Sunday, July 30, 2017

On This Last Sunday In July

Spend some time enjoying the beauty of
God's world and the fleeting summer season...

Wildflowers of July
Butterflies love Joe Pye Weed

This painting reminds me 
of the happy summer days
 of my childhood playing for hours
 on the beach down the shore in Margate...

Summer Fun
Robert Sarsony

And when the rain, beats against my window pane,
I think of summer days again, and dream of you...

Goodbye, July!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Love vs. Romance

It is easy to mistake romance for love. 
Yet there are many differences.

Romance is fleeting...Love is long.

Romance is dancing in the moonlight. Gazing deep into
desired eyes across a candlelit table...Love is saying:
"You're tired honey, I'll get up this time" and 
stumbling through the darkness to warm a bottle
or comfort a frightened child.

Romance is suspense, anticipation, surprise...
Love is dependability.

Romance is tingling excitement...Love is tenderness,
constancy, being cherished...

Romance is an eager striving always to appear attractive
to each other...Love is two people who find beauty in 
each other no matter how they look.

Romance is flattering attentions...Love is genuine thoughtfulness.

Romance is delicious...Love nourishes.

Romance is seeking perfection...Love is forgiving faults.

Romance is flying...Love is safe landing.

Romance is the anguish of waiting for the phone to
ring to bring you a voice that will utter endearments...
Love is the anguish of waiting for a call that will
assure you someone else is happy and safe.

Romance can't last...Love can't help it.

Marjorie Holmes

"Somewhere far beyond today
I will find a way to find you
And somehow through the lonely nights
I will leave a light in the dark
Let it lead you to my heart..."
Michael W. Smith

Somewhere, Somehow
Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant

The Martyrs of Ancient Nubia

"You shall establish yourself in righteousness,
in conformity with God's will and order; you shall
be far from even the thought of oppression or
destruction, for you shall not fear, and from terror,
for it shall not come near you."
Isaiah 54:14

The ancient land of Nubia is today
 part of southern Egypt and the Sudan.

The current leader in the nation of Sudan is an
Islamic dictator named Umar al-Bashir, who is waging a
relentless campaign of terror and genocide against the
people there, and especially members of the Christian
population for their refusal to deny Christ by bending
their knee to serve the evil spirits of murder and death
plaguing this ancient land, which is mentioned
within the pages of the Holy Bible.

Meanwhile, a very dedicated group of believers 
have been called to minister to these distraught victims
trapped beneath the mantle of human and satanic darkness.
These witnesses have been called out by God to serve
Him as front liners in the ongoing battle between the
forces of good and the forces of evil in this world.
These brave men and women have also been
"called out" by the extremist semblance of government
which exists today in the Sudan, and which considers
them as "enemies of the state" .

And yet, in spite of the constant threat of imprisonment
and death hanging over them, as well as observing
 firsthand  the most appalling acts of human
wickedness imaginable being committed against
innocent men, women, and children on a daily basis, 
these same brothers and sisters called to service in the
Sudan are able to rejoice at having seen the results
of their ministry efforts there.  The visible look of
incredulous joy on the faces of weary Sudanese
pastors when they are handed brand new Bibles,
as well as the genuine relief and profuse gratitude
of Sudanese mothers receiving much needed care
packages of water and food,clothing and blankets,
makes all the difference.  The Sudanese people
are finding out that they are not forgotten and 
 despite the danger involved, these workers in the field 
know that the Kingdom of God is continuing to 
 flourish, even in the midst of hell on earth.

A Sudanese family hiding in the Nuba Mountains

Although you will never hear 
about their efforts in the world news media,
 these anonymous men and women of God
 are also bringing much needed medical supplies
 to clinics in the region, all at great risk to their own lives.
 I hope you will share my post today
 and that everyone reading this will pray
 for these courageous Christian men and women
bringing hope and liberty
 to the captives of the Sudan,
 and for many others called to serve
 in the spiritually dark and mortally dangerous
 areas of the world today.

Encouragement from the Word

"Fear not, there is nothing to fear, for I am with you;
 do not look around you in terror and be dismayed,
 for I am your God.
 I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties,
yes, I will help you;
  I will hold you up and retain you
 with My victorious right hand
 of rightness and justice. 
Behold all they who are enraged 
and inflamed against you
 shall be put to shame and confounded;
 they who strive against you
 shall be as nothing and perish.
You shall seek those who contend with you
 but you shall not find them;
 they who war against you
 shall be as nothing, nothing at all.
 For I the Lord your God hold your right hand;
 I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not;
 I will help you!
Isaiah 41:10-13

He Loves The Children
John McNaughton

Faithful is He Who is calling you to Himself
 and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it,
 fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you.
 The grace, the unmerited favor and blessings 
of our Lord Yeshua Ha'Maschiach be with you all. 
Amen. So be it."
1 Thessalonians 5:23,24,28

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Old Covenant, New Covenant

Moses presents the Book of the Covenant
to the house of Israel

"And Moses took half of the blood and put it
in basins, and the half of the blood he dashed
against the altar.
Then he took the Book of the Covenant and
read in the hearing of all the people and they said,
"All that the Lord has said we will do, and we will
be obedient.  And Moses took the remaining
half of the blood and sprinkled it on the people
and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant
which the Lord has made with you in
accordance with all these words."
Exodus 24:6-8

"Behold the days are coming, says the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant with the
house of Israel and the house of Judah,
Not according to the covenant which I
made with their fathers in the day when
I took them by the hand to bring them out of
the land of Egypt. My covenant which they broke,
although I was their Husband, says the Lord.
But this is the covenant which I will make with
the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord,
I will put My law within them, and on their hearts will
I write it; and I will be their God and they will be My People.
And they will no more teach each man his neighbor and each man
his brother, saying, "Know the Lord, for they will all know Me,
recognize, understand, and be acquainted with Me,
from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord.
For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will seriously 
remember their sins no more."
Jeremiah 31:31-34

"For this is My blood of the new covenant, which ratifies the
agreement and is being poured out for many
 for the forgiveness of sins."
Matthew 26:28

"And in a like manner, He took the cup after supper, saying,
 "This cup is the new testament or covenant, ratified by My blood,
 which is shed for you."
Luke 22:20

"Similarly when supper was ended, He took the cup also, saying, "This cup of the new covenant, ratified and established in My blood. Do this, as often  as you drink it, call to Me affectionately to remembrance. Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are representing, and signifying and proclaiming the fact of the Lord's death until He comes again."
1 Corinthians 11:25-26

"Now the main point of what we have to say is this: We have such a High Priest, One Who is seated at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. As officiating Priest, a Minister in the holy places and in the true tabernacle which is erected not by man but by the Lord. For every high priest is appointed to offer up gifts and sacrifices; so it is essential for this High Priest to have some offering to make also.

If then He were still living on earth, He would not be a priest at all, for there are already priests who offer gifts in accordance with the Law. But these offer service merely as a pattern and  as a foreshadowing of what has its true existence and reality in the
heavenly sanctuary. For when Moses was about to erect the tabernacle, he was warned by God, saying, "See to it that you make it all exactly according to the copy, the model which was shown to you on the mountain.

But as it is now, He, Christ, has acquired a priestly ministry which is much superior and more excellent than the old as the covenant, the agreement of which He is the Mediator, the Arbiter, Agent, is superior and more excellent, because it has enacted and rests upon
more important, sublimer, higher, and nobler promises.
 For if that first covenant had been without defect, there would have been no room for another one or an attempt to institute another one.

However, He finds fault with them, showing its inadequacy when He says, Behold, the days will come, says the Lord, when I will make and ratify a new covenant or agreement with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant that I made with their forefathers on the day when I grasped them by the hand to help and relieve them  and to lead them out from the land of Egypt, for they did not abide in My agreement with them, and so I withdrew My favor and disregarded them," says the Lord.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will imprint My laws upon their minds, even upon their innermost thoughts and understand, and engrave them upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

And it will nevermore be necessary for each one to teach his neighbor and fellow citizen or each one his brother, saying,
 Know, perceive, have knowledge of, and get acquainted by
the experience with the Lord, for all will know Me, from the smallest to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful and 
gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more.

When God speaks of a new covenant or agreement, He makes the first one obsolete, out of use. And what is obsolete, out of use and annulled because of age, is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether."
Hebrews 8

The Triumph of Christianity
Gustave Dore

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sunshine In My Soul

"And His brightness was like the sunlight;
rays streamed from His hand, and there,
in the sun like splendor was the 
hiding place of His power."
Habakuk 3:4

Golden Poppy flowers growing in
the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

There is sunshine in my soul today,
More glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky,
For Jesus is my Light.

O there's sunshine, blessed sunshine,
When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.

There is music in my soul today,
A carol to my King,
And Jesus, listening, can hear
The songs I cannot sing.

There is springtime in my soul today
For, when the Lord is near,
The dove of peace sings in my heart,
The flowers of grace appear.

There is gladness in my soul today,
And hope and praise and love,
For blessings which He gives me now,
For joys "laid up" above.

Eliza E. Hewitt

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

God Is Not Dead!

"The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock;
and let the God of my salvation be exalted!"
Psalm 18:46

Morning Bible Study with Coffee

God Is Alive!

That's a very important statement.
The Lord lives. God is alive.
Do you realize that? God is alive.

It's related that once in the life of Martin Luther,
his wife, Katie, came down in the morning and greeted him
and she was attired in mourning, she was in black,
and Luther said to her, "Why are you wearing mourning?"
She said, "Because God is dead."
He said, "Nonsense, woman, God isn't dead."
She said to him, "Well, if God isn't dead, why do you
act as if he were?"
And that was a real rebuke to Martin Luther,
the great reformer, the great interpreter of Scripture.

But so many of us, I think, need to be reminded.
Sometimes there are other preachers whose wives need
to come down all attired in black and when they ask them why,
their answer is, "Well, God is dead."
And we expostulate and say, "Nonsense, it isn't true!"
And they answer, "Well, if He's not dead, why do you 
act as though He is?"

Remember that, God isn't dead.
There was a school of theology sometime back
that asserted that God is dead.

The quote, "God is dead" is
attributed to German philosopher,
Friedrich Nietzsche

I have to tell you, that school of theology is dead.
The theologians who espoused it are probably dead too.
But there's just one person who isn't dead,
and you can know He's not dead.
If you know Him as your God and your Savior.
If He is your rock, then you know He is alive and not dead,
and that's the best news today.

God is not dead!

Derek Prince

The Cave of Adullam in Israel provided safe refuge within the rock
 for David when he was hiding from King Saul.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Midsummer Meditation

"Delight yourself also in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires and secret
petitions of your heart."
Psalm 37:4

Close To My Heart
Pino Daeni

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and 
renew a right, preserving and steadfast spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Your presence and take not
Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
and uphold me with a willing spirit."
Psalm 51:10-12

Summer Wildflowers in Oklahoma

"But I will sing of Your mighty strength and power;
yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy and loving-kindness
in the morning; for You have been to me a defense,
a fortress and a high tower, and a refuge
in the day of my distress.
Unto You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
for God is my Defense, my Fortress, and High Tower,
the God Who shows me mercy and steadfast love."
Psalm 59:16-17

Return of Summer
Tucker Smith

"O God, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You;
my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is
faint for You, in a dry and weary land where 
there is no water.
So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary
to see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your loving-kindness is better than life,
my lips shall praise You.
So I will bless You while I live; I will
lift up my hands in Your name."
Psalm 63:1-4

Mesa Walk
Steve Henderson

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sweet Williams July 1917

"There is nothing new under the sun," says the proverb. I think
the meaning is that there are just so many truths or laws of life,
and no matter how far we may think we have advanced, we
cannot get beyond those laws. However complex a structure
we build a living, we must come back to those truths, and so
we find we have traveled in a circle."
Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Man of the Place brought me
 a bouquet of wildflowers this morning.
It has been a habit of his for years. 
He never brings me cultivated flowers,
but always the wild blossoms of field and woodland, 
and I think them much more beautiful.

In my bouquet this morning was a purple flag. Do you
remember gathering them down on the flats and in the
creek bottoms when you were a barefoot child?

Wild Purple Flag 

There was one marshy corner of the pasture down by
the creek where the grass grew lush and green:
where the cows loved to feed and could always be found
when it was time to drive them up at night.

All through the tall grass were scattered purple and white
flag blossoms, and I have stood in that peaceful grassland corner,
with the red cow and the spotted cow and the roan,
taking their good-night mouthfuls of the sweet grass,
and watched the sun setting behind the hilltops and loved
the purple flags and the rippling brook and wondered at the
beauty of the world while I wriggled my toes down
into the soft grass.

The wild Sweet Williams in my bouquet brought a far
different picture to my mind. A window had been broken in
the schoolhouse at the country crossroads, and the pieces of glass
lay scattered where they had fallen.

Several little girls going to school for their first term had picked
handfuls of Sweet Williams and were gathered near the window.
Someone discovered that the blossoms could be pulled from
the stem and by, wetting their faces, could be stuck to the
pieces of glass in whatever fashion they were arranged.
They dried on the glass and would stay that way for hours
and, looked at through the glass, were very pretty.

Wild Sweet William

I was one of those little girls, and though I have forgotten
what it was I tried to learn out of a book that summer, I never have
forgotten the beautiful wreaths and stars and other figures we made
on the glass with the Sweet Williams. The delicate fragrance of
their blossoms this morning made me feel like a little girl again.

The little white daises with their hearts of gold grew thickly
along the path where we walked to Sunday school. 
Father and sister and I use to walk
 the two and a half miles every Sunday morning.
The horses had worked hard all the week 
and must rest this one day
and Mother would rather stay at home with baby brother, so,
with Father and sister, Mary I walked to the church through
the beauties of the sunny spring Sundays.
I have forgotten what I was taught on those days also.
I was only a little girl, you know.  But I can still plainly see the
grass and the trees and the path winding ahead, flecked with
sunshine and shadow and the beautiful golden-hearted daisies
scattered all along the way.

Wild Meadow Daisies

Ah well! That was years ago, and there have been 
 many changes since then that it would seem 
such simple things should be forgotten;
but at the long last, I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet,
simple things of life which are the real ones after all.
We heap up around us things that we do not need 
 as the crow makes piles of glittering pebbles.
 We gabble words like parrots
until we lose sense of their meaning;
 we chase after this new idea and that;
we take an old thought and dress it out
 in many words that the thought itself
 is lost in its clothing,
 like a slim woman in a barrel skirt,
and then we exclaim,
 "Lo, the wonderful new thought I have found!"

I believe we would be happier to have a personal revolution
in our individual lives and go back to simpler living and more
direct thinking. It is the simple things of life that make
living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as
love and duty, work and rest, and living close to nature.
There are no hot house blossoms that can compare in
beauty and fragrance with my bouquet of wildflowers.

Wildflower Meadow

"Sweet Williams"
July 1917
By Laura Ingalls Wilder
From the book, "Little House in the Ozarks"
A Laura Ingalls Wilder Sampler
The Rediscovered Writings
Edited by Stephen W. Hines
Guideposts Edition