Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Warm Spot In The Sun

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Wherever you are today, I'm hoping that you can find a warm spot in the sun, a comfortable place to sit, a cup of tea, and a good book or friend to spend a few minutes with.

Tomorrow is Good Friday so today let's celebrate Thankful Thursday and all the freedoms we have because of the price Jesus paid for us on Calvary.

We have been set free for no other reason than freedom's sake. That is enough. Enjoy it to the fullest.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
From Galatians 5:1--

Dianne
2010-the Year of Longings

I long to enjoy freedom, His freedom, to the max!

Photo: Taken at Garvins Gardens, Hot Springs, AR 2009

fairly faithful

Seems









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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Grave Marker

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Last Wednesday morning my sister and I drove to our home town, about an hour's drive away from the city where we live now. Several miles outside of our small hometown lies Big Creek Cemetery.

Here at Big Creek, where many of my relatives are buried, one has only to have a parent or grandparent buried here to claim a burial plot--no payments, no fees, just donations for the upkeep now and then.

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My sister, cousin and aunt make their way through our former lives.

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The dust of my parents' earthly bodies lies beneath this marker.

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Mother

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Daddy

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My flesh and blood walked atop the soil that will one day embrace my dust and bones. I admit it was somewhat of an eerie feeling to walk where my headstone will stand one day. This is the small marker we had made to claim our spot.

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And I also admit that sometimes I struggle with the thought of dying, of being placed in the ground. I am a deep thinker and have at times let my thoughts go further than they should, imagining the moment of death. I do this knowing full well that God only gives grace to face death when the moment comes, not before. I am tempted to be envious of those believers who lie here--those who have already tasted that sweet moment of victory.

I am reminded of a story by the inspiring Corrie Ten Boom. One day she asked her father what "sex sin" meant. She had heard this term and wondered about its meaning. She was eight or nine at the time I think. She relates the event as follows:

And so, seated next to Father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, "Father, what is sex sin?"


He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but, to my surprise, he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.


"Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?" he asked.


I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.


"It's too heavy," I said.


"Yes," he said. "And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you."


And I was satisfied. More than satisfied—wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions; for now, I was content to leave them in my father's keeping.


Excerpt taken from the book by Corrie Ten Boom: THE HIDING PLACE


Before I left Wednesday morning, I had read Ann's suggestions at Holy Experience for our Walk With Him topic this week which is Holy Week Reflections. My head was swimming with thoughts of Jesus and dying and trying to imagine how He felt knowing what was ahead of Him, knowing the peace that will come when I draw my last breath could not be afforded Him. Why?-- because He became Sin and God in His holiness could not look upon it--He had to turn His back on Sin and the One who became Sin for my sake.

That Jesus knew His death was coming and He would have to face it alone led Him to pray for hours in the Garden of Gethsemane--to ask that the cup pass from Him but nevertheless, the will of the Father be done--and he sweat great drops of blood from the stress of this knowledge.

That the sting of death, the crushing weight of sin from the beginning sin to the very last sin that will ever be committed, He willingly took upon Himself and bore all of this for us is too great a knowledge to understand--I accept it fully, I understand it only partially, but one day.............

We can have peace when our last breaths are drawn because he was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities, and the punishment that will bring us peace was upon Him.

Isa 53:5
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
NIV


Reflecting upon what He did for me during that Holy Week, I left that cemetery knowing I could dance upon that granite grave marker and cry at the top of my lungs

"Oh, death where is thy sting? Oh, grave where is thy victory?"

Blessings,
Dianne
2010-the Year of Longings




Posted in community with:




holy experience


THE HIDING PLACE--Besides the Bible, simply the most inspiring book I've ever read.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Were You There?

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Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there?

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Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble, were you there when they crucified my Lord?

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Were you there when they nailed Him to a tree? Were you there?

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Were you there when He rose up from the dead?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble,
Were you there when He rose up from the dead?

Read more about the resurrection of Jesus here.

Blessings,
Dianne
2010-the Year of Longings

Credits

Song "Were You There" by J. W. Johnson, J. R. Johnson, 1926

Photos: Pictures of art canvas painted in 2009.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

He Told Me Everything!

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Stand here at watering well today, lingering images of moments passed interrupt calm.

It was just another day. Day of sadness, depression and guilt.
How was I to know that day would change my life forever.

Or should I say the man I met would change my life for all time.

Just another daily chore, getting water for daily needs.
Just another life changed, receiving soothing water for eternal thirsts.

Just another noon-time walk to communal well,
Just another Emmaus stroll with cool, evening breeze.

Just another talk with stranger,
Just another Word of abundant life.

Just another salty rivulet of reputation ruined wiped away,
Just another rushing rapid of sweetened joy.

Just another jar of cracked and broken clay,
Just another vessel of broken bread and poured out wine.

He told me everything I'd ever done,
He forgave all,

Just another memory,
I think not--

For a moment soul sags over well in doubled grief,
But only a moment,

Once again I remember--
I am redeemed.

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Ps 56:8
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
NLT


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2010-the year of longings
I long to walk and talk with Him for eternity.

You can read about this woman here.
Share your heart privately?
Photos: Taken at Garvin Gardens, Hot Springs, Arkansas, 2009.


Please join Emily, me and all the others at Imperfect Prose.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Weekend worship at Oak Bowery Baptist Church

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Scripture tells us that God's church is made of people from all nations, all tribes, all languages. Father, bless all your church today and those at Oak Bowery Baptist Church. Show Yourself to them in a powerful way, equip them to minister in the heart of Arkansas and around the world to share Your goodness, Your faithfulness, Your saving grace to those who do not know You. Meet every need they have according to Your riches in Christ Jesus.

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Ps 147

Praise the LORD.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.

He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.

The LORD sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.

He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of a man;

the LORD delights in those who fear him
(NIV)


Blessings,
Dianne
2010-the Year of Longings
I long to delight You, Oh Lord.

share your heart?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beginning is Getting Half the Job Done

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Not everyone requires an orderly environment to function well, but for me, I seem to function better as a wife, mother, and friend if my house is in order. When it isn't, my stomach tends to feel like the picture above. I am not proud of that--just trying to be real here.

My main goal was to always spend time with God first so for many years when my kids were smaller, and then when they were older and I was teaching school, I set my alarm so I could get a head start on the day with devotionals first.

After that, I always felt that the day was a success even if I didn't always accomplish all that I wanted or needed to.

After several years of staying home with the boys, I taught school and was home in the summer with them. Most of the time, we did not play until we had all the household chores done. So we would work like crazy (all four of us) to get all the dusting, vacuuming, picking up, laundry, etc. done so that we could spend our afternoons swimming or playing.

Of course, my grown sons now refer to their childhood as Mom's boot camp. LOL

When they were smaller, one of my main objectives was to keep their toys organized. If their legos, Lincoln logs, etc. were all in the proper containers and sorted, they wanted to play with them more.

Because they would sit in the floor and play for long periods of time with these organized toys, that really helped me get my work accomplished. I found that this was a crucial piece of the puzzle for me.

I played a lot of games with myself to help me get things done--

For instance, when I was so tired and felt as though I could not clean up the kitchen or some other dreaded chore, I would set the timer on the stove for five minutes. My thinking was, "I can do anything for five minutes. When the buzzer goes off, I'll take a break."

Almost always, I had most of it done or had the energy to set the timer for five more minutes. And I played that game with myself over and over.

I also had little stickie notes with CAYG here and there--CLEAN AS YOU GO! Some people (like my husband, the engineer) just do this naturally but for me it was always a constant struggle. I would find things all over the house where I laid them down and didn't have a clue when or how. I still fight this tendency.

Another little thing I did was use this quote:

"Beginning is getting half the job done." There is no way I can count all the times that I have whispered that quote to myself. And it is so true. Just begin!!

And I don't want to leave this one out:

Throw away or file at least five to ten pieces of paper a day. If you do this faithfully five days a week, that is about 2500 pieces of paper a year that you don't have to worry about.

I hope these few little suggestions will help a little.

All you mothers who hold down full-time jobs (with no summers off) or homeschool, or have children or situations with very special needs, I can't even imagine how you do all that you do. I admire you so much.

And if you are one of those people who don't need an orderly environment to function well, I admire that also. Looking back, I wish I had spent less time cleaning house and more time sitting in the floor playing legos with those precious sons.

And remember, everyone is different. So, don't worry about doing it the way I did it or the way Kelly does it or your next-door neighbor. Big deal. Be encouraged. You were created fearfully and wonderfully by our mighty God--we all have different gifts and talents--ask God for wisdom to know how to set your house in order. He gives freely to those who ask. And He is the great teacher.

Blessings,
Dianne
2010-the Year of Longings
I long to write something that would bless or help you today.

share your heart?

I am linking to Kelly today. Go to her site to read other cleaning tips.
Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Knowing Him by Name

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As I wrote in this post from a couple of days ago, in preparation for Easter I am reviewing some of my old stand-by books--this one is by Kay Arthur with illustrations by Timothy R. Botts.

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Jehovah Nissi-The Lord is My Banner

Ever watch the Rose Bowl Parade? Every marching band will have a big, huge banner that goes before it telling who it is. God is our banner. He is our identification. Everything that banner says and stands for symbolizes all that we have access to through Christ.

The names of God reveal His character. It is Who He Is and He does not act against it. It is this very character that chose to grow a tree, to have it hewn into a cross, and to give His only Son to be crucified on it so that we might enjoy all the benefits of this steadfast, loving, loyal, righteous character. In the words of the lovely song:

He grew the tree that He knew would be
used to make the old, rugged cross.

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He is the self-existent One--

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the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

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He is Jehovah Sidkenu--the Lord our Righteousness.

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Oh, to act wisely and pursue justice--a tall order but scripture tells us in James if we lack wisdom, we can ask for it. He is our wisdom.

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Jehovah Shalom--The Lord Our Peace

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Dearest Friend,
As you prepare for Easter it is my prayer that
the Lord will bless and keep you,
that He will make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you,
That He will lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Shalom,
Dianne
2010-the Year of Longings


I long to reflect His character.

share your heart?

Pictures of calligraphy used by permission of Timothy R. Botts.


holy experience

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Little Smoother

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Heard this for the first time last night and wanted to share it with you. Relax and enjoy. These are the lyrics and music of Nicole Nordeman--River God.


Rolling river God
Little stones are smooth
Only once the water passes through

So, I am a stone
Rough and grainy still
Trying to reconcile this rivers chill

But when I close my eyes
And feel You rushing by
I know that time brings change
And change takes time
And when the sunset comes
My prayer would be this one
That You might pick me up
And notice that I am
Just a little smoother in Your hand

Sometimes raging wild
Sometimes swollen high
Never have I known this river dry

The deepest part of You
Is where I want to stay
And feel the sharpest edges wash away

Blessings,
Dianne
2010-the Year of Longings



I long to be smoother.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

To Know Him By Name

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While looking at what others are reading in preparation for Easter this year, I decided to go back to some of my old "standbys"--books I have had for years that never get old to me.

One of those is "To Know Him by Name" by Kay Arthur with illustrations by Timothy Botts.

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The name I want to share with you today is Jehovah Shammah--meaning "The Lord is There." It is from Ezekiel 48:35.

Dear friend, wherever we are today, the Lord is there.

from Psalm 139:

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.


It's difficult for our finite minds to grasp that darkness is as light to our God but we can believe it because His Word assures us it is so.

Wherever we are today, our God is there. Whether we are at the heights of joy or in the depths of despair, our God is there. And if God is there, He will meet our every need.

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19



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Isn't it incredible that God has chosen us for His Spirit to reside in? Consider the instructions, the matchless materials and workmanship that went in to building the ark of the covenant and the temple to house the Spirit of God in the Old Testament. He has formed and made us with even more precision and more value.

more from Psalm 139
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.



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Dear Jehovah Shammah, would you please be there today? There with each one who stops by to visit today--there, wherever their "there" is today. And I ask your blessings upon each and every one--knowing that you rejoice with the rejoicing and mourn with the mourning--wipe away each tear and save them in a bottle for the day when you will explain each one we have ever shed. Amen

from the New Living Translation of Psalm 56:8
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Blessings,
Dianne

PHOTOS of calligraphy shared with permission of Timothy R. Botts.

from past pages

Friday, March 19, 2010

weekend worship on the street where we live

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens


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Isaiah 53

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

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He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

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But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

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He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

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He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Hope your weekend is worshipful, dear ones. God bless you richly.

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