9.28.2011

Quotables: On Turning 31...


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Yup.
Thankful to have had one more spin around the sun...

*****
In other news,
the Feast of Trumpets begins tonight at sundown...
(or, if you're going by Israeli time, earlier in the afternoon here in east TN).

In the Bible, the feasts God declared for Israel symbolized events that were coming.
Some of them have been fulfilled already, some are still waiting to be fulfilled...
For instance, Passover was a foreshadowing of Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross as our Passover Lamb.

The Feast of Trumpets is a foreshadowing of the Rapture of the Church,
which could be very, very soon.

(Read and listen to more about the symbolism of the Jewish feasts HERE.
It literally gives me chills to see the parallels...)

Are you ready?

Like, if He comes back tonight? Or tomorrow?
Or next year?

Don't mess around with the most important decision of your life.
Don't put it off until it's too late.

For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
II Corinthians 6:2

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18


This is a mixed media collage I did based on my favorite hymn,
and it's my personal favorite of my own work.
The words are so powerful and relate to the topic... I'd like to share them with you again:


It Is Well
Words by Horatio G. Spafford

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Refrain:
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.
 My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.

*****
Be ready.
Maranatha.


9.26.2011

The List that Never Ends: #411-420

 Have you no words? ah! think again,
    Words flow apace when you complain;
    And fill your fellow-creature's ear
    With the sad tale of all your care.
   
    Were half the breath thus vainly spent,
    To Heav'n in supplication sent;
    Your cheerful song would oft'ner be,
    "Hear what the Lord has done for me."

    - William Cowper
(1731-1800), in The Works of the Rev.
          John Newton, v. III, John Newton, New York: Williams
          and Whiting, 1810, p. 525
And the list goes on....

Today, I am thanking God...

411. ... for a nice, relaxing week at the beach with my husband's family.


412. ... for hammocks and good books and water, all right together....


413. ... for little girls who decorate themselves with flowers....


...and other little girls who decorate themselves with lizards...


414. ... for bicycle rides and a new bike to look forward to....


415. ... for cool trees to climb....


416. ... for laughs and goofiness....


417. ... for another year for my brother and me and a party to celebrate it with family...


418. ... for modern medicine and doctors to see when needed.

419. ... for the excitement of going on a trip and seeing something foreign...


...followed by the comfort of coming home and seeing something familiar...


420. ... for the promises of God - always certain, even during the storms...


Linking up today at:

9.12.2011

The List that Never Ends: # 401-410

My first trip to NYC in 1999...
This was the only time I ever saw the World Trade Center towers in person.
Ten years yesterday since the tragic events of 9/11... It's hard to believe it's been that long - I remember everything about the day so clearly... I'm sure you do too. Watching the footage again last night was just as surreal as it was on that beautiful September morning.... We remember the lives lost, the heroes who gave their lives to save others, the rescue workers and clean up crew, the families who still grieve their loved ones, the military who continue to defend and protect our country, the feeling that the world had changed - a lot - in just a few hours....
And yet, as horrific as it all was, the world hadn't really changed.... not that much. Evil became a lot more real to many of us on that day, but it was nothing new....


My next visit to NYC in June, 2003 - the cleanup and rebuilding efforts were still underway...
 We live in a fallen world. We live in a sinful world.... and unchecked, that sin can have horrific consequences for many, many people. September 11th, 2001 was yet another reminder of that fact.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. - Romans 1:18-32
Here, Paul describes the descent of the human heart after a person rejects the true God. That's what September 11th was - the final act of a heart (or rather, many hearts) in rebellion against God. Sadly, many other innocent people suffered the consequences.

It's interesting that one the first steps in that descent into a "reprobate mind" is the failure to give thanks....

So - with no small amount of fear and trembling lest I should head down that path myself - I continue my list....

I thank God...

#401. ... for the lives that were spared on that day.

#402. ... for the brave men and women who demonstrated the greatest love - laying down their lives for their friends and for complete strangers.

#403. ... for God's grace and mercy - that we, as believers in Jesus Christ, don't get what we deserve - that He took our punishment on Himself on the Cross....

#404. ... for the hope that God will one day right all wrongs, wipe away all tears, and rule with perfect justice.

#405. ... for beautiful fall days with cool air and beautiful skies.

#406. ... for a September 11th this year with much better memories than that other September 11th...

A knight in shining armour - my family had a fun time watching a real jousting demonstration
at a local Celtic festival yesterday...
#407. ... for my Mamaw - for the celebration of another year of her life, another year surviving cancer.

#408. ... for orange and yellow and red and brown and green and pumpkins and gourds and mums and sweaters and hot tea and hot chocolate and everything else that's so great about fall.

#409. ... for golden sweetness from amazing little hard-working bugs and my brother.


#410. ... for you.... thanks for reading.

Linking up at:

9.05.2011

The List that Never Ends: # 391-400

Whoa - reaching the big 400 today! I think that milestone merits a little (or maybe not so little) quote from a while back on why I started doing this in the first place....so, here's a little blast from the past I dug out from the archives...

Today I'm continuing in the discipline of giving thanks. I call it a discipline because sometimes it is a discipline. It's easy to feel thankful when everything is going well in life, when your circumstances are great, when everyone you love is well and happy, when sin and its ugly consequences are staying at bay. Unfortunately, those times are, for the most part, brief and rare.

The old adage that "most men lead lives of quiet desperation" is true. The people who seem to "have it all together" are probably struggling with something underneath the perfect fa├žade. There are no perfect people or perfect lives. At some point or other, we will all have to face challenges and hardships such as sickness, the death of a loved one, broken relationships, job loss, financial struggles, persecution, and the consequences of being sinful people living in a fallen world with other sinful people. Dealing with any of these things feels overwhelming at times, and it can be tempting to fall into bitterness, anger, self-pity, or depression.

Romans 1:20-32 reads:
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
This passage describes the descent of a sinful human into all kinds of depravity and ultimately, destruction. It's interesting that one of the first steps in that descent is the failure to give thanks.

II Timothy 3:1-5 reads:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
The passage above describes the current state of mankind pretty well. We have even dubbed our current generation of twenty-somethings the "Entitlement Generation." Throughout our culture is a pervasive attitude that we deserve good things, we don't deserve bad things, and that someone owes us something. The attitude of thankfulness is falling by the wayside. Even our national holiday centered on thankfulness has been nearly lost in the frenzy between Halloween (CANDY CANDY CANDY!) and Christmas (PRESENTS PRESENTS PRESENTS!). Thanksgiving Day itself has simply become the day to get geared up for the "biggest shopping coveting day of the year." But don't get me started on that....

For Christians, being thankful isn't just a suggestion limited to the good times. Being thankful is a commandment - at all times and in all circumstances.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. - I Thessalonians 5:18
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. - Psalm 100
It seems silly to even have to say this, but just for clarification, I'm not talking about simply sending out thankful vibes into the Universe somewhere. The Bible makes it clear that every blessing we receive is a gift from God:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. - James 1:17-18
When we, as Christians, see something (anything) that is good in our lives, we are to give thanks for it and acknowledge that "this good thing here - this is also from the Lord."

If you are unhappy or discontent in your life right now, there is a good chance that you are also ungrateful. I challenge you to start your own list - it can be on a blog or simply in a notebook. When you start looking for the good gifts in your life, you will be amazed at how many there truly are. Learning to be a thankful person has changed my life (because trust me, I'm as prone to covetousness, discontentment, and depression as anyone else), and it can change yours too. If you are struggling with unhappiness or depression, this is the cure.

And so, without further ado, I'll continue my list....


Thanking God today...

391. ... for visits from family.

392. ... for a super deal on a pair of new jeans (68 cents! Yeah, buddy!).

393. ... for getting a lot of pesky to-do items checked off the list last week. <sigh of relief>

394. ... for Josh's upcoming break - can't get here a minute too soon!

395. ... for the man that gave Josh a ride back to his car when he and four of our nephews got stranded out in the middle of the lake in my Papaw's old boat for two hours...


396. ... that said man did not kill Josh during said ride (he was slightly....or maybe not so slightly...tanked).

397. ... for a fun night with friends.

398. ... for a backup laptop for Josh to use (when his bit the dust this week).

399. ... that God knows what we need before we ask.

400. ... for 400 things for which to be thankful (plus so many more!).

Linking up at: