years, and even her young adult years teaching school.

The oldest of these boxes contained many childhood treasures (even old school papers and report cards!) but one of the most precious things I found was a cardboard suitcase that seemed intended for doll clothes.  It is 1930s vintage and is labeled "Dolly Peggy and Her Hope Chest."

I just did a little research online and found this from Worthpoint: "A Dolly Peggy Hope Chest. 8"x3"x6". Made by Transogram Company Inc, NY.  The chest is made of cardboard with a metal handle and latch.  It is covered on all sides with pictures of Dolly Peggy traveling the world, taking a bath, buying new clothes, pictures of a train, plane and ocean liner.  Even has a picture of her little dog - Rags.  Inside fully lined in pink and cream paper with a moire pattern ... A bit timeworn, but a really neat doll accessory!"

As you can see, the one I found was "a bit timeworn", also.   I opened it up fully expecting to find doll clothes.  But what I found was actually even more precious to me.  Apparently I didn't take any photos of it, but that's okay.  It was a sort of crumpled up piece of fabric, which turned out to be a partially completed stamped cross stitch with this saying: "A Friendly House by the Side of the Road With a Friendly Welcome for You".  The skeins of embroidery floss were there with it.

It doesn't take a detective to know this was a project my mother had started as a child, but had never completed.  What intrigues me more is a snippet of a memory of something my mother had shared with me.  How, when she was a child, her father was very ill and spent time in Boston in the hospital.  Her mother was there with him, and various extended family members took up the slack at home: supervising the maple sugar operation, looking after the children, and so on.  One of those who helped care for the children was a teenage cousin, I believe.  My mother recalled how this girl -- I think her name may have been Rebekah -- taught her and her sisters to sew doll clothes and to embroider.  So I think it's not too much of a stretch to assume that this was the project my mother practiced those skills  on.

 Well, of course you know I had to finish that incomplete project.  The floss was still there, although I think it didn't include yellow, so I used some from my stash.

And I did finish it-- using the colors she had started with on areas that she had begun to stitch, then choosing from among the included floss (along with yellow to brighten it up) to stitch the remaining unstitched design.  And it languished for a bit until I thought of the exact right thing to do with it.

You see, I own a framed cross stitch from the same era -- stitched by my Great-Aunt Mabel and dated 1935.  It's very similar in design, which makes me guess the one by my mother is from the mid-1930s as well. As you can see, the saying is "How Dear to This Heart are the Scenes of My Childhood when Fond Recollection Presents Them to View."  I've had this for awhile.  It always hung in my grandmother's house, near her desk and the chair where she spent many hours talking on the phone.  When I acquired this heirloom -- which had always intrigued me, even before I learned to embroider -- I immediately hung it in our bedroom.

But then.  Along came our camp, and after it was made livable again, I decided to take Mabel's cross-stitch to hang on the freshly painted wall of the bedroom nook.  It looks wonderful there.


And so, upon giving it some thought, I realized that my mother's sampler should also be framed and hung on one of the other walls in that nook.  A good idea, but easier said than done.  At first, I thought maybe I would try to match the frame on Mabel's stitchery (or have my husband make one),  but quickly realized that would be nearly impossible -- and also that this wasn't about perfection.  Our camp is so full of quirky, whimsical old things that a little detail like frame color and style mattered not a whit.  

Then the problem began to be finding an affordable frame that would fit.  Walmart was no help.  I found some frames that I liked, but getting a large enough one was going to be expensive.  And they didn't have the colors I liked on the larger frames.  This cross-stitch piece doesn't look as big as it actually is.  I confidently purchased an 8x10 frame before realizing the design wasn't going to fit.

So we began to visit the thrift store on a regular basis to see if we could find a suitable frame, or even a piece of framed art.  Our favorite local thrift store has quite a fast turnover, so we felt we would eventually find just what we needed.

It took a few months, but one day Mr. T found a framed art piece that he thought was the right size.  He "measured" it by laying it down on the floor tiles, which he guessed to be about a foot square.  He was sure it would be right -- and it was!  We wasted no time purchasing it, removing the artwork, and using it to frame the needlework.  It fit perfectly and looks so good with the stitchery.

Although this one is blurry, you can see its place in the corner of the sleeping nook, and you can also see how the border is somewhat similar to the one on Mabel's stitchery above.


 This one is less blurry.  Even though our camp is in the woods on a dirt road, it truly is "by the side of the road" and we do offer a friendly welcome to those who can visit us there.

 After almost 90 years, this sweet sampler is just where it belongs.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Sunday Scripture

 


Here's another in our new series for Sunday Scripture!  Back in 2018, I did a simple study from Rachel Wojo called Everything Beautiful.  You can read about it here: Everything Beautiful Bible reading plan. My answers and input on this series are a combination of what I learned back then, and what I found in looking over the Scriptures now, six years later.  I'm attempting to SOAP the passages too, though some of them are longer. 

S= "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come unto thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
"Shake thyself from the dust, arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
"For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nothing, and ye shall be redeemed without money.
"For thus saith the Lord GOD: My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.
"Now, therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that My people are taken away for nothing?  They that rule over them make them to wail, saith the LORD, and My name continually every day is blasphemed.
"Therefore, My people shall know My name; therefore, they shall know in that day that I am He who doth speak; Lo, it is I.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"  (Isaiah 52:1-7)

O= This chapter is titled by C.I. Scofield in the Scofield Study Bible: "Vision of Jerusalem in the Kingdom Age".

My observations:

Through Isaiah, God says:

Awake, awake!
Put on your strength, O Zion
Put on your beautiful garments, Jerusalem, the holy city

FOR

The uncircumcised and unclean will no more enter your gates.

Jerusalem is directed to shake herself from the dust, to arise, and sit down. 
The daughter of Zion is directed to loose herself from the bands of her neck.

FOR

Thus says the LORD: You have sold yourself for nothing, and you will be redeemed without money.

FURTHER:

Thus says the LORD: My people went down to Egypt at the first to sojourn there.  The Assyrian oppressed them without cause.

THEREFORE:

What have I here, asks the Lord.
My people are taken away for nothing;
Those who rule over them make them to wail.
My name is blasphemed continually every day.

THEREFORE:

My people shall know My name;
They shall know that I am speaking.
Good tidings are coming to Zion: the beautiful message of salvation and sovereignty: 

Thy God reigns!

Cross-reference for "without money" (v. 3) -- "I have raised Him up in righteousness, and I will direct all His ways; He shall build My city, and He shall let go My captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts."  (Isaiah 45:13)

For "redeemed" (v. 3) -- "For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called."  (Isaiah 54:5)

"Break forth into joy; sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem, for the LORD hath comforted His people; He hath redeemed Jerusalem."  (Isaiah 52:9)

For "Egypt" (v. 4) -- "And they took their cattle and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him."  (Genesis 46:6)

For "wail" or "howl" (v. 5) -- "Behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall wail for vexation of spirit." (Isaiah 65:13)

For "feet" (v. 7) -- "Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!  O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows; for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off."  (Nahum 1:15)

"And how shall they preach, except they be sent?  As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"  (Romans 10:15)

For "tidings" (v. 7) -- "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound."  (Isaiah 61:1)

A= For this Scripture, there were a number of ways to apply it as prompted in the journal.  

"A devoted messenger who spreads good news reveals beauty beyond the mirror." -- Rachel Wojo

The question was asked: What season or circumstance in life challenges me to see God's gift of beauty?

My response in 2018: This recent injury has really sidelined me.  I had a very rough night and so am pretty much useless today.   And yet outside the window is the glory of the snow!

Answering this same question in 2024

My response: I am going to say Mud Season, which is a season unique to New England, especially New Hampshire and Vermont.  Another thing that can challenge me to see God's gift of beauty is when we see seasons of discontent in a church, a family, a school, or a workplace.  I've come to believe that, although discontentment can arise for many reasons, it seems to occur seasonally as well.  Keeping our eyes on God and the beauty of our salvation could really help our perspective.

This prompt was given, along with a list: Today I will keep my eyes open for God's beauty in one or more of these places.

These are the places I circled: The words I read; the music I hear; the air I breathe; the people I encounter; the weather I experience; the rest I receive.

In 2024 I can note that the words I read include those from Stand Firm, a Bible study on the armor of God from the Daily Grace Co.  I believe it is currently on sale for $5, though that could change at any time.   This quote, from the chapter on being shod with the readiness of the gospel of peace, encouraged me so much:

"A solid foundation in our understanding of the gospel of peace brings hope to any circumstance we may face in this lifetime and enables us to share our hope with others ... Our foundation -- our footing -- is found in the perfect peace offered through the hope of the gospel.  That foundation allows us to ... move toward others in light of that hope.
 
"For those around us, our lives and words serve as a testimony to the peace we have found in Christ.  We can point them to the only One who offers us true comfort and rest.  The gospel message is a message of peace that speaks into every broken part of this world.  In seasons of hardship or suffering, brokenness or doubt, the gospel serves as an anchor for our souls, keeping us firmly planted in the peace of Jesus."

 For the people I encounter, I noted this: Here at TWNE, it's a blessing to know people who are using every gift, talent, and skill they possess to the utmost.  All to the glory of God!  It's so good to spend time at meals with other believers sharing and encouraging one another.

For the weather I experience, I noted: It's been rainy this week, but yesterday God provided a dry day to complete an outdoor project.

And for the rest I receive, I saw that even though we were working hard, we were sleeping well.  So thankful for a comfortable room to stay in as we serve here.

A journaling prompt was this: List one or more ideas to remind myself to intentionally look for God's beauty throughout the day.

My response in 2018: Look out the window frequently to see the beautiful snow-covered trees and landscape.  Go out and walk on the screened porch periodically to take in the snowy fresh air.

My response in 2024: We were at our volunteer jobs at The Wilds of New England as I worked through this again.  It was raining the day that I wrote this, but I noted, "This campsite is beautiful in any weather, and I look out the windows often."


(Photos above from last winter.  The snow is all gone now.)

P= "Lord, in 2018 I was choosing to be thankful for the physical difficulty You had allowed, reminding myself that Your Word says, 'In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.'  The injury was uncomfortable and even outright painful at times    Yet I could thank You for it and could trust You to use it for good in my life.

"Now, in 2024, it's exciting to look back and see how far You have brought me physically since then, and to see how You have given me strength, stamina, and energy to serve You at the Wilds of New England and elsewhere.   

 "I thank and praise You in  Jesus' name, Amen."

And there is the Sunday Scripture for this week!  I'd love some input on this series so far.  Wouldn't you like to share your thoughts with me?

Monday, March 11, 2024

Happy Homemaker Monday for March 11

 


As usual, there's no time for a long post, but I'm taking a few minutes to join Sandra for this link party over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

The Weather:::

 It's 32ยบ and cloudy, with fine snow flurries in the air, at 11 am. 20 mph wind so it feels like 20ยบ. 

As I look outside my window:::

We got snow on Saturday night so there is now more snow on the ground in the woods and a messy driveway that's a combination of frozen snow and mud.  (My hubby just scraped it down but it would make too much of a mess to actually plow it.)  Snow flurries in a cloudy sky. 

Right now I am:::

 Working on a blog post. 
 
Thinking and pondering:::

 About my Sunday Scripture series.  I'm still not sure how well it's working with this new study, but I hope that it's edifying to someone.

And also continuing to ponder on how crucial it is to have our spiritual armor firmly in place.   How easily Satan can delude us if we don't pay attention. 

On my bedside table::: 

 A lamp, 2 books a mint, and a pen

Listening to::: 

Literally, silence.  The furnace blower.  And the occasional gust of heavy wind.

On the Breakfast plate::: 

I do intermittent fasting so don't have breakfast. Lunch will be a salad of leaf lettuce, cubed turkey,  Swiss cheese, avocado and maybe some grape tomatoes.

On the dinner plate::: 

Egg bake, bacon, and maybe some broccoli.

On the menu for this week::: 

 A few meals on my menu plan:

Hamburgers, roasted Brussels sprouts
Chicken divan
Taco pie, green beans
 
On my reading pile:::
 
 Every Ocean Has a Shore, by Jamie Langston Turner, a Christmas gift I'm really enjoying.
Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, by John Cross.

We're reading this one in the car and it is excellent.  A dramatic and refreshing change from The Real Anthony Fauci, by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. which we finally finished.

 
On my to do list today:::
 
 Spend time cross stitching
Write some thank-you notes
Possibly go grocery shopping 
Call a couple of friends to see how they are doing
Go for a walk downtown
Do some planning for later in the week
Type up some info for my hubby to email out to folks √
Work on a couple of blog posts
Work on my Sunday School lesson
Crochet a square for my temperature blanket

Plans for this week:::

Etsy listings, especially some children's books with spring themes
Ironing
Take a bag to the thrift store
Work on Sunday School lesson 22
Blogging
Get started with an exercise regimen
Begin some serious decluttering
Start a pillow quilt
Do some cleaning at my volunteer job
Go out to breakfast with our friend Terry

What I am creating:::
 
⛄  January cross-stitch sampler, plus another wintry cross-stitch intended for a gift
⛄  Some "condensation catchers" out of old towels to place behind toilets that sweat in the humidity -- no, I still haven't finished started those! ๐Ÿ˜•  And I need to do so, because the old towels are just sitting around waiting to be used!   And also because we keep getting sporadic warmer weather and I half expect the toilets to start sweating again.
⛄  An older unfinished dishcloth in a more challenging pattern
  Need to start a pillow quilt
⛄  A granny square temperature blanket

Bible verse, Devotional, Quote:::
 
I've been making my way through Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth's wonderful and challenging book, Adorned.  It's one of those books where I could easily underline nearly every word.  I have believed and shared for many years that there is no dividing line in our lives between the secular and the sacred.  Every bit of life is to be lived to the glory of God and as a service to Him, whether it's teaching Sunday School or cleaning a toilet.  I will just share this snippet from Nancy that encouraged me:
 
"Wherever we are at this moment is a sacred place, and whatever He has given us to do is sacred service ... There is simply no hard dividing line between the sacred and the secular in our lives, no special compartment for those pieces and parts of life that pertain to our faith, with everything else in another, separate compartment.
"We each possess a holy calling, a high calling, one worthy of our awe-inspired devotion to God and His will.  And we flesh out this calling each day by honoring Him with lives that reflect His character and exemplify our grateful, loving surrender to Him." -- Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth, Adorned, page 96.

On my prayer list:::
 
Friends & family
Church family
Missionaries
Our country
 
And there's the Happy Homemaker Monday  for this week!
 
 

 

 

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Sunday Scripture

 


 Here's another in our new series for Sunday Scripture!  Back in 2018, I did a simple study from Rachel Wojo called Everything Beautiful.  You can read about it here: Everything Beautiful Bible reading plan. My answers and input on this series are a combination of what I learned back then, and what I found in looking over the Scriptures now, six years later.  I'm going to attempt to SOAP the passages too, though some of them are longer.

S= "O sing unto the LORD a new song; for He hath done marvellous things: His right hand, and His holy arm, hath gotten Him the victory.
"The LORD hath made known His salvation: His righteousness hath He openly showed in the sight of the heathen.
"He hath remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
"Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
"With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.
"Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
"Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together
"Before the LORD; for He cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity."  (Psalm 98)

 O= Psalm 98 is titled by Scofield "Praise to the LORD".  The Bible titles it simply "A Psalm".

"Why should we praise the Lord?  Because of His redemption (v. 1), the revelation of His righteousness (v. 2), and the remembrance of His mercy (v. 3)." -- Warren Wiersbe, With the Word

A few cross-references:

For "Sing unto the LORD" (v. 1) --

"Sing unto Him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise."  (Psalm 33:3)

"Oh, sing unto the LORD a new song; sing unto the LORD , all the earth." (Psalm 96:1)

"Sing unto the LORD a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth; ye that go down to the sea, and all that is in it; the coasts, and their inhabitants."

Wiersbe explains concerning "a new song": "The word translated 'new' means 'fresh, new in quality'.  The song may be an old one, but our growth in the Lord and our new experiences of His grace enable us to sing an old song with fresh new meaning and blessing.  This explains why the Lord allows us to go through trials. He is tuning us up to praise Him in a new way!"

Cross-references for "done marvelous things" (v. 1) -- 

"Remember His marvelous works that He hath done; His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth." (Psalm 105:5)

"Thou art the God who doest wonders; Thou hast declared Thy strength among the peoples."  (Psalm 77:14)

"Who is like unto Thee, O LORD, among the gods?  Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?"  (Exodus 15:11)

For "known His salvation" (v.2) --

"The LORD hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God."  (Isaiah 52:10)

"To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins."  (Luke 1:77)

"For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people."  (Luke 2:30-31)

For "all the ends of the earth" (v. 3) -- 

"And He said, It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the nations, that Thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth."  (Isaiah 49:6)

"Be it known, therefore, unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it."  (Acts 28:28)

For "cometh to judge the earth" (v. 9) --

"Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth.  The world also shall be established that it shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously ... He cometh to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth."  (Psalm 96:10, 13)

A=  Warren Wiersbe asks,

* How should we praise the Lord?  "With a joyful shout and song (v. 4) and with musical instruments skillfully played to please Him (v. 5-6). Let voices and instruments join in praising the Lord!  Not religious entertainment, but the joyful expression of praise to God."
* Who should praise the Lord?  "Everybody in the world -- and all the world of nature (v. 7-9).  The anticipation of His coming excites creation, and you should be a part of their excitement.  Joy to the world -- the Lord has come!" 

The One Chapter a Day Psalms study from Good Morning Girls states: "Not only do we see instruments, such as trumpets and horns praising God in this psalm, but we also see nature personified as the seas and rivers and hills clap their hands to the Lord.  Our praise to the Lord must not be silent."

 For this Scripture, there were a number of ways to apply it as prompted in the journal.  

"Salvation can always be listed in the search for beauty." -- Rachel Wojo

The question was asked: How can I realign the eyes of my heart to see the Father's present of everyday elegance?

My response in 2018: I can keep my eyes open to see what He has done and is doing.  I can always be ready to praise Him for what I see.  I can make it a habit to look at God and not at my circumstances.

Answering this same question in 2024

My response: It can be possible, I think, especially through the difficulties of our culture and world today, to focus almost completely on the big picture -- that God has a plan, and He is working all things after the counsel of His own will to achieve His purposes.  And this is an important focus.  But I never want to look at the big picture so intently that I can't see God in the beauty of every day.  He is doing marvelous things every day, and I want to have eyes that will take note of that beauty and share it with others.

This prompt was given, along with a list: Today I will keep my eyes open for God's beauty in one or more of these places.

These are the places I circled: The words I read; the food I eat; the air I breathe; the weather I experience; the rest I receive; the grace I give.

In 2024 I can note that the words I read include not only God's Word (which is incomparable in its beauty in addition to being living, powerful, and so much more!) but words from Christian novelists, devotional writers, Bible commentators and teachers and even bloggers and Instagrammers.  Many of them write beautifully to encourage and strengthen believers.

A journaling prompt was this: Everything God made is beautiful.  Where have I noticed God's beauty in the last 24 hours?

2018: In the incredible beauty of the snow.  Like most people, I'm ready for spring.  But this is New Hampshire.  We get snow in March -- sometimes a great deal of snow.  The snow is beautiful and richly symbolic of salvation.

2024: Yesterday we went downtown to walk, as is our habit.  Along Main Street are planted a number of small trees which I believe to be mountain ash trees.  We noticed that one of them was full of birds -- cedar waxwings.  How beautiful!  Later in the day, my husband glanced at our bird feeder and spotted a lovely female cardinal.  We have only had cardinals visiting in the past couple of years, so we don't take their presence for granted.

P= "Lord, I praise You today  for the beauty of Your creation, particularly the snow that covers and freshens the landscape and trees with a beautiful coating of white.  It brings to mind Isaiah 1:18 where we're told that though our sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.  Snow is such a lovely picture of salvation, and I thank You for giving it to us.

    "I praise You too for the amazingly beautiful birds You have created, and for the opportunity to enjoy these on a daily basis.  The birds have so many object lessons to teach us, as we read in Your Word.

"And I pray that You will help me not to be so focused on the big picture of what You are doing in our world that I fail to notice Your everyday elegance.  I pray in  Jesus' name, Amen."

And there is the Sunday Scripture for this week!  I'd love some input on this series so far.  Wouldn't you like to share your thoughts with me?

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

How my word for 2024 -- Continue -- will look in my life this year

 


Even though I decided on my word for 2024 fairly quickly, it took me awhile to write about it.  Now, though admittedly still behind, I thought I'd jot down some thoughts about how that word -- continue -- will hopefully play out in my life on an everyday basis.

Recall, here is the definition:

As I mentioned, in choosing the word continue for this year, I was mostly thinking about continuing on faithfully with a number of things, most (but not all) of them related to my spiritual life. Let's look at the various parts of the definition and how they might look in everyday life.

First, "persist in an activity or process".  I'd relate this to Bible study and blogging.   I intend to persist in both of these. 

 Bible study is a given.  There is so much more I want (and need) to learn about God's Word!

Blogging might be considered much more of an option, a personal choice.  But is it really?  I don't think so, at least not for me.  Blogging, I've come to believe, is an integral part of living out God's purposes for me.  It's a way to use the talents, skills, and even some of the spiritual gifts God has given me, to bless others.  So for sure, this is an activity I'll be persisting in.

Then, "carry on with something that one has begun".  I am hoping we can get back to getting together regularly with a younger couple we had been informally mentoring.  I do chat with the wife weekly by phone, and that's wonderful, but in-person time is important as well. 

I'm hoping and planning, too, to get back more faithfully to decluttering and downsizing.  I've started that; have done some closets and dressers and have begun going through our many bookshelves, but oh, there is so much more to do!

In another instance in carrying on with something I've begun -- I had gifted six of my teen grandchildren the Stand Firm Bible study from The Daily Grace Co.  I'm not sure how they are doing with it.  I'm keeping up with my own study of the book, and finding it very much of a blessing.  My intent had been to have a group chat with them weekly via email, but so far that's only happened once. ๐Ÿ™„.   So obviously I want to carry on with this important activity.


Another thing to carry on with (unless or until God shows me differently) is listing and selling small vintage items from my childhood home on Etsy.  There is so much more to go!  I have shelves, a half dozen boxes, and even an entire dresser full of these small treasures.  It could take me years just to list all the paper items, so I'm thinking I may need to zero in on the children's books and see if I can get some of those out of the way.

(Looking for a vintage Little Golden or Junior Elf book?  I might well have it.)

And then, "remain in a specified position or state".  I'll continue teaching Sunday School to ladies, at least for the foreseeable future.  That may change once we've completed this study, but that's months away.

  I'll also continue with writing Sunday Scripture blog posts.  And with other things like writing notes and doing other things to encourage friends and family.

And "carry on traveling in the same direction".  To me this zeroes in on spiritual growth.  I've said before how our former pastor who retired after decades often reminded us that there is no standing still in the Christian life.  If you're not moving forward you're moving backward.  Period.  So very obviously, I am purposing to carry on with traveling forward in my pursuit of spiritual growth.

Finally, "extend farther in the same direction".  For me, this speaks to my prayer life. I hope to update some of my prayer journal pages to make it even more of an effective tool.

This also applies to my memorization of the book of James, which my younger friend Jennifer and I are working on together.  We finished chapter 1 during the last quarter of 2023, and hope to get through chapter 2 by the end of March.  That should give us the remaining three quarters of 2024 to finish memorizing the final 3 chapters (which are shorter than the first two).  We will see!


So there you have it, a little late.  

Jennifer left a sweet comment on my March goals post and noted that these were wise and purposeful goals.  I can't tell you how much that encourages me.  It made me look at my goals with fresh eyes, and I was struck by how many of them involved continuing.   I've been continuing with these things throughout January and February and, Lord willing, will continue on with them through the remaining ten months of 2024.

What about you, friends? If you chose a word for 2024, how is that playing out for you?

Sunday, March 03, 2024

Sunday Scripture

 

Pretty graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

 Here's the third in our new series for Sunday Scripture!  Back in 2018, I did a simple study from Rachel Wojo called Everything Beautiful.  You can read about it here: Everything Beautiful Bible reading plan. My answers and input on this series will be a combination of what I learned back then, and what I found in looking over the Scriptures now, six years later.  I'm going to attempt to SOAP the passages too, though some of them are longer. 

S= "Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God.
"Speak comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
"Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain;
"And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
"The voice said, Cry.  And he said, What shall I cry?  All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the Spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever."  (Isaiah 40:1-8)

O= C.I. Scofield tells us that Isaiah chapters 40-48 deal with "The Greatness and Transcendence of God".  Isaiah 40:1-2 are titled by Scofield "The prophet's new message".  Verses 3-5 deal with "The mission of John the Baptist".  The remainder of chapter 40 presents "The greatness of God and man's insignificance."

The Daily Walk Bible shares some interesting information:

"Beginning with chapter 40, Isaiah changes the focus of his message.  For 39 chapters his major message has been the condemnation resulting from the waywardness and wickedness of God's people.  But now comes a heartwarming message of hope and comfort.  The next 27 chapters declare the coming salvation of the Lord.  He is sovereign over creation; He is sovereign in the protection and selection of His nation Israel.  And thus there can be certainty that He will comfort and deliver His people."

Warren Wiersbe notes, "Though Isaiah wrote a century before the fall of Judah, his words greatly encouraged the exiles when they read them in Babylon."

Some cross-references include:

For "voice of him that crieth in the wilderness" (v. 3) --

 "He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaiah."  (John 1:23)

"As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah, the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God."  (Luke 3:4-6)

For "glory of the Lord" (v. 5) --

"[The desert] shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God."  (Isaiah 35:1)

For "grass" (v. 6) -- 

"For all flesh is like grass, and all the glory of man like the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, and its flower falleth away.  But the word of the Lord endureth forever.  And this is the word by which the gospel is preached unto you."  (1 Peter 1:24-25)

A= Warren Wiersbe notes that this passage speaks with 

*The voice of comfort -- (verses 1-5) --  "tells you that God knows how to measure your chastening and that He forgives and gives you a new beginning."
* The voice of confidence -- (verses 6-8) -- "assures you that His Word stands in spite of the frailty of man."

 For this Scripture, there were a number of ways to apply it as prompted in the journal.  

"No scenery can match the beauty of God's Word." -- Rachel Wojo

The question was asked: Which of my own thoughts have blocked the beauty of God's Word?

My response in 2018: I really can't think of any.  God's Word is incredibly beautiful and completely trustworthy.

Answering this same question in 2024

My response: I do think, though, that we can block the beauty of God's Word by not believing it, or by making statements like "I can't" when His Word clearly tells us we can.

This prompt was given, along with a list: Today I will keep my eyes open for God's beauty in one or more of these places.

These are the places I circled: The words I read; the places I go; the music I hear; the weather I experience; the rest I receive; the grace I give.

In 2024 I jotted down a few details regarding these things. Concerning the places I go, I noted that Lord willing, we would be spending that night at our camp, a beautiful provision by God that wasn't even a dream on the horizon in 2018.  For the weather I experience, I noted the warm temperature -- in the fifties.  And, though it fit none of these categories as such, I also noticed the simple but beautiful artist's rendering of a winter scene on a mug I was sipping coffee from. 

A journaling prompt was this: List one or more ideas to remind myself to intentionally look for God's beauty throughout the day.

2018:We are expecting a large winter storm here today, with many inches of snow.  I know that watching the falling snow outside our windows will show me God's beauty.  I also think I will play some music CDs and look for God's beauty in that way, also.

2024: We set a timer each morning to remind us to catch the dawn light which is so beneficial to us in so many ways -- not the least of which is its beauty.

P= "Lord, I praise You for the beauty of Your Word.  It is not only more beautiful than any scenery or music (which, after all, are created by You), but it will stand forever.  It is unchanging, unfailing.  I can count on it every day.

"In today's  Scripture passage, I was so blessed to be reminded that You desire to comfort Your people and to make the rough places of life plain to us.  I thank You for all this, in Jesus' name, Amen."

And there is the Sunday Scripture for this week!  I'd love some input on this series so far.  How do you think it is working?

Friday, March 01, 2024

A few goals for March



Once again, it's a new month and so I need to set some goals.

* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week
* Get back to working through the "Make Room Challenge" from Make Room for What You Love
* Spend time with our friends who are younger believers
* Enjoy our church ladies' gathering
* Post in this blog as often as possible
* Post in my Christmas blog as often as possible
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones
* Celebrate March birthdays
* Use Charles Swindoll's devotional Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life for my quiet time daily
* Continue studying and preparing for my Sunday School lessons
* Continue with Stand Firm, a Bible study on the armor of God
* Continue stocking my Etsy shop and continue selling vintage items
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Spend extended time at our volunteer jobs
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating
* Continue to work on memorizing the book of James
* Continue to help a widowed friend with the challenges of life in general
* Get to bed by 8:30 each night we are at home
* Drink enough water each day
* Walk and/or exercise at least 4 times each week

HEALTHY HABITS FOR MARCH:  Drink more water/get more sleep/get more exercise/intermittent fasting/limit carbs

WORD FOR 2024: Continue