Tuesday, April 18, 2017

His Kaleidoscope

 I have a camera application on my phone which has a kaleidoscope filter.  I have recently enjoyed playing with this a great deal mainly because it doesn't take spectacular content to make an incredible picture.  You simply choose the filter, point the camera at anything and an impressive design results.

For example, this is a kaleidoscope picture of a solid colored, lace dress I wore the other day:

 This one is of the monkey grass growing near our front porch:

And this one is simply the contents of my purse:

 Regardless of how plain the content, this filter creates an orderly, and very pretty, design of the objects.

Isn't that reminiscent of the Lord's working in our lives?  He can take tiniest details of our lives --the good, the bad, the pretty and the ugly-- and weave them into a beautiful image with everything lined up as it should and in it's proper place.

It isn't only that He can, He is!

He is currently taking every aspect of our lives and weaving them into a beautiful tapestry.  He includes our joys and fulfillment, the times we were treated unfairly or unjustly, the pains, the sorrows and the things we just don't understand.  When we look back over at our life, we will see that He has used each and every second to make our lives a glorious expression of His grace and mercy, His love and caring.  He is actively working in the lives of each of His trusting children to accomplish this.

So when the pains come, or the troubling moments occur, let us trust Him by faith that every second of our lives is in His hand as He works  in our lives to glorify His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

"My times are in Thy hand. . .Be of good courage, 
and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord."
Psalm 31:15, 24

Saturday, April 15, 2017

No Easter. . .No Holidays

(A repeat from 2013)

There is a sweet lady who lives at the retirement facility where we do services who shared with us last week "If there was no Easter, there would be no Christmas."
Easter eggs
 (Photo credit: WillowGardeners)

This statement is indeed true.  As miraculous and wonderful as the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ was, if it had not been followed by His life of sinless perfection, His death on the cross in accordance with prophecy and the resultant Resurrection on that first Easter Sunday, we would not have anything to celebrate as "Christmas."

Today I began thinking about Mrs. Marie's statement and realized if there was no Easter, we also would not have Thanksgiving.  Many of those Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation were Christians who had fled to the New World seeking religious freedom.  If there had been no Easter, they would not have been Christians in need of a new place to worship in freedom.

If there had been no Easter it is likely there might not have been an Independence Day, a Veteran's Day nor a Memorial Day.  Our country may not have been founded in the same way, on the same principles, with the same Constitution.  We certainly wouldn't have President's Day.

If there had been no Easter and our country had not been founded by the same men and built on the same Constitution with the same value for the citizens and their hard work and effort, there might not be a Labor Day.  We might not value mothers or fathers and celebrate their days either.

Since even our years are marked by the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, using BC and AD, perhaps even our calendars and timing mechanisms would be different if there had been no Easter, and we would not have a New Year's Day.

Considering how monumental to the whole human race that one day, that one moment was in the history of mankind, isn't it amazing how quiet, how solitary it was?  No camera crews, no crowds, even the guard assigned to the tomb "trembled and became as dead men."  

As we look toward tomorrow, which our society has enshrouded with bunnies and eggs and chocolate (although I like the chocolate), let us remember that this day was perhaps the most important day in the history of the entire human race.

Matthew 28:5-7
"But the angel said to the women, 
'Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  
He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. 
Come, see the place where He lay.   
Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead' "

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Nothing Everyday is Still Nothing

As I type this, my guitar is sitting in its stand close by.  Do not misinterpret the words "my guitar" to mean I am a guitarist.  Having listened to my husband, daughter and son play the guitar beautifully, I am reminded what a novice I am.  

I bought my guitar on November 15th last year.  It was a purchase made after long thought.  The year before I had begun to play the ukulele, which I now describe as a "gateway instrument," since it planted the seed of playing the guitar.  

Gradually I begin to realize I could probably learn to play the guitar -- at least enough for me to have fun -- and possibly begin to understand the fret board.  Having been a piano player since I was thirteen,  I found the concepts of the guitar infinitely more complicated than the "laid out sequentially" piano.

As soon as I purchased the guitar, I began taking lessons online.  My progress was slowed by the fact I simply don't have a great deal of extra time to devote to practicing guitar.  I try to grab what minutes I have and I try to make sure I play at least a little every day.

When making chords on the guitar, one uses the soft tips of the fingers to press down the steel strings, (usually while contorting the fingers into impossible positions).  There has to be enough pressure on the string to change the tone of the string appropriately.  This pressure of soft tissue against hard steel results in callouses being formed on the ends of the fingers.  One thing I have realized is that if I don't play some every day, my fingertips soften up.  Then I must go through the painful process of reforming callouses.

I find that even though my time is limited, I have made progress.   I can now play a few songs and have begun learning to fingerpick, which I enjoy so much more than strumming. I like seeing my accomplishments, even if it takes me longer than most.  A little practice everyday adds up to a lot over time.  Nothing everyday is still nothing.

This is true with our approach to reading the Bible.  We may not think we have time to read the Scriptures every day, but I would say we don't have time NOT to.  Just a small amount of time spent in the Bible every day will add up to so much over days, months and years.  The Lord will hide those words in our hearts and quicken them by the power of His Holy Spirit.  In moments of difficulty, pain or temptation, they will come back to us as inspiration, encouragement and guidance.

In our chapel services at a local nursing facility, we read the Scriptures for five minutes each Sunday as part of the service.  We are now in our third reading of the New Testament and I am the one who primarily does the readings. One of the residents mentioned to me a few weeks ago that there must be very few people who have read the New Testament aloud three times.  She commented that it was a great blessing for them and it must be for me as well.  She is right, I feel quite blessed and honored to read the Bible in our service each week.

If we commit to reading even a little of the Bible every day then, after a chapter here and a chapter there, as time goes by, we will find we have read the Bible through.  Then we can simply begin again.

"Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people."  
Isaiah 28: 9-11

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, 
that I might not sin against Thee." 
Psalm 119:11