Monday Moments

This weekend I was able to capture some of God’s creativity.

The corn, dry and brown, beautiful in its own way.

There are certain moments when I long to freeze time…

A perfect sunset is one of those times.

One last glorious display of beauty before slipping beneath the horizon.

A beautiful scene from my front porch. A reminder…

That God always keeps His promises.

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Giving thanks for all that God has given.

*family

*laughter

*good books

*the smell of yummy things baking

*food on the table

*sunsets that melt into the horizon

*rainbows to help me remember

*crisp Autumn evenings

*warm sweaters

*emails from friends

*time spent together

*knowing smiles

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Why Are You Waiting?

AP CXR showing right lower lobe pneumonia.

Image via Wikipedia

Today at Faith Barista we are working on the topic of:  All is grace.

As a healthy adult, I breathe about 12-15 times per minute. Most of the time I don’t think about my breathing. I take that function for granted because my lungs work well. I don’t require any special treatments, medication or ventilators.

Several years ago (actually for two winters in a row) I couldn’t breathe. My chest heaved. I coughed uncontrollably…until my ribcage hurt. I could think of nothing else, with each labored breath I struggled for air. I finally went to my doctor. He listened to me. He observed me. He shook his head. “Young lady, you have bronchitis and nearly have walking pneumonia. My question is this….. Why did you wait so long to see me?”

God is the Great Physician. He looked at me when I was just shy of my eleventh birthday…covered in my own sin, broken, and imperfect. He whispered to me, “Why are you waiting so long?”   It was a beautiful Spring day in 1979.  The day that I stopped waiting. The day that God showed me His grace.

It has taken years for me to appreciate that grace. If I’m honest, I probably still don’t fully appreciate it as I should. Why would God love me? Why would He want me? Why would He give me His unmerited favor? I’ll admit that my finite mind, has trouble understanding an infinite God.

But, I’m working on it.

My former pastor, gave this definition of grace….

“GRACE  is–God’s Riches At Christ Expense”

God chose me. I wasn’t deserving. Had nothing to offer Him. Didn’t even know I needed Him. He sent His Son to take my place, He who was perfect and blameless. He paid the price for me…… He made the way for me, even before I was looking.

When God looks at me now, He sees me through His Son.

Grace…it truly is amazing.

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Live Like You Were Dying

Tim McGraw at @ #WMT2010

Image by liljhawkgirl via Flickr

Without appearing to be overly morbid, I’d like to state the obvious.

I’m dying.

Yep, you read that correctly.

And, so are you.

Let that sink in a minute.

None of us are going to make it out of this life, alive. Well, unless Jesus comes back before then…but, other than that…yep, we’re all going to die.

It could be this evening, or maybe next week. It might be before Christmas…or it could be 75 years from now, in your sleep. None of us knows when, but we know it will happen.

That really is one of the few sure things we can know, in this otherwise chaotic adventure we call life.

Now, with all that said, and you my readers, probably scratching your head and wondering if I’ve totally flipped out talking this way….

A few days ago, a friend of mine on Facebook, wrote a status using Tim McGraw‘s lyrics of Live Like You Were Dying.  If you’ve never heard the song you should take a listen. For being a secular song, it is still very good, and has a lesson in it that we could and should learn. A lesson in living. You can check out the lyrics here.  Anyway, as one thing usually leads to another, it got me thinking about life and death and all the in between stuff. I realize that most people do not want to hear this kind of talk. It makes them uncomfortable, nervous, or down right angry. That’s okay. One doesn’t have to read my blog entries if one wishes not to do so. My goal is not to make people  uncomfortable, but to make them think.

I remember when my first husband died. The day we got the diagnosis was a beautiful, June day. When we got out of bed that morning we didn’t know that it would be the beginning of the end.  Isn’t that true about a lot of things in life? He was 32 when he was diagnosed with a terminal heart condition. He lived for just 1 year and 4 months after his diagnosis. Now, if you’d have known my husband, he was not what I would have called a philosopher, or a theologian. He was a good ol’ boy, born and raised in the south, loved NASCAR, and Tennessee football. He should have gone to culinary school, he loved to cook, and he was excellent at picking out just the right gifts for birthdays and Christmas. All that aside, some of the most profound things that he ever said to me in our nearly 10 years together, were during those months between his diagnosis and his death.

As the months went on, and he became weaker, his words took on new meaning. Words that still echo back to me 11 years later.

I remember…. “Dawn, come sit with me. Cleaning can wait….I won’t be here forever.”  He knew he was dying. His perspective had changed. He realized relationships were what was important in this life. (Lesson #1)

Or, the scripture he wrote in his own hand, a verse that was close to his heart….found in 1 Corinthians 2:9. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”  I still pull that verse out on occasion and read it. I look at his handwriting and think to myself, he’s there now.  He sees what God prepared for him. He had a personal relationship with the Lord. (Lesson #2)

And the final words that he said to me, as he lay in his hospital bed…”I love you.”  These words were followed by a hug. That was the last time I ever felt my husband’s arms around me. Isn’t that what most of us want to hear? That we are loved? (Lesson #3) God was so good to me that hard day. He gave me the gift of Kennis’ words.

As much as I tell this story about my late husband, and the emotion of it all floods back to me, it is not he that showed me the greatest love. It was not my husband’s love that saved me. Nor, is it he that has gone to prepare a place for me. You see, the One that wrote me a love letter….it is He that I long to meet after I take my last breath in this world. It is Jesus that will make Heaven, home.

Jesus said, ” I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…”  John 11:25  NIV

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me (Jesus)……I am going to prepare a place for you….I will come back and take you to be with me.”  John 14: 1-3

And so….

live like you are dying…

Because you are.

 

 

 

Back To The Truth

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“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found that it has no meaning:  just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.”  — C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

Dark would be a word without meaning. That particular sentence struck me. So simple, and yet so profound.

How would we, as humans, understand dark, if we didn’t have the light to compare it with?

How can we know when we do morally bad things, if there is not perfection to compare it with?

In a world of moral relativism, where it’s become okay to do something if  “it feels right”, or “I’m not hurting anyone so I’ll do what I want”.

Some, choose to live blind… in the dark, rather than admit that God is.

God is the absolute.

He is truth.

and it is He that gives this life meaning.

 

 

For All That He Is

a group of Canada Geese flying in Michigan in ...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s raining.

I love to watch the rain.

I enjoy hearing the rain pelt our metal roof.

There is comfort in seeing the bad weather outside, knowing that I am warm and safe inside.

A Monday morning in late October…

The corn stalks across the road are brown. On a quiet evening, one can hear the corn talking to the night, a dry, rustling sound.

The sound of  honking Canada geese, as they fly overhead in perfect formation,  always makes me stop and appreciate…

the sights and sounds of late October in the country.

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Thanking my God for all that He is…and for allowing all that He does…

*my back feels a little better–not completely healed, but better than it was–when I hurt, I learn to appreciate my health more.

*my son reading quietly… I study his profile. I think back to him as a baby, and how I wondered what he would look like when he was a teenager? Now, I know. Time goes so quickly, doesn’t it?

*a daughter who walked with me, when I was forced to walk slowly.

*sitting in the living room, petting the dog…it’s a win/win situation. Petting him reduces my stress–while it feels great to him to get belly rubs.

*the smell of coffee

*rain pelting the windows

*time–appreciating this moment

*snuggling while watching TV

*faces smiling at me from time worn pictures

*knowing what it is to love and be loved

*memories tapping me on the shoulder this gray, Monday morning

*friendship

*Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. It is He that makes all of life worth living…apart from Him, I am nothing.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5 NIV

Painful Perspective

Hospital

Image by morrissey via Flickr

I was wiping down the kitchen counters yesterday morning, like I’ve done every other morning of my life. Nothing different. Nothing spectacular.

I felt my back catch. In a short time I was almost completely incapacitated. I fell to my knees. My husband helped me to the bed…and that is where I laid, flat on my back for the rest of the day. It was excruciating to even roll over. I could not get comfortable. I needed assistance to even get to the bathroom. How humiliating. I cried. I was frustrated. I hurt.

It is amazing how very boring it is to just have to lay down. Most times I love to lay down, taking a nap is a wonderful thing….until I’m forced to do it. My sweet husband called chiropractors…and wouldn’t you know….no one answered. We left messages. No response. So, I dealt with the pain.

I’m not very good with allowing others to help me.

While laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, I had the thought about my plight being temporary. For whatever reason, my back gave out, but it wouldn’t be forever……I would get through this.

Pain has a way of making us, or at least me, see more clearly. In the dark of last night I prayed. “God, I hurt so bad. I can’t get comfortable, no matter how I turn. I’m so tired….please give me rest.”

My mind wandered to all those people that live in this kind of pain on a daily basis. Would I handle it with grace? Or frustration? Would I scream at God to stop my hurting? Or would I allow Him to work everything out for His glory? I like to think that it would be the latter…..but…. The pain perspective is difficult to learn…much less to live with. Would I trust Him IN the pain? Would I continue to love Him DESPITE the pain? Would the pain be a catalyst to draw me closer to Him? Or a wedge to keep us apart?

My back is still hurting today….still severe, but not as much as yesterday.

I will get better.

The questions of yesterday linger…

My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. (Exodus 33:14)

I Am….

Psalm 121

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Today, at Faith Barista, the topic is—-

Complete the following sentence:  In God‘s heart, I am ________.

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Loved–For God so loved the world (of which I am a part!) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…… John 3:16

Wanted– That while I was still a sinner (living only for myself) Christ died for me. Romans 5:8

Valuable —I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made (you created me!) ;  your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14

Forgiven– Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Chosen– But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

Worthy– So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:31  

Beautiful–Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Saved--He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2

His child–Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

The apple of His eye–For this is what the LORD Almighty says: “After he has honored me and has sent me against the nations that have plundered you–for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye… Zechariah 2:8  

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings… Psalm 17:8

Worth dying for–When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30

Understood–But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

REDEEMED–You were bought at a price….1 Corinthians 7:23